"These gods have watched over our grandfathers fathers. And even before that, they watched over our ancestors. They are powerful gods, our gods."
A druid on the Vetei.
The Vetei is a pantheon of gods that have been in favour of the Yakimara for an untold time, dating way back before when the Yakimara clans and tribes held more land. The followers of the Vetei are most plentiful on the rural areas of the Yakimara clanlands. There are no priests serving the gods, instead the gods are mostly served by druids.
The name of Vetei doesn't refer to any gods or particular being within the pantheon. It is Yakimara for 'Old Gods'. For the gods within the pantheon of the Vetei have been worshipped by the Yakimara for centuries. An age old argument that many druids and staunch followers of the Vetei use is that their gods are the oldest deities in the known world.
The old gods don’t promote violence. Neither do they usually seem to be keen to reward their followers for acts of violence. This may be one of the few factors that have allowed followers of the Vetei to live alongside worshippers of the Way of Fire, despite the many attempts of missionaries to convert the loyal flock of the Vetei.
An interesting relation can be seen, however, between the Chonobi. who have their own gods, and the followers of the Vetei. For those who follow the Vetei don’t consider their gods the true ones. Simply the oldest and their own. Other gods and deities aren’t considered to be false, such as some more monotheistic faith. This has allowed some building relation between the Vetei and Chonobi.
The Vetei is a pantheon that has a large number of gods. What follows is just a number of the most known and popular gods within the pantheon.
Derived from nuall meaning "noble, famous" combined with a diminutive suffix.
Deity of light, forest and fauna.
Nuallán is one of the most potent deities within the large pantheon of the Veitei. He is a large stag that has an unusual shine to it. Together with his huge size, Nuallán is a sight to behold - his light illuminating all. He is the lord of the forests and fierce rival of Dubhghall, the dark stranger.
Derived from cyne "royal" and beald "bold".
Deity of the sea.
The lord of the waves. Cynebald is the ruler of deep blue and all that resides in it. Usually, he is one of the calmer deities - which can be observed as the waters near the Yakimara heartlands are rarely ever wild or troubled. However, if tormented or provoked enough, Cynebald is one without mercy. He is described as a massive whale with coral and other materials growing from his back in tales and legends.
Derived from dubh "dark" and gall "stranger".
Deity of schemes, assassinations and shadows.
The dark stranger is a deity not to be provoked. Merciless and ruthless, the dark stranger is a deity that enjoys cruelty and schemes. From the shadows, he observes the constant struggles between mortals and revels in it. Sometimes, he even entertains himself by plunging people into chaos with subtle but often dangerous games. Those loyal to Dubhghall hide their identity as worshippers for a good reason; they are considered a danger to all. Despite denouncing the claim that Dubhghall is a true god and actually a manifest from the Abyss, even Yakimara that have converted to the Way of Fire don't dare to question Dubhghall's existence. It is simply too dangerous to upset and gain the attention of the dark stranger.
Derived from gall "stranger" and cabhair "help".
Deity of miracles, chakra and luck
Gallchobhar is one of the very few humanoid deities within the Veitei pantheon. He is described as a weary traveller that constantly is on the road - his appearance far from exceptional. What sets Gallchobhar apart from most of the Veitei gods is that he seems neither benevolent nor malevolent. He is a simple deity that seeks to obtain knowledge and perform now and then a miracle. Many Yakimara are fond of Gallchobhar as he does not demand much from his followers. Those loyal to the Vetei claim that Gallchobhar is the original creator of chakra, bestowing it upon humanity in mere curiosity about what would happen. There are even versions of Way of Fire converts that spin the tale that Gallchobhar was the mentor of the Sage or creator of the Ten-Tails.
(Tuilelaith (f) ) which was derived from tuile "abundance" and flaith "princess". Tigerna (m) = meaning "lord".
Dual deity of hunt and courage
The Wolves of the Hunt are an interesting entity within the Veitei pantheon. They are both given names and personalities. However, it is a mistake to think that they work separately from each other. Wherever Tigerna is, Tuilelaith won't be far either. They are a somewhat neutral deity, not concerning themselves with the ever going battle between evil and good. However, they tend to be on good terms with Nuallán - sometimes cooperating willingly and other times demanding a tribute before aiding Nuallán in whatever way he requests.
Derived from the elements ard "high" and gal "valour".
Deity of valour and happiness.
The legendary three-headed wolf of the Vetei. The true origin of Ardghal is shrouded in mystery, and it is unsure if it was born a deity or became one. The story is that Ardghal was abandoned and feared by all, doomed to become an evil entity of wroth and rage. However, upon meeting some friendly figures and being taught the wonders of life, Ardghal became a stark protector of the good. He is a sworn enemy of Dubhghall and a friend to Tigerna and Tuilelaith.
Derived from the elements caol "slender" and fionn "fair"
Deity of adventure, travel and secrets
The curious fox deity, that seems to be always in either trouble or on the look for adventure. This Vetei deity doesn't seem that special among the others within the Pantheon. However, it is said that Caoilfhionn can hide from all that desire to seek her. She can only be found if she wants to. Because of this ability, she is the keeper of secrets - often and comically being sought after by Gallchobhar but never found.
Derived from caomh meaning "beautiful, gentle, kind".
Deity of prophecies and dreams.
The sleeping deity. It is said that Caoimhe is always dreaming of tomorrow and beyond. Only sometimes is the kind and drowsy deity troubled by the past. What causes Caoimhe to sleep isn't entirely certain. What is clear is that her dreams are always correct. Because of this, she is often disturbed by the curious deities, desiring to learn what will happen in the future. To escape constant harassment from her fellow gods and worshippers, Caoimhe can become invisible for both mortal and immortals. But this ability isn't without flaw, as there have been reports of a large racoon slumbering away with all attempts to wake it failing. When Caoimhe appears in the mortal realm, she is often accompanied by smaller racoons that slumber her. At times, she has been reported to occur near holy sites, regardless of Vetei or Way of Fire origin. Sadly, this has led to some tension between those loyal to the Vetei and converts of the Way of Fire. Whether Caoimhe is aware of this is unknown as she likely slumbers still, dreaming further.
There are a large number of practices. While the druids do hold meetings among each other, there are traditions and rituals with each god that can differ heavily from another god of the Vetei. Without any strictly central organisation, there are also many regional traditions and habits that differ from another area, clan or tribe.
Here follow practices that are in general performed within the Vetei faith:
Druids are always blind. This isn’t a matter of what they were born with. When somebody desires to become a druid, they are educated by other druids. Being taught the many stories, legends and prophecies. As, of course, the rituals and practices of their faith. Once the apprentice has learned enough, he or she will either be made blind or kept as apprentice to assist the druids. The ritual blinding is done with hot iron with the person being drugged by a various herbs. This harsh practice is quite misunderstood by outsiders, who find it cruel or in any sense wrong. But it is a practice embraced and considered an honour by the followers of the Vetei. It is because it is believed that the blinding is a way of ensuring that their prophetic power and connection to the gods can only be drawn from spiritual sources.
Prayer and Sacrifice
Each god within the Vetei have a different prayer. Usually, a person will go to a druid to ensure that the prayer or sacrifice is properly conducted. But not everybody always has the option to visit a druid within their sacred grounds for their wisdom or guidance. When conducting a prayer or sacrifice, the person is obliged to name who they are and naming three ancestors - hoping that these ancestors will guide them from the afterlife.