The Extant has survived through the ages mostly in the shadows, after their fall as the Celtic elite. Now they seek to unify the most powerful cult groupings in anticipation of return of their primal gods. Scattered to the corners of the world they have kept to their sacred rites and sanguine rituals through which their god endows them with eldritch secrets of divination, and the power to live well beyond the time of the average mortal coil.
Deity — N'Klaste
The Great Mother N’Klaste gives the power over life, death, and rebirth, ‘As she has always been so we shall always be’. Through the blood that she demands, she grants Extant Seers their powers of insight, and the Arch Druids passage to the Otherworld. Most see her coming return as a hallowed day of repayment for ages of dedication, while a few worshippers fear a being an alien being that will bring a rapturous carnage that no one will escape.
Cult History & Description
From Britannia through Gaul and beyond the Druids controlled nearly all knowledge in the ancient Celtic world. The Druids occupied a revered social status among the Celts due to their service to the community as priests, teachers, diviners, and magicians. Their gods gave worshippers ancient knowledge, but also otherworldly strength to remake the world through blood magic. Two of the significant attributes of the faith are the veneration of the oak tree and the ritual of human sacrifice in ceremonies. To this day, this is how The Extant derives most of their mastery over the unknowable: ‘The gods demand a life for a life’.
The Druids contact with other worldly beings goes back at least a few thousand years to the the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Tuatha Dé Danann, beings not quite human, conquered Ireland thousands of years ago and gave their sacred knowledge and magic to the Druids. They remained until the Roman invaders, fleeing into the ‘Otherworld’ with their secrets and knowledge. It is rumored by Extant historians they will come back with great dedication to their rites.
Many know the official history of what happened at Anglesey, few know the truth as it was seared into the history of the Extant. While a Celtic rebellion raged on the main island, the Romans discovered a convergence of druids at Anglesey. They sent troops to that sacred place, and they razed all they could to the ground. Most of the knowledge of the Extant was lost all at once, obliterating countless centuries of oral knowledge. It was only in the actions of a few Arch Druids that anything survived. They called upon their Mother Goddess, Brigid, who saved those most venerated. Their Great Mother stepped into this world to save her children. As she took them to the other world the air turned to fire when it touched her skin.
Upon their return, those who were saved discovered that they had lost much knowledge, and it was this loss of identity and worship that drove the Extant to begin rotating their eldest members into the other world on 150 year cycles. The Extant spent hundreds of years seeking out what remnants of the pagan mystics could be found. In 1612 Thomas Orne, an Arch Druid, fled the English witch trials. He boarded a ship bound for the west coast of Africa on a tip from a drunken Spanish sailor who spun tales of horrible ceremonies that conjure unnamable forces through human sacrifice. In what is modern Nigeria Thomas saw an African rite that was instantly recognizable as identical to those practiced by the Extant. Powerful mystics called forward their mother goddess as men attempted to raid the sacred shrines. The tribes mystics were taken to the Otherworld, and Thomas, spirited away with them. He learned how N’Klaste has taken many forms, and her servants have populated the world, including the Tuatha Dé Danann.
The Extant claims prophetic coincidences keep mounting. Their Seers have been bombarded by visions of N’Klaste’s return. They seek to unify the great orders of the day in anticipation of the the return of those primal, otherworldly beings. In modern times, the Extant has little use for their ancient oral tradition beyond their rites, greetings, and means of relaying messages amongst the cult. What took 20 years to master orally is cut down to a only a few intense years of study, a sea tide change in how the Extant functions historically. New members of the cult, cut off from the ancient rites of the Arch Druids in rotation to the Otherworld, are selected with little care and are enticed with base secrets and rewards. In short, the mighty tree of the Extant has become a twisted, perverse and gnarled thing that no longer knows itself.
The Celtic Druids worshipped N’Klaste as Bridgid for ages, a very important goddess but just one of many in the early pantheon, of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She governs the powers of life death and rebirth in its most antediluvian forms through sacrifice. The powerful gifts she bestows from the otherworld must be paid in blood.
From the Otherworld N’Klaste can be called upon to grant her gifts, but she only answers if her primeval rights are kept. In the worship of N’Klaste the vast majority of rituals involve the presence of certain ritual items: plants, minerals, oak trees, and other familiar aspects of the natural world. A sacrifice, big or small, animal or human is usually involved as well as a verbal incantation. As the goddess of rebirth the worshippers believe that N’Klaste will return and remake the world, making those who held true to the rites rulers in this world. Still other wonder if an awesome and powerful being such as N’Klaste, may have her own reasons for returning.
On every May Day and Hallows Eve (the two most significant nights in the Extant calendar) the rites are spoken, various ritual components are assembled, and a human life is taken. It is claimed by the Extant that this biannual sacrament satiates N’Klaste’s hunger and they are granted communication with Extant Arch Druids in the Otherworld. Every 150 years much larger sacrificial rituals are performed and it is not messages but the current Arch Druids that are sent to the Otherworld, while those who return from there seem to have aged no more than a few years.
It is said if the hunger of N’Klaste is not appeased she will not only deny her gifts but may take those who abuse her compact, devoured by the insatiable hungers of the earth and the monstrous spirits that inhabit it. Various members of the Extant call on N’Klaste through blood magic in the spheres she governs. Many still hold true to the idea of the ancient Druids and seek to use their mother’s gifts in the healing arts. Others summon this talent for more nefarious ends such as taking life. Still others are rumored to resurrect ancient keepers of knowledge to help their search for a unifying ancient pantheon.
A prominent gift N’Klaste sometimes bestows upon the Extant is in the form of visions. People who begin receiving visions at the end of puberty are sometimes claimed by the Extant and taken in as ‘Seers’ who can recognize their own and predict the future. Sadly many have been lost to the human prejudice against mental illness. The visions are always vivid and striking, usually involving specific information about people and events. Some Seers claim the links between the visions of people and information point to a unifying communion rooted in prehistory, woven through the most powerful cults.
After the Druids fell from the height of ruling the Celtic world, N’Klaste became their prime goddess as it seemed none of the others heard their calls during their destruction by the Romans at Anglesey. Through study of the world’s esoteric knowledge, commonalities were found between fertility goddesses. In the 1600’s the Druids were surprised to learn of global similarities and that their worship was not unique. Thoman Orne, an Arch Druid running from the Christian church sailed to Africa and learned of a face of N’Klaste from a local tribe, worshipped in exactly the same way as the Celtic Druids, but for 10,000 years and vastly predating the Druidic tradition.
Thomas Orne spent the next 150 years in the other world with their mystics learning a more direct, primal route to their goddess and her powers. Conveying this to the other Druids via their biannual messages through the realms, the Druids began to change much of their work to unifying with existing powerful cults. This has also blossomed into more potent manifestations of the goddess’s powers. Giving some to whisper the increase in blood magic potency is another sign of her hasty return.
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