Hiatea is the giant deity with two aspects. From her firbolg upbringing, she has an affinity for community, agriculture, and family. Once she discovered her true patrimony (another myth said it was due to Stronmaus' teasing), she reinvented herself as a mighty hunter and protector. Being from the giant pantheon, Hiatea is actually a titan.
Hiatea is worshiped by giants of all species, especially females. Firbolgs and voadkyn (wood giants) of both genders are particularly fond of Hiatea, and consider her to be their special patron.
Hiatea teaches that Nature is both creator and destroyer, and that admitting defeat is the worst shame a giant can bear. Still, some prices are too high to pay even for victory, for Hiatea is a goddess with tendencies toward good.
Hiatea's priests typically have one of two roles, although the boundary between the two can occasionally be fuzzy. There are the community priests ("priests of the steadings") who tend to agriculture and the raising, protection, and education of children; there are also the protector (or sentinel) priests who patrol woodlands and forests and keeping an eye on other races. Her voadkyn protector priests go out of their way to maintain relations with the wood elves. Among the firbolg, female clerics may be somewhat more numerous than male ones, though males and females are considered of equal merit in all of Hiatea's sects. The highest priests of Hiatea belong to no community, visiting the giant steadings only to issue orders to the priests of the community.
Hiatea communicates frequently with her priests and shamans, sending omens in the form of distinctive shapes in the fires, or in flaming spheres within dying embers. Her community priests may see omens in the dreams of children. She may also send omens in the form of a gigantic (2-foot wingspan) yellow-gold moth that will spiral around flame. Her priests perceive messages in its path of flight. Those who capture the moth alive will be invisible in woodlands for days.
All of Hiatea's clerics must be capable of surviving and hunting in the wilderness. Those who lose this ability due to age, injury, or other ailment must retire.
TemplesTemples built by the Huntress of Legends' firbolg and voadkyn clergy are generally long wooden lodge-like structures, made of carefully fitted and worked logs from tall trees. They have thick thatch or sod roofs, with an entrance at either end of the building. Inside, they're divided into three sections; the center section functions as the main temple during religious ceremonies, and at other times, as a school and communal daytime nursery. Within this central chamber is a large, central sacred hearth surrounded by low benches. The other two sections are between the central hearth and the entrances. They contain the living spaces for the priests, as well as rooms that are used for schooling and caring for orphans and homeless families. Within storm giant, cloud giant, or fire giant tribes, or kingdoms dominated by those breeds, temples are columned buildings in a similar style to those of Annam, Stronmaus, and Memnor. Friezes tend to focus on mythic tales of beasts the Huntress has slain, while the temples are painted predominantly in greens, browns, yellows, and reds. Hiatea's priests consider every hearth a shrine, so they make no other sorts of shrines.
VestmentsPriests of the Huntress of Legends wear clothing made of supple leather or high quality cloth when performing their official duties. Trousers and tunics are favored by both genders, although short skirts and blouses are not uncommon. The clothing color is usually a light brown or tan, although darker shades may be used. Garments are usually trimmed or embroidered with green, yellow, and red. The clergy never uses head coverings of any sort, and long hair is always pulled back into a single braid. Some members of the clergy choose to dye their hair red, although this is a personal affectation and not terribly common. Hair adornments of gold or ivory are common amongst women, although they are never extravagant. The holy symbols used by the clergy are a metal pendant in the shape of a flaming spear or a stone disk with a painted depiction of a flaming spear.
When not involved in their ceremonial duties, priests of the Huntress of Legends prefer plain, comfortable, rugged clothes suitable to traveling and working. When entering battle, they prefer to use light armor, generally of boiled leather, that does not inhibit their movement and agility. Shields are rarely used except by druids and the spear and bow are universally preferred weapons of the clergy; they only use other weapons if neither weapon is available, or if the situation is particularly unsuited for them.
HierarchyNovices in the service of the Huntress are known as Younglings. Full priests are called Sacred Guardians. The appellation "of the Spear" is always used when formally referring to a priest by name; it is considered a minor breach of etiquette and an insult to willfully ignore the honorific. The Hiatean priesthood has two parallel hierarchies, that of "guardian-priests" (known as the Watchers of the Flame) who patrol and watch wilderness lands and the "community-priests" (known as the Keepers of the Hearth) who live within settlements, tending to agriculture and child-rearing and generally acting as advisors and counselors.
While most priests choose one branch and stay within it their entire lives, there is no prohibition against changing branches, and many choose to do so, especially after major life changes such as marriage or the death of a spouse. While frequently switching between branches is not unheard of, it tends to be rare and many high ranking priests frown on it, although they rarely say anything directly unless it becomes disruptive.
In ascending order or rank, the parallel titles used by the clergy are Watcher/Sower, Hunter/Teacher, and Warder/Nurturer; above these ranks the titles repeat but are prefixed by High (i.e. High Watcher/High Sower). High-ranking priests have unique individual titles; in addition, they are always wilderness-priests overseeing local hierarchies in multiple tribes and communities. Specialty priests are druids and Flamespears.
RitualsOnce per month, select community-priests and lay followers of Hiatea join the guardian-priests in a Sacred Hunt for a specific type of normal prey animal. These hunts are heavily ceremonial, with regular prayers and rituals meant to invoke the character of the Huntress. At the end of the hunt, the slain prey animal is burned in a sacred fire in order to invoke blessings of abundance upon the giants and their communities. Once every year, one of these hunts is dedicated to a more challenging creature, often a monster that is causing problems in the area such as a hydra or chimera. The ritual and ceremony involved is much like a normal Sacred Hunt, except the goal is to invoke a special blessing of protection upon the giants for the coming year.
Making family decisions without consulting a community priest of Hiatea is considered a minor sin by the faithful.
OrdersThe priesthood of Hiatea has no affiliated orders, as even small bands of rangers and enclaves of druids fit within the loose hierarchy of the church. They establish close ties with rangers and druids of other wilderness deities such as Obad-Hai and Mielikki, and in particular, her voadkyn followers maintain permanent alliances with priests of Solonor Thelandira, Fenmarel Mestarine, and Rillifane Rallathil.
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Nature is both creator and destroyer; understand both aspects and work to ensure each is healthy. The cycle of life and death is normal and natural; take what you need from nature's bounty, but no more, and it will always provide for you. The community is the lifeblood of the tribe, be vigilant and guard it from external threats and dangers. Children are the future, and nurturing their spirit and intellect keeps the tribe vibrant into the future. Lofty goals are laudable, even destined, but always remember that some prices are too high. Those not of the blood but true to the faith should always be welcomed into the community.
She takes the form of a tanned, lithe giantess with long legs, wearing leather armor and carrying a spear that flames on her command, a bow, and a quiver of arrows. Her hair is red-golden, and her large eyes are hazel-brown.
Hiatea is a daughter of Annam. Her mother was an unnamed sky goddess or, according to some myths, a mortal giant. Annam originally preferred sons over daughters, and used magic to ensure the gender of his offspring was male. Hiatea's mother hid her pregnancy from Annam and had her daughter raised by firbolgs so that Annam would never learn of her existence. When she came of age, a messenger was sent from her mother's deathbed to tell Hiatea of her true parentage. Hiatea proved herself with a series of daring feats, culminating in an epic battle with a great monster, sometimes named as a Lernaean hydra with fifty heads (which she prevented its heads from regenerating by cauterizing them with fire) and sometimes as a tarrasque.
Hiatea's other siblings or half-siblings include Skoraeus Stonebones, Surtr, Thrym, Grolantor, Karontor, Iallanis, Diancastra, and possibly Vaprak and Memnor. Hiatea was the mother of the demigod Grond Peaksmasher, whom she sent to be the patron of the firbolgs of the Moonshae Isles.
Because of her patronage of the wood giants, Hiatea she has begun to develop real friendships with some of the elven deities, notably Solonor Thelandira, whom she often engages with in archery contests.