Bors and Shyla
Gods of the Seasons
Favored Weapon: Sickle, Scythe, Blowgun, Sling
Bors, the Winterlord
Lord of winter and all things cold, Bors is a taciturn and unfriendly god - though he does loyally shield those faithful to him from his bitter chill. Bors is often depicted as a scowling, white-bearded Dwarf or brooding, angry Frost Giant. Son of Ulf and Kylee, Bors prefers ice and snow to all else - except his beloved Shyla.
When Bors first came into being, he set about freezing as much of the world as he could - building great glaciers and crashing them into the warmer lands. To Bor's dismay, he found another young goddess steadfastly melting his frozen masterpieces. For thousands of years, the ice of Bors battled with the warmth of Shyla; and the world was blasted with great cold or baked in extreme heat.
Finally Bors sought her out in her warm lands, determined to force her to allow him to freeze the world - but when he met Shyla, he was awestruck by her beauty and grace. He pursued her, protesting his love - but his words made no impression on the summer goddess. She spurned him, and threw back his snow and ice. Bors was hurt - but tried again. He spent an age in his ice-forge, hammering out a endless series of tiny, jewel-like creations - none of which was good enough for his beloved. He cast jewel after jewel to the wind - growing older and more bitter with every disappointment.
After an age, Shyla came to him - to the very stronghold of winter. She had seen Bors' gifts as they floated down from the clouds - thousands upon thousands of frozen flakes - snowflakes. Recalling his words, and realizing the gifts for what they were, Shyla came to him, and expressed her love for him.
The two wed, and soon found that, though they loved one another, they quarreled endlessly. It was always too hot for Bors and too cold for Shyla. Worse, neither could give up the things they loved - Bors would not halt his glaciers and show and Shyla could not bear her warm summer to grow cold. So they argued - and in the end, took their quarrel to Halgar.
The judge made a compromise between them. For half the year, at the top of the world, Bors would rule. His wife would submit to his will, and her summer would fade, and Bors' ice would cover the world. But for the rest of the year, he would defer to his beloved, and her summer would rule, and his snows retreat. However, on the bottom of the world, the reverse would hold true, so neither Bors nor Shyla would be entirely out of power all at once.
The gods of the seasons agreed to this wise compromise, and grew so much in love with one another that they become as one being in two parts; always together, but waxing and waning with the season. Bors is young at the start of autumn, and elderly by the end of summer, reborn at every season.
For all his taciturn and brooding demeanor, Bors is very loyal to his faithful. Those who worship Bors find him a reliable and steady god, who delivers exactly what he promises. When the world was young, and the first mortals came to Bors crying out to be delivered from his cold, he ignored them. Shyla took pity on them, and asked Bors to be merciful - but Bors had no means to comfort the mortal supplicants beyond withdrawing his cold winds - which he would not do. Stubborn, he did nothing - until Shyla brought him the secret of fire as a gift. Bors granted that secret to his mortal followers, who use the flames to ward off the chill - and thank Bors every time they light a fire.
As a result of Shyla's gift, on the longest day of winter, a great celebration to Bors is common in most cultures, centering around large bonfires and the exchange of gifts.
Shyla, Summer's Lady
The lady of summer and heat, Shyla is a kind-hearted but easily offended goddess. She is the daughter of Kylee and Vultan. Those who worship her make abundant sacrifices to encourage her kindness and avoid her temper. Shyla is often depicted as a lovely elf maiden with flowers in her hair, or as a statuesque cloud giantess.
Shyla's nature changes with the seasons. In spring, she is reborn young and happy and a generous giver of gifts to mortals and gods alike. She is aided in the springtime by Bors, who is strong in middle-age. By autumn Shyla's power is waning, and at the harvest, Bors is reborn as a strong youth - and Shyla begins to fade past middle age. By the start of winter she is an old woman, sharp-tongued and easily annoyed. As a crone she adds to the bitterness of winter, afflicting those who did not reap the bounty of the warm months.
Long ago, when Bors and Shyla were first wed, Shyla was by far the stronger of the two. Every being that tilled the earth and harvested its bounty prayed to her, but few worshiped Bors except to beg his forbearance. Wishing to give her husband a great gift, Shyla went to her father and begged the boon of fire. Vultan did not wish to give up the secret, and demanded his daughter work his forge for a time every year in exchange for so great a gift. Shyla agreed, and took the secret of fire back to her husband. Bors gave the secret of fire to mortals as a gift, so they could better endure his cold - and have reason to thank him for giving them the means to stave off winter's chill.
As her price to her father, every summer Shyla works in Vultan's forge, putting warm winds in the bellows, shoveling heavy coal, and carrying water for Vultan - heavy work that the summer lady does gladly for love of her husband. The work she does in the forge brings the greatest heat and warmth to the world - the hottest time of summer. When her time with Vultan ends, the worst of the heat breaks, and autumn will come soon after.
Bors & Shyla cooperate and compete with one another across the world. In most places, warm seasons follow cold ones; but there are those places where summer never comes, or that do not know winter. These are the ancient strongholds of summer and winter, and in these places one aspect reigns unchallenged.
As the patron of farming, Shyla's greatest festival is usually just after the harvest, when the growing season is coming to an end.
Bors and Shyla are the parents of Vigos. Lord and Lady of the Seasons, Bors and Shyla govern the coming of winter and the rebirth of summer. Children of the elemental gods, they are granted the power to regulate the seasons. They are the patron gods of farmers and all those who depend upon a mild winter, wet spring, and warm summer.
Though the aspects are not always worshiped together, their tenets tend to remain uniform no matter what the environment or area.
Tenets: Their followers may never harvest young plants or slay young creatures. They must always be prepared for the coming of winter.
Avatar: In winter, the Avatar of the Seasons is a massive Frost Giant. It is the breath of Forogorodoth that is said to bring winter. In summer, they are served by Selya. Selya is the queen of all Dryads, and the patron mother of the faerie creatures.
Symbols, Priests and Temples: Bors and Shyla's symbol is a snowflake in winter or a rose in summer, or sometimes a combination of the two icons. Priests of Bors and Shyla tend to favor one aspect over the other. They are generally farmers themselves, and so can knowledgeably advise their flocks in the tending of crops and coping with the seasons. Neither aspect is particularly martial, and hardly any fighting Clerics or adventuring Paladins of the seasonal gods exist.
Temples of Shyla are usually large barn-like structures surrounded by cropland; with a massive hearth built into them for observances to Bors.
The followers of the seasonal gods celebrate the changes of season according to local custom, and often have elaborate harvest and midwinter celebrations.
Sacred Animal: boar (Bors) and antelope (Shyla)