God of Archery and Hunting
Favored Weapon: Scimitar, Longbow
Mortal understand of Kern comes through his primary aspect as the Hunter; though he has a minor aspect as the Ordainer.
Kern the Hunter
Kern first taught the Elves to bend bows in the time of ancient Skos. Archery, stealth, and the hunt are Kern's realms.
Followers of Kern are often Rangers or hunters. They find Kern's power less available when far away from the wild places he prefers. As the lord of hunters Kern aids those tracking a quarry, or hunting to survive. He also blesses the most predatory of beasts.
A tireless hunter, Kern is often dispatched by the other gods to hunt down a desired object or punish a wrong-doer. Whatever or wherever it is, Kern will find it, and nothing will hide it from his longbow.
Kern favors stealth, ambush, and clever stalking, followed by an overwhelming strike. A quick, clean kill is Kern's desire - preferably when the quarry never knew it was being hunted. He is the most patient of the war gods; ever more than his sister Mishya. For Kern, war is the hunt writ large. His brother favors direct confrontation, his sister the art of defense - Kern prefers to strike from ambush; hit the weak flank; to strike precisely at the weakest point. Of all the war gods, Kern's followers focus on stealth and skill - Mishya has the most strategic defense, Kern the most tactical attack.
Kern favors the bow; he is pleased by the pure, silent flight of an arrow. For Kern archery is more than just a physical excercise; it launching an arrow through fate itself. Kern aims, holds and releases at the precise moment when it becomes inevitable that his arrow will find its mark. He admires skill with the bow, and it is said no arrow falls without Kern's eye upon it.
For all his ruthless efficiency, the Hunter is a practical god. A true hunter makes a clean kill, sparing the prey any undue agony. He asks pragmatism from his follows - to kill no more than they need to eat; to use no more arrows than required for the kill; to be deliberate in thought and speech and action. They should be like an arrow shot from the bow - clear and swift and direct of purpose.
In the time before Skos and Naduum, Kern hunted not only the beasts of the planes, but also to gather food for the gods of the Dannenbrock. He enjoyed his duty, though it required little of his talent. As the world grew and developed, Kern became more and more pressed for time. He needed to keep the great beasts of the world in check, feed the gods and pluck the stands of fate.
Kern hated to be rushed and knew that his tasks would only increase, so he sought out a companion. The races of men and elves would not do. They were too focused on themselves and their own betterment to aid him. Kern searched the world, the skies and the seas for a suitable companion and found none. One day, as Kern was stalking a great monster, he met Hynre.
She was stalking the same prey as he was. She was almost completely hidden from him and she waited in silence until the perfect moment to strike. She had seized and killed her prey before it even knew that its life was in danger. Hynre so impressed the hunter god the he immediately asked her to be his companion and to hunt along side him. Together, Kern and his hunting companion stalk the great beasts of the world and, while Kern plies the threads of fate, Hynre gathers food for the gods.
No myths about Hynre ever specify her nature. She is simply the perfect hunting animal, clever, stealthy and deadly. Some say she is a panther; others a wolf, still others a falcon or a shark.
Kern dwells in a lonesome camp on the edge of the Dannenbrock. His bedroll lies next to a fire which never lacks for a roasting meat. Nearby is a shack where Kern tans hides and crafts bows.
Kern the Ordainer
Kern's vision is keen - so keen it is said he can glimpse the threads of fate as they entwine through time. Long ago, Kern spent his time wandering the planes hunting the terrible monsters that are rare today. For days, weeks and months he would stalk sard or tarrasque or dragons already ancient. He would slay them and offer thanks to Marya and Seiba for creating and sustaining them, and then he would his make use of his kill. His bow is crafted of sard wood; his bowstring of the sinews of the tarrasque; his armor of ancient dragon hide. No portion of his kills was left unused.
Kern continued to hunt, seeking out impossible prey. He had preternatural senses, even for a god, and seemed to always sense his prey. So skilled was he at predicting his quarry's actions that he had begun to fire his bow before the creature had even come into view.
This ability caught the eye of Kronarr. None but he could see the future, could see the strands of fate and yet this archer acted as if he could as well. Kronarr descended from the Astral Plane to the Dannenbrock to question Kern. The two spoke for what would have been ages had Kronarr not set them outside of time.
Kronarr learned that Kern cared greatly for the world that he stalked and that he was intelligent enough to understand the implications of his own actions. Kronarr, having seen every event from the dawn of time until its end, could not care for a single life as Kern did, and Kronarr knew that such power needed to be in the hands of one who would watch over the strands and guide them into place gently.
It was then and there that Kronarr bestowed upon Kern the ability to manipulate the strands of fate. Kronarr did not give his full vision to Kern, for he knew that doing so would make the hunter god as callous as himself. Kronarr left Kern to his new task as the Ordainer.
Naturally, Kern's ties to fate sometimes seemed as if he and his followers were blessed with supernatural luck. This 'luck' - which Kern denies as such - angered Shalokar, who felt that Kronarr had usurped his own domains. Thus the rivalry between Kern and Shalokar began - an immortal hatred that festers to this day.
Symbols, Priests and Temples
Kern's symbol is the arrow.
Priests of Kern are commonly archers and hunters. Temples to Kern always include archery ranges. Though many are built in cities, they tend to prefer the edge of town, and the priests and paladins of Kern are often absent, hunting in the nearby countryside.
Many Rangers follow Kern, whether they favor archery or not.
There is little structure to the Temple of Kern's hierarchy. Kern expects all his followers to be able to fend for themselves, and to work together in a practical manner when necessary.
Often clad as a simple Hunter, Darius often serves as the huntmaster of the minor powers. When he is employed, it is always in a direct and simple manner -- like the flight of an arrow.
Followers of Kern must never kill for sport or vengeance. "Kill what you take, and take what you kill," is a common Kernish saying.
Prey must never be tormented, but put out of their agony swiftly and cleanly.
Priests of Kern must hunt enough to feed others at least once a week.
A priest of Kern must craft a bow or crossbow that they use at least once a season and must fletch their own non-magical arrows or bolts. They may not sell this weapon. They may use a weapon crafted by someone else for their normal everyday usage, if they choose.
Priests must offer prayers while holding a bundle of arrows or bolts.
Blessings for the fallen are given after a hunt or battle. Blessings to Kern for his favor, to Marya for her creation, and to Seiba for her home. The first portion of every kill is offered to Kern.
Penance for allowing a kill to suffer, killing for sport or vengeance, or for transgressing against the will of Kern is offered by animal sacrifice and the creation of a masterwork level bow, which is then placed in the temple.
Followers of Kern may never knowingly aid a follower of Shalokar. Such an act requires an atonement and often the sacrifice of a hunted animal and the offering of a masterwork or magical bow.
Sacred Animal: any predator