Goddess of Wisdom and Defensive Warfare
Favored Weapons: Longsword, Longbow
Mortal understanding of Mishya comes primarily from her main aspect as Mishya the Defender; though there are cults who follow her as Mishya the All-Wise.
Mishya the Defender
The goddess of wisdom is the daughter of Gromm and Braeya, sister to Kath, Kern, and Brandt. Mishya is concerned with the gathering and preservation of knowledge, the amassing of wisdom, and the defense of civilization. She is a war goddess, and does not shrink from combat, but Mishya prefers to fight from a position of wisdom, and fight on the defensive, rather than aggressively.
Mishya loves tactics and strategy. She blesses those who are clever in battle, who use their heads instead of brute force. Mishya is patron goddess to many cities, as they tend to gather in knowledge and require the defense of their vulnerable populations and gatherings of wisdom. Mishya loves books, and her temples often become massive libraries.
Followers of Mishya study war - and everything else - as an art; with tactics and strategies that can be taught to others and improved upon through experience. Mishyans have access to vast libraries on every possible subject, including Mishya's greatest concern, defensive warfare. Mishya wishes her followers to gather wisdom and defend it; to fight with wise plans and clear minds; and to expand their knowledge whenever possible. Mishya teaches that combat is to be avoided where possible, but not avoided at any cost, as her mother's followers believe. Fighting defensively is not the objective of her teachings; Mishyans fight to win, like anyone else, but tend to favor tactics, strategems and fighting positions that take advantage of fortifications and heavy defenses, using them to multiply the power of the Mishyans and allow them to overcome more numerous or powerful foes by using their collected martial wisdom.
Mishya's love of knowledge drives the study of defensive warfare. Collected wisdom resides in the old and wise, the studious, and collections of books and scrolls - all things that are fragile and easily destroyed by fire and sword. Mishya and her followers seek first to collect and preserve knowledge, and the need to defend that knowledge from loss and destruction drives Mishya to instruct and inspire her followers in warfare - but defensive warfare; battle to protect innocent life and treasures of knowledge. In some ways, Mishya is the goddess of civilization itself.
Among the other gods, Mishya is close allies with her brothers, Kath and Kern, and on good terms with her parents, Gromm and Braeya. Her followers often defend her mother's faithful, and usually ally easily with followers of the other war gods - excepting Akarai, who espouses a philosophy so at odds with Mishya's that the two war goddesses cannot help but be rivals. Archgate and Mishya share an interest in walls, architecture, and fortifications, and they get along well, their followers often aiding each other in the construction of cities. Mishya is a natural foe of Shalokar, as her wisdom often works to expose and defeat his deceptions.
In the time before Skos and Naduum, Mishya watched with pleasure as nascent civilizations of Elves or Dwarves would gather knowledge to themselves - learn to wield magic, to forge bronze, or to build walls - pleased that these gatherings were accumulating and valuing that which was important to her. Then Mishya would watch, grieved, as the small bright lights of civilization were overwhelmed by the chaotic hordes of barbaric races which ran amok in the time when the gods warred.
When Skos was founded, Mishya adopted the civilization as her own - and also began to favor Naduum, which grew to oppose Skos. For the first time Mishya established great temples, and began to send visions and dreams to her priests, warning them to prepare for the violence which would inevitably befall them. Thus Mishya became not just goddess of wisdom, but a goddess of war - for the defense of the civilization which valued her troves of knowledge.
The Naduumian assault upon Skos angered Mishya. Her great work - the assembled knowledge of the world her followers had gathered in Skos - was in danger. Her faithful fought to defend Skos to the uttermost; taking a massive toll of the invading Naduumians; even unto the Last Ranger on the Last Bridge before the Emerald Queen. Mishya was so moved by her sacrifice that she took the Ranger - Mersey up to be her Avatar.
But the Skosian followers of the goddess had learned their lessons well. Some knowledge was indeed lost when Skos fell - but much of their learning was scattered to the four winds, fragmented among dozens of tribes and civilizations. These folk settled around the globe, and wherever they settled, they constructed fortifications and defended the seeds of Skos they had brought with them. As the ages passed, they found each other again, trading old knowledge for old knowledge - expanding the realm of Mishya's wisdom across hundreds of cities.
Mishya the All-Wise
Mishya has a sinister aspect which is concerned with the gathering and use of forbidden knowledge. She is often referred to as 'the All-Wise' in this guise, and those who follow this aspect of Mishya are often called Dark Mishyans.
There are actually two distinct sects of the so-called "Dark Mishyans"; the first is a group who believe that where knowledge is power, secret knowledge is ultimate power. This includes hidden tomes and ancient texts as well as the secrets of royalty and important figures; if it is hidden, they want to know it.
They fully claim the title of Dark Mishyan, because they are likely skulking in dark libraries, catacombs or hidden in corridors gathering secrets. These Dark Mishyans believe that some information should be hidden, just not hidden from them. If all knowledge is public, then knowledge looses its power. If all knowledge is hidden, then its power is inaccessible. It is only in the hands of the worthy that knowledge reaches its greatest potential. A Dark Mishyan is as likely to be a spy as a lore seeker; an adventurer as an archivist. About the only unifying feature between followers of this aspect of Mishya is that they value information over life. It is not that they see no value in life, but they are willing to sacrifice a few for the sake of the many or the much.
Dark Mishyans follow many of the same tenets as other followers of Mishya the Defender, but they hold that secrets are their divine right to know. They have few qualms about how these secrets are used, often extorting those to meet their own ends. Those ends are often for the betterment of the people in their immediate vicinity, be that their companions, their guild or their parish, but not always. Some Dark Mishyans use their acquired wealth of hidden knowledge for personal gain. Dark Mishyan priests often spend more of their time pouring over ancient texts than administering rites.
A Dark Mishyan temple usually has a very small chapel, with a shrine to Mishya. This connects to a small public library where an admittance fee - a donation to the cause of Mishya - is collected. It contains records of public knowledge, genealogies and common history. Behind this is always a secret library containing texts "not meant for public eyes". It also often contains magical items and artifacts of power. None but the highest ranking Dark Mishyans are allowed access to these vaults. Unauthorized access carries a penalty of death.
The second sect of Dark Mishyans reject the title ascribed to them by the traditionalists. They too seek out hidden and forbidden knowledge and value knowledge over life. The key difference is that they do so because they believe that no knowledge should be secret. They scour the dark worlds and back corridors to find the information that was meant to be hidden and they share it with the people. The members of the sect are just as likely to be spies as priests, just like the Dark Mishyans, but they prefer to expose those secrets rather than hide them away. They believe that knowledge is power and that all beings have equal right to that power. Those that try to keep power from others deserve to have that power taken from them. Grey Priests, as they call themselves regardless of occupation, do not intend to topple governments or usurp established authorities, but rather to keep them accountable to those they rule. They dispense secrets so that all people have the power they need to properly defend themselves.
Grey Mishyans hold nearly identical tenets to Dark Mishyans with the only distinction being their purpose. They are not afraid to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, as the saying goes, but they do not cause unnecessary harm. They also realize that power should be available, but if it is unfocused, it is dangerous. Because of this, Grey Mishyans set up public academies to tutor and train students in the lessons of philosophy, history and the sciences.
Symbols, Priests and Temples
Mishya's symbol is the sword; usually point down. Dark Mishyans often add a scroll, either across the sword or being pierced by it.
Priests of Mishya are often chosen by a visitation from Mersey, or a dream or vision of the last Ranger.
Every position in Mishya's temples comes with a sword attached to that office. Advancement among Mishya's followers is determined by the Ordeal of the Sword; when a post becomes vacant, the sword of the office is hurled into the air above a group of aspirants, who stand with their hands raised and eyes closed. The sword will land hilt-first in the hand of the aspirant who is meant to serve in that position.
Temples of Mishya will not turn away any who wish to learn or to study, though most of them reserve certain knowledge from public access.
Mishya's temples are almost always easily defensible libraries; fortified buildings designed to preserve the knowledge they contain. Many have hidden shelters for their treasured books, or magical protections for their archives.
Mishya maintains Clerics and Paladins much as any other order, but also a special force of all female Paladins called Hospitaliers.
Mersey is a tall woman, clad in ancient and battered armor of Skos. She was in life the last Ranger on the last bridge defending the emerald tower of ancient Skos. When she fell, Mishya took her bodily to the Dannenbrock as her avatar. Mersey often appears as a wounded Ranger with a single broken sword.
Mishya favors restraint, caution, and sound judgment over courage and bravery.
Discipline is required; in study of lore as well as the sword.
Adherence to order is required, particularly temple hierarchy and following the laws of the local government, except where those laws contradict a Mishyan tenet.
The destruction of knowledge is forbidden. Dangerous knowledge is commonly hidden by Mishyans; though Dark and Grey Mishyans disagree with this practice.
A Temple of Mishya is required to teach literacy to those who wish to learn. Mishya loves books, and wishes as many as possible to be able to read them.
Sanctuary can never be refused to one who truly seeks it.
Followers of Mishya are also encouraged never to start battles, and it is uncommon for one of them to strike first - but not forbidden. This tenet is less common among the Dark Mishyans, who tend to see the keeping of secrets as something of a first strike.
All Mishyans are charged with protecting and keeping knowledge, particularly in regards to the formalized knowledge stored in their temples.
Sacred Animal: Owl