Omara, goddess of Hearth, Home and Service
Called the Beloved of the Gods, the Lady of the Feast, the Bringer of Plenty, the Lady of Gifts and the Maiden of Sorrow’s Ease, Omara is the goddess of safety, of home, of abundance and the patroness of servants everywhere. She is an unassuming goddess who is well-loved by the common people.
She is the daughter of Artorius and Valkrys and beloved sister of Agaleus and Mordhal. Her great beauty has caused both Erdhon and Eristemus to court her, but she has never taken a spouse.
Omara is revered by those who care for the home – servants, housewives and peasants, as well as those dedicated to the protection of homes and all small things and persons. She is well-loved by all the divine races, but is particularly revered by the halflings. Frequently the temple of Omara is the only full temple in halfling communities. Thus her temple serves as the temple of all the gods, fitting with her creed of selfless service.
It is said that every hearth is a shrine to Omara, and for this reason, common folk burn small offerings in their family or communal hearths at each meal in thanks. This is also common in noble or royal houses, but the food is given to the servants or the poor, rather than burned.
Omara is Lawful Good.
Omara appears as a curvaceous young woman with a kind smile and bright eyes. Usually, she is represented as bearing some symbol of service or plenty, such as a cornucopia, or torch.
Among animals, she is most often likened to the faithful hound, and in many cultures south of the Valesian Sea, she is depicted as a young woman with a hound’s head. Her universal symbol is a fire burning in a hearth.
Omara relishes the happiness of her extended family and of the mortal races. She takes a great interest in small kindnesses and daily morality, and is far less interested in the great acts of heroes. She alone among the gods takes close note of the small folk and peasantry, for she believes that from their ranks will rise the salvation of the mortal races.
Among Omara’s many honors is the title "the gentle maiden", for she has often been the agent of peace between her fellow gods, particularly her father Artorius and his brother Borlamnos and between her mother Valkrys and her cousin Ilion. However, and despite being the most patient of the gods, on rare occasions her ire can be raised and then she is said to be as stern as either of her parents.
Omara has no servants of her own, though she is intimate with the many members of the Celestial Host who serve the gods, particularly those who toil quietly in the great homes of the gods. Of all the gods, it is Omara who knows the hearts of the Celestials best.
THE CHURCH – The Hearths of Omara
The Hearths of Omara are highly popular with peoples of all races, though they are frequented most by those of low station. They exist to ease the hurts and burdens of service, and thus are filled with the worship of peasants, servants, housewives and laborers.
In many rural communities, the Hearths of Omara are more than just temples, they are in fact the hearths of the community, where bread is baked and meals are cooked in common. In this way, they are also the very real hearts of the community, filled with gossip, village business and gentle cheer.
The Stewards of Omara keep the hearths and also keep a simple and direct hierarchy. The Great Hearth in the ancient city of Conorr is the seat of the Supreme Steward, who is served by a counsel of Elder Stewards drawn from across Vatheria. Under these Elder Stewards serve a host of High Stewards, each in charge of single Hearth. Most High Stewards are served by several junior priests known simply as Stewards. A large percentage of the Stewards have historically been female, though there have been many well-loved male Stewards as well.
Once there was a separate order that also served the goddess, known as the Hearthwives. This ancient order served as a repository for the countless pieces of wisdom handed down from generation to generation on the subjects of cooking, cleaning, comfort, medicine and life wisdom. The Hearthwives were disbanded by order of the Supreme Steward in the year 2734, and folded into the Stewards when the great invasions of the Conorrian Empire made two such orders impractical.
Service – In serving others, we enrich ourselves. As the gods gave freely of themselves to mortals, so should the mortals give freely of themselves to each other.
Charity – There is no higher motivation than to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Feeding and clothing the poor and helpless is a holy act.
Take Joy in Small Things – True pleasure and happiness is to be found in family, friends and a warm home. The pleasures of wealth and power are ephemeral and bring no lasting joy or contentment.
A week after the Calandran festival of Harvestide comes the Festival of Omara. On this day, people of all stations come to the Hearths to make offerings to the Lady of Plenty. This is not a thanks for the harvest, which belongs to Calandra, but a prayer for its preservation through the winter. Farmers bring wagon-loads of foodstuffs to the hearths, where a portion is burned in offering and the rest is preserved by the Stewards to sustain the community through the winter. Merchants and lords bring offerings of wealth and goods to pray for the healthy continuance of the community.
As Omara bears a staff of service (with which she may stir the embers of the hearth to life), so the Stewards bear a quarterstaff in her honor.