|Aspects: Despair, Lonliness, Courage||Domains: Grave, Life, Trickery|
|Common Follower Alignment: Chaotic (All)||Place of Power: Tilled fields and pastures, especially pumpkin patches.|
|Other Names: The Great Pumpkin, Jack o’ the Lantern||Spouse: Morrigan|
Samhain was born of despair and loneliness, not being willingly created as so many of the other goddesses crafted their spouses, but instead becoming manifest after Morrigan’s despair and loneliness became too much for her to hold within herself. Together they sought to find some way to ease the loneliness within them by embracing the dead they came across, and Samhain used the power within him to breath what power he could into the corpses, creating the first undead with his wife. But they despaired as their children quickly withered away under their touch for they had nothing to offer but death, destruction, loneliness, and despair.
In time, the male gods decided to kill the Fool and take the Eternal Rose and the First Blade for themselves, so that they could control the powers of life and death eternally. While Tamberlain, Selnoir, and Auberon came up with the plan together, they only reluctantly approached Samhain as they shunned him in his loneliness. In their desperation, they explained their plan and he agreed. For he realized that if he could get the Eternal Rose, he could grant Morrigan the ability to see life. He told her of their plan, and he went with the other male gods to confront Compassion and take the treasures for their own.
But Compassion had been warned and one by one she touched each of the gods and bound them with the last of her power, ending finally with Samhain. She pulled him to her breast and whispered to him, “I bind you most of all, so that the power I seal within you may ever comfort my dearest sister.” She then bade him leave without curse or admonition. And he did, leaving her totally drained of the last of her power.
When he returned he felt no different, and indeed, his loneliness and despair only grew when he returned to his wife. And they fell to the cold ground at their feet and a great demon, known as the Grave King, was born of their despair and death. And it loomed over them both, at once the smallest thing–akin to a dead child–yet somehow dwarfing even the mountains that towered in that distant land. In their sorrow they felt the snows overpower them, and bury them entirely, until both were frozen deep beneath the ice of their depression.
And then the Fool came. He had defeated the demons, the Chimera, Masque, and the Leviathan, to bring balance to the other gods on his search for a way to reach Compassion where she remained trapped. But, without the blessing of each of her sisters he could not reach her. Long had he searched for Morrigan and Samhain, for he knew she was dutiful and kin, and the most akin to Compassion of all her sisters. But he could not find her. Winter stopped coming to the world, save for one realm where it never left, and it was to this land that the Fool made his way, through ice and bitter death, to find the Grave King looming over two shapes shadowed in the ice. The Fool used his staff and the gifts of all the other gods to drive back the Grave King just long enough to strike the ice before Samhain and pull him forth.
The Fool begged him to rouse, pleaded with him, but Samhain would not budge. The Fool wept over him and icy tears froze on his cheeks. Yet still Samhain did not budget. The Grave King returned and looked as if he would bury the Fool himself eternally within the ice. But, the Fool stood before the Grave King and refused to bow before his sentencing. When the Grave King demanded that he die, the Fool merely replied that he could not for his love waited for him and he had the courage to face anything to see her again.
And in that moment, something stirred deep within Samhain, and a great warmth filled his belly. He rose from the ice and surprised himself when he began to laugh heartily in the face of the Grave King, and with his warmth, he sought to embrace it. But it feared this warmth and fled from his touch, and still flees from it to those day, for courage and laughter always drive away despair and death better than anything else. His laughter shattered the ice, and he pulled Morrigan from it and embraced her, and the warmth he had found thawed her and gave her hope. And to this day, they remain warm in their eternal winter through the hope they share that one day their winter will end.
Samhain has two aspects to his form, the terror and the comfort. Often, he will reveal himself with this duality to those he chooses to reveal himself to. First, he will be that which is the most terrifying to the beholder, and when they finally face him with courage he will reveal his true nature as a kindly old man and offer comfort and sustenance to those who face his challenges. It is said that Samhain’s cooking is unrivaled in the world and those who have tasted it know true courage, thought what this means is a mystery to all but those who have faced it.
The Feast of Terrors
A festival celebrated throughout the realms is the Feast of Terrors, a celebration of Samhain’s nature at the end of harvest or early into winter. During the hours leading up to the feast, the revelers don costumes of their greatest fears and attempt to scare and trick one another, feasting greatly before the long hunt of winter sets in. During this festival, Samhain himself is said to join those celebrating and, on the most rare of occasions, actually invites some to his own table.
The Cult of the Great Pumpkin
While most cults are limited in scale to a handful of people, the Cult of the Great Pumpkin has remained strong within Ovid and Tarchay for centuries. Focusing on offering terror and courage, they play grand tricks on those that surround them, often to seemingly insane scales. From faking landslides to feigning the beginnings of war, the cult tries to insight as much terror as possible before offering relief, often in the form of food and wealth that appears shortly after the prank is done. Largely considered a nuisance among most of the people they effect, there are some drawn to this trickery.
Amongst Vampires, Samhain holds special honor as he consistently sought to bring them the true life they craved from their inception. The Revenants seek true life, a true cure, to undead so that they can join their mother Morrigan, and society at large, as living beings and be accepted not because they have been blessed with beauty and charm by Compassion, but because they are truly alive and the same as other beings. The search for a true cure to undead has been a long road, and while a few have succeeded, more have failed. Still the Revenants seek a cure and many will stop at nothing to find one.
Many cults bring Samhain into their faiths, usually focusing on bringing fear and despair to others, frequently without the relief and comfort that should follow. These cults of fear are frequently found in rural locations where there are not enough brave souls to fight against them and their more sinister tricks.