“Sing for me as you've never sung before.”
Symbol: musical note
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Portfolio: music, math, love
Worshippers: musicians, bards, mathematicians, lovers
Cleric Alignments: CG, NG, LG
Domains: chaos, luck, air, trickery, travel
Favored Weapon: throwing dagger (perforated so that it 'sings' as it flies towards a target)
Animal Totems: song birds, crickets
The followers of Habrem believe that there is music in everything, and that a strange kind of mathematics underlies it all. They tend to believe that the math and the music also play a strong part in the shaping of one's soul, from pleasures to fertility to pure joy. The church of Habrem teaches music and mathematics, and sponsors bards and minstrels to educate the populace.
Habrem is portrayed as a very tall and slender woman, with wild hair the color of autumn leaves in a mix of red and gold. Her long, slender fingers and toes are rarely far from an instrument of some sort, from guitars to tambourines, and there is always the hint of a smile on her face. The painted sculpture of her in the Les Ventweh shows her wearing a satiny gown with a wide silk belt tied at her waist. It is said that songbirds travel from miles around just to perch on the sculpture and sing to the goddess.
During the Age of Peace after the Shaping Wars, there were a great many minstrels, actors, and artists that traveled the realms. Often thought of as little more than thieves or fools, they found plenty of work, but little respect. In the foothills of the Brel Hills, a bard by the name of Tomias found Habrem's Relic, and became the first Chosen of Habrem. Gifted with a wonderful voice, Tomias' word soon spread, uniting many of the others like him. A wave of Mikindim-reared purists attempted to silence the Chosen, and found themselves entranced with him instead. Several musical guilds within the larger cities decided that Tomias was too powerful, and his attempts to unite the various gypsies would endanger their income. An invisible civil war broke out throughout the midlands, and for close to a decade, the outcome was undecided. Finally emerging victorious, Tomias did as the guilds had feared, uniting all the artists, musicians, bards, minstrels, and performers in a new philosophy – the Church of Habrem. Information flowed regarding once-secret works, and the quiet guerilla organization maintained its covert nature, trading plays and sheets of music like illicit drugs. Carefully organized rallies, demonstrations, and a new generation of free and gifted musicians, artists, and performers swept over the western lands. In the space of a generation, Habrem went from whispered rumor to delightful fact, and her followers received the respect they had so richly deserved. During the Storm Wars, Habrem suffered massive casualties, as her covert guerillas became spies and messengers for the Karatikan Alliance. In the aftermath of the war, the followers of Mikindim and several other gods and nations rewarded Habrem with a building inspired by the brave sacrifices of her artistic children. The Les Ventweh in Karmen stands on the sight of an older temple to a god that perished during the Storm Wars, and seemed fitting tribute to the goddess that had sacrificed so much for so many others. During the Inquisition, however, Habrem's traveling followers helped to smuggled mages and wizards west, while at the same time other sects within her church became fearsome Seekers.
Habrem's Relic is stored in a vault deep beneath the Les Ventweh in Karmen. Accessible only to the Chosen of Habrem and her Disciples, it has lain in the sarcophagus of Tomias since construction of the temple was completed just three years after the Storm Wars.
The Church of Habrem is loosely organized, with only two permanent temples – the Les Ventweh in Karmen, and the Les Rushal in Buktal. The Les Ventweh acts as a specialized university and guild for musicians and singers, while the Les Rushal acts as a college for actors and performers. The Chosen resides at either Les Ventweh or Les Rushal, depending on her own background in the arts. Various Disciples also reside in both temples, teaching students, and maintaining sway over the other teachers. The majority of Habrem's followers are highly mobile, traveling all over the land. Her priests are both entertainers and teachers, as well as specialists in fertility and pleasure. While welcomed and favored by both the rich and the poor, the more conservative elements of most cities have an open disdain for the Church of Habrem because of its association with sex and fornication. While most of the rumors are unfounded and false, a kernel of truth remains – much to the chagrin of the other High Priests. However, the followers of Habrem are also, for the most part, gifted mathematicians, and often find secondary positions as money-lenders and accountants when the pickings are slim for performances. The division of the church into two distinct sects – one to protect mages, and one to hunt them down, has marred the hierarchy for several centuries. Each has its Disciples, though the Chosen rarely takes sides, and the sects maneuver politically and covertly through the systems, attempting to gain the upper hand. The division has come to blows, but never has come to real bloodshed because of the overall unity of the church behind its music, and the Chosen.
Singers and minstrels that have enough talent and enough faith tend to earn the favor of the Goddess of Music. Few earn that favor, but there are enough who do such that there are a good many legends about them. Their powers are often subtle, but some among them have earned considerable favor and wield a lot of power.