The New Divine Order
Nell, the White Rose
Goddess of the Northern Sea
In the North, in the time before the order of Levia and the chaos of the Hordelands, there were swanmays, who lived on the calm oceans of the North and the small islets just off the coasts. These were beautiful, serene women, with impossibly long lives, that transformed into swans at will.
In time, legends grew around these beautiful women and men began to trick them. They would sneak up upon these women while they were bathing and steal their feathery coats. Unable to get away, these unfortunate swanmays were forced to marry these men and bear them children. Men with swan wives became highly respected in the Northern lands and they were highly sought after – as prizes for themselves and gifts for kings that would earn them eternal gratitude. It is said that Agrax the Huge, the self-proclaimed king of Bastard’s Lake, had no less than five swan wives and his fierce desires for them were matched only by his terrible treatment of them – he had them all butchered on his death, so no-one else could claim them.
When Noac returned to the North after his travels, after decided to unite all of the kingdoms of the North into what we now know as the Levian Empire, an advisor recommended that he could gain the respect of the people, and save a lot of bloodshed, if he claimed a swanmay as his bride. A hero is never one to do things in half-measures, so Noac set his eyes on the greatest of them – Nell, sometimes known as the White Rose, a child of Lilac and the goddess of the Northern Sea. It took Noac a long time to find her, but he was too clever and too determined a man to fail. He waited until she was bathing, snuck up to her den, and stole her feathered coat. Nell instantly knew what had happened and, powerless and afraid, wept deeply to share the miserable fate of her sisters.
But, Noac, in his wisdom did not demand marriage of her, but rather simply an audience with her. At length, he explained his vision of a united Levia, explained how he could end the cruelty of the past, and how his new empire would be one of peace and prosperity where all creatures could live together as one nation. “I ask nothing of you, but your help,” Noac said before returning Nell’s coat to her.
From that moment on, Nell served as one of Noac’s greatest allies in his conquest of Levia. Most stories of Noac’s deeds include Nell as a side character and there are several knightly orders in Levia based around swans due to her presence. She and Noac remain close friends and confidants several centuries after their initial time together and several gods have pushed the two towards marriage, though Noac steadfastly refuses, stating that the two are allowed to simply be friends.
Appearance: Nell is a beautiful, slender woman with serene features. Her hair is a very light shade of hazel and her eyes match her hair – she is always dressed in pure white feathery gowns and coats. She possesses the ability to shift into a swan and is skilled in both basic magic and with a bow. She has a kind and fragile nature, rarely acting aggressively and is known to be quick to tears, though her time and friendship with Noac has strengthened her considerably. For obvious reasons, she is closely associated with swans, and to a lesser extent, other waterfowl. She is also associated with the white rose, a coastline flower that grows near coastal pools. Her influence on Levian history makes these flowers highly prized – they are often given by knights to ladies as a token of their affection and respect.
The Northern Sea: One of the smallest and least travelled seas, Nell is often considered the least of the Nine. Her personality and tendency to avoid conflict has rendered her mostly forgotten by her peers. Power-wise, she is almost certainly the weakest as she is normally shown as being lesser in power to Noac, who is himself outstripped by most of the other sea goddesses. She is a close ally of the New Order, though most scholars shy away from putting her in the New Order proper. She is also known to be close friends with Dolphin.
The Northern Sea itself is little travelled for a few simple reasons – first, it is comparitavely shallow, with rapid changes in depth, making it very difficult for larger ships, such as the Black Arks, to traverse it safely; there are numerous tiny islets, making it difficult to navigate effectively; it experiences very little wind, making it very difficult for sailing ships; and finally, one side of it links to the deepest, most treacherous and most frozen part of the Atlas Ocean, making one side of the regions pretty undesirable to travel to. Boats on the Northern Sea tend to be much smaller than the norm and are normally powered by oar to prevent getting stuck in the windless oceans. Despite this, it is a verdant coastline with kelp forests just beneath the surface and an abundance of wild fish. Levians along the coasts are often found, rowing out to harvest the kelp and catch the fish. Swanmays can still be found on the northern shore of Levia, though it is now illegal to steal their coats.
Goblins obsessed as they are with trade, have a lesser presence on the Northern Sea than in others due to ship’s difficulty to work well there. The goblin ports that have taken route there tend to use the shallow-hulled, long narrowboats designed to travel the river routes down towards the Bastard’s Lake, Dragonsport and the Inner Sea – they normally use horses on the shore to pull the boats when in rivers, though Northern Goblins have retrofitted oars that can be deployed when no close shoreline is available. While not ideal for ocean use, and unable to haul huge amounts of cargo, they have proved successful for use in the Northern Sea as well, due to the calm conditions.