Shessa is the goddess of night and the moon, not all-powerful, but as strong from sunset to sunrise as any god can be. In lesser aspects, she is also the goddess of shadows and secrets, and a patron to thieves, night watchmen, lycanthropes, and those who ply their trades by night. She sits squarely among the Center Nine, allying neither with good nor evil. She is considered aloof and ever-changing, like the moon, but like the moon she is not cruel or harsh. Shessa asks little from her faithful, only that she be invoked in their prayers for success by night. Few laymen have any real idea what it is that truly devout Shessans do for their goddess apart from encouraging more people to acknowledge her in their prayers.

In Rasenna, Shessa is worshipped partly in her role as goddess of the night, particularly by those who make their living after the sun goes down, and partly in her role as goddess of intrigues, romantic or otherwise. She is a strong romantic figure in local religion, and many portraits of beautiful Rasennan women invoke some level of Shessan imagery or symbolism. Her most common symbol is a crescent moon of varying thickness, often worked in silver (the lunar metal). She is also identified with owls, moon lilies, jasmine and moonstone, and her colors are the deep blue and violet of the night sky, or the pale yellows and silver of the moon.

Obviously, Shessa is easily pictured as the moon itself. Other local depictions of her include a beautiful, pale woman with midnight hair, dressed in the finest cloth, an ethereal woman made entirely of moonlight or, rarely, a silver-furred she-wolf or wolf-woman. Most of her most legendary omens involved strange color shifts in the moon’s hue, or unusual patterns of cloud and moonlight.

Shessa’s priesthood is a mystery cult, as befits the goddess of the night. Their worship rites take place almost exclusively at night, and their rare twilight or day ceremonies are not open to the public. Devout worshippers choose a particular phase of the moon to pray to Shessa (such as the waning crescent, the waxing half moon, or so on), observing a quiet meditative ceremony (or making offerings of silver at the nearest shrine) at moonrise once every four weeks. Evernight is the most widespread and familiar of Shessan holidays; the longest night of the year is of course her time.

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Rasennan Summer Barastrondo