“Great and Clever Taltikka, Fortune Queen, Trickster Prince, we beseech you to look down upon us with favor, to be generous with your good fortune and kind with your ill, to laugh at our foibles and not at our fates. We accept the risks of your attention, and thank you for the rewards. For Chance is greater than Fate, and Fortune greater than Destiny, and though the Wheel may not be stayed from turning, we pray that it grind gently.”
Taltikka is the trickster deity of the Seven-and-Twenty, the fickle and mischievous goddess of luck, trickery, chaos, mischief and blind chance. She counts herself among the Centered Nine, for she is as much a goddess of misfortune as of fortune, as much the source of good luck as of bad. She is embroiled in an ongoing rivalry with her brother Urvan, the stern god of law and fate, and the churches of both gods are often at odds. She serves as the default patron goddess of gamblers, and is seen as a lesser patron of charlatans, thieves, fortune-tellers and beggars. Although her devout worshippers are relatively few, almost everyone prays to Taltikka for a little luck sooner or later.
In Rasenna, Taltikka’s most common symbol is that of a gold coin embossed with a fox’s head, often with a fox’s tail on the reverse. Her sacred animal is the fox, of course, although raccoons, jays, hornets and coyotes also find some favor. Her favored plants are blackberry bushes (which often figure into certain legends of her tricks) and foxtails; her metals are copper and gold, and her gemstone is pyrite. She has no favored color; her priests often dress in patchwork or motley.
Taltikka is the foremost shapeshifter among the gods, and has perhaps more recorded forms than any other. In Rasenna, she is most often depicted as a boyish young girl with a fox tail, a fox with fur that shines like fire, a lovely woman in a dress made of gold coins or an androgynous young jester carrying a pair of dice and a hornet’s nest. When she sends omens, it’s often in the form of peals of sudden laughter, suddenly glimpsed foxes (or at least their tails), dice showing impossible numbers (such as two six-sided dice showing 13), inexplicable draws of cards, buckles and fastenings coming undone en masse, or instances of wild improbability. Her omens are particularly difficult to read properly, as Taltikka offers very little guidance; she prefers to let her faithful test their luck rather than her wisdom.
Taltikka has no true holy days that are fixed from region to region. Her church commonly holds “Feasts of Fortune” dedicated to gaming, festival activities and general free-spiritedness, but the date of each feast varies from year to year. Laymen worship the Smiling Vixen whenever they choose and in whatever form they choose; she doesn’t seem to require formalities. In fact, many folk are hesitant to pray openly to Taltikka, as prayer is sometimes said to attract her attention — but to have no ability to persuade her to send good luck instead of bad. Even so, those who have been suffering from a string of bad luck find that they have little more to lose by catching the Smiling Vixen’s eye.
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