Goddess of the Eleventh Hour, Queen of Witches, the Crone
Goddess of witchcraft, revenge, disease, death
Domains: Death, Evil, Knowledge, Magic, Repose
Favoured Weapon: Magic or sickle
From a young age children are taught to fear Rhoga Jezeda, lest she come in the night and eat them. But as the children grow into adults their fear does not fade. It is said that Rhoga Jezeda knows the time and circumstances of the death of every living thing. She is also called the Goddess of the Eleventh Hour, as it is believed that she can hold back and divert death or bring it swiftly down upon her victims before their proper time.
Rhoga Jezeda is the most powerful of all witches and her sway over death does not end at preventing or hastening it. If the whispers are to be believed, followers of the Queen of Witches can beseech their goddess to raise the dead, imbuing a body with a mindless spirit, enslaving the walking dead to the witch’s will. Some believe that Rhoga Jezeda lays claim to the souls of the wicked, those who are not given proper burial rites, and those who die of disease, as a victim of vengeance, or with a desire for revenge in their hearts.
Rhoga Jezeda is the mistress of disease and those witches who take up the mantle of plaguebearer are said to bring living ruin to their bodies and devastation to all they meet, spreading infection and pestilence wherever they go. However, as she spreads disease, so can Rhoga Jezeda stave it off.
Poppets are the tools of the goddess and carers of the sick who are out of hope may fill one with spices, flowers and some small portion of the person they wish to heal – blood, nails or hair – and hang it above the bed of the stricken, offering prayers to the Witch Queen, begging her to draw the sickness away. Rumours say that if such prayers are successful the disease does not disappear but is sent down on the head of another. Others say that a prayer answered by the Goddess of the Eleventh Hour draws death closer to the one who called upon her, shaving years off their lives. Despite this, many who fear Rhoga Jezeda still turn to her in times of desperation.
Revenge is another tool of the Queen of Witches and she hears the dark desires of those who seek vengeance. Some even say that thoughts of vengeance are the whispers of Rhoga Jezeda and that each act of revenge makes her stronger. Those seeking revenge craft a poppet to represent a specific person and fill it with a portion of themselves and of the person who they wish to harm. Afterwards, they inflict on the doll the harm they wish to see befall their foe. If the desired fate cannot be depicted this way, strong thoughts are said to suffice.
Many pursue this path as a method of private revenge, not believing that their acts of violence on the poppet would actually manifest on their victim. Most often, the poppet is filled only with straw, eschewing the supposedly vital elements. However, when ill fortune befalls those who are known to have wronged someone, whispers of poppets and witchcraft are usually quick to follow. Some say that the Witch Queen revels in revenge and asks no payment for it. However, like with the casting out of disease, other rumours persist that the Witch Queen cuts short the lifelines of those who call upon her for revenge.
For those who pray to Rhoga Jezeda not to placate the Crone, but in true worship of her, the spreading of disease and practice of witchcraft appear to be the common means of veneration. Rhoga Jezeda sees and manipulates the threads of the future and her followers often seem to have a strange assurance of what is to come. Some say that her followers spend much of their time ensuring that the future Rhoga Jezeda favours comes to pass. Witches who reside near other settlements often also craft poppets, charms, tonics, powders, cure-alls and elixirs to offer to those in need, furthering the influence of witchcraft by preying on desperate souls.
Rhoga Jezeda is depicted as an ancient wrinkled crone, often holding a poppet and an hourglass and peering into a black cauldron. The Goddess of the Eleventh Hour is also commonly shown brandishing a gleaming pair of silver scissors and contemplating an intricate web of threads of lives and fate. She is always depicted with a clouded right eye which is blind to the present but with which she sees the future.
The Queen of Witches features in many children’s stories and is usually shown living in a deep dark forest, the crowded shelves of her hovel lined with books of witchcraft and vile recipes as well as jars and bottles of horrid ingredients. Rhoga Jezeda has no true symbol by which her servants recognise each other, but the blinding of the right eye and wearing a poppet or a pair of scissors around the neck or waist is a common sign of a devoted witch.