The Druids are one of the most mysterious known orders in Caelereth, who are especially prevalent at the Sarvonian continent, but are said to exist in similar form at other continents as well. The common populace knows very little of the Druids' beliefs, thus they are often misunderstood and sometimes even taken for practicioners of so-called "witchcraft". This is due to the fact that their religious convictions seem to be independent from any known Gods, and thus they are considered "unholy" by some. This of course has sometimes led folk to occasionally mob together and harass or even harm Druids who live near them, although this is growing less and less common.

Druids as a whole are people who believe in the existence of so-called “Primal Spirits” or “Essences”. They are convinced, that such an essence is a vital part of any “being” (thus the name “essences”), be it an element like water, wind, earth and fire or life forms like those of plants, animals or even sentient beings. They claim, that through the use of their magic they are able to come into contact with the essences of any being and even gain power about it. Each Druid is specialized in “contacting” one type of these essences'.

A White Druid
View picture in full size Picture description. The White Druids, also often also referred to as Wind Druids, represent the most elusive kind of druids. Found mainly in inaccessible forests, deserts, valleys or canyons, they are loners, rarely taking apprentices. Image drawn by BKiani.

Appearance. Druids have no real uniformity when it comes to physical appearance, but they do however tend to follow to a certain extent the general habits of their tribe or race. Virtually all races and tribes are represented in varying degrees through the Druidic Orders, although some races, such as orcs and the minor races, are represented far less than those of the main races. Age also varies greatly, although children are next to unheard of. Children only appear as the offspring of two Druids, usually in Druidic communes. The children of course are too young to be able to use Druidic magic, but they usually take an interest in it, and learn it once they are old enough.

The Druids also do not possess a dress code by any stretch of the term. Their clothing varies depending on the climate (warm clothing for cold, not so warm for hot, covering of skin in deserts) and as already mentioned above depending on the tribe they come from originally. There does seem to be a similarity that many Druids hold to, although not consciously, and that is this: Druidic clothing tends to be cheaply made and oftentimes dirty. The reasons for this are simple, Druids usually have neither the money nor the inclination to buy new clothes or clean the ones they do have. The people who become hermits often find that they do not care what they look like, for very few people will ever see them. Thus, why take time out of one’s day to clean one’s clothes.

A good many Druids have lost all roots of their tribe in the ways of clothing. For instance, Green Druids can oftentimes be seen wearing clothes made of leaves and vines, while Gray Druids will sometimes wear animal skins, although they obviously would not kill any animals to make such clothing, and instead use already dead animals. Where no tribal origin can be found, those are often Druids who lived already in a Druidic community and lost their roots entirely.

Of course, this is all assuming that the Druids even wears clothing, which cannot be guaranteed. In fact, climate permitting, many Druids shed their outer accoutrements and just are in the nude.
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Territory. Druids can be found virtually anywhere on Caelereth. They are mostly prevalent in Northern and Southern Sarvonia, but most Orders can be encountered in other continents as well, although they are too rare to really count, and might have other names and different agendas. Water Druids can be found almost anywhere, for they often travel on the sea. In general one can say that Druids of a particular Order are most often seen in their favoured environments, while Black Druids can be found mostly in sizable cities and towns. Few Druids would live in a barren hill land (with the exception of a few Earth Druids), while literally dozens or even hundreds could be living in a large forest in a mountainous region. It all depends on if a Druid would want to live there, as Druids are seeking those places where they think that they are needed the most by nature herself.

There seems to be anywhere between several dozen to several hundred Druids throughout Southern Sarvonia. Note: This is the rough estimate of this Compendium writer, and thus might be fairly accurate, or extremely wrong, as it seems quite impossible to determine concrete numbers. Especially the wilderness of Northern Sarvonia prohibits even a rough estimate of how many there are, although due to the vast amounts of wilderness and forests in that region, it would be safe to assume that quite a number live there. It is thought that there are Druids outside the Sarvonian continent as well, but the Compendium researchers have no concrete and confirmed records of them so far, thus, no account can be given on them as of yet.
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People. Druids, with the exception of Black Druids, view themselves as the protectors of the natural world, and more specifically, the protectors of their specific element. They believe that nature is the most important aspect of the world around them, and it should be protected at whatever cost to people. What they do, they do for the greater good of nature and their element, and - a fact that is often misunderstood and frownded upon - NOT for the greater good of the people living with nature, although they rarely, if ever, leave their customs and make decisions which permit to harm non-Druids. The exception to this is the Black Druids, who extort from their element, rather than protect it (see Orders).

PocRotrum Mountain
View picture in full size Picture description. View on PocRotrum ("False Mountain"), a small mountain created by brown druids near the southwestern tip of the Rimmerins Ring. Image drawn by Arbaon.

Druids are perceived by the rest of the world to be secretive, loners, and show little care for non-Druids, and all of this is true, to a certain extent. While not outright secretive, Druids do keep to themselves, away from the main populace, sometimes being mistaken for greylers or the elven windsingers for example, whose purpose also seems to become one with nature again. If asked questions, Druids will answer them truthfully should they want to talk at all, which is definitely not a guarantee. The exceptions to this rule are the Black Druids, but they have every reason to be secretive. And while some Druids are loners, there are sometimes Druids who gather into small groups, or sometimes even small communes, helping each other survive. It is a definite fact however, that Druids, for the most part, care very little for the world outside Druidism. They view most non-Druids as ignorant people mindlessly going about the end of their lives, fulfilling little to nothing in that span. Thus, they have little respect for those of the non-Druidic life. They spend most their time either doing what they need to survive, or if they live near other Druids or a civilization of some sort, they may spend what little free time they have with their Druidic brethren. Return to the top

Belief. The druidic interpretation of the purpose of life, or their "religion" if you so want, is based on their belief in essences, the "souls which form the world". In this respect they are close to the elven point of view on the world, which is based on the cár'áll, the "auras" of everything existing - an indicator which suggests that the Druids might have their origins in elven nature preserving practices. Druids - quite similar to the elves - work their magic through these Essences, but are more focussed on their specific elements rather than on Styreian universality, which brings them actually closer to the Ximaxian approach, without the scholarly accentuation, that is. Druids meditate, concentrating on the essence, and finally merge their essence with the essence of their choosing. The druids believe that one's magic is proof of one's love for a particular element, and thus, only those who are capable of learning the Druidic way of magic can become part of their Order. To learn Druidic magic, one must find a Druid, who will only teach it if the Druid believes the hopeful has the personality and love for the element to master such power. The druids believe that if one is close to the elemental souls, then one is closer to one's own soul, and thus one is closer to one's self.

Druids do not believe in an afterlife, rather, they believe that when they die, they will be returned to the earth from whence they came. They believe when something dies it doesn’t truly die; it merely changes form. This is because of their belief in the Essences. Their beliefs can be summarized as follows: Essences are born and die at the same time as their corporeal counterparts. When a rock is split in half, its essence can be said to have “died”, but in its place are two completely new essences, one for each half. Thus the essence did not truly die, it merely changed form. When a tree dies, its essence dies, but in its place is the essence of a dead tree, as opposed to a live one. Thus it can be said to have changed, but is not truly dead, as from everything that dies something new develops. Thus the Druids do not fear death in the ways that many other people do, for they merely view it as a change; one they understand and hold no fear for. When they die, their essence will merely change to the essence of a dead body. The dead body will rot, and become the essence of soil. Thus, the druid has gone back to the earth.

This belief is basically the same throughout the druidic orders. The only real difference is the choice of essence group with which the order-members merge.
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Joining. The very first part to becoming a Druid is the actual decision of a person to identify with Druidic principles, choose a specific Order and find one's self a mentor. As it must be the person's inner need to become a Druid, Druids never choose their apprentices themselves. If one were interested in becoming a Druid, one would already have an interest in a particular Druidic field. People do not seek out a Druid and say "I want be a Druid." and don't know what element they are attached to. They have to have a love for their particular element, or a Druid would never mentor them. This occurs at many ages, but most often at the early stages of adulthood, when young people try to find themselves.

To join a Druidic Order, one must first find a Druid. Druids are taught through a mentor/apprentice relationship. The Druids figure that if one is not willing to put in the time required to find a Druid, then they also lack the patience required to learn Druidic principles and the magic needed for druidic purposes. Usually who wishes to be a Druid asks the people living in towns neighbouring areas that might hold a Druid of the Order they want to join, and from there, physically search them out. This is assuming the would-be Druid doesn’t already know of the existence and location of a Druid. For if a person loves the element to the degree that a Druid would, then Druid and apprentice probably think alike and are likely to meet or know of each others presence. Thus, a person who wants to be a Plant Druid would live in a forest, and chances are, so would an actual Plant Druid for some time on his travels.

Once an apprentice has learned how to merge his essence with that of his element, then he is no longer an apprentice, and is fully a part of the Order. Black Druids however usually do not take apprentices. They are far too distrusting for apprentices, and unless they need another person as a tool, they'll stay by themselves. The one and only way to become a Black Druid is to be a Druid of a different Order, then figure out how to merge with sentient being essences. This will probably require sentient “test” subjects, those of whom survived are usually mentally deficient the rest of their lives.

Druids generally do not join more than one Order, although it has happened in the past. The reason for this is not for lack of ability - one can learn to merge with all things if one had the time and inclination to -, but for dedication to a certain element. A Druid (with the exception of the Black Druids) joins his Order for love of the element of that Order.
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Organization. Druids are one of the least organized orders in Caelereth. Druidic Orders have no hierarchy to speak of, the Orders rarely meet with each other, and never have a complete meeting between the various Orders. Although the latter may happen at some point, the Black Druids for sure would not be invited to such a meeting.

However, there are sometimes organized groups within the Orders. When small communes are formed, working together is required to keep said commune running and surviving. The organization doesn’t take place in actual leadership; the group merely works together to keep the commune going. Everyone has to do the job required of him or her. The jobs are usually chosen via ability, volunteering, or merely at random.

Druids sometimes issue calls to the rest of their Order, for various reasons. They do this the long way. One druid tells another druid, those two tell two more, those four tell four, and thus does the word spread. This usually takes several months and the entire Order is of course not completely convened at a meeting, but a fairly large gathering is usually accomplished. Of course, this is all assuming that at least a few Druids agree in seeing a larger problem, which needs to be addressed by a larger community. If in the very unlikely event that something happens that would affect all Druids of an Order, and they all know of its coming, then they all meet at the designated meeting place, with no need of the call.
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. There are all in all seven known Orders of Druids. The Black Druids are not actually an order, but they will be mentioned here. Those not of their order typically refer to them by the colours, while the Order itself refers to itself by the element. Black druids always blatantly deny that they are Black Druids.

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