The Serpent of Chaos
Little is known in Amber of the Serpent, although rumor has it he has taken Princess Motoko as his bride for reasons unknown. He's generally believed in Amber to hate the Unicorn because the Unicorn helped Fuyutsuki steal his eye. Not all Chaosians seem to believe this, however.
The Serpent is known to have multiple aspects; unlike the Unicorn these are not separate avatars, like the Alicorn or the Narwhale, but rather different forms he shapeshifts into as the mood takes him.
- Quetzacoatl, the Winged Serpent
- Draco, the Dragon
- Cadeceus, the Serpent of Healing
- Malleoru, the Serpent of Creation
- Illiani, the Constricting Serpent
- Rinbu, the Serpent of Light
- Pindin, the Flaming Serpent
- Milithi, the Serpent of Wisdom
- Challar, the Serpent of Cunning
- Siva, the Serpent of Destruction
- Kundali, the Serpent of Passion
Some Chaosians teach that the Serpent mated with Anno, Keeper of the Logrus, to produce Anno's three known children, Anthy, Setsuna, and Dios. Others find this ridiculous.
Like the Unicorn, the Serpent is in some manner linked to the Logrus as the Unicorn is linked to the Pattern. He may have assisted Anno in its creation.
In Chaos itself, the Serpent is worshipped as a god. Most people will never see him, although he appears at the Feast of the Serpent at the Chapel of the Serpent in the Courts every year, and sometimes manifests in other places where he is being worshipped (not always in a recognizable form).
His church presents the strange paradox of tending to be very hiearchical and conservative while preaching words of liberation and change. It remains unclear whether this represents his will or simply the result of the interaction between sentients and a god who is often not around to tell them they're screwing things up. The current head of the Cult of the Serpent is Rural VII, who is more lawyer than holy man, though not a bad sort.
As a result, the cult of the Serpent often finds itself challenged by prophetic figures who truthfully or not, claim special revelation from the Serpent and try to shake things up. To a greater or lesser extent, they seem to usually end up co-opted by the established cult, though they keep things from being stagnant.
The Cult of the Serpent has Fourteen major holidays, one for each of the thirteen months of the Chaosian Calendar, plus the Feast of the Serpent.
- The Feast of the Serpent (Also known as New Years Day or the Winter Solstice or the Day of Rebirth). The Serpent appears to bless his people and shed his skin to mark the beginning of a new year in the Temple of the Serpent. It is a time for new beginnings, in which many make Rebirth Resolutions to change their lives (which, unfortunately, are often forgotten by the time the next holiday comes around...) Babies born on this day are often seen as blessed by the Serpent.
- Shifting. This day celebrates the ever-changing nature of the Serpent of Chaos and the gift of shapeshifting he has given to his people. The worship rites are elaborate and require much shapechanging; those in the community who are best at it are usually called upon to play special roles in this and recieve much honor.
- Ice Festival: The glories of winter are celebrated on this day, full of the making of ice sculptures, skating, and often large-scale snowball wars.
- Burning: Pindin, the Serpent of Flame is honored, as many torches and fires are lit against the chill of winter, in anticipation of the spring to come.
- Sowing (Spring Equinox). It is traditional to begin new long term projects on this day, even as spring planting begins. The most devout come to their local temple and help to plant a garden, each bringing seeds.
- Flying: Quetzacoatl, the Winged Serpent, is honored this day, when all the peoples of Chaos take to the skies, taking on winged forms, and trying to do as much in the air as possible.
- Making. This day celebrates the creative activities of the Serpent of Chaos; all worshippers bring something they made themselves to sacrifice to their local temple. Those who practice art and craftsmanship are especially respected on this day.
- High Summer (The Summer Equinox). The rites of High Summer range from a high and austere symbolic wedding between the priests and priestesses and the Serpent (in more puritanical areas such as House Helgram) to mad howling drunken orgies (such as in House Olympus, although some would say House Olympus needs no religious festival as an excuse...).
- The Day of High Heroes. The valor of those who have fought for family, for lord, for Chaos, for the Serpent, is remembered on this day of picnics and speeches and the giving of military honors.
- Learning. This day celebrates the gaining of knowledge and the discovery of new information. Worshippers are encouraged to seek new ways of doing things and to consider whether they've actually learned anything from their experiences over the last year of their life.
- Reaping (The Fall Equinox). It is considered lucky to finish a project on this day. It tends to be fairly sedate as Chaosian religious festivals go, mostly because everyone is usually exhausted from trying to get projects done in time to finish today.
- Breaking. The Serpent is worshipped in his destructive aspect, as the one who dances admidst the fires of the old, in order to make room for the new. This day is celebrated in many different ways, from throwing old garbage into the Abyss to the tearing down of run-down dwellings to the hunting down of beasts which threaten the community. Some Chaosians take things rather further than most would, and use this day as an excuse to murder people they don't like, engage in terrorism, arson, etc.
- Cunning. Challar, the Serpent of Cunning, is honored on this day, in which people seek to play tricks on each other. Usually these pranks are fairly harmless, but sometimes people get pretty vicious.
- Mourning. (The Last Day of the Year). Death too is a change, but not an easily accepted one. On this day, the dead are remembered and prayed for. It is the most sombre holiday of the Chaosian year.