The Keepers of the Songs
It seems like most people these days have forgotten the ancient songs of the forest.
Some of us think this is an abhorrent disrespect towards the ones who made our home, our livelihood, and us all. We still keep the songs alive. We still keep the fires lit. We still remember the old ways.
In the northern half of Stagweald in the Kael Thalori you might hear strange songs between the trees.
Keepers of Old Traditions
While the Keepers of the Songs are a part of the Children of Enarias, and is similar to its parent religion in many ways, this specific sect is also vastly different. Their rituals seem more ancient, more primal, more about survival, in a way, than celebrating. While there's fire in their rituals, there's not quite as much of it as among the rest of the Enarias-focused religions. Where the other religions in the area have songs and music, the Keepers of the Songs are taking it to new levels, making it a central and integral part of all their worship.
The Keepers' worship is closer to how all the Enarias-focused religions used to be millennia ago. They have extensive written works from back when the written word came to Kael Thalori. Since the rest of the Children of Enarias have more focus on what they've been doing the last millennium or so, and haven't been as bothered with actually writing things down, the fact that the Keepers have been so adamant of keeping actual written records of their rituals have been of great importance for the preservation of the history of Enarion.
The Tome of Songs
One of the most valued artifacts of the Keepers of the Songs, and of all of Enarion, for that matter, is the Tome of Songs, the main written record of the ancient ways of worship.
The Songs of the Forest - The Way of Worship
The emphasis of Vaenis in the Keepers' rituals is clear when you watch one of their rituals. Antlers play an important role as both part of their ritual garments and as sacred tools.
There's no way to be able to talk about their rituals without talking about the songs. Filled with droning, drumming, and several styles of voice the music has a certain trance inducing quality over it. As a part of the northwestern edge of Stagweald marks the borders toward Inmalenor, their songs have a few influences from the Inmali Tribes who come here to trade. The Keepers' songs are, in fact, the only historical instance of Inmali throat singing found outside Inmalenor, and not performed by the Inmali themselves.
While the other parts of the Children of Enarias are fond of huge bonfires for all their rituals, the Keepers of the Songs tend to use smaller campfires and braziers. At the Shrine of Vaenis, the most important place of worship for the Keepers, there's a fire that is kept lit at any time it's possible to do so. Only heavy enough rain- or snowfall to make it impossible to keep a fire lit, or if nobody able is around to tend the fire, are reasons for the flames to go out.
This particular fire might be the only part of the Keepers' rituals that doesn't have particularly ancient roots, as it's more an appeasing of the pilgrims from other branches of the Children of Enarias. Still, the Keepers see it as an additional way to honor Enarias, so they don't mind too much, though the flames are kept lit with a certain air of ridicule. They can have their fire, though the Keepers are the ones who know how to properly worship the divine powers that are watching over the forest.
As one of the two wealds that marks the border to Inmalenor, the northwestern parts of Stagweald have some influences from the Inmali culture, just as the westernmost part of Inmalenor have some Enari influences. The Keepers are no exception.
One of these influences is, as stated above, the throat singing that are heavily used in the Keepers' songs. Another influence is honoring the Mother of Inmalenor, the goddess Inmalia. While the Keepers keep their focus on the Father of the Forest, Enarias, their rituals honors Inmalia as well.
Remember The Songs of Old
I might be a tiny bit inspired by the band Heilung with this idea. I had some ideas about this cult from before finding this band, so when I first heard their music and saw how their concerts are I was surprised by how close this was to (and how well it fit together with) my original idea.
Here's some examples of their music:
Also, this specific Eivør performance of Trøllabundin might have contributed to the original formation of the idea: