He Who Knocks is a mysterious swamp deity born out of the land of The Dolina Peninsula. They were responsible for the purge of Tiamat worshipers in the land during The Night of a Thousand Knocks. They are worshiped by the Grove of Voiceless Whispers whose practices are largely a mystery.
Description[edit | edit source]
Titles: He Who Knocks, The One of Curses, The Great Returner
Domains: Nature, Twilight
Worshipers: The Grove of Voiceless Whispers
Holy Symbol: A Deer skull on a bed of leaves.
"He Who Knocks" rarely appears in their physical form to anyone outside the cult. When they are not manifested they are able to transport their spirit to any point across Dolina. In doing this they mostly either take the form of a dark cloud or a strange beast.
They do have two noted manifestations of their true form. The first was their manifestation on the Night of a Thousand Knocks, where they took the form of a tall humanoid figure with a cloak of dark leaves and with the head of a deer skull. Their second and primary manifestation, and what is believed to be their true form they only show to their cult, taking the form of a large winged figure with a body of bones and vines with shark claws, expansive colorful wings, and a bloody deer skull.
It is unknown what the true origins of "He Who Knocks" are. Some believe they may be a fey spirit who came to the land to fill the void left by Tiamat, while many of the god's more fervent worshipers claim that "He Who Waits" was always present and is old as the land itself. What is known though is that "He Who Knocks" first officially manifested during the Night of a Thousand Knocks and purged Dolina of many of its Tiamat worshipers. Some believe they did this as Tiamat's influence over the land had begun to fade and that it was the land itself fighting back against her poison.
The name of "He Who Knocks" along with his other associated titles do not come close to his true name. The only mortal that the deity ever reveals their true name to is the current Arboreal, leader of the Grove of Voiceless Whispers.
Works[edit | edit source]
"He Who Knocks'" first and greatest work began on The Night of a Thousand Knocks. Falling like a shadow over the region, "He Who Knocks" traveled to every door of every family in the land. He would proceed to knock on every door of a household that still worshiped Tiamat and lay down three curses. Each curse would begin with a similar knock on the family's door.
First was Curse of Reclamation. In the following days, all of the family's property would rot and decay, returning to the land. The Second was the Curse of Hunger. In the following weeks the family would be beset by and endless hunger never to be sated no matter how much they would eat or drink. Then their was the Curse of Retribution which would fall on the seventh second of the seventh minute of the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh week after the first knock. First, the patriarch of the family would combust into flames that could not be dossed by any means. Then, the matriarch would be beset by the birds and beasts of the land, to be torn apart until their was not but bones. All of the sons would jump into the water and drown themselves while all of the daughters would run into the forest where their skin would turn to bark, their feet to roots, and their fingers to leaves.
Worshippers[edit | edit source]
The worship and needs of "He Who Knocks" is tended to by the Grove of Voiceless Whispers, a druidic mystery cult who follows it. While the cult itself is a public force and are very influential in Dolina, their actual practices are kept secret. The cult is led by the Arboreal, the oldest and wisest of the order and the only one who knows "He Who Knocks'" true name.
It is tradition in the deeper swamp regions of Dolina for the oldest child of every Dolina household will leave home when they come of age and journey off to join the grove. After many years of training they will be forced to undergo a series of trials to join the grove.
In these trials they must reenact the three curses. In the first trial they must destroy all of their material possessions and live only on the forest itself. After a week then they must begin the second trial of starvation where they must starve themselves of both food and water. Then on the seventh second of the seventh minute of the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh week they must perform the third trial and swear themselves to the grove. After the third trial "He Who knocks" would judge the trainee. If they successfully completed the first two trials and were true in their pledge to the grove, he would allow them to join. If they failed to destroy all of their possessions, ate or drank during their trial of starvation, or were at any part untruthful during their pledge, he would then deem them unworthy. If the trainee was male, he would compel them to drown themselves in the nearest body of water, and if the trainee was a female, he would transform them into a rotted tree.
The spirits of these failed trainees continue to serve "He Who Knocks" even in death as punishment for their failure, protecting the land has haunted swamp spirits from those who seek to cause it harm.
In contrast to the failed trainees, "He Who Knocks" selects a few trainees to follow a lonely "Way of the Ancients" Paladin's Path. Only those of Metallic Draconic Lineages are selected, and it is believed there are only Seven of these Paladins at any one time. This small order has been called "Paladins of the Ancient Grove", "The Paladins of The Whispers" or "Paladins of His Knocking Will."
The most senior of these Paladins is addressed as "The One Who Hears The Last Whispers" and serves as the sentinel and defender of His Grove. All of the First Born who come to the Grove to be tested pass the eye and judgement of this First Paladin of "He Who Knocks." All of the first born who fail the test of the Grove are escorted to their end by "The One Who Hears The Last Whispers." It is well known he bears as his symbol the skull of a deer.
The other six Metallic Draconic Paladins of "He Who Knocks" are encountered delivering 'The Swamp's Judgement' on those who have transgressed against "He Who Knocks" or defiled the swamps of Dolina. They are also known to make deliveries, or collect rare objects or important information on behalf of the Druids of the Grove of Voiceless Whispers. It is reported anyone slain by the Paladins of The Whispers under the judgement of "He Who Knocks" dissolve into a green fluid and sink into the earth, unable to be revivified by even the most powerful magics. The six are reported to each bear a symbol of the Swamp as their icon, and have been heard to be addressed by their symbol by worshipers and followers. At present it is believed the Six are known as: Dragonfly, Mosquito, Bat, Frog, Carp and Newt.
Powers and Abilities[edit | edit source]
"He Who Knocks" has the power to take on many forms, ranging from a dark cloud, a strange woodland beast, strange mist, and his true manifestations. This being has complete control over the flora and fauna of the land which completely bend to its will and it has the power to transport itself or others to any part of Dolina in an instant. It has the power to invoke the three curses and punishes those who seek to harm it's lands.
Notable Holy Sites[edit | edit source]
Most towns and cities through out Dolina have small effigies for "He Who Knocks" where small offerings of bones and meat will be laid every month. The sites of worship of the Grove of Voiceless Whispers are barred to outsiders and no one outside the grove knows where they truly are or what occurs within them.