Followers of the Cult of the Prong and Hoof believe that the souls of righteous gryphs inhabit the bodies of deer after their deaths while wicked are doomed to wander bodiless and powerless for eternity. Believers abhor the eating of deer meat, which they view as a form of cannibalism, and are often seen encouraging others to do the same. This frequently brings them into conflict with non-believers who use the animals as a source of food and other resources. The Prong and Hoof claims only a very small percentage of gryphs as its members.
Unlike most gryphs who view spirituality as a very private thing, members of the Cult of the Prong and Hoof worship as a community. Traditionally, member meet once per month during the night of the new moon to give thanks to the souls of their ancestors and to sing chants to drive away wicked spirits. In Eastdale Village, these monthly services are held inside a medium-sized den, known as the Prong Hall, which is maintained by its members. Though services are only held once a month, this space is often used as a gathering area for Prong and Hoofers to socialize and trade with one another.
Most members of the Cult of the Prong and Hoof also believe the common creation myths of the larger society and generally celebrate all important gryphs holidays in addition to a few specific to the Cult.
Sacred Artifacts Edit
Most important to members of the Eastdale members of the Cult of the Prong and Hoof is the large, 16 point skull of a deer or deer-like creature. The item was found near the village and is thought to be very old. It is referred to as a Hart Father by the congregation and is venerated as a great ancestor. It is kept on a raised dais in Prong Hall.
Followers believe that the shed antlers of deer are also sacred, and finding one in the woods is considered a blessing and a sign of good fortune. They refer to these items as Deer Blessings. Deer Blessings are often given as gifts between members of the Prong and Hoof on important days such as weddings or to celebrate the birth of a cub. Receiving a Deer Blessing as a gift is considered a considerable honr. Members also decorate their Blessings with flowers, feathers, and other items and display them on special occasions and holidays.
Treatment of Deer Carcasses Edit
Members of the Cult of the Prong and Hoof believe that deer corpses encountered in the wild are not to be disturbed, as the transition for spirits from the body of one animal to another is a delicate time. Touching or moving a carcass can cause departed spirits to become lost in the world for a time. These souls are said to bring bad luck to the one who caused the disturbance until they can find their way again.