Great Mare; Rainbow Pacer; White Horse

Symbol: A white mare in profile
Home Plane: Beastlands
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Cleric Alignments: Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio: Riding animals (especially horses), prosperity, messengers
Worshipers: Messengers, riders, ungulate beastfolk, centaurs, wildrunner elves
Domains: Animal (Fur), Liberation (Freedom), Strength, Travel
Favored Weapon: Shortbow or lance (cleric chooses one); also, Ride is a class skill

Physical Description:
Three forms are typically used by Epona, depending on her needs at the time. Her most common and most preferred form is that of a beautiful, powerful white mare with a shining coat who can run as fast as thought, trailing the rainbow behind her. She can also take the form of a comely, white-furred and white-haired centaur woman, and finally, she sometimes takes the form of an enchanting human or elven woman with flowing white hair, in both cases the skin of her form being milk white and slightly luminous.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
Epona is a creature born at once to be wild and free, and also to serve the needs of others. She accepts her dual role gladly, because she is able to fulfill both her natural desires and assist others by doing what she loves best: to run. The Great Mare is almost constantly on the move, carrying messages between gods and also between gods and their servants, even those on the Prime Material Plane. It is Epona's nature to be cheerful, energetic, enthusiastic, and sometimes a little mischievous, though usually not so much that she causes serious harm to others, unless someone really deserves it.

Freedom is a driving part of Epona's dogma. Though she is a servant, and so are most of her people in one way or another, she and they all desire not to be restricted from doing what they enjoy. What they enjoy, as it turns out, just happens to be what those that they serve want them to do. In similar fashion, Epona strongly believes that people should be allowed to do what they want, in such a way that what they want to do is also what helps others most, with everyone pitching in with their natural talents, cultivating them for the good of all. Freedom of communication and information is also very important to Epona, and she strongly believes that people should speak plainly to each other, without using misinformation or lies.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
The clergy of Epona are all able to ride, and many are able to do so from a very young age, often before they can walk. Their lives in the saddle soon marks them, and those truly devoted to Epona can be quickly identified by their bowed legs from countless hours spent riding. Many of these are raised on mare's milk instead of that from their own mothers. It is those with a truly deep connection to horses that gain Epona's attention and blessing, and they soon find themselves hearing her voice in the rushing wind as they ride at top gallop, calling them to her service, granting them the ability to use divine magic in her name.

Anyplace where horses are gathered is sacred to Epona. Peoples who rely on horses for their way of life regularly decorate their houses, their public buildings, their stables, and the fences around their pastures with horse-themed imagery, as a way to try and earn the favor of Epona. Her temples are usually simple affairs, round buildings with a hole in the ceiling to let in the weather, whatever it might be, with a straw-lined floor so that horses can come in if they wish. These temples are generally placed next to pastures where horses roam, and it is a strict rule that no horse be harmed while in one of Epona's temples.

Epona is not a goddess that demands much bowing and scraping from those who would earn her favor. Similarly, she does not ask for much in the way of special occasions or holidays. However, she is very serious about the protection of messengers, and considers it an act of sacrilege to injure someone who has been sent as a messenger or diplomat to another nation. While she dislikes the harming of messengers while on the road, what truly angers Epona is harming a messenger when that messenger has reached a destination. Thus, even when a messenger is in the camp of a hated enemy, most people will leave that messenger be so long as the messenger in question remains polite and unobtrusive, and will instead provide a messenger with food and lodging until the messenger leaves. The only significant exceptions to this rule are a few rare tribes of warriors who rely on their infantry, and orcs. Violating this rule of hospitality towards messengers, provided the messenger does not violate the rules of hospitality through insolence or spying, leads to the wrath of Epona, which causes the horses of a people to fail them in various ways, or for their own lines of communication, so essential for running a proper army or empire, will start to break down.

All equines and equine-like races serve Epona, such as pegasi, centaurs, and a great many others.

History and Relations:
Long ago, when the first large mammals began to roam the face of Therafim, ready to dominate where once there had been great reptiles, the gods met to discuss matters. Now that they were in rulership of Therafim, they found that they had great need for a messenger, someone who could keep them in constant communication, and could travel faster than the wind. In their need, they looked about and discovered the first horse, Epona, galloping towards them, faster even than thought, born from the primordial world beneath their feet, willing and eager to serve. From that day to this, horses have been the steeds of many nations, the servants of all who dare to rely on their great strength and speed.

As a creature born from Matra, who she regards as her mother, Epona is devotedly loyal to her first and foremost, and will betray trust as a messenger in deference to the will of her mother, though Matra seldom asks Epona to do so. Epona is also on quite good terms with the Small Ones, who look up to her with reverence, and with Wysha, who is a close and dear friend and occasional lover. The Great Mare has had several lovers among the gods, the chiefmost of which are Karn, Jyn, and Velos. Karn and Epona have a tempestuous relationship, coming and going in fits and starts, with many clashes between the two deities' powerful personalities, and it is for this reason that the dwarves, who look to Karn as one of their chief patrons, ride only ponies, when they ride horses at all, not trusting to the continued good will of the mistress of horses. Jyn and Velos, on the other hand, have had long and deep relationships with Epona, Jyn the sort of lover that makes Epona laugh and enjoy herself while in his presence, while she feels a deep and abiding affection for Velos that goes beyond fleeting physical attraction. Jyn's relationship with Epona has inspired countless horse archers the world over, while Velos' relationship with the Great Mare has led the elves, the race under Velos' patronage, to have a deep relationship with horses, leading many of them to be some of the greatest riders of legend, elven horses to be among the best in the world, and for wildrunner elves to emulate Epona in their own endless racing across their plains homes. Sylver sees herself as Epona's older sister, a feeling which is mutual, and the two are on very close terms, and regularly share worshipers. Lugscar and Epona do not get along at all, and so no orc who worships Lugscar will ride a horse. Overall, however, Epona and her many children have been ridden by almost all the gods at some point, or had their great speed and strength used by the gods for great purposes. This means that all the gods, besides those mentioned with their special relationship to her, rely upon Epona to some degree, and she relies on them for the purpose and adventure that gives definition to her life and the lives of her children.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
As a god of horses, Epona is not a demanding deity. She requires only that those who rely on her children to provide horses with peaceful places for them to be put out to pasture when they are past the age where they can be of use. Freeing great numbers of horses, allowing them to live as they choose in the wild, without having to serve anyone any more, is an especially lavish gift that might be given should someone wish Epona's attention. While Epona dislikes the killing of her children for food, she recognizes that there is a need for it at times, but does strongly discourage it.

As a goddess of messengers, Epona is directly concerned with helping messengers to complete their tasks, and will provide assistance to those in need who call out to her. She is especially interested in those who ride horses to perform their delivery duties, but those who travel by other means also receive her attention and care. Should Epona's attention be gained, she has been known in several legendary examples to empower messengers with immense endurance and speed in running for long distances to bring essential news, but, like horses that are ridden too far, this is frequently fatal for the messenger, the messenger's steed, or both. Epona is also known to take a direct interest in her children, and while she does not concern herself with the small, normal threats that might cause the death of a few horses, she becomes quite interested and active indeed when the lives of a great many of her children are threatened, especially when this threat comes because of the actions of intelligent, two-legged mortals. She is also concerned with the health and safety of hoofed animal companions, and can be induced to act to save them from death.