Eshtarra is the Planetary Incarna of Gaia. Words cannot express the feeling of seeing the realm of ones own home from space, let alone Eshtarra's realm.

Eshtarra is called the Songteller. As might be expected, she, like Tambiyah, favors Galliards and she takes special interest in the Fianna for their love of song and story. Approaching her realm one can hear the howls of her protectors who come to challenge visitors rights to be here. These spirit-wolves are huge black creatures with starry coats. Greeting them with a howl of introduction and stating your purpose is the only way to pass Eshtarra's pack. Coming to this most sacred of places requires that one not have any malice in their hearts, least these protectors will battle travelers to the death.

Our Little Slice of Heaven and Hell

Whiles the Songteller corresponds to the planet Earth, she and her domain do not exactly reflect things exactly as Umbra reflections of Gaia. The nearest portions of the Umbra show things as they truly are, with particularly spiritual areas appearing even more so in the spirit world and blights showing their true colours even if they aren't noticeable as such on the earthly side of the Gauntlet. Rather than mirroring things as they are, as the Penumbra does, Eshtarra's realm depicts them as they one were or might be. It's a subtle distinction, but an important one. There are places in Eshtarra's realm that are so lush in life that they put Tambiyah's domain to shame; However the other extreme — the blasted lands — is also just as real within her domain.

Finally arriving, travelers are welcomed by an idyllic spot on the beach were waves of deep azure crash into a foaming white against the shore. They leave behind tiny treasures of shells, rounded rocks and glowing sea grasses. The smell of fresh salt on ocean air. Silvery fish leap atop the waves, dancing for their own amusement, rolling upward from the beach are verdant hills and cliffs, blessed with exotically scented tropical flowers, swaying green-topped trees and white-ribboned waterfalls that plunge into deep, lily graced pools. Bright winged birds fly from tree to tree, singing out greetings to strangers in the realm, as they move along the beach and monkey-creatures toss fruits at passerbys so that they may be replenished from their travels.

Higher still rises the central crater, its volcanic nature made apparent by it conical shape and the soft glow and clouds of steam crowing it.

Despite this picturesque view in a different direction, one could find a soul-dead city, with bloated buildings forming canyons of despair were twisted wrecks of mean hunt one another for sport or by necessity. Neon pulses sickness into the air along side the reeking fumes of factories and transports. Lasers cut the night, aimed by those who live higher up among the skyscrapers, spearing through those unable to escape their burning beams. Famine-bellied children covered in excrement haunt the streets begging for one crust of food, willing to sell their souls for a taste of clean water. Acidic rain pours down, pitting the rusting hulks of cars abandoned in the alleyways. Crews sweep through the streets, picking up the shattered bodies of murdered victims and dead infants, transporting them to the factory furnaces, where their flesh becomes fuel for the processes of industry. Dead-eyed workers movie in lines like zombies commanded to carry out some dread mission by their master. The cries of misery are overwhelmed only by the nauseating stench. Is this what will be or only the fevered imaginings of a Galliard who has seen too much?

Signs point to maybe either in this realm.

Those who she speaks with find that she speaks with a soft voice and offers knowledge and Gifts for increasing her repertoire of songs, poems and stories about the Earth and their place in it. She is particularly gracious to those who compose songs about her. Those who could not — or rather those who would not even try — to create a new tale or tune, she tends to spurn, saying that the Garou must beauty and heed ancient melodies and lore if they are to triumph over their enemies.

Eshtarra's Glade

Eshtarra's Glade is where she tends to meet travelers to her realm. Here, a song hangs in the air, voiced by tiny birds that make up the outer ring of Eshtarra's Glade. What looks like a chaotic jumble of flowering bushes is thousands of birds of various colours perched or flying along the perimeter of the glade. Those who walk toward them and sing with them will find that the birds will let them pass through. Passing the birds one enters a grassy glade starred with tiny flowers. A shallow brook cresses the clearing. Those looking behind from where they entered will see a wall of trees — oak, ash, alder, birch, rowan, hazel, elder, hawthorn, holly and willy. Vines heavy with fruit and silvered ivy line their trunks. In the center of the glade rests a stone, and enormous unpolished crystal shot through with veins of gold.

Harmonious tones resonate throughout the glade, emanating from for else enhanced by the stone. This crystal serves as the seat of the Incarna. Here Eshtarra meets with those who seek her. She waits for her visitors, asking only that they sing with her, a song of love for the earth; a song of sorrow for her pain. The song she requires is a new one, one that has never been sung before. If some among the group lacks a good gear or pleasing voice, others may speak the song, making it a poem or story. It can be about anything, but it must be true, a true story of something you have done, somewhere you have been or even thoughts have have. So long as it is true to your heart and true to the earth, your offering will be accepted. Eshtarra takes what others give and weaves them into her own stories and songs.

If she is pleased, she may offer something in return — perhaps a talent or a Gift. One gift known as Oaksong allows those blessed with it the ability to speak with things inanimate yet living. She also allows those who please her to rest upon the crystal seat. Those who accept may be granted a vision or gifted with an ability to sing. There is a danger in the stone however, for its effects are not always so beneficial.

Dangers of the Realm

Wanderers can stumble across almost anything in Eshtarra's domain. Edenic landscapes my hold serpents whose poison disables Garou, and the blighted areas may shelter insane, infested beings capable of killing those who are not war enough. Of all the planetary realms, Eshtarra's is closest to being invaded by the spirits and warriors of the Wyrm.

Further, an excess of anything can be bad. Such is the problem with accepting the Lady Eshtarra's offer to rest upon the Songstone. While there is the chance that it will grant the petitioner a vision of the ability to sing with a voice like a lark, it is equally likely that the stone may cause a troubling effect instead.

The Songstone - The gold-threaded crystal serves as Eshtarra's throne. When invoked by those whom she gives permission, it may cause one of several different effects. Whiles Voice and Visions have been already explained. However the stone has been been known to cause one to be filled with a song so tragic, of such poignant sorrow that it cannot get it out of their heads. Those cursed under this Lamentation will do so until they have preformed a very significant task.

There is also the chance of Revelry: the polar opposite of lamentation, under this curse, one hears a song of mirth that they cannot remain serious for more than a moment at a time. Like a Ragabash on overdrive, the cursed plays tricks, finds everything funny and cannot concentrate on anything but hilarity for long. This renders one incapable of any effective action. After all if all of life is a joke, what harm is there in slacking off. This curse remains until they can succeed in a significant task despite the handicap.

Eshtarra as a Totem

Eshtarra herself prefers not to act as a totem to packs, feeling that such packs might grow heady with arrogance, believing themselves Gaia's especial favorites. When she takes a pack, she does so in her aspect of Danu/Dana. Eshtarra is the embodiment of every song, every story, every poem, every thought concerning the Earth. She herself can assume almost any form, but she prefers to remain a natural part of the realm itself. She might be a tree or an outcropping of mineral-veined rock. She could be a single blade of grass or the ocean's foam. Eshtarra could be the sound of the wind in the reeds or the taste of salt on the air. One must be observant whiles traveling through her lands noting what they see before she assumes a form to speak with them.

Many times she will take on the form of a woman who is still the land itself. Her hair falls in tangled green waves down her back, twisting like vines and plants seeking sunlight. Her skin is like smooth wood, patterned with markings like growth rings and pale as a birch tree. Her blue eyes reflect in them all the oceans, seas, and lakes of the land and as she moves, tears run down her face becoming flowing streams. Her clothing is simple, seemingly woven from wheat and green grasses, whiles her sandals seem — impossibly — to be hewn from stone set with glittering gems Around her brow she wears a circlet of feathers and her trailing cloak seems to be constructed of leaves and flowers. Wherever she walks, sings or speaks, and at her comings, the land takes on the guise of what ever song she is singing about.

Danu, totem of wisdom - Danu is a powerful totem of the ancient Celts. Often thought to be a faerie spirit, Danu is actually the spirit of an ancient wise woman. Danu is a very hard totem to reach and thus does not often reveal herself to the Garou. In fact, not many Garou know of her.

Eshtarra, under the guise of Danu grants her Children Second Sight, giving them the Gift of pulse of the Invisible. Her packs gain the ability to entrance listeners through singing or howling. In addition, the pack gains access to Past Lives; this is not an actual affinity with Garou ancestors, but an ability to learn ancient knowledge and lore by accessing primal memories. All Fianna and faeries will recognize and honor Children of Danu.

Danu asks that her Children hold a moot in her honor on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Eshtarra, the Song Teller: The Second Lunar Month

Aetherial Realm - Earth
Auspice - Galliard
Colours - Blue, green, white
Element - Earth
Other Names - Gaia, Terra, Danu
Quality - Fruitfulness
Tarot Card - Empress
Tribe - Fianna
Vices - Excess
Virtues - Nurturing
Zodiac Correspondence - Taurus

In the second month of the lunar year, the garou remember the reason for their existance. Gaia, whose realm is Earth, has chosen the Garou to protect her and her creation. Her lesser facet, the Incarna known as Eshtarra the songteller, reminds us of the Earth's richness. Through Eshtarra, we hear the music of the spheres, the songs of Gaia's creatures and the stories of our ancestors. She is the record of our past and the hope for our future. Just as Nerigal gives weapons with which to fight, so Eshtarra gives a reason for the battle — the fruitfulness of the earth and the care she shows her children.

The Songtellers' planet is Earth itself, for Eshtarra is on of the aspects of Gaia, the nurturing Earth Mother. Her colours are blue, green and white — the green of the forests and grasslands, the blue of the oceans and the white clouds that surround the earth. Eshtarra favors Galliards over the other auspices, sense they keep the stories and songs of the Garou close to their hearts. Galliards born during Eshtarra's lunar month seem more attuned to the songs of nature than most other Galliards. Eshtarra Ahroun, whiles still fierce warriors, fight more fervently on the defense, when they need to exert their prowess to protect something. Philodox born during the month ruled by the Songteller employ parables and tales to illustrate their arguments and explain their decisions. Theurges influence by Eshtarra respond to the power inherent in the earth, seeing themselves as channels through which Gaia works her will. The tricks and wiles of Eshtarra's Ragabash exhibit an earthiness that often grows crude, but actually brings the tricksters of the Garou closer to an understanding of the Mother.

Eshtarra corresponds to Taurus, the Bull, in the Western zodiac. This decidedly masculine image complements the female nature of Eshtarra, forming a fertile duality that encompasses the concept of fruitfulness and propagation.

Creativity and productivity, both aspects of the nurturing quality that is Eshtarra's primary strength, reach their highest levels in the Songtellers's children. Overproductiveness and undisciplined creativity — excess — constitute the greatest failing of those Garou born during the second lunar month.

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