Lwe is the god of war and honorable combat. In the countries of Nelakii and Sa’Nar, there are strong rules about how to properly wage war, and specifically on the taking of honorable prisoners of war. The most important of these is the rule that a person taken prisoner in battle may be taken as a hostage and kept as a slave for one year – at the end of that year, they are to be released at the battlefield from which they were taken, and no grudge against them may be held. Lwe is believed to uphold these laws and guide and defend warriors.
Lwe is most often depicted as a muscular, dark-skinned Human man, usually carrying a spear and shield.
The Warrior’s Code
- Foes captured in battle shall be spared, and taken as slaves for a single year, during which time the captive shall work alongside his captor, and shall be given hard work, but treated with respect.
- A warrior shall never fight against a brother or sister, nor against father or mother.
- The children or spouse of an enemy are not to be harmed; unless they choose to pick up weapons against you.
- Battles may be fought with trickery, but duels are to be fought honorably; opponents must face each other, recite their reasons for the duel, ask their opponent to reconsider, and then, if neither will back out, bow to each other before commencing. Following a duel to the death, the victor must sing out the name and titles of his foe, and must then bear the body to his kindred or tribe to tell them of his death.
- Those that do not follow the warrior’s code are still to be treated with honor; they will be judged by the gods, not by mortals.
Stories about Lwe
The Honorable Man
There was a man, a husband and a warrior. He was a man of great faith, who had pledged his sword and his spear to Lwe, and who followed the warrior’s code. He had fought in battles, and had taken his share of captives, and been taken himself, and he was at peace with his place in the world.
It came to pass that this man took a captive in battle; and though this captive had fought fiercely, he did not believe in the codes. The man took the captive back to his home, as was tradition, and there the captive slew the man’s wife, stole a zebra from him, and fled. The man wept for his wife, and he sent her to rest in honor, singing of her kindness and her love. When the rites were completed, he took up his sword and spear and shield, and he set out after his captive. He followed for many days and nights, and though he came far behind the captive, he was persistent in his search and in his prayers to Lwe. At last, he came upon his captive once again, and the man confronted him, asking him to return as a captive and serve out his one year. The captive refused, and instead demanded a duel. The man asked him if he would not reconsider, but the captive was adamant. Thus the man asked him to begin the duel. The captive called out his purpose for the duel – to not be forced into slavery, even for a year, and to return home with the glory of battle upon him. In return, the man called out his purpose; to settle the matter before the eyes of the gods, that they may judge as they will. Neither would reconsider, so the man made to bow down before the captive, as was proper. But the captive was treacherous still, and leapt towards the man, sword in hand, meaning to cut him down as he bowed. The man ducked the blow narrowly, but he could not begin an honorable duel until the captive had returned his bow. So the man ducked and dodged and turned back each blow, but would not strike at the captive. All the while, he prayed to Lwe, asking for the strength to keep his vows. After many blows, the captive lunged forward, disarming the man, and raised his blade to strike him down. As the blade fell, a shield appeared, blocking the man from harm. A new warrior stood beside him, tall and dark and carrying a spear and shield, and clothed in the skin of a leopard. The captive fell back, frightened, and this new warrior, who was the god Lwe, struck him down as a breaker of oaths.
The man, having seen his opponent fall, cried out in thanks to Lwe. The warrior god rested his spear upon the man’s forehead, and praised him for his faithfulness. Then the god vanished, and the body of the captive with him, thus freeing the man to return home in honor.