For most people, darkness means night, and night means sleeping, perhaps hiding from the things which only come out at night. There are those who fear the dark, and those who go out into it willingly, and for both there is Vela Regalo, the Princess of Candles, a goddess of light and hope. Vela Regalo is rarely actually depicted, though in stories she is often a young girl who carries a candle to ward away the dark. She is the patron of those seeking their way home and, to a lesser extent, those seeking anything in the dark.
In towns and cities, the night is just as good a time as any for certain activities, legal or otherwise, and so many streets are lit by lamps dedicated to Vela. In smaller communities a central light source, such as a bonfire or even a single lantern in the village square, might be dedicated to her. The people who maintain these light sources, lamplighters and the like, are the closest that Vela comes to having a clergy. There is no central church dedicated to Vela Regalo, as she is more of a folk goddess, someone to whom people pray from time to time when they find themselves scared and in the dark, when they need hope in their dreary lives, or need to get home after a night of drunken revelry. Those responsible for keeping the way lit tend to be devoted to her, or to develop such a devotion if they are at the work for long.
There are those who take their worship of Vela Regalo more seriously, and there are some few wandering priests, many of them adventures, who take her role as a beacon of hope to heart. They travel from place to place, helping out where they can however they can, whether that is providing some healing or thumping on monsters. They also attend to roadside shrines, often found at crossroads or places to get out of the weather. Such shrines are usually little more than a thick candle or lantern, and tending them often requires merely relighting that source, but it is still a task taken seriously.
Most of Vela’s worshippers are those children still learning to trust that the darkness is not always home to dangers. Miners will often inscribe a candle on their gear or say a short prayer to her before heading down to work. Thieves, assassins, and creatures of the night tend to spit at her name, though for those who cannot naturally see in the dark, she is granted a grudging respect. Adventurers who delve into the dark places of the world searching for treasure or honor are quick to praise her, for a torch can mean the difference between life and death in monster-filled caverns and other subterranean locales. Those priests who devote themselves to her are especially popular among such folks, and many of her devout spend much of their time in such places, pushing back against the darkness.
Artwork: “A Candle,” by Blanche Fisher Wright, from The Real Mother Goose, 1916.