The Old Gods: There is a class of god that is remote, vast and distant which is worshipped by the men of Symvaere. These gods seem to be aloof and disinterested in the goings-on of mankind, instead presiding over the elements and nature of the world. The Old Gods are believed by some to include a goddess who presides over the Weave itself, called Hexaka, the creator of all things magic. Though the gods are old and quiet, they are regarded as the symbols of the designs of creation and revered by all. They appearto be a class apart from the scheming Enemione. All of these deities belong to the old barbarian patheon of deities which began in Threngaul and migrated south during the great invasion which led to the downfall of Gatalas.
There is an ancient tome which tells the secret truth of the Old Gods. This book, called the Grimoire of the Unspeakable, was penned by an anonymous madman during the height of the old empire, and within its pages is a troubling tale: behind the scenes, buried within a weave of lies and deception so thick that almost no one can even comprehend the truth let alone parse it out from what few facts exist, the Old Gods are servants of their dark father of chaos, the Hyadomachias, the great Wormlord of chaos which rests imprisoned beneath the northern mountains of Threngaul, a terrible dreaming blight upon the land. The remoteness of these gods is there for a purpose: they require the unyielding devotion of their flock, and to reveal any grand design toward the awakening of their dark father on the Hour of the Apocalypse would be to give their hideous game away. Secretly some of the Old Gods scheme for power of their own, to awaken Hyadomachias purely so he can in that brief moment of awakening release a concept known as the Dream, the Oineros, which will escape the prisoner, Hypnos, lord of sleep. In that brief moment the schemers, which include Hexaka, Sol Dranus and Sinatar will grab the power of the dream and make it their own….banishing their father in the process. The reason for this? In dream and dream alone the Hyadomachias is vulnerable, for the realm of dreams was created in the dawn of time to serve as the eternal slumbering prison for the Wormlords.
Old Gods in Brief:
Sol Dranus – The god of the sun, also light and the seasons.
Sin Datha – Goddess of the moon and women.
Sittarthos – the god of the river of time.
Andrashtos – god of forgers and craftsmen.
Hexaka – Goddess of the Weave and magic; the mysteries.
Synodon – God of darkness, evil and strife.
Hal Avag – god of the underworld and the dead.
Dro Magnos – god of the eternal cosmic darkness of the heavens.
Esetra Mione – the goddess of the winds and mistress of music and language.
Hurg Vaar – The lord of beasts and cruelty.
Sinatar – goddess of knowledge and war.
Hagarden – god of the oceans and water.
Worship of the old gods is common, but the old gods rarely seem to grace their followers with any sign of divinity. On rare occasions a prophet, oracle or divine champion will arise who claims he hears the voice of his god, to which he must answer the call to right a great wrong. Most regard such men as mad, caught up in the insanity brought about by exposure to the Weave, for they often exibit powers or abilities clearly of such a source. Strangely, some scholars and sorcerers who have studied these gifted holy folk contend that there is no evidence their abilities stem from the Weave…
Of significance is that no gods in Symvaere are “creator gods” in the sense that none of them save perhaps Hurg Vaar are believed to have created living creatures. In the mythology of Symvaere, the beasts of the land are almost like a manifestation of the land itself, elemental spirits given physical form, percolating fully formed out of the nameless chaos. Even mankind is said to have sprung from the soil itself, in the wake of the footsteps of the gods (particularly Sol Dranus)….but unnoticed by these beings who are of such might that their concerns lie in cosmic events beyond the ken of human understanding.
Ultimately, the key facet of Symvaeric belief is that the gods are beyond human understanding, but not beyond caring. Those of sufficient piety and dedication are destined to ascend to the promised realms of the celestial kingdoms beyond, a realm beyond even the Weave. Those who are unable to achieve this peace are doomed to enter the netherworld of Hel, the dominion of the death god Hurg Vaar. Those who follow a path of wickedness, who stray far from the righteous path or the wayward path are destined to be grabbed the demons which lurk in the Weave…
This religious belief in the afterlife is most common in Carceras, Alavanese, Dachmar and Drethune. Some other religious faiths share the same (or similar) gods but perceive them in different ways. The people of Bellastor, for example, do not see a division between Hel, the Weave and the Celestial Kingdom, instead believing all three are different aspects of the same dominion. Moreover, they believe in reincarnation, and that those who strive for perfection in their choice of divine ethos are given opportunity for redemption in future (and past) lives. Meanwhile, the enigmatic folk of Tai’Ridion have rejected the worship of the Old Gods entirely in favor of a hunt for the Mysteries, which they claim are the true gods behind creation, who seek to deliberately mask their existence from their creations. The Tai’Ridion people do not even believe in a conventional Hel and Heaven as the bulk of the Young Kingdoms do, seeing only a concept of exchange and barter among souls in the Weave, one which is vast and ancient and for which moral concepts are merely humanity’s way of trying to grasp the real machinations of the Mysteries.
The Cthonic Gods of Gatalas
There is also a dominion of worship of a different kind: the Cthonic Gods, who were once worshipped by Gatalas. When Old Gatalas fell these gods were demonized and driven into the dark corners of the earth, where the worshippers were forced to gather to continue their cults. Stripped of status and declared heretical by the barbarian invaders who brought down the empire these gods remain in the dark to this day, and are best defined now as the Cthonic Gods.
Kraedas – originally the god of kings and emperors, the old figurehead of Gatalas. He is still revered in hidden cults by those who see him as a god of might and warriors, but his status as the “king of kings” has all but disappeared.
Kyberene – Goddess of old magic and mysteries, her cult is pervasive because the secrets she taught were coveted by those who could practice magic. Her power is strong even today, though her cults are banned in most lands of the Young Kingdoms as heretics who consort with demons of the Weave.
Sitiara – Sister goddess to Cyberene, Sitiara’s old temples of fertility and fornication were shocking and memorable to the dour barbarian invaders, but they were still torn down. Today a quiet but dedicated cult continues to function with subterranean shrines revered by the down trodden, the outcast, prostitutes and those who perform the sacred magic that incorporates the power of sexual chakras.
Uthoros – the dark god of the old underworld remains a potent force in some regions, worshipped more by monsters and the undead. It is said that the undead did not truly exist as a force to be reckoned with until Uthoros’s priests were cast down and buried alive by the barbarian warlord Sametor in 374 FG (Founding of Gatalas). Sametor himself wrote of how the priests, interred in their catacomb-temple, perished, only to rise as undead a week later and massacre his army. Since then, Uthoros has been identified as the lord of the undead and vengeance.
Uthoros is believed to be a brother to the Merillian god Gravenor and the Selindari demon god The Grasping Claw. There is an old myth cycle that suggests that each brother chose a different continent on which to dwell, and that each in turn divided the souls of the world accordingly.
Saigul – the old god of storms is a vengeful, angry beast said to despise all humanity. A quiet dedication of markers and shrines on ships throughout the Forlorn Sea, Resonant Sea and Starry Ocean continues to this day despite conventional rejection of this god because sailors still believe in Saigul’s terrifying might. Rumors of old cults in hidden grottos that make human sacrifices to appease Saigul, and followers who have mated with the denizens of the deep to produce terrifying offspring are unsubstantiated, but likely true.
The Lesser Gods: The Enemione
The Enemione: there are seven lesser “demigods” in the world who are regarded by some as divine figures, and others as powerful ancient spirits who were once mortals. These gods exist as immortal beings, but they are driven creatures, acting for all purposes like scheming mortals though they are clearly something more. The seven are called the Enemione (the Gatalic word for “mysteries”), and are deeply enmeshed in the Weave itself, seeming to be preoccupied with the strange worlds it contains within; some say the Weave tempts people to learn its secrets, then ensnares them with those secrets, drawing them deep into its web of mystery.
The seven Enemione are:
Phyralgea – the goddess of the woods and fey. She manifests as a centauroid woman with the torso of a human and the body and legs of a gazelle. She is the queen of the Arboreal realm, of which the fey kingdoms are a part, and is revered by the elves as a creator god. She is most ancient of the Seven, and is believed to come from a time when man was primitive. Some stories imply she is the daughter of the goddess Hexaka.
Uraligas – the old god of knowledge and lore, Uraligas is believed to have been the first true sorcerer of the old empire, and was there when it was founded. He dwells in a realm of his own creation within the Weave, said by some to be a great oasis protected on all sides by an unfathomably vast desert. He has mostly removed his presence from the mortal world, dwelling almost entirely in the Weave.
Dragmachul – The black knight of old tales, Dragmachul is said to have been a general of Gatalas who was spirited away by the elven witch Perisiphen into the wilds or the Weave, and there he survived and even thrived, eventually, carving out a reputation for himself as he mastered both sorcery and sword. Dagmachul has a keen interest in the mortal plane, but he has never been able to break the ensorcellment of Perisiphen; his agents in the mortal plane have a long-standing task to find a way to break her spells of entrapment that he may return to the mortal world for conquest and revenge. He is believed to have forged the orcs out of the Weave and set them loose in the world to do his evil work.
Perisiphen – the witch of Dachmar is an elven woman of great power. She dwells mostly in the mortal plan, but in a region heavily warped and altered by the magic of the Weave. She is regarded as a protector of the Everinyi elves of Dachmar, and is a fearsome specter of darkness to the humans of the land. Witches and warlocks worship and study her ways to gain hidden power.
Altasar – the mad mage Altasar is an ancient immortal known to be the first to consort with the demons of the Weave, calling them forth and unleashing the first of their kind upon the world. He is ancient, almost as ancient as Phyringea, and is believed to predate the old empire of Gatalas.
Emasia – one of the younger of the Enemione, Emasia was believed to have unlocked the secrets of the Weave during the end of the old empire, and she is regarded as the mistress of magic by many. Some have accused her of also consorting with devils, and having drawn them in to the “Weave” as the term for the spaces where the Weave and the Mortal Realm touch are called. Others regard her as the greatest sorceress in the Young Kingdoms and revere her for her knowledge and wisdom.
Denachus – the great sorcerer of old Gatalas, Denachus was known for his deep understanding of sorcery through the Weave. He disappeared during the reign of Emperor Hannidos, at a time when the empire was vast and strong. Some claimed he was pursuing the deepest secrets of the Weave, and others that he was driven mad by it….but he disappeared, and did not reappear until the time of collapse, during which he found himself at great odds with his new pupil, Emasia, who some claim stole his secrets of the Weave from him.