Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: Gods of the Middle Kingdoms Part I

Principle Gods of Life and Order

Profile: fatherhood, earth, farming, oxen, community
Alignment: lawful
   Amasyr is a benevolent god of harvests, agriculture and the weather. He is revered principally in the southlands and among rural farm shrines throughout the Middle Kingdoms. He is described in the myths as husband to Enki.
While Enki is the goddess of the water, sky, clouds and weather, the elements that bring life to the land, Amasyr is the lord of the earth, mountains, plants and those who farm and till for the bounty of the soil. Amasyr is described by his small but dedicated monastic followers are the very essence of the earth, the caverns in her depths, the grottos by the sea, and nurturing soil of the plants. In a curious turn-about, the essence of the goddess is the domain of Amasyr, her care-taker.
   Amasyr is a surprisingly docile god, a venerable deity whose worship began long ago among the most ancient of pastoral farming communities and has continued strong in to the present. He is the patron of those masculine elements in such duties as parenting, fatherhood, and the integrity of the family and community. He is a curious anathema in a pantheon of violent male gods struggling in opposition to one another.
   Amasyr is also a bit of an enigma to religious scholars. His first written reference in the Idean codices does not appear until the description of his marriage to Enki, prior to which is he never once mentioned. Amasyr’s presence in ancient, stone-age communities has been established by the antiquarians of Midas, and the Palomar University, for his religious symbol has been found in ancient ruins dating to the time before written texts, however. This in itself is a conundrum, for most priesthoods (especially Enki’s and Naril’s) contend that the mortal world began with the first written word in the Idean Codex of Creation, penned by the representative god or goddess of whichever priest is making the argument on this claim at any given time.
   The priests of Amasyr dwell in remote monastic temples, and follow a life of quiet dedication to their god. Each priests is expected to go out in to their communities after they spend a time learning the doctrine of their order, and provide a moral and just compass to their communities. They tend to stay far away from larger cities, and provide instead for smaller towns and villages.

Profile: forgers, weapons and armor, metalworking, dwarves
Alignment: lawful
   Ashturak is a human and dwarven god of craftsmen, smiths and architects. He is a pragmatic god, said to dwell deep within a vast celestial mountain range that can be reached through a special passage in the eastern mountains of Amech. Ashturak is rather famously depicted in murals riding a Pegasus.
Ashturak is the ancient lord of the Cosmic Forge, the massive instrument which in the Codex of Creation is said to have been used by Ga’thika herself to create the world. Ashturak is himself said to have struck the first blow on his great anvil, and the sparks which shot forth from the Cosmic Forge became the first of the dwarves.
   Ashturak is worshipped as a creator god among the dwarves, as a patron of craftsmen in most human lands, and an enigmatic mountain lord among the northerners. His greatest temple is in Hyrkan’ien, the Imperial capitol, where the venerable Suethendur high-priest Aurangabad presides over the ceremonies of creation. His priesthood consists mostly of silver and iron dwarves, though an occasional human or other crafty soul will feel the calling of this creator deity and join the ranks. They are a militant knighthood in their own right, and within Hyrkania the Order of the Forge is a knighthood comprised entirely of suethendur dwarves, the most elite of which ride stout pegasi as mounts.
   The forger god is not only revered for his knowledge of metal working among the Middle Kingdoms, but it is said that he was first brought to man by the dwarves in the deep north, where he has long been considered the god of all things important.
Appearance: Ashturak always appears as a venerable and powerful dwarf before a great forge. His immense hammer is capable of shattering anything it strikes, and his temper is cooled only by his lust to create new and more powerful weaponry. It is said that his tomb is somewhere in the heart of the eastern Ashturak’s Mountains, named after this god in his honor. Within the region of his tomb, a cavenous expanse that is said to border his celestial kingdom is said to exist, and it is from here that many of the great magical weapons of the world were created.

Profile: water, sailors, fertility, motherhood, kings, Octzel
Alignment: lawful
   Enki is the goddess of the sea, patron of sailors and protector of Octzel, where her cult is strongest. Enki has variable roles, but she is regarded as a powerful female goddess and this lends to the matrilineal focus of Octzellan society, in contrast with the patrilineal approach of Hyrkania. Her greatest temple is located off the coast of Capitol Octzel, where hundreds of priests maintain a prestigious college of learning as well as offering some famously spectacular ceremonial events.
Enki is recognized throughout the Middle Kingdoms as a goddess of good fortune, a patron of sailors, royalty, weather and crops. She is the bringer of spring, and in the kingdom of Octzel her sacred holiday is the time of the spring equinox. Enki is especially important in Octzel, where she is the civic goddess of the land, patron of the kingdom and protector of its people. She is said to be married in the celestial kingdoms to Amasyr, and that their children include the gods Seth, Ogron, and Trimelin.
   In the Idean Codices, Enki appears in the Myth-Tale volumes as a younger goddess, who was born after the creation of the world. She is identified as the daughter of Naril and Selene, and is said to be the sister to Temina, Slithotep, Death and Dalroth.
   The Church of Enki encompasses a series of priesthoods dedicated to Enki and her children, though Amasyr’s monasteries are considered separate from Enki’s ecclesiastics. Most all of Enki’s priests are women, but a few dedicated men are encouraged to join. The priests are important members of the community, and can be found in many roles, including teachers, advisors, midwives, missionaries, scribes and recorders. The priests who lead the most adventurous lives are the missionaries, and a disproportionate number of these hardy souls are men.
   A subset of the priesthood are the order of the Temple Guardians, special priests who are trained in martial combat and serve as crusaders and protectors of the church and the goddess. The Temple Guardians are rarely found outside of their training grounds and the temples, but when a militant soul is needed for a special task, it is from these ranks that the warrior priest is taken.
Appearance: Enki is pictured often, both In murals, paintings, and statues throughout Octzel. She is seen as a serene goddess of pure beauty, holding her sacred trident in one hand and the Codex of Law in the other.

Profile: rebirth, pharaohs of Galon, Engineers and Architects
Alignment: lawful
   This god is worshipped only in the southernmost reaches of Galvonar in Galonia proper. Galon was believed to be a mortal who rose to the ranks of demigod and became patron of his land and descendants. All pharaohs since his reign have looked to the spiritual guidance of the first Pharaoh. Architects in the land revere Galon for his impressive contributions to the field of engineering in his day.

Profile: healing, protection, Samaritans, sacrifice, caring
Alignment: lawful
   Hellia is a living goddess in this era. She is a benevolent healer and said to be a demigoddess by those who meet her. A small order of knights hospitalers have sworn to serve her, and she is followed by many who would learn at her feet. Her very touch can heal and even restore the dead. She wanders the Middle Kingdoms; it is prophecied that she will be killed as a martyr during the Dark War, though none know it yet.
Hellia is an odd goddess, whose focus is divided between healing the sick and wounded, but tempering that with the inevitability of death. She is as likely to be seen as the cause of a malady or illness, set upon those whose fortune was too great and sudden as she is to be responsible for the miraculous cures and and healing powers of her best priests. If a plague starts, Hella is said to be evening the balance. If a plague is stopped, Hellia is being merciful.
   Hellia’s curatoriums are most commonly found in larger cities, where disease and illness propogate faster. Her priests also wander the land as teachers and healers, seeking to offer wisdom, philosophy and advice along with healing.
Appearance: Hellia is portrayed in images and through statues as a blind goddess who carries her sacred staff of healing. A serpent entwines the staff and her left hand, while she grasps the Ankh of Life firmly in her right hand.

Profile: thieves, tricksters, charlatans, messengers, dead          
Alignment: lawful
   This transitional god represents messengers, tricksters and well-intended individuals who serve order through less than ethical channels. His role in the pantheon is one of communication, as the divine messenger of the gods. He is brother to the Nameless One, and together they are the only two gods who serve as pathfinders for the souls of the dead.
Hermes is another ancient god who appears in the pantheon of the Middle Kingdoms late in the game. He is one of the gods of the afterlife, though he is free to move between all realms. Hermes serves as a messenger to the gods, and is presented as a sort of master of gossip in the myth tales, for he sees and hears all. Hermes is also a guide to the lands of the dead and beyond, and it is his job to help wayward souls find their way to the afterlife.
   Hermes also became a patron of thieves, tricksters and other suspicious individuals. His tales speak of his own errant nature, as well as his persistent compassion for mortals, who would fall victim to the hand of Death. He is said to have taught men how to be crafty, that they might have a fair shot at avoiding death, and so he became the patron of thieves and tricksters.
   Venerated in the Northron Kingdoms as well for his role as messenger of the gods, Herme is often called the harbinger of ill omen by the northmen.
   Hermes appears as a young, athletic man with winged shoes and helm. He is readily identified by extra dimensional travelers from certain other realms as a god who moves through more than one prime material plane, which is true, for Hermes is the messenger of all gods, and knows the pathways of all realms, in to the infinite realm of the Countless Primes.

Profile: time, infinity, the cosmos, planar travel, sequences
Alignment: Lawful
   Huuarl is an enigmatic lord of time and space, a deity with few followers outside of scholars of esoteric studies who are aware of this quiet deity’s existence. In the mythology Huuarl is said to have existed even before the fabled primordial Mysteries, though he was never regarded as one of their kind for unknown reasons. Huuarl has also been variably described as an animating force which chooses hosts to act as care-takers, and that Huuarl is the most recent individual chosen to oversee time and space.
The Timelord and keeper of Infinity, Huuarl and his priests are entrenched in a never-ending war against the destructive chaos cults such as the Nihilists and the Cult of the Kraken. Huuarl is said to be a brother to Damortus, and that they committed to the defense of eternity in their youth, a promise made to the Earth Mother Ga’Thika herself.
   Huuarl’s cult is comprised of clerics and mages called chronomancers. The chronomancers have a small but dedicated membership, which is concentrated in Hyrkania, Sylvias, and Galonia. In Octzel, a Temple of the Golden Traveler can be found outside of the Capitol, Octzel, which is dedicated to Huuarl, as well. Their members are associates of the elvish Protectorate, and they have been known to fight fiercely against the cults they oppose.
   The order of Huuarl is said to take its mandate from a codex that is not part of the Idean collection held by the Temple of Naril, a book, allegedly written centuries before the first codex was ever penned. The book outlines the sacred and celestial mechanics of the universe, the secret of time, and the mechanisms and spells by which travel through time is possible. The order guards these books well.
   Priests of Huuarl are guarded, secretive, and rarely even divulge their faith to others. They are usually both mages and clerics, and often become mystic theurges.
Appearance: Huuarl is pictured as a lean, golden-skinned man of indeterminate years, sometimes robed, and always watchful. He carries the two artifacts of his faith, the Hourglass of Infinity, and the Gauntlet of Passage.

Profile: luck, bad luck, blue orcs, fate, fortune, fools, curses, harlots, sailors 
Alignment: neutrality
   Mitra is the goddess of fortune both good and ill and the oft maligned sister of Enki. She is seen as a champion of the underdogs of society, and is considered a patron of the downtrodden for this reason. She has a mysterious ancient temple deep within the woods of her namesake, and regional cults of orcs worship her, curiously, though such cults are regarded as a curiosity among the chaos kin.
   Mitra is also seen as a patron of sailors who will often offer prayers to her for a safe voyage, as well as harlots and courtesans who look to shrines in her honor for success and safety.
Appearance: Mitra appears as a stern but beautiful woman with long, curly black hair in a light blue shift, playing songs upon an eerie harp (her sacred harp) and singing songs of fortune, both great and terrible.  

(East: Naq’ril; North: Narul)
Profile: fire, mankind, goodness, chivalry, honor, duty, law
Alignment: lawful
   The sun god and lord of civilization. His largest following is in Hyrkania, and his principle order is the Solarian Knights, an order of paladins. Naril is regarded as a good of righteousness and the embodiment of goodness and justice in life. His priesthood is somewhat dogmatic and militant, however, though they are justified by such actions given the encompassing theat of the chaos gods.
   Hyrkania has adopted Naril’s religion as the official religion of the Empire in recent centuries, and it has become the dominant theocratic voice of the land. The church of the Middle Gods is the second most regarded voice of the gods, though it is looked on with some disdain by the church of Naril for harboring many deities regarded as profane by the official church teachings.
   The high priest of the cult of Naril goes by the title of the Sacrimori. The current Sacrimori of Hyrkania is the high priestess Eminata Himanari; she is seen as the sacred consort to the sun god, and acts as the theological advisor to the Emperor.
Appearance: Naril appears as an armored warrior, giant, with golden skin bathed in light so right that to look upon him is instantly blinding. Beings of chaos are driven from his presence in pain and fire, and his army of angelic seraphim and spirit einheriar create his heavenly armies.

Profile: forests, woodland beings, druids, seasons, artists
Alignment: neutrality
   The lord of the woodlands, patron of druids and benefactor of the natural world, Niras is known for being the namesake of one of Hyrkania’s largest forestlands. He is a haunted soul according to the myths, with a callous dislike of all things civilized. Niras is believed to dwell in the heart of the Weirding, and to have long ago been a mortal who was ascended to godhood for his caretaking of the World Tree.
Appearance: Niras is depicted as an ancient and wizened druid hierophant, and occasionally as a treant. He is said to appear before his followers as a treant on special occasions and rituals.

Profile: practice of magic, learning, the truth, scholars and wizards         
Alignment: lawful
   Nistur is the sacred god of magic and learning, seen as synonymous with one another in the Hyrkanian Empire. His cult is known as the Order of the White Stag, with the stag being symbolic of Nistur himself, a flighty beast that contains the hidden mysteries and nourishment the mind craves. The largest temple to Nistur can be found in Eastonia, though a prominent temple can also be found in Hyrkan’ien.
Appearance: Nistur is portrayed as an elderly and wizened man who carries his sacred relic, the Staff of Knowledge with him. His eyes are bright points of light, and his body is a vessel which can barely contain an infinite bounty of mana.

Profile: night time, darkness
Alignment: unaligned
   Although Nyctaris is a little-known goddess, she is believed by many to be one of the first goddesses, sister to Nistur the sun and daughter of T’Kothos and Gathika. While some priests revere her for her position in the sky as the keeper of the darkness when her brother rests beneath the edge of the world, very few priests actually choose her as their patron deity.
   Nyctaris has been largely uninvolved in most of the myth-tales handed down, and she is only occasionally mentioned in the Idean Codices.
Appearance: Nyctaris appears as a fair-skinned woman with incredibly long night-black hair, dressed usually in deep blue robes decorated with brilliant stars.
Artifact: Nyctaris was said to have imbued a robe with the essence of night, a magi’s robe and cowl which could envelope the wearer in the darkness of space. The Robe of Nyctaris allows the wearer to remain totally concealed while it is worn, and renders the wearer invisible at night.

Profile: winds, weather, change, crops, seasons, glythanyu
Alignment: lawful
   Ogron is another god said to be the son of Enki and Amasyr, a rural agrarian deity regarded as beneficial to healthy crops, good weather and fair seasons. He was regionally adopted by the grey orcs of Ocentash as a beneficial deity as well as being very popular throughout the Middle Kingdoms.
Appearance: Ogron is pictured as a huge humanoid, of no particular giant-kin origin, dwelling high in the mountain peaks. Octzellan fables claim that he dwells in the highest peaks of the Cimmeran mountains, and this is half-right, for the most venerable and ancient of shrines to Ogron can be found there, instead.

Profile: love, seduction, lovers, sex, jealousy, obsession, bards
Alignment: neutrality
   Phonatas is an elvish goddess of love and intimacy, regarded as a fertility goddess who transposed herself in to the human cosmology from the elvish pantheon, eventually becoming a more universal goddess. She is seemingly benign, but her dedicated priesthood is well known for interfering in politics through subtle emotional manipulation, though on occasion they will take action more directly. The cult of Phonatas opposes warfare and violence whenever possible, though it does not hesitate to resort to such if necessary to avert a greater threat.
   Cult parlors to the goddess can be found in the major cities of the world; sylvan enclaves dedicated to the goddess can be found in remote forestlands, cared for by dedicated nymphs, dryads and satyrs.
Appearance: Phonatas is usually depicted as a nude woman rising from a lake, her hair blending in to the water. Those dedicated servants who have summoned her for aid must do so by casting their divination before a pool of water, from which the goddess will rise.

The Seraphim
Profile: variable
Alignment: lawful
The seraphim are actually a large host of divine minions who serve the celestial kingdoms of the gods. These beings are the counterparts to the demonic devonin, and are not usually worshipped by any individuals, though they may be called upon for specific spells and instances. There are many seraphim, some of which are listed as follows. Like devonin, seraphim can materialize on the mortal plane when called upon; prior to the reckoning, they could only manifest to try to balance an act of chaos against an act of order. In the present era, such rules have been cast aside, and brave seraphim take on mortal forms to try and avert the dire efforts of the minions of chaos.
Some of the Seraphim: This list is by no means complete:
Eholim: The angelic servants of the sun, keepers of the eternal flame.
Einheriar: The eternal warriors of light, the army of the apocalypse.
Piscrael: Lord of the Seraphim, general of the Einheriar.
Archamnios: The spirit of battle.
Gamnaes: Slayer of enemies.
Dremnesal: The spirit of perseverance.
Critaere: The spirit of creation.
Minhara: Protector of the heart and soul.
Magenta: The servant of Time.
Dryleah: The servant of the woodlands.
Incenar: The spirit of flames and loss.
Masros: The hunter of evil.
Thanadan: The protector of the gates of Death.
Erizahn: The androgynous patron of love.
Chamnios: The destroyer of demons.
Diaban: The patron of knowledge and lore.
Alasmian: The patron of trade and commerce.
Delistray: The all-seeing observer, record keeper.
Cordone: The patron of sorcerers and wizards.
Aspriel: Patron of the land, keeper of the mountains.
Glaumfiel: The patron of the waters and water voyages.
Hemanial: Patron of suffering and caretaker of the ill.
Eristar: The patron of dreams and the astral.
Esilenta: The patron of storms and rain.
Sekaryth: The mistress of  Set, patron of lies and Queen of the Nine Hells.
Elcorala: The embodiment of blind justice.
 The Mysteries of the Seraphim: The seraphim are practically a miniature pantheon in their own right, each spirit slaved to the service of one or more greater gods. Those most ancient of scholars who have studied the mysteries of the Prehunate Empire have found evidence to suggest that in those ancient prehuman days, the most loyal prehunates of the day were rewarded for their dedication to the gods with a small portion of divinity, and were given the roles of the Seraphim. Others speculate the seraphim are taken from divine races which exist beyond the mortal plane, and that some have never even set foot on the mortal plane before their appointment. There are nine hundred and ninety nine seraphim listed in the Idean Codices and more recent texts that are living, and another four hundred and twenty seven that are recorded as fallen or slain; since a fallen seraphim is replaced almost immediately, then it is possible that both notions on the origin of the seraphim might be right.

(East: Khovaris; Dwarves, North: Sin)
Profile: Moon, birth, women, elves, night
Alignment: lawful
   Goddess of the moon and wife to Naril; in the myths they had a falling out as a result of their sons Dalroth and Slithotep, who became enamoured with the darkness of chaos. She is a venerated goddess of the elves.
Selene was one of the first of the modern pantheon of gods to be granted life by Ga’Thika. Created as the wife of Naril, the Sun God, they were tasked with birthing the many younger gods. In the myths, Selene was said to have been fooled by an avatar of chaos, which masqueraded as Naril, and as a result, she gave birth to Dalroth, the progenitor of the Courts of Chaos. In turn, when she later gave birth to Slithotep, Dalroth too it upon himself to corrupt his younger brother and drive him to insanity. Naril, obsessed with his quests, failed to intervene until it was too late. When he realized the abominations these sons had become, he sought to destroy them, but Selene would not allow it and fled with her infants in to the night. Thus doe Selene occupy the night sky, always pursued by Naril in the day. It is said that on days when you can see the moon and sun in the daytime sky, that the two have made amends for a short time, and festivals are held.
   Though Selene would not have Naril injure her children, she nonetheless grew to despise Dalroth for his evil, and she became determined to amend his deviant ways. Likewise, she sought to heal Slithotep of his madness, though this proved fruitless. Because of these aspects, Selene has always placed the duty upon her followers to cure the mentally ill, and to bring the corrupt, evil, and criminal to justice.
   Selene is also known to be the creator of elves. In the time of creation, it is said that men were crafted in the image of her husband, and she crafted the fae folk in her own likeness. The fae creatures of the world were nestled within her womb, the seelie lands often called the Weirding, and when time came for her to give birth to her creations, she loved them so dearly that she could only part with the elvish kin before changing her mind. It is this tale that is said to explain why the elves and lesser fae kin are closer to men in their ways than the seelie kind which still dwell somewhere between the nether regions of the faerie lands of the Weirding and the prime material plane.
Appearance: Selene appears as a beautiful elvish woman with flowing, silken hair that runs to her feet, and glows with the radiance of the moon. She dresses in a light white dress sewn of star dust, and is said to dwell in a palace on the moon, which many celestial scholars claim is the gate land to the Faerie Kingdoms.

Profile: civics, city-building, irrigation, seasons, laws
Alignment: lawful
   Seth is a giant-kin god of culture and learning as well as patron of the community. He has a close following in Ocentash and among the grey orcs, curiously. Said to be a son of Enki and Amasyr.
Seth is the son of Mitra and Amasyr, a benevolent god of the weather, crops, communities, law, and seasonal change. Seth’s priests are not an adventurous lot, usually instead overseering the harvesting of crops, ceremonies of the solstice, and protection of farms and farmlands. Seth is reknowned for being a very old deity, even if he is also seen as the son of a major civic goddess, and his place as patron of farmlands dates back to ancient times.
   Centuries ago, the grey orcs of Ocentash were devastated in a war with the old kings of Ocentash and the surviors, mostly women and children, were forced to recant their chaotic lives and swear an oath of fealty to Seth. The leader of these ancient glythanyu was Mogrul, and he took his oath seriously. Ever since, the grey orcs of Ocentash have been fierce zealots of the god, and left their subterranean realms to dwell on the surface long ago. Paladins and monks of Seth are usually from the monastic order of Seth found in the Macabeth Mountains, and are usually grey orcs.
Appearance: Seth is seen as a venerable farmer, sometimes even as a grey orc (in orcish depictions), who dresses as a simple man. Stories of Seth appearing to common folk as an old man with a wagon that has broken a wheel, or with a sick mule are common. The tales say that if you help him, he grants you luck or advice, but those who scorn the one in need find that their crops will fail and misfortune looms.

Profile: bards, lorecraft, tale-telling, singing
Alignment: lawful
   Temina is the fabled lore-keeper of the gods and considered a patron of muses, bards, librarians and is also the patron of the sacred Idean Codices. She is pictured as a fair high elf woman of great beauty, wisdom, and talent.

All text Copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment