Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: The Amechian Pantheon

Amechian Spirit Gods:
   Amech is a harsh land of trackless jungles, fierce wilderlands, aboriginal tribes and hidden jungle kingdoms. The greatest natural beasts of the continent, elephants, thrive in the region, while more fearsome predators such as the Terkithyi and Codam’Tkezzu are fierce opponents. Gentel beastmen, wild elves, ancient undead Kadantanian sorcerers and prehuman ruins riddle the land. The gods of the Amechian region are a harsh lot, and expect strict sacrifice and dedication.
   The Amechian cosmology postulates a Spirit World, which appears to be a demiplane connected to the dreamlands of Ethenur and the Celestial Kingdom. The Spirit World holds many powerful, ancient beings, and is the domain of the Amechian gods. This land is sometimes called the Otherworld, and all members of the Amechian pantheon seem to have homes there.
   The gods of the Amechian pantheon are different from the traditional Middle Kingdoms pantheon in that they all seem to exist as corporal beings who move freely between their Otherworld and the mortal plane. Some cosmologists speculate that, at the time of the War of the Gods, the demiurges of Amech sought refuge in the Otherworld to avoid destruction, though their chief lord, Amech, fought and fell in the War.
   The principle people who worship these gods include Belladas, Hotepsala, Corvante, the Chigros, and the Hubinde.

Profile: Patron of Belladas, protector of the Amechian kingdoms, warrior of life and order.
Alignment: neutrality
   Amech is one of the elder gods of the Middle Kingdoms pantheon, and unique for having spawned an entire sub-pantheon dedicated entirely to his worship. Amech very specifically watches over the kingdoms named after him, including Belladas, the Chigros, Covarte and even the many people of the evil empire Hadros. Some say that long ago, after the Prehunate empire in the region was destroyed, that Amech took the blame personally and decided to serve as the land’s protector, insuring that its people not succumb to the same dire fate as their remote forebears.
   Amech learned the secrets of the Otherworld first and foremost, and through it he taught the spirits, all elemental beings, demigod children sprung from his love of mortal women, and primal animal beings from the dawn of creation how to traverse this realm. As a result, the Amechian gods took on their own unique character, and began to move apart from the dictates of the other gods in the Middle Kingdoms pantheon.
   In Belladas and elsewhere, a fierce cult of warrior-priests and paladins are dedicated to serving Amech, preserving the land from corruption and defending its people from invaders. Only men are allowed to join, as women are unable to receive the magical gifts of Amech’s spirit.
Appearance: Amech appears as a seven-foot tall warrior of supreme physical fitness, armed with two admantite short swords and a long spear which can penetrate any armor or defense to slay instantly. Like most of the elder gods, his corporeal form was slain in the War of the Gods, and his body lies in a hidden tomb in Ashturak’s Mountains. He acts through his chosen Avatar, who is granted his artifact weapons and a mission to carry out the god’s will. The ritual of succession is very complicated and important for the followers of Amech, as there must always be an avatar representing the god, but only a follower who Amech personally chooses through the course of trials will actually get the task.

(See main Entry)
   Bekphegor is worshipped by many in the Hadrosian kingdom within the region of Amech, and his veneration among the people of the jungle go back to the days of the Kadantanian empire. His strongest worship is in the kingdom of Draskis in the east, however, and so more details about Belphegor can be found in the Eastron Pantheon section.

(See the Elvish Pantheon)
   Cerybane is principally an elvish deity, but through the Siviante elves, she has found a place in the lands of Amech. Most of her followers there are the siviante elves, but some shamanic orders of women worship her, as well.

Profile: magic, the quest for knowledge, immortality and ascension.
Alignment: lawful
   The tales of Choktun speak of a great shaman of old, a practitioner of spirit magic who learned the secrets of the afterlife and beyond. In his vision quests through the spirit world, he sought the domains of each of the great old spirits, and visited them. Each time, he offered a piece of knowledge from the mortal plane in exchange for the answer to a question. The spirits, envious of mortal creatures, willingly acceded to such an offer. He would let them experience a portion of mortality through his own life, and in exchange, he asked questions such as, “What is the secret of immortality?” and “Where is the path to divine ascension?” When his journey was done, he had all of the pieces to the great puzzle, and ascended to the heavens, an immortal and a god.
   Choktun is seen as a patron of shamans and mages in Amech. Old Idean codices link him to Nistur, a brother to the god of magic, though his Amechian tales clearly mark him an ascended mortal. His followers are reclusive, rarely congregating save to share knowledge. A small monastery dedicated to Choktun is located in Carapas, chief city of the Corvante Kingdoms in the northlands of Amech where the jungles stretch in to the Great Plains. A second, smaller monastery can be found in the Belladasian lake city of Talac.
Appearance: An ancient shaman, wizened beyond his years, who lives at the top of the highest peak in the Forger’s Mountains.

Profile: Dreams, ancestors, passage of the dead, knowledge, luck.
Alignment: neutrality
    The dreadful dreaming serpent of Ethenur, this great god-like beast is revered by some Oineriomancers in the Amechian kingdoms for the hallucinogenic dreams they receive from this entity. The tales say Dakkanich is so immense that his tail rests in the fabled Spirit World of Amechian lore and his head rests dreaming in the endless plains of Ethenur.
  Dakkanich has long been regarded as the symbolic keeper of knowledge, as well as the protector of ancestors. In Amechian lore, the spirit which leaves the body becomes trapped in dream time, where it can find the body of Dakkanich and cross over in to the spirit world, and from there to the afterlife. Dakkanich is a bridge down which all ancestral spirits wander.
   Most Belladasian nobles have some ornamentation of the sleeping serpent in their households or on their person as a sign of good luck. In Belladas, a small society of priests serves as diviners, dream mages, and ceremonial masters of seasonal holidays in the land. Most such priests are also nobles and scholars.
Appearance: A serpentine beast, sometimes like an oroborous, and at other times like a straight horned serpent floating on water.

Profile: Strength, war, the hunt, elephants.
Alignment: neutrality
   The immense elephant god of war is a symbol of strength among all Amechians, and a potent deity for shamans and hunters among the Chigros and Hubinde. Hanahook  may well be a great spirit being from the Otherworld, or he may be some sort of primal god, a child of Wolfon or Baragnagor, perhaps, as is suggested by the Idean Codices.
   Hanahook is known to manifest physically for his most powerful followers, sending corporeal manifestation which can prove devastating against whole armies. He is not a god of civilization, and will never manifest for men who embrace language, arts, and the trappings of the city.
Appearance: A man with the head of a bull elephant, dressed only in a loin cloth. His depiction in Chigros and Hubinde murals is simple, that of a stylized stick-figure in wall paintings and war paint. The Belladasians, fascinated by his imagery even if they lack the shaman cults, make stone idols of the god, as it is considered good luck for a household.

Profile: spawn of Set, lord of corrupted kings, patron of lust and hubris.
Alignment: chaos
   In the vast lands of Amech, Lako is synonymous with evil, deviltry, betrayal, and corruption. Lako is said to have first gained worship about the time that the men of Belladas learned to ways of elitism and rulership, abandoning their egalitarian tribal life. Some myth tales say that Lako appeared, a whispering serpent or dragon, to speak of such ways of class and rulership in the ears of greedy men, so as to destroy the peaceful life of the Belladasians forever more. Most rulers in Belladas will cut the heads off of any storytellers who recount such myths.
   Lako’s symbol is an ancient variation of the symbol for Set, a god of similar prominence in the Middle Kingdoms. Some scholars of religion have proposed the Lako is merely an incarnation of Set, who sought to extend his worship in to the Amechian lands. They are wrong, for Set himself is competitive with Lako in the jungle kingdoms.
   In fact, Lako is the son of a Kadantanian sorceress named Dar Esh’bina, who sought to gain power by seducing Set when he still walked, in mortal form upon the earth in ancient times. She secretely gave birth to the draconic serpent Lako, and raised him to be her prodigy of evil. When the time came to unleash him upon the land, and for her to gain the throne, Dar Esh’bina was betrayed by him, for Lako wanted the power she craved as well, and he devoured his own mother.
   For a time, Lako was ruler of ancient Kadantania. When time came for the War of the Gods, the Lords of Chaos called upon him, but he was defiant, and Dalroth came before him, and realized Lako’s heritage with Set, who, though evil, was a cunning lord of Order. He slew Lako in bloody battle, and dismembered his corpse, spreading it across the dark jungles.
   Over the centuries, dark boccor shamans would dream strange nightmares, and find the disembodied spirit of the demigod calling to them, luring them to the burial grounds of his decapitated pieces. Gradually, Lako gained a new following, and bit by bit, his followers have sought out his dismembered form and restored Lako to a semblance of his self, it is said, in the darkest valleys of the Great Peak region in the Forger’s Mountains.
Appearance: Lako is depicted is a serpent or a dragon, and his symbol is the most ancient one of Set from three thousand years ago. In reality, Lako is a series of enormous, disembodied part shift form to that of deformed draconian entities. He can project a human illusion at will, of a tall, handsom Kadantanian man with dark hair, slanted eyes, and a striking physique. He has an enormous appetite, literally, for young virginal women.

Profile: The Trickster King, Lord Fool, Monkeys
Alignment: neutrality
Description: Lalawanaghin is the trickster god of the Amechian pantheon,a devlish monkey god who is the fool and charlatan of the heavens, revealing the imperections of his peers through his own ineptitude. His flock is few, but chosen carefully by the god through visions sent to shamans during their youth. The cult of the monkey god performs his mysterious requests, following cryptic visions and mysterious missives while leading lives as fools, grifters, daredevils, charlatans and sometimes even truth speakers. Many of his followers are not really priests at all, but dedicated monks and rogues.
Appearance: Lalawanaghin looks like a human-like monkey, dressed in beautiful gilded hide armor and wielding a long bo staff. He very much prefers the mortal plane, and is said to move amongst the kingdoms of Amech, sewing trouble wherever he goes.

See Naril in the Middle Kingdoms
   Lanako is another name for the prolific sun god Naril, creator of man and lord of light. Lanako’s chief difference in the Amechian pantheon is that he is not the lord of the gods in this pantheon, but instead the trusted right hand man of Amech himself. Lanako is also pictured as a fierce warrior of local tribes, and favors the spear and javelin over the sword for a weapon. In all other respects, including the feverish dedication of his local priests (called the Warriors of the Sun), Lanako’s worship is the same.

Profile: Devourer of Souls, the destroyer
Alignment: chaos
Description: Maw’Bwok is the Eater of Souls, the destroyer or men and the corruptor of spirits. He is the chaotic god of the apocalypse in the Amechian Pantheon, a lord of chaos who cares not if the war is ended, for he lives only to see the destruction of the universe.
   Maw’Bwok is said to exist in the realm called Otherworld, a mysterious netherrealm between the dreamlands of Ethenur and the mortal plane, a demiplane of the Ethereal where Maw’Bwok’s terrible designs have created a replication of the hellish nightmare he would like to make the mortal realm. His followers, though few, are very powerful, rewarded with terribly detructive energy and the desire to use it. His worship is the secret cult behind the sorcerers of Hadros, and his will channels through his subjects to drive that empire to conquer and lay waste to all that stand before it.
   Maw’Bwok has created his own special spirit servants, called the Ma’Loas. The Maq’Loas are fragments of his own chaotic form, devlish spirits sent to corrupt and drive mortal men to do evil and destructive works in the name of the dark god.
   Maw’Bwok is depicted in an abstract geometric pattern in temples. His true form is so terrifying to behold that it causes most men to fall dead on the spot (Wisdom check at  a –12 penalty to avoid dying and instead gain 2 negative levels).

Profile: The Hundred Hummingbirds, bringer of rain, caretaker of the home
Alignment: lawful
   The Hundred Hummingbirds, the Middle tongue translation of the Belladasian name Nanok’Tin, refers literally to the fact that Nanok’Tin is seen as a composite god, a mosaic of literally hundreds of lesser household spirits who, when the are drawn together through ritual dance, bring good weather and rain to needy crops and villages. Nanok’Tin may very well be unique in Lingusia, a god composed of hundreds of separate lesser beings that can merge together to create a single being. Nanok’Tin is very much a fae creature, and the Hundred Hummingbirds are closely connected to the Weirding Realm, though they are also equally tied to the mysterious Otherworld.
   The priestesses of Nanok’Tin are famous for their costumes and dancing, as the rituals to summon the magic of Nanok’Tin require such devotion and performance to create their magic. Belladas is the center of this practice, but the Nanok’Tin are widely recognized by humble villagers and priests everywhere in Amech, including the Chigros and even the Talonabro.
Appearance: The diverse appearances of these mostly invisible spirits is too numerous to mention. They are best described as an amalgam of every creature in the Amechian forests, with winged fae aspects mixed in. The merged form of Nanok’Tin is said to be that of an immense column of fae light that dazzles and swirls among the worshippers observing it.

Profile: The Jewel of the Eternal River, Lord of the Waters, and the Giver and Taker of Life
Alignment: neutrality
Favored Weapons: the whip, spear and madu
   She’Sek is said by some shamans of Belladas to have been a Ma’Loa of Maw’Bwok who once escaped and became the patron of the eternal river. The Eternal River is the unending river of life and death that flows through all realms and connects all bodies of water. She’Sek escaped in to this realm, and in the process became the caretaker of this eternal passage. As such, he appears only at rivers and waters with fast currents.
   She’Sek is revered in Covarte as a sort of blessing and curse by the river people. It seems that the god is especially fond of appearing in this region. Tales of enemies of the Covarte being destroyed by the river god while trying to ford the protective moats to the cities of the Covarte people are enough to keep foes wary.
   She’Sek’s natural form seems to be a potentially unending serpentine dragon with glittering scales of a rainbow hue, impressive horns and a ferocious attitude. Even his followers dread being too close to the water when he manifests.

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

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