Thursday, October 27, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Aurelian the Golden Sun and Fiona the Lunar Huntress

The Four Sisters are not the only children of Grimnir.

Famous among the core pantheon, are the representatives of the Sun and the Moon, the twins, Aurelion and Fiona. Born of a trist between Grimnir and a missing titan goddess Lotus, their existence was hidden even from Grimnir in a cave beneath an ancient temple on an island hidden at the bottom of the sea. It is rumored that the Four Sisters witnessed the birth of these new gods, not knowing their true identities, but drawn to their place of birth. Upon seeing the divine creatures born, radiant and gleaming, the Four Sisters knew they were destined for greatness, but had no idea that they were, in fact, their half siblings. The titan goddess begged them to keep their location secret and they swore to protect the beautiful and blessed twins.

When they were but a few days old, Aurelian was playing by the river in the cave when a great monstrous serpent came crawling out of a crevice. The serpent was the serpent god Python who, sensing the power of these children, intended to eat them up to wound heaven. Aurelian begged his godmothers for a weapon to slay the beast and, hearing his cry, Soffia told Pyra to fly to the sun and retrieve for him the bow of the primordial sun god Hyperion.With the flaming bow, the boy wounded the serpent and sent it slithering back. His failure to slay it may doom the world as it is said the serpent will one day return to end the world with the aid of the other serpent gods.

The next threat was another titan, Tytyos, sent by the titans themselves to find their mother Lotus. Tytyos had been a spurned suitor of the twin's mother and intended to take her back as his bride. When he saw her with young Fiona, he flew into a rage and attacked her viciously. He was a brute so large that to save his mother's life, he was transferred to and birthed from the earth itself, creating a great wound still in the sea. Aurelion was too far away to help so Fiona begged for help from their godmothers. This time it was Terra and Delphina who heard her cry, Delphina diving to the bottom of the sea to retrieve the bow of the primordial moon goddess Luna while Terra attempted to drag Tytyos back into the earth. With the bow in hand, Fiona made quick work of Tytyos and Terra dragged him broken body back into the earth from whence he came. But it was too late for Lotus, who, as she lay dying, told the Four Sisters that her children were the true heirs of heaven.

The sisters feared for the child gods, that their mother may grow wrathful at the existence of the sweet twins, and tried to hide them from her. But their efforts would be in vain.

Grimnir discovered them by the grim prophecy of the god Null, who he had created from the body of Mim, when Null told him he saw two futures: the sun and moon sitting on the throne of heaven and the sun and the moon slaying each other. The prophecy at first confused Grimnir as the titans of the sun and moon were long dead. So he asked Mim the Whisperer. He was told that the sun and moon had been born and that his children hid the secret. Grimnir felt betrayed and, gathering his might, summoned his children to heaven. It is said that upon seeing their father's face, so full of disappointment, his daughters remained resolute. Save poor Terra. Terra fell weeping not at her father's feet but at her mother's. She pleaded that she not kill them. Kleeona was flummoxed. The other three revealed the truth that they had hid their half siblings from Grimnir and Kleeona to protect them. Grimnir was stunned this time. He looked to his wife. Kleeona stood up from her throne and demanded to go to the cave. The daughters pleaded for her to show mercy but she was firm in her command. Grimnir was already gone.

He went to find his children and protect them from Kleeona. He went to the save, searching for them, but he was barred from entering the cave as his daughters had used their spells to prevent all men and monsters from entering after the attacks of Merrshaulk and Tytyos. This did not stop Kleeona. Inside she would find the twins still mourning over their mother's body.

Grimnir waited by the cave entrance for his wife and when he did he cried tears of joy. For Kleeona did not leave the cave alone. She came out holding the hands of each child and became the stepmother of her husband's twins from that day forward. 

There are many stories told of these children who took up the mantle of the sun and moon. Aurelion would become the radiant master of the Sun and all the beauty it touches. He became the patron of music, poetry and the arts. He would know many lovers and quickly became the favorite son of his father. Fiona instead chose a more aesthetic life, vowing chastity, being the protector of women and enemy of men who would abuse them, and occupied herself by hunting beasts (not just beast-like men). She is often depicted with a torch as she, like the moon, provides light in dark times.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: The Four Sisters

FAITHS OF SUBLANARYA
WATER, AIR, FIRE & EARTH: 
THE FOUR SISTERS

When old Grimnir Blue-Cloak became the head-god of the world, after the fall of the Titans, it began to fall into chaos: the elements were so out of control that the world was beset by floods, hurricanes, wild fires and earthquakes that threatened to snuff out all life. Grimnir laid with his wife and together they dreamed. When they awoke, they had created four daughters. In the mortal world, they do not merely control the elements but ARE the elements.

Reigning over the seas, the rivers and the lakes, Delfina is a goddess who, despite maintaining the balance of the sea, seeks change. This tempestuous spirit causes her to be sensitive and, when the mood strikes, stirs up great storms. Sailors wishing to sail safely home pray to Delfina for safe passage and to her sister Soffia.

Soffia is the embodiment of air, goddess of the sky and guides the wind. Often she is the one responsible for stirring up storms in her sister when she feels it necessary or calming her when she can do so. Soffia is the wisest of the sisters, not only lending her guidance to the wind, but to heroes and kings. She represents the conflict between freedom and restraint as she is known to get caught up in her own plans.

Pyrra on the other hand often loses control as the fiery goddess of the flame. She is a passionate goddess and represents the conflict between destructive and creative forces. Artists and inventors look to her for inspiration, as do those looking to burn the world in equal measure, making her something of controversial goddess. Out of the four sisters she is the most mischievous and prone to playing with mortals.

Last but not least, Terra is the embodiment of elemental earth, forming the land, the mountains and overseeing the growth of wild nature. Practical by nature, Terra represents the conflict between patience and decisiveness, and values hard work. Like Delfina, she is concerned with the balance between man and nature, but is also concerned with the hearth and home. She is even concerned with law and tradition and is often the one to reign in the schemes of her sisters.

They are often said to each represent one of the four elements of the body, as well as nature, with Terra representing the bones that form the frame of the body, Delfina representing the blood and organs that carry life throughout the body, Soffia the mind that guides the body, Pyrra the heart the gives the body drive to go on.

Together the four sisters hold dominion over the mortal world's elements and most gods either serve or related to them in some manner. They are relevant in countless stories and their children and lovers make up many members of the pantheon. When the four sisters work together, they can overcome any challengers and bring about harmony on Narya.

It is traditional for fathers to gift their daughters a pendant representing one of the goddesses that represent her nature. These charms are considered good luck and the goddess in the pendant is said to favor the wearer.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Grimnir Blue-Cloak, Father of the Gods

Grimnir, Father of the Gods and Dreamer of Worlds

Weary is the head that wears the crown. Grimnir Blue-Cloak wears no crown. Despite many Thule masterpieces showing him in decadent splendor, actors without candor or respect portraying him with a crown of gold, and many speaking of all gods as living decadently, Grimnir is said to eschew such pageantry by the old stories. In fact, in stories of old, he is described as a tired old man with one eye, a grey beard and cloaked in blue. Not once does he bare a crown and, if the stories told are true, most would overlook such a plain figure walking among mortals. He doesn't want to be the king of the gods or the world or anything. For the world is but a dream and Grimnir is the dreamer.

It is said that, in the beginning of this world as we know it, when the world was still primitive and chaotic, Grimnir was the last god standing. He was weary and laid down to rest in a cave. In his dream, he was small and weak and alone. He walked among early humanoids and, seeing their families and their shared company, he felt loneliness. When he awoke, he was laying next to a beautiful goddess, Kleeona. He fell so in love with her and she so in love with him that, together, they became husband and wife. Together they would father the Four Sisters and head the Thule Pantheon.

Most of the gods before the Thule Pantheon, of which Grimnir is patriarch, have been long-forgotten. Their names and deeds unwritten or at least not written in any script that mortal can remember. But there are said to have been many gods when the world was young, before the old races discovered fire or the wheel and were ruled by the Old Ones, their oldest gods are known as the Primordials and their children were the Titans. And Grimnir has outlived them all. Their fates are mostly mystery. Some are said to still wander the cosmos while others broken bodies can be found in disparate places. But the fate of one is known: Mim the Whisperer.

Mim the Whisperer was a god of knowledge, memory and secrets. He was said to bear forbidden knowledge kept even from the gods, as well as all knowledge ever written and to remember everything that has come before and able to foresee all manner of possibilities. Somehow he was slain in the primordial age, perhaps during a great war between the gods or by Grimnir himself, and beheaded. It is said that when his blood was spilled on Narya, it tainted all of the continent of the polar north, and since then the land has been in a constant state of chaotic flux, where whispering madness is carried on the wind and all manner of unworldly horrors are said to roam. The continent is named Mimia after Mim and, in some myths, it is his body.

As for the head, Grimnir used magic to preserve it. He carried it with him, storing it away carefully except when need of advise, from the only god who may know more than Grimnir.

Grimnir Blue-Cloak is called the Dreamer of Worlds not only due to his part in the creation of this world but because, much like when he created his own wife, his dreams have shaped the world many times. Some even believe the world is merely a dream within one of Grimnir's dream. After all, when Grimnir dreams, he takes on mortal form in the physical world. The features and race may changed, but he is almost always an old man, with grey and white beard, missing an eye and wearing a blue cloak. He often is seen carrying a walking staff and is accompanied by a crow or raven. Under this guise, he goes by many names.

Many villains have met their downfall at the hands of this god in mortal guise, kings and queens have risen by showing the old man respect, and heroes have found their mentor in the mysterious stranger. It is for this reason that Grimnir is considered the god protector of lonely travelers and it is customary for vagrants and the like to wear blue traveling cloaks. It is considered good luck to show some grace to such fellows and hospitality is considered a good value throughout Thule. After all, that old man you turn away from your barn and your larder may be a god in disguise.

Grimnir Blue-Cloak pops up in countless stories and tales, represented in other pantheons in one form or another, under countless names but always the same wise old man outwitting the cruel and evil and guiding the gods and peoples of the world in his humble way.

And yet...

... when Grimnir's sleep is ended, either by his choosing, meddling by the other gods, or his mortal form is destroyed, worlds a turn on such rude awakenings. It is said that when Grimnir awakes, the world is changed in some way, whether that be an invasion by some otherworldly threat or a feud between the gods, and pushed farther towards some inevitable doomsday.

For this reason, priests of Grimnir often say the simple reply or prayer "All is well, as Griminir dreams and Blue-Cloak walks," when asked how things fare. As long as the old god sleeps, the world is safer and their is one more do-gooder among the rabble.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya Excerpt: Killhart the Loyal Hound

Killhart the Loyal Hound

A a young noble father of Albyon returned home from a hunt to discover his newborn son was missing from its nursery and the cradle overturned. The noble's hound, Killhart, approached him, tail wagging, with face and paws smeared in blood. Believing the dog had attacked the child, the nobleman drew his sword and struck Killhart down. The yelp of the dog stirred a cry from the baby who was secure under the crib. In the adjoining room, the noble found a large dire wolf slain by Killhart to protect the child. Overcome with remorse, the lord held the dog in his arms, weeping bitter tears and begging his loyal friend's forgiveness. The dog licked at his tears before succumbing to his wounds. The lord buried the dog to great pomp and circumstance in the town square, many townsfolk gathering and were said to weep at the telling of the tale, and the noble carried a heavy burden the rest of his life. But that was not the end of Killhart.

The son of the nobleman was cornered by a lyndwurm, wounded and exhausted after being chased through a half-frozen lake, and in a moment of desperation, called out for Killhart. And the hound, massive and bright, came bounding over the horizon, tackling and slaying the beast that threatened his young master. Killhart had saved him again. Killhart served him as a loyal companion and the two went on many adventures until the dog was slain in another act of heroism. But this was too was not the end of Killhart. He returned to Albyon, time and time again, to save children and young heroes from mortal peril, following them loyally, until returning to his place in the celestial courts. Truly, Killhart is the loyalest of hounds.


Title(s)
God-Hound, Loyal Hound, Friend of Heroes, Guardian of Children, Unkillable Killhart

Pantheon(s)
Thule

Power Level
Lesser Diety

Alignment
Neutral

Symbol
A loyal dog

Realm
Pet Meadow

Portfolio
Dogs, loyalty, children, guardianship, heroism, monster-slaying,

Domains
Animal, Good, Protection, Nature

Worshipers
Shepherds, children, hunters, dog breeders and trainers, intelligent dogs, Cu Sidhe
Favored Weapon
Bite

Holy Day(s)
Every year the township of Killhart and other towns throw a dog festival as a memorial day to Killhart in First-Flower.

Faiths of Sublanarya Excerpt: Kalibos the Bastard Prince and Father of the Beastmen

The Legend of Kalibos:
The Bastard Prince and Father of the Beastmen

Skoraxia Hag-Mother has given birth to many abominations but none more-so than the Bastard Prince himself, Kalibos. He was born to some long lost human king in a far away land. He committed many atrocities, unaware of his mother's influence, including vandalizing temples, hunting sacred animals, and murdering priests. He was finally stopped by a hero, who defeated him in battle, and cut off his hand.

Kalibos fled to the sea and washed ashore on an island where he would certainly die. Instead, he was found by a hideous old crone who cleaned his wounds, saved his life and gave him shelter. When she revealed herself to, in fact, be his mother in mortal guise, Kalibos lost what remained of his sanity and humanity, transforming into a monstrous new form. She taught him dark magics of shape-shifting and shadow magic. He used these to great effect, taking over the island's tribes and using them to his bidding. He led raids against nearby settlements and eventually got revenge on the hero by stealing away the hero's precious treasure. Some legends say a flying horse and others say his betrothed. But this was Kalibos's ultimate downfall.

The hero made battle again with the now monstrous Kalibos and this time took more than his hand, somehow petrifying the beast and knocking off his head. But this was not the end of Kalibos.

He had risen to godhood, worshipped among the tribes, and whispers spread his cult across the primitive and brutal across the realm. Hags and witches in need of powerful allies called upon Kalibos for aid. Eventually, he was reborn in Sublanarya's Thule due to the efforts of a witch-cult. More powerful than ever, Kalibos created a race in his image by impregnating the cult members, the race known as beastmen.

He then led his horde of man-eating monsters, they laying waste to his enemies, sacrificing entire villages in his name, and making him more powerful than ever. It seemed he would hold dominion over the realm before long. That was until the arrival of the Holy Imperium and their champion: Croma

Croma was in fact a descendant of the great hero who had defeated Kalibos all those generations before. He led his army to the Black City itself and, at first, his armies easily outmatched the disordered beastmen. But when Kalibos entered the fray, he cut swaths through the imperial lines, until he met with Croma. Croma was fast, spearing the beast king with his great spears of light from his legendary quiver. But the beast, even gouged with spears, kept coming and knocked Croma about like a ragdoll until he had him on his knees. The beast had landed a fatal blow, cracking the breast plate of Croma and exposing his heart. He only had heart beats left to live. When the sun caught the light of his shield, it blinded the Bastard Prince, and Croma lunged a final blow under the beast's chin and through his head and eye. Kalibos fell dead and Croma passed with the knowledge that he had slain a great evil. He was given saint hood and the Holy Imperium built their new Sublanaryan capitol in his honor.

Today, the spawn of Kalibos still pose a threat to the common folk of Sublanarya but the inheritors of St. Croma's courage continue to fight to extinguish their vile line.

KALIBOS 
Title(s)  The Bastard Prince, Father of the Beastmen, Cannibal King, Abominable One, Hag Prince

Pantheon(s)
Thule

Power Level
Intermediary Diety

Alignment
Chaotic Evil

Symbol
A horned skull with fangs

Realm
Butcher Island

Portfolio
Beastmen, cannibalism, witchcraft, shapeshifting, shadows

Domains

Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Strength, Shadow

Worshipers
Beastmen, witches, hags, barbarians, canniablisms, murderers, shapeshifters

Favored Weapon
Claw

Holy Day(s)
  Full moons are used for rituals in Kalibos name.

SKORAXIA
Title(s) The Hag Queen, The Hag Mother, The Foulest of Foul

Pantheon(s)
Thule

Power Level
Lesser Deity

Alignment
Chaotic Evil

Symbol
A ram's skull wreathed in flowers

Realm
Butcher Island

Portfolio
Enchantment, motherhood, witchcraft, shapeshifting, shadows

Domains

Arcana, Nature

Worshipers
Beastmen, witches, hags, barbarians, canniablisms, murderers, shapeshifters

Favored Weapon
Dagger

Holy Day(s)
 Full moons are used for rituals in Skoraxia's name.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Empire Ascendant: Imperial Holdings of The Tytanyan Pact


THE TYTANYAN PACT: 
SAESUN, SMOLDER, ALBYON, & NUAR

A century and a half ago, the Isle of Saesun was gripped in a civil war between human kings. Their ancestors had come to the peaceful paradise isle as refugees. Out of mercy, the iaurdin convinced the sylvanar and the metallic dragons to let the humans settle until they could return back to the east. The humans settled and were allowed to use the lands as they wished as long as they respected the sacred groves of the sylvanar. The elves and dragons managed to keep the peace between the settlements as they developed into kingdoms. But perhaps it is in the nature of humans to quarrel. The humans began fighting over valuable resources, bickering over petty misunderstandings and creating war out of nothing. The metallic dragons picked sides and, after thousands of years of peace on Saesun, war broke out.

The elves tried to broker peace, they tried to abstain, but the men of Saesun began burning down their forests, killing their sacred animals, and escalating the war to greater heights. The sylvanar tried to intervene out of self-defense but brought the war home. The death of the sylvanar king, Opheros, was the final injustice that the iaurdin could not bear. Something had to change.

Since the beginning of the world, Saesun and the elves had been protected by powerful celestial runes that not only prevented invasion but helped keep many dangerous extra-dimensional threats from entering the world of Narya by force. Among these forces, were the chromatic dragons trapped since the Creation War. Queen Tytanya used her knowledge of the arcane to change the runes so that Red Typhon and his tyrant lords could enter Sublanarya through a gate she opened in Ryn-Durazar.

The following war was swift: the dwarves of Ryn-Durazar first endured devastating natural disasters caused by the gate opening and then were forced to abandon their homes under threat of dragon fire, then the iaurdin and the chromatic dragons forced the human kingdoms into submission, and the metallic were exterminated.

Ryn-Durazar became Smolder, the home of the chromatic dragons, and Saesun became the heart of the iaurdin empire. Together, they formed the Tytanyan Pact and the Tytanyan Age began. Over the next hundred years, they took complete control of the western seas of Sublanarya, colonized the island chain off the coast of Tazlan, and conquered the western kingdoms of Thule. The islands became Nuar and the kingdoms became Albyon.

Together these regions form an empire that have shaped the events of the last century in Sublanarya. But this realm is not merely an army of elves and dragons; it is a place of incredible natural beauty and home to the millions of citizens of the empire.