Saturday, July 1, 2017

Faiths of Sublanarya: Saint Umber, The Nameless God and the Lost Crusade

"Aye, sir. I seen it. I seen it with me own eyes. I've seen them.

There was a storm, a storm so bad we was lost for weeks. Lot of good swabbies fell o'board, we ran out of chow and grog and the captain, oh the poor captain he went mad. The clouds and fog were so thick we ha'nt seen a spot of sunshine or blue-sky in days. The captain was at the wheel. The ship ran aground in the frozen wastes; he landed her just north of the Devil's Bident and it was the bitterest cold, sir. We was bundled up tighter than sausages but we still felt the old man death nipping at our fingers and noses. We should've seen about turning the ship around, sir, but, sir...

The captain had gone ashore. The poor fool.

I was his first mate, sir. I had no choice. I took a row boat and a few men ashore. The land there is so dead that, over the whistle of the wind, the only sounds were us: each foot step crunching on the frozen ground, each shiver chattering our bones, and each raspy breath we took seemed to stop just out of our field of vision.  Still, it weren't too hard to figure out. We found the captain's trail. We found the other rowboat, we found his footsteps, we found his clothes-- the captain was surely dead but we pressed on a little farther into the biting wind.

There's nothing up there. Just empty wastes and ice and, or rather sir, or so we thought. We saw an outline of somebody out in the cold darkness. Lantern held high, I called out for the captain, sir. They walked forward sir and, for a moment, there was hope. But as we stood there, silently, staring in the darkness, we heard clacking of joints and clinking of chain, and we knew something was wrong.

It weren't the captain, sir. It was a soldier, a legionnaire, sir, a knight of the Imperium. 'cept they was long dead. When the lantern lit their face, we saw there was no skin or flesh or anything, so to speak, to talk to. Just a skull. The men fled, mad, back the way we came. I froze there, just for a moment, just long enough to see them.

To see that there were hundreds sir, no thousands, an army, sir! An army of the dead!" An account by Captain Lou Bluetooth recorded by the Imperian bishop Deacano

The Legend of the Lost Crusade begins not in the frozen wastes of the Hold or in the valleys or mountains of the Imperium but in the desert kingdoms of northern Ptah-Hamut and Nadjabad with the Bloody Crusade in the 64th century CE.

An order of Imperian knights calling themselves the Bleeding Cross, a splinter off from the templar order of the Red Star, were led by the insistence of the Imperator and their order's leader, a holy general by the name of Waldar Dux. The general led his order across the Zafarian Sea and into the south-western continent on a crusade to retrieve stolen artifacts that, long before the Imperians ever arrived in Sublanarya, the Hamutians and Zafarians had taken from ancient temples of the Nameless God. General Dux's zealous conquest met heavy resistance and he died upon the battlefield. A young commander, Umber Rubela, rose to take his place and managed to salvage the crusade. After many victories, they failed to find the artifacts they had sacrificed so many lives to find and return to their homes. Instead, they found loyalty and exaltation for Umber, who the revered as a living saint.

Umber showed incredibly foresight, fortune and vision, all seen as gifts from the Unnamed God, and is victories were seen as miracles. His men saw him as the next prophet, the successor to Croma, and that he should take the imperian throne for himself. He gathered many followers and took his forces back to the imperian capitol. The imperator prepared for civil war but it did not come.

Instead, St. Umber asked for audience with the imperator. He explained to the ruler that he had a vision that they were to build a new kingdom in the northern wastes of the Hold and that he was to rule the empire jointly with his holiness. He would establish a second capitol in the north called Penumbra. The imperator and his advisors saw the young soldier's vision as madness and rejected his request for their support. He left the palace, in peace, and, disregarding their skepticism, he took his forces into the Hold and northward on what Umber called "The Dawn Crusade".

Tens of thousands of priests, holy knights,and acolytes of the prophet's vision followed him on this journey across the Shield Mountains. They were never seen again.

The truth behind the prophet's powers was discovered long after his crusade left the imperium's lands. He was born into a powerful cult within the templars that worshiped a sacrilegious aspect of the Nameless One known as samael or "the goat".

He had acquired unsavory powers and his intention was to undermine the empire to "reveal the truth" behind their god's faith.

Umber believed that all interpretations of their lord, even the cult's, were blasphemous. He led General Dux to his downfall so that he could take control of their crusade and guide it down the path that he saw.


A path where he could conquer death and prepare for the return of the Morning Star as his only true, loving and loyal servant.

The Hold is a mysterious and dangerous wasteland. There have been no good maps, save those performed by mariners of the coastlines, and it was believed that crusade had become lost and met some terrible fate beyond the mountains that guard civilization from the savagery of the Hold. There are rumors, stories and speculation that says otherwise.

The biggest obstacle of colonizing the far north is the unbearable cold. No mortals could survive in those cold and barren wastes. They are empty of liquid water or food. And the freezing temperatures are so deadly that exposure would kill any person within minutes. There were many theories on how they could survive: magic, divine or arcane, could allow them to overcome the freezing cold. Or perhaps they could find an ancient dwarven city or cavern that would guard them from it and provide subterranean vittles. But the truth is far more terrible.

The barbarians of the Hold, those who were friendly enough to trade with dwarves that live in the Shield mountains, told spooky stories of walking dead wearing white with red crosses began traveling down to imperian ears. Countless civilizations were said to have ruins in the Hold and so accounts of undead were not uncommon in the Hold but the red crosses on white cloth were the dress of the Bleeding Crosses.

A terrible and worrying legend was born: far in the north, where the sky is darkened by thick clouds and the no mortal treads, there is a city of the dead, the city of Penumbra, a capitol for an undead kingdom. The legend says that they are ruled by a saint used a dark ritual to make himself and his followers immortal so that they could survive in the isolation of the frozen north. There this undying empire waits, faithful and grateful, for the return of their god.

The Nameless God
Title(s)
The Unnamed, The Lord, the Forgotten, the Morning Star, The Betrayed

Pantheon(s)
New Gods

Power Level
??? Deity

Alignment
?????

Symbol
A six pointed star with an eye in the center of an overlapping cross

Portfolio
Humanity, creation, righteousness, loyalty, piety

Domains
Life, War, Death

Worshipers
Humans, dwarves, rebels agains the iaurdin empire, imperians, xalhoteccans,
 
Favored Weapon
All weapons

Saint Umber Rubela
Title(s)
The Servant, The Northern Imperator, The Lost Saint, The Ever-Faithful, The Saint of the Undead

Pantheon(s)
New Gods

Power Level
Lesser Deity

Alignment
Lawful Evil

Symbol
A skull with a cross on the brow

Portfolio
Undeath, truth, loyalty, zealotry, conquest

Domains
War, Death

Worshipers
Undead, necromancers, heretics of the Imperian, barbarians of the Hold, lords of Lacrimosa
 
Favored Weapon
Axes and swords