Salus: Until The End
Cyriss, Maiden of Gears, Mistress of Numbers, also known as the Clockwork Goddess, is a fairly recent addition to the land’s pantheon. Her worship became known only a few centuries ago, at about the time Men and dwarves began to build sophisticated machines and delve into new kinds of math and philosophy. Cyriss is a true neutral goddess, largely unconcerned with the fate of individuals. Most of her effort is spent writing and overseeing the natural laws that govern the realm of science and engineering, though she will take action directly or through her followers when something threatens the natural order of things. She appears as a humanoid, but she is not a human goddess; her worshippers are largely human but also include a number of dwarves and even some gobbers and members of other races inclined toward engineering.
Understanding the mind of Cyriss and revealing the true nature of the multiverse is a process of divine revelation to her worshippers. For this reason engineers and scholars often pay Cyriss their respects, but true fanatics and clerics are hard to find with the culture of Men and dwarves so dominated by their traditional religions. However, with the spread of science and mechanika across the land, Cyriss may soon begin to increase the size of her flock.
Many of the most devout followers of Cyriss believe that machines are holy, and those who build and tend them are society’s superior caste. Some even believe that in mathematics there may be found some superior method for managing the world’s affairs – a place for everyone, and everyone in their place, with some kind of divine calculating machine overseeing everything with cold precision. Cyriss’ evil worshippers are taking steps to build such a machine, but luckily they are few in number and thought to be far from their goal.
The Dweller on the Horizon, is the god of Horizons, Distance, Travel, and Roads. He wanders that world in person, his petitioners present in spirit form at crossroads and in mysterious oases. His symbol is a disk with a curved line representing the horizon, and an upturned crescent above that.
Clerics of the Dweller on the Horizon travel to across the lands, bless caravans, scout for armies, and record their experiences for others to learn from. They act as translators and diplomats, and help in the construction of roads, bridges, and hard-wearing shoes. They usually wear simple clothing of brown or faded green. They wander frequently, and seldom it is that one would encounter the same group of priests ministering at the same shrine.
Because the road is the best teacher, initiates are trained in the ways of Fharlanghn by being taken on long trips. They are dismissed if they ask when the journey will be over, because to the faithful of Fharlanghn, the journey never really ends.
Clerics of Fharlanghn are found throughout the world on various journeys. There are two kinds of priests: urban and pastoral. Urban priests wear brown robes and maintain small chapels in cities and towns. Pastoral priests wear green and spend all their time wandering
After spending an entire year preparing themselves by walking outdoors for 8 hours a day, a worshipper of Fharlanghn may elect to undergo the Eternal Pilgrimage. The Eternal Pilgrimage has no set time limit, direction, or length. It lasts as long as the pilgrim feels is appropriate. The pilgrim must only travel by walking, and may not visit the same location more than once a day. They offer company to lonely travelers and always share their fires with strangers. Those bandits who would take advantage of the pilgrims’ friendly reputation to pose as one of them usually vanish, only bloodstained robes hanging from nooses by the side of the road remaining as evidence of the vengeance of the faithful.
Prayers to Fharlanghn are anecdotes intended to teach a lesson. Many of them involve a wise old man and a foolish young man, often crossing a river. His rituals, apart from the Eternal Pilgrimage, are short and to the point. His services are usually held outdoors, preferably beneath a sunny sky, with the horizon in view. The faithful of Fharlanghn rely on other deities to bless their births, marriages, or dead.
The Guardians of the Road are fanatical worshippers of Fharlanghn who give away all their belongings and take to traveling full-time. They also seek to protect the secret of Journey’s End, a legendary location that few even among the faithful have heard of.
Also known as Gruumsh One-Eye, is the patron deity of orcs, who regard him as the god of Conquest, Survival, Strength, and Territory. His symbol is an abstract representation of an unblinking eye, or his bloodied missing unwinking eye. Gruumsh appears as a powerful orc with one eye. Faithful of Gruumsh were called Gruumans. Orc war priests wear a patch over one eye to symbolize their worship of the orc deity, some taking out their eye as a true act of devotion. They also dressed in dark red vestments, armored with war helms and black plate mail.
A figure of fury and driven cruelty, Gruumsh rules his pantheon with brute power. His favored weapon is the spear. Gruumsh considers himself supreme, and considers every non-orc his enemy, holding special enmity for some.
Gruumsh created the orcs in his image to be his servants in the world but was cheated out of a home for his people by the other gods so he gave his people three commands:
- Gather and breed, and your numbers shall flourish.
- Rise up in hordes and seize that which is rightfully yours.
- Raid. Kill. Conquer.
“Seek unceasing war against your enemies, and kill or enslave those who oppose you. Acquire territory and living space. Destroy elves, their homes, and their lands. Crush the dwarves and take their deep caves for your own. Be strong, and be prepared to show your strength at any moment. Showing weakness is the key to an early death. Those that are too weak to fight for your tribe should be put to the spear. The greatest gift that He Who Watches gave to the orcs was the ability to survive where the weaker races would die. Build your strength in these lands and use them to overrun your enemies.”
The Six Dragons of Arion are a family of powerful Aetheric Beings (Magical Beings/Dragons) who are considered older than the world of Arion itself. These Dragons protect the Elu (elves) and their nation of Alcesta with great care, appointing Avatars to spread their will and power across the land and protect those that the Six hold dear. Each of the Six represent a Plane of the Aether and hold dominion over that realm. Their Father, Dernamak, is considered the most powerful and the “leader” of the group, though they are more like a Council in reality.
Elu visiting the Great Spires have the chance, if deemed worthy, to commune with the Six by smoking a special herb called Sungrass and then entering the Navel of the World, a great rift into the Aether Planes (Magical Weave), allowing the Six to give them visions of what has happened, wisdom for a decision they must make, or imbue them with small amounts of their power.
Dernamak, The Father of the Six and the Dragon of Light
—Dernamak is considered the Father of the Six and the most powerful of them all. He is the Dragon of Light and Radiance and exemplifies Justice and Redemption in the Eyes of the Elu.
Hanalu, The Mother of the Six and the Dragon of Earth
—Hanalu is the considered the Mother of the Six and is the Dragon of Earth. Hanalu exemplefies Healing, Nature, Farming, and the Land in Elu society and they pray to her for a good harvest every year.
Linnek, the Dragon of Water
— Linnek, Married to Ariolesh and the Dragon of Water is the revered patron of Motherhood and Loyalty. She is also the god of Sea-Travel and many sailors pray to her before and after any journey they make on the oceans of Arion, even if it’s a simple fishing trip.
Ashalim, the Dragon of Shadows
—Ashalim, the One Whom Never Speaks, is both the Dragon of Shadow and the Elu god of Death. Ashalim welcomes all into his realm with open arms and glowing green eyes, but never speaks directly. Only his priests hear his words and spread them to the people.
Ariolesh, The Dragon of Air
—Ariolesh, Married to Linnek and the Dragon of Air is another revered Dragon among the Six. Ariolesh is the god of Land Travel, Luck, Music, and Celebration which includes partying and drinking. Many pray to Ariolesh when they must make long journey’s across Sunyd, the Continent on which Alcesta is located.
Kreshar, the Dragon of Fire
—Kreshar is the Dragon of Fire and their god of War, the Forge, and camaraderie in battle. Kreshar is prayed to before and after every battle for both the Elu’s safety in battle and victory on the field of war.
It is said that the Six Dragons of Arion built the Spires where the bulk of Elu Soceity reside with their bare hands and, when they retired from this world, built the Holy Alandur for pilgrims to travel to and pray to the six and receive blessings from their gods and makers.