Monthly Archives: February 2015

A New World, Part 7: Mythology – The Five Gods of Man

Third and last part in the Mythology arc of posts.

The names of all Old Gods were created using the Lovecraftian Names generator.

The Five Gods of Man

Even though his mother got better in the years after Darac and his companions freed her from the Underworld, where she had been imprisoned by the dead god Rarthot, Darac himself was a changed man. He had seen so many horrors in that realm of torment, too much suffering, and too much brutality. Before, he had been convinced that some – if not most – gods were benign; now he doubted this belief.

His doubts on the matter were finally settled when, five years after Darac’s return from the underworld, a series of calamities began to hit the lands: A drought led to forest fires and a famine. The following year, winter lasted so long that there was no summer. The snow finally melted at the time autumn arrived, and the seasonal rain and the melting snow led to floods and mudslides. Without a crop that year, the famine grew worse – granaries were empty, and even the foragers returned to their villages empty-handed most days. And as if this had not been enough, the dead rose from their graves that winter.

Darac sought his mother’s council. Because of her years in the Underworld, she had developed a… gift, saw visions in her dreams, and had great insight into the workings of the divine.

“The gods,” Darac’s mother said, “are angry at you, my son. They seek revenge for their humiliation, for your defiance.”

“But we are not suffering, mother,” Darac replied. “We have enough food. our lands are large and my estate small. Why must others suffer for what I did?”

“That is the way of the gods, son. Your first punishment is to see those suffer who are innocent in your eyes. It will get worse.” She paused. “It always gets worse.”

Darac knew, in his heart, that Iruwa was right, but his mind did not want to accept what was clear to his sight. As before, he summoned his companions. Of the three who had accompanied him to the underworld, two answered his call. Darac told them of his mother’s explanation, and what he intended to do about it. The two replied that they believed that Darac had become insane, but yet, they once more swore an oath to stand by his side, no matter what the cost to their own being or souls.

Darac, his companions, and Iruwa then travelled across the land to the palace of the God-Queen, Nuria, whose lands had remained unaffected. Three times he demanded that the God-Queen Nuria open the gates of her kingdom to refugees. Three times he demanded that she share the contents of her granaries with the starving people outside. The God-Queen Nuria denied each of his demands. Darac then challenged her to, and with the use of the Sword of Yorhorh and the powers of the dead god, Rarthot, defeated her in personal combat. As he was about to behead the God-Queen Nuria, she yielded and offered her loyalty in exchange for her life. Darca accepted, and the God-Queen Nuria henceforth fought on Darac’s side.

Indeed, Darca had had no intention of killing the God-Queen Nuria, for her abilities and powers played an important role in his plan. As a goddess herself, she was able to find, and lead Darac to, other gods. They met Daugggol by a stream, as the Wild God was feasting on still-beating hearts. Darac killed Daugggol after but a short fight. Thalhar was the next god they confronted – the lustful god was killed in the brothel he had been frequenting in disguise. Sorth-zaraug survived, but was banished to the Underworld – the first time that a God would be imprisoned there.

In similar manner, Darac’s band of adventurers hunted down and killed every god they could find. Word of his deeds spread, and volunteers arrived. Soon, Darac had an army at his disposal.

The gods had, of course, taken notice, and they, too began to band together. At first smaller groups challenged Darac, but while Darac lost some men, and could not always kill all of his opponents outright, he and his companions remained undefeated.

At long last, the gods united under the leadership of Rarakrsha, who had led many armies over the eons as his enjoyed the bloodshed and death of soldiers on the field. The gods called their faithful to a crusade against Darac, and the army of the gods and the army of men clashed on the northern plateau of Tarn. The battle raged for weeks, with heav causalities on both sides. Darac and Rarakrsha met in the midst of the battlefield, and the hero of mankind slew the god of warfare right there, raising his severed head high. Silence fell on the battlefield, and then the mortals in the army of gods betrayed their masters. The few remaining gods present on the plateau of Tarn did not survive their general for long.

After the battle, Darac and his companions decided to push on for a final victory, advised to do so by the God-Queen Nuria. She said that if there ever was a day to strike against the Pantheon, it was this very day, and so they set forth, bringing with them a small group of their best fighting-men.

Tensions ran high among the men as they approached the white marble pillars, and a few fell to their knees as they crossed the Threshold, frozen in fear. The rest left them behind. They followed the long, tall halls, their steps echoing through the eternity of Pantheon. They were alone. They found nobody – no god, no mortal, nothing. The Great Chamber was deserted, the throne room of Anagkekra was empty. It was here that Darac and his companions held council. Again, it was the God-Queen Nuria who, through her own status, could offer an explanation.

The gods, she said, had fled. Fearful for their lives, their very existence, they had abandoned the world for good. “You know what must be done now,” she said.

“I do not know,” Darac replied. “I do not.”

“You must take it,” the God-Queen replied. “You must sit on the throne. You must take the reigns of power, and replace the gods you have slain.”

“I can not,” Darac answered. “I do not want this power, can not carry this responsibility!”

“That,” the God-Queen Nuria said simply, “Is why you must.”

Darac’s mother, Iruwa, put her hand on her son’s shoulder. “You know she is right,” she said. “There is nobody else you can trust. We will be with you, son.”

And so, with a heavy heart, Darac approached the enormous throne, his two remaining companions, his mother Iruwa, and the God-Queen Nuria at his side, and it is they, who have since that day, protected and guided all the peoples of the world as the new Five Gods.

 

A New World, Part 6: Mythology – Darac’s Descend into the Underworld

These turned out to be longer than I thought, so I decided to split them up. Part two of the Mythology arc:

Darac’s Descend Into the Underworld

Darac’s victory felt hollow to the great hero, as he knew that his mother was still trapped in the Underworld, suffering unmentionable pain every day. And not only his mother – he knew all too well that there were hundreds, maybe countless, people who had been taken by gods over the eons.

Two year after his return from the Pantheon he called his companions to him. Three answered the call, and after they arrived, Darac proposed that they should descend into the Underworld, to free his mother, and any other humans they could. His companions agreed they would follow him, but said that such an endeavor was plainly impossible. Everybody had known, they said, how to get to the Pantheon. Nobody knew how to get into the Underworld. Darac told them that he had thought about this, and had come up with a solution. He asked his companions to swear that, no matter what, they would be loyal to him, and the cause, and all three agreed and swore this oath.

Darac smiled and gave a sign to his servants. They opened a large door at the other end of the hall, and armed guards led in eight priests and priestesses. Each was in chains. Each served a God known to be particularly cruel – Thachac, Mmoldar, Teggogh, Yor-Sothan, and others.

“You serve your Gods well, do you not?” Darac asked the men and women. They nodded in agreement.

“And what you see, your Gods see, do they not?” Again, the priests agreed.

“Then know this. We are coming for you. We will hunt down every one of you, and kill each and every one of you, until your masters stop us. Banish us to the Underworld, I dare them! Nothing will stop us!” and with this, Darac drew the sword of Yorhorh, and killed each of the eight priests and priestesses in turn.

Darac revealed to his companions that he had used the treasure of the red dragon to gather a small but highly trained and fiercely loyal group of mercenaries – five thousand men in total. And he intended to carry out his threats. At first, the companions were aghast, but Darac reminded them of all the evil the Gods had committed, and convinced them that his way was just.

For the next six years, Darac’s army traveled through the lands, and they killed every servant of those gods they could find. As word of his deeds spread, some cities and kingdoms denied him entry, and so he forced his way. He spared the God-Queen Nuria, but only after burning down her temples and palaces.

At the end of six years, the Gods decided that enough was enough. They banished Darac and his companions, and his entire army, to the Underworld. Darac and his companions used every trick at their disposal, all the power of the dead god Rarthot, to protect their men from the torment, but most succumbed and died in the first weeks. The rest marched on and made war on the demons of the Underworld. They even freed some people, who then joined their crusade.

At long last, Darac found Iruwa. She had not aged a day since Rarthot had imprisoned her, and she was physically unharmed, though her soul had been broken. She did not know who the strangers were who suddenly faced her, and had long forgotten the notion of a life without eternal suffering. She followed, but not out of enthusiasm to be free once more; she followed like any broken slave would in fear of the whip.

Despite having achieved his goal, Darac had a great moment of doubt. It seemed that despite all the hardship, he could not even save his mother. He nearly gave up, there, in the deepest levels of hell, but his companions reminded him of the good he had done, of the people he had saved, and that it was not, after all, too late for his mother – if Darac would lead them out of the Underworld.

Darac agreed, and with a heavy heart took charge of the men again. They soon found that their entry had been easy – all the guardians of the Underworld aimed at keeping people and souls in, not out! Roads that had been free were now open. Rivers of molten lava had appeared where there had been serene lakes of blood before. Things with sharp teeth came for the men when they rested, and the gods sent armies of the dead to confront them. Darac’s army, already reduced to a fraction of its size, dwindled. They fought and defeated Zotsa, whose phlegm dissolved a man within seconds. They came across a lake where a dozen men would not heed warnings out of thirst and turned to stone as they drank. They climbed a wall made out of the writhing bodies of disloyal temple slaves. They braved the burning air of Genvahorr and the frozen caverns of  Ucpelardi.

It was in these caves that they nearly found their end, were it not for a strange coincidence. Through the thick snow-storms, they saw several shapes. As they got closer, it became clear that what they saw was a battle. It was a naked woman, with dark hair, surrounded by a dozen winged demons. Her skin was pale, almost blue from the cold, and the demons had frost-covered skin. She was using a horn she had ripped off a demon’s head as a club. Then Darac recognized her, it was the God-Queen Nuria! Without much thought, Darac charged the demons, and his companions and men followed him.

After defeating the demons, and providing some of their clothes to the God-Queen, Nuria explained that she had been cast into the Underworld as punishment for being spared by Darac. She was not the ally Darac would have chosen, but she was a familiar person. More-over, she said she thought she could find the way back, even though she was feeling too weak to make it on her own.

Darac agreed to trust the God-Queen Nuria, and she was true to her word. She led Darac’s now very small group of men to the surface, where they emerged amidst the volcanoes of the southern islands.

 

A New World, Part 5: Mythology – Darac’s Origin

As promised, I’ll continue to flesh out the New World setting I created for the January Blog Carnival. I haven’t really had time to work on the map, so I am doing something different today and maps will come later. I’ll deal with the Colonist’s religion. I’ll try to make this semi in-character:

Darac’s Origin

In the past, Gods walked the Earth. Everybody knows this, and everybody learns the stories about the Old Gods – how they created the world, and how they made it their own; how they gave it life. The Old Gods were very much invested in mankind, and interacted with it frequently. A traveler could come across the goddess of beauty bathing under a waterfall. If he was lucky, she would take a liking to him. A fair maiden might be visited by a god as she brushed her hair in front of a mirror, and if she was unlucky, he took a liking to her. The gods were whimsical, unpredictable, sometimes generous and often very, very jealous.

Mankind continued to thrive, learned to make better tools and more powerful weapons. Humans built cities, connected them with roads, founded kingdoms and began to explore the oceans. But they did not contest the power of the gods until Rarthot, one of the Old Gods, came across a group of young women near a village. All of the girls fled at the sight of the God, except for the most beautiful of them, Iruwa, who faced him without fear. Impressed by her beauty and her boldness, Rarthot took her to be his mistress.

Rarthot, however, soon discovered that Iruwa was carrying a son. Enraged that she was not pure any longer, Rarthot took the son from her and threw him to the Earth without a thought. He then banished Iruwa to the deepest levels of the underworld; a place of eternal pain and suffering. She was tormented by the underworld demons, a suffering only surpassed when Rarthot would visit, and unleash the worst cruelties he could imagine. This went on for sixteen years before Rarthot’s visits became less frequent and he, eventually, abandoned Iruwa, so she might suffer for the rest of eternity.

Rarthot had never thought a second time of Iruwa’s son, however. He survived and was found by a poor shepherd. Desperately poor, he nonetheless took the child home, and he and his wife raised him as his own. The boy was given the name Darac.

Darac grew to be a healthy young man – strong as an ox, quick as the lightning, agile as the cat but also of sound mind, he was well-liked in his village. He left his home during the Navorish wars, and learned to use sword, spear and bow. He distinguished himself as a very capable warrior, his skill and fighting-spirit inspiring those who saw him in the thick of battle.

One day, a priestess came to bless Darac’s legion before an important battle. As she touched Darac’s head, she fainted. As she recovered, she sent everybody away and told Darac of his true origin as the son of a woman taken by Rarthot – it had been revealed to her as she had been unconscious.  At first, Darac did not believe it, but after the war he returned home and his foster parents told him that, indeed, they were not his true parents but had found him. Now Darac was filled with doubts, and decided to find out more about his origin. He left his village again, vowing to return once he had discovered the truth.

Over the years, he lived through many adventures. Darac’s Voyages led him to all known lands, and far beyond. He saw things no mortal had seen before him, fought gruesome monsters, and received audiences from priests and kings alike. He was led astray often, made wrong decisions at times, but never gave up on his quest. He gathered a group of four friends, who assisted him. He obtained a sword blessed by none other than the god Yorhorh, which he used to slay the Red Dragon. The gods took notice of this, and some began to aid him, while others toyed with him. The God-Queen Nuria told Darac of his mother’s fate. Darac swore that he would kill Rarthot for this, and rescue his mother.

Rarthot was at first annoyed, then over time frightened, as Darac overcame one hurdle after the other, defeated every enemy that challenged him. Eventually, Darac and his friends forced their way into the Pantheon itself, and confronted and killed Rarthot in a mighty battle that was witnessed in all of the world as a violent thunderstorm that lasted three days.

Darac was offered to replace Rarthot in the Pantheon, but Darac rejected this. Instead, he returned to the world. He parted ways with his companions, each vowing to use the powers they gained from the dead god Rarthot to protect the peoples of the land.

 

A New Year, A New World Roundup

RPGBlogCarnivalLogoSmallJanuary came and went and it’s time to close our “New Year, New World” Blog Carnival. With a slow start, we still got a number of really cool – and in some cases very long – entries. Posts were, in chronological order:

Thank you all for participating! Be sure to check out February’s carnival, over at Leicester’s Ramble, on the topic of How/Where You Write/Prep.

If you’ve got any late articles, please post below or on the original post and I’ll add you to the list. I’ll also continue building my small colonial setting over the next months.