The “New Gods”

While the faith of the Firstborn Gods is considered by some to be the oldest religions in Altherys, it does not explain the presence and powers of other deities in the world.  Some deities, such as those who serve the aptly named Darkborn Pantheon of legend, are easily explained as being the product of the Betrayal of Luciron, when the God of Strife and Change slew the God of the Wilds and took his power for his own, becoming Maalgor, the God of Chaos and Monsters, and thus the antithesis of the Firstborn.  However it does not explain the presence of other deities independent of the Firstborn pantheon or their roles in the greater cosmos; whether they were part of the original Nine or some other group of deities that appeared after.  What is known, however, is that many of these deities can provide their followers access to the Divine source of magic that grants clerics their spells.  Some of the more devout believers of the Firstborn claim that many of these are simply aspects of the true pantheon, though no one is absolutely certain.

The “New Gods” or “Secondborn Pantheon” is the term given by the church and their scholars to regard all other deities who are not a part of the supposed Dark Pantheon but are still not part of the Church of the Firstborn’s teachings.  Most devout clerics will not recognize worship of these gods and denounce those who do take part in their worship, though very few incidents have ever led to bloodshed, calls for holy wars, or declarations of heresy.  Oracles and Prophets who have claimed to hear the whispers of one god or another have never outright proclaimed that the worship of a specific god is considered an unholy practice unless that deity is part of the supposed Dark Pantheon.  While the Church does not advocate the worship of these other gods it does not make them evil deities, but it does make them unaligned with the Church and the supposed true faith.

Though they are included as a pantheon, these deities have not confirmed to be working together, and more often than not work independent of one another without any contact with other holy powers.  Like the Firstborn, most of these deities represent an important part of the world, though their importance is largely determined by their local worshipers rather than the greater whole of the continent.  Each have their own unique holy men and women, though some rarely have an established clergy in many of the civilized realms.

  • Serynia the Moonmother is the ancient Elven goddess of Night, Stars, and Song.  She is a goddess whose spheres of influence are the lights of the night sky, the moon and stars, and the sweet sounds made by all living things.  It is said in Elven legend that the reason why birds sing in the morning is to say farewell to the Moonmother who is the mother of all creatures with a singing voice.  Serynia’s worship has become popular in recent years in places where story and song are a major part of local folklore, and as such has gained a following among the Petty Kingdoms of Aredain and the smallfolk of Remes.  Serynia is described as a pale Elven woman, her race dependent upon the dominant race of Elves in the area, who is cloaked in white silk dotted with beautiful bird feathers and crowned with a tiara in the shape of a crescent moon, its points glittering four-pointed stars.  Serynia’s worship is largely located in regions where Elves are common, and she is still worshiped proudly by the Gray Elves of Remes, the Wood Elves of Arendale Forest, and by numerous groups of Sand Elves who consider her to be their patron deity.  Clerics of Serynia commonly pass as singers and worship in her temples is conducted solely through song.
  • Venystria the Redjewel is the Old Tyrenmor goddess of Lust, Passion, and Vengeance.  Worship of her is said to have been practiced since the First Era in the old Tyrenmor civilization from which all humans of Western Altherys are descended from.  Sometimes called the Vengeful Viper due to her sacred animal and spheres of influence, Venystria is still widely worshiped in the former realms of the Remesian Empire, including Remes herself as well as nearby Valenor.  Venystria is most commonly worshiped as a goddess of sex and lustful vices, the patroness of prostitutes, concubines, and consorts.  However, while she is seen by most as a god of sex and lustful desires, she is also a goddess of vengeance; the personification of the rage and wrath of a woman scorned.  It is not uncommon, then, for wives with unfaithful husbands or mistresses envious of their lover’s marriage vows to take up worship of Venystria, however temporarily, to aid them in their righteous fury against the supposed perpetrator.  It comes to no surprise then that Venystria’s primary clergy are all female.  Lovemaking is a cornerstone to her clerics, who often serve as a higher form of prostitute to aid the church’s coffers, however they often perform a secondary function not known by the common populace.  The Vengeful Viper is highly protective of her clergy and property, and sees all those who live within the extended reach of her shrines and temples as part of her sphere of influence.  As such, Venystria’s clergy are commonly seen as a secondary policing force wherever they are found, aiding local guardsmen and investigators in finding evildoers and bringing them to justice.  Worship of Venystria is common throughout Remes where she is seen as a red-haired woman with a full bosom and lithe, attractive figure, sure to turn the eyes of any mortals who catch a glimpse of her form.
  • Another god of Tyrenmor who came with his people to Altherys is Bukhanan the Reveler, the God of Bards, Drunks, and Revelry.  Known to be a patron of bards and bartenders, Bukhanan has had an incredibly popular following amidst the tavernfolk of Remes as well as amidst the various noble families of both Remes and Valenor, where younger, brash family members regularly drink and make merry in his name.  Though his appearance is often unflattering compared to the other gods, Bukhanan cares little for appearance, and instead seeks only to relish in the most common vice known to mortals; the vice of overindulgence, especially if it’s alcohol.  Worshiped commonly by winemakers, barkeeps, performers, actors, and, of course, bards, Bukhanan is often referred to as the Drunken Lord or King of Kings, as even the greatest king takes sup and acknowledges the strength that alcohol can hold over him.  Bukhanan’s followers often come into conflict with those of the Elven deity Serynia, most often because both gods are often acknowledged as gods of song.  The clergy of Serynia take great offense to the bards and followers of Bukhanan, whose songs sung in the infamous Bukanals are often grotesque and offensive even to the common ear, while followers of Bukhanan consider Serynia to be far too strict and ‘not laid back enough’ for their taste.  Bukhanan is often described as a fat, old man wearing a laurel wreath upon his head and dressed in a lord’s togas, his belly distended from beer and his cheeks red and merry with laughter and wine.  His worship is also popular in Fryslon where bards have spread his worship to the local Skalds and tavern folk who relish in the thought of a god of strong drink and song.
  • God of Hunters, Horns, and High Places, Hykan Hallow, also known as Hykan the Hallowed, is a deity shared by both Elves and Beastfolk, particularly in the Duskwood of Aredain.  Worship of Hykan Hallow is said to be as old as Altherys itself, as his clergy were primarily the local Satyr who worshiped him long before the Elves came.  Many Wood Elves came to adopt Hykan Hallow as their own during the First Era, and a following of his now exists in Aredain, where his sanctuaries are commonly worshiped alongside those of local Pinehorn or Duskhoof Satyrs.  It is said that Hykan Hallow taught the Satyrs to build totems and carve faces into the Redoak Trees as symbols of his protection.  He is generally depicted in one of two ways; either as a tall satyr with the antlers and form of a deer instead of a goat, or as an Elf with green skin and hair and with horns jutting from his forehead.  He is most commonly worshiped by hunters, rangers, trackers, and trailmakers, as he is considered to be a guardian spirit of the forest.  Hykan Hallow makes little distinction whether his followers are good or evil and doesn’t even have an established clergy beyond a wise man or a village elder, but he does look down upon unnecessary destruction of life and land, holding suicide, kinslaying, and childkillings the highest of sins.  It is said that Hykan Hallow lives atop the tallest mountain in the world where he watches all through blind eyes, relying on the faces in the trees to see for him.  Hykan’s worshipers generally set themselves apart from other wilder folk by choosing to wear simple amulets of antler or bone in the shape of a curved hunting horn, his symbol of power.
  • Cog the Cognitive is a recent deity, his worship having appeared in Valenor sometime during the first century of the Third Era.  His followers believe that he is the god of artisanry, engineering, and innovation, and strive to follow his example by creating new tools and constructions.  His clergy is considered strange by foreigners, as they are almost always tinkerers, builders, inventors, and engineers of some description and practice no spells and say no prayers beyond their ‘devotion’ through craft.  Despite this none can argue that their clergy produces some of the best tools in the known world and have aided in some fashion in inventing new ways to approach architecture, design, and advances in technology, making their holy city of Valencine the most innovative city in the known world.  His worship, however, is not recognized outside of Valenor, and few even know of his existence outside of the Realm.
  • Gwyneth Greymane, also known as Gwyneth the Graysister, is the Goddess of Knowledge, Ideas, and Written Word.  Having been brought overseas from the east and to Remes and the rest of the known Realms through the Kaframil Road, Gwyneth is considered to be one of the newest deities in Altherys but already has a large following wherever her spheres of influence are benefited most.  Considered to be the patroness of libraries, academies and schools, as well as other places of learning and teaching, Gwyneth’s worship is now widespread throughout the civilized world.  Her clergy is primarily contained in two places in Altherys: the Gray Citadel located at the Pillars of Tyren, and in Hakahn City along the Ivory Coast of the Kaframil.  Gwyneth encourages worship through written word, and as such her clergy are primarily composed of scribes and scholars who learn as much as they can of the world and write them down in books.  It is said that if every book in the known world was to burn, that if every tablet scrawled with glyphs be lost, or every stone carved in runes be destroyed, Gwyneth would fade away, but so long as one word is still kept written her spark would live on.
  • Grond Goremaker is the Goblin deity of Battle, Fury, and Reaving.  Commonly known by the title of Grond the Godslayer, Grond is usually worshiped by Orcs or Goblins outside of normal society or as an alternative to the worship of the Firstborn God, Falgrim.  Worship of Grond has been widespread among Goblinkind since the First Era, according to the estimations of some Orcs queried by the subject, and out of all the gods of Goblinkind Grond is the only one that survived the Goblin Wars and arose with them from the Deep Realms.  Grond is depicted as a nasty bugbear, his form huge and gigantic and covered in arrows and the shafts of daggers, and wielding his two-handed cleaver called Biter with a permanent snarl upon his face.  A legend regarding Grond focuses upon the destruction of the Dwarves, where Grond led the gods in a rampage killing the Dwarven deities wherever they found them.  When one god of Goblinkind objected to following the Dwarves to the surface, Grond slew him and took his essence for his own.  He would do the same to all the other gods of Goblinkind, rising in ranks to become the strongest among them as each other Goblin deity faltered and failed to make their way to the surface.  So Grond earned the moniker Godslayer.  He is like Falgrim in that he rewards bravery and has a sense of honor, though his idea of honor is much more skewed as Grond considers the weak to be useless and worthy only to serve as slaves for the strong.  Unsurprisingly worship of Grond is considered to be illegal in most of the civilized world, though his cult still has a massive following among the Orcs and Goblins, especially in the poor folk of many cities where his brute savagery is said to keep them alive in times of crisis and peril.
  • Namayka the Seamaiden is a Goddess brought to Altherys by the enigmatic Sea Elves whose ships regularly make trade along the coasts of Remes and Aredain.  She is the Goddess of the Sea and Sea Beasts, represented by tidal waves, great fish, and sea serpents.  Sometimes called the Pirate Maiden or the Eternal Sea Witch, Namayka is worshiped mostly out of fear rather than reverence as she is considered a destructive force that, if not placated, will bring misfortune upon sailors and seafolk alike in the form of monsters, harsh storms, or strong winds that bring pirates and marauders.  The Sea Elves claim that her wrath was at its height when a seafaring nation of men insulted her one time too many, and so she laid waste to their island homes and cast them adrift to the sea; only a sacrifice of the highest order could placate her enough to let the seas calm and the winds let them drift east to safer shores.  She is primarily worshiped by sailors out of fearful superstition, or by pirates out of desire to strike out against unwitting traders.  Surprisingly one cult in Fryslon worship her as a tragic nature goddess who simply wishes the safety of her children of the sea, though most fail to take them seriously.  One common legend regarding the Seamaiden is that red algal blooms in the open ocean is a sign that Namayka has bled, and that one must beware her coming wrath.  Worship of Namayka is often violently purged by the clergy of Kyntaya the Mistshaper as an affront and false pretender who insults their goddess by corrupting her image.
  • Ariadne the Spellweaver is an ancient Elven deity of Magic, and her worship has been largely ignored except in recent decades when mages began rediscovering her ancient shrines and sacred texts amidst Elven ruins.  Called the Spider Goddess by some due to her sacred symbol and name, Ariadne is considered to be the patroness of spellweaving, runeshaping, and other forms of casting, specifically in the magical arts.  Ariadne is herself a neutral, self-serving deity, said to be chaotic in nature, and some scholars blame increased worship of her to have helped lead to the downfall of the Elven civilization of the First Era, though few can say exactly how her influence helped destabilize Elven society.  What is known, however, is that Ariadne was widely regarded as a powerful deity by the Swamp Elves that made their home in the Everbog and what is now the Fracture, where most of her shrines and temples still reside.  Her worship is now largely regarded by archeologists and mages, particularly Elves, though most confess that it is largely done out of both respect and to study what they can of the ancient elves.
  • Minos the Bull, also known as Minos the Ram or Minos the Horned depending on the cult, is a deity primarily worshiped by Minotaurs who credit him as their maker.  While the other deities of Altherys hold many titles and hold many domains in the world, Minos claims one domain alone; the act of procreation.  His domain is expressed and emphasized through his dogma, “Go forth and multiply,” which he encourages his worshipers to do above all things.  He cares little for love or lusts, only that life continue to thrive in the world.  Despite seeming so direct and sometimes vulgar in his approach, he has a fairly large and steady following both amidst his Minotaur worshipers, as well as on and off services performed by high nobles and young lovers seeking assurances that they may be able to start a family or raise their next heir.  Minos takes many forms depending on the worshiper; either a bull, a ram, or a human/dwarf/elf/goblin with a pair of bull’s horns, but he is usually depicted as being bloated and overweight with strong forearms in his more appropriate imagery.  Minos’s clergy are always a husband and wife team and are encouraged to have many children, who in turn are encouraged to spread the faith and form a priesthood of their own.  Among Minotaurs he is seen as the patron of their chiefs, who claim the right to all females in a tribe up until a successor takes his place.  Worship of Minos is frowned upon by many as they see his influence as a destabilizing factor that encourages overpopulation, while others approve of his emphasis of marriage vows and strict association of sex with the act of making children rather than the act of lustful desires.
  • The Masked Prince is the god of Thieves, Deceivers, and Secrets.  Some claim that he is an Elven deity, while others think that he could have been brought over from Tyrenmor or even from the Deep Realms by the Dwarves.  No one knows for certain, though what is known is that the Masked Prince is worshiped almost exclusively by thieves guilds, tomb robbers, and spies seeking hidden information.  The Masked Prince is a master of disguise and as such his Clergy are capable of disguising themselves well amongst the average populace.  While he does have a code of honor in that he will not steal from the poor he is not above stealing from the good or the innocent so long as they have things that can be stolen, though the trinkets he prizes most are secrets.  Worship of the Masked Prince is outlawed wherever the Church of the Firstborn is held sway by order of the clergy of Helos, the God of Law, but the Masked Prince’s followers still thrive with some even having wormed their way into the clergy of other churches, seeking what knowledge they have hidden away.  It’s for this reason that many consider the Masked Prince to be the Secret Purifier, as many clergies who hold corrupt priests or bureaucracies with corrupt officials are often informed of the corruption for a price.

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