Those Who Watch Our Souls

Those Who Watch Over Our Souls

—As told by Jormunge, Master Tale-teller of Nolonor

Introduction

The presence of the gods is felt throughout all of Dahara. Most of its peoples are quite spiritual, and frequently attribute any good or bad situation to the gods.

Nearly all of Dahara is polytheistic, save for the Frozen Baronies in the north, who worship a being known simply as the Allone. The barbarian tribes at World’s Edge don’t worship deities as others recognize them. Instead they follow the elemental forces that affect their life (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Plant, War). These tribes do not acknowledge that these forces have a will, agenda or even a personality. To the tribes, the forces simply are. There are, however, small, select tribes that do worship gods.

Certain deities are worshipped only in certain regions, and for those deities that cover all of Dahara, different interpretations can be found. This means that worshippers of Libra in the North follow a different doctrine than those in the South. Nowhere is this more evident than with Mentazara. It is interesting to note, that only Men have a different pantheon they follow.

It is very rare for one individual to pay homage to a single deity. While a soldier may pray to Mentazara on the eve of battle, or while the in practice fields, it is Artalas who gains the attention of this same warrior while he is on the march.

Another important point to note is that of the old gods. While many of their names have been lost to history, these gods were widely worshipped during the days of the Broken Empire. It is only after the fall of the Empire that the old gods fell from favor, and the gods we know now came to power. Despite this, many people throughout all of Dahara, still pay homage to the ways and practices of the old gods. This mixing of gods can sometimes create a serious trouble, and even topple kingdoms, as is evidenced by what happened to the kingdom of Talonor, which collapsed for this very reason, and became the Pirate Baronies.

Gods of the South

Graham the Provider – God of Work, Good Living, Justice, the Bright One
Common Symbols: Quarterstaff, the spade, the sun, the family, food bounty
Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

Doctrine: Seen as the All Father, Graham the Provider is the dominant deity in southern Dahara. Graham gives all to those who invoke his name and his handiwork can be seen in all that is either created or given in a positive way. Graham does not give the night sky or war, for those are the things of dark and evil. Graham does give the light from the sun and all the things it produces.

With these beliefs then, a central theme to Graham’s worshippers is that of giving. Holidays celebrating Graham’s deeds and goodness are filled with gifts, and it is customary for priests of Graham to present a gift when paying a visit to a noble or prominent individual. It is widely believed that one who gives gifts in Graham’s name will also receive them in kind in the future.

Graham also gives justice in the south, and high-ranking priests of Graham often preside over important trials. Traveling priests also are expected to be judges in small outlying villages when called upon by the local lord or town officials.

Priests of Graham are expected to be providers of aid to all those who justifiably need it, whether it is healing, council or justice. Graham’s priests are not warriors, and tend to avoid combat when possible. They can willingly aid allies who are fighting, if it is serving a just cause.

Libra – Goddess of Justice, Life, and Balance
Common Symbols: Scales, a newborn, a pregnant belly, a tree
Favored Weapon: Warhammer

Doctrine: Libra is the Great Protector, bringer of good will and justice, and the one who provides for all beings who invoke her name. Libra has many aspects that are brought forth by both her priests and the common man alike. While this creates friction from time to time within her temples, most people are willing to set aside these conflicts for the betterment of the faith.

A central theme to all those who worship Libra is balance. In all things Libra does, balance and fairness should be the end result, whether it is healing a hurt comrade or counseling a local lord. Whether that balance is immediate or eventual does not matter. This belief serves many priests of Libra well, as villagers and even some lords will defer to priests of Libra in matters of determining and dispensing justice. It can also become a problem, as some followers are not always happy with judgments or counsel given.

Temples of Libra are quite varied. Rich, elaborate structures can be found in many large cities, while simple, open air shrines are the choice in small roadside villages. The church of Libra actually supports this practice, as they feel it visibly signifies the balance Libra purports.

Priests of Libra are expected to be advisors, assisting those who have taken the role of leader. It is their job to know what is going on in a situation, and abroad, keeping one eye on the commoner and the other on nobles.

In the southern regions of Dahara, priests of Libra are found only in the larger cities, and thus she has fewer followers than in the North. In these larger cities, the priests have great influence. The churches there do make great use of travelling priests to spread both the faith and the justice of their goddess.

Slanggara – God of Strength, Mailce, Domination
Common Symbols: A well-muscled man, an armored warrior, shackles, a coiled whip
Favored Weapon: Flail or Whip

Doctrine: The bringing of despair, darkness and pain; that is Slanggara. Living in the darkness of shadows and under cover of the night, Slanggara and his followers plot to bring distrust and division to those in power. Slanggara thrives on strife, misery and conflict, doing whatever he can to bring about suspicion and war with those in charge.

Priests of Slanggara operate in the shadows, working closely with those who desire power, urging them on to make war on their enemies and any who might oppose them. Sometimes they do this in the guise of someone else promising power and liberation.

Worshippers of Slanggara have no temples, instead preferring to meet in places where they can safely plot and scheme. The only exception to this practice is in places deep underground, where the Children of Despair are safe from prying eyes.

Priests of Slanggara are expected to assist those who desire power, but often these same priests may take up this role themselves. In outlying or lawless regions, cults around Slanggara have been known to form, and make war against their enemies. Often, these cults form around a charismatic leader or ideal. It is very rare that the majority of these worshippers know who they are truly paying homage to.

Direct worship of Slanggara is outlawed by many nobles throughout the south, but enforcement is a different matter entirely.

Courgara – God of Wealth, Fortune, Luck, brother of Fourgara and Tourgara and cousin to Slanggara
Common Symbols: Gold coins, a star, sunbeams
Favored Weapon: None

Doctrine: That one lucky break that turns the tide of a battle. The fortune made at the gambling table. The sale of all of your Nolonor wool blankets. These are all gifts from Courgara, or so their priests and devoted followers would tell you. The god of chance and wealth, Courgara listens to all those who have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.

Priests of Courgara can be found almost everywhere. From the most downtrodden sections of a major city, to the exclusive marketplazs in that same burg. They provide hope and one more chance to those who need it most, and help those whose wealth needs protection.

Because of this, Courgara’s priests have a wide interpretation of doctrine, sometimes placing them at opposite ends of the spectrum, with the downtrodden needing Courgara’s luck to overcome, and the wealthy they oppose seeking Courgara’s protection for their wealth and station.

Depending upon where they see themselves in Courgara’s Plan, priests of the god of luck and money will either be rabble-rousers and risk takers or custodians of wealth. In any regard, temples of Courgara are often regarded as safe havens for one’s wealth, and often used as intermediaries for contracts and deals. For a fee of course.

Mentazara – God of War and Dominance
Common Symbols: Crossed swords, stylized helm, a shield
Favored Weapon: Any melee weapon that does not provide reach

Doctrine: Though Graham provides for all and protects those who invoke his name, he does not make war or destroy. He leaves that job to Mentazara. Mentazara is the god of strength, dominance and war. From the common soldier to the general, Mentazara lives on the battlefield, and practice halls of all those who follow the martial pursuits.

Of all the gods of the north and south, none is more interpreted than Mentazara. This differing of interpretation has led to many bloody conflicts through out the ages, all in the name of the same god. Indeed, some scholars have even suggested this is the way Mentazara wishes it, as these battles are what the god thrives upon.

Priests of Mentazara see themselves in a variety of roles. From wandering mercenary, to disciplined trainer, to holy warrior. All view their outlook as correct. Temples of Mentazara are a combination of practice field and meditation chamber. Some are even battle pits where clerics preside over festival nights of deathsport.

Dendoua – God of Shadows and the Night
Common Symbols: The moon, a trio of gravestones, an owl
Favored Weapon: Dagger

Doctrine: When the sun sets, the shadows fall long on the world, and those who follow the night god, Dendoua come out. Keeping their existence secret is paramount to clerics of Dendoua, for they must deal with those deeds that others find distasteful. Thievery, traitorous acts, burying the dead are all the realm of Dendoua.

Temples to Dendoua are common, but hard to find. They are in the back alleys, the shadows, the places in town that people forget about. Those who do know of them, know them because that is where the dead are taken. There are many temples to the Shadow god that many do not know of. It is in these temples that evil plots are hatched.

Despite this sinister aspect, there is another side that deals with the care and placement of the dead. Ritual cleaning and burying of bodies are often handled by clerics of Dendoua. These priests spurn the darker aspects of associated with their god, but face he scrutiny and scorn of those who do not trust them.

Tourgara – God of Magic, brother of Courga and Fourga and cousin to Slanggara
Common Symbols: A staff with a spark at the end, a comet, five pointed star
Favored Weapon: None

Doctrine: Magical ability is a gift that is given, not something that be had by just anyone. The god who grants this gift is Tourgara. He, and he alone chooses who shall practice the Craft. Tourgara is also often associated as the god of dragons, thanks in large part to the many sorcerers that honor the god of magic.

Though Tourgara is regarded as one of the Brothers Three, his brother Fourgara is often forgotten in the southern regions. Where Tourgara is given dominion over all magic in the south, he only presides over those who use their magic for sinister purpose in the north. This said, worshippers of Tourga often taken both evil and good aspects of their god. This had led to numerous doctrinal challenges and battles in the past. For reasons unknown to magical scholars, priests of Tourgara are able to wield magic that can heal others. Something normally available to those priests specifically tied to a god.

Temples of Tourgara take a variety of shapes and sizes, but all must meet some similar requirements. Each must have one obvious magical presence, to display Tourgara’s power. Each temple must also have a portion of it built solely through magical means.

Priests of Tourgara travel the southern lands looking for evidence of magical phenomena. They also are expected to chronicle magical occurrences and provide guidance to those wielding magic.

Artalas – God of travelers, those who favor the open road
Common Symbols: The road into the horizon, a broad-brimmed hat, a horse, a compass
Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

Doctrine: The travelling god. He with No Home. This is Artalas. Artalas wanders all of Dahara, bringing aid and peace to all those who make their living not staying in one place. Though merchants may praise the blessings of Courgara when they count their money, they seek Artalas’ help when they travel from city to city.

Artalas is a free spirit, and has a wanderlust that can never be sated. His zest for life carries him along to his next destination. Always looking for new adventure and meeting different people.

Temples of Artalas exist only in between cities, and each open campground along a road or trail is considered sacred ground to his followers. Only one actual temple to the travelling god exists within a city’s walls, and that is in K’haren. It is only thus, because of that city’s penchant for attracting people from throughout Dahara. The libraries of this temple are regarded as some of the most rich, having acquired texts and tomes from nearly everywhere.

Priests of the travelling god are expected to never stay in one place for long. They arrive, offer what aid is needed and then move on. If they ever assume a leadership role it is sometimes to help those trying to shake off the yoke of oppression. But even after that task is complete, the priest must move on.

Gods of the North

Libra – Goddess of Justice and Life
Common Symbols: Scales, a newborn, a pregnant belly, a tree, an open book
Favored Weapon: Any sword

Doctrine: Libra is the Great Protector, bringer of good will and justice, and the one who provides for all beings who invoke her name. Being the dominate deity of the northern reaches of Dahara, Libra has many aspects that are brought forth by both her priests and the common man alike. While this creates friction from time to time within her temples, most people are willing to set aside these conflicts for the betterment of the faith.

A central theme to all those who worship Libra is balance. In all things Libra does, balance and fairness should be the end result, whether it is healing a hurt comrade or counseling a local lord. Whether that balance is immediate or eventual does not matter. This belief serves many field priests of Libra well, as villagers and even some lords will defer to priests of Libra in matters of determining and dispensing justice. It can also become a problem, as some followers are not always happy with judgments or counsel given.

Temples of Libra are quite varied. Rich, elaborate structures can be found in many large cities, while simple, open air shrines are the choice in small roadside villages. The church of Libra actually supports this practice, as they feel it visibly signifies the balance Libra purports.

Priests of Libra are expected to be advisors, assisting those who have taken the role of leader. It is their job to know what is going on in a situation, and abroad, keeping one eye on the commoner and the other on nobles.

Slanggara – God of Strength, Malice, Domination
Common Symbols: A well-muscled man, an armored warrior, shackles, a coiled whip
Favored Weapon: Flail or Whip

Doctrine: The bringing of despair, darkness and pain; that is Slanggara. Living in the darkness of shadows and under cover of the night, Slanggara and his followers plot to bring distrust and division to those in power. Slanggara thrives on strife, misery and conflict, doing whatever he can to bring about suspicion and war with those in charge.

Priests of Slanggara operate in the shadows, working closely with those who desire power, urging them on to make war on their enemies and any who might oppose them. Sometimes they do this in the guise of someone else promising power and liberation.

Worshippers of Slanggara have no temples, instead preferring to meet in places where they can safely plot and scheme. The only exception to this practice is in places deep underground, where the Children of Despair are safe from prying eyes.

Priests of Slanggara are expected to assist those who desire power, but often these same priests may take up this role themselves. In outlying or lawless regions, cults around Slanggara have been known to form, and make war against their enemies. This is especially true in the far northern reaches of Dahara, where Slanggara’s doctrine is interpreted more towards a god of war, than evil.

Often, these cults form around a charismatic leader or ideal. It is very rare that the majority of these worshippers know who they are truly paying homage to.

Direct worship of Slanggara is outlawed by many nobles throughout the north, but enforcement is a different matter entirely.

Courgara - God of Wealth, Fortune, Luck, brother of Fourgara and Tourgara and cousin to Slanggara
Common Symbols: Gold coins, a star, sunbeams
Favored Weapon: None

Doctrine: That one lucky break that turns the tide of a battle. The fortune made at the gambling table. The sale of all of your Nolonor wool blankets. These are all gifts from Courga, or so their priests would tell you. The god of chance and wealth, Courgara listens to all those who have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.

Priests of Courgara can be found almost everywhere. From the most downtrodden sections of a major city, to the exclusive marketplaz’s in that same burg. They provide hope and one more chance to those who need it most, and help those whose wealth needs protection.

Because of this, Courgara’s clerics have a wide interpretation of doctrine, sometimes placing them at opposite ends of the spectrum, with the downtrodden needing Courgara’s luck to overcome, and the wealthy they oppose seeking Courgara’s protection for their wealth and station.

Depending upon where they see themselves in Courgara’s Plan, priests of the god of luck and money will either be rabble-rousers and risk takers or custodians of wealth. In any regard, temples of Courga are often regarded as safe havens for one’s wealth, and often used as intermediaries for contracts and deals. For a fee of course.

Mentazar - God of Martial Prowess and Excellence
Common Symbols: A sword, crossed swords, a shield, a kneeling or seated man
Favored Weapon: Any melee weapon that does not provide reach

Doctrine: Martial skill and prowess. An art not of war and destruction, but perfection of ones self through the skills used in war. This is the realm of Mentazar. From the common soldier to the general, Mentazar lives on the battlefield, and practice halls of all those who follow the martial pursuits.

Of all the gods of the north and south, none is more interpreted than Mentazar. Even down to his very name, this differing of interpretation has led to many bloody conflicts through out the ages. Indeed, some scholars have even suggested this is the way Mentazar wishes it, as these battles are what the god thrives upon.

Priests of Mentazar see themselves in a variety of roles. Like their brethren in the south, priests can play the role of wandering mercenary, to disciplined trainer, to holy warrior. But Mentazar priests also see themselves as wise counsellors. Some Mentazar temples exist in remote areas, where their priests master their discipline, and are then sent out in the world to aid those in need, and educate them in the ways of peace and bodily perfection. Some see these priests and followers more as monks than warriors. This does not lessen their martial prowess, however. All view their outlook as correct. Temples of Mentazara are a combination of practice field and meditation chamber. Some are even battle pits where priests preside over festival nights of deathsport.

Tourgara - God of Magic, brother of Courgara and Fourgara and cousin to Slanggara
Common Symbols: A staff with a spark at the end, a comet, five pointed star
Favored Weapon: None

Doctrine: Magical ability is a gift that is given, not something that be had by just anyone. When this gift is used for evil intent, however, it is Tourgara who grants this fiendish gift. In the northern portion of Dahara, Tourgara governs all those who seek to use magical ability and the power it brings to benefit themselves or bring misery to others. Tourgara is the one who brings to light all those secrets and knowledges that should best be left unlearned.

Worship of Tourgara in the northern reaches is kept very secretive, and thus, temples to Tourgara are nowhere to be found. Those that do exist are often found in hidden chambers inside magical colleges, or within traveling bands of gypsies and sorcerers. In the north, followers of Tourgara view him as the black sheep of the brothers three, and have outright hatred for devoted followers of Fourgara and Courgara, and do whatever they can to bring about the downfall of their temples and operations.

Priests of Tourgara are expected to use their abilities at any opportunity to give them an edge. They rarely aid others, unless some benefit comes their way. Though they plot to bring down other deities and their followers, they actually express sympathy for those who follow the more neutral ways of Tourgara in the southern lands, and work toward influencing them down the “proper path.” For reasons unknown to magical scholars, priests of Tourgara are able to wield magic that can heal others. Something normally available to those priests specifically tied to a god.

Ferroosh - The Wavemaker, god of the Sea and Open Water
Common Symbols: Waves, a blowing cloud, a teardrop
Favored Weapon: Spear, Trident or Net

Doctrine: The Ocean is a vast creature that has yet to be fully explored and tamed. Indeed, the inability of any expedition to successfully travel to and return from the fabled Kingdoms of Mystery is testament to the sea’s power. This power is beholden to Ferrosh. Guardian of the Water, the Wavemaker, Old Blue. Ferrosh not only makes the sea calm and angry, he also watches over those who would dare to set upon it. While neither good nor evil, Ferrosh has a quick temper and his anger can be great. The Sea of Storms is testament to what Ferrosh is capable of.

Though Ferrosh is honored throughout all of Dahara, he holds little sway in the southern reaches. In the north, he is taken quite seriously, and some coastal towns and communities know of no other gods than the Wavemaker.

Temples of Ferrosh must always be on a shore, open air and face the water. Each temple does house a small shelter that can give solace when Old Blue is angry. Each temple also possesses a sacred pool, which is reputed to provide boon to the truly devout.

Priests of Ferrosh are expected to be excellent swimmers and seamen. Though they need not live at shore’s edge, they are expected to not stray too far inland or be away from large bodies of water for too long.

Tareth - Goddess of the Show
Common Symbols: A tent, comedy/tragedy faces, a mug or clay pot, a lyre or lute surrounded by stars.
Favored Weapon: None

Doctrine: The festival, the minstrels in a boisterous tavern, the actors upon a stage. All of these and anyone who puts on a performance seeks the blessings and guiding hand of Tareth.

A god of mischief and entertainment, Tareth’s name is invoked by those seeking ot entertain others. Though easily dismissed by many as a god that serves no real purpose for those who work, war and toil, Tareth actually holds an important place and position in the lives of many in the North. That of being the god who keeps people’s spirits alive. Winters in northern Dahara can be cold and brutal, with spring being very far away. Tareth is the god that comes along and either takes people’s mind off their troubles, or gives them hope for a better day tomorrow.

Priests of Tareth, much like those of Artalas, spend much of their time travelling, as they serve a dual purpose as performers. Temples to Tareth do exist, though most serve a dual purpose as the local theatre. Those performing spaces that aren’t specific temples at least have a small shrine to the god, where actors and other showmen pay tribute before a performace.

Nearly every festival and celebration, even those dedicated to another god begins with a small ceremony seeking Tareth’s blessing on the coming festivities.

Fourgara - God of Good Magic, brother of Courgara and Tourgara and cousin to Slanggara
Common Symbols: A staff with a spark at the end, a comet, five pointed star
Favored Weapon: None

Temples and Such

Only a few of the gods have established temples. Libra in the north and Graham the Provider in the south are by far the most common. Temples for both gods dot the landscape of Olrik, and organized religion and practice are commonplace. Other deities do not have such established bases. Not from lack of effort by their followers, but more out of the very nature of who these gods are. The Three Brothers (Courgara, Fourgara, and Tourgara) have no real temples. Those who follow them do so in their own way. Priests of the Brothers are called by them, and interpret ancient scrolls and messages in their own way. Much is true for Artalas. While small shrines exist along roads and pathways, no real temples can be found. And why would they? Artalas is the traveling god. Almost every ship has a small part that honors Ferroosh, as they seek his protection from the nasty weather of the open waters. Priests of Ferroosh make their homes along the coast of waterways. Those warriors that follow Mentazara do so within the confines of the monastery and the practice fields. Though the way Mentazara’s words are interpreted between the north and south almost make sit seem as if they were two different gods.

Little is truly known about those who follow Slanggar, and Dendoua’s followers only speak in hushed tones, as befits their patron.

The Gods of Men

Men have only three primary deities they choose to follow. Though it is believed that in the distant past they had many, tales tell of how wars amongst the gods of Men brought about the death of nearly all them. Now all that remain are the three main aspects of a Man’s life: War, Death and Money. Some men of a more evil disposition interpret Faterl’s doctrine differently than others. These men keep such interpretation’s secret or live in secluded and long forgotten sections of the massive tunnels dug by men.

Ruggock the Mighty – Lord of the Stone
Common Symbols: A moutain, scepter, warhammer
Favored Weapon: A warhammer

Faterl the Low – God of the Underworld
Common Symbols: A pit, a dark eye with a tear, a ragged arrow pointing down
Favored Weapon: Battleaxe, spear

Graandig – God of Commerce and Success, the Builder
Common Sybols: A gold or silver coin, a pickaxe, scales
Favored Weapon: None

The Old Gods

In the long ago days when the Broken Empire was still one, the rulers and commoners of that time had their own gods, they followed, with the ones worshipped today being only minor players if acknowledged at all. When the empire broke, many of these gods fell into disfavor, abandoned by their worshippers. Some were even outlawed, those who worshipped them persecuted. Eventually, all the old gods seemed to fade from memory.

That may be changing. Hundreds of years later, some of these gods are rumored to be returning, though those rumors are kept mostly in the Free Lands and Pirate Baronies, and have yet to be proven, they persist still.

Records are unclear, but it is believed that all the gods of the Broken Empire were siblings. Further, followers of the old gods never favored a particular weapon. Critics mutter in the shadows that this is proves that the old gods were truly a more peaceful lot, and not nearly as regimented as the new gods.

Emmron – The Great Caretaker, The Master
Common Symbols: A figure of a man, a crown

Emmon is considered the One who cared for all those who walked the ground.

Fren – The Fire Maker, and Master of the Wind
Common Symbols: An open flame, a hearth, a cloud, a sailing ship

Fren taught the HuMen how to harness and use fire. Fren also is patron to those who sail upon the water. And while these seem like benign causes, Fren is a true force of chaos. Forest fires, damaging storms, lightning; all are under Fren’s watchful eye. He also kept a keen eye out for those who worked with flame. Smiths, wizards, even loggers.

Jenua – The Builder
Common Symbols: A hammer and ruler, a tool belt, a home

Jenua was the builder. She gave the ability to not only build homes and cities, but the ability to make war, and build defenses and weapons to use against enemies. While construction duties usually fall to men, the presence of one such as Jenua indicates that the followers of the old gods seemed to value equality amongst men and women more than many current HuMen societies.

Wesoon – The Secret Keeper
Common Symbols: A black star, pressed hands, a closed eye

Wesoon is the Secret Keeper. He tells no one of his plans, for they would disapprove. Wesoon, only looks out for himself, relying on his skills, tricks and sheer luck to get by. Wesoon felt shunned by his siblings, even though he still cares for them. Yet, legend says he plotted against them. Followers of Wesoon sought his aid in their schemes to gain power. Some legends say that it was Wesoon who brought down the fall of the old gods, but in the end fell pray to the rise of the new gods as well.

Veamen – The Archer Swordsman
Common Symbols: A bow, a sword, a shield with crossed swords or a quiver of arrows

Veamen, close brother to Jenua, is the master archer and swordsman of the family. His aim never fails, and he always strikes home. All his devotion is to his bow, sword, and his siblings, using his eagle eyes and quick hand to take down their enemies.

Jentoauh – The Magic Maker
Common Symbols: A hand with a glowing aura, a starburst

Jentoauh is the master magician. Her devotion to studying magic and all its aspects makes her the counterpart to Veamen; he the master of the martial world, and she of magic.

Nenray – The Justice Bringer
Common Symbols: Executioners hood, an axe in a stump, a rolled scroll

Nenray was the god whose steady hand and faithful sword brought justice and valor to the old empire. Legend says that as the empire neared its end, Nenray fell from favor among the people of the broken empire, as they became more decadent and corrupt. Some say he also fell victim to one of Wesoon’s secrets.

Those Who Watch Our Souls

Dahara: Fallen Harvest OboeCop