The Boundless Empire
Deities of Pristine Spina
The Ten Inner Gods, Sons and Daughters of the Great Mother of All, are the deities originally worshiped in Spina. Their cult was extended through military expansion in all the Empire. Some of them changed name in the far regions of North and West, as the influence of Elvish culture was much stronger and the High Priests of Spina were so far away.
After the Cataclysm they lost most of their power and now rule over limited and secluded areas of the World.
The New Church believes that the Lady of Sorrows punished her proud sons and daughters, stripping their power off and confining them in the demonic hordes. Therefore following of the Old Religion is considered demonolatry or witchcraft and punished with torture, forced labor and death.
In Lethea they are still openly worshiped as the only true Religion: anyway they need more sacrifices (of blood and human victims), gifts and prayers than in the older times to perform they miracles on Earth and away from Lethea’s borders the powers of their priests are really weak.
In some villages in the Northern Mountain or in the forests of the West it is still possible to find ancient little sanctuaries of the old deities, secretly worshiped by locals (mostly with slightly different names and much more fearful and ravenous features)
Tarhutis: God of Stars and Magic, he ruled upon the Sky and Time. He taught to humankind mathematics, laws, music and magic. He was considered the Highest God (in the last days of the Empire his cult overshadowed the Merciful Mother’s one). His Temple in Spina had a breath-taking Dome where all the stars were reproduced with shining gems and a labyrinthine Library in which the clerics, the wizards and the wise-men of Spina collected all the knowledge possible. Tarhutis was depicted mostly like a horned male-sphinx. His symbol was a shining wheel of stars.
Mermydra: Goddess of War, Strategy and Victory, worshiped specially by the Army. She was the Guardian of the Borders of the Empire, Keeper of Oaths and therefore Goddess of Wedding. She was also considered the Goddess of Glorious Death and Fame. Zealots of Mermydra could not leave a battle without bloodshed, so they used to cut themselves before. Mermydra had an armor of living snakes and a burning shield who could blind her enemies. She was Tarhutis’es wife. Her symbol was a Gorgon Head, which was also the fearsome insignia of her Zealots in the Imperial Legions.
Kevranos: “The Thunderous” God of Storms and Deep Waters. One of the most fearful god of the old time: he was fierce, lustful and ravenous. With its power he could make the sky, the earth and deep sea shake. His equally feared clerics dressed robes of the most deep blue, kept hair and beard long and fluent like their patron god, and threw treasures and beautiful girls into the sea to satisfy his greed and his lust. Kevranos was specially worshiped in the cities of the coast, or in the Islands in the sea, where his Clergy used to keep all the power (politics, economy, army) in its iron grip. Sailors said that beyond the Vol Sea a huge Maelstrom devoured the water: it was the door to Kevranos’s underwater realm, full of mysteries and treasures. He was usually depicted with long hair and beard, and tentacles instead of legs. His symbol was a Whirlpool with Lightnings
Ailizziya: “The Bee of Pleasure”, “The Slut Queen” Goddess of Flowers and Sex, Wine, Dance and Good Luck. Beautiful and capricious, she was the patron goddess of whores. In the Empire whores (females and males) were renowned for their power to curse with bad luck or grant good luck. Ailizziya was also worshiped by sailors because she was the only who could cool down Kevranos’s bad temper. Merchants, artists and thieves always remembered the Slut Queen in their prayers because she could grant them fame and wealth. Her symbol was a bee (which was printed on every golden coin of the Empire and often on brothels’ doors).
Orthia: “The Iron Arm Lady”, “The Anvil Maid”, Goddess of Fire, Arts and Crafts. Perfectionist, vain, bad tempered but genial, she was able to create the most beautiful artifacts. She burned her right arm as she was forging the sword of Mermydra in the Flames of Creation, so she molded with metal an arm for herself which could not be destroyed by any fire. The Sun and the Moons were also considered splendid artifacts made by Orthia n her burning forge. Dwarves believed that she was just a human rendition of the Undying Flame and sometimes adored her like Supreme Goddess Above the Ground. Her symbol was the Anvil.
Paskaitis: “The Evergreen” God of Spring, Childbirth and New Beginning, but also King of the Dead, Keeper of the Gates of Heaven, Ruler of the Underworld. His Festivities of Springtime were celebrated in all the corners of the Empire, with lavish feasts, ecstatic dances and fire shows lasting 7 days and nights. He blessed the beginning of a journey, a new birth, the foundation of a city. Seeding a plant was considered a prayer to Paskaitis. Each winter Paskaitis died and for 6 months he stayed in the Underworld ruling over the Dead to come back the next springtime bringing joy to the Living. His symbol was a skull entwined with buds, ivy and green leaves.
Urthemi: “The Flawless”, the Divine Archer, Warden of the Sky and Messenger of the Gods, was the god of Beauty, Grace and Dawn. He used to fly between the starry heaven and the Earth to bring the orders from the Pristine Deities. He was also the God of Wrath and Revenge and with his arrows punished crimes of Blasphemy. His extreme elitist clergy was chosen between the most beautiful boys of the Empire. They prayed him every sunrise with exercises of physical prowess which were one of the favorite shows for the lustful matrons of Spina. But they were also trained as warriors, as they were the executioners and avengers of the Clergy of Spina and the secret assassins at the personal command of the Emperor. The symbol of Urthemi was the Shining Bow of Heaven. Each year the Emperor of Spina offered a new, magnificent bow to the temple of Urthemi, whose ceiling was therefore decorated with hundreds of bows.
Zaurine: “The Saffron Haired” Goddess of Crops, Cattle and Wealth. She was worshiped together with her husband Paskaitis as patroness of living beings, fertility and richness. She had a special connection with Horses and was honored by the Imperial Chivalry with famous Races in the Circus of Spina. The winner was slaughtered the next coming springtime to grant a wealthy harvest. Zaurine was a particularly blood-thirsty deity, as her idols had to be smeared daily with fresh blood, from animal and human victims, to grant fertility to the land, to the cattle, and to the women of the Empire. Legends said that in her ravenous hunger, she ritually slaughtered and ate her husband every winter, when the land bears no more fruits, just to give him birth again the next springtime. Her symbol was a crown of flowers or the skull of a horse.
Bareios: “The Walker” He was the god of Freedom, Hope, Storytelling, Gambling and Healing. He had a travel bag filled with the Good Winds and a cure for each disease. He walked on the clouds and used the Rainbow like a path from Heaven to Earth, but most of all he loved to walk among the mortals in disguise. Compassionate and curious he was prayed to soothe the Wrath of the other Gods (especially Urthemi, with whom he didn’t get along really well). Children believed that he used to bring them gifts on the last night of the year. Bareios had no temples but was worshiped at crossroads. Bards and rogues always prayed the God of Thousands Roads and Many Faces. His symbol was a staff with a bird on the top (which was also the symbol of doctors and surgeons in the old times).
Araphna “Mistress of the Veil”, Goddess of Sleep, Weaver of Dreams. She lived alone at the End of The World, where there is no day neither night. The Northern Lights were the entrance of her kingdom. There she weaved the dreams that each night entered the human minds. She could grant any wish but used to be extremely demanding. She often lured mortals into her twilight realm to soothe her eternal solitude. Through the use of powerful drugs her priestesses could enter a dreamlike trance filled with visions from the past and the future, in Spina people avoided to walk around her temple because of the hallucinations caused by the holy smoke of her ceremonies. In the North she was worshiped as Maid of the Longest Night or Mother Borealis. After the Cataclysm she is still secretly worshiped as the Hearthless Lady of White Death, fearful spirit of eternal winter and death by frostbite, the Northern Lights being seen no more as a benign omen but as the portal for demons to enter the human lands. Her symbol was an Eye with a star (or snowflake) inside.
The Merciful Mother of All: Supreme goddess of Life and Death. She was born in the “Void Before Time” and created everything by herself alone.
In Spina She had only one Priestess in her attendance, who was the holiest creature in the whole Empire. Crimes towards the High Priestesses were punished with awful, spectacular deaths.
The High Priestess was also a prophetess, but could be consulted just by the Emperor.
She had the power to crown but also to sentence the Emperor himself to Death.
Unfortunately the dirty politics of the Empire and the power-games of the clergy obscured her power. In the last days of the Empire she was chosen among the oldest and most decrepit relatives of the Emperor, or between his youngest daughters.
Outer Gods, or “The Foreigners”
were slowly assimilated in the original cult of Spina, according to the principle that more gods were favorable to the Empire, the better. Some of them had even a temple in the Capital city next to the Pristine Ten. They also lost most of their power after the Cataclysm.
Shamakhan: “The Smiling Skull” Goddess of Witchcraft and Lichdom, originally a Dark Orc Ancestor, was worshiped by depraved noblewomen at midnight. She demanded children sacrifices in order to grant unnatural long life. Her highest priests were all Lich. Her symbol was a human skull carved in precious crystal.
Ce’Nedruil: dressed with the skins of many animals she was the elven goddess of wildlife and shape-shifting. She was worshiped by hunters and people who lived in the forests. She was also called the Werequeen, as she ruled over lycanthropes. Her idols could not be taken inside the walls of any city because she enjoyed the freedom of the wilds only. Rabies for humans and beasts was otherwise her divine punishment. Her priests used to hunt animals and wear their skins like holy garments, they could speak the language of every beasts and mastered the skills of shape-shifting. A necklace of animal teeth was her symbol.
Telanis: son of Ailizziya the Whore Goddess and Tuoroni, the Silver Deer of the Elven Pantheon, he was the protector of Half-Elves. Homeless, roguish and cunning he had no place nor among the Human deities neither in the Elven Pantheon, so he simply roamed the mortal land, collecting strange followers and performing great or mischievous deeds (for example he carved his own walking staff from a branch of the Arh’Voriel, or revealed the lascivious passion of Urthemi for young boys in a long ballad which became a hit in many inns for decades). He had small horns on his forehead from his father, and the power to use any flying being as messenger from his mother. His symbol was the head of a young deer or a deer with a boy face.
Jibalkha e Kourani : god-heroes of the Orcs. They were twin brothers, with beautiful, strong bodies, and keen, pure minds. Unfortunately they were slaves and had to fight as gladiators in the Arena of Spina. Fighting side by side they never lost a match. They became the idols of the nobility, craved by the matrons of the city (and also by many of their husbands). Hustlers and gamblers tried to corrupt them, with no success. Eventually they managed to make them fight one against the other. The Emperor himself came to see the great show. The twin battled to blood but with no winner. They could not kill each other because they loved each other too much. The God Urthemi, who loved them too, ended the fight with a lightning and from their burning bodies two splendid new gods ascended to the sky. After that miracle they began to be worshiped by fighters, gladiators, slaves, same-sex lovers. They got a temple directly in front of the Arena where male-sluts used to lure their clients. Their symbol was two crossed blades.
Quarion: from the elvish “gwar” (fright) he was the shadowy god of illusions, forbidden knowledge and all the secrets hidden in the darkness. He was worshiped mostly by spell casters who craved for more power. The secretive clergy of Quarion looked for forbidden grimoires with the names of Demons of terrific power and collected any kind of strange mystic artifacts. The Cult of Quarion was kept secret until the end of the Empire, they never had a public temple, but just little chantries (often in cellars, or dungeons, or disguised as schools, private libraries). His followers used the symbol of the double moon ) ( or the scrying lens to recognize each other.