Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Shargash

Mythos and History
Shargash is one of the children of Yelm, and is numbered against the Eight Celestial Gods, and founders of the cities of Dara Happa. Among his many titles are Master of Strength, Overseer of Alkoth, the Devourer, the Thunderer, the Purifier, the Lord of Ashes, and the Wielder of the Skyspears.
Before the great darkness, Shargash was kept restrained by the power of Antirius, and by the word of the Rightful Emperor. He was only loosened when the worst of foes came about, and even then he was commanded never to destroy his foes.
When Umatum the rebel arose in the skies, the Emperor Yelm released Shargash to oppose him. In this Shargash was unsurpassed, for he twisted Umatum around himself, turning him away and binding him to the north. This defeat was so powerful that Umatum's kindred could no longer walk straight, twisting eternally from the wounds their father suffered.
When the serpent Oslira came from the south to drown the land, Murharzarm the son of Yelm released Shargash to oppose her. Shargash went with his children to bind her in place. Oslira was impressed by Shargash's strength and glory, and so became his wife and bore him many great sons, and gave her bounty to the people of Dara Happa.
In this way, Shargash defeated every rebel who came to oppose the Emperor, but because he could only bind them, and not destroy them, each defeat would only bring worse foes.
This became obvious when the rebel gods, cloaked with shadows, rose up to slay Murharzarm. Shargash wept bitter tears at the death of his brother, and roared with rage when Yelm disintegrated with sorrow, but still could not act without the word of the Emperor. And Murharzarm's successors would not allow him his freedom.
When the ice came to enclose Dara Happa, the Emperor Marnalarvus knew the way to preserve the good land from its enemies. He built a great roof to cover the land, to keep out all foes. But the lazy and foolish people of Darjiin refused to help. They instead built a false tower, and placed their goddess Surenslib on it, to mock the rightful Emperor. Marnalarvus looked at this folly and insult, and released Shargash for a moment with a single command. Shargash took his kin to lay waste to Darjiin, and took the people as slaves, and returned the stone of the tower to Marnalarvus so that the roof may be built. But even at this point, Shargash was not released from the power of Antirius.
Finally there came a time when there was no Emperor upon the seat. At this time, Antirius was gone, and Shargash's restraints were broken. He knew that now the Empty Emperor, Kazkurtum would come. So Shargash took a bead from his necklace and placed it around his city of Alkoth, to enclose and protect them from what was to come. Now released, Shargash destroyed all he encountered, and took those destroyed and placed them within Alkoth, so that they would be protected from Kazkurtum's false rule. Not a single plant, or man, or rock was spared this destruction, and so all was safe when Kazkurtum appeared.
Kazkurtum was all that the Emperors were not, he was evil, he was unrighteous, and he was wrong in countless other ways. He desired to rule all that was good, but as it was protected within Alkoth's Enclosure, he could not touch or corrupt them. He fell upon Shargash to be destroyed, and thus reach what he craved. But Shargash was wise, and so broke Kazkurtum to pieces and bound him to secret places, where he placed protection over them.
Now knowing that the world was safe from Kazkurtum, Shargash opened his Enclosure, to release all that he had once destroyed. And though many fools and rebels escaped, so too did Yelm who now had no more to fear or weep over.
And in this way, did Shargash protect the world.

Nature of the Cult
Shargash is the Dara Happan god of war, destruction, and violence. He is the great red planet who travels across the Sky dome, destroying intruders, and smiting the unworthy. He is also a god of death, who destroyed the world so that Yelm could rebirth it, and so he is feared and respected by all the peoples of Dara Happa.
Shargash is worshipped by warriors across Dara Happa, particularly in Henjarl and Kostaddi, but in the city of Alkoth his worship eclipses all others, even that of Yelm. Even when he is not worshipped directly, all Yelmic rituals call Shargash forth; both to propitiate the hungry god, and to evoke his protection from hostile demons and rebel gods.
After death, Shargash's worshippers know that they will end up in his Enclosure, the great ring of which even Alkoth is merely the palest of imitations. Here they will be protected by the god, and act as his army against any would dare attack Yelm, Emperor of All.

Depiction
Shargash is almost always depicted in the garb of a warrior, with one hand clasped around a mace or club, and the other around a forked thunderbolt or spear.
Plentonius identified the fifth figure of the first row of the Gods Wall with Shargash, despite that figure's lack of Shargash's usual accoutrements.

Rune Affinities:
Shargash is associated with the Runes of Sky, Death, and Disorder.
Sky Rune Affinity
Shargash is a god of destructive celestial fire, raining down destruction upon the surface. Initiates have used his Sky Rune affinity to burn with a fiery aura, enchant gold, enhance their spear fighting, make their spear heads burst into flame, send down a bolt of celestial fire to burn their foes, and summon and command Lesser Gods of Destruction.
Initiates strong in this rune are loyal and pure.


Death Rune Affinity
As a god of both the underworld and of war, Shargash can make use of a broad assortment of the powers of Death. Initiates have been known to use his Death Rune affinity to enchant iron, fight and banish demons from the underworld, fight on while mortally injured,raise the dead to fight once more or slay their foes with a single mace blow.
Initiates strong in this rune are relentless and ruthless.


Disorder Rune Affinity
Shargash's association with the Disorder Rune comes from his disruption of the heavens. He has destroyed moons, stars, and planets when they have opposed the Celestial Order, and in doing this, set the sky into motion. This rune is often called Shargash's Thunderbolt and it is the container of his Thunder powers, claimed from the rebel Umatum. Initiates of Shargash have been known to use his Disorder Rune Affinity to strike down rebels, call forth a howling wind, smash objects, terrify friend and foe alike, and sunder weaponry.
Initiates strong in this rune are destructive and reckless.

Opposed Runes
Shargash is in conflict with the runes of Life, Harmony, and Storm.

Particular Likes and Dislikes
Above all else, Shargash is loyal to Yelm, the first and greatest Emperor. This has earned him respect, if not friendship with the other deities of Dara Happa. He has had many lovers with the goddesses of Dara Happa, although the most famous are long-legged Biselenslib, and the river goddess Oslira, who is his wife.
Shargash is the enemy of all storm deities, and even though Doburdun is loyal to Yelm, Shargash still has a rivalry with him, and the worshippers of both gods are quick to come to blows.

Cult Organization and Holy Places
All Dara Happan cities have a temple of Shargash, known as an Enclosure, within their walls. These are round, high walled structures, left with an open roof so that the smoke of the cremated dead may rise to the sky world unobstructed. Here the remains of Shargash's faithful are left, surrounded by friezes of monstrous demons and wailing shades, and without any distinction between the lowest ranked lay worshipper, or the most devoted priest, as all are equal in death.
The greatest of the Enclosures is the city of Alkoth itself, surrounded by the great green walls of Shargash' band, a single great ring or bead which was left by the god, for his worshippers to seek sanctuary within. These unbroken walls have never fallen to outside invasion, and the gates to the city must tunnel beneath the green stone ring. Like all Enclosures, the city of Alkoth is situated within the Underworld itself, and everyone recieves a funeral when they enter, for they are now counted with the dead.

Priests
Shargash's priests are, by long standing tradition, recruited from the ranks of freed slaves. Their main responsibility is overseeing the Enclosures, and cremating the bodies of the dead.

Holy Days
The High Holy Day of Shargash is the first day of the fifth week in Dying Season (Or the Wildday of Fertility Week in Storm Season, on the Theyalan calendar). On this day, marking Shargash's destruction of the universe to allow for its Rebirth, Shargashi march through all Dara Happan cities, singing songs of war and life. Upon seeing someone, they must ritually slay them. Either by smashing a votive image (which are carefully prepared before this day), or by throwing them into the nearest Enclosure. Sometimes the ritual aspect is forgotten in the heat of the moment, and in the morning it is distressingly common for the city streets to be stained with blood.

Sacrifices
Worship of Shargash always requires the sacrifice of a living creature, for the god of destruction is pleased when blood is spilled upon the ground. Above all else, he praises the sacrifice of human lives to appease him, and many slaves or traitors are slaughtered and burned during the great rites in Alkoth.

Initiates
  • All initiates of Shargash must possess an affinity with the Sky Rune of at least 1W. 
  •  They must be male, and swear an oath to obey the Lawful Emperor of Dara Happa. 
  • The initiate is taken into an Enclosure, where they are initiated into Shargash's mysteries in a ritual cremation ceremony.

Subcults
Alkor 
Alkor is the god of the city of Alkoth, and is often treated as the more peaceful aspect of his father. Most of the farmers and other non-combatants of Alkoth worship Alkor for the bounty he can provide. His worshippers can use the Sky Rune to protect fields and herds from disease and pests.

Eusibus
Eusibus, also known as Upon Hilltops, was a son of Shargash, who claimed the mantle of Emperor using ancient rights, and ruled Henjarl with wisdom and strength. Even his enemies became his loyal followers after he beat them, and yet Eusibus still bent his knee to the rightful Emperor once he appeared, and Eusibus was appointed general of the Dara Happan army. His worshippers can use the Fire Rune to Protect their Superiors.

Kendathalus
Kendathalus was Shargash's nephew, but the Red God raised him as if he were his own, and so Kendathalus became a great warrior. When Oslira attacked Dara Happa, it was Kendathalus who struck her down at the Emperor's command. His worshippers can use the Death Rune to calm rough waters.

Urkarmascha (Death)
Urkarmascha, called brother of Alkor, was chosen by his father to lead his army against the Darjiini who mocked the Emperor Marnalarvus. Even now, the Alkothi are known to take vengeance against the weeder folks of Darjiin, but none hate them so much as those who worship Urkarmascha as a subcult of Shargash. This subcult provides the I Hate Darjiini Usurpers Feat.


Urndudud
Urndudud is the Thunderer, who broke the bonds of the sky dome, setting it into motion. The god then went to destroy all who opposed him, creating the celestial Desert. While other, rival gods have called themselves by this name, the Shargashi know that their god was the original, whose thunder broke Umatum the Rebel. His worshippers may use their Disorder Rune to fight other celestial beings.

Devotees
  • A Shargash initiate with a rating of 11W or more in their Sky Rune may seek to dedicate himself completely to Shargash and become a devotee of the god.
  • A devotee of Shargash is subject to the usual restrictions.

Feats
I Hate Darjiini Usurpers
"I Hate Darjiini Usurpers." So said the Emperor Marnalarvus, and at this great statement, Shargash and his army were loosened against the people of Darjiin. Whenever these words are rightfully said, all Alkothi and other worshippers of Shargash are filled with a righteous rage, and will march against the followers of the Heron Goddess, to slaughter all who would oppose them without mercy or fear.


Skyspear
The Skyspear is the killing bolt, the deadly weapon of Shargash which sends all other gods tumbling from the skies, straight into the Underworld. When Shargash wields this spear, no being of air or sky can face him and live, and when he throws it as a javelin, the very sky burns at its passing. Only the hand of Yelm may turn aside this deadly weapon, for only he is pure enough to survive its touch.

Lesser Gods of Destruction
Shargash is served by many demonic figures, many of whom were once his foes until he conquered and enslaved them. In the city of Alkoth, these demons walk along side mortals and shades without a second glance, but there and elsewhere, the most common of these fiends are the Shadzorings, the Hell Men.
Shadzoring
Commonly called the Hell Men, these gods resemble mortal Alkothi soldiers in form, but their skin is bright red and they burn with sacred flames. The Shadzorings are summoned by Shargashi heroes and priests to aid them in battle, for the Hell Men are fierce and furious fighters who bear a wide variety of weapons with which to wage war for the god of destruction.

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