Mythos and History
|Jenarong-Era depiction of Polaris|
During the reign of Yelm, the sky world was harmonious. Dayzatar, the brother of Yelm stood in the centre of the sky in peaceful meditation, and the sky people stood surrounding him, perfect and unmoving.
Things turned wrong when the Disruptor came. A flaw had appeared in the sky, a dark hole, through which entered Umatum. He would not be still, and he would not be harmonious. He moved about the sky, causing destruction and disorder, until all the sky people were moving in his wake, unsure where to go.
The sky people went to beg Dayzatar for his aid. He would have remained unmoved, for it was not his place to deal with the impure; but seeing the disruption caused by Umatum, he felt sorrow and anger.
He took these feelings, and removed them from himself, creating Polaris, the pure fire. Satisfied, he returned to his meditations.
Polaris, born fully formed, showed the sky people how to oppose Umatum, and drive him down below. With the Disruptor vanquished, the sky people tried to relax, but found they could not stand still. Umatum had used the last of his strength to wrench the sky world, and send it spinning. The sky people did not know where to stand, and were terrified.
Having once been part of Dayzatar, Polaris knew where the Pillar God stood, and stood above him. He gave a mighty cry, and drew the attention of the sky people.
As they all stood staring at him, he directed them to their places in the sky, and though they still moved with the turning of the world, they were still in the right places. In this way, Polaris restored harmony to the sky world. Polaris became a hero of the sky people, and married well, fathering many children.
When Yelm was killed, many things went wrong. The Pillar God crumbled and burned, before turning into ash. This left a hole in the centre of the sky, beneath Polaris. Any lesser being would have fallen from sorrow at seeing the world below all at once, but Polaris had Dayzatar's mind, and was able to withstand the vision. He took some Steadfast, and built it into a wall around the hole. So perfect was his speed, that he could do this before any others approached the hole. When they came, and asked to see what was beyond the wall, Polaris refused.
At first, many relented, and went back to their proper positions. But a few had too much curiosity, and kept begging Polaris. Polaris took those who remained, and made them swore sacred oaths to follow his every word, and never to repeat what they saw to others.
So armed, these sky people looked down, and saw the world where Yelm had died, full of impurity and pain. Their hearts ached, but their oaths held, and they did not fall with sorrow.
While Polaris was taking the oaths of the sky people; his son, the young god Lightfore, looked into the hole. He had not been sanctified by oaths, nor was he as great as his father. He could not stand the sight of the world, and left the cosmos in panic. Polaris mourned his loss, but would not relent in his duty, staying in the centre of the sky, to create harmony. When other holes were created in the sky world, Polaris picked a guard from the ranks of those who had sworn oaths to him. They would go to the hole and erect a wall, creating a small fortress to protect the sky against corruption. They became Polaris' followers, the Star Captains.
Without Yelm, the gods of water were free to act wrongly once again. They raged against the land, but most of all, they hated the purity of the skies. One of them, the serpent Lorion, desired to taste the purity of Dayzatar himself, to corrupt him with its wetness; and would risk anything to accomplish this. It rose into the sky, bearing within itself, the other gods of water. The foulness in the heavens was so terrible that Dayzatar ceased his meditations. The pure god refused to be tainted by the serpent, even when it threatened to drown the sky world. Dayzatar knew only one thing could be done, he would need to seek out the child Lightfore, and would travel outside of the world and sky to do so.
When the people of the sky heard this, they wept, for without Dayzatar, the serpent would devour them all. They begged Dayzatar to stay, or to allow them to follow him, but he could not. Instead, Dayzatar gave Polaris a crown and staff, and named him the General of Heaven, who all others must obey. Polaris' great leadership had saved the sky people before, and they were comforted and listened to him.
Polaris instructed all of the sky people to retreat to the centre of heaven, and to make a great circle of steadfast to surround them all. He called this the Firmament, and when Lorion tried to devour the sky people, he found himself unable to even scratch it, and was diverted to form the celestial river.
The Firmament was full of all the gods of light, and shone so brightly that the people of the world below could see it now that Yelm was gone. They called it the Celestial City, and tried to emulate it. Polaris felt pity upon them, and so he took part of his Purity, enough that he stumbled for a second, and turned it into a shield. He gave the shield to one of his Star Captains, who took it down to the most worthy man in the corrupt world.
This was Urvairinus, he was one of Yelm's descendants, and was born on his father's chariot. War was his birthright, and sorrow his mother. He alone was noble enough to carry the Shield of Purity, but terrible enough to do what must be done. When he took the shield, he learned of Polaris, and how he had saved the sky world, and announced that he would do the same upon the earth.
He gathered up a hundred men, gave them the tools of war made by the crafters, and taught them of Polaris, he showed them how to stand, mirroring the Celestial City, with each man guarding his neighbour, and facing the four directions. He named this the Sunstand Formation, and it became the first of the arts of Polaris to be taught to man.
When the barbarians came to attack Urvairinus, he took his hundred men to oppose them. The barbarians could find no weakness, no flaw in the Sunstand, and though they raged and wept, could not injure a single soldier. Urvairinus was glad, for Polaris had taught him how to protect his people, and he named Polaris the War God, and decreed all soldiers should worship him.
With the devotion of many, Polaris was able to safeguard the sky world for many centuries, as well as the world beneath, through his followers, the mortal armies, and the Star Captains. And so it was until Dayzatar returned, atop the sky dome where only Polaris could see him. He spoke to his child, telling him of Lightfore, who had truly not gone mad, or been driven by fear, but only left because of what he had seen, the portion of Yelm, descending into the lands of the dead. Lightfore had gone after it, and had now succeeded in aiding Yelm, allowing the god to reascend.
Lightfore returned to his father, mounted upon a magnificent steed, to proclaim the return of Yelm, and all the sky and earth rejoiced.
Nature of the Cult
Polaris is the Star Lord, General of Heaven, Keeper of the Sky Dance, and Post Top. He is the still centre of the sky, around which the heavens turn. He is patron of dancers, musicians, and, perhaps most importantly, the Dara Happan army.
After death, his worshippers know that they will be reborn in the sky world as motes of light. The most powerful of his followers will become Certami, the warrior gods of Heaven.
Polaris is most commonly depicted as a Dara Happan warrior, standing upright, and garbed for battle. On his head rests a crown of tin, while his left hand holds a spear, around which is tightly wrapped a banner.
Plentonious believed that Polaris was the twenty-third figure on the first row on the Gods Wall, based on the stellar rune being borne on his hat. Despite this, the figure displays none of Polaris' attributes, and is dressed in the barbaric Zarkosite style.
Polaris is associated with both the Sky Rune and the Harmony Rune.
Polaris is the General of the Sky World and Commander of the Celestial Host. He is the fury of the heavens, and his connection to the Sky Rune reflects this.
An incomplete list of the abilities Polaris initiates have been known to use the Sky Rune for includes: demoralize enemies, illuminate the battlefield, make their weapon burst into flames, purify food and drink, resist doubt and temptation, and summon and command lesser Star gods.
Initiates who are strong in the Sky Rune are loyal, honest, and pure.
One of the few martial gods who are connected to the Harmony Rune, Polaris has no power over healing or mending wounds, but instead his powers relate to the creation and restoration of order and proper motion; both in music and war.
An incomplete list of the abilities Polaris initiates have been known to use the Harmony Rune for includes: attract an enemy's attention, direct dancers or soldiers, inspire courage, move in formation, perform magnificent dances, rally troops, resist charge, untiring movement.
Initiates who are strong in the Harmony Rune are calm and patient.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Polaris has a wide range of allies and friends. He is the General of the Sky, and so is friendly all other sky gods, and his martial power is respected by most other war gods, including ones of enemy pantheons. As the Master of Dance, and lover of Music; he is also popular with artists and commoners, who he has brought joy to through his gift.
His enemies include all gods who invade the sky world, including the barbaric Umatum, the serpent Lorion, and the smothering Netta. Through his feuds with these gods, he has made enemies of the elements of Storm, Water, and Darkness.
Cult Organization and Holy Places
Polaris' cult is so tied into the Dara Happan military, that it is impossible to separate the two.
Each regiment of the military, called Phalanxes number a thousand men, and are led by their High Priest. Many date back to the reign of Urvairinus and take their names from the ancient Stonewall he raised around Dara Happa.
Each Phalanx can be divided into ten Hundreds, or Centuries. They are led by a lesser Polemarch, who prays and commands in equal measure.
Raibanth, the home of the Dara Happan Emperor, is home to the greatest temple to Polaris in the Empire. However each Phalanx has its own temple, located in the regiment's home town, and said to be a watchtower on the Stonewall of Urvairinus.
Polaris' priests are known as Polemarchs, and have traditionally advised and blessed the commanders of the Dara Happan army. Since the start of the Third Age, the commanders have been entirely drawn from the ranks of the Polemarchs, blurring the lines between the positions.
Polaris' High Holy Day is held on the ninth day of Sacred Time. At this point, the Polemarches claim that the sky is in the most harmonious position, with the planets and stars in the correct places, and the sky dome perfectly balanced. On this day the ancient Dara Happan regiments return to their headquarters, and assume a formation based around the positions of the stars within the perfect sky while the Polemarches perform rituals of protection and cleansing.
- All initiates of Polaris must possess an affinity with the Sky Rune.
- Polaris may be approached from either the Sky Rune or the Harmony Rune.
- Only male citizens of Dara Happa may initiate to Polaris.
Polaris had many followers and sons, the Star Captains of the sky world. Some of these beings are potent enough to be worshipped as subcults of Polaris.
Arraz was Polaris' uncle, who had led the sky people when at peace, and yet was himself a servant of Dayzatar. He is the intercessor between the celestial mysteries and normal people. Arraz's subcult provides the Celestial Servant Feat.
Lightfore is the young god, who proclaims Yelm's rebirth by travelling the heavens through the darkness, mounted upon his celestial horse. Members of this subcult can use their Sky Rune to help with riding or fighting atop horses.
While many of Polaris' children became focused on war, Molamin never lost his love of music and dance. While others descended to fight their enemies, Molamin descended to teach others of art. He turned barbarians into subjects by teaching them of art, and convinced many to give up their barbaric music. His worshippers can use their Harmony Rune to unite people.
|Anaxial Dynasty fragment depicting a Stonewall Phalanx|
Urvairinus was the Emperor who created War, who turned the disorganized fighting rabbles into a great and mighty army, and raised the ten stonewall regiments of Dara Happa. This subcult provides the Stonewall Feat.
- An initiate of Polaris with a rating of 11W in their Divine Rune Affinity may dedicate themselves completely to Polaris and become a devotee.
- Devotees are subject to the usual restrictions.
Devotees of Polaris may perform magic feats, repetitions of Polaris' mythic deeds. Some feats are restricted to a specific subcult of Polaris, while others are universal to the cult.
Arraz is the servant, he is Polaris' spear carrier, Dayzatar's brow-mopper, and the Queen of Heaven's foot-washer. While he himself may be among the greatest of nobility, he knows his role to serve others, and to go between them and those who are less noble than he. When the Celestial Gods give him instructions, no mortal man may instruct him otherwise, and any words he says are equal to those spoken by the Celestial Gods.
When a Star Captain falls to the earth it is glorious and terrible. They are fire and light and purity enthroned within a physical form. Their gaze destroys the unworthy, and their spears turn ranks of men into nothing but ash. Even fallen, they do not touch the ground, hovering above it on wings, horses, or beams of light. Their arms and armour are pure gold, and they shine like the sun. Even the darkest battlefield glows in the presence of one of Polaris' servants.
Urvairinus travelled around Dara Happa, and raised ten mighty walls of stone. To provide the walls with life, he raised a regiment for each wall, to protect and worship it. As long as the men stood together, they were as unbreakable as the wall of stone, no stone or arrow could pierce their armour, no force could drive them back, and no doubt would beset them.
Lesser Star Gods
As lord of the heavens, Polaris commands vast hosts of lesser gods, particularly those who follow his role of guarding the stars. These include the Certami summoned by other Celestial gods.