On the Gods of Amvat
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On Amvat's Children

Chronicle of Ulak the Drifter

Annotated by Shahrazad Keret

“Gods are the forces of the Cosmos given thought and will,” wrote the renowned theologian Viai Somn.1 “They are born from it, made from the very fabric of existence. From their own flesh, they build worlds and seed life. They were here when Creation started, and they will guide it until its end, when only the All-Death remains. As such, trying to kill them is like trying to kill gravity, or fire, or war or philosophy. Yes, they can be bound, banished and defeated. Their temples can be ransacked, their followers exterminated, and their avatars destroyed.2 They can be cast down and their spirit sent tumbling into the Halls of Death.34 Yet the gods always return. It may take them millennia,5 even eons, but they will always rise from the Pit and continue to lord over Creation. Such is the nature of all gods: deathless patrons and guardians, protectors and lawmakers.”6

If an Amvatiaa heard these words, they would surely laugh with incredulity. On this world, Somn is a madman, a fool and a heretic. No one in their right mind would ever consider the gods to be benevolent patrons and guides. The gods of this world are primordial beings, sheer forces of nature that create and destroy without any real purpose. They lack the cognitive ability to become patrons of culture, and they have no interest in the development of sentient life on their domains. While other first-generation deities, like Erebus and Gaea,78 are inconceivably wise, Amvat’s gods are little more than savage animals. As such, they do not heed prayers and only give something in return when fed through sacrifice. They attack and consume their devout and their enemies alike. To them, the Amvatiaa are little more than prey.

There are, of course, a few gods that escape this description. They are the gods that shaped life on Amvat and allowed it to flourish even in this hellish landscape. The following is a list of all named Amvatian deities and spirits, along with a brief, comprehensive description of each.


Primordial Gods

Duum-Nok-Nai (literally, “He Who Brings the Night”), god of the night, cold and darkness, Father of the Stars,9 the Frigid One, Keeper of the Void, His Black Majesty, the Dark Ancestor, the Formless King, is the oldest, most powerful deity known in Amvat. He is a primaveral force, an uncaring and unfathomable god whose flesh is the very darkness that surrounds Amvat at night and whose breath is the deathly cold that covers the land.

At the beginning of time, Duum-Nok-Nai mated with Visuil-Loh, the Sky Goddess, who gave birth to divine children; first the Stars and then the twin Suns that scorch Amvat’s surface.

After the birth of the Suns, the Formless King left his mate’s side along with their eldest children, the Stars, who were as frigid as he was. This marked the Great Divide between day and night. Since then, the Dark Ancestor has remained relatively passive, inattentive to the events unfolding elsewhere in the Cosmos and utterly indifferent to the harm his power causes to the inhabitants of Amvat, a world whose existence he barely acknowledges.


Celestial Gods

Huul-Kot (“White Sun”) and Huul-Nian (“Golden Sun”), goddesses of the Suns, fire and heat, Light Bearers, the Twin Empresses, They Who Hold the Flaming Crown, Mothers of Amvat, are the twin solar goddesses who brought Amvat into existence. While their parents are mostly uncaring, indifferent deities, the Suns are egotistical, cruel and demanding. They created Amvat on a whim, seeing it as a plaything, but soon left it to its own devices, preferring to wait for any life to evolve to subject it to suffering. The twins often bicker over which one of them is the most worshipped Sun and sometimes they even emit solar flares to intimidate the Amvatiaa into offering ever more costly tributes and sacrifices.

Although they are creator deities, the Suns have never played any significant role on Amvat besides heating its surface to allow life to develop.10 They are considered malevolent goddesses that must be appeased for life to prevail, and all sacrifices to them involve the immolation of living subjects. This grisly task is carried on all three cities of the Blessed Triad by an order of priests known as the Divkar-Kol, the Grey Men.11 Every certain number of days, criminals and enemies of the cities are thrown into a massive pyre at the center of the Red Temples and incinerated for the glory of the Twin Goddesses. This is not a ceremony born from love or faith.

There is no devotion for the Suns beyond fear and pain. The Red Temples, colossal, hollow cylinders dedicated to them, are mostly adorned with grim scenes of fire and death. For the Amvatiaa, the Suns are merely two monsters in the sky whose hunger must be satisfied to keep them from engulfing the entire planet with their flames.


Terrestrial Gods

The Harbingers of Strife

While the word “god” implies a certain degree of nobility or power, the deities known collectively as the “Harbingers of Strife” (Kiju-Zaah) are far from such description. The Harbingers are the deities that truly rule Amvat, and the ones responsible for the planet’s hellish conditions. They do not answer prayers, they do not heed to order, and they are far from being civilized or wise.

The Kiju-Zaah are little more than slightly clever animals, violent and vicious, acting on instinct instead of reason. The group is composed of a wide variety of deities, with different amounts of power and authority. They range from minor spirits to absolute forces of nature. There are far too many of them to be enlisted here, so this section will cover those most relevant for the Amvatiaa.

Jag-Lorhe (“Ender of Peace”), the King of Killers, the Lord of Violence, He Who Murders, the Furious One, the Red Rage, is the closest thing there is to war god on the Amvatian pantheon. War requires thought, strategy, clear objectives and organization. Jag-Lorhe lacks any such attribute, for he is a god of wanton violence and destruction.16

The Lord of Violence is a rabid beast, a twisted deity who seeks only to feed and kill for the sake of violence itself. As such, he favors the Korrh, who often make sacrifices unto him, which involve rituals so gruesome that I refuse to describe them here. A common myth among the Bhalli is that the King of Killers is in fact responsible for the creation of the Korrh, having helped the Desert rape the Goddess.

This god is also the patron deity of all those Bhalli tribes that dedicate themselves to the hunting and killing of their fellows. He relishes on senseless death and suffering. His followers engage in ritual cannibalism and bathe in the blood of the ones they have killed. As such, Jag-Lorhe and his followers are feared throughout Amvat. So great is Jag-Lorhe’s appetite for violence that some groups sacrifice a few of their own in his name to keep him from preying on the rest of the tribe.

Those who follow Jag-Lorhe are gifted with a sort of frenzy called Porh-Bac (“the Crimson Lust”) that makes them authentic killing machines. Whatever pain they feel only increases their rage and thus, their physical and magical might. In fact, the amount of power gained through Porh-Bac is such that one might die because of it. While he provides strength and fearlessness to his followers,17 he has no qualms about turning them on one another, by whispering into their ears and spreading paranoia. The Ender of Peace feasts on suffering, and every soul killed in his name only fuels his power and his everlasting taste for gruesome death.


Ib-Kubraiv

Ib-Kubraiv (“the Unknown” or “the Stranger”), the Empty One, the Shadow Upon Life, the End, the Great Maw, the One We Await, the One Who Is Imminent, is the sole death deity on Amvat. Amongst most cultures in the Multiverse, death is a subject on which much is written. All followers of a religion must know what is to become of them after they die. For the Khunn, the great goddess Unhal guides the souls of the righteous to eternal glory.21 In the Juyoi religion, the Huvcall, spirit of light, indicates the path towards reincarnation.22 And for the Bhinlof, the Black Hound awaits on top of Mount Hejr to judge those worthy of entering his kingdom.23

With so many cultures having a vast and rich mythology regarding the Gods Below,24 it is strange that the Bhalli, a people whose life expectancy is truly minuscule in comparison to most primitive races, have little to no myths regarding their sole death deity, Ib-Kubraiv.25 The Unknown is a deity feared not because of their cruelty, but because virtually nothing is known about their history, behavior or designs. What little is understood is that they preside over a large palace at the center of Amvat, and that all who reach it must withstand their gaze or be cast into nothingness. No criteria for their judgement are known, no agent of their will is ever mentioned,26 and no myths recording their history exist.

In truth, I only enlist Ib-Kubraiv here because I would find it disrespectful to know of a guardian of the dead and not acknowledge their existence. Death, no matter how terrifying or unknown, must be respected, and its multiple forms,27 the Gods Below, recognized as what they are: the ones who watch over us when we have departed.28


Inaia

With so many cruel, animalistic deities plaguing Amvat, one might ask how it is possible for life to subsist on this arid rock. The answer is a word invoked with veneration by all Amvatiaa: Inaia, the Goddess. Inaia is unique amongst the Amvatian pantheon, for she is a deity that brings the gift of life through water. She is worshiped, loved and elevated as the epitome of ultimate sacrifice. Raped at birth by the Desert, she nonetheless seeded life on Amvat and eventually went to war against her attacker, her own brother, in order to protect it.

The Bhalli consider her to be the true mother of their world and themselves as a people. Her Law is held no matter the circumstances, and her most precious gift, water, treasured more than anything on the planet. It is said that the water that protrudes from Amvat’s surface is, in fact, the blood of Inaia, who in her mercy and selflessness, gives part of herself to her children, so that they may thrive despite the hardships of their world. Inaia is also the only Amvatian deity to have a role as a lawgiver, for the Laws of Water are her direct words, her teachings of morality and goodwill for her children. In truth, she has given the planet a chance to develop anything resembling civilization.

Inaia is, nonetheless, a dead goddess. When Muur-Kadev threatened to consume all life on the planet, the Goddess allowed herself to be devoured and, from within her brother’s stomach, pierced his body, forming the Naaj-Kioo from her own blood. In this twisted embrace, she and the desert would remain forever, trapped in each other. Her sacrifice allowed life to endure, and her teachings became the backbone of most sedentary civilization. She is a goddess of compassion and kindness, a stark contrast with the violent, crazed beings that are her equals. For her actions, she is forever loved, forever remembered: a symbol of hope for all Amvatiaa.


Other Gods

The following is a list of deities worshipped by Amvatiaa other than the Bhalli.

• Jeha Vie: The god of trade, the main figure in the pantheistic religion of the Yidh.

• Khae Momme: “The Hallowed Father”, a deity worshipped exclusively by the Khae-Mok as the god of knowledge and magic.

• Hjia-Liiav: The Green Spirits, guardians of Viss-Mai, the village of the Silvarii.

• Bur-Lej: The personification of magic, worshipped only in Diemnia, the Holy City.


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