Stranger Gods of Aegylas
There’s an untold number of Gods in Aegylas. Not all of them are known to select champions of their own, and some are too strange or alien to draw human worship. These are the stranger Gods of Aegylas, whose motives are more inscrutable still.
Unshilak, the Unbidden
More bogeyman than god, Unshilak is feared, hated, reviled, and avoided. He is the god of intrusions and violations, of invasion and transgression. Unshilak appears as a gaunt, faceless man dressed in tattered leathers, often brandishing a knife. He is the patron of burglars, rapists, kidnappers and slavers. Not a god of fear precisely, Unshilak nevertheless detests safety and privacy. He makes it his business to make no place feel safe, to break locks and smash windows, to let wild animals within the city walls and to make his victims feel exposed and vulnerable. Unshilak never lets his victims rest, harassing and tormenting them until they die of fear and exhaustion. To speak his name is to draw his attention; and to draw his attention is to invite nightmares.
Those unfortunate souls who become Unshilak’s chosen are usually “blessed” due to some severe transgression or violation they committed. Like Unshilak, they frequently become bogeymen. They tend to be paranoid and jittery themselves, knowing that their patron never affords them a moment’s safe rest.
Ag, the Unforgiving Wastes
Ag is not a god meant for humans. It is a god of places, and as such, is itself a place – a large, trackless unforgiving wasteland where nothing can live. It manifests as shimmering desert and dusty steppes, as cracked badlands and as desolate mountain chains. Ag is the god of all such desolate, lifeless places. Its goals are utterly inhuman and impossible to grasp. Many assume its motives must to be to spread desolation, but if so its methods are bizarre and erratic. Ag interacts with humans relatively often, taking them into itself and starving them to death. On occasion, it deposits them somewhere else after an arduous trek, thirsty and hungry but alive. The god sometimes uses its tremendous power to move things as well, depositing buildings or entire mountain ranges within some strange location. Exactly what purpose all these rearrangements serve is unknown. Ag never speaks, and communicates only in silences and harsh weather.
Though unheard of, the chosen of Ag would possess a panoply of strange powers. Certainly they would be able to survive harsh wilderness, and most likely they would also receive their masters’ strange control over space.
Nepenthe, the Forgotten Goddess
Nepenthe is a goddess cursed. She appears as a woman; any other details about her are impossible to recall. She has many hymns and sacred chants, but all of them just out of memory’s reach – a momentary hint of a song in ones’ head, and it is gone. Her temples are in plain view, but it is impossible to recall where. Once, Nepenthe was a goddess of something else. Nobody remembers what. Those who even manage to recall her existence can invoke her to find forgiveness and forgetfulness of their sins. She’s the goddess of amnesiacs, and it is said her merest touch makes a person forget their past completely. Those who offend Nepenthe join her in being forever forgotten. Those who invoke her lightly find themselves cursed with forgetfulness or memory lapses.
Her chosen are forever erased from the memories of their loved ones – cursed to be eternal outsiders. If any such chosen ever even existed, they would receive the same mastery over memory and forgetfulness as their mistress.
Harran, the Lord of Five Rivers
Harran appears as an androgynous, handsome young man in the fine yet practical garb of a merchant prince. He is almost never far from a river-boat, and often has a set of scales and a sword in his possession. He is serious, stern, and straightforward. Harran is the god of the merchant-lords of Aegylas’ rivers; not of ostentatious, wealthy princes, nor of petty warlords – but of humble folk who manage small river-merchant fleets. As such, Harrans’ powers and purviews are not spectacular – often, he is indistinguishable from a mortal merchant, endlessly traveling the river in his human form. As the Lord of Five Rivers, Harran commands leadership of the river captains when needed. Many times he has united the merchant princes against foreign threats. For a god, Harran is surprisingly human and ready to intervene personally. Some even question whether he is divine at all. Perhaps he is just a human, somehow having achieved immortality at the behest of a greater being.
Harran hasn’t been known to choose any champions. It’s unknown if he even can. Such chosen would presumably share Harran’s stern authority and skill at trade.
Anhedra, the Inscribed
Anhedra’s white clothes are covered in runes and sigils. Her skin is tattooed with texts and glyphs, even on her eyelids and lips. Her eyes are wells of writing, and each feature of her iris a minute text. She never speaks. Anhedra is the goddess of written record. She is worshiped fervently in Palindrome, and might have been part of Old Invassa’s destruction. She is sought after by scholars and sages, hungry to learn the secrets written on her form. Anhedra is dispassionate, silent, and stoic. She is also desperately lonely. For reasons unknown, the quiet goddess yearns for human companionship and often wanders, neglecting her duty as patron goddess of sages and writers. She cannot communicate in speech, only in writing – and anyone who can read invariably becomes entranced by the wonderful and strange texts written upon her. These tales do not belong to Anhedra; they are others’ tales, recorded by her divine form. Invariably, humans come to love the writings more than they love Anhedra, and so she moves on, heartbroken. Why she doesn’t seek to disguise or cover the glyphs is a mystery – perhaps it simply isn’t in her nature to do so.
Anhedra rarely, if ever, chooses a mortal as her champion. Such a mortal would find themselves masters of ancient lore and written works; but Anhedra wishes to be loved, and does not readily share the library that scars her form.
Yolth, the God-King of Ixilthi
Ixilthi was an ancient kingdom on the bottom of the sea. It was populated by some kind of rubbery octopus-people, who built eerie monoliths out of coral and sandstone and fashioned underwater sailing-ships to ride the warm currents of their home waters. Ixilthi remains no longer. Yolth, their King, made a deal with some ancient deity – itself long vanished – to ascend to divinity. He is now the last of his people. Yolth’s divine powers are useless to the land-dwelling races, and so he aimlessly floats in the oceans in the form of an enormous octopus, seeking for artifacts or remnants of his lost people. He can command the herds of crab-cattle that no longer walk the ocean floor, he is capable of summoning mighty jet streams deep beneath the surface, and he lets vast fields of coral-blossom bloom, that nobody will ever harvest. The god of a forgotten people, Yolth is filled with both melancholy and impotent rage. He destroys ships and intruders into his old lands, more out of envy and boredom than any real desire to defend it.
Yolth has no reason to choose champions from the strange primates that walk the surface. If he should be convinced or change his mind, they would be blessed with incredible mastery over the ocean, particularly the deepest sea.
Atavis, the Beast Queen
Atavis is a simplistic and violent goddess. She appears as a sturdily built woman with bestial features – fangs, claws, hooves, horns, or wings, depending on her mood. She is rarely dressed, and then only in the skins of fresh kills. Atavis is the goddess of primitivism and barbary, of castaways, wild tribes, or other sentient beings who behave like animals, whether by choice or forced to by circumstance. The Red Elves worship her; most humans shun her. Atavis encourages animalistic behaviour – not necessarily hedonistic or selfish, however. She encourages cooperation and survival of packs and herds, and survival takes primacy over pleasure. Atavis inspires animal instincts in everyone around her; she detests self-control and civilization.
The chosen of Atavis are almost always more beast than man, simple-minded brutes possessed of animal cunning. Rarely, one of her chosen manages to retain enough self-awareness to behave more or less human – such champions are capable of using her blessings for great things, as her chosen shares her animal strength and features.