Sources and the RING System
The origin of our universe has been explained to the best of our knowledge, in the shortened and simplified version, but the story of the creation of our solar system involves the gods and their progeny directly. As mentioned, each of the heavenly bodies in our solar system is indicative of one of the gods and the distant stars are even used to invoke their qualities or personages. Following is a tale of the origins of our solar system and world, which by default includes a description of our principal gods. In the distant past, hidden behind the turbulent storms of ancient wars, our world began its lengthy journey through time. Where it began and how, we have already discussed. The beings that brought this mass of energy and material into being should be acknowledged for their part, as we have inherited their creations and owe our lives to their planning and efforts. Over the many centuries, stories of the deeds of the great gods were gathered into special libraries belonging to monasteries, kings, temples and city-states. Though it is generally debatable which of these libraries is the greatest, it cannot be argued that the greatest collection of this type of stories has been gathered together in the archives of the Special Library in the depths of Na-T’uran’, which is tended by elves, dwarves, halflings and a series of very special scholars from various parts of the globe, aided by certain recent gnomish inventiveness in the realms of magical communication and transportation not seen anywhere else. The Special Library contains thousands of volumes on the religions and history of our beloved Arat’, as well as quick access to copied pages from most of the great libraries of the world by way of the Ring-Based Inter-port Node Generator System (hereinafter referred to as the RING System). The RING System, invented by a collaborative effort by the gnomish people and a small cadre of wizards from other nations, allows the great libraries to now pass books, scrolls, tablets and copy sheets from library to library, even across thousands of miles of distance, in mere moments. Though not yet available for public use, news services, or even the military, the RING System has made it possible for mass transfers of information to occur at speeds that make scholars traversing the world on waste runners with a select collection of book copies look like a system owned, operated and enjoyed by slugs or sloths! The result of this newly found speed in information sharing is that the project to generate this tome has been able to cull all of the works relevant to establishing a basic understanding of how Arat’ came to be and who was responsible. Further, this project has also been able to decipher which entities predate our world, which arose from our world after its creation and which came here from far away. Following is a brief account of the history of our gods and patron deities, which will then be followed by some statistical data on those gods, their tenets, and their typical worshipers. Please remember that, although these stories are gathered from the best sources (some penned by the avatars of the very gods described, much of this information is not representative of all aspects of the subject and may be erroneous.
Among the swirling stars of the great void, there was a great cloud of matter that formed into a brilliant sphere, akin to its parents in the deep heart of the Starsea. Thus, to one group of stars too ancient to see in the sky or even name, was born Daqu, whom we reverently may call Great Mother-sun. Similarly, to other distant stars was born Nunat, whom we sometimes call, in reverence, Eternal Father-sun. Daqu and Nunat were married by an arrangement between their parents and given Daqu’s youngest fiend, Kudanat, on the eve of their wedding, as a servant and handmaiden to them. To this happy couple was born four children, though small and dim in their youth, which were nevertheless a cause of great joy to their parents in their youth. Daqu set her children about her to teach how to become great stars like herself and Nunat someday. Dim and mysterious Nunat helped her stoke her flame when she needed greater strength and shadowed her children from her powerful rage from time to time, playing temperance to her might. Shadowy Kudanat served them, supporting them both and often playing mediator, much scorched for her loyalty in the midst of argument but integral to the peace of the couple. Daqu taught her children, with the help of Nunat and Kudanat, the dance of heavenly movement, slow and graceful, so they could move in time with her and their ancestors. She also taught them to make their own children.
The first child of Daqu and Nunat, Ralo’on, married his nursemaid, the eternal handmaiden Kudanat, and they in turn brought existence to a single daughter to keep them company through the eternities. They have kept the ever-joyous Lady Z’medi’i very close to them since her birth and the quiet happiness that has filled this family is enviable to many, and deservedly so. The first daughter, Mit’yun, wed an occasional visitor to the court of Daqu and Nunat, the Swimmer in the Deep Void, Nak-Sal. She bore children for him as often as he came home from his wanderings, loving each of them so much that she could not help but gather them all close to her. She bore many children, each one adding to her elation and compounding her joy, until she had thirteen. When she had her youngest child, she determined that she would have no more celestial children and changed her name to Arat’, indicating that she would serve no longer as the celestial mother, but instead as the eternal mother to the lesser beings that would be given to her to care for. For that reason, she is also often referred to not only as our mother, but as our grandmother or auntie. Her thirteen children she set in the sky and taught the dance of the pace of eons, each sharing equally the space around her and each one governing a month of the year and a special moon-day. Zatav was the first-born of his parents and immediately took upon himself the role of the quiet and regal Counselor to his siblings. His younger brother and twin, Onkat, was more shy and reserved, becoming more of a Hermit and recluse, though never removing himself from the court of his mother and grandparents. Navam, the eldest daughter is bright and strong and referred to as the Reflection of the Mother, as she shines brightest of all the moons in our sky. Next was born strange Sutis, known as the Mother of Many Men, followed by Taz’iv the Misshapen, who was hurt in the great battle of the gods and never became whole again. After came Hanai the Golden, who lures men with her charms and promises of wealth, power and happiness but who also blesses many with prosperity. Following is Felsun the White, Master of the Lost Souls, and Marai, the Eternal Flame of Heaven. Next is Averi the Bloody, born in pain and anguish to be the master of the hunt. Mehe came next, the Mother of the Skies and occasional companion of her brothers, Dunen the Mystic and Dolai, the Father of the Woods. Last of all the children is Hamaz’ Dust-Mother, who is rumored to actually be the Nameless daughter of Lezena. Rasud, second son of Daqu and Nunat, also married a far-wanderer, named Enzi-Ro’on, who rarely visits and left her children to his care at each passing. Each of her three children are strange, having been partially raised in the distant places of the Starsea and among foreign teachers. They are each known as makers of strange things and speak in riddles. Each is also capable of untold and strange power, having inherited their mother’s wild strength and their father’s great intellect. The second daughter of Daqu and Nunat was Lezena, called the Cold Daughter, who wed Tetiri’i, who came courting from the wild edges of the Starsea. They had two children who were both dark and grim but grew to be almost as large as their mother. She became jealous of them and, in her anger, she hid them behind her slender frame to the best of her ability and beat them to keep them quiet, just so that she could gain the favor and pity of her siblings and parents and the respect and fear of her own children, unwilling to gain it through caring and striving for favor. Her envy and anger also went toward her siblings because they found such joy in their children, where all she had was bitterness. She became insanely jealous of Rasud, her brother, because of his three powerful children, and attempted to destroy him by sending one of her crazed children to strike him from the heavens. Fiery and possessed of a berserk rage on his charge through space, Dinak the son of Lezena attacked his own uncle with such ferocity that Rasud was, indeed, destroyed. Dinak succumbed to the wounds he received from Rasud and became dormant after this great attack for many years, unable to respond even to the great healing power that was lent to him from his family, so strongly did fatigue grip him with slumber. When he awoke, he discovered what his family mourned, that Rasud had been completely shattered and there was almost nothing recognizable left of him, only tiny bids in a cloud. Orbiting the cloud of his remains were his three beloved children, who wanted justice for this crime. Dinak told them of his mother’s treachery and of his obedience to her commands, begging forgiveness for succumbing to her enraging manipulations. They took pity on him and did not require his destruction, but did not let the matter rest entirely. They demanded of him some kind of restitution. He made a covenant with them that they should stand as mediators at his celestial tribunal and he or one of his descendants would keep watch over the tomb of their father forever after. Lezena was infuriated by this promise because it meant that she would lose one of her own children to a family she no longer loved and it would happen by his own volition. He had chosen to leave her forever. Fearing that her daughter would follow her son’s example and that she might not gain enough control over the emotions of the rest of her family before the convening of the celestial tribunal, Lezena cast her unnamed and unwed girl-child at Mit’yun in a similar attempt to the first attack on Rasud. Our Mother had been greatly blessed with intelligent and loyal children who loved her greatly and wished to see her become a star someday, if possible. Among them, Taz’iv, who was quite dashing and brilliant in his early life, was known as the most loyal, obedient, and watchful of them all. In an act of utter self-sacrifice, Taz’iv stepped into the path of the hurtling, dark daughter of Lezena and took the blow that should have killed his mother, Mit’yun. Though his act of self-sacrifice saved his mother, it did not stop the onslaught of the crazed child but only softened the impact. The final strike of the Nameless caused great devastation and her violence and jealousy has corrupted Mit’yun/Arat’ with her violence and jealousy ever since. Her effect and power is still felt among the people of Arat’ to the current time, especially the goblinoids. This second attack brought Lezena to the scrutiny of the entire heavenly family and stripped her of the last of her children, leaving her as barren and fruitless. She grew even colder, became distant toward her family and, ordered by the celestial tribunal to withdraw from her family, she wandered to the distant orbit she follows now and cloaked herself in shadows and a cloud of mist and dust about her for comfort. The Grand Celestial Tribunal gathered and judged her for the death of Rasud, the attempted murder of Mit’yun, and the crippling of Taz’iv. Lezena was banned from any further direct interaction with any of her family, cursed with an eternally barren womb so she could bring more crazed children into being, and wrapped forever in her cloak so that she may not be looked upon to cause eternal grief to her family and that she might know the loneliness of the children of Rasud. There is one series of stories that have given rise to a possible alternative reason for Lezena’s curse. These tales say that she is actually not the daughter of Daqu, but the daughter of an illicit affair between Nunat and Kudanat, a bastard child of the lord of our solar system. It is said that her acts were and attempt to usurp and supplant the children of Daqu, thus making herself the only heir of Nunat and able to thrust the Great Mother-Sun from her place in the heavens and raise her scheming mother Kudanat to the position of power. For this reason, the tales tell, she seeks the destruction of all the descendants of Daqu and become the only daughter of Nunat. This version of the origins story makes Kudanat out to be a mistress and usurper than a handmaiden, full of spidery machinations behind the sweet face that she has been given in all other tales of her acts. It is difficult to believe the loving caretaker of the family and the beloved wife of Ralo’on could be such an evil woman. Nevertheless, these stories seem to be the origin Lezena’s other title, the Scorned Sister. In the span between the making of the grandchildren and Lezena’s treason, the children of Daqu taught their own children in the manner Great Mother-Sun had done before. Arat’, of the children, is the only one to embrace her many children so fully, and so has quieted herself to allow them to enjoy peace and growth. The children of Arat’ have each made a different contribution to their mother’s eternal progeny and glory. Mehe, Mother of Skies, chose not to wed at all, and instead sat close by her mother’s side as a handmaiden, quietly singing to give her constant comfort and disciplining her children for her from time to time so that she would not always be burdened with such unpleasant things. Her song and breath are a wrapping on the face of our mother, Arat’, and provide her with the blue skies that stretch out above. Hamaz’ Dust-Mother married Lanoi, the son of Rasud, and their children are the dust, sand, and soil beneath our feet, in which our food grows and which forms our pottery and ceramics. Dolai renounced his place in the family hierarchy and shaved himself completely bald in an effort to become most enlightened by divestiture from personal belongings and vanity. All the growth that he felt he dedicated to his mother and it became the plants of all sorts that are her cover and the joy of her children. He has never taken a wife and may never do so. Hanai was still seeking a husband when a fragment from the collision of the Nameless and her brother struck her. She bled from the wound and that blood fell to upon her mother as precious stones and metals of all kinds. Some of her blood still floats through the heavens and rains down on the face of Arat’ from time to time, bringing more and more precious metal to its surface. Hanai still has no mate and no issue of children, but her spirit has infused all that fell from her to Arat’ with great power and energy. Who knows what may change when she finally weds and has children of her own? Dunen took a mystic vow of celibacy to increase his magic and has shared in its abundance with his mother and all of her children, bathing them with a great flow of energy. At first, this energy was wild and, although it has become ordered and controlled, it still lacks the total control of the power of the elder gods and causes chaotic shifts in Arat’ more often than we might like. Zatav the Ancient, eldest of the children of Arat’, saw the loving gifts given by each sibling and cried great salty tears of joy into his mother’s bosom, where they gathered as the seas, lakes, and rivers that we depend on for nourishment and refreshment. To this day, he watches over all of his mother’s descendants, waiting for the day in which he will find a mate worthy of his fullness and with whom he may make great children. Averi the Bloody married Pelei, the son of Rasud, and their children were like their father, full of oddities and variations in form and mind. They covered the face of the mother, Arat’, crawling and walking and swimming and flying and multiplying for many generations to grace her face with variety and abundant life. Marai saw the creatures living in darkness on the face of Arat’ and pitied them. She cast fire down to them to provide light in the dim shade of night from volcanoes and rivers of fire and lightning. This fire has been harvested and harnessed by the children of Arat’ through the ages and provides a very useful and indispensable tool to her children. Marai also opened the skies so that the reflections of Daqu on the face of the celestial grandchildren could be seen in the darkness and the light of the distant cousins and ancestors could shine through. She is said to be wed, but to whom is a mystery, as he has never been identified in the tales of old and it is uncertain if a male is even involved, a cause of much rumor and conjecture. Onkat the Shy wed Zim’vai the daughter of Rasud. There is not tales concerning their children and none of the tales seem able to agree as to what gift they may have given to Arat’. There are, however two common story threads concerning the works of these mysterious children, origin of a number of popular theories. Some say their children are the sentient races that live on the surface of Arat’, allowed to be counted as children of Arat’, for her joy. Some say their gifts are the strange and delightful sculptures adorning the garden tomb of Rasud, allowed to remain there instead of coming to rest on the face of Arat’. The truth may be even stranger than speculation. It is entirely possible that the gift of this mysterious pair is the very essence of art and science, which inspires all the children of Arat’ and even the gods to higher thought and long pondering. If this is true, then it is possible that their gift altered the most receptive of the children of Averi and Pelei and made some of them sentient. This would justify the teachings of the Hadansi human elders who state that all intelligent creatures rose from some other form of life to become what they are. It may also have inspired the children of Rasud and Dinak to create the artistry which adorns the crystal cloud in their midst. Regardless, the passions of Onkat, though somehow secretive sway the hearts of many when he dominates the sky. Navam, the reflection of her mother, so impressed by the spectacle of all these gifts, was struck with awe at the sight of her mother’s grace and wanted nothing more than to glorify her with ultimate praise: emulation. She uses all her energy to copy the form of her mother, bonding with each of the gifts and children of the early generations and forming a replica of them to establish on her own face. Some call her a pale reflection of greater beauties, but most are simply impressed by her ability to reflect the greatness of Arat’. Felsun the White was tainted by the spirit of Lezena during the attack of the Nameless and lost all regard for gender, life, and love. Instead, this stark figure became jealous of the rest of the family and their progeny and gifts. He began to corrupt the children of Arat’ and their gifts in every horrible way that he could. He visits upon them plague, rot, disease, mortality, undeath, murder, robbery, trickery and curses. This twisted ruler over the dead seeks always to destroy the joy and essence of all living descendants of Arat’ and gathers together twisted mockeries of the grand gifts bestowed upon his mother. He hopes someday to take her place in the celestial order, perhaps even to usurp Daqu and Nunat altogether and take his dark aunt Lezena to be his eternal queen. Though she is greatly displeased by the destructive tendencies of her pale son, Arat’ refuses to invoke punishment as severe as a celestial tribunal on him, though, because she sees these tribulations as lessons in their own right and she does not know how to teach them, herself. So long as Felsun is kept in check, the status quo continues. It is whispered that the Nameless still dwells on or near Arat’ hidden well, and that she made a pact with Felsun to help produce his twisted creations of wicked fancy that dwell in darkness. What is only recently coming to light is that Arat’ almost decided to deliver Felsun to the Grand Celestial Tribunal after his latest mass incursion against Uburru and was actually kept from this by words from an as yet unidentified visitor who arrived just before the elves repelled the undead with help from an unknown divine power. This mystery has brought many scholars to seek the oracles, though they remain silent on the matter. Taz’iv, crippled by his sacrificial block against the Nameless, is now barren. His marriage to the far-ranging visitor Eveli has produced no children and no apparent gifts. His intellect appears to have been ruined by the great blow he suffered, such that all he seems to understand is a nearly mindless desire to defend his mother. Somehow, in the depths of his tortured frame, he is partially conscious of the difference between his former and current states and often weeps fiery tears into his mother’s bosom. They can often be seen falling through the night sky on great trails of burning sorrow that bring no gifts to her surface. Arat’, saddened by his state, has petitioned her parents Daqu and Nunat to intercede, but nothing can be done for the massive, twisted child for now and hope for a change of fortune is grim, indeed. Sutis is the most mysterious of the children of Arat’ and very little is known about her. In fact, there are very few people who claim to know whether Sutis is male or female, though the common sources of information and folklore refer to her as a woman. She was a late birth, it would seem, as there is little record of her prior to the attack on Mit’yun. She has not yet been married and does not seem to be interested in courtship, though she has entertained many visitors, some of whom may have been suitors. Her only known gifts to her mother have all been very specific items given to the mortal children of Arat’, provided at her mother’s request. These items are almost invariably powerful relics and artifacts given to certain champions or rulers to help protect a certain group or maintain a positive balance to an area. What is most mysterious about Sutis, probably, is that she has never appeared to any known mortal in an avatar form. She habitually does her work in utter secrecy and then guides those upon which she wishes to bestow her blessings to the item or information to be provided by thoughts and dreams and signs; even letters. After the banishment of his wife Lezena, Tetiri’i defied the eternal celestial order, divorced his wife, chose a new dance of his own devising, and courted his wife’s niece, Z’medi’i. They wed and began to have children, which were decreed by the Grand Celestial Tribunal to be forced to be the smallest of all the grandchildren due to defiance of their father. In an act of passive defiance, Tetiri’i convinced his wife to have as many children as possible and they have produced many small children, too many to number, and set them all to orbit together around their great-grandparents to give them joy and comfort after the loss of their youngest children. Lanoi, Pelei and Zimvai, though wed to others, promised to keep their father’s memory alive. They have collectively crafted from his remains a sparkling garden of beautiful memories in the form of statues, sculptures, prisms, mirrors, mazes and some foe things that may be considered as children of their own, created for the care and maintenance of the garden. Protecting all of these is Dinak, who vowed in remorse for his actions to defend the victims of his mother’s wrath and his own sudden rage. He also chose to remain celibate, and it is not known if he was wed or had any children prior to the attack. If he did, they are lost to Lezena or the darkness beyond. Some scholars refer to obscure tales that say he married Pront’ and their only child is Ancer, who is not ready or willing to take up the reins of his father. In any case, it is known that almost all of his energy is expended in keeping a vigilant watch, healing his charges, and dabbling in the strange arts practiced by his adopted family. And so it is now with the celestial family: Daqu has long since ceased to bear children and blesses them only with her light and heat. Nunat continues to quietly strengthen and chastise her and inspire her children in the subtle dance of the eternities. Ralo’on and Kudanat spend their time in bliss, close to the arms of the Great Mother-Sun and Father-Sun, ensconced in the circle of love created by their daughter’s many children. The clan of Rasud tends to their sparkling garden monument, inspiring all with visions of beauty. Lezena still sulks in her shadows, cloaked in and imprisoned by ice and dust, perhaps still plotting revenge and all manner of evil. And Arat’… her story is rich and full at all times.
Children of the Gods
The gods created children like their celestial selves, complete with all the powers that are due to such celestial beings, but they also created beings not like unto their celestial selves. These beings, known collectively as the Children of the Gods and among whom we are numbered, were created in many different forms and have very differing societies and cultures. Many of these will be discussed in the sections on the known intelligent races, plants, and animals. Here, however, we will cover only those of their children that have been able to join them in the heavens and outer planes as equals or apprentices.