Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Dozen Peaks of the Scarlet Sultanate

First and foremost, I should acknowledge my debt to the great Chris Kutalik and his Hill Cantons blog -- I've used a lot of his material in my own campaign, with some degree of modification from either straight from the source or taking a name or phrase and then spinning something new out of whole cloth. In this specific case, it's closer to the latter, the name "The Scarlet Sultanate" is just too good for me not to use, although in my campaign, this is the name given to the lands to the east of the Overkingdom and with whom they are in perpetual conflict. My Scarlet Sultanate, like most empires, is a conglomeration of peoples, the main among them the Kirmizi, along with the Soor, Kokkino, and Ts'Iteli (I find it helps a lot to have a conglomerate of peoples/cultures that spread across the borders of my psuedo-historical fantasy world, it also makes languages a lot more important, which can help the spell-casters feel more than just combat-machines.)

However, this post is less about the Sultanate itself and more about the cosmology associated with it.

The dodekatheon of the Sultanate is as follows:

Yarath -- God of Creation, Construction, Bricklaying, Cities, Earth (as in soil/clay)

Yarath is always depicted as a giant bearded man wearing only an apron and ceremonial headgear, often wielding a wooden hammer, which is used as his most common symbol. He is the god of building things and credited in current times with having created the world itself, forming it at his wheel and then baking it in his cosmic kiln. Most Sultanate cities big enough to have walls are considered themselves entirely to be giant "shrines" to Yarath, with his hammer commonly displayed in the arch above the main gate.

Comenadas -- Goddess of Crops, Seasons, associated with the cycle of Death/Rebirth

Depicted as a lady with two fronts (instead of a back, so the figure turns around and you're just talking to somebody else -- the arms and legs account for this by bending and twisting in unsettling ways), one a pregnant lady in the prime of life, the other a withered crone. Her symbol is the giant crescent sickle on a pole, often crossed above entrances to large farms. Some say the baby in her pregnant half is Ketchi.

Ormangarip -- Non-binary Deity of the Woods, Wild Places, the Weird

Ormangarip appears in many forms, sometimes as something akin to "The Green Man" from the Celtic mythos, a great she-lion, or a tree that lifts up its roots to walk across the land. They tend not to attract actual worship, instead being associated with wild and uncivilized areas and somewhat with people who have disassociated themselves from society to live alone, often said to have "given themselves to Ormangarip", although there are scattered wilderness shrines.

Succatar -- God of Bodies of Water, Fluids, Flexibility, Trade/Mercantilism

A middle-aged man with square beard and diadem, Succatar is the god of the merchant class and sailors, often invoked (along with Abtu) prior to trade-related journeys. His temples act as bazaars and money exchanges, and as such, his priesthood tends toward the neutral and pragmatic.

Mizraktes -- God of War, Destruction, Fire/Flame

Mizraktes is the Cleansing Flame, clearing out the old and corrupt in order for the young and new to grow and prosper. She is accompanied by her war-cats, Mekal and Pakhet, often depicted pulling her in a (flaming) chariot. All military divisions of the Scarlet Sultanate have a priest of Mizraktes as part of the battle units. Temples of Mizraktes tend to be fairly rare, usually centered to the lighthouses referred to as Flames of Mizraktes and priests outside of the military are usually travelers/adventurers, seeing their holy duty as one of purifying the land and protecting the people from potential dangers, as well as fulfilling duties passed down to them from their mentors.

Fistili -- Goddess of Wind, Messengers, the Sky, the Old Goddess

The nomads who eventually became the Kirmizi worshipped Fistili as less than the creator of reality and instead as reality herself, her body being the dome of the sky that stretched over the steppes. As the Kirmizi culture became more city-based, Fistili became one of many gods and now instead is mostly associated with the element of wind and her priests are messengers, inviolate in the eyes of the Sultanate. There are rumors of secret societies that still regard her as the primary deity.

The Sun Lord -- God of the Sun, Dogmatism, Healing, Bloviation

The main monotheistic deity worshipped in the westward Overkingdom and in the scattered lands of the in-tumult Western Empire. In the Sultanate, he is much more of a minor figure that has been integrated into the pantheon as a whole as a sop to those small communities of worshipers in the Sultanate and these days is mostly associated with missionaries bringing the Good Word east, who are mostly regarded as eye-rolling natterers at worst.

Annekurt -- Goddess of Dark, Shadow, Night, the Wolf-Mother

A cloaked female figure or great she-wolf, Annekurt's temples are always well-hidden and the congregations operate as secret societiesm, using passwords to indicate their presence. Often worshipped by hunters or thieves, Annekurt's function in the pantheon is largely parallel to Intikamay with the difference being that Annekurt and her followers operate outside of the rule of law.

Ketchi -- Non-binary Deity of Sex, Animal Husbandry, Blood, Sacrifice

An androgynous, hermaphroditic figure, Ketchi is associated with fertility, fecundity, and the sanguine in general. The midwives of the Sultanate are the most visible priestesses of Ketchi, although there are rumors of bloody and orgiastic rites that take place in secret gatherings at auspicious dates and times of day.

Intikamay -- Goddess of Vengeance, the Moon, Fealty, Justice

Stark-white and straight of back, Intikamay stand tall in her scaled armor and with her faithful hounds, Coban and Kopegi. The crescent moon is her symbol and she deals in retribution for misdeeds. Her temples are part of the judicial system in the Sultanate, although representatives of other gods take place in trials and sentencing, most notably Yarath and in the Eastern regions, clerics of Abtu are often present as well.

Abtu -- Monkey-God of Luck

Alternately depicted as a human-sized monkey or a human with a monkey's head, Abtu is dressed in fine robes and carries a ceremonial staff decorated with inter-linked coins. Abtu does not have temples of his own and is mainly invoked by all and sundry who desire the rub of the green. There are priests of Abtu, who often travel with one or more monkeys that they keep as pets. The monkey-men of the Hundred Kingdoms are regarded as exceptionally lucky because of their association with Abtu.

Anatar-Gizli -- God of Secrets, Thieves, Wanderers, Unlocker of Ways

Always appearing as a middle-aged barefoot man in a large hooded cloak with a beard pointing out from within the hood, carrying a walking staff. A key is commonly used as his symbol, although there are not any public temples/shrines to him that would display it. The god of mysteries, secrets, and forbidden knowledge. A favorite of thieves, philosophers, wizards, and ascetics.


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