We continue our divinity series on religions, gods and mythologies in Mortalissar with Part 3. As we cross into the third quartet of the pantheon, you may want to refresh your memory on the first half with Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 covers mainly the deities in central and north-eastern Mortallisar. Part 2 delves into the oriental deities in the east and northernmost parts of Mortalissar. For our third segment, we'll look at the deities the north-western and western parts of the world. Enjoy the folklore.
This map of the world helps you navigate and find the nations/continents to cross-correspond with the deities they worship in the divinity map guide above.
Goddess Vassa (Love & Vengeance)
Among the seven known Goddesses in the pantheon, the mythology of the Goddess Vassa is perhaps the most tragic, and yet bittersweet. Her people were peasant folk who mined and shepherded in the north, and farmed and foraged in the deciduous southern forests. Due to the geography of the land she oversaw, it was split by mountains and highlands in the colder north and warmer hills, farmlands and forests in the warmer south. Among her followers, rose two great leaders - a female shepherdess named Orianna in the north and a farmer named Assalon in the south. There were a few folklore that said Orianna was actually the Goddess Vassa in mortal form.
From their first meeting, Orianna and Assalon fell for one another, pledging to bring peace to both lands. They got married and bore eight children - seven boys and their youngest - a daughter named Lorianna. As they grew up, Lorianna began to exude beauty far beyond the imaginings of mortals. Stories of her beauty surpassed even her mother, Orianna, prompting many men, even women, to seek her out and offer their hands in marriage, romance and casual intimacy. Lorianna's seven brothers, most of whom served as chieftains, had to defend their sister's chastity and dignity against noblemen, barons and commoners alike.
Unknown to them, Lorianna had too much love to give, that even her parents' unconditional love and her brothers' protection, weren't sufficient. She had fallen in love with a poor, peasant boy named Daghlyn. Every night, she would sneak out of her heavily fortified home and spend time with him, showing him what it was to love the poor, the abandoned and the stray. Unfortunately for her, Daghlyn was killed by an infamous group of assassins known as the Ferrers, who then kidnapped her and presented her as a prize to their chief, known as the Evenblade. One by one, Lorianna's brothers sought out Evenblade's assassins, but were no match for them. Over time, all seven of Lorianna's brothers were killed.
Eventually, her father, Thane Assalon, summoned all of his chieftains to breach the great hideout of the Ferrers. The night raid was massive and messy, killing many on both sides, but just when many had thought Assalon would be the one to avenge his sons' deaths, it was Orianna, his wife, who forced her way into the Evenblade's lair. Unknown to all, even Assalon, a grieving Orianna had trained in secret and learned the ways of the Ferrers. When she eventually killed the Evenblade, she realized to her horror that the Evenblade was Lorianna.
In her captivity, Lorianna had fallen in love with the Evenblade, and over time, conquered her emotions to kill her captor and assume the role as leader of the Ferrers. It was both a tragic and bittersweet reunion, which marked the devastating end of the love story between Orianna and Assalon, and their eight children.
The lands under the Goddess Vassa were eventually split into two kingdoms - Dandoria in the north and Vassalon in the south. Vassalon became a matriarchal society, where only queens can rule the country, and women can be warriors known as the Vassari. Most men are forced into the temple of Vassa, becoming priests, monks and messengers of love. Dandoria on the other hand, became the total opposite, becoming a highland kingdom of hedonists and sodomites.
The region where the Ferrers' hideout was, eventually became known as the kingdom of Ferreven. It remains widely known as a kingdom of assassins and thieves, and yes, till Tae 4329, Ferreven's leader was still known as the Evenblade. They worshiped Niolmyr, the God of Greed.
God Niolmyr (Greed), Old Grymnark (Invention) & The Nameless Gods of the Aessari (Time)
Niolmyr is often seen as a horned and bearded satyr, a mole, a dwarf, a many-tailed dragon, cloaked man without a face or the like, or some mechanical, clockwork creature. He, or it (as some believed him to be without gender), had always been a hoarder, a collector, a surveyor of otherworldly stuff that mortals, half-mortals and immortals were unable to attain or appreciate. He had the ability to sniff and suss out what drove the living and the dead to different needs and wants, and through this ability, manipulated them with words, rhymes, lies and temptations to do his bidding.
The folklore of Niolmyr began in the southern parts of Mortalissar, where among the gods, he had always been ridiculed and laughed at for coming up short in competitions and standings. To mock them, he would often portray himself as a shorter person or smaller creature, eventually gaining fame and attracting people with various deformities (a majority of whom were shorter folk) to flock to him and worship him (most of whom were later known as the dwarven race or the Niols).
To give his people the ability to surpass their taller, more elegant brethrens, he gave his wisest and closest follower, Grymnark, the knowledge and secret to create mechanical tools, using the power of gem-stones, steam engines and clockwork machines. Grymnark then passed on these knowledge to many others among them.
So it was, in their workshops hidden away in other dimensions and worlds, Niolmyr and Grymnark, created cities built entirely of steel, bronze, copper, silver and gold, suspended in the air, invisible among the clouds or buried deep in the oceans or underground. They built gigantic mechanical walkers, flying ships, rockets that blasted off into otherworldly dimensions, even fire-sticks that could shoot dangerous projectiles, powered through the stones and magic found deep beneath the earth. Their inventions became highly coveted by their neighbors and the other gods, until a terrible war broke out among them and their worshipers. A group of these gods, which were called the Aessari, timed and broke into Niolmyr's and Grymnark's many workshops, threatening to use their own inventions against them and cause a cascading explosion that may collapse these various dimensions, including Mortalissar.
Against Niolmyr's warnings, Grymnark created an army of powerful half-dwarven/half-mechanical creatures known as the Erreri, and led them across dimensions to destroy the Aessari. The Aessari however, while lingering and learning in these inter-dimensional workshops, had mastered the knowledge of time. In their confrontation with Grymnark and his Erreri, they fought through time and space, stretched out over long periods.
Eventually, many of Niolmyr's and Grymnark's inventions and cities were destroyed, wasted and lost, ravaged by time and condemned to a forgotten past by the Aessari. The war through time had many repercussions. For instance, the Aessari forgot their names and were later called the Nameless Gods of the Aessari. As of Tae 4329, they were worshiped in Rassinia, Morlendar and Oeressa; many of whom still bore their mark to indicate a forgotten past. Several believers of the Aessari migrated north, settling in the land known as Taragewa in the Iosian Peninsula.
Grymnark became very old, but very wise, and through his time spent in the other dimensions, mastered the art of slowing down his aging process. His army of Erreri also changed. Half of them followed him, becoming the gnomes, or Narks, who now populated most of Queralin. The other half evolved, becoming mysterious creatures devoid of identity, time and space. When Niolmyr found them, adrift and lost, he made them part of his collection, calling them the Forever People or Ferrers. They followed him back to Mortalissar and became masters of shadow and night, assassins and thieves, or the 'Unlighted Ones'.
In time, the dwarves who worshiped Niolmyr populated much of eastern Morassin and named the land Nolrim. The Ferrers spread out across the land, many of them searching for a purpose, but a few settled in the north, forming the kingdom of Ferreven. Their leader was later called the Evenblade, whose purpose was somewhat similar to Niolmyr's characteristic: to collect that which mortals cannot fully appreciate.
Although Maghul, the God of Strength, usually appeared in human form, he had been reported to take on the forms of mountains as a reminder of his past - he absorbed the essence of the Oeryghar Mountain to become who he was. (Image reference sourced from https://www.deviantart.com/chasestone/art/Earth-Colossus-213950084).
God Maghul (Strength), Many-Armed God Haekrabal (Perfection) & Goddess Bershaevol (Deception)
The folklore story of Maghul, the God of Strength, didn't begin with strength. In fact, the story was about a river, which got filled into a mound, which grew into a hill, which grew into a mountain, and then a god, literally.
In the south-eastern lowlands of Mortalissar, there once was a great river that flowed from the Sky Cliffs of central Mortalissar to the tributaries of The Ghadiru Sea. The river was called The Great Oerythal and it provided sustenance to many villages and settlements. However, the Oerythal had an adjacent sister river known as The Blood of Anghar, or Anghari, which was a river of lava that flowed deep beneath the earth in parallel with Oerythal. The Anghari provided much needed fire to the servants of the Demonlords of Khulta for their blood sacrifices, and the unholy anvils used for the crafting of infernal weapons belonging to the many-armed God Haekrabal.
When the Goddess Bershaevol sought passage north to visit the Sky Cliffs, she was given a choice: take the Anghari but pay homage to the Demonlords and Haekrabal, or the Oerythal. Both required an able ferryman to navigate the currents, but the Anghari will require a boat strong enough to withstand the melting lava. Bershaevol chose the Anghari, as she wanted to spy on what the worshipers of the Demonlords and Haekrabal were up to.
Bershaevol's worshipers had chosen a young mortal servant named Maghul as a ferryman; he was weak-armed and weak-legged but intelligent and witty. He promised Bershaevol that he would worship her for all eternity by the end of the journey if she would grant him the strength to withstand the Anghari heat and steer the boat upriver. Bershaevol, smitten by his charm and bravery, agreed.
During the journey, they stopped at various points, venturing into and escaping by the skin of their teeth from the priests and demons of the great underground temples of Haekrabal and the altars of the Demonlords. During their near-fatal escape, Bershaevol gave Maghul even greater strength, so that he can defeat the armies hell-bent on capturing them for their masters. She also learned from her encounter with Haekrabal, the God of Perfection, that he was crafting infernal weapons and war machines, capable of harnessing the soul and fertility of lands above ground, to destroy and mutate life to his will. Haekrabal and his followers believed in the idea of persistent evolution. By constantly evolving oneself, be it physically, mentally, spiritually and morally, one can find one's fit in the cosmos, eventually attaining perfection. This included the lands they dominated, the creatures they kept and the language they used.
When Bershaevol and Maghul found themselves in the clear, they decided to rest just shy of reaching the Sky Cliffs, at a confluence where the Anghari met the Oerythal; a gigantic waterfall where fire and water converged. The confluence was known as Oeryghar Falls and it was a sight to behold. By then, Maghul was so buff and strong, he could literally punch a mountain into smithereens with his bare fist. He began to realize, too late, that with every ounce of muscle that Bershaevol gave him, he would lose a little bit of his wit and intelligence. Angered, he fought Bershaevol, using his strength to his advantage. But Bershaevol was deceptive. There was a reason why she chose Maghul to be her ferryman.
As they fought each other, Bershaevol lied to him, telling Maghul that she had fallen for him. Maghul, already dim-witted by then, began to believe and trust her. She then asked him to break several mountains surrounding Oeryghar Falls and fill the confluence up with sand and stone. He did as he was told. The blockage of Oeryghar dried up the downstream rivers of the Oerythal and Anghari, but created a gigantic pressure dam upriver.
This angered especially Haekrabal, who emerged from his underground lair and fought Maghul. It was perhaps one of the greatest man versus god battle Mortalissar had ever witnessed, well, according to folklore. Unable to defeat Maghul due to his incredible strength, and having lost some of his limbs to the mad-man, Haekrabal sought to destroy the waterfall dam, which instead of a hole, was now a mountain. Bershaevol, being ever the cunning goddess, tricked Maghul to live up to his promise of worshiping her, by encouraging him to enter the mountain through one of its many caves and spiritually become one with it. He agreed, entering and hiding in it, while performing a ritual Bershaevol taught him, all the while, evading Haekrabal and his minions.
Maghul eventually disappeared and became part of the mountain, transforming into a leviathan creature of rocks and stones that can withstand the powers of Haekrabal. The mountain exploded and the dam broke, releasing a torrent of both cold water from the Oerythal and melting fire from the Anghari into the stunned faces of Haekrabal and his minions. The force of the steam and tsunami froze them into stone, destroying his temporary mortal guise (of course, Haekrabal was later resurrected by his worshipers after a long slumber).
Maghul, with the absorbed strength of the Mountain of Oeryghar, had become a spiritual creature of strength. He was about to pledge his allegiance to Bershaevol, but she refused him, revealing that her intent had always been to delay Haekrabal's plans to transform the land to his benefit. His mortal destruction gave her temporary respite of which she was thankful. Many villages and settlers in the area who had witnessed Maghul's power began to then worship him as a mountain-god, or the God of Strength.
By Tae 4329, many of these settlements became part of the territories of Zorghul, Wraghuul, Armaghul and the northern half of Argand in Zargandar. A large nomadic tribe from this region traveled north, and settled in a region now known as the kingdoms of Ironbane and Fexgrol, bearing the insignia of the mountain-god, Maghul.
Bershaevol remained popular among the people in the territories of Zhuul, Shemzeol and most of Nekrabal, while Haekrabal was worshiped in the territories of Haeghul, Ghadir, Teranghar and the southern half of Argand in Zargandar. The largest territory in Zargandar, Teranghar, remained an ever powerful threat to the region, where followers of Haekrabal continued to thrive and infest the land and themselves.
Serpent God Ywral (Dreams), Goddess Vaultari (Water) & The Great Nielth (Unknown)
The Serpent God Ywral had often been known to be a prisoner of Mortalissar. It was chained to the west by the dwarven God Niolmyr, and to the east by the Demonlords of Khulta. While Niolmyr needed Ywral's exotic scales, poison and tears for his various inventive concoctions, the Demonlords needed Ywral's seasonal shed skin and rattling tail as part of their sacrificial rituals. You see, Ywral needed water to survive but was too far from the ocean (the nearest was The Lower Vaults), and being chained underground, it had no access to rain. So in its thirst and imprisonment, it began to slow down its metabolism and fell asleep.
In its slumber, Ywral began to dream. In its dream, it was visited by a beautiful woman made entirely out of water. The woman asked Ywral to weep. In return, the woman wanted some of Ywral's tears as an exchange. Ywral agreed.
The more Ywral wept in its dreams, the less thirsty it became. Eventually, Ywral's tears had filled up its entire dream-world and it had none left to give. When Ywral finally opened its eyes, which was millenniums later, the power of its dreams had pulled much of the water from the Lower Vaults inland, giving it much needed water. Rain had also fallen non-stop in the region when Ywral was asleep. The freshwater it had pulled gave it power to unbind its chains and free itself from Niolmyr's and the Demonlords' captivity.
The great river it pulled inland became what was now the Resgar Estuary, filling the entire region with a swampland that harbored some of the most exotic and often, dangerous creatures. But Ywral also summoned many creatures from its dreams to populate the land - faeries, elfin like folk, tree-folk and ritualistic dream-weavers. When Niolmyr's and the Demonlords' followers came into the swamp in search of Ywral, they were no match for the magic that had engulfed the region, forcing them to turn back.
The region became known as the Realms of Fawyrn, with much of its northern realms being its followers. The woman whom Ywral dreamt about was the Goddess Vaultari, whose story mirrored the Serpent God, but far more threatening to the world.
Vaultari used to be part of a divine merfolk race who once thrived in the depths of the sea. While Vaultari and her kind had knowledge of all the world's oceanic creatures and regions, there was one place which was forbidden - known as the Mortharii Abyss. According to legends, the abyss had no bottom and was home to many dark and unknown undersea creatures. Yet Vaultari, being the ever curious and persistent explorer, ventured deep into the abyss with the help of Ywral's tears. By laying Ywral's tears as a trail in her passage down the abyss, she was able to trick the undersea creatures to fall asleep and use them as a beacon home if she ever got lost.
As Vaultari got deeper, she began to lose parts of herself to the depths. She heard voices, some kind and comforting, some devious and manipulative, others malicious and malevolent. The voices called themselves the Unknown, or Great Nielth. Vaultari could not control herself the deeper she went, falling into different levels of trials and tribulations, guided only by the different voices she heard and the trail of Ywral's tears.
But while others had failed and became part of the Nielth, Vaultari persevered and succeeded in surpassing all of her tests. Envious of her victory, the Great Nielth emerged in mortal form as an undersea giant, hell-bent on crushing her. The giant was humongous, its height almost as tall as the abyss with which Vaultari had swam through. Vaultari used Ywral's remaining tears to force the giant into a deep slumber. As it toppled, part of its fingers were severed and remained above water, forming the current Mortharii Isles off the coast of Morassin. The giant's name was Niesgaroth, whose name was heard like an echo in Ywral's dreams (and immortalized in part as Fawyrn's Resgar estuary).
A few things happened with Niesgaroth's cursed slumber. Many of the Great Nielth's voices - the souls of many who had died in the Abyss - would sometimes visit the Mortharii Isles' drylands to suck on the power of Niesgaroth's crystallized blood. The crystals, known as Mort, became a prized treasure of the pirates and seaman off the coastal monarchies of Morassin (but finding and attaining them were costly and usually fatal). Not only that, that trail of Ywral's tears which Vaultari used to blaze her way deep into the Abyss, remained as a reproductive algae known as Morassin. Although it was poisonous, it was also flammable and can cause dream-like hallucinatory effects when smoke from the flames was inhaled.
Vaultari's legendary victory over Niesgaroth saw many coastal settlers believing and following in her cause - to keep the oceans safe and free for all explorers - with realms like Vagaron in Fawyrn, and monarchies of Prowden and Variel in Morassin worshiping her. The monarchies of Issar Dae and Feonyr however worshiped the Great Nielth, believing that they were the heralds preparing for the return of Niesgaroth, the embodiment of the Great Nielth, and guardians of its blood, the Mort crystals. The Nieltersea, which separated the mainland with the Mortharii Isles, had become home to many unleashed creatures from the Mortharii Abyss. It had become a dangerous place and few, if any, worthy sea-captain or pirate had been known to survive it.
The Goddess of Water, Vaultari, was part of a divine merfolk who once thrived in the oceans. Her courageous exploration of the forbidden Mortharii Abyss, saw her battling the great Niesgaroth and liberating the souls of many who had died in its depths. (Image reference sourced from https://www.artstation.com/artwork/xzePLX).
Well, there you have it. This ends Part 3 of 4 of the Religions, Gods & Mythologies in Mortalissar series. If you've missed Part 1 and Part 2, feel free to click their respective links to get to know the rest better. To continue to our final Part 4, hit the link here.
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About the World
This section highlights the world of Mortalissar in greater detail, especially her territories, countries, races, magic, calendar and belief systems. Occasionally, I will write short fiction stories relevant to a particular realm to define its unique characteristics set against a larger canvas. Hopefully, over time, the collection gives you, the reader, a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of this world, and her many qualities and flaws.