Kemat, Tharos and Aegos
Kemat is associated with a black stain on blue fabric, shark teeth, belladonna, and cephalopods.
Tharos is associated with schools of fish, mirrors, salt, and coral.
Aegos is associated with wind chimes, lightning struck wood and the lightning bolt, stars, and white bird feathers.
In order to enter the prayer state an follower of one of these gods may do one of the following:
Even among the most fiercely independent of the Hesha, it is freely admitted that their lives are ruled by the sea, and the sea is a fickle master. They live or die, prosper or starve depending upon its mood. Storms can rip homes apart. Volatile waters can leave ships stranded far away from shore. Monsters and the swarming dead that lurk beneath the surface can pull even the most prepared under. But when the skies are clear, and the waters calm, the sea brings prosperity. In Hesha, as well as some few who travel through their waters as their guests, it is commonly believed that the sea and the sky are ruled by mercurial gods who, if appeased, will bestow their blessings on the faithful. However, the gods are deeply at odds with one another, and that eternal hatred between them makes it difficult to keep them all appeased. Thus, one must make a choice when it comes to serving these gods.
Those whose fear of what lies in the unfathomable deep takes precedence in their lives attempt to appease Kemat. Her father, Aegos, the god of Sky and Wind, was in constant competition and opposition with Tharos, the god of the Sea. Born as the goddess of beauty and reflections, Kemat shone as the first star in the sky. Gazing down, she saw herself mirrored in the still and calm waters of Tharos, and she fell in love with his steadfast depths. Her father, unknowingly, sent her down to form the land, mountains, trees, and flowers, while he whirled and raced around the world. Where the land met the sea, she and Tharos would reach out to one another to touch and caress. Though she knew Aegos would be angered by their trysts, Kemat did not stop. Serene and still, Tharos promised her that should they be discovered, he would stand by her side against her father.
Sure enough, when Aegos realized that Kemat and Tharos had become lovers, and that Tharos was in competition with him for her affections as well, he became enraged. Kemat stood between the two gods, and faced her father. But when the moment mattered, Tharos continued to stand still, too vast to move quickly enough to intercede with the darkening sky. Aegos ripped Kemat’s body apart, and shining droplets of her blood littered her father, forming the stars. Her eye became the moon, and her obliterated and crumbling body fell and sank into the darkest depths of the sea, becoming the monsters that lurk below the waves. Her body landing in the waters churned the sea, raising immense waves that reached towards the sky in rage. Some scriptures say that Tharos was driven mad with grief, and shook off his quiet composure, choosing forevermore to battle the sky. Yet those who worship Kemat believe a different version: betrayed by the two most important men in her life, it is she who thrashes and frenzies against the both of them to this very day. Glaring up at Aegos, she shook and sundered the land, jutting mountains up to pierce the sky, and lurching waves to batter the horizon. It is she who gave the sea its wild, uncaring, and untameable nature; the one who gives the ocean its hunger. Her seething hatred of everything infects Tharos like an illness, and he can never be rid of her. It is she who worshippers attempt to mollify when they pray that their vessel will avoid the worst of the storms, steer clear of hungering creatures of the sea, Night Malefic, and misfortune. They sacrifice to her that she may be satisfied or distracted for the merest moment, and hope that is enough. Despite her worshippers’ cries for help and mercy, she rarely listens, and is notoriously difficult to appease. The Black Spot, where her head is believed to have landed, is a testament to her strength and indifferent wrath.
Tharos is favored for worship by sailors, and those who wish for calm seas and safe travel. Long ago, his waters were as still as glass, and formed a mirror to reflect the sky above. It is believed that this was to prevent Aegos from seeing into his heart, or to know what lay beneath his placid surface. While usually a stoic and wise figure, bringing safe passage and sustenance, and sometimes even playful with a touch of mischief, he was transformed by the traumatic loss of his love into a more capricious and cruel god when the mood strikes him. His sacrifices are carnage and violence in order to sate his bloodlust. His followers empty the blood of their kills and catches into the sea, so that he may be satisfied enough to let them pass without incident. For those who ask for more of him, for great boons and rewards, he requires even more of them. It is believed that the bloody life he is fed reminds him of the corpse of Kemat as she fell, and it renews his sense of fury and purpose as he tries to fight the sky – ever out of his reach. However, older scripture of his also indicates that the reason these sacrifices placate him is that being suffused with life reminds him of the beginning of time – when he swirled in the primordial darkness, joined with everything he has since lost, and feeling whole. He and Aegos had made a promise back then to never be the cause of harm to one another, so that even when they were made separate, and their animosity grew, they would not lay a hand upon the other in violence. It was that promise that slowed Tharos on the fateful day that Kemat was killed, for even though he had made the decision to defend her, his moment of hesitation decided the outcome. And so now he craves life – perhaps for Kemat, perhaps for himself, or perhaps for his madness.
Aegos, as the keeper of the wind, storms, and the boundless sky, is feared by Heshans everywhere. For he may strike at any time, downing ships, ruining harbors, and destroying houses and cities along the coast. He has even been known to travel inland at times, visiting destruction upon those things that remind him of his daughter. No one is truly safe from his touch, but he is somewhat easier to gain favor with than the others. If his ego can be appeased, his fits and tantrums can be assuaged in turn. Thus, songs and prayers glorifying him are often sung in taverns and at sea. Many a Heshan ballad or shanty was once made to sing to the storm god. Prayers may be said in private, or together with one’s crew. He is a jealous god, and one must never mention Tharos’ name in his presence. Prayers often include entreaties of safety and survival.
His scriptures describe that when the world was new and formless, he and Tharos were indistinguishable and inseparable from each other. Without beginnings or endings between the two, they simply were whole together as an immense, beautiful expanse of possibility. When the violent burst of time and creation ripped them apart from one another, they grieved as only those who have experienced the first ever loss can grieve. And then their pain, yearning, and love began to masquerade as resentment, bitterness, and hate. And soon, they believed the lies they told themselves.
Aegos to this day searches for love in the form of worship, and can never forgive the betrayal of his own daughter, or that Tharos took her far away from his reach – leaving him alone once more.
These gods three expect their followers to take what they are owed, to laugh and sing in the face of danger, and to never let a slight go unanswered. They are spiteful, unpredictable beings prone to violent displays of power, and they expect the same from their followers. To turn a blind eye is weakness, and there is no room for weakness in the realms of these entities.
Kemat can never truly be appeased, but she can be distracted by the appropriate offerings. Kemat finds meat, bones, black ink, shattered love, and the loss of innocence and illusions appealing. It is believed that Kemat finds men to be particularly loathsome, and so if at all possible, a feminine person should present the offerings.
Tharos can be appeased with red wine, glass, blood, birds of flight killed and drained, and memories.
Aegos accepts lightning-struck wood, incense, willow bark, and acts of vengeance. He also enjoys songs or poetry dedicated to him, especially if accompanied by flutes or other wind instruments.
Followers of these gods must never forgive. To turn the blind eye or to show mercy to someone who has wronged you is weakness, and they do not accept weak followers. Should the follower accept an apology they suffer -2 Fortitude for the next three event days, or until they properly atone for their broken vow and make an appropriately impressive sacrifice, whichever comes first. This state cannot be remedied through normal means.
Should a follower accept their punishment and end the next three event days without rectifying their broken vow, they are no longer considered a follower of these gods, and will be unable to gain a benefit from offerings until they have made amends through atonement and a precious offering.
Make an Offering
The oath that is spoken at a Shrine to Kemat:
“Kemat. I will not rest until my enemies are drowned under waves of my hatred. I will not stop until they, and everything they hold dear, are decimated. My heart will know no fear. Blood shall pave my way. Darkness and ruin will be all they know. Until my wrath without end has been fulfilled, I swear myself to you.”
The oath that is spoken at a Shrine to Tharos:
“Tharos. I will protect those that I love at all costs. Those who would do them harm will tremble before me. I will make those who would act against mine bleed until they are dry husks to be forgotten. I will be as indomitable and as inevitable as the sea. Until all their memories are dust, I swear myself to you.”
The oath that is spoken at a Shrine to Aegos:
“Aegos. I will not let myself be shackled. I will tear down and rend with the ferocity of the storm those who attempt to bind me. I will delight in song and laughter as they lay bleeding out in terror at my feet. I will endure until my name is burned into every tongue. Until there are no voices left to praise, I swear myself to you.”
Swearing this Oath places the petitioner under the Vow of Kemat, Tharos or Aegos.
The following must be written into the dedications book as if it was a prayer. The use of an Altar or Shrine spends the user’s daily prayer ability:
Common Offering – By presenting an offering of ink or bones at shrine to Kemat; wine or a blue stone at a shrine to Tharos; hard liquor or a white stone at a shrine of Aegos, the worshipper receives some protection against manipulation and intimidation tactics. They may refresh one time a single Disregard call that they already possess. This expires at dawn if unused.
Advanced Offering: Safe Travels – By offering 2 fine meat or incense, and cutting themselves until they cause a wound, the worshipper is able to call out to the gods for swift and safe passage. For the next hour, their speed is considered +1 to a maximum of 3.
Precious Offering: A Lover’s Gambit – By writing a goal and a touchstone memory on a piece of paper, reading the goal aloud, and placing it in a clay pot, glass bowl, or wooden box made of rare wood, the worshipper’s soul is afforded some protections at a cost, even if they go against everything they believe in for the attainment of that goal. After reading the goal aloud, the worshipper burns the paper in the container and then burns or otherwise destroys the vessel that contained it. As the paper burns they lose their sacrificed touchstone memory immediately; however if, during that same event, they die attempting to fulfill their promise or goal, it is not considered a personal failure and no additional memories are lost, even if the circumstances would normally be considered a Devotion loss.
Requirements of an Altar
In addition to offerings at a Shrine, one may make a common offering to one of the gods at an Altar dedicated to them.
An Altar dedicated to Kemat must contain at least one vial of ink, a piece of blue linen, a rotted, ragged, dubious or rusted item, and a representation of Kemat.
An Altar dedicated to Tharos must contain at least one filled glass vessel, five grams of salt, and a representation of Tharos.
An Altar dedicated to Aegos must contain at least one set of wind chimes, feathers from a bird corpse, and a representation of Aegos.
Dedicate Shrine to the Devourer
Build and dedicate a Shrine to Kemat.
“And should you bring a gift to the deeps, tread softly, lest you wake her. If all is well she will accept what is offered and go back to sleep. But should she turn her red eye upon you, or even worse, find something that displeases her, you will never be able to outrun her.
~Anthology of Sea Demons
Act – The Shrine is formed in a spot associated with the formation of Night Malefic, or a place where a great wrong was committed.
Offering – Three pieces of rotting wood are used to create the surface of the Shrine
Offering – A shiny piece of glass is placed on the surface of the Shrine and broken.
Focus – At least one bone, such as a skull of a person or monster who has wronged the worshipper dedicating the Shrine is placed upon the shattered glass.
Offering – A vial of black ink is poured over everything on the shrine, and a carefully worded prayer is offered to Kemat.
Creates a Shrine to Kemat that may be used to trigger offerings. Anyone can trigger the shrine, as long as they swear the Oath and use their daily prayer ability.
Dedicate Shrine to the Sea
Build and dedicate a Shrine to Tharos.
“Gazing up from the deck of the ship, I could feel myself growing weaker from the rapid bloodloss. Waves of nausea seized me, but I had no strength to turn over. I could see that the sky was slate and cold and indifferent to the screams around me.
~Personal Memoirs of Sabreen a The Blunder, Split-Tongue
Act – The Shrine is formed as close to a body of water as is safely possible. It should preferably be made on a surface of stone or glass.
Offering – Two candles are set down on the Shrine.
Focus – A wide and shallow glass jar bowl is set between the two candles
Offering – Wine is slowly poured into the bowl, and the candles are lit so that their flames reflect on the surface of the liquid.
Act – The worshipper cuts themselves deep enough to cause a wound and bleeds into the bowl, mixing their blood with the wine, as a prayer is offered to Tharos to accept the Shrine
Creates a Shrine to Tharos that may be used to trigger offerings. Anyone can trigger the shrine, as long as they swear the Oath and use their daily prayer ability.
Dedicate Shrine to the God of Storms
Build and dedicate a Shrine to Aegos.
O Aegos, your winds broke my home, and your fury has sent my loved ones to their gravebeds more than once. You have taken long to heed my troubles, but think me not ungrateful for your eventual mercy. For your hand steers ships, and I would be most foolish to tempt your wrath.
~A Prayer to Aegos
Act – The Shrine should be built next to a window or in a place outdoors with an unobscured view of the sky.
Offering – A nest is crafted out of a combination of 3 linen, padding, or feathers from a bird.
Focus – A Masterwork piece of art dedicated to Aegos is placed inside the nest. Sunlight must be able to reach the art.
Offering – Incense is lit before the art, and the smoke must be allowed to travel into the sky.
Act – A poem or song is dedicated to Aegos, and prayers offered beseeching he bless the Shrine.
Creates a Shrine to Aegos that may be used to trigger offerings. Anyone can trigger the shrine, as long as they swear the Oath and use their daily prayer ability.