@Copyright E. Charles Tucker, written on behalf of Living Mask Productions all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission of the author.

GODS & LEGENDS OF ILLUSIA

The world of Illusia is a wonderous place, filled with magickal creatures and beings of incredible power. The ten great races of the land - the Chosen - have rich histories of their people and their lands. What, then, of the world itself? Who are these mystical beings worshipped by the people as Gods?

In the beginning, the world was a dry, barren place; creatures of darkness roamed the land freely, scorching the air and earth with plumes of flame and clouds of sulfur. Down from the heavens came a single, glowing orb a ball of silver and gold wreathed in white fire, streaking past the yellowed sky and crashing into the blackened land below.

Thus arrived the ancient Gods, beings of wondrous powers and strange magicks. They had seen what destruction the demons had wrought upon this world and they angered, vowing to free the land from their hellish ways. With righteous fury they rampaged through the ranks of the damned, destroying all demons in their path. In fear some creatures fled to the caverns under the ground, seeking safety and refuge in the fiery pits deep within the bowels of the earth.

Freed from chaos, the world was now claimed by the Ancients as their own. Not content with simply owning the land, these noble conquerors sought to cleanse the battlefield of the evils of the past. With their mighty powers they dug into the very land, gouging great bowls and narrow furrows. These they filled with their own tears, causing new oceans to swell and rivers to flow. From their powerful lungs they sent forth the winds of the air, tearing through the dark clouds and poison gases in a cleansing, purifying maelstrom.

In time they stopped to savor their work, and were pleased. Still , tho' this land was bereft of the evil influences it did not yet live. A greater power would be needed to transform the barren, fire-scorched land into the bountiful garden they'd envisioned, a power that could only come from the gravest of sacrifices.

To sanctify this world, one Ancient gave of her very life essence to bless the land with the greatest of gifts the gift of life. Using rites strange and unknown, the form of the being named D'ianama was transformed into golden energy, seeping into the earth and melding with the land itself. As her soul vanished, a tiny sprig of green and brown burst from the soil; in moments the sprig had become a stalk, the stalk a young tree. Using their own magicks the Gods further blessed this tree, insuring that it would ever grace the land with its presence. Thus was born the Everlasting Tree, the first and greatest of those monuments to D'ianama's sacrifice that would ever provide shade and shelter to the world's future inhabitants.

As the tree grew it began to bloom; two tiny buds flowered and bulged. From one branch grew a round, golden apple; from another, a pear as white as snow. Quickly they ripened and fell to the earth, bursting apart as they landed. From the apple rose a tiny male child, smiling and shining with a golden light. The boy Andar rose and, with a loving smile at the gathered Ancients, ran off laughing into the west. His sister, Rhea, stood from the remains of the pear, her glow a soft, comforting white; with a mischievous wink at the Ancients she too ran off into the west, laughing and chasing after her golden brother. Round and round the world the two ran, giggling and laughing as they rose into the sky with each circle until, finally, their lights of gold and silver beamed down upon the world from high above the clouds. To this day they remain, their lights seen as orbs of gold and silver as they continue their game across the sky.

- excerpt from "l'Bibil du'Mun", an ancient Elvarian text

The Elvari tale gives insight into the creation of the world, and the raw might of these beings worshipped as gods. Who, then, are these wonderous beings? There are three types of godlike creatures in the Illusian pantheon: Powers, Gods, and Principals.

POWERS

Powers are the Greater of the Elemental forces powerful spirits of nature, aspects of the very essence from which the cosmos is formed. The world of Illusia has three Powers, representing the land, the moon, and the sun.

Andar

Andar, although not considered a god, is worshipped by some as a (perhaps THE) universal power providing sustenance in the form of life-giving energy for the entire world of Illusia. It is believed that Andar began existence as a fruit grown from the first Everlasting Tree, the sun spirit bursting free as the fruit ripened and rising into the sky. When Andar chooses to manifest on the material world, he generally appears as either a tawny lion cub or a small Human or Elvari male child, with curly golden hair and bright blue eyes.

Di'anama

One of the three Powers, Di'anama was believed to have originated as a being who gave up her own life essence to grant life to the dead planet of Illusia's past. It is said her energy seeped into the ground, rising as a giant tree from which all flora began to grow. The Everlasting Trees are considered natural tributaries of her sacrifice, acting as conduits of her nurturing energy. She manifests as a humanoid female, generally a young maiden, with dark green hair, pale green skin, and bright green eyes. She is usually depicted dressed in leaves and flowers, and may be mistaken for a dryad. Her animal form is a brightly-colored bird-of-paradise, glowing with energy.

Rhea

The third of the Powers of the Illusian pantheon. Rhea, like her brother Andar, is said to have grown as a fruit upon the first Everlasting Tree and, upon ripening, breaking free of her pulpy cocoon and rising high into the sky. Where Andar provides life-giving energy, Rhea is worshipped as an entity providing the creative energy of the world. Her appearances are seen as a humanoid female child with straight, silvery hair and midnight blue eyes, or as a frolicking dolphin in the Illusian seas.

GODS

When the Eternals left the world, the people were left without guidance. They turned to beings whose names were pulled from ancient lore beings who may or may not be among the original Eternals who founded the world. Regardless of their origins, the people who worship them believe their prayers are answered and strongly defend the existance, and prominence, of their gods.

Each of the Illusian gods acts as patron to a particular race (with the exception of the Gnomes) however, the people are free to worship as they see fit. Like the Powers, the Gods tend to appear as either a chosen animal or Humanoid when manifesting to their worshippers; they may, of course, choose whatever form happens to suit their purpose. As a race, the Gnomes do not worship any of the gods perhaps out of loyalty to the departed Eternals, or as the designated keepers of the ancient mysteries they may be privy to secrets the rest of the Chosen races are unaware of.

Jagraz

When the Eternals first strode upon this world they came across creatures of chaos defiling the land. It is said by the Ogier that Jagraz the Fierce led the assault through the dark horde, his savagery striking fear into the enemy forces. Because of this Jagraz is worshipped as the God of War - argued, although not very vocally, by worshippers of Silvermane and Krag. He is depicted, in animal form, as a rampaging giant brown bear; his preferred avatar is a giant Ogre (even by Ogier standards) with greenish-yellow skin, a shaggy brown beard and a bald, tattooed head. He is often shown wearing the hide of a bear, with the bear's head serving as a hood. As one of the trinity of warrior gods, his preferred weapon of choice is a spiked metal club. Other names include The Savage, the Merciless, and The Butcher. His holy symbol, a spiked gauntlet balled into a fist, represents his thirst for violence and combat.

Jahini

The Goddess of Lies, Jahini's worshippers play the cloak & dagger game with sophistication and perfection. Her followers say that Jahini influences every sentient being on the planet, as people as a whole find it easier to lie than to tell the truth. Her symbol, a featureless mask of silver, is meant to reflect the secretive and deceptive nature of the Goddess herself. Also called the Lady of Secrets and the Trickster, Jahini's animal avatar appears as a sleek, jet-black cat - usually a panther, or jaguar. In Humanoid form Jahini appears as a Felzur with black fur and narrow, probing violet eyes.

Kosduul

Also called the Upstart, the Ursurper, the Lord of Strife and the Anarchist. Considered the youngest of the "new gods", Kosduul has been directly linked to the transformation of the V'lalek from benevolent beings into creatures of chaos. As followers of the God of Destruction, Kosduul's worshippers seek to undermine any effort of creative insight, to tear down constructions, to tear asunder lives and objects with abandon. Kosduul's favorite manifestation is a giant black dragon. In humanoid form he appears as a V'lalek in supple, black leather clothing. His lightning bolt symbol represents the destructive nature of the god.

Krag

Worshipped devoutly by the Minotaur, the God of Strength is representative of all things respected by the horned people. Strong in mind, body and spirit, Krag is also the ultimate Champion of the Games. His followers seek to reach "enlightenment" through strict regimens of exercise, sport, physical conditioning and mental preparation. As reward for their devotion, Krag is said to have given his people an uncanny sense of direction to aid them in their sea-faring voyages - making him the patron of travelers across the lands. Also called the Horned God and the Great Bull, Krag will often appear as a giant Minotaur male dressed only in a loincloth, armbands and anklebands. His animal avatar is a dark brown bull or ox with golden horns. The rising-pyramid symbol represents the god's legendary strength and fortitude. As one of the trinity of warrior gods, Krag's weapon of choice is the double-edged battle axe.

Lune

Lune is also known as the Goddess of Magick,, the Muse, the Loregiver, and the Silver Maiden. Her worshippers can be found among scribes, wizards, sages, minstrels, bards, and alchemists throughout the land. Those of her followers who follow the healing arts often carry a staff with an entwined serpent, representing the binding power of the Goddess against disease. As patron to the Elvari she often manifests as a slender Elven female with pale white skin and bright purple eyes, her midnight black hair twinkling with the light of the stars. The Goddess of Wisdom's animal avatar of choice is a snowy-white owl; her eight-pointed starburst encompasses both the power of the starry cosmos, the elemental power of the four elements and four directions, and the mystical symbolism of the infinite.

Mog

The patron to Assassins, Lord of Poison, and Overseer of the Dead - Mog is revered by the death-loving Trolls. Nicknamed Lune's Bane by the Elvari, Mog rules as the unofficial God of the Underworld from his Throne of Bones, his power extending over all who pass through the death-realm. His symbol, an ash-grey rose, represents the corruptive nature over life he holds. He is depicted as a thin, emaciated, pox-ridden Troll wearing dirty tattered robes, or as a greyish-green serpent - usually of the poisonous variety.

Ophiera

Considered by some to be the Goddess of the Peasants, Ophiera's existence has been debated heavily amongst scholars - perhaps because she, out of all the gods (with the exception of Jahini), prefers to work quietly from behind the scenes, content to let others take credit for her works. As the Goddess of Love Ophiera is said to sprinkle prospective lovers with the blessed waters from her golden chalice, cleansing their hearts of doubts and fears. In her role as the Goddess of Fertility her blessings are prayed for at times of birth and during the harvest, when she is known to carry a cornucopia filled with fruit, grain and vegetables. Her symbol is a golden chalice, often referred as the Cup of Love. When manifesting on the material plane, Ophiera appears as a young human female, dressed simply in the clothing of a peasant maiden.

Seppha

Visions of the Lady of the Lake have appeared far too often for scholars to ignore Seppha's place in the annals of human existence. Also known as the Goddess of Healing and as Lady Fate, she is assumed to be the guardian patroness of the City of Evermist, shrouding the land in her protective fogs. Many scholars refer to her as the head of the pantheon of "new gods", placing her in direct conflict with Kosduul and his worshippers. The Mistress of the Seas also appears to watch over sailors and ships in her domain, assuring them safe passage across her healing waters. As the deity controlling the weather, the fates of many people - human or otherwise - rest in her hands, giving rise to worship of the Goddess over the sphere of Fate. She appears to her faithful as a phantasmal human female in flowing robes, drifting in the air or floating over the land or seas. Her symbol, a balancing scale, represents her hold over the people's destinies. She will often manifest in animal form as a white dolphin.

Silvermane

The patron god of the Centauri, Silvermane has also been called the Lord of the Hunt, God of Courage, and Silvermane the Noble. His followers practice a strict code of honor, nobility and courage in reverence to their god - often placing themselves in the forefront of danger, and acting as protectors of the weak and defenseless. As one of the trinity of warrior gods, his weapon of choice is a giant spear. He appears to his followers as a male Centaur in hunting garb, a brace of spears across his back and dyes streaked across his face, torso and arms. His animal avatar is a powerfully-built tan stallion. In both forms his hair or mane is jet-black, streaked with shining silver. His symbol, a round shield, represents his role as defender and protector.

Volund

The God of Fire and the Forge, Volund is the master blacksmith and craftsman of the Illusian pantheon. A tinker by nature, Volund can always be found at the forge, pounding away on a new shield or sword, or cobbling together a new clockwork automaton. As patron to the Dwarven race he also watches over miners and spelunkers, protecting them from cave-ins and sinkholes. In avatar form he appears as a muscular, stocky Dwarven male covered in soot hence his nickname, Volund the Black. His preferred animal form is a fiery red salamander. His holy symbol is a broad-headed hammer.

PRINCIPALITIES

Also called Demigods, High Elementals and Greater Spirits - Principalities are beings and creatures of near-godlike power and abilities. Some of these beings include:

Yohualchua (sphere: wild hunt)

Scholars believe him to be a child of Jagraz and Jahini; he is worshipped by the tribal people of Ormus as a God of the Wild Hunt, instilling in the people a healthy respect for the jaguar perhaps at his mother's insistence. He appears as a bestial humanoid in a jaguar-skin tunic.

Tiiny (sphere: vengeance)

The guardian of Thurgas Keep, the demonic Tiiny was sent by Kosduul in answer to the prayers of the beleaguered people of the Keep during a time of siege. She appears as a cross between an Ogier and an Elvari female, muscular with reddened skin.

Markyrs (sphere: gluttony)

A half-man/half-goat, Markyrs was charged by Kosduul to corrupt the Centauri and Minotaurs but was stopped by the demigod Klurgstig.

Faenus (mischief/misfortune)

The demonic cluricaun is a creature of malevolent mischief. At just over 3ft in height he resembles a dirty gnome with a shaggy red beard, red overcoat and brown tri-corner hat. He works mainly at night and out of sight, sneaking into storage bins and spoiling the food; riding dogs and herd animals through the night until they die from exhaustion, breaking dishes and pottery, and so forth.

Klurgstig (protection, guardian)

The son of Silvermane and a mortal Centaur, Klurgstig roams Centaur Valley as guardian and protector of his people.

Mhab

An ancient dragon, said to be the mother of all dragons. Current whereabouts unknown, presumed buried under an undisclosed mountain. She has four serpentine necks and two barbed tails; her scales ripple with an iridescent gold, green and black.

Drozl (pain, suffering)

The patroness of Zu'Ghol and former consort of Kosduul, Drozl is said to be a V'lalek female granted nearly godlike power by her former lover. She enjoys power for the sake of power itself, taking glee in the tortures she inflicts upon the Trollic people (who worship her for her ministrations).

LEGENDS & MYTHS

As with all things mystical and powerful, the tale behind the being is often as interesting as the creature itself. Some of these tales have been handed down for centuries, passing from generation to generation to insure the continuation of this ancient lore.

The Underworld

When the gods arrived and freed this world from the creatures who had inhabited it, the demons who survived fled below the surface of the planet, seeking refuge near it's fiery core. These were creatures of spirit and magick; the more powerful and malevolent ones dug deeper into the earth, their cold hearts able to withstand the mighty pressures within.

Upon taking his mantle as the God of Death, Moj sought the company of creatures who would strike terror into the spirits who would pass his threshold; the caverns beneath the land seemed ideal to create his Underworld. Spirits of mischief and mayhem were given leave over the four depths, charged with tasks to seek and punish those unworthy spirits who fell, graceless, into the realm of Death. The uppermost level closest to the surface is populated with small, mischievous creatures; these are greedy beings who crave the shine of gold. The second is filled with mind-flayers, creatures who hunger for the experiences of the living. The third is the domain of the leeches - beings who, given the chance, would drain the very lifeforce that chains a spirit to their body. The fourth and deepest level - and where, it is believed, Moj's Throne of Bones resides - is populated by demons of power, who would sap the strength and will from a shade as a bee draws nectar from a flower.

Only the continued patronage of a God is enough to protect a spirit from passing through the Underworld.

Dragons & Angels

When the Eternals liberated this world from the grip of chaos and banished the demons and monsters to the Underworld, some of the more powerful creatures refused to give up their hold on the hellish rock of Illusia's past. The greatest of these were the creatures known as the Dragons of the Elements, four monstrous, winged serpents who each ruled over a different element on the material plane: Titanus, the dragon of Fire; Morath, the dragon of Air; Baphos, the dragon of Earth, and Zhinqual, the dragon of Water.

To confront these persistent creatures directly, the Eternals created four avian creatures to battle them: the Angels of the Four Winds. Maerkel, the Angel of the North; Girab, the Angel of the South; Rhaeph, the Angel of the East, and Ulias, the Angel of the West. Gifted with feathered wings and powers to rival the Dragons, the Angels were sent forth to purge the evil creatures from the world.

Unfortunately the Dragons, on the whole, proved to be too powerful for the Angels. Girab battled the dragon Baphos to a standstill, sacrificing himself to contain the monster for eternity. Morath lost a claw, but still managed to destroy the angel Ulias. Zhinqual retreated to the seas, the fate of Maerkel unknown. Titanus still lives and roams the land, having handily destroyed the angel Rhaeph.

Markyrs & Klurgstig

In his quest to undermine the efforts of the other gods, Kosduul created a number of beings to foster chaos throughout the realms. One such was the deceptive Markys, the living embodiment of the vices gluttony and sloth. To help his minion gain the trust of his charges, the Centauri and the Minotaur, Kosduul gave the creature the upper torso of a rotund man and the two legs of a goat, adding tiny horns to his forehead to complete the visage. As a spirit of vice, Markys could indulge himself in food and wine by the barrel, yet never pass out or suffer ill effects from his binges.

With the Valley of the Centauri in his sights, Markyrs set out to corrupt the warriors of the valley allowing Kosduul's evil minions to crawl from their Underworld prison and retake the world. The satyr chose a main passage route along the valley and sat in wait, challenging each Centaur he met to drink with him or be thrown off the hill. Warrior after warrior fell to the creature, as they could neither defeat him in drink nor in battle.

A young Centaur by the name of Klurgstig came across the road and took up the satyr's challenge, sitting beside him and accepting his duel of drink. However the youth did not trust the creature and, rather than drink the wine (which was magicked) would allow the liquid to dribble past his mouth, falling to the ground. For days they sat thusly, until finally Markyrs noticed the deception. Enraged he charged the young Centaur, fully expecting to throw the upstart from the cliff only to find the youth was as immovable as he himself. The Centaur declared himself to be the half son of the god Silvermane, tasked to avenge the death of the many warriors who had come before. For days and weeks the two battled, neither giving ground until finally Klurgstig raised the satyr over his head and tossed him down to the cliffs below. It is said that Markyrs refuses to admit defeat, climbing again and again up the cliff to do battle with the demigod over and over, for time immemorial.

Mhab

At the time the Gods came to this world the land was inhabited by hordes of demons and chaotic beasts. Possibly the greatest and most wicked of these creatures was Mhab, the Mother of Dragons. With her four heads and two barbed tails Mhab reigned supreme amongst the monsters, sending her serpentine progeny out to wreck havok across the globe. The Gods were hard pressed to defeat this creature, strong as she was both magickally and physically. Each of her four heads could spew forth a stream of powerful energy - lightning, frost, fire and venomous acid. All the Gods combined could not destroy this beast - after a long, cataclysmic battle they managed to subdue her. It is written that she is trapped within a mighty mountain, waiting to be released from her stony prison. Such an event is said to herald the Endtime, the rising of the creatures from the Underworld and the final destruction of Illusia.

Phoenix

A mystical crane-like bird of fiery plumage, the Phoenix is the only one of its kind. Each time the Phoenix dies its fire consumes the body, forging the bones into a charred egg. This egg hatches with the morning's dawn, becoming the blazing creature of myth and legend. It is written that when the Phoenix rises no more, the Endtime has begun - and Mhab the Mother of Dragons will break free of her prison, leading a swarth of destruction across the land.

Renthar the Panther

A guardian spirit who patrols the spiritual borders of the Underworld, charged to keep the demons within their subterranean prison. The great panther-like creature answers only to Jahini and her most powerful priests.

Wizard Paythe

Many centuries after the creation of the races, a small human village found itself constantly at the mercy of a great dragon. After several razings and the deaths of many citizens, the township finally enlisted the help of a powerful mage, Paythe Graufalke, to defend them. Paythe was no hot-headed warrior, ready to rush in with sword drawn and roaring a battle cry; he sought knowledge to help him in his quest. Studying ancient lore and cataloguing descriptions from the townspeople, he came to realize that the dragon terrorizing the village was none other than Morath, the Dragon of the Air from ancient legend. Needing a talisman to grant him power over the mighty creature, Paythe spent the next few years tracking down the one artifact that would give him the power he needed - the claw from the dragon himself, said to have been lost during the ages-past battle against the Angel of the West, Ulias. His mission successful, the mage battled the venerable wyrm in the creature's mountainside lair; the energies from their fight were said to have lit the skies for miles around. The two, however, were too evenly paired; tired of the long struggle, the dragon called a halt to the war, promising to leave the village in peace. Paythe accepted the agreement, making his home amongst the nearby hills to insure the pact was honored.

The Spelunker

The story goes that a grizzled old Dwarf, while prospecting beneath the ice-filled caverns beneath the vale of the Centauri, was visited by the god of the mines, Volund the Black. The god was impressed with the old miner's tenacity; the caves were cold, unprofitable and hard to reach. Perhaps enfeebled by the cold and hunger the Dwarf did not recognize the god for what he was, seeing him instead as a competitor for the mines and a potential thief. Unthinkingly he charged the god, his axe raised high to smite the perceived claim jumper; angered, Volund froze the Dwarf's axe into ice and prepared to destroy him for his insolence. The Dwarf, recognizing his god at last dropped to his knees, begging for mercy. Volund decided to spare his life - cursing him instead to forever roam the caverns with his axe of ice, never to return to the mountain stronghold of Thungar.

Illusia is a vast, wonderous world filled with yet-undiscovered mysteries. These tales and descriptions of creatures and powers of might and magick are but a sampling of the people and places to be found, scattered throughout the lands.

-fin-