Thracian Pantheon

Introduction

The Thracian Pantheon is one of the most widely used pantheons in Terra, largely because of the massive territory conquered by the Thracian Empire between 0CE and 500CE when the Thracian Legions were recalled from their conquered lands. The influence of the Thracian Pantheon was further cemented in Alba, Doomstadt, Malay, and Innishmora because it was the chosen Pantheon of the Imajikan Empire. Most importantly it is the pantheon using in Alba, which is the country in which our game is set. All nobles in Alba follow these gods, as do the majority of the common people, so it is the pantheon your character (whatever their faith) is most likely to encounter in their travels in this region.

Basic Overview

The Thracian Pantheon has many gods, and has incorporated the gods of other peoples into it's core beliefs where they fit. The Thracians believed that all gods were the same, in that there was only one set of gods, and that they came to be known by different names in different places. The Shalkarans may call Khilaina by a different name, but she is still who they are praying to for health and healing. This meant that when they conquered the Alban Isles, they were quick to bring the ElvenPantheon? into their own beliefs. The current Thracian gods can be found in the table below.

God/GoddessDomainsPrimary SymbolColorsTraditional Gender
Aldrin - The SwordbearerWar, valor, violence, military, guardian of the fields, soldiers, strength, victory, bonds of fellowship, dogs, falconsSword accross shieldblue and silverMale
Artaq - The WandererTravelers, hospitality, exploration, adventure, discovery, guardian of lost souls, horsesRampant HorseDark brown and dark greenMale
Aya - The Serene RoseLove, tranquility, madness, flowers, harpsRoseBright yellowFemale
Beryl - The Golden ManWealth, Prosperity, business, mathematics, shipbuilders, trade, negotiation, bread, goldStacked coinsGold and indigoMale
Beshaba - The DeceiverHate, lies, treachery, spies, saboteurs, scorned lovers, nightmaresBroken bladeYellowish green and blackFemale
Bloodstrike - The Dragon FriendChivalry, honor, duty, chastity, perseveranceGold DragonRed and goldMale
Collen - The Lady of MagicMagic, divinationWaterfallLight blue, lavenderFemale
Coron - The HammerhandCraftsmanship, ingenuity, forges, fireFist striking rockOrangish red and silver or greyMale
Cyra - The AbundantBeauty, pleasure, romance, joy, harvestMirrorPink and goldFemale
Ebude - The Celestial MuseThe artsComedy/Tragedy masksDark yellow/SaffronFemale
Erixx - The Lore MasterKnowledge, wisdom, books, records, fatherhood, teachersOpen bookLight brown and dark blueMale
Gwynna - The Earth MotherLife, birth, growth, plants, creation, the moon, motherhood, young animals, farmingCrescent horned moonGreen, gold, and whiteFemale
Jadira - Lady of the NightMysteries, seduction, secrets, hidden things, privacy, concealment, silence, assassins, poison, guardian of the speechless, protector of the hiddenVeiled womanDark reds and blackFemale
Khilaina - The TranquilHealing, health, forgiveness, recovery, renewal, pregnancy, gentleness, compassionHealing handsWhite, lavender, gold, and sometimes rainbowsFemale
Marina - Mistress of the SeaWater, the sea, earthquakes, fisherman, fishes, lost souls, things that are forgotten, sorrowWavesBlue and AquaFemale
Muon - Divine FuryBerserkers, wolves, defiance, riptides, geysers, floods, the unstoppableBloody axeBright Red and GreyMale
Nimbus - The StormbringerStorms, weather, sky, wind, changeCloud with lightning boltLight blue and grayMale
Nul - The RenewerDeath, cycle of life and death, winter, gatekeeper, boundary between life and death. Ruler of the Kingdom of the UnderworldBlack circleBlack and goldMale
Ravnos - The False GodUndeath, persecution, ambitionBlack swordBlack and GreyMale
Sordos - The ManipulatorGreed, lust, avarice, manipulation, ambition, hungerCoiled serpentBright red and bright yellowMale
Thorin - The Forest LordForests, hunting, nature, predators, foraging, wild oat-sowingStagGreen and whiteMale
Thorn - The SlyMischief, theft, thieves, tricksters, indigents, the downtroddenBlack eye maskDark brown and blackMale
Ubasti - Mother of FelinaeFelinae, curiosity, protection, perfume, sculpture, adaptabilityAnkhBlack and GoldFemale
Valerian - Lady LuckLuck, fortune, randomness, transformationTwo headed coinGold and light greenFemale
Verax - Lord of JusticeTruth, justice, fairness, administration, kingship, leadership, fidelityScalesBlue, white, and goldMale
Vindikari - Lady of VengeanceVengeance, divine justice, retribution, relentless persuit, the inescapableScales with crossed swordsBlue, white, and goldFemale
Ziphane - Lady of PainPain, suffering, cruelty, endurance, transformationCat'o'ninetailsDark red and bright redFemale

In the ancient days of the Thracian Empire, it was common to sacrifice animals to the gods on important occasions, however this practice fell out of style in the early 300's due to the influence of Constantine the Great. During the height of Thracian power, Emperor Constantine was waging war against an army of demons from the west when he received a divine vision. Through his vision it was revealed to him that the demons were gaining power from the blood shed in their sacrifices to the gods, and that the gods were willing to give up these sacrifices for the good of their mortal children. He commanded his army stop the sacrifices of blood, and he made a gift of his best guard dog to the priests of Aldrin and asked the blessing of Aldrin for his battle to come, beginning a long-treasured tradition of generals doing so at the outset of major campaigns. They won the battle and drove back the demon horde, proving that this new method of invoking the favor of the gods was indeed as they wished. It did not take long for the practice of sacrificing animals to dwindle out from this time, though Constantine never expressly forbid the practice.

Origin Story

In the beginning there was Void, an absolute nothingness that encompasses all things and nothing by being nothing and all things not existing. When it came to pass that Void had a thought, her thought was that there was nothing that existed, and in so thinking she created the idea of existence. Existence and Nonexistence became two states of being, and because of them it was true that also were created Time and Eternity, Movement and Stillness, Vastness and Solitude. And Void thought that the void was dark, and created Light and Darkness. And so with each pairing did she bring about the fundamental natures of the world in a myriad of contrasts as they emerged.

Void became of two minds, and those minds were Order and Chaos. Order shone from the center of the universe, and Chaos became its edges, and all disruptions. The children of void came together themselves and brought the world into being. Existence and Time created the world of Terra. Movement and Eternity created the seas. Vastness and Eternity begat the stars in the heavens, and Light with Movement begat the moon to ride the night skies. And so each pairing brought together a portion of the world as to the mingling of those natures, and as they did so these children sank into the world and became a part of it, exemplified only in their results.

The last child of these was the pairing of Light and Eternity, and the child that they created was the first of the gods, and it was Gwynna. And when Gwynna came to be, Order saw that enough had been done to begin the long tapestry of History, and Order dimmed her brightness and became the Sun in the sky to settle over all and watch.

Gwynna came into being as the last of the fundaments of creation were settling, and she looked upon it with pleasure, but it was also her nature to create, and so she created life. All life came from her, and she spread it across the face of the world with joy and delight. The land was filled with animals, the seas with fish, the sky with birds and of course with dragons, who were a joy. As she created life, so too she brought into being Nul, who is death, and together they made the cycle of life begin turning.

To share her joy, Gwynna – who took for herself the Moon as emblem— then joined Nul and they created children of their own, new gods and Goddesses to rule this land with her and delight in what the world held, to steward the life and care for it. She created many children, among them the gods we now know.

The first to be born were Nimbus and Marina. They ruled the skies and the sea in the same way that Gwynna ruled the land and life. She gave each one stewardship of their domain and the three were a happy company for an eternity of the turning of the world before more came to be. Each would make and change the creatures of their realm, to watch them flourish and for the pure delight of doing so, but all wished for more to share their delights. The next to be born was Collen, and magic came into the world as it was, and so there were five.

Next Gwynna created a race of mortals with thinking minds, and with them she brought a host of gods forth to govern and protect them. They were simple, hardly more than beasts, in these ancient days, but each new god or goddess brought forth a showering of gifts to those who could worship and venerate them, and brought change into the world.

Aldrin and Aya came forth to govern War and Peace. Khilaina and Beshaba came forth to have stewardship of healing and pain. The mighty twins Verax and Vindikari came into being, justice and vengeance, and opposed to them was Sordos, the deceiver.

With them came others, names lost to the mists of forgotten time. The geneaology of the Gods is complex and deeply secret, and the Gods were as numerous as the stars in the heavens, with each having governance over part of the mortal world.

Chaos

Outside of all of this, Chaos watched in jealous unhappiness. She was not pleased by the manifestations of Order or how greatly they shaped a thing of enduring beauty. While she could cast herself amongst them, and have some sway over the natures of things with her powers of the random and uncontrolled, there was little she could do in the face of this besides assert entropy, which itself fell too closely to the boundaries of order in the cycle of life and death that time made possible.

What angered Chaos most of all were the Mortals, and she struggled to insert herself in all that they did. She made flaws in their natures, twists in their minds, and rendered them chaotic and inconstant in nature – but all fell in averages to the will of order, and it was never enough.

So she created a world of her own. A mirror and mockery of the one that Order had brought into being, Chaos brought about a realm of shadow and disorder. But true creativity lay in the hands of others, and she could only mimic and twist what the rest had done.

Her realm became Faery, and she filled it to brimming with creatures of her own, deliberately made more potent than their mortal counterparts, immortal and unyielding. But the mimicry had a cost, and the orderly nature of Terra fell into the Fae realm as well, so that many of the things there came to follow strict rules no matter Chaos’s wishes. And the nature of the mortals was mirrored in her realm by the ancestors of what would become the Sidhe and the high races of the Fae, thinking and evolving in their own right, making more semblancing of order within the realm that Chaos tried to make. In anger and frustration she developed a scheme to increase her influence – but not to govern her realm, because she believed in no governance.

Instead she lured into her realm the immortal Timor, who was the creation of Darkness and Solitude. Not a God, Timor was a force of nature, and began as a kind of tranquility at peace with being alone in utter darkness. In her realm she twisted Timor and made his loneliness into madness. But rather than haunt her own lands increasing Chaos's influence there, he fled back to the mortal realm, and went among the mortals. But he was so twisted that his mere presence brought them terror, and wherever he went he was despised. Though it wasn't in the nature of her intentions, Chaos treasures the existence of Timor as he lashes out in his anguish against the mortals who spurned him. His existence continues forever to show mortals power that chaos holds over all things.

Timor roams, solitary and unhappy, in an eternity of being that which is outside the firelight, nature of fear itself.

The creatures created by Chaos to people her realm were made in mimicry of mortals, and in their way very subject to hard realities descended from Order. Over time this became more and more the case, until it was clear that the two most potent castes, the Sidhe and the Fae, were too ordered for her tastes any more. She was losing power even in her own realm, relegated to disordering the wildness of the world because she would not govern or decree.

After a time, the Sidhe were drawn from the realms of Faerie, and they became mortal themselves. Most say that this was cased to be by the existence of the mighty Dragons, who enslaved the Sidhe because they were beautiful, making them into beloved servants and treasuring them as possessions.

The Time of Dragons

The Dragons themselves had come into the world early in Gwynna’s creation of mortal kind. At first wild, intelligent creatures, over the eons of godly time they grew to be potent and powerful and a few of them became the highest and mightiest of all beings. These seven Great Dragons took it upon themselves to steward the world and care for it, but their thoughts and goals were not always in alignment with the good of other mortal kind.

The Dragons possessed immense power, and the mortals began to worship them. The memory of the Gods was driven from their minds, and this worship gave the Dragons ever more power, though in their hearts they knew of the old Gods and their true dominion. Without worshippers, the old Gods had little access to intervention over their mortal children, and watched from afar for a long time.

Civilizations flourished. The Humans, who were and old and early creation of Gwynna, were always the most numerous of mortal people, but there were others. Some are lost to memory, but others who arose at the direction of specific gods remain even now. The Dwarves, molded by the hand of Coron, endure even now. The Sidhe, ancient as humanity in their own place, flourished in a way but remained the chosen servants of the mighty Dragons.

Though little can be known of the civilizations from that time and all but nothing remains of them, they are thought to have used magic intensely and extensively, to have had great sailing ships that soared in the skies, and to have been tremendously advanced in technology and wisdom.

And then war came. The causes are opaque in the wash of deep history. Some say the Great Dragons fought each other. Others say that a Great Dragon taught a mortal Sidhe the secrets of high magic and the mortals rebelled against them.

A legend states that sometime during this period of chaos a human man, Ravnos, used great power to steal the crown of power from Thanatos, one of the great Dragons whose power was of death, and killed Thanatos and took some of that power unto himself, becoming like a God himself, of Undeath and the dark powers of the crown. When this occurred cannot be known. The other powers of Thanatos passed to the lesser dragon, Styx, who continued in the company of the other Great Dragons and whose order remains even now.

In the end of the Dragon Wars came several solid, fixed things that can be known. First, near the end or at the end of the conflict, at least one vast and terrible cataclysm occurred. This is often thought to be a powerful weapon unleashed by one side of the combat against another, against a given race or type of people. The number of terrible weapons or cataclysms is unknown but several realities can be observed. Most of these take the form of powerful influences Chaos exerts over reality still.

First, the shape of the land of the world dramatically changed. Land vanished into sea or thrust upward into new and dramatic mountains. Lush forests became deserts and deserts drowned and became forest. The land was shaken so much asunder that it would not be recognizable to see what preceded it. That these vast changes occurred together on the order of five thousand years ago is something that learned persons in the modern world can prove from the presence of uniform dramatic changes to be seen in the geology of all places explored.

Second, a terrible transformation overtook the north of the continent of Eurus. This became the Goblin Wastes, which has been a place of warped and twisted magic, madness and discontinuity, growing and fading over time only to resurge, for all of written history since that time. Chaos all but incarnate, all but impossible to understand and anticipate.

Third, a great Maelstrom came to be in the seas in the far West. It is an impassible barrier to sea travel beyond and a dark, continuous maelstrom of storm and destruction, a whirlpool as large as some countries, ever turning, never relenting, for as long as there have been eyes to record it.

Fourth, sometime after the fall, a race of terrible creatures arose in the great deserts of southwest Meridia. These creatures, who would come to be known as Demons, drove back back any who might have dwelt there and made themselves a permanent feature of the world. No one knows from whence they arose, only that they reside there in the most inhospitable of places and have many strange and fearsome powers. They travel away, weaving dark influence over others, but have never taken control entirely of the lands beyond their own impenetrable borders.

Some say the great beasts, monsters, and leviathans of the deep oceans came to be during this time as well, others suggest they are as ancient as the world itself. Nothing from that time can be known with much certainty.

Last, by the end of the Dragon Wars it is said that the Dragons revealed themselves not to be Gods and not to be worshiped, or were revealed as such by their defiant subjects. It was at this time, the breaking of the Dragons’ power, that the knowledge of the true Gods came back into the world.

The Gods reside in the Heavens, which are a place beyond life and death created when they withdrew from the mortal world long ago with the coming of the Dragons. The heavens have many names and descriptions but must remain mysterious. Each God or Goddess has their own place in the heavens, and some believe that the souls of the faithful are allowed to go and reside in the heavens of their Gods and Goddesses when they have passed through the darkness of the Sundered Lands. Though that grim land through which all souls must pass is ruled by the false god Ravnos, faith protects the devout and brings them on beyond to light and versions of eternity or return. Rules govern even he who resides there, and none escape the power of Verax and Vindikari’s might.

The Rise of The Thracian Empire

Unifying the Pantheon

Away from stewarding their mortal children, the Gods had spent the reign of the dragons existing in their own way, warring amongst themselves, and changing their name and number. Not all the names of the Gods are known, and they are many and disparate, but many of the oldest and strongest remain and are worshipped.

It took a long time for empires to rise and trade to spread across the face of the world, so for a great time the worship of the Gods was scattered and disparate, taking many shapes. The gods were called by many names and came to be known differently in different places.

With the rise of the great Thracian Empire, however, things gradually came to be enfolded and unified, understood to be overlapping versions of the same truths, and brought together into a relative consistency. This is not the whole of the world, and many places were not conquered. They keep their own version and vision of the Gods and their history, calling by many names the dieties of their own chosen people. The Thracians, however, believe that it is all part of the same story, in the end.

One of the beliefs enfolded by the Thracian Empire and largely subsumed is a version of the origin of the Gods which began in the lands of Sylvanator and spread particularly amongst the early people of the islands of Inishmora and Alba. This version had only a handful of Gods who together made the Faery realm, half of them good and half of them evil, creating Seelie and Unseelie Fae for their realm, themselves innately good and evil respectively.

The Faean gods folded easily into Thracia’s vision of a vast and interconnected pantheon, but the singular vision of good and evil gods ruling good and evil fairies fell by the wayside. Through most of the lands ruled by Thracia, this model came in due course to be seen as simplistic or childish, largely because Seelie and Unseelie fairies are a feature of certain regions of the world but not others and so could not be the first and foremost instruments of the Gods. Furthermore, as exchanges and encounters happened over time it came to be understood that Unseelie fairies can’t be readily categorized as uniformly evil, nor can Seelie ones be seen to be wholely good. Similarly, even the darkest sounding gods are not necessarily 'of evil' so much as they are invoked in the name of evil deeds. Theologians will sometimes debate the true evil of gods such as Beshaba, Sordos, and Ziphane, or whether their worship by the brutal and dangerous races of the wilds is itself the transformative evil in question. For most of the Thracian-influenced world, those three remain well understood to be Evil gods and seldom honored, but such a position is not universal.

All of the Faean gods from this early mythos are included in the larger Thracian Pantheon, and indeed are important parts of it, but their dominions reflect a vision of a larger world, and one that is worthy in and of itself of divine stewardship. This has the consequence of reducing the reverence of Fae in general in places that were ruled by Thracia, which has over the fullness of time shown itself in a slight but persistent diminishing in the power wielded by Fae over the lives of mortals in this world.

Geneology of the Gods

Gwynna is the mother of all, first of the true gods along with Nul, god of life and death, her love and companion.

Marina was the eldest daughter of Gwynna, after whom came her brother Nimbus, and together they rule the sea and sky. Together they begat Muon, who is God of Berserkers, and Artaq, who is God of Travel. Many of their other children are lesser gods of the sea and sky who are known to special places in the world. The youngest of their children, or possibly a grandchild, was Ziphane, Goddess of Suffering, a fit child for the wildness of sea and sky.

Collen, the Goddess of magic, was the third child of Gwynna and Nul, and then came Erixx, God of Knowledge.

Collen and Erix together began Khilaina, who became among the most beloved of all the Gods because of her healing gift. They also begat Aldrin, God of War and Jadira, Goddess of Mysteries and Seduction.

Thorin was the fifth child of Gwynna, and Nul, and he rules the forests. Then came Valerian, lady Luck.

Thorin and Valerian begat Aya, Goddess of Beauty, Berryl, God of Wealth and Commerce, and Cyra, Goddess of Pleasure and Beauty, along with many others lost to time. Thorin and Valerian were amongst the most prolific of the Gods together, but also separately as they all had many lovers, both Mortal and Divine. One such pairing of Thorin’s with an unknown other yielded Ubasti, Goddess of the Felinae, who would become mighty in the lands of her children. One fling of Valerian’s yielded Thorn, God of Mischeif and Theft, who is treasured and beloved by his mother and has an intense jovial rivalry with his half-brother Berryl0....

Erixx sojourned with Cyra and together they begat Ebude, Goddess of the Arts.

Ebude and Gwynna got together and, as two Goddesses needing no particular seed, created Coron, God of Smiths and Craftsman. ,m

Thorin tricked Jadira into a pairing, and the result was Beshaba, who is Goddess of Hate, Lies, and Treachery. She was disowned by her mother for the deception of her birth.

Berryl lay with Beshaba, who is beautiful and alluring despite her grim domain, and together they begat Sordos, who was raised by Beshaba to be God of Greed, Lust, and Avarice.

The Gods were many and disorderly, and Gwynna and Nul knew they must create someone whose task was to rule. They were of divided opinion on how that rule should take place, both seeing different visions of balance and perfection, but their intention was strong nonetheless and late in the making of the Gods they begat the great twins, Verax and Vindikari. Verax was god of Truth and Justice, while Vindikari was the Goddess of Vengeance. Created to govern the Gods they oversaw the calming of the wars and squabbling and improved the order of all things. They have one son, who grew up to take the name Bloodstrike, and he is the god of Chivalry, dragon friend. Verax and Vindikari also have many servants amongst the offspring of the divine, and govern justly all the Gods.

God-Mortal Interactions

The rule of Verax and Vindikari imposes hard restrictions on how much the Gods can toy with mortal life. These rules are beyond mortal understanding but create limits on the actions and presence of the Gods, so that they do not destroy mortal kind or the world as a byproduct of their own disagreements.

Ravnos is no true God, despised by all of them, but with the power of a God he is unimpeachable, particularly by the laws that govern how the Gods must behave amongst one another, which brought an end to their own wars. He is as controlled by those laws as any of the others, despite behind hated amongst them. Many believe him to be the source of Dhampari in the mortal world, but since the mortals are within his realm when he supposedly makes a deal with them, it is within his power, and he remains untouched by Verax and Vindikari.

Diana, Goddess of the Trandafir, is no true Goddess either except to their understanding, and lesser than all of them as such. Outsiders consider Diana to be an unimaginably powerful Fae lady, instead of a true Goddess, and she is not included in divine genealogies in part because of a longstanding disdain for the Trandafir. As one who is not remotely a ‘True Goddess’ she is then not bound by the laws that govern how the Gods interact with Mortals, and so can take a firmer hand with her people than any other.

See Also

Thracian Afterlife

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