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Offline Davin Ragal

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Hirin
« on: August 14, 2016, 04:50:03 AM »
Hirin the Gatekeeper


Come with me...

The Divine

Realm

Eldanar

Alignment

| Lawful  Good
| Neutral Good
| Chaotic Good
| Lawful  Neutral
| True   Neutral
| Chaotic Neutral
| Lawful  Evil
| Neutral Evil
| Chaotic Evil

Spheres of Influence

Death, the Unknown, and the Future

Persona

Hirin is cold and unswerving, like death itself. He is not in the least malicious, however, unlike his predecessor, Maehdros. Hirin is not interested in spreading death or inflicting it on mortal creatures. Instead, he is interested in preserving death as irreversible, final, and inevitable. When a mortal creature meets its doom, it is the solemn duty of Hirin and his priests to dispose of its corpse, bid farewell to its soul, and make certain that it never returns to Entar in any shape or form.

Hirin inhabits a plane known alternately as the Celestial Staircase, the Eternal Staircase, the Eternal Gate, the Infinite Staircase, the Gate of Death, or as any combination thereof. This plane is understood to be another state of existence, similar to the unknowable realms that the gods inhabit, or to the eternal darkness of the Abyss. Hirin guards this place, making sure mortal souls (never mortal bodies) pass through it, and that absolutely no one returns. It is presumed by magical scholars that the reason inter-dimensional travel is so difficult on Entar is because of Hirin; he strongly prefers that mortals be dead in order to achieve it.

Why does Hirin do this? According to his priesthood, it is because Hirin is a god of law. Specifically, he is a god of what his priesthood call Astral Law, the binding rules of the universe that even the gods must submit to (although they do seem to bend it a fair bit). Part of Hirin’s concern regarding the sanctity of death is that it appears to be an important pillar of Astral Law. A world in which nothing dies, or worse yet, a world in which beings die and come back at their leisure, would be considered a disaster of apocalyptic proportions, and Hirin and his priesthood work tirelessly to prevent this.

Power

Those faithful to Hirin have the power to manipulate the dead. This should in now way be considered in any way similar to necromancy, as they have a great respect for the dead and equal hatred for those who defile its sanctity. Some powers include the ability to relive the last moments of a deceased person or creature, the limited ability to animate the bones of the dead (not like necromancy which is much more than simple animation), and at the upper echelon the massive responsibility of the ability to curse the dead to walk as Druagr or Wight, though this is rarely and mainly demonstrated by Avatars of Hirin.

The magical powers of Hirin's followers is subtle and often misconstrued. They have the ability to affect life though not in such power to end it, and they hold mystical wisdoms about life and the things to come that others couldn't, although it is limited to things falling within Hirin's influence. They would not have information about tangible or worldly events, this domain being of the Loremasters, rather Hirin's priests are blessed with hearing Hirin's whispers, and Hirin sees those who walk in the shadow of death as well as the major events of the cosmos. Unfortunately, like any Divine Word, Hirin's whispers are not easily understood by mortals. Those who understand fragments of it must often interpret it, an art only made possible after years of studying Hirin's teachings. This understanding comes easier and more clearly to his Avatars, but again, unfortunately, an Avatar attempting to communicate their understanding to a mortal would suffer the exact same problem as if it were Hirin's whisper.

Another misconception is that of the negative. His followers may affect life in a variety of subtle ways, often indirectly, positively or negatively. They can make an individual experience pain, euphoria, fear or calm, often drawing on or suppressing emotions relating to or stemming from the death of loved ones or the fear of their own death. However, consolation and soothing is not a primary outlet for Hirin's power, as it is the belief of the priesthood that grief is largely without much point.

More or less every follower of Hirin, to some degree depending on their individual measure of power, has the ability to to exorcise a haunting spirit, to lay down an undead creature and guide its soul towards the Staircase, and many other such feats pertaining to observing the correct rituals of death. Experienced followers have great power and ability to smite these creatures, through Hirin's magic. Some followers primarily use martial ability coupled with rituals or enchantments to fullfil accomplish these tasks, while others rely strictly on the power granted to them by the God of Death to reclaim the souls of the dead in His name.


Iconography

Avatar

Hirin is always depicted as a figure cloaked in black, often skeletal. All people will experience them differently, but Hirin always beckons to those they come foe.

Symbols

A crow, a skull set in stone, an iron staff

Colors

Gray and black

Sacred Objects

It could be said that the carcass of every intelligent person is a holy icon of Hirin, and that every tomb and sepulcher is his temple. At the very least, the priesthood of Hirin believes they should be treated as such.

Besides that, any of the implements that the sages and exorcists use in their holy quest are often considered blessed and sacred. The exorcist’s scythes and sickles and the sage’s smoking censors are treated with as much dignity and care as a cleric of Aldaron would treat his sword and shield. All agree, however, that the Book of the Dead is by far the priesthood’s holiest object, and even its copies resonate with mystic portent.

Sacred Texts

Central to the priesthood of Hirin is the Book of the Dead, their holy book. Directly after The Incarnation, several of those who witnessed the event went into seclusion. Working furiously, at least half a dozen authors compiled the original Book of the Dead in less than three days. Many consider it to be a divinely inspired work; it was as if Hirin himself wrote it through their collective pens. Due to the divinely-inspired nature of the Book of the Dead, many undead creatures find its presence intolerable. It is often said that no undead being can bear to touch one, and the priesthood freely distributes copies as a totem against harm. The original copy of the Book of the Dead is on display in the Grand Mausoleum, where it is said to be amongst the holiest artifacts in Entar, comparable to the fragments of Lunair that the Arm of Aldaron so zealously protects, or to the Eye of Daidlin in Elenion.


Followers

Favor

Hirin is generally disinterested in the living, at least up until the moment of their death. The only people who earn his favor are those who work to uphold the Astral Law. People who fight to protect, preserve and respectfully dispose of their loved one’s remains attract Hirin’s favor.

Hirin is also particularly pleased by those who seek to right wrongs according to Astral Law. Usually, this means preventing someone or something from circumventing death. This could include a daring vampire-hunter, a politician who actively lobbies against dark necromancy, or a healer who warns her students against attempting to resurrect the dead; all earn Hirin’s favor. His faithful, who work tirelessly if necessary to drive out hauntings, release ghosts, put down undead, and generally perform tasks to reclaim and guide lost souls towards the Staircase, gain his highest praise.

Those who earn Hirin’s favor will be protected from the undead and the corrupt, even in death. Necromancers have reported that even humble peasants who worshiped Hirin in life often refused to rise as undead servants after death, their spells simply fizzling out mysteriously.

Disfavor

Hirin holds Astral Law sacred, and believes that all dead things should stay dead. Vampires, liches and all other forms of undead earn his eternal scorn and disgust. The same holds true for other beings that attempt to avoid inevitable death, such as mages that attempt to grant themselves immortality through their magics. Due to this view, it should be noted that the priesthood of Hirin would slay even a successfully resurrected person, a person complete in both body and soul who somehow survived the trauma of death, without hesitation. Many consider them cruel for this, but thankfully, since full resurrection seems all but impossible on Entar, the issue hasn’t really come up. It is unknown how the Gatekeeper feels toward creatures who are naturally immortal, such as the Fae-Kithain, and this is a subject of great debate within Hirin’s priesthood.

Hirin also believes that the dead should be respected. He frowns upon grave-robbers and callous field commandeers who are willing to let bodies lie rotten on the battlefield. Burial is a sacred pact to the priesthood of Hirin, one that should never be disturbed, dismissed or defiled.

Those who earn Hirin’s disfavor place themselves in grave danger, for they are vulnerable to the wiles of evil necromancers and prone to the temptations of false immortality. And although it is not the official stance of the priesthood, many also fear that if they die without paying proper respect to Hirin, he may assign them some grim fate once they reach the Celestial Staircase. Many suspect that the Abyss is the final destination for those who displease Hirin.

The Faithful

The Priesthood of Hirin was created in a single instant, a divine event that coincided with the Sundering and is called ‘The Incarnation’ by those within the priesthood. Those who remain skeptical as to whether or not the event in question was truly divinely inspired refer to it somewhat ambiguously as ‘The Tarsis Event.’

While Aldaron was battling Maedhros in Loriath, Hirin appeared many miles away over the skies of Tarsis. Tarsis, at this time, was a fledgling village, composed mainly of sugar-cane farmers and their overseers. Hirin manifested in the night sky and issued a simple, direct statement in the common tongue, which historians agree went something like: “Maehdros has fallen. In his defeat, I, Hirin, assume the station of the God of Death. Worship me and know me.” The manifestation disappeared as quickly as it came, although it is said that the skies were dark gray over Tarsis for seven days afterward.

Most of the residents of Tarsis were understandably confused and frightened by The Incarnation, but once word finally reached the tiny island-state that Maedhros had in fact fallen, many embraced what they saw as a true miracle. The Priesthood of Hirin was founded almost overnight, and several things happened in quick succession.

First, a local duke of Tarsis was so moved by the event that he renounced his wealth, offering his manor to the new cult of Hirin. The stones of his manor house were recycled to build the Grand Mausoleum, which still stands to this day, housing the bodies of the elite and the poor alike. The duke’s family catacombs were opened, consecrated by the new cult of Hirin, and used to defend and protect the remains of the deceased. These ancient tombs, shrines and ossuaries still stand to this day, and have expanded greatly, creating a labyrinth of tunnel-works beneath Tarsis which the priesthood still vigorously defends.

At roughly the same time, a woman by the name of Halona Brosh became the unofficial head of the new cult of Hirin. She had viewed The Incarnation herself, and accepted Hirin on blind faith. She immediately began work on the Practicus section of the Book of the Dead. Prior to The Incarnation, Halona Brosh had been a simple homemaker. It is highly unlikely that she had any previous experience with dark magic or the undead, and yet the Practicus section of the Book of the Dead is agreed even among non-believers to be a highly accurate manual on how to combat dark forces. Halona Brosh seemed to be summoning the information from nowhere, leading many to the conclusion that the Book of the Dead was divinely inspired. This earned her many followers, and immediately after work on Practicus was finished, she and six of her closest advisors began work on the second part, Spiritus, which proved even more popular (though decidedly less factual).

From these rather sudden beginnings, the cult of Hirin gradually expanded to a full-fledged religion. While at first restricted to its island of origin, the priesthood’s willingness to consecrate and guard the remains of even the very poor made them popular in other regions, and the faith spread beyond Tarsis quickly. Today Hirin is worshipped in almost every region of Northern Entar. He has yet to gain a firm following amongst the tribal peoples of the South, however, where Gormion has become the preferred personification of death.

Temples to Hirin mimic his first temple, the Grand Mausoleum of Tarsis, and the Temple of Hirin in Elenion is said to be an exact replica, with limestone blocks imported from Tarsis itself. White or gray stone is the preferred building material, and rectangular rooms with columned facades are popular. Temples vary greatly in size and shape, but most can be found near catacombs, graveyards or sepulchers, allowing the priesthood to keep close watch over those they’re sworn to protect. Inside, lengths of black and gray silk blot out most light, and the air is thick with incense. In order to better understand their god, Hirin’s faithful attempt to make their temple interiors as ‘death-like’ as possible, which usually takes the form of darkness, sensory deprivation, and clouds of cloying incense.

The official priesthood of Hirin has, overtime, organized itself into two main groups, the sages and the exorcists. The sages are the leaders and visionaries of the order, while the exorcists serve as witch-hunters, temple guards and enforcers.

Due to the humble origins of priesthood of Hirin, the original exorcists often had nothing more to fight with than the sickles and scythes plucked from their sugar-cane farms. Over time, however, they grew adept with these weapons, focusing the simple tools into a truly unique and devastating fighting technique colloquially called ‘The Path of the Crow’. Each temple teaches its own variants, but it tends to focus on quick strikes to the head and heart, allowing them to dispatch zombies, vampires and similar undead creatures quickly and efficiently. Aside from their iconic sickles and scythes, each exorcist is unique. Some wear heavy armor emblazoned with quotes from the Book of the Dead, while others favor lighter protection, and some wear nothing more than sheer robes. Some fight with brutal hand-to-hand fury, while others employ ranged weapons or faith magic in order to outwit their dark foes. A single squadron of exorcists may contain fighters with dramatically different styles and preferences, allowing the unit as a whole to be prepared for almost anything.

The sages usually carry little in the way of weaponry or ornamentation, and instead simply wear ascetic gray or black robes. Sages spend a good deal of time within their temples, and are usually less fit and robust than their brother exorcists. While the exorcists are out hunting for vampires and other abominations, the sages tend to the temple and the community, conducting funerals and burials, or otherwise spending hours in meditation, divining the will of Hirin. Since their duties are less physically demanding, it is not uncommon for injured, old, or ailing exorcists to become sages, and in fact, the lines between the two groups have grown increasingly blurry over the years.

Prominence

Though Hirin’s faithful still maintain a strong presence in Tarsis where their religion was founded, they have had immense success in expanding onto the continent proper. Currently, Hirin’s church is present in almost every region of Entar, though his influence certainly varies from one area to another. As far as politics go, the Priesthood of Hirin and the Arm of Aldaron share a common enemy in the undead, and as a result, the two groups have a long history of crusading together, making them fairly steadfast allies. Though most commoners find them unnerving, Hirin’s devout are freely accepted virtually everywhere in Northern Entar, primarily because they provide a very useful service with their cheap funerals and their relentless eradication of the undead. Still, some feel that the Priesthood of Hirin is rather overzealous, as they have been known to include even law-abiding, state-sponsored necromancers in their campaigns. They are also notorious for viewing all forms of sorcery with skepticism, fearing that even simple cantrips may one day lead to a violation of Astral Law. They would slaughter even an innocent victim of necromantic magic, such as a sentient wight, without a second thought, and due to this, many consider the cult of Hirin to be a dangerous one. Obviously, the Priesthood of Hirin has very poor relations with any who would use the undead for their own purposes, putting them at odds with most evil religions. This is especially true with worshippers of Gormion, whom they consider their sworn enemies.


Quote

“A body that moves without spirit is an abomination, and a soul that lingers without body is an abomination, and bones that move without ligaments are an abomination, and a voice that speaks without lips or tongue is an abomination, and an eye that stares, yet sees not, is an abomination, and a mouth that feasts, yet tastes not, is an abomination, and all the abominations of this world shall wither and tremble before the might of Our God, and shall be sealed in tombs of unyielding stone, for Our God is a Just God, He Who Knows the Darkness and Holds It Back, He Who is Warden Even Unto the Gods, for his name is Hirin! Hirin is the name of Eternal Gatekeeper, and none shall fear abominations who know His name! Speak the name of Hirin, and be not afraid!”
-Excerpt from Chapter XII: Spiritus of the Book of the Dead, as read by a priest of Hirin performing an exorcism.

Credits

  • Original Concept and Write-up: Two Moons
  • Revised Edition: Davin Ragal & Zyphath
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 09:23:43 AM by Zyrphath »

Offline Davin Ragal

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Re: Hirin
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 04:51:34 AM »
Some parts may need adjustment, but I removed necromancy as divine power of the followers of Hirin

Offline Zyrphath

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Re: Hirin
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 09:23:32 AM »
Tweaked the power section a little. I added a bit correlating to Hirin's sphere including the Unknown and the Future, and I elaborated on how/why his followers have power of the undead (while not being necromantic in nature at all - instead, using Astral Law/the call of the Staircase).

I consider it complete, so unless there are any objects objections I say get it to the library.
Tome of Darkness


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