The Pantheon of Kimtharedin
Holy Text: The Book of Tides
Major Deities: Gaerval, Kimtharedin, Oburusarid, Taketharkin
The seafaring lives of the gnomes have led to a strange system of worship for their ancient gods. Instead of temples or churches, the gods of the pantheon of Kimtharedin are worshiped at small shrines in just about every port city in the Known World. These shrines are typically managed by a single priest of their chosen god, and range in size from simple pedestals to tiny structures, barely able to hold a half dozen gnomes at their largest.
As many gnomes spend their lives at sea, worship of their gods is irregular, happening only when they can make it to port. However, all devout seafarers have learned at least a handful of the prayersongs. These songs are meant to be performed without music and by all the hands aboard a boat, and are typically led by the captain or first mate. The purpose of each prayersong varies, but they include everything from praising good omens to warding against evil, and at least one exists for every common occurence at sea.
Unlike many other religions, Kimtharedinism does not hold that its gods created the world. Instead, its followers believe that the universe is even older than the pantheon itself, created in the depths of time by the Great Ones. Even in the Book of Tides, the Great Ones receive little more than a passing mention, and almost nothing is known about them, except that they were very powerful beings. Regardless, no Kimtharedinists worship the Great Ones, and it seems that they have long abandoned their creation.
Following the departure of the Great Ones, the world existed as an endless expanse of pure water, as far as the eye could see. After countless years, the dark goddess Gaerval happened upon this pristine world, and liking it, she settled upon it, claiming the world as her own.
Eventually, Kimtharedin, the clear sky, discovered the world, and found it just as appealing as Gaerval before her. Kimtharedin, however, did not claim it as her own, and instead, chose to encircle it completely, so that she could gaze down upon its beautiful surface. Kimtharedin so enjoyed the new found world that she called out to her longtime friend, Oburusarid, the titan, so that he could partake in her enjoyment of this new discovery. The giant of earth immediately set to exploring the waters of the world, walking their surface and swimming through their depths.
Gaerval was immediately offended by these intruders to “her” world. As Oburusarid first approached her, she cast magic on the great titan, crippling him with madness. In a rage, the god rampaged throughout the world, thrashing about in its waters. As Kimtharedin came down to calm her maddened friend, Oburusarid attacked her as well. To protect herself, the clear sky had no option but to strike down her friend, shattering the titan into many pieces along the surface of the water, and sending him into a deep sleep.
Saddened by her loss, Kimtharedin hunted down the source of Oburusarid’s madness. Upon finding Gaerval, the two goddesses fought a long, epic battle above the waters of the world and the titan’s shattered remains. Finally, deeply wounded, Gaerval fled to the depths of the seas of the world, forever corrupting the waters with her evil, making them bitter everywhere where Oburusarid did not block her vile corruption. As Kimtharedin started to chase the dark goddess, Gaerval used the last of her strength to call dark magic against the sky. Kimtharedin found herself reflected in the water, and unable to cross its surface.
Recoiling from the water’s surface, Kimtharedin suddenly felt herself being torn in two by the rest of Gaerval’s dark magic. Weakened, Kimtharedin stared in shock as she looked upon her darker twin, Taketharkin, the end result of that spell. Since that first moment, the two have warred over the world, each wanting to look down upon its surface; Kimtharedin with love and awe, Taketharkin with hate and disdain. They endlessly chase each other about the world, neither strong enough to destroy the other, squabbling over it.
As the two skies raged about the world, Oburusarid, the sleeping giant began to dream in his slumber. The titan’s very dreams took life upon his surface and in the waters, becoming all life. Seeing this wonder, Kimtharedin sought to look upon these creations of her friend just as much as Taketharkin wanted to harm them. In her dark seclusion, Gaerval shuddered at this development, and created all the monsters and demons of the world to plague Oburusarid’s dreams, the latest intruders on her world.
Symbol: Several horizontal lines, one above the other, thinner at the top and thicker at the bottom.
Gaerval, referred to as the hidden depths, is a dark and feared goddess, appeased and not worshiped. She is known as the mother of demons and the claimer of souls. According to Kimtharedinists, when an individual dies, their body must by burned, so that their soul can rise as smoke up to Kimtharedin, becoming one with the goddess. Without this process, a person’s soul may be lost (especially if the person is lost at sea), consumed by Gaerval, who is a claimer of souls. It is believed that Gaerval uses the souls she claims in dark magics, twisting them into the demons she spawns.
Symbol: Several horizontal lines, one above the other, with the largest at the top and the smallest at the bottom, which alternate being drawn starting at the left and right of the symbol.
The foremost diety in the pantheon, Kimtharedin is rightfully the most widely worshiped and prayed to. She is seen as the goddess of benevolence and providence, and the protector of all life. Those who receive a great windfall, be it monetary or personal to the individual (such as a new child), are expected to present offerings to Kimtharedin at one of her shrines.
Symbol: Two lines forming an obtuse angle, pointing upward, with several rays below them, pointing downward in all directions.
Even though slumbering, Oburusarid is worshiped as the creator of life, as well as the purifier of water, cleansing Gaerval’s taint where it touches his shattered body. Oburusarid is not worshiped as frequently as the other deities in the pantheon, but he is also never worshiped out of fear. It is said that when the last mortal life ends, Oburusarid will awaken, and help Kimtharedin slay Taketharkin and Gaerval, and that all the souls claimed by the later will be released, while the world will again be at peace.
Symbol: Several curved lines (like fishing hooks), with their hooked ends in a vertical line and their straight ends alternating between pointing diagonally up and left and up and right.
Taketharkin, the harsh winds, is not prayed to or given offerings gladly, but is appeased by worshipers who wish to survive the storms and winds that she can bring to harm them. Most ships that are destroyed by storms or capsized are said to be punished by Taketharkin, presumably for lack of paying her homage. However, she is known to be a cruel entity, and may choose to destroy even those ships that do so.
A few, minor deities exist in this pantheon, but are not widely known or followed.