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The Wandering God

AdhayaSketch

Depiction of Adhaya

Among the Gods of Thal, Adhaya is the worldly deity of healing, justice, harmony, fertility, charity, compassion, mercy, martyrdom and perseverance. While his siblings reign in the vault of heaven and the fires below, respectively, Adhaya’s work is done on the earth in between. Wherever people suffer or mourn, they will cry out to Adhaya the Pilgrim, the Vessel of Mercies, and he will hear them.

Adhaya is the middle brother of the Old Gods. He was conceived in union between the Sun God Shamharish and the World Mother Thalammé, being their second born son. Though once he ruled as a shining god in a golden city, he has long since abandoned his seat of power to wander the earth as a healer and make amends for his past cruelties.

Adhaya is a healer and protector, seeking to restore the sick and wounded, and protect the oppressed and downtrodden. His detractors call him the Mad Martyr for his willingness to take on any suffering and undergo any hardship if it will ease the burden of another. Adhaya is the patron of outcasts, prisoners, martyrs, healers, pilgrims and the sorrowful. In his aspect as a god of civilisation and harmony, he is also a god of civil law, farming and learning.

Traditional Image

Adhaya is portrayed as a rugged-faced man in the travel-worn white, green and yellow robes of a pilgrim, carrying a long walking stick and a satchel which is said to contain the cure to all maladies. His face is careworn, his expression brisk, and his hands are scrupulously clean. He is missing his left ear. Adhaya’s skin is a golden colour, easy to mistake for warm olive in the right light, but when he is working and sweating, it looks almost metallic, gleaming brightly and somehow softening any light that it reflects, giving him a warm aura. Anything that has been touched by his hands and his power retains a faint tracery of gold - gleaming marks where his fingers touch them, signs of his love and his favour. His eyes are of the most brilliant green, like the sun shining through emeralds at midday, and his hair is black, hanging in a long braid down his back. He is often seen to possess a sheep's lower limbs, black-haired and golden-hooved.

On the rare occasions that he chooses to appear to those who call his name, he is brisk, efficient, authoritative, and tyrannical about people washing their hands properly. He always appears as one of the populace, and speaks whatever language people in that region of the world are speaking. If Adhaya has come to his supplicants, then they are truly at the utmost end of need, but if he chooses, they do not know him for a god until he has departed, leaving healing and peace and golden fingerprints in his wake. Nonetheless, he is an elder god and on the occasions when he appears in magnificence and splendour, he is dressed in the robes of a high-ranking priest of his clergy, with calm dignity in his eyes and the strength of age in every line of his face.

Adhaya is often said to have a cat, the Nameless Mongrel, a scrawny, mangy, half-starved stray that he rescued a dozen times over in a dozen different legends and traditions. He cares for the cat and feeds it and sees to its well-being, and in return it scratches him, bites him, hisses at him and sometimes rubs up against him, purring. Cats are therefore considered to be Adhaya’s favoured animal, and satirists make much of the comparison with humanity: arrogant, ungrateful creatures who are loved and cared for and yet always demand more.

Divine Nature

Adhaya is a good god, one of the best and certainly the most kindly disposed toward humanity, but is least regarded of the three elder gods. He is thought of as a people’s god, the god of the great unwashed, and those with cause to be thankful to him rarely have the means to burn frankincense before his idols and deck his altars with gold and silver. Nonetheless, he is the deity to whom the most entreaties are addressed, for the creature is not born who does not know suffering. It is precisely because of the number of prayers he receives that he is missing an ear: he cut it off in an attempt to deafen himself to the world’s pleas, being tortured by them without being able to help. He regards this act as his greatest shame and moment of weakness.

He is known to be a stern and grave god, the kind who will not hesitate to cause you a few moments of blazing agony as he pops your dislocated arm back into place even as you are howling for a painkiller, because even though you would really like a painkiller, what you need is the blazing agony. Unfortunately for Adhaya, people mostly remember the pain. Nonetheless, he will always have worshippers and he will always have supplicants, and as long as there is suffering, he will never be forgotten.

Adhaya’s ultimate purpose is to no longer be needed. He longs for the day when humanity can abandon their gods, able to dream without Anhurish filling their minds with falsehoods and delusions, able to live without shedding blood and sending souls to Askerath, and able to love each other without Adhaya having to show them how. On such a day he would lay down his staff and finally be free of his burden. In his heart, he understands that this day can never be and that the elder gods will always be needed as servants and masters to humanity, but perseveres in pursuit of it nonetheless. Adhaya will strive for the impossible and resist the irresistible for no better reason than thinking that it is right that the impossible should be striven for and the irresistible resisted, and in this his worshippers strive to emulate him. Theirs and his are the famous last stands and sacrifices, whether senseless or noble, martyrs either righteous and self-made, rebels with and without causes.

Adhaya was once called the Shining God in the dawn of man, for he was said to have been the most graceful and beautiful of the elder gods, practically perfect in every way: an ideal for humanity to live up to. In his wrathful youth, however, Adhaya cursed an unrighteous humanity with disease and illnesses uncountable, and only after repenting of his cruelty did he take to the roads of the world, seeking to cure what he had caused and right the wrongs that he had wrought, and with the ages that passed, his beauty faded and his robes grew threadbare until he was the travel-worn Wandering God venerated today.

Although his work is done principally with the living, Adhaya is also a guardian of the dead spirits of his faithful. While his brothers take those who die in their sleep and those who die in violence, Adhaya also takes the souls of all those whose deaths do not fall under either purview. He is fierce in his guardianship of the dead, and will fight either or both of his brothers should they try to claim a soul that should be his. Adhaya is unique among his brothers in that he does not have an afterlife. Devout Adhayans hold to the belief that he returns the essence of his worshippers to the spirit world to once more become one with the essence of the World Mother, and that this is desirable over sleepwalking through eternity in Anhurish’s realm or being tormented in Askerath’s. The dead who pass into Adhaya’s hands are always given a choice between swearing themselves to his service and passing away into Thalaztu. Those who are sincere in their convictions choose to pass away, while the most virtuous and the most fearful remain in his service. Most choose to return to Thalaztu over the years as centuries of witnessing humanity at its most wretched wear away at them, and the few who remain at their lord’s side in his wanderings to aid him in his work are seen to be making the ultimate sacrifice and are venerated as saints by his cults.

Propitiation

Adhaya's divine power is derived from humanity's capacity for both love and pain. Great energy is expended in suffering and sorrow, whether it is the dull ache of perpetual poverty or the piercing bittersweet agony of regret, and it is partially from this that Adhaya draws strength. Another source of his power, fed in part by the first, is love, from the all-encompassing compassion that governs love for humanity and the world to devoted romantic love that makes a man a king. Therefore, along with the prayers and acts done in his name, all suffering and all love contributes to his strength. Feelings of gratitude and relief are also his right, from the cease in pain a cup of willowbark tea affords to the outpouring of celebration in a city when its beloved king recovers from a deathly illness. Vast quantities of power known as Menhar (singular Menhu) is spent in such things, rising imperceptibly as pure energy, each stream of invisible power spiralling toward Adhaya and his court like water swirling down a drain. It condenses as it centers upon him, gaining the appearance of a fine, flaky substance like wafers, the pale golden colour of undyed flax thread.

Adhaya's Court sets its Qaribim to collecting the Menhar as it falls, scouring all the lands about their lord at all times to gather the Mannar Galad, or Wages of Grace, as they fall, not only to feed and empower the Free Court but also to prevent it from falling into the hands of mortals. Quite apart from giving them an unseemly spike of personal Hekhu or divine magic, these are the physical manifestations of the thoughts and feelings of others, and like the Waters of Sleep (but on a far less dangerous scale), they can be perilous for mortals to consume. When they are gathered, they are prepared by Nanaszi and Adhaya in whatever way seems best - the wafers eaten with honey and cream when they pass through rich country, with wild roots and berries when they are in the wild, with spices and pungent herbs in lands where such things are plentiful. It is the consumption of these things, of love, pain and gratitude, that keeps Adhaya going, giving him the knowledge that humanity is capable of great and passionate love, that they suffer beyond the knowledge of the undying gods, and that they are thankful for the work he does.

Habitation

Many ages ago, when Adhaya was still the Shining God, he was said to reside in a beautiful golden city in the desert where he was born, sprung from the seed of the oasis that marked the place of his birth. It was said to be a wondrous sight to behold, with walls of white marble and gilded towers reared a thousand feet high, crowned with the glory of creation, filled with green growing things and flowing fountains and waters. It was unapproachable from any direction, the desert filled with sandstorms and strange visions to confound any mundane traveller. Adhaya gathered there the souls of his faithful to sing his praises in bliss for eternity. When he departed to wander the roads of creation, he released the souls in his custody into the cycle of nature and departed. Without its lord, the city’s fountains ceased and the waters were stilled, the gardens withered and the towers became worn, and within a generation, the golden city was swallowed up by the desert. Legend maintains that Adhaya’s throne atop the city’s tallest tower was not buried by the shifting sands but remains gleaming on a sand dune somewhere, surrounded by sandstorms and mad mirages.

While Adhaya has no lasting abode on the Earth, all of his temples are his homes. They are humble buildings, often located in urban centers or on travelled routes between cities, tended by the clergy and the charitable, and can be recognised by the white, green and yellow banners that hang outside their entrances. The temples are always open to those who would enter, and all his clergy and lay devotees are expected to care for the sick, the hungry and the destitute with no thought of reward. The temples and those who live there are supported by donations from the faithful. All temples of Adhaya have a room set aside for their lord in case he comes, but even these are expected to be used to house the poor if there is nowhere else: Adhaya would never take a room for himself when there are others who need it, and he doesn’t mind sleeping on the floor. Many of Adhaya’s temples have herb and vegetable gardens, and some keep chickens, so as to be less dependent on the laity for their existence. In a pinch, they can even take eggs and vegetables to market to raise funds for their work.

It is said that for one day of every year, Adhaya lays down his oaths and vows of charity. Beginning on the dawn of the seventh day of the seventh month of the year until the dawn of the next day, Adhaya takes his rest and refrains from all work, resting in his brother Anhurish’s palace on the moon, drinking and smoking to forget the miseries of the world below. It is the only day of the year that Adhaya has been known to not be constantly travelling, a day and night where he replenishes his strength and takes the pleasures that he usually denies himself. Far from emulating their god, Adhaya’s worshippers - clergy and laity alike - devote themselves to almsgiving and acts of charity with renewed vigour; while their god is resting, they must do their best to pick up the slack. Adhaya spends the night in the company of Anhurish’s harem or deep in conversation with his guests.
During the winter solstice festival of Girrutur, Adhaya accompanies his elder brother Anhurish in festivities. This is the only other night of the year when he does not work, for on this night their worshippers light enormous bonfires in their honour to hold back the darkness as they wait for the sun to rise, and each year, Adhaya and Anhurish dance in the largest of them, lithe shapes of the primal gods leaping and dancing in the flames. Everyone notices that Aksalor no longer joins them.

Blessed Names

Adhaya is worshipped throughout the civilised world. Most of his worshippers subscribe to the orthodoxy of the Padsha Adhayad and the doctrine and dogma laid down by the esteemed high priests in Narahal, or else worship him as part of the triad venerated by the Padsha Sulshayad, but such an old god has many cults and traditions dedicated to him. The Yenatim tribes fear Adhaya and Askerath as different kinds of war deity, and name him Nammar Selam: the Yellow Thief, who whispers of mercy and charity in the hearts of warriors to break their resolve and sap their strength, forever testing them for weakness so that the weak may be consumed and the strong thrive, while Askerath rains foes upon them to test their strength of arms. In the isolated mountain kingdom of Sidwen he is still worshipped as the Shining One, god of virtue, civilisation and festivity, being so isolated from the rest of the Adhayan faith that they didn’t get the memo to tell them that Adhaya had taken to wandering and the Golden City was swallowed by the desert. The oldest cult of Adhaya’s veneration is that of the Ancestral Faith, who call him Mawu, the Ram, or Mawur, the Shepherd, for it was he that taught them the practices of farming, agriculture and animal husbandry, and went on to be a teacher of law and civilisation, a shepherd of humanity.

Sacred Symbolism

Adhaya rarely troubles himself or his faithful with signs and omens, but he has been known to send doves, white and yellow roses, turtles and sheep as signs of his presence or awareness. Adhaya can also possess someone who is suffering through the unjust cruelty of others, speaking through them with all the awful authority of an elder god, healing all their wounds and sicknesses and sending miracles and wonders before them to punish their tormentors and free their fellows. One of the rare occasions on which Adhaya will show forth his power in splendour and glory is when appearing to those in power to plead on behalf of those they rule. He has been known to appear to cruel warlords and tyrannical kings, warning them to cease the subjugation of their people and counselling them to repent their ways. Those who refuse to heed his advice are swiftly granted peace by his hand, and are found dead with expressions of remarkable serenity and reverence on their faces.

Gold, green and white are Adhaya’s most favoured colours. While his brothers shun solar gold in deference to their divine father Shamharish, Adhaya chose gold as his symbol, having dedicated himself to the fatherly duties he considered Shamharish to have abandoned. Gold is the most virtuous of earthly substances; it holds itself aloof from baser metals and never tarnishes or grows dull. It is weighty and rare and valuable, but at the same time, endlessly malleable. Gold can be eternally reworked and remade, and it is forgiving of mistakes in its shaping, able to unceasingly flow into new forms. In rituals and relics, the colour yellow is often used in place of gold, being more economical; instead of gold dust, yellow sand dusts the feet of Adhaya’s statues and marks the brows of his blessed faithful, or scented oils mixed with dried and crushed plants with yellow petals. Many devout and fashionable Adhayans also find it desirable to wear cosmetics that give their skin a golden sheen, with the most expensive being derived from saffron and gold dust. Adhaya’s association with the colour green stems from his dominion over growing things and the lush green paradise that filled the desert he lay under. A god of agriculture and fertility, the growth and vigour represented by the colour green is a sign of his office as an elder deity. Finally, white is a colour he shares with Anhurish, although the moon god’s white raiment is radiant and pristine, while Adhaya’s white is the milky colour of undyed thread; a humble colour, a working colour.

Long hair is considered desirable and a sign of piety among worshippers of Adhaya. Men and women alike grow their hair out in order to emulate him, but also as a sign of fertility and good breeding; marriageable single women adorn their hair with flowers or ornaments, while married women often have their hair modestly covered with a veil. Men who choose to so display their devoutness usually braid their hair like Adhaya does. Priests and the very pious grow their hair out to great length, sometimes to the floor or even longer, but as many priests are healers, their hair is neatly bound back and pinned up to not get in the way of their work.

When Adhaya was the Shining God, gold was the only substance considered worthy of the honour of depicting him, and statues of him were cast or plated with pure gold, and his temples were gilded and his priests scattered gold coins to the populace when they went abroad. Now far humbler, Adhaya’s temples are simple dwellings with yellow and green banners to mark their function, and yellow is used in place of gold. Wooden statues of him are painted yellow, or draped with green and yellow cloths, or simply left bare. Instead of thread-of-gold, the god’s hand sewn upon his priests’ robes is done in yellow, and instead of covering their faces with gold leaf, his priests simply smear yellow paint on their brows. In Narahal, a wealthy and prosperous city, many of his temples are lovingly maintained and still golden, while the populace are blessed with saffron mixed with a tiny amount of gold dust.

Adhaya is associated with the earth as a fecund giver of life. A god of fertility, his are the grain in the field and the fruit of the orchard; all the aspects of nature tamed by man to yield plentiful bounty. Flowers that bloom in the sun's light are also his symbols, sprouting from the earth when he walks on it, but morning glory, sunflowers and honeysuckle are his best beloved, flowers of sweetness and sustenance that open with the sun.

Exalted Avatars

Adhaya traverses the planet on two feet and tends to the sick and suffering where he may find them, and the presence of his avatar is a sign of his especial attention and a concentration of his powers. But while he seeks to set an example for his worshippers in bringing about change through perseverance and diligence, he likewise teaches that to one whom much is given, much is expected. In this spirit, the greater part of his potency is often delegated to his subordinates, his saints and spirits who go out into the world to do his work, each carrying a fragment of his power, spreading his strength thin across the world so that his influence might be felt in as many places as possible. His detractors, however, claim that this is both a form of self-flagellation and a way to shirk his responsibilities; in letting his power be spent over the world, he relieves himself of the responsibility of wielding it and at the same time allows him to assuage his guilt by suffering the hardships of doing his utmost with the fraction of power he retains.

Amawur

In his very oldest and humblest aspect, Adhaya is Amawur, the Shepherd: a slim, brown youth with the head of a golden ram, his horns gleaming as if wrought by the finest goldsmith in creation, his fleece shining as if spun from golden thread, dressed in rustic skins and carrying a shepherd’s crook, forever guarding the sheep against harm, fighting off wolves and leading them to greener pastures.

Mawu

Adhaya has been known to take the form of a lamb or a wild mountain ram with golden horns. In this aspect he is called Mawudamu or Mawu, which signify the Lamb and the Ram, respectively. Mawu appears in the wilderness to wanderers and the lost, offering them comfort or leading them to safety.

Marim

His most glorious aspect is that of Mar or Marim, the Prince, appearing as he was at the height of his power when he was worshipped as the Shining God, patron of civilisation and enlightenment. In his youth, Adhaya was the fairest of his siblings, but today, beneath the beauty of the Prince’s features there resides character and wisdom and a sure knowledge of suffering, and in his eyes is a steady, enduring sorrow. In this, his least favoured aspect, his staff becomes a sceptre of white wood, ornately carved and gilded, encrusted with jewels. He wears fine robes of silk and beautiful embroidery, and a crown of gold and silver flowers. His dark hair is long and loose, and flowers bloom at his feet wherever he walks. From his temples sprout golden ram's horns, curling back on his head, polished mirror-bright.

Urmah

When pronouncing judgements and dooms, Adhaya’s punitive aspect is that of Urmah, the Lion. At times he will appear as a magnificent maned cat, golden-furred, the size of a pack horse or even a small elephant, with emerald eyes and a wise, stern countenance. He can be gentle and protective in this aspect, a wise and powerful guardian of the innocent, or fearsome and terrible, a beast who cannot be made to forebear, whose roar topples towers and breaks crowns, and whose teeth and claws bring a swift end to the unrighteous.

Sankaur

Adhaya can also appear as the Sankaur, the Golden Turtle of his legend. In this shape he is said to appear in storm-tossed waves to beleaguered seamen, rescue foundered survivors of shipwrecks, and in one tale, carry an entire clan to safety across the Qashalun. He has addressed prophets-to-be by the shore in this form, and at times, Anhurish can see him and the true Sankaur playing in the waves under the light of the full moon. Adhaya wearing the Sankaur’s form looks entirely golden, while the Sankaur has only a golden shell, and his eyes are green. While the Sankaur almost never leaves the water, Adhaya can come ashore in this form and move with astonishing speed for a creature so large.

Naurmeterat

Adhaya possesses a third animal form: the Naurmeterat, the Dove of Gold and Emerald Plumes, the Bright Majesty. In this shape he takes the form of a great white dove whose wings are edged with brilliant gold, and green-feathered beneath so that when it takes flight it seems to erupt like a flash of green and gold fire.

Fellow Deities

Anhurish

Adhaya views Anhurish with brotherly contempt, seeing him as a lazy, good-for-nothing layabout stoner. He has no particular animosity toward Anhurish, but disdains him for his inactive hedonism. Anhurish is a very fine deity with a very nice robe, but Adhaya dislikes the fact that he will not do anything that will get it dirty. Adhaya also resents Anhurish’s way of selfishly keeping humanity superstitious and fearful in order to keep his habit supplied. He understands that his elder brother’s work is necessary, and that without him there would be no art or creativity, but does not see why mankind should have to bow and scrape in fear and supplication for his pleasure.

However, while their relationship lacks cordiality, especially when Anhurish attempts to assert his authority as the eldest brother and head of the family during disagreements, their relationship is similarly lacking in rancour. Their paths rarely cross in the course of their work, and against a common opposition they take each other's side, as Askerath will attest. An affront against Anhurish is an affront against the family, and something for which Adhaya will not stand.

Askerath

On the other hand, Adhaya’s relationship with Askerath is complex and twisted, at once loathing and loving. Askerath’s work as a god of bloodshed and violence opposes Adhaya’s purpose at every turn, and in their hearts they both know that the wanderer aims to bring about a world where the conquerer is utterly forgotten and nobody needs to die in violence ever again. Needless to say, Askerath despises Adhaya for what he sees as weakness and the encouragement of weakness, while Adhaya fears, pities, hates and despises his little brother for everything that he is and does. Their relationship is fraught with tensions: Adhaya and Askerath revile each other, but they are still brothers, however much they might wish otherwise.

Likkele

Adhaya’s relationship with Likkele was one of the great romances of creation. Just as Likkele had awoken to her own sexual nature, so had Adhaya learned responsibility and wisdom. Seeking a safe relationship after her bad experiences with Anhurish, she fled to Adhaya’s arms where together they built a love that would last many long ages of the world. It was an idyllic time when they brought forth their children in peace and joy, and under the patronage of Father Adhaya and Mother Likkele, many peoples flourished and grew. It was here, with the lover and nurturer of all things, that Likkele found joy in bringing forth life and beauty. Eventually, she grew weary of the monotony of her peaceful role with Adhaya and sought out the excitement of Askerath’s fire and fury. Adhaya prefers to remember Likkele as she was, and only smiles sadly when he is asked about her, saying that he loved her very much and always will.

The Free Court of Adhaya

Adhaya’s relationship with the Court Terrestrial is ambivalent at best. The lesser gods of the earthly sphere largely avoid Adhaya, preferring to play at being kings and queens of their own tiny fiefs and duchies. Adhaya has no patience for sycophants and no use for an established court. There are several minor deities who follow him out of respect for him and his work, but they are considered oddities by their peers. Any god who comes to Adhaya seeking to help him will be put to work tending to the suffering, but Adhaya dislikes those who come to him seeking prestige or distinction among their fellows in the service of an elder god.

Adhaya’s personal court consists of his Lightbringers Rahadi, Amma and Naqiya, and his children Nanazsi, Lamadhi and Tamduz, not counting the spirits of the dead and their saints and servitors. Him included, the Free Court numbers seven - Adhaya’s holy number. They are called the Free Court because none of its gods follow him out of duty; they are free to leave whenever they wish. They follow him out of love, respect and devotion, and aid him in his work. When his sometime lover Aywan joins them, the Court numbers eight.

Lightbringers

Luck Imps

Children of Adhaya

The Adhayim, (the Compassionate Ones or the Beneficient) are loyal children of Adhaya by Likkele. Save for the traitorous Garash and the lost Tamduz, they are his most beloved and trusted attendants.

Lamadhi

Lamadhi is the goddess of medicine and the knowledge that aids healing, taking almost solely after her father; she is passionless and cool save in her pursuit of knowledge. She is possessed of Adhaya’s spirit of inquiry and enlightenment, but coloured with the desire to ease pain and cure sickness. Her blessing is given to alchemists and herbalists who brew tinctures and prepare poultices with the power to heal, and it is in this capacity that the greater part of her work is done: in her father’s service, she brews medicines and cures for all the ills and injuries they encounter. While there is no greater healer than her father, Lamadhi is acknowledged as the best maker of medicines. Lamadhi is astoundingly beautiful with skin as white as alabaster and hair the colour of spun gold, both said to be the results of her skills in alchemy granting great beauty. She wears white robes, and is also often depicted wearing gloves and a mask over her nose and mouth.

Nanaszi

Nanaszi combines the best of her parents, taking from Likkele her nurturing, motherly nature and from Adhaya her kindness, virtue and compassion. Nanaszi is a matron of hearth and home, the goddess of domestic womanhood and married life. She was wed to her brother Garash, and theirs was the first marriage in all of Thal, and all that have followed emulate this act and are a kind of worship to her. Their marriage endured even the discorporation of their son and Garash’s defection to the court of Askerath. Though their paths rarely cross, they are still deeply in love despite their conflicting loyalties since, as husband and wife, their first and greatest loyalties are to each other. Cooking, childbirth, housework, marriage, children, household animals and all that is entailed in the care and upkeep of a household are under her purview. She is invoked at weddings as the role model of the perfect wife, dutiful to her family, fierce in the defence of her children, a model of familial loyalty. Her earliest depictions, etched on ancient fragments of shell or bone, show her with a spear and a long, horse-like mane of hair, but contemporary images portray her as a stocky, solidly-built woman, handsome rather than beautiful, wearing the simple clothes of a housewife with a modest shawl over her hair. The only sign of her illustrious heritage are in her eyes: one is green like her father’s and the other is blue like her mother’s, and she goes unadorned except for a golden ring around the fourth finger of her left hand.

Garash

Garash, like his father, is a god of domesticated animals and husbandry, but where Adhaya is a shepherd and has the care of humble sheep, Garash is a proud, strong god who prefers to test his skill in taming horses, making him a god of travel and farmwork when horses pull carts or ploughs, a god of sport and gambling when they race, and a god of war when they charge down enemy lines. Easily the most willful and fierce of Adhaya’s children, although his divine domain is similar to his father’s, he takes after Likkele in temperament. He was wed to his sister Nanaszi and theirs was the first marriage in creation, and in this capacity he is the god of discipline and order in the home, an enforcer of filial piety. Their marriage was fuelled by a great love that survived the death of their son, although where Nanaszi trusted in her father’s wisdom, Garash refused to believe that Adhaya acted correctly in allowing his grandson to be killed, defecting to Askerath’s court as the leader of the war god’s cavalry. As a god of war and soldiers, Garash is also a patron of soldiers’ pursuits: gambling, drinking and whoring, although he never indulges in the last of these, for Nanaszi’s sake. For this reason, prostitutes - particularly those who follow armies - are sometimes called the Ninlayim Garashad, the Ladies of Garash. It is said that Garash makes the gods deaf to lies husbands tell. Garash is always depicted astride a horse, either bareback in rustic skins and long, loose black hair, with eyes green as rolling plains and a bow, or saddled and armoured in iron with all the arms and accouterments of a mounted soldier of means. Alone of Adhaya’s children by Likkele, Garash is not considered one of the Adhayim.


Tamduz

Saints of Adhaya

There are a number of mortal souls who have vowed to follow Adhaya and aid him in his works for all time, and of his grace, he has allowed them to remain by his side. They are the Szadiqim Eteruyad, the Friends of the Healer, an in depictions of them they form part of his entourage, a train of unseen spirits who do his work. They have shrines and sutras of their own within Adhaya’s temples and worship, and are often prayed to and asked to intercede with their lord on mortals’ behalf. A great many dead who pass into Adhaya's hands remain in his service, but few have the fortitude or constancy to remain for any great time. Many miracles and visions must be granted by a servant of Adhaya before they are granted a place among the Szadiqim, and there have been Szadiqim in the past who have chosen to leave the service of their lord, passing into Thalamme's embrace, their sacred gilded images in the great temple of Narahal fading and peeling after years of miraculous preservation.

The Children of the White Rose

The Children were siblings in life, the get of an aristocrat in the court of a great king of antiquity. Their father was given charge over a whole province and used his new power to keep his family in great comfort and wealth through the oppression of those beneath him. Asra and Eilan, seeing the injustices done by their father, publicly denounced him and established a charitable mission based around the worship of Adhaya that they might ease the suffering of their father’s tenants and serfs. Their father threw them in prison for their perfidy, telling them to recant or die, and they chose the latter. They were publicly flayed and their bodies hung from a gibbet as a warning to the people. Legend has it that when Adhaya passed through their father’s province, he stopped at the gibbet and struck it with his staff, causing white roses to burst from the wood and decently cover up the bodies. When their souls passed into Adhaya’s hands, they chose to remain by his side until the end of all things. They are the patrons of those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake and die for their kindness, living (so to speak) embodiments of the idea that no good deed goes unpunished.

The Lady with the Lantern

Bubalis lived in Narahal before it was a holy city, and from her youth made a name for herself by spending her days in its slums, seeing to the sick and poor. When she was seventeen, armies from the north menaced the city of her birth, and Adhaya came to defend it. In defiance of her parents, she went with the city’s maidens out onto the battlefields to rescue the wounded. She stayed long and late in Narahal’s infirmaries, tending to the wounded and helping ease their pain. She was one of the first Narahalim to convert to Adhaya’s worship, and he gave her the strength to go through her days without sleep or rest. She became known as the Lady with the Lantern on the battlefields as she bore a light to search for the wounded among the dead at great personal risk, and in the infirmaries as she walked the halls through the nights for fear that someone should need her. She is the patroness of those who give their all to ease suffering, those who find joy in the service of others.


Qanduq, the Burning Priest


Keset, Sword of the Righteous


Borun the Weasel

The Herald

Ayal was a woman of antiquity whose singing was said to soothe Adhaya in his early wanderings. Beauty, grace and wisdom reached his ears on her voice as she pleaded with him to show her why the Golden God no longer shone. He came to her then, and told her of his repentance, and she wept for him and he was moved, for in all the ages of his long, long life, none had ever wept for him. She accompanied her lord on his wandering path, singing of her love for him and preaching of his altered nature wherever she went, and she was called Sehad, the Singer, the first prophetess of the Wandering God. Upon her death, he buried her in the desert and no marker stands upon her grave. In death, her spirit remained at his side, his lover and herald who announces his coming and comforts him in his wanderings.

Pets of Adhaya

Mau, the Nameless Mongrel

Sankaur

The Sheep of Adhaya

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