Monday Mythology: The Accursed

This Monday Mythology is not going to be on a god or accursed, but I’ve realized two things about the article series.

The first is that I am up by three on Paltonarchs v. Accursed. This will leave me, at some time, writing back to back Accursed articles for three weeks, unless I do something creative.

the second is that I have jumped right into creating the Accursed without really exploring their motivations, history or really just a general backstory other than the very distilled down bad gods.

I figured I’d take this time, then, to delve a little deeper into the life and times of the Accursed and let them catch up a little bit. Its likely that I’ll go over how the Godswar is fought on the next one, allowing the Accursed to get completely caught up.

Before we get to the Accursed, though, we need to do a little bit more of a digging into how and what the gods are. While the first three articles do plenty of Explaining on the Godswar, Creation, and Cosmology, there is very little behind how the gods, now affect the world and those in it. To understand the Accursed, one must understand all of the deities.

Though the Accursed are truly among the first of the damned, they are not all evil. They are now, however, trapped in the irreversible pact that they have made with the Demon Queen.

This, the Black Pact, stems back to the Siege of Dawn, and the darkest days of the Godswar for the Paltonarchs. The Rebel gods, numbering in their hundreds, with armies millions strong, were laying siege to the Fortress of Dawn, the final stronghold of the Paltonarchs (an Old Killbaran word meaning “Rulers of the Heavens”). Their numbers and armies were of similar, if lesser, numbers.

It was this turning point that decided the entire war, thus far, and has caused millenia of warfare among brother and sisters, fathers and sons. The Prime Accursed, Ferosh, god of Ambition, Trickery and Deception, desired above all things the destruction of the other gods who had oppressed him. He had conceived and executed the Savage Nightfall, slaying numerous powerful gods and setting off the rebellion itself. He had personally slain the god of Luck on that night, and was one of the recipients of an heretofore unknown natural law: The deific slayer of another god will absorb their portfolio and therefore their powers. Ferosh, now the dangerous combination of Luck and Ambition,was approached by one of his fellow rebels, Nemisht, god of Prisons and Confinement, with the proposal of turning the Fortress of the Dawn into the greatest prison in the planes. He would create a race of Guardians who would rival the Paltonarchs in power and capacity, immune to diefic powers and able to forever hold the gates of the fortress shut. Here, at the edge of the world, the enemy would be forever contained, shut in their own fortress.

Many of the rebels cheerfully agreed with this plan. After thousands of years of conflict, they wished the fighting and the death to be finished, and this plan offered the quickest and strongest way to force an end to the fighting. Ferosh seethed! The death of so many of those who defied him were within his grasp if he could just have more time, more power, and just a little bit of luck. Fortunately the Demon Queen was watching this all play out. Those she considered her inferior siblings fought among themselves, and she saw a way to continue the devastation and death. She sent an emissary to Ferosh, an incubus of unparalleled beauty and power. He spoke seductively to Ferosh, telling him of the immense power that could be his, with an ally such as the Demon Queen. while before he was limited to the power and strength of his domain, with her aid that would be eliminated. No one truly knows what was told to Ferosh, but after a fortnight of persuasion, he brought his plan to his closest of allies: Kalboras, Chremiss, Adremach and Kara. Kalboras completely agreed with the plan, with Chremiss and Adremach joining in after some short discussion. Kara, the god of Deception, Trickery and Thieves, agreed vocally after some convincing, but could not, in any frame of mind, agree to a pact with the Demon Queen. She started plotting, based on the timeline Ferosh had given her, to somehow depose him prevent the pact, but Ferosh acted to swiftly to prevent it. He swore his oath to the Demon Queen alongside the Chremiss, Kalborass and Adremach deep in the Iron Marches, the Prison to which the Demon Queen was trapped. Taking their new found power to their followers, they announced their new powers, and invited all to swear the Black Pact. There was turmoil among the rebels which none of the quartet has expected. Some were livid, and others were simply outraged, and within the Hallowed Chambers of the Divine Court, there was chaos. In that chaos, Kara struck and Ferosh met his end, though no one other than Kara has witnessed his end. The Chambers became a bloodbath, with gods slaying each other in a grand melee, those appalled at the Pact attempting to flee or fight its adherents. That night was the greatest single loss of life among all the gods, with the few Pact adherents managing to flee, along with whatever of their armies they could muster. The next day Kara led a contrite army to the doors of the Fortress of Dawn, opened them, and surrendered, explaining the Black Pact to those assembled gods. Conflict resumed across the world, with the Paltonarchs and those who had surrendered among the rebels hunting the now-Accursed gods. Though there were nearly 50 Accursed and hundreds of gods, the Demon Queen proved her worth, for each Accursed hunted down and trapped killed dozens of gods before being slain themselves. The toll on the Paltonarchs was devastating, but they could not turn back. The Accursed suffered, and they too, fell back, and eventually, after long, bloody years, they fled the the Iron Marches, to the Prison of the Demon Queen, where the ever larger armies of the gods could not follow them. They were followed, however, by the Paltonarchs, and the Iron Marches became a land of war. While the armies of humans, dragons, giants, elves and others could not follow their leaders to the Iron Marches, their souls could.

Part of the Black Pact had altered how souls functioned. When a person died, instead of their soul being absorbed into the god that they worshiped or left to wander the Shadow Plane for all eternity if they had no god, they were now pulled directly into the Iron Marches after death. Those who were unclaimed by the gods were given over to the Demon Queen to use as they liked. From the first thousands that were given to her she created the legions of the Iron Marches; Demons and Devils in the common parlance. Once the Paltonarchs realized this twist in the pact, they created the Harvest Angels, who’s sole job it was to retrieve the souls dedicated to the gods. Now, with the ability to create an army on the iron marches and the Accursed and Demon Queen trapped there, they Paltonarchs followed. Sadly, the souls and bodies of those who were claimed by no god were abandoned to the Demon Queen, who gained double on each death. In the Iron Marches, she would create a demon of equitable power to the slain, and on the earth, the corpse would rise after a day and a night to torment the living. Only with the death of the Accursed and the Demon Queen herself could the world return to its rightful state. However, what made the Iron Marches the great prison for the Demon Queen also imprisoned its new inhabitants. Much like the physical forms of those minor beings who live on the Prime cannot travel to the Iron Marches, it is extremely hard for those powerful beings on the Iron Marches to return to the prime. Now, Trapped in a war ages old in a land not of their choosing against an enemy of their own blood, the Paltonarchs are resolute and determined. One day, the Accursed and the Demon Queen will fall, and with them, the Iron Marches, and the world can return to being ruled by the gods directly.

So whats so special about the Accursed that makes them reviled and, when all things are equal, not worthy of worship? Why are their cultists cast out and unable to be part of the greater world?

The largest part of the revulsion is that the Accursed are known to have thrown the world out of balance. By choosing to take the Black Pact, they damned anyone who’s faith wasn’t strong enough to be consumed by the Demon Queen, and gave rise to the Undead. a slight second is the knowledge that each one of the Accursed chose to give the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen. While on Kasan they may gain earthly powers, once they die, their souls are consumed and given new form consummate to their attained power. Some of extraordinary power even retain a bit of themselves. Finally, its the knowledge that the corpse of the person who worships the Accursed will return to life, hungering for the flesh of the living.

The Accursed chose to commit the souls of their followers to the Demon Queen so that they could destroy a great enemy of their own flesh and blood. In each of them is a selfishness and arrogance that, while not unknown among the Paltonarchs, is much more all consuming. While they once fought for freedom and to break out of the chains of oppression, all that is left for the Accursed to fight for is self interest and the hunger for power. Keep that in mind as you read each of the Accursed profiles. While some of them might sound like normal goods, within each is the seeds of betrayal, selfishness and avarice!