Ma'ta'ke Gods

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The Creation Myth of Mata'ke Pantheon

Before there was anything, there was the empty sea; its waves of nothing going deeper than comprehension itself. Yet in that nothing, resided Jogasorrmrr, the Many Mouthed Worm, a creature spanning the entire length of the infinite sea, with a jaw on every joint of its body. Above such a sea resided the great void in which five beings existed. Messa the Ferrywoman, S'rendarr the Bright, Fenskrringla the Great Mother, Gylgarrfin the Small Serpent, and Noghorr the Dark Sun.

Three of these beings desired creation, yet they could not achieve their desires, as anything they created would drop into the great sea and be devoured by Jogasorrmrr. In their wisdom, Gylgarrfin and Noghorr sacrificed their bodies to Jogasorrmrr, so that Fenskrringla could birth forth 12 gods of this world from Jogasorrmrr. Mata’ke, Marryan, Rredouane, Shumaila, Kraszar, Dhrarmela, Azubarre, and five others whose names were forgotten. After their conception, Fenskrringla fell into the sea out of exhaustion and was consumed by Jogasorrnrr. The children knew their purpose and they descended upon their father, Jogasorrmrr, ripping him open.

Yet as their father fell, his blood mixed with the sea of empty and created beings of malevolence, the 49 children of Jogasorrnrr. The gods of the new world then hunted down these creatures, their battles shaping the great worm into what we know now as our own universe in which we reside. The battle was long and exhausting but all of Jogasorrnr’s children were defeated, all shaped into the mountains, the lakes, caves and many valleys of Adhomai as the gods pounded their flesh into stone, their blood into rivers and their eyes into clouds.

After the battle was done, Messa shepherded her brother S'rendarr into the body of the great worm, which was now the universe, and the gods began to use his power to mend their wounds and recuperate their strength. As Messa took to the task of taking the first of the dead, the ancient gods and children of Jagasorrnr, into the halls of the dead. This is why the two suns now reside above Adhomai.

In that time Shumaila and Dhrarmela took to forging the 48 souls of the children into each hour of the day so that the infinite would be no more, which is why the days upon Adhomai now take 48 hours to pass and no Tajara is lost in infinity. Meanwhile, the other gods had a single task, to forge Adhomai into what it is now, creating the trees, bushes, animals, and Tajara which were to live and die upon it, basking in the two suns.

However, after the battle, Mata’ke knew that the only way to become gods of Adhomai, would be to become part of Adhomai and grow from it. And so Mata’ke along with his siblings enlisted the help of Dirrnavirr the King of all Rrak’narr, the strongest and most loyal creature of the gods to take their power and keep it safe, stored inside containers of Dhrarmela’s making, which is why we store the organs of significant Tajara in urns after death. As they descended onto the earth, to be born of different mothers and different families, as mere mortals to walk the earth with no memories of their godhood. But when they all began their rebirth, Mata’ke bid Dirrnavirr to never tell anyone, even their new mortal forms of the tests that would prove their godhood, not even to the mortal form of Mata’ke himself.

After they re-ascended, they began their work on the holy village in which their people could reside. But first, the great serpent Jagasorrnr had many holes, holes from which the void sea could leak and drown creation and so Mata’ke set upon sewing all those holes shut to protect the universe.

But as work was underway, the most hateful, the most spiteful, the most cunning of Jagasorrnr’s children, Raskara, plotted. Having hidden inside the moon. One day Raskara approached five of the youngest gods and prostrated itself before them, telling them that it’d gladly witness this creation, but that Mata’ke planned to drink from the empty sea and seal the worm, keeping the power of the serpent to himself.

The five youngest fooled one and all quickly flew out and drank from the sea before Mata’ke could patch the last hole. Then, corrupted by Jagasorrnr’s blood, they became of the same body and mind as his previous vengeful children. Once again battle began but this time the strength of only 7 gods was not nearly enough to destroy the new children of Jagasorrnr and so Raskara was able to make her escape back into the moon, now with her new 5 generals.

Gods in the Ma'ta'ke Pantheon

Mata'ke

Mata'ke himself is the head of the clan, and the god of snow, judgment, practicality, order, and strength. He is famous for his military cunning which he uses to command the clan of Gods to fend off the forces of Raskara. His main role in mythological and historical stories is usually one of the arbitrators, with many courts in the past invoking his name when resolving settlements. His most common depiction is that of a golden-furred M'sai, wearing thick Nav'twir furs held together by golden clasps. In the case of his battle regalia, over these furs, he wears a cuirass of iron with his feet and hands wrapped in thick leather. He wields a simple spear with an iron tip and keeps a silver-studded sword in a scabbard on his left side. Replacing traditional weapons with a rifle is a trend that emerged after the Gunpowder age. On his head he wears a visored helmet of similar material to his cuirass with a fabric coif underneath, however, most statues omit headwear. Mata'ke is commonly portrayed as a Zhan-Khazan by Zhan’s worshippers. Representations of the God as a Njarir’Akhran were widespread until the First Revolution

The priesthood of Mata’ke is comprised of only male hunters, making it somewhat exclusive. Like their patron, all priests of Mata’ke must prove that they are capable, strong, masters of Adhomai wilderness, and wise. Every temple of Mata'ke has a different way of testing its applicants and these tests are always kept as a strict secret. The only known part is that a large number of applicants fail and many never return. After they’re accepted, priests of Mata'ke dress in furs and carry silver weapons, usually daggers for ease of transport and to emulate Mata’ke’s sword. There is a remarkably low amount of Njarir’Akhran in the Mata’ke priesthood.

Spearhead of Mata'ke

Considered the sigil of the head of the pantheon, the spearhead was used in the coat of arms and crowns of old royalty to symbolize their right to rule. It is associated with martial might and leadership. Politicians wear pins of the spearhead and hunters or soldiers alike carve it onto their weaponry.

Mata'ke and the Slaying of King of Rrak'narr

The story of how Mata'ke managed to slay the King of Rrak'narr and reach godhood.

At the height of S'rendarr and under his powerful rays, all of Mata’ke’s hunting party gathered before the forests in which the King of Rrak’narr and his castle resided. All armed with weapons and armour fashioned by Dhrarmela, except for Mata’ke who preferred his simple designs. However, when they set foot into the forest, a fog so thick they could not even see the tips of their fingers obscured the vision of the hunters. They walked and walked and walked, time started slipping between their fingers and their tails dropped as even the shine of S'rendarr could not penetrate the fog and re-invigorate them. “It is unwise to make decisions when one cannot see the full picture,” regarded Mata’ke and took to climbing a tree, above the fog, he could see the way to the castle clear as a day and so they took to that path."

When they arrived at the gates of the fortress which they found open, Mata’ke started to think. Before he could say anything five hunters rushed forward, the taste of victory on their tongues, and before a shout could be given they disappeared into the fort, where their battle cries faded instantly. Mata'ke lit a torch and threw it forward and it fell and fell and fell, he gazed and saw a giant pit that led into a spiked floor upon which the hunters would eternally rest. “Overconfidence leads to a fearless death, but to win one must stay alive,” he regarded in his wisdom as he took to his spear and quickly vaulted over the spiked pit. The party took to his example and all jumped the pit. At last, they found themselves in the crown room of the King, however, his subjects were nowhere to be seen, he was alone, waiting in his gigantic form. Mata'ke took to battle quickly and his battle-brothers soon followed, however, they found that none of their hits could even scratch the mighty King as he deflected their weapons with ease, laughing and taunting them all the while. Eventually, the King taunted Mata’ke himself in a sensitive spot. To this Shumaila’s husband, Arrkhan, took great offense and lunged forwards to attack the king but instead was quickly felled himself. At that moment the king boasted of his victory and Mata’ke quickly drew his sword, stabbing the king in his black heart who fell to the floor. “One’s temper dictates the battle,” said Mata’ke as he wept for his fallen battle-brother.

As others gathered to possibly help Arrkhan, Mata’ke instead took to listening to his enemy, the King. “I have watched you and your village Mata’ke, you do not know this but we were once great friends you and I. As you have felled me, an awesome power will take your bodies. I urge you Mata’ke, take the biggest spring of my power and give the rest to those in your village which have proven themselves to you, once you do this you will know why I have committed the sins which I have.” And as the king fell, Mata’ke indeed drew on his power and indeed he remembered the ancient pact which he had made with his old friend. And Mata'ke wept, for unlike the others, this battle cost him two great friends, yet they were also tears of joy as now Adhomai could be what it was to be all along and they could return to their rightful place.

Marryam

Marryam is the wife of Mata'ke and the goddess of settlements, sleep, and parenthood. It is said that when Mata'ke goes to war or is otherwise occupied with fighting, Marryam rules in his stead to keep the divine settlement at peace. Her wisdom is often called upon when Tajara faces difficulties in matters of the homestead and parenthood. Her appearance is of a Njarir’Akhran with long-braided hair and a native dress. She is usually depicted sitting on a throne with high armrests. Depictions of Marryam as a Hharar Tajara have become more common since the First Revolution, with the Njarir version keeping its popularity in the New Kingdom.

The priests of Mata’ke are not forced to remain chaste, in fact, they’re encouraged to marry an equally pious wife so that she might become a priestess of Marryam. Not every priestess of Marryam is a wife of a Mata’ke priest but all are married. They often serve in a variety of important roles such as midwives, nurses, and teachers and have done so throughout history. Their dress code is rarely enforced, but they can be easily spotted by their long-braided hair usually full of flowers even in the coldest winters, these flowers are usually made of precious metals but in recent times plastic is more common.

Marryam's Poppy

Though it is called a poppy the designs of this symbol vary heavily in what flower they represent. The Goddess' symbol is associated with protection and femininity. When the IAC had arrived in Adhomai following the First Revolution they had hung banners depicting it in their field hospitals, causing a trend of the flowers appearing in hospitals and among medical workers. Now it is considered a symbol of medical aid as well.

Marryam and the Restless Night

The story of how Marryam taught Mata'ke a valuable lesson in listening.

On the night that Mata’ke had become chieftain of the tribe, he was going to bed quite tired, drunk, and full of his new status, he dropped straight in, with the same things he wore during the celebrations. “Mata’ke, my husband,” said Marryam, “how can you sleep in the same clothes you went outside with?” “Marryam my dear, I am the chieftain of this clan, if I didn’t know what was good for me how would I have been made one?” And although displeased Marryam knew that talking to her husband while he is tired would be fruitless and so she gently drifted to sleep.

Yet not soon after, she was woken up by the stirs of her husband. “Oh Marryam, my wife, please you are skilled in herbs, give me something to sleep.” To that Marryam replied, “Are you sure you don’t want to take off those clothes?” Mata'ke frowned, “I am the chieftain of this clan and I know what I need!” Marryam sighed and ventured for sleeping herbs, giving her husband a healthy dose.

Yet again Mata’ke stirred and again he awoke his wife. “Marryam, oh Marryam, fetch me the Fatshouter milk, that will help me sleep,” he spoke with clear frustration in his voice. “Mata'ke, my husband,” once again responded Marryam, “are you sure you don’t want to take off those clothes instead?” Mata'ke frowned and got up, stomping away for his mug of milk. Yet even after drinking a big bowl, he could not sleep and the whole night was spent with him, twisting and turning.

In the morning they both woke up, Marryam fresh as a summer spring yet Mata’ke seemed a hundred years older and as they got up and Marryam went to make the bed she pulled a large pebble from underneath the covers. “That pebble! That pebble!”, shouted Mata’ke. “That is what kept me awake and you never told me?”. To this Marryam simply replied, “If you had gone to undress, you would have noticed what exactly caused you discomfort.” Mata'ke hung his head, nodding to her wisdom, to that she embraced him. “You are correct Marryam, my wife, being a leader does not mean one cannot take counsel from others.”

Rredouane

Rredouane is the younger brother of Mata'ke and the god of valor, triumph, and victory. He is a powerful warrior and skilled hunter, he is also known for his love of games and gambling. He is usually depicted as a M'sai with silver fur in a full raiment similar to Mata'ke. However, he is depicted so frequently in so many different periods that there is no concrete consensus on his clothing or depiction. Many paintings depict him playing dice, and many pubs and taverns with gambling claim he is their patron deity. He is very popular with the Rock nomads; they usually portray Rreduoane as a Zhan-Khazan Tajara.

Rredounae does not recognize a priesthood. Rredounae is considered too prideful to ever acknowledge a worshipper, although many still try. In all stories, serving Rredouane always leads towards a glorious doom, as he refuses to impart permanent blessings. Thus, Rredouane is more of a household deity and an icon to be invoked; small amulets, talismans, fetishes, and status are fashioned of him. They are particularly popular in casinos, taverns, pubs, and gambling dens. The city of Crevus in particular considers Rredounae their patron deity, building a giant statue to greet all who approach the city in his honor.

Dice and Blade

Rredouane's symbol highlights his dual nature as the God of gambling and a God of warriors. The die is excluded for those who pay respect to him only in the aspects of valor and victory such as the Rock nomads. For gambling houses and Crevans the blade is replaced with another die to symbolize his gambler side. Crevan fighters don a variation with a goblet and blade for luck in carousing and combat both. Crevan ALA fighters disseminated the symbol to others during the Second Revolution.

Rredouane and the Unfinished Race

The story of how Rredouane races a Quilix, the Ratajani.

One fine night Rredouane was stalking through the undergrowth of Adhomai, hunting for prey as one is to do in their spare time when suddenly a curious sight took him. Before him stood a small, disgusting Ratajani, and instead of running or seemingly preparing to cast a spell as they are to do, it simply bowed in respect. “Hello, Rredouane,” said the Ratajani. “I am Quilix, and I am the fastest creature on Adhomai,” to confirm this, the Ratajani caught a fly with his tongue and ate it. “There are some who say you are faster, this is wrong of course and so I wish to race you.” Rredouane laughed a hearty laugh, “Well if one wants to be defeated by Rredouane, Rredouane shall oblige him, where to and where from?” “From here, around the great Ki’ih, across the river, and back here.” To this Rredouane nodded, he put his hunting gear aside and prepared to run and to his entertainment, so did Quilix, the Ratajani.

They both counted down at once and Rredouane shot out faster than an arrow, to his surprise the Ratajani kept up with him for quite a while but eventually started to fall behind. Until Rredouane passed by the great Ki’ih, suddenly as if struck by lightning Quilix was right behind him again, breathing hot on his tail! Rredouane could not let this slide and ran even faster than before and once again lost Quilix. While tired, Rredouane was confident he could still win. But as he passed across the river, the Ratajani once again caught up with him, this time Rredouane could not muster the strength no matter how hard he tried and as they ran back around, across the river, around the great Ki’ih and back to the grow, he saw his loss.

“It appears, I’ve won Rredouane, now call me the fastest creature on Adhomai!”, jumped the Ratajani in celebration. “Not so fast,” breathed Rredouane heavily, “he cheated!” “Cheated?! How could you accuse me of cheating!”, yelled Quilix the Ratajani, in shock. “Right as they were stepping out to run, he saw Quilix leg it before the countdown ended!” Quilix cackled to himself, pleased by his own cunning. “Alright then,” he said, “we’ll make a blood pact then, you know I can’t break it!” To this Rredouane agreed, and so they slit their thumbs and ran them across each other as Rredouane spoke. “Until I end my count, you shall not leave this place or start the race!” “Deal!” So once again they stood side by side, Rredouane was rested and prepared to run again, but he knew he wouldn’t have to, he was sure of his victory. They began the count again, two voices rang out counting from three to one, however the last, “Go!”, was only said by one voice, Quilix’s. Rredouane’s voice never rang out as he ran out, to the Ratajani's shock, he was stuck there! Rredouane ran past the great Ki’ih and waited around the bend, as he saw a Ratajani running past he now knew it wasn’t Quilix at all! Quickly he ambushed the Ratajani and snapped his neck, then continued to the river and did the same with the one waiting under the bridge as he had suspected. Finally, Rredouane arrived back to Quilix, who was cursing and swearing, completely helpless. “Once you count down, I’ll strangle you with my own hands Rredouane!” shouted Quilix. “Rredouane is sure he would,” said Rredouane, “yet he never will because he is never going to count down and he’ll remain stuck here forever.” “But you’ll never win the race!” once again shouted Quilix, terrified of his fate. Rredouane, having finally picked up all his gear turned around and smiled. “Not all victories are bound to rules and conditions,” and with that, he walked away. It’s said that Quilix is still stuck there in the woods still swearing and yelling, so don’t be spooked by every noise you hear as one of them might just be foolish old Quilix.

Shumaila

Shumaila is the sister of Mata'ke and the goddess of fortification, chastity, and architecture. She is the head of the town watch and the architect for all of the Holy Village's buildings. When Mata'ke's original hunting party had done battle with the King of Rraknarr, her beloved was killed in the fight. Ever since then she has resolved to be eternally chaste in dedication to him. Her oldest depictions are that of a M'sai wearing modest dresses and carrying a hammer on her belt. She is not known for having much combat prowess but is a great commander and tactician. She is also commonly portrayed as a Njarir or Hharar Tajara.

The Shumaila priesthood and worshippers can be easily identified by the wide belt with a golden buckle around their waist. The buckle is engraved with an image of a hammer and mirrors that of the goddess. Likewise, like her goddess, all priests of Shumaila remain chaste. Her symbol is frequently found on buildings and gates. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a construction worker on Adhomai who does not reserve a prayer to Shumaila, even if they’re not of Ma’ta’ke faith.

Shumaila's Bulwark

The hammer of Shumaila is used by her priesthood, followers, and even superstitious non-believers. It is believed that the hammer being carved onto buildings will make them sturdier and stronger. As such it is common to see the design when one looks close enough to a city block on Adhomai. Curiously, Tajara who received augmentation will sometimes have this symbol etched onto their prosthetics in hopes of a similar effect.

Shumaila and How She Met Her Husband

The story of how Shumaila met her husband and learned the value of wisdom.

Even before her vow came to be, Shumaila was restrained, it is said that even in those times she was reluctant to marry even though she was a beautiful maiden, some say even prettier than Marryam. Eventually, upon the urges of her brother and her father, she agreed to marry but she had a condition; her suitor must be able to match her in wit and determination. And so it came to be that Shumaila assigned a challenge that any would-be suitor would have to find two golden circlets which she hid somewhere near the village. Many came to search, feeling that such a challenge couldn’t be easier as they were expert trackers and hunters thanks to Mata'ke. “Shumaila, daughter,” proclaimed her father, “she mustn’t do this, with luck any old fool or ice tunneler could come to be her husband!” Yet Shumaila remained unshaken, only a faint twitch of her tail jingling with jewelry was telling of her entertainment. And so began a year of calmness as no suitor could find the two circlets that Shumaila had hidden, some searched in the lakes, others in the mountains, and yet none could find it. When asked, Shumaila always said that the circlets were close, almost under their noses. In response, many took to digging and others have even gone as far as to smelt ore into circlets and bring her that, and although it wasn’t the right answer it had entertained her very much. What disappointed her was the number of cheaters and liars that would come with fake circlets, trying their luck even though they had no idea how the circlets could look. Shumaila had no kind words for these and chased them away. But eventually one young man appeared by the name of Arrkhan, he was taken as a full hunter only a few years ago but had already distinguished himself. He went around boasting to everyone that he indeed had the circlets and that all would see the unveiling. Shumaila seemed unshaken and curiously almost entertained, she remarked that they should perhaps throw a feast in his honour. To this Arrkhan agreed excitedly, almost bursting into laughter right then and there. Before that Shumaila came to Arrkhan to see how he exactly found the circlets, he refused to admit; and yet when they engaged in the discussion she found him to match her phrase by phrase, word by word and she was excited at the prospect of him becoming her suitor. However, she knew that no matter what, his circlets could not be the correct ones.

And so the feast began, and it was a great feast as both Mata’ke’s father and Mata’ke himself were grateful that Shumaila was being married to someone they both knew was capable and not a complete oaf. And to their surprise even Shumaila was celebrating and with Arrkhan no less, even though the two barely knew each other before, they now spoke together like old friends. However, at the cusp of the night, the father of Shumaila stood up and urged the young man to finally reveal the circlets and as the merriment died down. Shumaila seemed sad and almost ashamed of what was about to happen to the young man, yet he seemed to brim with confidence as he stepped up with two jars. His walk was strange and it was soon known why as he put the two jars onto the floor, they fell with a heavy thudding sound of lead. “The circlets are in these two jars,” he exclaimed confidently. “Liar,” said Shumaila calmly and sternly. At this Arrkhan twitched his whiskers, “Oh? How would she know unless she went to check? He knows she didn’t after all Marryam distracted her all day; he made sure of that.” Shumaila flicked her ear in annoyance as she shot a stern look at Marryam, who simply responded with a smile, yet she knew his lie would be apparent and so Shumaila rose and walked to the jars. As she walked up, Arrkhan began to speak again. “Excuse his foolishness oh wise Shumaila, but he was a fool and hid the circlets in these jars for safekeeping and now he cannot get them out, for when he clenches his fists they no longer fit through the jar openings.” Shumaila merely laughed at this, it was clear he was merely prolonging his punishment by hiding them inside the jars so nobody could see, yet she would entertain him. However as Shumaila reached inside the jars, Arrkhan quickly pulled on two cords hidden inside the jars, restraining her hands inside, and as she tugged to get them out of the heavy lid jars, to no avail, he quickly grabbed her tail and pulled off two golden circlets. “Here they are Shumaila, right on your tail!” The whole village roared in laughter at Shumaila’s predicament and cursing, even Mata’ke and her father, although they did their best to not be seen by her scathing looks.

During the laughter, Arrkhan squatted next to Shumaila and spoke. “She is witty, beautiful, and smart, yet her hubris has turned great hunters into liars, rapscallions, and even injured others.” The atmosphere grew a bit heavier as he said this for everyone to hear. Then he loosened one of the ropes and stuck his hand inside, pulling it back closed and getting stuck himself. “However revenge is the tool of an idiot, now they’re both stuck and they’ll use their wit together to escape these heavy jars and not to cause more harm to others, such is the way wit should be used.” And indeed they spent the rest of the merriment sitting with their hands in the jars, exchanging stories, drinking, and thinking of how to get out without pulling the cords free. And after they broke free, they bonded together once again as husband and wife.

Kraszar

Kraszar is a comrade to Mata'ke, and the son of Druzhmail. He is the god of joy, stories, and language. He is always shown as a Hharar wearing thick robes with a bag of scrolls and a walking staff. He is attributed as the creator of the Cosmic Chronicle, a holy story that details most of the religion's history and theology. In the past, before writing and literacy became common, Kraszarrumalkarii (storytellers) would deliver all stories orally from memory. Nowadays he is most popular with students shortly before an exam.

Kraszar enjoys less of priesthood and more of an academy, being the only god with an actual central building in the Mata’ke pantheon. The Kraszar Library is perhaps the greatest collection of knowledge on Adhomai, and the headquarters of the priesthood. The librarians, still carry the name of Kraszarrumalkarii even if it isn’t their official title and bridge both science and religion. The library is open 24/7 and doesn’t require any kind of membership as knowledge is to be shared, although nowadays most books are kept behind glass cases due to the extensive damage to some volumes.

Scroll of Ages

Usually depicted as a symbol tied with a ribbon or sealed with wax. The scroll is that of Kraszar's and is considered a symbol of knowledge. Publication houses, universities, and libraries tend to use it on their logos or have it etched onto signage. The seal or ribbon sometimes will have a nation's flag put onto it.

Kraszar and the Lesson in Greed

The story of how the title of Kraszarrumalkarii came to be.

There was a time when Kraszar wasn’t the greatest storyteller in the village; indeed from the age of Druzhmail, before Mata’ke was reborn, there was a much older Hharar, Derrkar. Derrkar was old when Kraszar came to this world and he was an elder when Kraszar was old enough to speak, yet one could hardly tell as Derrkar’s good mood had kept him young in the eyes of everyone who heard his stories. Kraszar listened eagerly to Derrkar’s stories when he was younger and took after him, no, surpassed him in his storytelling abilities. Derrkar did not mind as he had one thing Kraszar didn’t, experience and many more stories to tell than Kraszar even knew about. And the village could have lived in peace until one fateful day.

It was many years later when Mata’ke ascended to his position as a chieftain that Kraszar as a friend of Mata’ke rose in his position too and finally got to sit in the great tent hall along with the heads of the families. On that night Kraszar listened to Derrkar tell a fascinating story, one he had never heard the elder speak before, it was about a great swamp full of dangers and death and a brave hero who planned to get across. However the light of the fireplace dimmed, and such a long story could not be told in a single night; so everyone went home, excited to come back the next night. And so in the morning, Kraszar took to re-telling the story to everyone in the village. However only a little while after Kraszar started, Derrkar arrived, fuming. “How dare he speak such stories?”, Derrkar started muttering, “those are only reserved for the ears of those in great tents, not for everyone to hear and blab about!” Kraszar was visibly hurt as his inspiration scolded him, “But Derrkar, wise elder, he didn’t mean to offend the people must know of the wisdom in these stories!” “No they will not, knowledge isn’t for everyone and if he cannot respect this then Derrkar will not tell a tale again!” Kraszar however was not satisfied and vowed to get the story any way he could.

The next few days were calm, although sadness started to pass in the village as Derrkar stopped telling his stories, and when people searched for Kraszar, they could not find him. Panic suddenly spread as on the fourth day, when they discovered a hunter had seen Kraszar leave the village. A great search was mounted with Mata’ke and Druzhmail at its head, the two searched like Ha’rron, taking apart nearly all trees and bushes in the surrounding area and once that wasn’t enough, they started the forest piece by piece, even Derrkar joined after a while, worried about the youngster. So great was their search that it’s said they found which came first, the ice tunneler or its eggs. Eventually, they arrived at a deep dark swamp, full of fog and bubbling water. And as they progressed slowly forward they found a horrific display, right before the swamp lake, Kraszar’s clothing. Druzhmail cried out first, Mata’ke followed him and the rest of the village behind, but eventually, sadness turned to anger and Druzhmail’s was the greatest as he grabbed Derrkar by the scruff of his neck, his teeth bare. “HE! If he had just told the whole story, Kraszar would have never gone to the swamp and sunk!” But instead of spitting, clawing, and resisting, he saw defeat in the old man's eyes. “It is true, Derrkar was greedy and another paid for it, drown him for all he cares!”

However quite soon, Kraszar’s head appeared from below the water in quite a surprise. Quickly Derrkar jumped to action and offered him his staff, but Kraszar refused it, seemingly unaffected by the swamp waters. “He’ll sink again!”, they all screamed as everyone rushed to Derrkar to help him pull Kraszar out who seemed quite happy in the pool. “Why would he? These are hot springs, a hunter from another village told him of this place.” Everyone breathed a breath of relief and as Kraszar covered himself and climbed out of the water, Derrkar was the first one to hug him. “Derrkar will never keep any story to himself from now on, stories are here to teach, they’re not a currency to be hidden but meant to be shared.” And he was true to his word, for the rest of his short elder and peaceful life, Derrkar did tell every story he had in his sleeve and then passed on, peacefully knowing that Kraszar would continue to spread his story and his memory all throughout Adhomai.

Dhrarmela

Dhrarmela is a comrade of Mata'ke and the daughter of Druzhmail, making her the sister of Kraszar. She is married to Azubarre, the god of love. She is the Goddess of forges, anvils, and craftsmanship, which in old Siik'mas included both blacksmithing and general crafts such as furniture, wagons, and clothing. All weapons, armor, and general regalia of the gods are made by her. She is always depicted as a Hharar wearing a smith's apron with a belt of tools.

Her priests are required to be skilled in some craft, although blacksmithing is preferred. And while not every blacksmith is a worshipper, most blacksmiths give some part of reverence to this goddess of craft. Her popularity skyrocketed during the Industrial age and paved the way for female Tajara into factories, becoming a symbol of the working class. Her priests and priestesses wear regular work clothes with golden lining and threading to differentiate them from regular laborers.

Divinity Anvil

The symbol of Dharmela is a simple one, befitting for the Goddess. It is the outline of an anvil and nothing more. The Divinity Anvil has always been worn or incorporated into the signage of tradesmen who wish to present themselves as someone worthy of bearing it. With the advent of factories and the rise of the working class following industrialization, the Divinity Anvil now is associated with protecting from work hazards and giving one the energy to withstand a long workday. Early Hadiist propaganda used the symbol heavily in the First Revolution.

Dhrarmela and the Lesson in Tradition

The story of Dhrarmela and a journeyman who came to challenge her.

Dhrarmela was always known as a great smith and a great smith she was, her tools were both of shining beauty and of great use. But one day a different smith arrived, a boy from a neighboring village and a smithing apprentice he took to the villagers immediately, hooking them onto his honeyed words. Dhrarmela was not tolerant of sneaks and tricksters and so she came to the boy on the first day of his visit. Yet instead she found herself in the corner and agreeing to a challenge as the visitor touched upon her pride as a smith. The challenge was thus, over the course of a day and a half, Dhrarmela and the journeyman would forge all tools they could think of, from the smallest nail to the greatest blade. The one who made the most useful, durable, and greatest tools would win. Both of the smiths took to working immediately after the deal was struck, clanking away at their stone hearths.

In a day it became apparent that Dhrarmela was indeed working much faster than the journeyman, when the villages came to tell him that he stuttered out a response, “I-it’s merely because she rushes, he takes his time.” When the villagers ran to tell this to Dhrarmela she simply smiled and replied, “A good worker knows how much time is needed, for each piece of their work”.

On the second day, it became apparent that once again, Dhrarmela was the one making tools much greater and exquisite than what the journeyman could muster, and once again they ran to tell him of this, to this he replied with sweat upon his brow, “Beauty is not practical, you see.” The villagers once again ran to Dhrarmela to see how she would respond to this biting remark, she merely shrugged without breaking her tempo of work and responded, “What pride is there in ugly work?”

On the third day, when both were supposed to show their work. Indeed did Dhrarmela have tools of bigger splendor and larger variety than the journeyman, whose tools were very few and of ugly design. However, to this, he prompted them to try them and see how great his tools are, for sure they would choose him over her. And so the villagers did try, they took two picks one of Dhrarmela and one of the journeyman, and hit at a rock, the journeyman's pick shattered instantly. They took Dhrarmela’s nail and the journeyman’s nail, and as they hit upon them the journeyman’s nail bent out of shape. Lastly, Mata’ke himself took an arrow from each and prepared a shot, however as he drew the journeyman’s arrow, the arrowhead slid off and nearly stabbed him in the foot, at this Mata’ke laughed, and with him the entire tribe, except Dhrarmela. She instead took up a blade and quickly drew it across the journeyman's face much to the horror of the onlookers, but as he fell to the ground, his blood turned black and he reverted back to his form, one of Raskara’s minions. And so then on Dhrarmela was the undisputed master of smithing and the village understood that new does not always mean better.

Azubarre

Azubarre is the first-born of Mata'ke and Marryam, and the husband of Dhrarmela, daughter of Druzhmail. He is the god of love, fertility, and marriage. He blesses all marriages, and to puts fire into the hearts of lovers in times of need. He is always shown with Njarir’Akhran features. His clothing is usually large flowing robes which have become the standard as priest's vestments, and he is usually carrying a burning torch. Despite the popular notion to change species of the gods after the revolution, Azubarre remains depicted as a Njarir and has become very unpopular in the PRA, taking on a negative role in their propaganda.

The priests of Azubarre are often adored and many aspire to become one, their large flowing robes and beautiful faces often accompany carnivals, marriages, birthdays, births, and many other social events making them the epitome of life. However, the selection for such priests is inaccessible to most, as only the most beautiful are allowed to join, which is very subjective. Despite common misconception, priests of Azubarre are chaste, having to learn to love for love’s sake and not being allowed a partner due to possible bias. A burning torch is frequently used by newlyweds or as a symbol of engagement.

Torch of Passion

Azubarre's nature as a sometimes misinterpreted God of love led to his torch having many uses. Sometimes it is put up onto clubs and houses of ill repute, sometimes it is used by newlyweds to symbolize their devotion to each other, sometimes it is painted on barns and coops in the hope of making the animals inside more fertile. Priests maintain that the torch should only be a physical manifestation and not a drawn one, so they and pious Ma'ta'ke followers both refuse to use a drawn symbol.

Azubarre and the Value of Love

The story of how Azubarre came close to understanding love.

Long ago back when Mata’ke’s village still rested upon Adhomai, Azubarre had a rival. His name was Kasabrr and he was a lover likewise. Alike Azubarre he was a brilliant beautiful Njarir’Akhran, of beauty, grace, and intelligence. Soon the two found themselves at odds as was inevitable with two of such beauty. And so they decided they’d settle their love once and for all. And under the full moon, they agreed, in secret, that both would try to find what it means to love.

Kasabrr took to finding and laying every single woman in the village, hoping to understand love through practice and as he did so, Azubarre could not help but feel a slight emptiness when he saw Kasabrr’s acts, as if something was missing. As he sat, pondering what love could be, he came to realize that there was one who refused Kasabrr’s advance, Ladya. Ladya was no beauty and as Azubarre looked at her, he knew that for her laying with someone like Kasabrr would have been her dream. So he questioned Ladya, “Tell me Ladya, why do you not wish to go with Kasabrr.” Ladya replied to Azubarre’s question, “I don’t seek a quick lover, I seek love.”

A week after Kasabrr decided to venture out of the village, hoping to understand the flame of true love, yet again even if Azubarre could have anyone he gazed upon, male or female, he did not partake in any of the activities that Kasabrr had, instead of going on a peaceful walk. It was there that he met a hunter, a Zhan so handsome that perhaps even he would have fallen for him, yet no matter how many women hoped for his attention he paid them no heed, so Azubarre took to questioning the man. “Why do you refuse love young man, are none of these beauties enough?” The Zhan chuckled, “Oh they are enough, yet they’re not here for love, but for my looks.” And so Azubarre thought, and then he led the Zhan away, to his village.

On the third week, Azubarre and Kasabrr met, Azubarre accompanied by the Zhan and Ladya while Kasabrr was followed by hordes of women, Njarir, Hharar, M’sai, Zhan, and some which were not Tajara at all! And so Kasabrr, brimming with confidence started first. “He has found love, he has found love with all these women!”, he said in a friendly tone, yet the crowd was quiet. “He promised me the moon!”, yelled one. “He promised me the sun!”, yelled another. “Well, he promised her the world!”, said the third. Soon enough all took to bickering amongst each other, then shouting, and then last, fighting. Azubarre laughed at this display as he spoke, “He may not understand love itself, but he understands that it is a bond between two people and has their own.” To that, Ladya and the Zhan kissed, forged into a new marriage, blessed by Azubarre himself. And Kasabrr? Well, it’s said that after all of this, Kasabrr had become a eunuch and dedicated his life to solitude.

Ambivalent Entities

S'randarr

The very same sun which is worshiped by those of the S'rand’marr faith is known as a beneficial yet neutral and immortal entity in the Ma'ta'ke pantheon. S'randarr is believed to be the source of all positive energy on Adhomai, which it supplies through an incorporeal aether to the Tajara and gods. This positive energy mends wounds and cures illnesses but can also be used to cast healing spells, blessings, and protection rituals. Gods can also enhance their powers and wield the energy to defeat various evil spirits. Despite all these beneficial traits, the sun is not thought of as sapient, but rather as a dormant being that simply exists. In most mythological stories it requires protection and shepherding from the gods, namely, his sister.

Messa

The second sun in the sky which is likewise worshipped by those of the S'randmarr faith, believers in Ma'ta'ke instead merely think of it as both a realm and a ferrywoman, who shepherds the spirits of the dead. Unlike S'randmarr it is believed to be intelligent, but remains neutral and simply ensures the spirits of the dead arrive in her domain where they eternally rest. It is believed that the dead must return to Adhomai to be truly claimed by Messa, and sky burials are frequently carried out for the dead so that one’s body is returned to nature. The most venerated amongst Tajara are embalmed, their organs stored in jars, and their bodies mummified. Afterward, they are stored within expansive cold caverns where they remain perfectly preserved. Due to war, many of these caverns have been un-earthed, or collapsed, sparking a renewed archeological interest.

Malevolent Entities

Raskara

Also well known as the Adhomai's moon, it is believed to be the antithesis to S'randarr and the source of all negative energy. Like S'randarr, it is immortal and supplies its energy to all Tajara through the very same aether which positive energy is given. Unlike S'randarr which is associated with warmth and life, Raskara stands for cold and suffering as nighttime was often lethal for pre-historic Tajara. Unlike its counterpart, Raskara is thought of as being highly intelligent and the ultimate villain of most mythological stories. It spawns evil creatures on the planet's surface, such as cave geists, ratajani as well as spirits which the gods are in a constant battle with. The discovery of Raskara's future collision with Adhomai by contemporary Astronomers has caused a heated debate among believers about the meaning of this development in theological terms.

The Dead Gods

The "Dead Gods" are a group of five gods in mythology who were tricked by Raskara, to drink from the void sea and turn on their siblings. They have now turned into Raskara's generals and champions in her fight to kill the gods and conquer Adhomai. Their names are stricken from all texts available to commoners and are only known by the highest-ranking priests of Kraszar. However, there are rumors that their names are still known to the general public, circulating on the fringes of civilization.

The Holy Village and Honored Mortals

There were many mortals who inhabited the god’s mortal village who were not granted powers when Mata'ke when his clan slew the King of Rraknarr and ascended to divinity. The gods brought these mortals with them and they populate the Holy Village to this day. While unaging, they are still mortal and serve out their previous roles, such as harvesting divine crops, helping battle evil spirits, and building houses for more arrivals. Many of them are still known, but they’re rarely worshipped.

Descended Ones

The Descended Ones are those whose lineage either traces back to one of the original villagers or to an Ascended One. Descended ones do not receive any special honors and are the bulk of the village's population.

Ascended Ones

A Tajara who is exceptionally virtuous may be ascended to the Holy Village. Faithful of Ma'ta'ke do not believe in a meaningful afterlife beyond eternal rest with Messa. And so ascending is the ultimate honor for a mortal. Ascended ones are not merely revered on Adhomai by the faithful, but in the Holy Village as well. Although the Ascended Ones are honored greatly, ascendancy is not hereditary and their children are Descended Ones.

Forsaken Ones

Honored Mortals who sully their honor by committing crimes or colluding with evil spirits. Their guilt is determined by either Mata'ke or Marryam in court. Being forsaken is a temporary sentence that results in being held in a labyrinth, tailored to impart suffering specific to the one imprisoned. Although the sentences are usually temporary, the stain of dishonor typically lasts for an Honored Mortal's lifetime and leaves most social opportunities closed to them.

The Exiled

If a crime committed by an Honored Mortal is great enough, then they become an exile. Exiles are typically removed from the Holy Village and dropped into the deepest wildernesses of Adhomai. Execution is used as punishment in lieu of exile if the crime is serious enough, such as murder or deliberately allying with evil spirits. Honored Mortals who are executed are still considered Exiled in Kraszar's Cosmic Chronicle.

Venerated Ones

Divinity is not a hereditary trait, but the gods are able to sire children. Descendants of gods are called Venerated Ones and typically serve as the ruling class in the divine village. Their immense social status from being created by a god is usually enough to lead them to hold positions as mayors, seneschals, and captains. Although all descendants of gods are technically venerated, further degrees of separation from a god brings less honor. A daughter of Mata'ke and Marryam will have far more social standing than their great-grandson. The god from which a Venerated One descends is also important, as Kraszar has outlived many mortal spouses throughout the years. Similarly, Azubarre and Dhrarmela have had many children throughout the village's history. Descendants of the Dead Gods turned into horrific creatures upon the corruption of their ancestors, now they roam the forests as beasts and powerful demons.

Minor Gods

Due to the decentralized nature of the Ma'ta'ke faith, local minor deities exist all around Adhomai. While not recognized by all worshippers; they still hold some significance to certain regions of the Tajaran population.

Minharrzka

Minharrzka is the Amohdan goddess of water in all forms. She is said to have been born from the blood of Fenskrringla pooling in the bile of Jogasorrmrr. It was only through the kind blood of Fenskrringla that Minharrzka was able to avoid being filled with hatred and rage like the 49 monsters that had also come from its body. For this, she was set upon by the worm’s monsters: Minharrzka’s body was torn apart and her head was separated from her shoulders by the horrible Raskara herself. After the great battle, Mata'ke had taken mercy on the mutilated but still living being. The goddess began to weep and begged to be lowered into what would become the seas of Adhomai. Her tears filled the oceans and rose to become the rain in the sky, falling downwards to fill lakes and rivers. Even when she closed her eyes to slumber, they continued to pour tears. The residual kindness of Fenskrringla, the hatred from Jogasorrmorr, and the trauma inflicted upon her at the hands of the worm’s children wreak havoc upon the crippled goddess' mind. Her mood swings from joy to pure rage cause the treacherous waves of Adhomai's seas. Her screams and cries create hurricanes and windstorms. Her thrashes cause earthquakes.

Minharrzka’s depiction is normally that of a torn apart Hharar sleeping beneath a shroud on an oily black stone pedestal on the seafloor. Her name is invoked and offerings are left at her altar when one wishes for safe travels, an impressive cargo haul, or for the weather to change. Some of her reverers wear necklaces of soft rope with a silver seashell charm. Her fanatics were well known across Adhomai's history as being fearless and dangerous sailors and warriors of the sea. Minharrzka’s priests are unsurprisingly seasoned wayfarers. They normally wear robes of dried bark over their clothes. These have geometric patterns painted upon them in dark colors. They eschew temples for simple altars of black stone at dockyards, fisheries, and vessels. Recent years have seen these altars spread to even Tajaran space vessels. Minharrzka priests are exclusively men. Many believe that when Minharrzka’s body is finished healing, she will awaken from her nightmare and rise to the surface world once more. There she will choose a husband from her priesthood; the pair will turn into vapor and rise to the sky to unify in godhood. As such, all priests of Minharrzka remain unmarried and strive towards perfection as a suitor.

Wrathful Waves

A superstitious sailor's best friend on the seas is Minharrzka's sigil. shown as 2 wave lines and a dotted line beneath those the symbol depicts the torn body of the Goddess under the waves of the sea. Drawing this is believed to protect against the ill wishes of Adhomai's water. As such it is used on ships, worn by sailors, and commonly seen in shrines made for the Goddess. For smuggler crews, the symbol is still used in the hopes that her protection can apply to the void too.