Divinities

Gods of the Divine Court

The gods of the Empire were once members of two warring tribes, but with the marriage of the eldest among them, they came together to form one pantheon, the Divine Court. However, the old division among them remains, for their very divine natures are tied to their origins in the Heavens and the Earth, and though they coexist as one extended family now, their individual peculiarities remain.

The Celestial Gods

The Celestial gods are the children of the unfettered sky, and embody the majesty and might of the Heavens.

The Radiant Lady of the Sun, Kagayaki

Radiant Kagayaki is the eldest of the Celestial Gods. At the Dawn of the Empire, she ruled as the first Empress alongside her husband Senkou, the Shining Lord of Steel, and founded the Imperial line. She is fiery and passionate, but her hot temper is cooled by a deep well of compassion. Her magnificent palace built of paper and wood and roofed with smokeless flame hangs in the sky in the World Beyond the World, visible to mortals in the World only as the sun.

The Many-Faced Lord of the Moon, Komoretsu

Many-Faced Komoretsu is a dark and secretive god, whose countenance changes like the phases of the moon. Second eldest of the Celestial gods, he is the patient master of the night-time sky, and privy to countless hidden truths. In the Divine Court he plays the role of both villain and spymaster, because it suits him wear both faces and pursue himself endlessly.

He is the founder of the Musankumo Clan.

However, even Komoretsu is not without his secret weaknesses, for long ago he conducted an affair with Kyoumen, the Mirror-Veiled Lady of the Lake, which cost him dearly.

The Thunder-Voiced Lord of the Storm, Natsurai

Thunder-Voiced Natsurai is the third eldest of the Celestial gods, and a tempestuous and mighty warrior. Quick to anger and slow to forget, he turns his implacable and violent resolve against the enemies of the Divine Court with the fury of a typhoon. Having found someone whose stormy temperament closely matches his own, he has long been engaged in a turbulent affair with the Foam-Wreathed Lady of the Sea, Murakimizu.

He is the founder of the Akaishi clan.

The Far-Striding Lady of the Wind, Nishikaze

Youngest of the Celestial gods, Far-Striding Nishikaze is a wild figure of boundless curiosity. Her constant desire is for motion, for she abhors stillness and stagnation. Far gentler and more compassionate than her older brother, she is often a calming influence on the Lord of the Storm, but when roused her own anger can be no small thing.

She is the founder of the Yorukuusai clan.

Clever and persuasive, Nishikaze is the only god to recruit a gaijin divinity to the ranks of the Divine Court: Ezen Yalzarsan, the Vulture-Hearted Lord of Steppe and Sky, creator of the Tasir and Nishikaze's consort.

The Terrestrial Gods

The Terrestrial gods are the children of the land, and embody the enduring power of the Earth.

The Shining Lord of Steel, Senkou

Eldest of the Terrestrial gods, Shining Senkou is a cunning and powerful god concerned with craft and governance. Though virtuous, he relies often on his guile, which is tempered by wisdom. At the Dawn of the Empire, he ruled as the first Emperor alongside his wife, Kagayaki, the Radiant Lady of the Sun, and founded the Imperial line.

The Iron-Hearted Lord of the Plain, Naibuki

Second eldest of the Terrestrial gods, Iron-Hearted Naibuki is a grim and stoic master of strategy and battle. Though dedicated to war, his belligerence is balanced by a strong sense of nobility and justice, and his code of honor is perpetuated in his sacred text, To Command, which codified the code of Bushido.

He is the founder of the Houkiba Clan.

The Craft-Wise Lady of the Shore, Saiu

Third eldest of the Terrestrial gods, Craft-Wise Saiu is gracious and graceful. Delighted by creation, she is the progenitor of countless arts, as well as of the systems of respect and courtesy that endure to this day. Though pride in her work may sharpen her tongue, she strives always to be a pillar of civility.

She is the founder of the Sumihane Clan.

The Clear-Eyed Lord of the Mountain, Kakusei

Fourth eldest of the Terrestrial gods, Clear-Eyed Kakusei is enigmatic and withdrawn. He is prone to solitude and contemplation, for he has the gift of prophetic insight which grows ever dimmer the more directly he himself is involved with the events he forsees. Contemplative and unhurried, his every action is measured and deliberate, weighed against the potential futures it might spawn.

He is the founder of the Shuhouken Clan.

The Gentle-Handed Lord of the Forest, Wamori

Youngest of the Terrestrial Gods, Gentle-Handed Wamori is thoughtful and observant. Intrigued by the nature of the spirit, he knows much of the World Beyond the World, and the more he comes to know, the more he sympathises with those he has met. Peaceful in temperament, he avoids violence where possible, unless commanded by the strength of his convictions to defend those who cannot defend themselves. He is the founder of the Negurakori Clan.

The Outsider: The Vulture-Hearted Lord of Steppe and Sky, Ezen Yalzarsan

Neither Terrestrial nor Celestial, Ezen Yalzarsan is wholly unlike the gods native to the Empire. Born of Mother Black Earth and Father Blue Sky, he claims dominion over the entirety of the vast steppes of his homeland, from top to bottom. A god of death and rebirth, he ferries the souls of his followers back to the Wheel while devouring the enemies of his people. When the Yorukuusai encountered his follower, the Tasir, he became fascinated by their wind goddess, and agreed he and his would cooperate with the outlanders while they were guests in his lands. When the Tasir formally joined the Yorukuusai, he became the consort of Far-Striding Nishikaze. Once one of three brothers, he was previously known as the Vulture Lord of Death and Rebirth, taking his new title upon joining the Empire's pantheon

Few outside of the Yorukuusai pray to him, for many still consider his ways foreign and barbaric, but though only the Tasir are his direct creations, he will protect and assist any soul that asks, if they dare to do so.

The First Four Gods of the Universe

The Heavenly God and the Heavenly Goddess, and the Earthly God and the Earthly Goddess, were the first four gods in the Universe, and the parents of the Celestial and Terrestrial gods. However, mankind has never known their influence, for they slew one another in the primordial war before the Dawn of the Empire, and vanished from the Universe entirely.

Other Gods

The Foam-Wreathed Lady of the Sea, Murakimizu

Though not a goddes of the land, Foam-Wreathed Murakimizu is closer to being a Terrestrial than she is to being anything else. Mercurial and occasionally bloodthirsty, she is neither related to nor affiliated with the members of the Divine Court, for their concern is with the Empire, and the sea knows no masters and no borders. The only exception is the Thunder-Voiced Lord of the Storm, who is the wildest of the gods of the Divine Court, and her long-standing lover, though their affair is tempestuous.

Though she has never founded a clan of her own, she is the adopted patron of the Clan of Spice, for their daring prowess upon the open sea has earned them her favor.

The Mirror-Veiled Lady of the Lake, Kyoumen

Mirror-Veiled Kyoumen is subtle and decepetive, while presenting an appearance of placid openness. Her motives are largely inscrutable, though she does not seem malevolent. She is largely solitary, but in the past she conducted a lengthy and ill-fated affair with the Many-Faced Lord of the Moon. Though seemingly compatible, neither was a good match for the other, and their child, Tezou was born cursed for Komoretsu's infidelity.

Fortunes

Though below the level of gods, many spirits still wield great power and influence in the world, and with the right prayers and offerings, can be entreated to aid in mortal affairs.

The Seven Major Fortunes

Before the Dawn of the Empire, from the from the place where the last leaf of the first bush fell from the Heavenly God's fingers, seven spirits emerged. In aiding humanity, these spirits became the Seven Major Fortunes.

Ebisu, Fortune of Fertility

When men sought to feed their hunger with the fruits and beasts of the land, Ebisu saw their struggle and decided to help them prosper, blessing animal and plant alike to spread in riotous profusion. He became the patron of those who would live off the land.

Daikoku, Fortune of Wealth

When men sought to make clothes and weapons and tools to keep out the cold and support their efforts, and to bargain amongst themselves for the things they could not make, Daikoku saw their cleverness and decided to help them prosper, blessing the paths between their camps and the tongues of the ones who bargained. He became the patron of those who would build and trade to acquire the things they need.

Bishamon, Fortune of Battle

When men took up crude arms to defend themselves against those that would take by force they things they had made, Bishamon saw their bravery and decided to help them prosper, blessing their weapons to strike true and their armor to turn aside blows. He became the patron of those who would chance their lives to protect their interests.

Jurojin, Fortune of Longevity

When men grew frail through no sin of their own, laid low by sickness and age, Jurojin saw their despair and decided to help them prosper, blessing their bodies with strength and good health. He became the patron of those with days yet ahead of them.

Benten, Fortune of Beauty

When men grew tired and afraid, and made music and poetry to lift their spirits and endear themselves to each other, Benten saw their creativity and decided to help them prosper, blessing their hearts with the understanding of emotions, and with warm desire for one another. She became the patron of those who would wrest passion from their fellows.

Fukurokuju, Fortune of Knowledge

When at last, fed and warm, healthy and content, men began to wonder at the world around them and to recognise the myriad of things they knew not, Fukurokuju saw their curiosity and decided to help them prosper, blessing their minds to perceive and understand the world around them. He became the patron of those who sought to relieve their ignorance.

Hotei, Fortune of Luck

Finally, when men suffered despite the help of the other Fortunes and carried on regardless, Hotei saw their perseverance and chose to help them prosper, blessing their lives with the auspicious turnings of momentary chance. He became the patron of those who must trust in good fortune.

Minor Fortunes

Countless other spirits hold sway over other, lesser aspects of life. Many of these are tied to the area where they emerged, their influence limited to those who worship them directly.

Minor Fortunes may have a variety of origins; some are benevolent spirits from the World Beyond the World, while others are mortals who have been defied after their deaths by Imperial decree, or who obtained Enlightenment and who chose to remain in the World as bodhisattvas to watch over mankind.

Gaijin Gods

Gods of the Steppe

In the time before man, when the first darkness receded from the world, in the light of the dawn of creation Mother Black Earth looked up and beheld Father Blue Sky, and invited him down to meet her. Where Father Blue Sky touched upon Mother Black Earth, she made a bed for them to share, broad and flat, gently rolling up into mighty mountains to guard them all around, and there in the first steppe they lay together, and unto them were born three sons: Ezen Yalzarsan, the Vulture God; Ezen Ayangakhol, the Horse God; and Ezen Orgonmor, the Yak God. Then, leaving the land and sky to their children, they turned away from the world, and none know where they have gone.

Ezen Orgonmor, Yak Lord of Bounty and Wealth

Youngest of the children of Mother Black Earth and Father Blue Sky, Ezen Orgonmor is a good-humoured god of plenty and fertility, concerned with growth of herd and tribe. He favours those who raise and trade animals, especially the yak, and his aspect is often horned of brow and shaggy-haired, with broad shoulders. Progenitor to the Altansureg, who are distant cousins to the Tasir, long ago Ezen Orgonmor led his followers beyond the known reaches of the steppe, seeking more fertile lands and peace from the depredations of the twisted servants of the Leech.

Ezen Ayangakhol, Horse Lord of War and Travel

Middle child of Mother Black Earth and Father Blue Sky, the Horse God once watched over the steppe with his two brothers. Now he has fallen victim of the Leech's Kiss, and endures as the mere husk of a god, filled only with hunger for the divine blood of his brothers, and all others who stand in his way.

Mother Black Earth and Father Blue Sky

Though the progenitors of the Gods of the Steppe, Mother Black Earth and Father Blue Sky are gone from the world, and not even their children know where they have vanished to. Perhaps they sleep beneath the earth, or among the peaks of the high mountains that ring the steppes like jagged walls.

The Sacred Beasts

Once, the People of the Eastern Shore were all one people. Then came the Terrestrial and Celestial gods, and those who would not follow them were first mocked, then shunned, then warred upon. Now the domain of the followers of the Divine Court stretches to its natural boundaries, and those who practice the original, untouched culture of the land have been pushed beyond the mountains in the north, where they continue to worship the same guardian spirits that answered their prayers while the gods of the south waged their Primordial War.

Seiryu, Azure Dragon of the East

Lord of the East, of Wood, and of Spring, Seiryu rules the sea. Wrathful and tempestuous, Seiryu commands the wind and tide to the benefit of his followers. His undersea palace is resplendent with pearls, and with the bounty of ships wrecked by his fury.

Suzaku, Vermilion Bird of the South

Lady of the South, of Fire, and of Summer, Suzaku watches over her people's southern border, which is hemmed in by high mountains across which lie the lands of the followers of the Divine Court. Elegant and noble both in appearance and demeanor, Suzaku is still fierce towards foes, marshalling the burning might of the summer sun against those that incur her displeasure.

Byakko, White Tiger of the West

Lord of the West, of Metal, and of Autumn, Byakko is fierce but patient. Privy to the secret of steel and well-accustomed to the subtle rhythm of stalk-and-pounce, his fangs are the dao and jian of his followers. Byakko is warlike but cunning, and his aggression is kept in check by his caution.

Genbu, Black Turtle of the North

Lord of the North, of Water, and of Winter, Genbu is genial and pragmatic. Patron of longevity and discipline, he is renowned for his wisdom, and is fiercely protective of those under his care. Though the least aggressive of the Sacred Beasts, his enduring fortitude is the greatest.

Yellow Scholar, Master of the Center

In the dawn of the Empire, those who would not follow the new gods were led in their exodus by a wise and powerful leader, who taught them the ways of alchemy and who codified their laws and customs for their new lives in a new land. Though departed now, there are many who believe that he too was a god, the Lord of the Center, of Earth, and of the Wheel of the Seasons.

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