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 Kelemvor - God of Death and the Dead

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PostSubject: Kelemvor - God of Death and the Dead   Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:31 pm

Kelemvor

God of death, the Peaceful Repose, and Carac Nuihad

Kelemvor is the latest in a long line of Gods holding claim over the personification of death. The first was the ancient, decrepit Moander, God of the Corruption, of the Rotting Death, and inevitable end. Moander was the first to ever personify the aspect of death, which, among the immortals of the ancient world, was a taboo subject. To the endless, death was new; death was terrifying; even to speak of death was to invite its cold fear. In the ancient world, defeat was not the end, only a loss of face and power for a duration of time. Death represented something namelessly horrifying, the subsumation of their identity and existence to nothingness. As such the aspect of death remained unclaimed, hardly ever spoken of. To claim it was to embrace it as the meaning for your very existence, for it to be as natural to you as the air you (metaphorically) breathed, and to face the very real mortality of your own soul. Moander was not born as other Gods were; instead, he was born from the very fear of death that immortals felt, particularly during the Sundering.

Moander was the absolute embodiment of the death that immortals most feared, and, especially, the wasting lethargy that it represented to these endless during the age of the Sundering. Moander reflected, as every God of Death has, the ways of the time; slow, meaningless, inevitable nothingness.

Moander was a mindless husk of a God who, out of its endless hunger, engorged itself on the departed souls of thousands. To aid itself, it attacked the deity Kelemvor and forced it into a life of thralldom. Kelemvor, son of Oghma, once God of Chronicles and History, was forced to become the Chronicler of the Dead.

Aided by Kelemvor, Moander grew corpulent in its feasts until it, at last, interfered with the business of Sylornath, Master of Demons and the Burning Hells. Sylornath instructed one of his most loyal and cunning Lieutenants, Bhaal, to bring about the end of the master of the end. Bhaal struck up an alliance with Kelemvor, and together, the two severed Moander from its meandering tendrils, reducing the carcass of a God to its prime soul.

However, Sylornath did not intend to let the power of death slip beyond his grasp.Though he did not dare to claim it himself, (he worried, as many Gods did, that claiming the aspect of death would make him as much a mindless husk as Moander) he was willing to risk one of his servants for the possible gain. Upon the moment of victory, as Kelemvor imprisoned Moander's soul, Bhaal betrayed him and drove him from Moander's realm, claiming the aspect of death for himself under his lord, Sylornath. In accordance with his lord's vision, Bhaal thus became the God of Violent, Ritual, and Painful Death.

Kelemvor fled with Moander's soul, finding refuge in the hospitality of Selas. Gifting the Prime Soul to Selas for safe keeping, he dwelt in Selas' realm for many hundreds of years, until the God War.

Bhaal was a murderous deity who used the position to funnel slain souls to his master. His followers conducted hundreds of brutal, ritualized murders, and his servants collected innumerable souls of the slain. Often, astral battles were fought over the souls of followers themselves slain in battle.

With the end of the God War, Bhaal and his master was slain. Kelemvor, using the knowledge he gained as death-scribe to assume control over the aspect of death. In contrast to his predecessors, who either sought power or prestige by abusing the souls of the dead, Kelemvor sought to truly serve those passed, and defer to their will. Kelemvor now acts as the way-station of the dead, ferrying souls to their preferred resting place.


The Psychopomps


The Pyschopomps(Greek, 'Conveyors of the Soul') are the immortal servants of Kelemvor, God of Death. They exist to fulfill Kelemvor's goal -- the interment of every departed mortal soul to a resting place according to their beliefs.

Psychopomps are gestalt entities composed of numerous souls working in conjunction within a single being. Though this is similar to the classic form of power wielded by immortal beings, especially demi-gods and gods, the difference is that within a Psychopomp, these souls retain their individuality at a higher level, while at their base they are one. This allows a single Psychopomp to split its 'mind' into several distinct entities, each capable of complex thought, while moving with the dexterity of a single being. At an even baser level are all Psychopomps linked to each other and to Kelemvor, allowing the transference of information and eliminating the possibility of treachery. It is estimated that there are never more than roughly 1,000 Psychopomps during stable times in Aeria, though it has been conjectured that Kelemvor himself devotes pieces of himself to the task should an especially chaotic event occur. Though they have the lowest population of any immortal race of beings within the Crystal Sphere, the most basic Psychopomp is composed of hundreds of individual souls, with the most significant containing an astounding 10,000 souls.

Death, in a mortal sense, is the failure of the physical form to be a sufficient avatar of the soul, either through disease, malnutrition, or severe bodily harm. Upon crossing a threshold, the body's failures make it impossible for the soul to continue animation of the body.

Upon death, the soul recedes further into the so-called 'Spirit Realm' (named thus for this very occurrence), which is a realm of lower resonance formed by the energies wafting off the World Storm. Essentially a mirror-realm formed by the layering of the World Storm energies, it is not truly a separate realm in the classical sense. It is more akin to the lower end of a spectrum of interaction in the mortal realm. Just as things below and above the visible spectra of light are not visible to humans, beings and energies that exist within the Spirit Realm (and its higher resonance counter-parts, the 'Mystic Realm', formed by the weave, and the 'Shadow Realm', formed by Shar's weave) are neither visible nor physically capable of interaction with the 'Physical Realm'.

The Spirit Realm is the dwelling place of souls (who, with the death of their avatar, slip into a lower resonance), wayward spirits too weak to manifest in the Physical Realm, and the tool of the Psychopomps.

When someone dies, assuming that nothing interferes with the body or the soul, the soul can be safely said to remain attached to the body until the total disintegration of the physical form. The soul slips into a lower resonance of energy, no longer emitting the energy needed to animate the form, and shifts completely into the Spirit Realm. The Sacred Field recedes closer to the soul, in most cases having suffered none of the physical damage that the body experienced, thus preserving the individual's personality and traits(unless soul-interfering magic was used, then a good amount of the Sacred Field may have been harmed). The removal of the Sacred Field causes the body to degrade, rotting away from various forces that the Sacred Field once held at bay.

In most cases, the soul can wait for several weeks before a Psychopomp arrives to collect it. Traveling through the Spirit Realm and thus invisible to all but the most naturally or magically sensitive of mortals, the Psychopomp gently makes contact with the departed soul. The Psychopomp analyzes the individual's mind, (which itself is contained within the incredibly dense matrix of the Sacred Field) and adapts accordingly. This is one of the most interesting aspects of Kelemvor's servants-- they show neutrality for all save mortal-kind themselves, displaying extreme regard for the mortal's beliefs. The Psychopomp would, after sufficient examination of the individual's mind, appear as the mortal has been led to believe the guardian of the afterlife would appear. For example, if the mortal had been, in life, a servant of Tyr, he would experience collection by one of Tyr's angels; if he were a servant of Bane, one of Bane's minions would appear, seemingly acting on the promise of paradise as a king after life. Should the individual have been faithless, the Psychopomp would instead appear as one or more of the mortal's loved ones.

Once the Psychopomp has connected with and calmed the soul, it is collected and brought to Kelemvor's realm. There it waits in the bone-white city of Carac Nuihad ( Elven for 'City of / Throne of Peace / Repose'), the final transitory stage before eternal interment. After a specified period of time within Carac Nuihad, the soul will depart; if the being held a faith, a true servant of his God would appear to collect him; if he was, however, faithless, he is brought by a Psychopomp to the World Storm, where he is thrown into the fires of creation to be made anew. This process is how reincarnation is conjectured to be possible--on the rare occurrences when a soul survives the fire of the World Storm, the soul can be reborn with some of the memories of his or her previous life.

The period of enforced interment within Carac Nuihad is a sad fact of necessity. Kelemvor himself holds little in the way of worshipers; the only way to safeguard the aspect of death from those who would abuse it is to draw power from the souls who dwell for a time in Carac Nuihad. Faithless souls experience a longer period of time spent within the city than the faithful, for none will come to collect them--Kelemvor works to maintain a balance. It has also been conjectured that Kelemvor holds a potentially devastating weapon in the Psychopomps--after thousands of years, the Psychopomps have become incredibly proficient in the manipulation of energy and souls. Should Carac Nuihad come under attack, the Psychopomps could literally tear away at the God's realm, stripping fragments from the whole, piece by piece, with the power and intelligence of thousands of souls working in conjunction. Fortunately, however, this method has never been needed. For the time being, the other Gods accept Kelemvor's methods and position.





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