Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Legends of Partholon: the Rune-lord, Grivenar

Grivenar encountered on a foggy night
Names & Titles: Grivenar, the Grey God, the Twilight Eye, the Rune-lord, the Father of Magic

Prestige: A major god, but one whose attention is best avoided.

Veneration: The Vagyar deem him the most powerful of all the gods, and therefor their leader. In Tyrhennea, he is depicted as brother to Valkas, and his adviser on eldritch matters. His ravens bring news and omens that even Valkas' sharp-eyed eagle might overlook.

The Vagyar generally deem all magic-users his priests, and fear to cross his will. Nonetheless, Vagyar warriors distrust magicians, for Grivenar acts on his own purpose and not for the good of mankind. Even a hero who wins the Grey God's favor is still a pawn that may be sacrificed.

In the Empire he is little-worshipped and rarely beseeched, save by those who seek protection from or mastery over magical forces. He is associated with guardianship of dead souls, and ravens and crows are said to be his spies and servants, as well as carrying newly-dead spirits to the underworld.

Overall, he serves only his own schemes, and it is deemed wisest to avoid his attention.

Legends: It was Grivenar who gave to mankind the secret of the Cantrik glyphs, the runes and hierograms that codify magic into spells. It is said that he journeyed through the Nine Beyonds and suffered great agonies to discover the secrets of spellcraft. Some legends say that even the fundamental concept of the written word was taught to humanity by Grivenar.

Many Vagyar legends tell of heroes who were given magical trinkets or enchanted blades by Grivenar, or by a nameless traveler as he is often depicted, or even by a great, one-eyed raven. In virtually all of these tales, the hero met his doom when his artifact was inevitably lost to folly, or fate, or to the god's whimsy. One legend tells that Grivenar collects the souls of great heroes to form an army somewhere in the realms of the dead, and that he will guide aspiring heroes along the path to greatness, only to lead them to their dooms when they have proved themselves worthy of his collection.

Artifact: The Runestaff. This gnarled, wooden staff is inscribed with runes in winding patterns along its length. Some legends claim it is the heart of the world-tree, and is therefore the very incarnation of the axis mundi, the center of the world. Its runes are said to encode many spells, and it is also called "the Key to the Outer Gate," referring apparently to the ability to travel beyond the world's edge. The Runestaff has come into mortal possession several times over the ages, sometimes for years, sometimes for scant days. In every case, the staff eventually disappeared.

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