Monday, March 19, 2012

Legends of Partholon: Thunderlord Tanaris

Found on the wall of many a forge.
Names & Titles: Tanaris, the Thunderlord, the Hammer-god, Lord of the Forge, the Wrath of Valkas.

Prestige: He is counted among the sons of Valkas, and is the smith and weaponsmaster of the heavenly court. In Tyrhennea, Tanaris is mainly the patron of smiths, but his patronage is seen as the foundation for the empire's rise to power. He is also recognized as a warrior who carries out the will of Valkas.

Among the Vagyar, Tanaris is a warrior first and a smith second. He champions mankind in the battle against chaos, and demands none of the weird devotions and sacrifices required by rival war-gods like Ariokh.

Symbols & Depiction: The hammer is his primary symbol, while lightning (poetically called "sky-fire") may represent either the fires of his forge or the flames of his fury. He is depicted as a robust man, with his hammer never far from hand, and is normally quite jovial. Only when he is called to battle does his fury erupt to shake the earth and burn the heavens.

Veneration: It was the secret crafts of forging steel and working mail that propelled Tyrhennea to dominance and founded the empire. His image adorns most forges, and most citizens see him as a god of crafts only. However, the military embraces him and supports his priesthood in order to celebrate his holy days and to praise him on return from successful campaigns. Veterans give him due credit for the quality of arms and armor that have kept them alive. Furthermore, Tanaris' willingness to set aside the tools of his craft to fight for the Lawgiver's cause is an example for all soldiers.

Legends: In the age when gods walked the earth, Tanaris and Alia came to the folk of Valinar in the north and taught them the Great Crafts. He taught them to work metal, wood and stone, while she taught them the crafts of textiles, leather, and pottery. Together they raised men from savagery to civilization, and the reign of Valinar is still remembered as a golden age for humanity. When the monsters of the elder world threatened to overwhelm mankind, Tanaris and Alia took to battle, and inspired heroes to follow their example, to battle the chaotic hordes. Many a book of tales has been filled with the exploits of gods and men hunting these spawn of the black eons.

When the vilest monsters of the northlands were slain or driven into the nightlands beneath the earth, the gods returned to their heavenly abode, and envoys of Valinar brought their crafts to distant corners of the world. For a time, it seemed that their greatest threat would be the ancient empire of Agha-yin, or the sorcerers of Arkhemea, but in the end it was the Kruthar savages that overwhelmed Valinar and smote its grandeur into ruin.

It is common these days for the elders of any tribe or the priests of any city to claim their folk as the true descendants of Valinar. Perhaps it is so, that the envoys of that great civilization seeded their blood as well as their crafts among the many tribes of the earth. Perhaps it is naught but hubris and superstition. 

Artifacts: Legend tells that when Tanaris was teaching his mortal students the craft of smithing, a Favaragh giant came upon them and thought to feast upon the hapless mortals. Tanaris hurled his hammer at the giant, slaying it, and continued his lesson. This hammer, the ur-hammer of Valinar, was left in the care of his students to be the prototype from which they would devise their own tools.

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