Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Legends of Partholon: the Bloodreaper, Ariokk

Art by Steve Argyle
Names & Titles: Ariokk, the Bloodreaper, the Duke of Blades, Prince of the Seven Darks

Symbols & Depiction:  In Tyrhennea, he is depicted with the arms and armor typical of the Delian bronze-age - what the Imperial imagination considers primitive and semi-barbaric. His face is always kept hidden. Vagyars depict him as a savage cloaked in the skins and bones of his kills - beast and man alike.

Prestige: One of the few Chaotic gods in the imperial pantheon, Ariokk revels in bloodshed and brutality. He serves Valkas as a frenzied warrior who balks at nothing, and is regarded as a patron of warfare. Tyrhenneans prefer to keep his worship at something of a distance, but many Vagyars embrace his patronage - especially berserkers.

Veneration: Ariokk's windowless temples bear mosaics depicting the most horrifying scenes of slaughter, murder, and appalling violence of every stripe. Most soldiers disdain this mad god's patronage - at least while they remain at home or in a quiet garrison. In the fog of war, it is common to hear the battlefield prayer, "Blood and souls for Ariokk!" as kill after kill is dedicated in his name.

Any place or object associated with him is held as savage and dangerous. There are rumors that his cult includes certain priests or zealots who sacrifice to him through random murders and worse.

Legends: The poet Grucca frequently depicts Ariokk as a villain, occasionally as a treacherous and untrustworthy ally to the gods and heroes of his tales. Ariokk lends his blessings to anyone who shows strength, courage, or savagery, without regard to his supposed loyalty to Valkas. Grucca even claims that Ariokk is the god most hateful to the Lawgiver.

It is also said that Ariokk was the chief patron of lost Agha-yin. Some variations of the legend tell that he was once a wise sorcerer-god, but that he gradually devolved into madness, perhaps as a result of the growing depravities among his worshippers. In these tales, it was Ariokk who destroyed Agha-yin, smiting its towers and driving its armies to slaughter the populace before sending the entire island-continent to drown beneath the Sedrian Sea.

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