Of the Graces and the Sorrows

What follows is an excerpt from the cosmology section of Ehdrigohr the Roleplaying Game.

Sorrows and Graces

During the War of Sorrows it is said that Ok’O-wi chose 12 of her greatest companion spirits to lead her armies across the world. Though powerful, these spirits existed as intermediaries and as such they were of flesh – mockeries of the people, though of stronger make. These beings are called the Sorrows and some say that they were born to the Songs from copulation with the races. Regardless of their origins, it is believed that when the Sorrows set foot upon the world the Songs of Light responded by sending forth their own companions, known as the Graces, to counter the Sorrows. They were to rally and guide the forces of good.

And She called it "Sorrow"

When the Upheaval came, the Sorrows were not sent to the Twain (or Osni) with the other Ok’O-wibiyrn. This was for many reasons: some had gone into hiding in Mictlan, others had been locked into battle with the Graces, and others had created their own realms that were neither in the mortal lands nor the Song realms. Lastly, one Sorrow – Amisha was destroyed outright by Shua’s gaze.

After the Upheaval all remaining Sorrows (and the Graces as well) found the ties that bound them to their respective Songs had been broken. For the first time they had the free will to choose their own paths.

Each of the Sorrows set themselves up in places around Ehdrigor from which they could set out to conquer the land wholly for themselves. The Graces, however, sought to aid humanity during the wandering time of the Scattering. Some acted as advisers to councils while others tried to cleanse the land of any remaining monsters that would harm the people and helped them recover from the Turnings of the Woe.

What follows are descriptions of these beings. They still affect and walk the lands of Ehdrigohr and have influence among the Peoples. They are seen as both human-like and spirits of a primal nature. Though none of them are worshiped through formal religions per se, they do each have one or more societies (many such societies having several sub-factions) which have grown out of the original companies and followers devoted to the given spirit. These societies affect the course of things in a way more real than anything done by Breachers or Songs.

Many of the Sorrows have plots and goals which have nothing to do with anything other than their personal need to rule and subjugate, while others are still devoted to seeing that Ok’O-wi and her minions find their way from the Twain, cross the Pale, and back into this world to finish what they started. Because not all of the Sorrows wish to see Ok’O-wi’s return, there is a great deal of plotting and subversion going on that frequently is the cause of many a foul plan going awry. Sometimes all a Grace has to do is to ensure that the Sorrows learn of each other’s plans.

 

SORROWS

B’Lohra — MakesGiven, The Eye Beneath.

A powerful warrior who wields a great club that is said to be able to shatter mountains with a single blow. She lost the use of one eye in her first battle with M’trynaan, after which time it she was gifted by Ok’o-wi with the ability to direct her ire with her one angry eye and slay legions in an instant. Bold and harsh, B’Lohra was not one of the more subtle of the Sorrows. She is the Sorrow of Tyranny where one rules through might and fear. She is credited with causing many men to become Given as she showed them the might that Ok’o-wi’s brood would visit upon those who dared to take what they would from their lessers. Many would-be tyrants have since come and gone, conquering in her name. Her influence is felt nowhere more than it is in Salady. Even now her symbol and ways are bred into the culture as the Taker’s Eye and the Evil Eye are phrases that still bring chills to the soft-hearted.

Hsi — Black Fiddler

Hsi’s black songs are said to be able to rot the soul of whoever listens. He is the Sorrow of Dissonance. Some of the Iktom were broken by him and turned to darkness. It is believed that he is in hiding among the peoples. Though many refute this possibility none can deny the existence of the Fiddlers, a dark organization said to be governed by Hsi himself. These agents of evil work feverishly to sow mistrust and discord among the Nine Tribes. Selling their services to the highest bidder, they are assassins and terrorists who work to ensure that the tribes never reunite, all in the name of a game with meaning only to them. They are among the most foul of Given and will stop at nothing to ensure the ruination of all that People devise. They are especially entrusted with the task of destroying any attempts made by the Thunder Brothers to unite their forces. Hsi is said to be the Sapela’s hand in Ehdrigohr.

K’ui — The Unseen

Kui is Ok’O-wi’s assassin who struck with neither warning, nor remorse. K’ui is said to be the master of Lurks and Haints and the Sorrow of Terror. He is the embodiment of Fear that kills. He is said to have no form and calls upon the blackest spirits to do his will. Though Ok’O-Wi fashioned him to be her supreme spy, it is his hunger for death that makes him inadequate for that particular job. He cannot go for long periods of time before he must partake of souls to nourish himself. It is said that no man follows K’ui. They can only fear him.

Meh’xune — The Trampler

The strongest of the Generals (others say Y’ya is the strongest), the power of his legs was legendary. He is said to be the creator of the horrible “Step without Shadow, Stomp without Form” kick-fighting techniques. The Sorrow of Rage, Meh’xune was a force that wrought devastation wherever he walked. His was a scorched earth policy that was its own end. A bastion of chaos he inspired men toward rage. Scholars generally agree that he has not surfaced in the land in over a thousand years and indeed his legend is all but lost to common lore. Legend states that when last he walked the land he dared to try to destroy La-Oh who brought ruin to his kingdom. It was during this encounter that La-Oh is supposed to have captured Meh’xune’s terrible shadow and spirited it away, rendering Meh’xune helpless. It is said that Meh’xune’s followers spread to the four corner’s of the world to retrieve the shadow and still search till this day. The band of terrorists and murderers known as the Black Stomp Society are said to be all that remains of Mezuoni’s company. They are very deadly remnants indeed.

R’ma — B’Naye Prince

R’ma, master of magic, and father of the B’Naye ( a mystical fighting society which brought terror to much of eastern Ehdrigohr in generations past). The Sorrow of Corruption, it was he who occupied much of R’Deen’s time during the War of Sorrows. He gifted those who followed him with knowledge that let them force the weave to their bidding. His was the magic of elements that ended in the Paha Sica, a terrible place of legend where magics twisted the land and those within into mockeries of life. It was his followers who became some of the most powerful of Withen (sorcerers and witches who used life as their powersource) and corrupted the land. The last in this legacy was Aswiid the Mad who in a bid for immortality accidentally brought on the last Turning which was ended by the coming of the Still.

J’hola — The Crone

This Sorrow is a twisted illusionist who’s magic turned brother against brother. The Sorrow of Lies and Intolerance, J’hola is said to still live on a terrible island covered in bogs and snow. From there she hatches plots that incite wars between kingdoms. She would do far worse but her island is a prison carefully guarded by Bearwalkers and Witches that keep her from leaving and walking the lands of men. She was placed there, it is, said by K’Sa the wise.

Shiivh — The Flayer

The Sorrow of Murder, Another of Ok’O-wi’s pet killers who is said to carve the flesh from his foes in combat, and wears a suit of armor composed of those who have fallen before him. Shiivh has not been seen in an age. Rumor has it that he was captured by the Graces and hidden away somewhere secret. K’ui’s forces still strive to find and release Shiivh and unleash a genocidal rampage.

B’baa — Grandmother of Night.

The Sorrow of Nightmares, B’baa prowled the darkness, raising the dead and luring hapless souls into her dark mists. She took special interest in corrupting the innocence of children and filling them with fear, fear which she used to power terrible machines. Her servants were bogeys, twisted little spirits who snatched children from their beds.

Yyaa — Son of Ukh

The Sorrow of Consumption, he was great giant who devoured all that he surveyed. He wears a scar upon his face given to him by Wa’Kya (who is his mortal enemy) and cannot heal, it seeps with a foulness. There are those who say the pus of Iyaa’s wound can provide power to those willing to find it. The power, so far has always been accompanied by madness and insatiable appetites for the bizarre and perverse. He is said to dwell in a Fold somewhere beneath the Waking Mountains.

Wiitzyl — The Plotter

The Sorrow of Manipulation, and a warrior of renowned skill, he was said to be without par in the tactical arena. He is said to continue to elude the Graces and exercises his might regularly among the people. The Jays are quick to spot his schemes however so, none have yet succeeded.

Uhr R’Maahn — The Blood Letter

The Sorrow of War, this one was said to be without peers in the field of direct battle. Her enemies fell before her like grain before the sickle. Her whereabouts are unknown as she seemed to disappear around the time of the Still. Many death cults seek her attentions.

 

GRACES

K’sa — The Wise

The Grace of Wisdom, and relative of the Weaver, K’sa shares a kinship with the Iktom. He is said to be able to see the patterns woven by evil and undo them. A being of much wisdom and great wit, K’sa has a love for jokes and children.

M’trynaan — The Vindicator

The Grace of Justice, She is said to gain power based upon the wrongs of her opponent. Only she could stand against Uhr R’Maahn during the final battle, and it is said that she will lead the forces of light in the battle to come. It is said that none can look into the many eyes of M’trynaan without having to face their own inner demons. Those who attempt do so either die or become reborn in grace.

Keru — The Warder

Grace of Shelter, she was set by the Songs of Light to guard the Weaver and Spinner against Ok’O-wi’s evil machinations, she and her folk also protect all that is good. She has passed on the traditions and secrets of symbols to those who would follow her path. Many dark Iktom have been sealed away deep beneath the earth and his servants ensure their bindings.

Mazda — The Gatherer

Grace of Family, Mazda sought to gather as many of the people as he could and lead them to places of safety. His wisdom was second only to K’sa and was Raama’s greatest thorn. Some say that Mazda is the first gatherer and that it’s sex and gender are fluid allowing her to be whatever is needed to enable communication and the growth of chosen family.

The Four Thunders

The Four Thunders that guard over the world and guide the Great Societies.
art by Greg Taylor

Wa’Kya — Leader of the Thunders

The Grace of Love and the first two-spirit, He put himself against the devouring evil of Yyaa wherever he struck. Thunder of the North, Lord of Crows, Favored of the Sun, his spear struck like lightning. Warriors who followed him were schooled in the Road of Secrets and the Crow Lance. The Crows of the Shil maintain this tradition. Wa’Kya walks the day as a woman and the night as a man. He has both sired and given birth to many children in the land. Tohr has been both her lover and midwife.

Tohr — Thunder of the West, Brother of Doves

Grace of Changes, He watched for and battled darkness in the West. He is said to wield a mighty club fashioned from the storms by Mapyato. Warriors who followed him were taught the Way of the Four Seasons of Man and the 4 Weapons of Virtue (Sunset Club, Knife, Spear, and The Hand of Weal and Woe). Steadfast and righteous was the ancient order called the Virtue’s of Tohr. They were said to represent all that was good in the People and to soothe the suffering of others first and fight only as a last resort. Healers and aesthetics they are revered by the people of the West. He has never borne any children of his own but adopts from the people often and has delivered the children of all of the Thunders and has delivered them to the Road as well.

R’Deen — Thunder of the East, The Prince of Jays

Grace of Beauty, R’Deen embodied the great experience of life, and taught the Heaven’s Fist and Path of Gold to his warriors. It is said that the rainbows after a terrible storm was R’Deen brilliantly colored armor leaving colors to bring smiles to the frightened and revealing the hiding demons so that his brother/sisters could strike. No Withen could stand the power of his songs. Those who followed his way sought out the withen in the dark places where they hid lured them out into the light. They were the Illuminators and Jays who brought light to men’s hearts and songs to their souls.

Xay’Iyahn’Gho — Thunder Brother of the South, Prince of Owls

Grace of Remembrance, his wind blades and were often called Wiitzyl’s bane. He was the creator of the “Dance of the Butterfly Blade” and chosen of the Moon. His eyes could see through any darkness or any deception, always perceiving the truth and bringing it too light. Those who follow his path ensure that none forget the past. Entertainers and tellers all, they bring joy to all they meet and make men forget the sorrows of war. They maintained the lines of communications in the most wartorn of areas. As storytellers and historians they can be considered second only to the bookish Rooks who build libraries in the east. This telling tradition is especially sacred to the cliffside order of J’va of the d’Zul who still maintain the maps drawn by their ancestors and know the faces of world of old.

Tsd’A’ardta — Peacegiver.

Grace of Peace, her voice is said to bring rest to all angry souls, and quiet the rumblings of war. She ensured that all that died found their way to Makochewakan where they could safely wait to be reborn. She seeks out haints, lurks, and curses, seeking to give them rest and peaceful dispersion. She favors the Doves and has been known to come to them in times of need. Some say She personally guides every Dove to Makochewakan.

V’meenin — Bright Singer

Grace of Compassion, antithesis of Hsi, her songs healed and brought life, while burning away at Hsi’s darkness. She brought the secrets of the singing bowls to the Barata. She was said to have used her bowls and songs to subdue the Woe known as the S’ahmpho while the people enacted the Rites of Still upon it.

La-Oh — Brother of Owls

Grace of Knowledge, he helped the people to discover their gifts and directed them to those who needed them most. It is said that there was no knowledge forbidden him. He is also said to walk the dark corners of the world revealing the secrets of the dark powers to the people so that they can foil them.

B’Raam — Highspeaker

Grace of Clarity, Given the power to name the spawnings of evil, thereby giving them form, and mortality. B’Raam foiled many of K’ui’s assassinations by giving him form and fighting him off. It is also said that B’Raam is the first and was given no set form so is neither male nor female. It was B’Raam who named the other Graces and brought them into this world.

Allen Turner

Writer, Storyteller, Game designer, Teacher, Dad, Table-top RPG geek. I'm just a dude who likes to share my wild imaginings. Follow me on Twitter @CouncilOfFools

One Comment:

  1. Your level of detail and unique feel still astound me.

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