Agshasa Muren (4e Deity)
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Agshasa Muren is also called the sunderer.
Followers of Agshasa Muren can come from virtually any race, class, or walk of life. The only race not known to have a significant following is the dwarven race, though there are always a few exceptions. He encourages his followers to do whatever they can that spreads madness, despair, destruction, and any other "ill". Religious meetings themselves vary greatly from cult to cult. Some are "civilized" affairs where priests discuss the actions of the members and suggest new ways to further their god's aims. Others are full of chanting, candlelight, and sacrifices. There are a few constants his followers adhere to, including holding aberrant creatures sacred for they are Agshasa’s children, thwarting servants of the court whenever possible, and, otherwise, it falls to the individual priest or practitioner to interpret the will of their god.
Agshasa Muren leads campaigns from Threysos, the spirit realm, where encampments he requires can be found. Meeting locations for cults are often located in abandoned buildings, secret underground rooms, other low-profile locations, or open temples in lizardfolk lands. Unless the location is secure, very few permanent alterations are made to the space, for fear of discovery. In more permanent meeting spaces, murals or carvings of aberrations can be seen on the walls, and three concentric circles representing the "threefold path" of the creed are carved or painted on the floor. Followers of Agshasa Muren in human and fey settlements typically must hide their faith from their fellows, but underground cults are not uncommon.
Agshasa Muren is the leader of the Pact of Ruin. In the early days of the world, Agshasa delighted in creating great beasts of chaos and whispering madness in the ears of the children of other gods. Agshasa was responsible, in this way, for the fall of the First Empire, and the loss of Alerkhaz and all its powerful magic to the brutal lizard folk.
When the Lady of Light and the Lord of the Land formed the Divine Court and ordered Agshasa Muren to cease meddling in the affairs of mortals, Agshasa refused. He rallied several other powerful deities to him and struck what would become known as the Pact of Ruin – a dark allegiance between gods of destruction and hatred, who resented the authority of the Lady and Lord.
Most legends attribute the first strike to Agshasa. It was but the first in what has become known as the eternal battle, Sorialstaz, but it was a grievous blow and sundered the young land in twain. Since that day, Agshasa Muren and his allies have been at war with the Divine Court. While the war primarily takes place in Threysos, the spirit realm, Agshasa has never given up his love of meddling in mortal affairs. In Aegir, it has become a battle for the souls of mortals, for those who pledge their allegiance in life strengthen the Pact.
Agshasa is often depicted as an illithid, after his favorite creation, but occasionally appears as a different aberration or as a perfectly proportioned and stunningly beautiful human man, known as a daelkyr.
|“||Ill thoughts, ill words, ill deeds||”|
This phrase, though preached by followers of the Pact of Ruin in general, is most specific to Agshasa Muren himself. It encourages his followers to do whatever they can that spreads madness, despair, destruction, and any other "ill". These actions strengthen the Pact in the Divine Battle.
Clergy, Temples, and Religious Practices
While open temples to The Sunderer do exist in a few places (most notably in lizardfolk lands), worship of Agshasa Muren is typically done in secret, underground cults. Priests of Agshasa rail against the oppression and tyranny of the Divine Court and the freedom presented by Agshasa and the Pact. Occasionally a mad priest can be found spouting praise to Agshasa on a street corner, but unless he is good at making himself scarce when the Inquisition comes sniffing around, these priests don’t last very long. Instead, the religion is spread cautiously from the faithful to close acquaintances. New worshippers are typically introduced to this idea gently, explaining that they are being oppressed by the Court without being aware of it, and that their souls will become slaves to the gods when they die if they continue on their current path. Service to Agshasa holds the promise of eternal life, or great rewards upon death (in reality, the souls of the dead are used in essentially the same way on either side of the battle lines).
Once new worshippers are fully entrenched in the religion, the true aims of Agshasa are introduced to them slowly. Greed and selfishness are built upon, any seeds of hatred are nurtured and fed. Eventually, the worshipper embraces the creed “Ill thoughts, ill words, ill deeds” with passion.