The Lost Gods

For centuries before the founding of Tremontane, the people living in that region shared a belief in the power of threes, specifically mind, body, and spirit. These qualities were embodied in three gods who were worshipped in varying ways throughout the region. When Haran made her discovery of ungoverned heaven, she came to believe that the gods had once existed, but were long gone by the time she arrived there. As worship of ungoverned heaven spread, it became common to refer to the Three as “the lost gods.” Though the Ruskalder maintain their worship of the Three, many believers in ungoverned heaven believe the Ruskalder gods are not the same as the lost gods–though few people outside Ruskald give much thought to the matter.

Because the worship of the Three is maintained only in Ruskald, the three gods, who were known by different names among the different countries, are now referred to solely by their Ruskalder names.

Siger: Manifesting as male (Sigerd) or female (Sigerda) depending on the situation, Siger represents the power of mind to control the body and the spirit. As a result, Siger “rules” the Three, though it would be more accurate to say that he/she brings balance when one of the other two dominates. He/she is the patron of rationality, reason, and memory and is invoked by those practicing the creative arts.

Siger is worshiped solely by the priesthood, though this “worship” is very different from the rituals and sacrifices ordinary Ruskalder make to the other two gods and is kept secret from those not of the clergy. Older stories recorded in the Eskandelic traditions say that Siger is the youngest god and rose out of the conflict between the other two. The Ruskalder don’t believe this. Siger’s symbol is an S-curve bisected by a diagonal line, like an elongated yin-yang symbol.

Balderan is the god of strength, physicality, and often masculinity. He is an unsophisticated god, dealing with humans at the most basic level of primal urges. Although he is usually worshiped by men, he welcomes the worship of women, particularly those who celebrate their physical strength and endurance. Ruskalder towns have annual celebrations of Balderan in which feats of physical prowess are performed. The Ruskalder Samnal grew out of this tradition, though it’s no longer a religious ceremony. His symbol is a U balanced on a horizontal line—horns, representing maleness, but in reference to Balderan’s own sex and not that of his worshipers.

Hevda: Goddess of spirit and will, Hevda is extremely powerful and a little frightening. She is not considered evil, but invoking her is dangerous in the sense of biting off more than you can chew; she responds to her worshipers’ requests, but often in unexpected ways, and sometimes in ways the supplicant doesn’t like. As a result, people who call on her are generally desperate, and despite her superficial appearance of indifference, Hevda is generous with her aid and known to help the weak and downtrodden.

Hevda accepts as sacrifices acts of self-deprivation that require willpower to maintain, such as fasting or breaking a habit. Her symbol is the Eye—two arcs with a pinpoint pupil in the center—which is often carved or painted on things people want Hevda’s attention to pass over, the idea being that if she sees the symbol, she will believe she’s already watching over it.

The worship of each god has gone in and out of vogue during the centuries, reflecting to a degree the Ruskald national character of the time. At present (the fifty-year span between Servant of the Crown and Agent of the Crown) there is a strong divide between male and female roles, with men worshiping Balderan and women worshiping Sigerda.