|| ==Chapter 5== ===Preparation for the Future - Dekaron===
The time of the resurrection of the human race was not a time of ultimate rejoicing.
The threat of Karon and his followers still lived fresh in the minds of the survivors, and
they instilled this fear and caution in future generations. It was widely known that the
seals that held Karon trapped in the Abyss were temporary, and it was widely believed
that Karon would grow in power and one day seek to attack Trieste again. So the
humans continued to develop their knowledge and power to defeat any enemy, and
called themselves “Dekaron” the resistors and the enemies of Karon and all evil. This is
the time of the Dekaron and the struggle against the Abyss.
=Birth of New Religion=
The result of the great struggle, called the Grand Fall, which had seen the
near destruction of the human race was, for the most part, devastating.
Certainly, the environment of Trieste was changed permanently. Plants and animals were mutated by the poisons and genetic infiltration of diseases of the Abyss. Though many of the mutations resulted in making beasts meaner or more deadly, some of them turned out to be beneficial to the recovering human race, offering new and more nutritious food sources and even new methods of transportation.
One of the biggest effects of the near extinction was in the human
realization that their previous magic and religious practices had failed them in many ways, and that it was time for new focus and a new order - the Incar Order, to be precise.
The Incar based their philosophy on the number 12. There are 12 gods and 12 deified animals. In addition, it matches the bi-lunar cycle of the moons, Miseria and Ricchez. One motto of the new order is "Eyes to eyes.
Teeth to teeth.” It was adopted to forever remind the humans of their struggle for survival against the implacable enemies of the Lower Bound, and of the advantage of intelligence (eyes) and weaponry (teeth) of the human defenders - the Dekaron. Totems of the 12 Incar Gods
Wings of the Sun - Hellion (Male): PiumaHelion is regarded as the God of the Sun and his totem of is the Griffin, which was also known as Aquirai.
The Griffin was one of the animals mutated by the contact with the monsters of the Abyss. It has been said that in olden times, the Griffin was often used as to achieve air mobility. It was larger, stronger and faster than the eagle. Griffins had fierce tempers but with proper handling, they were prized and weaponized as recently as a thousand years past. Even the Griffin’s feather was useful in developing weapons. Griffins were intelligent beyond just about any beast, and were able, with time and breeding, to learn to understand human speech.
The Griffin was known as the “King of the Sky.” Thus it was natural that this greatest of beasts should become the symbol of the greatest of gods, Helion. The Piuma was the sacrificial offering to Helion, the God of the Sun, and it was derived from the Griffin’s feather.
Pregnant Land - Siz (female): MiereSiz is the God of the Land and is represented by the totem Mazoram, a medical herb that was one of the plants transformed by the contact with the creatures of the Abyss. After the Grand Fall, when the human race was once more spreading out across the land, it was discovered that Mazoram had many unexpected uses. It was first discovered when people noticed how other, more evil and destructive mutated plants would not grow or thrive near a particular flower - the Mazoram flower. Mazoram came to be known as the “Flower of the Blessing,” as it seemed to have the power to repel evil. It was soon discovered that Mazoram also could be used as a cooking herb, a tea, and a tonic. Its medical uses ranged from treatment of scars to repelling certain fevers and poisons caused by the enemies of humanity. The special Mazoram honey called Miere was used as a sacrificial offering to the God of the Land, Siz. Mazoram honey was also prized for its flavor, and many people believed it conveyed long life on those who consumed it regularly.
Master of the Seas - Rondow (male): OllioRondow is the God of the great Oceans, and his totem is the Tiamety, which is a creature mutated by contact with the Abyss. The Tiamety is much like a whale, but two to three times as large and far fiercer. Along with maelstroms, the Tiamety was the deep sea fisherman’s worst nightmare, and even the maelstroms themselves were often said to be the result of the Tiamety’s malevolent magic. However, actual contact with the Tiamety was rare, and in fact the great creature was more of a boon than a scourge to the humans. Its main food source was the Kraken, a monstrous squid-like creature that was known to attack fleets with savage fury. So, although the Tiamety was feared, it was also revered as a protector - a guardian of the sea - and a scourge of the mighty Kraken. Upon sighting a Kraken, sailors would routinely invoke the name of Tiamety and seek its protection. Whenever one of the great whale-like creatures was spotted, the sailors would throw offerings and prayers into the sea, and generally they were passed over and left safe. One of the offerings to the great Tiamety is called Ollio, special oil derived from and extracted from the Kraken itself, often at great risk. It is, therefore, among the most precious and expensive of the gods’ offerings.
Beauty of Moonlight - Qune (female): FioreAmong the fairest, and yet most mysterious of the goddesses is Qune, known by humans as the Beauty of Moonlight. Her totem is the Oenosera plant, which was a more ordinary plant once - a common flower - until contact with various viruses and mutations from the Abyss changed it. Now it glows with white light under the moonlight and releases its petals to the wind, creating a storm of light under the moon. Nobody who witnesses this event can remain unmoved. The Oenosera flower is also a favorite of lovers as they confess their love for one another, and it has also been found to reduce fevers if brewed into a tea. The flower itself is often given as an offering to Qune, and when used as a religious item, it is called the Fiore.
God of Sword - Zuto (male): Mintro MentaThe god of Swords is Zuto, and his totem is the Unicorn. Once, the Unicorn was nothing but a horse, but the infections and mutations of the Lower Bound caused a new strain of magical origin to emerge, and thus the Unicorn appeared, brilliant white with a silver horn that thrust straight from its forehead. Unicorns are independent and intelligent, and do not accept domination by any other species, but humans have found ways to make peace with them, and once a Unicorn has befriended someone, their bond is unbreakable. Zuto is the patron god of all knights, and the Unicorn is their symbol of strength and loyalty. A special dagger, known as Bianca, is made from the Unicorn’s horns, which they shed once every three years. The Bianca dagger is said to have exceptional hardness and a great capacity for magical enhancements. The offering most often used to gain favor with the Unicorn is Mintro Menta, a mint-like herb, and a favorite food of the creature.
Weaving Girl with Poison - Nunvice (female) : FirletoOne of the most controversial and feared of the gods is Nunvice, the Goddess of Poisons and Strands. At the time of the formation of the Incar, her deification was much debated, but in the end she won the support of the elders and became one of the 12 gods in the Incar pantheon. Her totem is Manakne, one of creatures transformed by the contact with the Lower Bound. Logically for a goddess of poison and strands, the Manakne is a huge spider-like creature, as large as a human, but with eight legs and two hook-like arms. In battle, the Manakne can block with the arms and spit out strands of spider silk to immobilize its victims. Its hard shell makes it nearly impervious to ordinary weapons. Despite its fierceness, the Manakne offers great benefits to humankind. Its eyes are often used in jewelry because they are bright, hard and durable. Its poison is often used in refining medicines, while simultaneously it is used to envenom weapons, though care must be taken when doing so, for the least scratch can cause a fever that lasts weeks, and a more serious cut can cause death. Even the spider silk can be collected for use in making beautiful clothing, among the most elegant seen anywhere. Much care is taken to respect the Manakne, and only the bravest and most pious warriors attempt to fight them. The offering to the god and totem is Firleto, a special yarn made from the Manakne’s own silk, but harvested only in a non-destructive way.
Hermit in the Wood - Banzer (male): KodaBanzer is the god of the forest, wisdom and trickery. His totem is the Tyton, a creature similar to an owl, but mutated by contact with the Abyss. Its distinctive triangular “mask” makes it a favorite image for decorating shields and as a protective rune on the doors of houses, especially in the wild lands. But what makes the Tyton most remarkable is its deep ability with magic. In many ways, the Tyton has become a teacher to the human race, because its magic springs from new confluences of energy that have led to the discovery of new spells, in particular the magical messenger spells that allow communication across a distance. People are still studying this fascinating creature, though its reclusive habits make it difficult to find by all but the most experienced seekers. The common offering to the Tyton is a lizard’s tail called the Koda and taken from the Tyton’s favorite food source.
The Beauty of Ice - Parca (female): AnimmaParca, the goddess of all that is cold - including revenge. Her influence is strong, especially in the icy regions, and her totem is called the Frost Reeve, a humanoid creature that was drastically mutated by contact with the forces of the Lower Bound. Astoundingly, the Frost Reeve has an exceedingly beautiful face, which can beguile ordinary men and women, but is body is a grotesque skeletal assortment of bones, which it covers with leather armor. Frost Reeves are only suited for sub-zero regions, and therefore are never seen outside the frozen wastes, but even so, they are the subjects of many myths and often are used to fighten little children into obedience. That they are fierce and dangerous is undisputed fact. In one instance, a research team and its warrior guards encountered a solitary Frost Reeve and were nearly destroyed. Only two of the original 20 survived, and only by a lucky occurrence, as they fell 50 meters into a snowbank and the Frost Reeve lost interest in them. The decision to include the Frost Reeve as beautiful Parca’s totem was not without controversy, but the creature’s prowess in battle and frigid habitat made it the natural totem of the Ice Goddess. It is more feared than revered, but many altars are found in colder climes where the offering is Animma, or consecrated blood.
Moving Mountain - Mablray (male): GemmaMablray is one of the most complex gods, in that his role has continued to evolve. Originally, he was the God of Stone, but then was the God of Mountains. In time, he became the god of mining and of manufacturing, production and commerce. Mablray’s totem is the Mountain Golem, a behemoth of a golem that was affected during the time of contact with the creatures from the Abyss. Mountain Golems appear to be created of rocks, moss and tangled tree roots, but though they stand twice a human’s height, they are gentle and intelligent and can converse in human languages. For the most part, Mountain Golems Many a hunter or traveler has been surprised when hearing a voice emerge from a stationary tangle of rocks and roots, because the Mountain Golems do not move often, preferring to stay in a state similar to meditation most of the time. It is said that inside the Mountain Golem are bright jewels which would make diamonds look ordinary, but no hunter would dare to attack one - none that lived, at any rate. However, based on this myth, the traditional offering to the Mountain Golem is an item of jewelry called the Gemma, which can be just an ordinary stone set in base metal or a very elaborate precious gem set in precious metals. To the Mountain Golem, the offerings are equivalent, but humans often fool themselves into thinking that the quality matters, when it is only the humble act of offering that counts.
Wind Wolf - Tera (female): CaninoThe goddess of wind and of the animals of the land is Tera. Her totem is the Fenril, a mighty creature that mutated from the ordinary plains wolf during the greatest contact with the Lower Bound. Twice as large as the greatest of ordinary wolves, Fenril are very fast moving and have the Lycanthrope ability, which allows them to stand on two legs and give the appearance of a human - at least from a distance. Although Fenril - known also as the Wind Wolf - are feared by travelers and hunters, that fear is based mostly on caution. Fenril rarely attack humans, though they will defend their lairs and their offspring, and are the match for ten good men in a fight. But with their speed and cunning, they are rarely cornered into a fight. It is rumored that they understand the speech of humans, and that often, around a campfire, people have the sense that something is listening. Perhaps it is the Fenril. An offering often given to Fenril is the fang of an ordinary wolf called a Canino. Because ordinary wolves have been known to attack the Fenril’s lairs when they are absent, the Canino is considered to represent a bond between man and Fenril.
Internal Storm - Arch (male): DecaArch is the mighty God of Thunder and Storms and his totem is Teraphin, one of the creatures transformed by the contact with the Lower Bound. This mutated turtle has two huge heads and towers over an ordinary man. It has the unique ability to call up storms by the piercing sounds that it can emanate from both heads. The Teraphin can only be killed by double decapitation. Cutting off one head does not kill it, and in time the head will reform itself. Its body is impervious to all known human weapons, though some magic may be able to penetrate its armor. Fortunately, the Teraphin is a mild creature, and in fact is the enemy of all that is evil. There is really no reason for humans to fight the creature, but to recognize it as a divine creature and make offerings of Deca, the specially sanctified carapace of the Sky Turtle.
Demon of Misfortune - Sepaphi (male) - NieteSepaphi is the God of Misfortune and Death, and is the darkest of the Incar gods. The totem of Sepaphi is an anthropomorphic representation of the moon Miseria - the Moon of Misfortune. Sepaphi’s holy day occurs when Miseria occludes Ricchez. Miseria is depicted often as a monk in a black robe, a skeleton helm and a bone cane. Another depiction of Sepaphi’s totem is the image of Kalizio himself - the wise man who released Karon into the world. However, while the original Kalizio was a striking and handsome man, when he is depicted as the totem, he is distorted by the evil of Karon. There is no specific offering for Miseria as Sepaphi’s totem. However, the offering, while it doesn’t technically exist, is known as Niette (which means, “Nothing”). Although there is fear of misfortune and death, at the same time, there is a certain ability to laugh in the face of that fear. The people of Trieste have known death and misery so long that they can actually laugh at the god, offering him “nothing” because he does nothing for them.