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Alh Margaqs'n

The Devourer


The world will be pitch black. You will awaken in a hallway, alone and cold. The walls will press like sharp knives against your skin, and in the distance you will hear nothing but the echoes of the screams of people long gone. You will be forced to walk the maze until your feet bleed, until your skin grows tight against your bones as you slowly starve. You will rot as you wander the labyrinth of entrails for eternity, until you are nothing more than an empty shell of what you once were. That is the fate that awaits you, and all who follow your path.
— Priest of Kirïal to Barin Shef-sek after his sentence.

Alh Margaqs'n, the Great Beast

In the Saohri mythology, Alh Margaqs'n (litt. The Devourer) is the incarnation of the empty, primordial state of the world. An otherworldly, unintelligible being who seeks to consume all that exists, and return the world to nothing. The Gods have kept it from destroying the world more than once, but even their limitless powers cannot kill it completely- one cannot erase what comes from nothing.

Alh Margaqs'n is described as a monstrous beast, with thousands of legs, ten thousand eyes, a long body that coils and slithers and slides in a large, black mass of cold sharp scales. It knots itself together, buried under the earth. Harund keeps watch over the beast, tasked with pushing it back into its jail whenever it tries to escape it.

The Fate of the Unjust

There are a few legends about what fates await those who end up trapped in Alh Margaqs'n. All will suffer alone, walking the eternal maze of tunnels and streets that make up the beast's insides. The Book of Ikaron describe tunnels of rock and dirt, suffocating and weighing on those who desperately try to claw their way out. The Book of the Dead describe a limitless town with empty streets, where a black sun shines and faceless crowds drown any who attempt to fight its current.

Please, let me make amends- I don't want to die now, I know he won't save me if I die now, just- please, I don't want to be devoured!
— A murderer about to be executed.

What few legends exist that speak of Alh Margaqs'n all describe the crushing feeling of isolation, the eternal suffering of those forced to walk through the eternal maze alone. The myths and scriptures talking about the Great Beast are rare, but they are enough to frighten even the most violent criminals as they are walked to the noose.

Alh Thüs


It will burst from Matazel the Lonely and tear the world in two. It will reach for the sun and the moon, and the dead will die once more as it engulfs Ayshabiu. One by one the gods will die, until only Aher remain.
— Extract from the Seeings of Iqtibon

Saohri scriptures rarely talk about the Alh Thüs: only the Seeing of Iqtibon, a minor uncomplete cycle of prophecies, holds any real mention of it. Alh Margaqs'n is essentially imprisoned inside Matazel himself, and the creator of the world- if he dies, the world effectively ends. The prophecies stop when only Aher remains.

Several theories exist to explain the abrupt ending of the prophecies. Some say the end was lost, destroyed by creatures of the Great Devourer, while others claim Iqtibon could not bare to write what happened next. A few theologists, in an attempt to debunk the theories, claim that the author of the "prophecies" stopped writing when they realised it would be impossible to make sense of Aher the Green's death.

Their reasoning is as follows: all gods exist as incarnations or extensions of Matazel the Lonely, including Alh Margaqs'n, meaning they all exist within physical space. As the incarnation of time, Aher is the only god whose existence does not derrive from Matazel in some way or another. Alh Margasqs'n is bound to its way of existing, never able to destroy Aher, and so long as the god lives the world will not have ended.


by Gustave Doré

Another Fate

Fortunatly, the Ruwah who die are brought before the court of Kirïal the Silent. The god will take note of all that they say and immortalize it in the god's library of souls. They are then escorted to Ayshabiu, the isles of eternal rest where live the gods.
by Ivana Cajina

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Cover image: by Austin Templeton

Comments

Author's Notes

Hey everyone! Back with a new article, this time one of the two afterlives of the Saohri religion. Writing this reminded me of just how much work I have to do with my pantheon, and I should really get to making my to-do list for worldember.

This article was written in the context of the Afterlife Flash Challenge.


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9 Nov, 2020 16:53

Wow, the quote at the beginning is just spine-chilling. I'm so glad that most people are saved from that horrible fate.

9 Nov, 2020 22:23

Oh, thank you! I tried my best to be as evocative as I could, I'm glad it came through well :)

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!