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Zys

(a.k.a. The Cold Mother, the Pale Maiden, The One Who Waits, Mother of Humanity, The Threadweaver, the Queen of Tears)

Goddess of Death, known as the Cold Mother, the Queen of Tears and the One Who Waits. Depicted as a faceless shrouded woman in a cloak of raven feathers. Is said to have smiled only once, in response to the other gods' outrage and mockery at her gift to her chosen people, those who became the humans.

Zys is a mysterious and distant goddess who nonetheless commands great respect from the pantheon. Her worship has remained unchanged after the Calamity, as she never answered prayers or appeared in person before it either, many of her worshipers believe she did not enter the Gate with the others. Zys does not demand sacrifice or prayer; her temples are houses of funerary rites, graveyards cemetaries and mausoleums. Her worship is incense and flowers and quiet remembrance of those who have passed into her care.

In the dawning age she created three daughters from drops of her own blood drawn from pricking her finger upon her sickle. These daughters are Chance, Choice, and Fate, those who watch over all mortal lives.

As the Mother of Humanity, almost all humans on Eramon will pay some quiet service to Zys even if they do not directly worship her or focus their worship on another god.

Divine Domains

Death in its natural form, fate, time, inevitability, acceptance of loss, grief and mourning, melancholy, solace and rest, healing and medicine, destruction of undead and necromantic magics which interrupt the natural cycles of death, and the human race.

Divine Symbols & Sigils

A raven holding a sickle in its claws.

Tenets of Faith

Zys inspires her worshipers to be mindful of the time they have remaining and to never take life for granted. She teaches that Death is both the final mystery of mortal existence and the inevitible path all mortals must walk. Her worshipers take solace in the return to the Cold Mother's welcoming arms that awaits them. Life is filled with suffering, and death is the end of that suffering, the door beyond which the pleasures and pains of the flesh cannot pass and the soul finds relief and respite.

Though death is to be embraced rather than feared, murder and suicide are each frowned upon as an interference with an individual's natural path to the Cold Mother; one must not be so dismissive of life's gifts and lessons as to try to hasten one's own journey, nor so arrogant as to presume oneself the rightful judge of another's moment to pass.

The exception is the giving of mercy to those close to death, whose end is inevitable; this is seen as stepping in to guide and ease a crossing that is the already a clear will of the Mother.

Zys's worship consists of quiet prayers both in the home and at temple. Incense is burned during her rites, and solemn, sometimes chilling dirges and chants sung as part of the funerary practice. It is customary for petitioners to Zys to write their thoughts, feelings and desires, particularly relating to the grief and heartache of loss, upon scrolls to be burned as offerings to the goddess, in order to release mortal heartache and be relieved.

Zys accepts no sacrifices whatsoever, whether of belongings or especially of living things. The Goddess teaches that all beings who die come to her, and thus she claims sacrifice with every being that passes in its own time.

As the prime overseer of funerary ritual, rites of Zys may be honoured in any of a number of funerary practices.

The Goddess' followers have the greatest repulsion for necromancy, resurrection magic, and the use of healing magic on those who are close to death and wish to pass. Ardent followers of Zys see a repugnance in other cultures' and individuals' desire to cling to life at all costs and the reversal of death, pulling the soul of a dead being back to the side of life, unnatural and unbalancing to the cosmos. Fortunately, in the world of Eramon the Cold Mother has long held authority over the success or failure of resurrection magic, and has let few indeed pass from her domain.

Undeath is anathema to Zys and all her followers, and her paladins and clerics are the most fervent foes of the undead, with outposts thrust deeper into the Deadlands than any other organisation dares to tread, there sacrificing their own lives to stem the tide. Zys particularly despises above all things the intelligent undead, such as liches and vampires, who have willingly traded their gift of life for an unholy false immortality that blights and insults the natural order of the universe and the rightful dominion of Death.

Divine Goals & Aspirations

The legend of the Forging was carried down as the core tenet of the human civilisation that became Glorium Hominium in the Central Continents. By this teaching, death itself is the "Gift of Zys", and the short lifespans of humans drive them to achieve within the time they have where other, more long-lived races never see the need. It is this driven force that allowed Humans to rise to Glory.

Though there are temples to Zys across the remains of the Glorium, and even in this post-Godsgate age they remain some of the few temples still actively attended, Zys demands little of her worshipers and her temples perform the primary function of funerary houses, cemetaries, and hospices for the ill and dying.

They are elegant but sombre places, primarily built in a blend of gothic minimalism where the architecture itself is the only decoration, though some also feature macabre details of grinning skeletons, ravens and roses carved into their many nooks and crannies to remind visitors that death is always watching and never far. Her temples are also frequently gardens, and her sacred flowers, the white lily and black rose, feature in her iconography as well as physically within the design of her temples.

Clergy of Zys serve the primary function of overseeing funerary rites and burials. They are adept at healing and restorative magic, but will occasionally refuse to spare those deemed to be passing by the will of the Mother. Relics of Zys continuing to enable clerical magic in the post-Godsgate age include pendants, enchanted sickles, chains, and the bones and skulls of saints.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

A hooded, faceless female figure in a cloak of raven feathers. She is usually depicted as a hooded cloak, robe or death-shroud surrounding an indistinct figure, or as an empty cloak with only pale hands and a pale chin visible. In no depiction is the Mother's face or figure depicted aside from the lower half of her face and her hands. She is often depicted holding a sickle and sheaf of wheat, an hourglass, or a weaver's spool.

Social

Contacts & Relations

All of the pantheons of Eramon hold the Cold Mother in high regard, though as a distant and mysterious figure she is kept at arms' length and many are equally wary of her. Nonetheless, her role as the incorruptable and indomitable force of Death is highly respected even among other deities. Enemies: Death has no true enemy, though many strive and struggle against her, Zys simply does not respond. The one exception is that her worshipers are expected to hunt out and destroy the undead in all forms; thus entities such as Vecna and Orcus may be considered enemies of Zys.
Divine Classification
Greater Goddess
Church/Cult
Children

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