Athreos, God of Passage (Ahth-Ree-Ohs)
"Athreos, god of Passage, so fair and so grand,
With edicts of movement, and guidance of hand.
He leads the dead across the Rivers that Ring,
In the Underworld, a place where spirits take wing.
His way is the way of dedication and pride,
Of burdens carried, of journey and guide.
Identity is his gift, a path to one's soul,
A journey to peace, beyond the Underworld's toll.
Athreos, be with us, as we journey life's way,
Lead us to where we belong, each and every day.
May your guidance be true, your hand always near,
And in our final passage, bring us peace and cheer.
So let us sing praises, to the god of Passage bright,
For the journey of life, and the journey of night.
May his edicts be our guide, and our burdens be light,
As we cross The Rivers That Ring, with Athreos as our sight. "
A god with a ceaseless burden.
Table of Contents
The shrouded Athreos is the River Guide, the divine ferryman of the dead across the Rivers That Ring the World to the Underworld. Silent, bent, and tattered, he patiently fulfills his role. Athreos is never without his signature staff, a gnarled length of dark wood. When he lays his staff over one of the five Rivers, it becomes a boat to carry the dead. Athreos cares little for the other gods' conflict with mortals: his primary concern is safe passage for the dead. When he gathers the newly dead to be ferried across the Five Rings, Athreos sends skeletal griffins to fetch those who stray. The withering custom of the dead is to craft a funerary mask of clay for the newly departed. In this way, the identities of the deceased are "framed" for Athreos, so that he can mark their proper passage. Such masks are broken into shards called ostraka and used as barter in the Underworld. Such a tradition has been quickly forgotten among most, and the dead who find themselves without masks have to wander the shores for one hundred years until they are allowed to cross the river.
Athreos, Shroud-Veiled by Igor Kieryluk
Athreos was not always the god of passage. He was, and in a way still is, the god of movement. One of the more popular gods, Athreos had tremendous power as he moved the sun and moon across the sky, the very wind that carried seeds of life to grow new forests, and the ocean waves for traveling vessels. It was believed that Athreos was far more powerful than the others, seeing as many of the world relied on him and his nature. Athreos, while benevolent to share his power to help the other gods, often carried himself with a narcissistic and often arrogant tone among his peers.
Over time many of the other gods became irritated and jealous at how Athreos presented himself and wanted freedom from his hold on movement, to be self sufficient in their own right. A coup was planned between the gods, one to remove Ahtreos from this title of power. All but Erebos and Kruphix participated in the swift and violent uprising. Athreos was blind sighted and could little to fight against such a force. He was beaten within an inch of his life, his powers stolen and dispersed among the participants of the battle so that each god can dictate their own movement as they see fit. Athreos was then banished to the Underworld so that he could not seek revenge against those who've plotted against him.
GOD OF PASSAGE
Athreos withered in the Underworld for a time. His once beautiful and radiant form had deteriorated into a hollowed version of himself. Athreos draped himself in his tattered clothes to hide his disfigured body and deformed face. Erebos took pity on the humbled god and offered Athreos a position of power within the Underworld. To help guide the departed to their destinations in exchange for a paltry sum of his power back. Athreos agreed, and quickly took the mantle of the God of Passage where he is known as today.
Grim Guardian by Ryan Barger
A Grim Guardian, servant of Athreos.
"Occasionally the living wander to the Rivers, but the wardens of Athreos ensure that only the dead pass."
Festival of Passing
For three days in late August each year, the Festival of Passing sees thousands of small hand made boats set afloat at dusk to commemorate the souls of the dead and to wish safe passage among those set forth into the afterlife. On the third night the main man made rivers are cleared of any traffic and transport from vessels. The hauntingly beautiful event begins at the Center of Ravnica where festival leaders set their own boats into the water to let them float onward. Participants line themselves up along the river and send off their own ships after the first until a humble fleet is formed sailing down the rivers. Candles or light cantrips are partnered with the tiny vessels, and these floating lights gently glide throughout the city. The resulting scene is a spectacular play of light and dark as the boats' glow slowly fades into the distance. Some festivals have seen hundreds of thousands ships sail across the calm waters of Ravnica's rivers.
Encountering an emissary of Ahtreos is incredibly rare. For one reason he has little care for the affair of mortals and the gods, for another is that he wishes to keep a quiet existence in the Underworld; too much meddling would bring unwanted attention from those who put him there. Those few who have been visited recall a skeletal griffon with a message clutched in its bony talons. The griffon departs as fast it came, likely back to the Underworld where it can return to corral those who linger.
Sentry of the Underworld by Dave Kendall
A skeletal Griffon of Athreos
Temples and Shrines
Old temples to Athreos can still be discovered in the Undercity, but they are long forgotten relics of the past. Athreos is one of the least worshiped god of Ravnica, and as such finding a maintained, let alone active temple is close to impossible. Instead, those who do appreciate Athreos as the god of passage are typically sailors on the rivers of Ravnica who keep small shrines to honor him and to bring save journeys to their travels.
Temple of Silence by Adam Paquette
A long forgotten temple of the once God of Movement.
“She asks pointed questions of the dead who wait for Athreos, learning of life from those who are about to leave it.”
Athreos only has respect for Erebos for he was the only one who showed him any kindness during banishment. All but Erebos and Kruphix have a passive resentment from Ahtreos, though these feelings are kept entirely to himself.
As Athreos is rarely worshiped, finding a follower of his is uncommon. Those who do follow him are depicted as scholars who wish to learn more about the departed. These followers are given special access to the Underworld for this purpose so long as they not meddle in any of the process of passage. Clerics have been known to possess fragmented powers of movement, allowing themselves to run faster, or to slow their enemies.
Worshiped byOrzhov Syndicate
Divine SymbolMask of Passage
Religious ColorsBrown, Green, White
EdictsMovement, Passage, Dedication, Burdens, Identity
Professional SkillsSkills that Priests may teach at major temples and gatherings
Devotion, Exhort, Navigation
Clerics of Athreos are given access to the powers he offers. Some miracles are restricted to more trusted or higher ranking members of this religion.
Aegis Awaken Beast Form Behold Breath Water Call Winds Clear Skies Cloud Call Consecrate Earthquake Excommunicate Haste Lay to Rest Propitiate Slow Wounds Walk of Peace