Ephias The Chain Maker
Ephias never sought out the worship of Tairos’ mortals nor did he travel here with Vale The Architect and the others. He was discovered in a sense. Deep within the earth far from the eyes of most mortals there is said to be the shattered remains of one of The Gates. This gate was buried here long before the gods arrived and before the birth of civilization. Who buried it is unknown but what is clear is that they couldn’t destroy it, not entirely. Even cracked, ruptured and partially collapsed it still remains functional and locked open upon a realm of hellfire and screams.
It is from the infernal portal that the Chain Maker's whispers echoed forth. Those first honeyed words were meant for the Duergarians who were only recently expelled from their home land. Withering and on the verge of extinction these Dwarves were easy prey for his false promises. He lured them to the cavern beneath the volcano in the Ash Plains and bade them to fully restore the gate. In exchange he invested some of his divine essence into reforging their bodies and gifting them with natural magic. He taught them the secrets of Hellforging and how to enslave demons. And with that promise he also bound them forever to his service. Any disobedience would cost them their the power they now rely on and the machines they wrought with his black science would turn against them.
All that is known of Ephias comes from his holy book The Ashen Oath and Promise of Chain. It is written in a similar manner as the Vale Manuscripts and describes a being who has nothing but contempt for the other gods. Scholars are unclear if Ephias is an incredibly powerful demon, a god or something else entirely for his nature is never clearly explained. What his book does explain is that he is a binder of the demonic that can manipulate the infernal forms and cast them into metal, creating living engines of destruction.
The holy books of the other gods lay out very clearly that he is also the keeper of something called the Nine Keys. Nine books said to contain all the secrets of Hell and the Abyss and with it the ability to merge those realms with material worlds. These tomes were said to have been taken from him and scattered by Vale and Sandor The Guardian of Tairos.
The priests of Ephias are known as Flame Speakers. They worship their god through bloody acts of violence and casting out the souls of the tortured into demonic furnaces that power their machines. Their temples are equal parts factory and abattoir where cruel rituals are enacted, demons are enslaved and holy crusades for the Nine Keys are begun. The remains of the gate exist now in the home of Ephias' most faithful followers, the Durager. This gate is known to the people of Cinderstone as the Burning Bridge, and many frenzied tales speak of rituals that allow Ephias to walk among his worshipers for brief and bloody moments.
Evil, Law, Fire, Artifice and Destruction
Holy Books & Codes
The Ashen Oath and Promises of Chain- This book is written as something of a blasphemous mirror to the Vale Manuscripts. It speaks of the pantheon as weak and terrified beings desperate to escape disaster. It accuses Vale of being single-minded in his mercy toward these flawed deities and Sandor as a puppet king to incompetent children. Beyond this commentary it also is a detailed set of instructions regarding treating with the infernal and demonic. It also contains the formulas for summoning such terrible creatures the realms of the damned.
Divine Symbols & Sigils
Ephias' symbol is a crown of flame and chain and his favored weapon is a spiked chain. Chains of all kind represent Ephias' predilection to binding and controlling others.
Tenets of Faith
There is no sacred ground for the conquered. The gift of immortality is earned with blood. The merciful leave this world forgotten, the tyrant will echo through eternity. Bind the soul, recast the flesh, burn the land and butcher the rest.
Divine Goals & Aspirations
Ephias wants nothing less than the death of Vale and enslavement of his precious gods. He wants to permanently connect the realms of the damned with Tairos so that he can pluck demons out and reshape them into his mechanical servants. He would also like to see either durager conquer Tairos for him or have other nations fall into his service so he need not rely on only the durager.