The Lost One
In ages past, when the Menschen of Duwallen were getting their first inklings of the empire they would eventually command, the deepest marshes of their nation were vast and untamed wilderness. In these lands, rangers were employed to guide the helpless and seek out the lost. One such ranger, a legend in his day but whose name has been lost to the ravages of time, disappeared into the darkest reaches of the world with nothing more than a lantern, never to return. The stories rarely agree on who he sought - some say a young girl, others a full caravan of settlers, and others still his own family. Whoever it was, it seems clear he was unable to find them. And yet his devotion to his duty, no matter the personal cost, was enough for someone to take notice.
As the ranger drew his last breath in the mires of ancient Duwallen, The Lost One was born.
The Lost One has but a single purpose: he collects the souls of the dead which no other god will serve. Those left unburied, those who disappear into the depths of the untamed wilderness, those who refused to follow the practices of the death god of their region - it is his duty to ensure that as many of these unclaimed souls as possible find their way to across the Veil, else they be left to face the horrific fate that awaits all poor souls who wander too long through the land of the living.
Despite being active across the world, the Lost One has a specific affinity for swamps, bogs, and thick forests, with the vast majority of mortal sightings of the forlorn deity coming from such locales. Tales of his lamp cutting through the early morning fog on the same day in which hunting parties went missing or a child vanished abound in Duwallen in particular. Given just how many wetlands and dense wooded regions they have under their banner - not to mention the fact that it was once his homeland millennia ago - it only seems natural.
In addition to seeking out souls of the dead himself, the Lost One can often be found trailing after tiny motes of spiritual light that mortals have taken to calling 'wisps'. Most mortals have no real idea what the wisps are, but even those who surmise that they might be converted souls of the dead would certainly never guess that they are, in fact, volunteers. Souls who have a particularly strong fear of the afterlife, or who simply wish to remain in the mortal realm for a while longer, will be offered the chance to become a wisp in order to aid the Lost One in his eternal search. Quite a few souls became wisps in order to watch over their loved ones from beyond the grave (or lack thereof), something which their patron is all too happy to allow so long as they do not entirely shirk their duties in doing so.
A wisp's role is to seek out wandering souls the Lost One hasn't found yet. Once spotted, wisps will alert others in the area, who will in turn draw in more. Before long, a corpse and its attending spirit can have dozens of motes of soul-light drifting around them, lighting up the area and drawing their master in. Of course, mortals can't usually see what the wisps are really gathering around, and so the legends say that they're more often than not the cause of the body at the center of their macabre light shows, rather than merely a symptom.
Divine Symbols & Sigils
The Lost One has no official sign. By the reckoning of most of the world, he is a cursed being better left unmentioned save for in morality plays and scary stories meant to keep children behaving. As detailed above, the wisps under his command are a recognizable omen of his involvement and imminent presence - and therefore are feared by most of the world - but as it is considered terrible practice to invoke one who merely seeks to steal one’s soul away, no mortal has ever seen fit to institute any recognized iconography for the wandering god.
Tenets of Faith
As a god who is more feared than worshipped, the Lost One has no real religion in his name. Some sects of rangers, hunters, messengers, and others who make a job out of traveling through the untamed wilds hold the Lost One in a bit more esteem than most, but even they do so in hopes of preferential treatment should they meet their end, rather than because they truly respect him as a god.
He has no creeds or rites which must be followed - to do so would defeat the purpose of his existence. The Lost One’s only goal is to gather the souls that other gods can or will not. No matter their beliefs, origins, or deeds, the more fallen folk he can usher along into the land beyond the Veil, the fewer run the risk of degenerating into horrific monsters in the mortal plane. Without his tireless service, the world would be awash with wraiths and spectres; a veritable living hell.
Legends say that the Lost One was once a human ranger, charged with finding those who lost themselves within the fog-shrouded marshes of ancient, untamed Duwallen, and these tales are well represented in the god’s appearance. A frightfully tall and gaunt figure, he still wears a tattered collection of gear used by hunters and rangers throughout the nation’s history, and he holds in his left hand an old, rusted lamp that burns with a warm orange light at all times. His outfit is ill-fitting, seemingly meant for a much shorter, heftier man than he, suggesting that either he scavenges his gear from the individuals he reaps, or else that at one point he was not nearly so skeletal as he is today.
The most striking aspect of the Lost One’s appearance, and the one most often mentioned after his iconic lamp, is his utter lack of a face. Neither mouth nor nose graces the slick, clay-like flesh of the god’s head, and in place of eyes he has dull lights seemingly sunken into the surface of where a human’s eyes would otherwise be. Although a mouth is torn open from the blank surface of his jaw when he speaks, few mortals have witnessed this effect and lived to speak of it. To most of the living, the Lost One is a silent, unreadable being who seeks only to gather the souls of those unclaimed by the other gods for his own purposes.
Morality & Philosophy
Death made very little difference to that poor soul. He has a job to do - and a vital one for all of us, I must say. He was not about to let something as inconsequential as the end of his life get in the way of finding those in need of his aid.
Unbeknownst to all but a very select few living mortals, the Lost One is actually an incredibly kindly soul, though not terribly talkative even to the dead. He views his role in the world as a necessary and important one, and he frequently goes the extra mile to ensure that the souls he collects are calm and secure once they settle themselves into the afterlife. He bears mortals no ill will for their perception of him, and in fact he frequently asks the souls he’s collected to perpetuate tales of his fearsome nature. After a few fateful collections on the outskirts of various cities throughout the world, he harbors a terribe fear that the destitute and depressed might sooner seek to take their own lives than continue on if they knew that there was a kindly face awaiting them on the far side, offering them what might momentarily seem to be a seemingly brighter alternative.