by Christine H. Rietsch and Troy D. Teske

The deities of magic are a divided lot in a way that only the earth deities match – the main pairs are resident only on one world or the other, not both. The principal deity of light on Darkshom has long existed as a prophecy only (see below), leaving magic itself lacking in power. Recently, the chaos that has gripped the magic of Milia has begun to infect the local gods of magic themselves; some speculate this is a sign that the coming of Maraya is close at hand. Collectively, the deities of magic are the patrons of mages and sorcerers, though some mages prefer one individual. Priests of any of these deities tend to be multi-classed mages or sorcerers.

Lady of the Tome, Mistress of Scrolls, Keeper of the Past

Symbol: Eye of History, Raven
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Portfolio: Knowledge, History, Reason, Divination, Patron of the Gnomes
Worshipers:Mages, sages, diviners, alchemists, judges, gnomes
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Neutral, True Neutral
Favored Weapon: Staff
Specialist Orders: None

General Information: To non-mages (and non-gnomes) Seshat is a minor power, the recorder of history; mages and others of a studious bent see her as the keeper of all knowledge, and a teacher of the sciences. Such individuals appeal to her for bits of forgotten knowledge, study in her temple libraries, and seek the backing of her priesthood in experiments (often of questionable merit if gnomes are involved). Her followers also include those who seek truth in order to dispense justice; the courts of most lands that have such things often feature her likeness beside that of Takari.

Seshat generally appears as a plain woman with brown hair and eyes and pale skin, wearing a long brown dress of middle-class cut and style. She often appears in company with her consort, Fate; the two even share temples in some locales. Her symbol, the “Eye of History,” represents the three-fold view of the historian – studying the past, observing the present, and looking to the future.

History/Relationships: The first records of Seshat on the Twin Worlds coincides with the arrival of the Amenep on Darkshom; under the name Seset, she was worshiped as the goddess of magic and the mind. She abandoned magic to Areneth (see Dead and Forgotten Powers) shortly after the Amenep crossed paths with the elves, focusing exclusively on knowledge and reason; contact with the Akkadians spread her name and worship among the humans. It was at that point she came to the attention of the leader of the pantheon, and fell in love with him; the two quickly became a firm couple in both their lives and the theology of most humans. The murder of Areneth struck her deeply, and she quickly moved to secure the aspect of divination, rather than allowing any more power than was necessary fall into Ylafax's clutching hands. The migration of a group of her human worshipers through the Darkgate has given her the one thing that has eluded the other deities of magic: an uncontested power base on both worlds, which she guards jealously.

Never one to do anything but speak her mind plainly, she has earned more than her share of animosity from other deities; despite that, she has very few true enemies. First on the list would have to be Nanaja, for although she has forgiven her mate for his affair, she refuses to forgive the unrepentant object of his attentions; though it seldom affects the priesthood of either, the two goddesses are still feuding over the incident. Her rivalry with the goddess of literature is far cooler on her part; she simply feels that fiction and prose are a waste of time and ink, which irritates Athyr and leads to the occasional squabble between the two. Ylafax and Kali Druin are another matter entirely; Seshat feels both should be exterminated for the betterment of the pantheon and the Twin Worlds; Fate has counciled her against such drastic action, so she settles for ruining as many of the schemes of both as she can ferret out.

Seshat has had a long and somewhat tempestuous relationship with her consort; she has some trouble with his desire to “do whatever is required to keep everything on course.” Namely, what he seems to think is required (like his having twins with Nanaja) and what she does are often two very different things. Only one thing has prevented a break-up between the ruler of the pantheon and his lady: that he always returns to her without prompting. Patience being her strongest virtue hasn't hurt, of course, nor did the birth of their daughter Khes, who seems to have a gift for soothing her mother's ruffled feathers.

Dogma: Knowledge is the ultimate pursuit; to learn, discover, record, and teach are the sacred duties of all true scholars. Only through the gathering of information can one truly comprehend the wonders of the multiverse, and realize that the place of one being in it is both inconsequential and immense beyond understanding. To obsess over such distinctions as race or faith are minor without greater underlying reasons; for example, the drow should be hated and scorned for the practices that make them a menace to civilized society, not simply for being drow. Divorcing one's self from the baser emotions is key to being able to observe, record, and teach without blinding biases, and so should be encouraged at all times. Beyond that, understanding the past may be the best way to move forward; we can see what worked or not in the past, and proceed without repeating the mistakes of history. We must always stand ready to prevent the loss of knowledge to war, despotism, and “encouraged ignorance;” the struggle for knowledge is not always a mental one, and the body must be kept healthy to keep the mind healthy in any case.

Clergy and Temples: Seshat's clergy are organized loosely, with the only central authority above the highest ranking priest in a given locale being the goddess herself. Within an individual temple, clerics are divided into four ranks, each with specific duties. Aspirants are the novices of the temple; their main duties are learning from their Pedagogs, and the basic upkeep of the temple and surrounding grounds (if any). After a period of roughly three years, each Aspirant is allowed to take a test, administered by a Pedagog (usually one he or she had little previous contact with); depending on the result of that test, they are given the option of becoming a Senior or a Pedagog (though some are only given one “option”) or are forced to spend another year as an Aspirant. Seniors are the administrators, librarians, and history-keepers of the temple; their main duty is to maintain and expand the considerable library that is a part of every temple (the exact definition of 'considerable' varies by location), and to preform most of the actual services. Pedagogs are the teachers, offering to educate any in the community that wish to learn, as well as overseeing the education of all Aspirants. The final rank is that of Keeper, of which there is one per temple; these are the leaders, coordinators, and final authority in all matters concerning the temple. Keepers do not have varied rank with respect to other Keepers; in the very rare event of a dispute in jurisdiction or authority, the goddess herself is consulted.

Some consider it bizarre that Seshat's clerics are given any combat training at all, but such is the requirement of the temple; all Aspirants are given extensive training with the staff and the sling (though the staff is stressed). Though her clerics are not by far the first to throw themselves into the defense of a city they will do so if they feel it necessary; many are multi-classed mages, able to bring a great deal of power to bear in an emergency. It should be remembered, however, that her priesthood is not one of warriors, and contains no warrior order; those who have great love of weapons work to the exclusion of all else usually never pass beyond the rank of Aspirant, and leave on their own before too long.

Other RacesSeshat is known to, and venerated by, most of the races of Darkshom and Milia; dwarves, gnomes, and halflings all follow her under her human name. The elves recognize her as Fallanderia the Recorder, and refuse to acknowledge she has another identity, while the goblins of Milia call her Thak'yn; the orcs and other races of Rohrn and the Midworld don't recognize her at all.


Mistress of the Morning Star, Swan-Maiden, the Gypsy

Alignment: Neutral Good
Symbol: Key of Power, Swan
Home Plane:?
Portfolio: Magic (Light)
Worshippers: Arcane Spell Casters
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Good, Nuetral Good, Chaotic Good
Favored Weapon: Staff
Specialist Orders: None
General Information: The goddess the prophecies say will one day come to return balance to the magic Darkshom. Some say the time is very near, as her priests have begun receiving spells; persistent rumors among other priesthoods have the god of fate as the responsible party, others blame a bleed in power from her counterpart of Milia, Caho. In any case, her cult is a small but hopeful one, laying the groundwork slowly for the day when their goddess claims her rightful place; they typically keep a low profile, as they are routinely hunted by followers of Ylafax who seek to ensure Maraya never gains a power base.

Dogma: The talent and skill to perform magic come with a cost – they should be used in the defense of others and for the general good, not for personal gain (at least not primarily, depending on alignment). Mages should not only seek their own advancement, but the advancement of their community and nation as well. “With great power comes great responsibility” may be cliché, but it also happens to be true.

Clergy and Temples: Maraya has very little in the way of a priesthood as of yet, but there are a few; most are taught directly by a senior member, and only told the name of the head of the church when they are fully trained. Clerics operate alone, for the most part, and tend to masquerade as members of the churches of Caho, Seshat, or Verthara; most operate in fear of their lives. Her priesthood is limited in power (maximum of 10th level); most are, like the priests of the other gods of magic, split class mages.

Other Races: Like most of the other divided powers of magic, Maraya is known to all races by one name; she is venerated by all but the drow (who's only god is Kali), the Nation orcs (who have their own deity of magic), and the Darrog’n--the Dark Dwarves (who ignore her). Gypsies believe she will be born among them and all gypsies venerate her in some form or another--including having their own festival yearly in her name (which means beautiful in their native language).

Father of Hexes, The Dark Usurper, the Uncaring One

Symbol: Mirrored Moon, Black Owl
Home Plane:Abyssal
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Magic (Dark)
Worshippers: Arcane Spell Casters
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil
Favored Weapon: Staff
Specialist Orders: None
General Information: Ylafax is a usurper, and one who's rise to power has caused no end of chaos and suffering in the Twin Worlds. Even he himself has not escaped the turbulence, as his primary goal – to seize the entire portfolio of magic on Darkshom – has gone unfulfilled. This has been a constant irritation to him, and a situation he continues to spend a great deal of time and effort trying to correct. He cares very little about the problems his rise has caused others, only about his own ambition; some even speculate that he would not even bother with followers if they didn't add to his power.

In the battle to gain his current position, half of Ylafax’s face was destroyed; he forced a dwarf to fashion a metal mask for him that covers the left side of his face and replaced his left eye with one of glass. The power used in the struggle also turned his hair stark white, though in all other aspects he looks like a fairly well muscled, mature human. Ylafax searches for Maraya; he has spent centuries moderating his power, but as yet has been unable to capture control of the other half of Darkshom’s magic. He now believes that if he waits for that power to be incarnated in her, he can destroy her and take the sum of the power of magic for himself, as he intended in the first place.

Ylafax's symbol is known as the Mirrored Moon; he sees the world only as a reflection of himself, existing only to enhance his power.

History/Relationships: Ylafax is an old deity. Sages speculate that he is either a deity brought to Darkshom by the Amenep, or a powerful Amenep sorcerer that has ascended since they appeared. Either way, Ylafax became powerful enough to challenge the old god of magic by gathering the darkest of power to himself and embracing it whole-heartedly. How he managed to actually gain enough power to destroy the god of magic remains a mystery, but the result is not. However, his victory was not complete – his dedication to the darker arts of magic prevented him from taking the full power of the god of magic, at once bestowing the darker half of the portfolio on him and creating the prophecies that speak of one who will come to take up the other half of the portfolio of magic. His action had one other unforeseen consequence: the splitting of power he caused echoed into Milia, dividing the goddess Zebidee (see Dead and Forgotten Powers) into two separate entities.

True to his focus, Ylafax tends to ignore the effects of his actions on others, which has collected him no small number of enemies, including Caho, Seshat, Verthara, Fate, Rath, Mabenceos, Chel, Rohrn, Takari, Nanaja, Grundal, and (perhaps most chilling of all) Ti Malice. Of these, only Caho, Seshat, Fate, and Verthara have their priesthoods actively oppose his on a regular basis; Ti takes a great deal of delight in having her people mess with him, but prefers to remain unpredictable. He has one more, far more hateful enemy, one he believes is far too weak to currently hurt him: Tezcatlipoca of the orcish pantheon. The two (and their priesthoods) had bloody clashes on many occasions before the passing of the orcs; if Tezcatlipoca were ever to return in power, the god of dark magic may find himself in serious difficulty. Though few enough, Ylafax does have allies; he works with Cohen on occasion, and Kali fairly regularly, though she doesn't think much of him.

Dogma: The power of magic has a single purpose: to serve the advancement and pleasure of the mage. Nothing is or should be forbidden if it is the mage's will; secular law should be obeyed only if the conscience of the mage demands it, otherwise it should be twisted and turned or broken as needed. By right, there is no power short of the divine that has any authority over those who manage to master the darkest secrets of magic, and any who think otherwise should be schooled to the true order at the mage's earliest convenience; this should most often involve subtlety and control, as fear is an excellent deterent against future “uprisings.”

Clergy and Temples: Ylafax maintains little in the way of actual temples; most of his followers would prefer their faith were not widely known, and are not big on cooperating with others. Because of the tenants of the faith, however, it is not suppressed by most nations; it doesn't openly advocate violating laws, and so is viewed with unease but allowed to remain in the open. Most major cities have a small shrine or temple where followers can seek the aid of the priesthood and each other; these temples are often full of mind-controlled servants, slaves, and many other things that skirt the edges of the law. Those priests Ylafax has are often accomplished mages as well as clerics, meaning his temples usually are equipped with mystic libraries and other aids that followers may use – for a price, of course.

What priesthood he has follows a strict hierarchy, with rank obtained based purely on personal power and influence; the most powerful priest in any given temple is awarded the title of Dark Magus and directs any projects the temple as a whole undertakes. Infighting among the priesthood is common, savage, and quite often produces fatalities, depending on how far an individual Dark Magus wishes to allow it to go. At the highest ranks, the personal bloodletting dwindles down to almost nil; the highest of the church use others as their weapons, with politics being the playing field of choice; these indirect skirmishes can cause havoc among the local nobility as two priests duel by proxy. This gets all the more obscure in the infighting between Dark Magi; through manipulating people on a national and sometimes even international scale, one Dark Magus is selected as Overmage, the head of Ylafax's church.

Other Races: Ylafax has yet to garner much of a following outside of the human race, nor do most races actively seek him out. He has a few followers among the dark elves, and even fewer among the rest of the elves; most of his non-human followers are to be found among the Darrog’n and the gael.

Serpent Queen, Deep Mother, Lady of the Grave

Symbol: Serpent's Tail, Snake
Home Plane:Abyssal
Alignment: Neutral Evil with some Lawful tendencies
Portfolio: Necromancy, Patroness of the Drow
Worshippers: Arcane Spell Casters
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil
Favored Weapon: Dagger, Whip
Specialist Orders: None
General Information: Kali is one of the most feared deities, in no small part due to the fanaticism and single-minded loyalty of the people that serve her; she expects no less of her drow. She owns her drow body and soul, organizing their society to her desires; in no way will she even begin to tolerate the existence of a drow that displays the slightest hint of “ethical behavior.” Any “good” drow will be hunted down and killed by the drow nation as a whole, with no remorse or reprieve; thus, the life span of such a drow can literally be measured in days, if the goddess doesn't rip their souls out before they get two steps. Her Matron Mothers are her voice, eyes, and ears, as well as her sword; if a Matron Mother betrays her the consequences cannot even be imagined.

Kali tends to appear as a striking drow woman, well muscled, usually carrying a wicked-looking scythe and the severed head of her latest victim. She is often accompanied by several drow warriors, both living and in the undead form sometimes called the “Blessed of Kali,” as well as by her chief lieutenant, a massive male that seems to combine aspects of drow, snake, and some insect. This abomination is Thuris (see Minor Powers below), the closest thing the drow have to a second deity and Kali's current consort. Her symbol, the Serpent's Tail, is said to represent the spiral of the living into the grave, where they add to her undead horde.

History/Relationships: None know exactly where Kali Druin came from; she has hinted that she was cast out of the pantheon of some distant world, but refuses to speak of it further. She first appeared among the pantheon of the elves shortly after their rise to power, as the goddess of decay and the undead; she was not satisfied with this position, however, and began to look for some avenue to take power. The migration of some of the elves to Milia marked her first attempt: she tried to have her followers usurp the leadership of the colonists and claim them all in her name. After that plot failed, she tried other things, always as patient and menacing as the serpent which is her symbol; with Cohen's aid, she engineered the death of Sar'Anderost, Ketira and the banishment of the forest elves. These she took up and remade into a form which served and pleased her, birthing the drow elves, often called the “Seed of Kali” or "Serpents of the Moon."

The death of Areneth (see Dead and Forgotten Powers) caused a blow to her power just when she felt ready to move against her enemies; the chaos that ensued allowed her to steal most of the aspect of necromancy for herself, a fact that galls Ylafax to this day. The division of that power between the two worlds, and the attempt to consolidate that power, left her vulnerable; the new goddess Verthara was able to cast her out of Milia. Kali, apparently feverish or delusional from having so much power first infused into her then ripped away in (relatively) short order, spoke words many regard as prophecy before she fled through the Darkgate to Darkshom. “You have banished me, true, but in my absence you will be cursed: as you dispel my power, so will rise from my seed and the seed of the soulless those who will bring the cold of oblivion even to such as we!” Those words had a profound effect on her, even if Verthara didn't take them too seriously; she seems to be making preparations for something, acting as if she is genuinely fearful that her words will come to pass. The whole experience has affected her in one other way; a lust for power has become full-fledged megalomania.

Kali seems to wage an intermittent war of conquest with the rest of the pantheon; she believes she is destined to be the one and only goddess of the Twin Worlds, and wastes no opportunity to further this aim. This has brought her into direct conflict with almost every power in the pantheon, save those few who are willing to take a submissive role to her (namely, her twin siblings Zervas and Vasera) and the one she considers her equal and predestined consort: Cohen. Persistent rumors have the two as partners and lovers, though there is no proof of the latter, and Cohen denies it. DriannaSi is a particular thorn in Kali's side; she is the only drow (even if a throwback) ever to escape Kali's clutches, something she would dearly love to correct. Worse, she is now ascended and a goddess in her own right, doubling Kali's desire to be rid of her; however, as there is no way she could ever take Drianna's portfolio, she is forbidden from trying to kill her. Instead, she settles for having her drow butcher DriannaSi's followers whenever they can, hoping to whittle her power base down enough that she fades from memory and joins the ranks of the Forgotten.

Two groups should be given special note: the elven pantheon is the first, the second the gods of the orcs. Kali is still technically a member of the elven pantheon, but most view her with a hatred that goes beyond mere warring; they literally wish to see her gone, and only the rules laid down by Fate himself have prevented them from matching action to desire. In order to stay within those rules, they are currently grooming their god of death and the dead to challenge her and take her power. She, of course, is doing everything in her power to make sure he never gets strong enough to achieve that goal, mean the frequency and bloodiness of drow strikes on his temples and followers is horrific. Kali does not trust the orc pantheon, despite having worked with them successfully in the past; they too seek domination. She knows they will clash at some point, but the orcs said they would not contest her claim to the peoples of the Midworld. Needless to say, this has confused her; she doesn't dwell on it much as she thinks they are all but powerless now. Should they somehow rise once more (which she firmly believes WILL happen) she is at a loss as to what to do about it. The few times she has tried to solve the matter by defeating them one at a time and annexing the orcs, they have joined together as a group to deliver stinging defeats; this has left her all the more puzzled, and wondering – where exactly are the orc gods getting their power?

Dogma: Absolute obedience to the will of Kali is the greatest honor and duty any mortal can aspire to in life; the passing of the soul to the afterworld should be accompanied by the full permission for necromancers to use one's mortal remains for the greater glory of the Lady of the Grave. As the goddess's goal is her total dominion over the world, so all mortals have but two duties: to secure dominion for her, and to glorify her in all aspects of their lives.

Clergy and Temples: Among the drow, Kali's temple is the only one found; all priestesses are hers, as there is no other full deity to follow (but see Thuris in Minor Powers below). A large number of non-drow follow Kali as the goddess of necromancy, adding to the large number of drow necromancers, who include the Kings or Queens. She treats these individuals no differently than she does her own people, even to the extent of allowing them free passage where no other can go unmolested: among her drow. Most nations of both Darkshom and Rohrn have declared her cult illegal, driving no small number to accept the “hospitality” of the drow.

Within the temple rank is based in equal measure on power, age, and politics. The lowest rank, the Sgoilear, are the trainees, with a harsh, twenty-year 'apprenticeship' to complete before reaching the most common rank: Sagarat, literally meaning 'priestess.' This is the group that is most seen by commoners or anyone else that comes to one of Kali's temples, the ones who drive the masses to do Kali's will through appeals to devotion and pride; if that doesn't work they are more then willing to motivate by liberal application of whips and the rods that mark their rank. Above them are the Nighean, the administrators of individual temples and special assistants to the highest ranks, including the Matrons. The highest rank of the church itself is that of Buidseach, the dark priestesses of the necromantic arts; most are several centuries old before being chosen for this level of training and are shining examples of devotion to Kali's will and the ideals of her chosen people. Included among them are all of the Kings or Queens. Beyond them, at the head of both the clergy and the secular government, sits the Matron Mother, the sole head of the drow people and Kali's direct representative.

There is an odd movement sweeping through the temple, one Kali has seen fit to allow at the moment; her current consort, Thuris, is being viewed as a demigod, patron of warriors and male drow. As he is just as cruel as his mistress, twice as insane, and completely devoted to her, the difference to outsiders seems minimal; some wonder, however, if Kali isn't trying to start a pantheon of her own.

Other Races: Only one other race as a whole recognizes Kali, namely the elves; to them, she is known as Kali Druin, the goddess of decay, the undead, and corruption. Most necromancers recognize her as the source of their power, even if few openly follow her; the holdouts are followers of one of the deities of dark magic.


The Mendicant, Mystic Wanderer, The Bright Twin

Symbol: Fountain of Power, Cat
Home Plane:Aurial, City of Aratheil
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Portfolio: Magic (Light)
Worshippers: Arcane Spell Casters
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good
Favored Weapon: Staff
Specialist Orders: None
General Information: The goddess of light magic on Milia usually appears as a young half-elven woman with black hair and brown eyes, bearing a staff and wearing a dust-stained traveling robe; of late, her priests report that she has taken on a wild look, even to the extent that her long hair always seems to be being blown around by an unfelt wind. She is typically described as outgoing and friendly, with an intensity that has recently grown in magnitude enough to worry her close allies. The rift that created Caho and Verthara seems to be growing, making the “sisters” increasingly chaotic, some might even say bordering on insane. In Caho, this has manifested itself in a shift to a more “ends justify the means” attitude in her goal of aiding those who need it, often ignoring any local laws completely if need be. Her symbol, the “Fountain of Power,” is said to represent the power that rises into a mage; the somewhat dagger-like appearance reflects the double-edged nature of power.

Caho is the “unofficial” patron of plane-travelers and magical healers; many who heal by magic pray for her to intercede with Ashmedaii and lessen the pain of their patients.

History/Relationships: Caho came into being in the moment that Ylafax destroyed Areneth (see Dead and Forgotten Powers); when Ylafax was only able to take up the darker aspect of Darkshom's magic, the power of magic became severely unbalanced. That stress literally tore Milia's goddess of magic Zebidee in two, giving “birth” in a bizarre fashion to Caho and Verthara; while the stresses that cause the division where greatly reduced, most think they will not be completely eased until the goddess Maraya takes up her role as Caho's counterpart on Darkshom.

Lacking any previous relationships didn't hinder the outgoing goddess for long; she shocked everyone by quickly developing a romantic involvement with the otherwise dour Rohrn, who seems just as stunned by her affection for him as anyone. Caho formed friendships just as quickly, including close friendships with Athyr and Ashmedaii; she has also made a firm alliance with Seshat. In her eyes, these relationships have the happy side effect of making life easier for her followers, giving them some hope of keeping up with her shifting goals.

The vast majority of Caho's attention is usually focused on her “sister;” the two share a tight bond, yet agree on very little, creating a very contentious relationship indeed. Currently, however, they have mostly put aside their differences to unite in a common goal: to find Maraya, and thus (they believe) create enough of a balance among the primary deities of magic to restore their slipping sanity. This alliance puts the two in direct contention with Ylafax, a fight that most certainly has spilled over to their respective priests. The other point of agreement between the sisters is Kali: both stand united in making sure she NEVER finds a way to regain a power base on Milia.

Dogma: Power is a gift and a responsibility, meant to be used in aid of those less powerful; this stern duty can and should take precedence over all other considerations, including personal comfort and even laws if circumstances require it.* One way to give the most aid to the most people is to form alliances; there is strength in numbers, and a group that works well together is often more powerful than the sum of its members. Evil actions, and any other behaviors that may harm innocents, should be stopped as soon as they can be; identifying one who will preform such acts and preventing them from ever doing so is to be preferred, if possible.*

* These ideas (flatly ignoring the law and preemptively attacking) are recent additions, and are not yet fully accepted by her priesthood – they hope she will regain her more neutral outlook.

Clergy and Temples: Like most of the powers of magic, Caho's priesthood is rather small and not centralized; most of her priests are split class mages. The goddess herself appoints some few to the rank of Elder Sage; these few are expected to take charge on the rare occasions when the church acts as a group. There are small shrines to the goddess in many cities, but they are tended in rotation – if one priest wants a brief rest from wandering, the current keeper of the shrine gives up his/her duties and takes to the road, often willingly. Only the largest city has even a small temple, tended by full-time priests that remain with it. Caho's followers include city watchmen, herb healers, and village wise men.

Other Races: Caho is widely followed on Milia, and is known as “Caho” by almost all races; the main exception being the goblins, who call her Ter'gabat

Witch-Queen, War-Witch, The Dark Twin

Symbol: Miser's Well, Grey Owl
Home Plane:Abyssal
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Magic (Dark), Patroness of the Deep Elves (Milia Drow)
Worshippers: Arcane Spell Casters
Cleric Alignments: Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil
Favored Weapon: Staff, short sword
Specialist Orders: None
General Information: The goddess of dark magic on Milia is in all ways a mirror image of her “sister” – she appears to mortals as a blond half-elf with ice-blue eyes and a perpetual sneer hovering about her lips. Normally self-centered and self-serving, Verthara is the patroness of back-ally power brokers, magical hucksters, and social climbers of magical skill, among others who use magic predominately for personal gain, as well necromancers and drow on Milia. Her symbol is the Miser's Well, said to depict her world view – the mage at center surrounded by lesser beings.

Verthara is also the unofficial patroness of war-mages, and is known to delight in the thrill of the battlefield.

History/Relationships: Verthara was created in the same moment as her “sister” Caho, and has resented everyone involved from that moment. An opportunist of the first order, she lost no time in attacking Kali when the latter was still weak, claiming for herself the aspect of Milia's goddess of necromancy. The act cast Kali out of Milia entirely; the sisters capitalized on the moment to wrest Milia's Drow away from her and thus severed all connections she had to Milia; Verthara took power over the drow, and has fought an ongoing skirmish with Kali to keep them ever since.

Lately she has been trying to copy her sister's habit of creating alliances, but with only mixed success. Her first effort was an attempt to lure Akkarn away from Ashmedaii; she failed, but to her good fortune Ashmedaii was more amused than angered at the attempt to poach her mate. She has since taken Verthara under her wing, acting as a surrogate mother even as she plays the role of elder sister to Caho. Undaunted, Verthara turned to Rath, who proved to be a very willing subject for her seduction; the two are rumored to have at least one child, though no one can identify him or her. Another success has been Geimhreadh of the elven pantheon; no one quite understands what the two see in each other, but they are becoming fast friends.

Ylafax is most definitely not a friend; she blames him whole-heartedly for her very existence, which even she views as a mistake. Verthara spends a great deal of time finding ways to hurt her counterpart on Darkshom; she has been warned not to kill him, but had no intention of doing so in any case – she prefers to see him suffer. This particular rivalry has spawned another unlikely alliance; Verthara has taken up with several of the orcish gods, including the brothers Tezcatlipoca and Pohagnhut.

Dogma: The power of magic has a single purpose: to serve the advancement and pleasure of the mage. Nothing is or should be forbidden if it is the mage's will; secular law is of no consequence.* By right, there is no power short of the divine that has any authority over those who manage to master the darkest secrets of magic, and any who think otherwise should be schooled to the true order at the mage's earliest convenience; the best method is simply to ensure they no longer draw breath.* Nay-sayers make excellent zombie servants..

* These ideas (flatly ignoring the law and killing indiscriminately) are recent additions, and are not yet fully accepted by her priesthood – most hope she will regain her more neutral outlook.

Clergy and Temples: Verthara's priesthood has been outlawed in most nations, though this doesn't affect them much; there isn't much of a priesthood to suppress. The vast majority of the Witch-Queen's priests are solitary, occasionally banding together at the direction of their goddess, but the kind of people that worship Verthara aren't big on cooperation. No rank as such exists within the temple – initiates are found and trained by a single mentor, then left to the direction of their own ambitions and the whisperings of the goddess. Because of this, infighting among followers and priests is not at all uncommon; conflicting ambitions and personalities abound.

That said, most cities are home to one or two priests and their respective “flocks,” groups of ambitious individuals who seek to use the group as much as the priest does; most are shocked at the ease with which their ambitions are twisted and used for the goddess's own purposes by her clergy. Many of these don't marvel long; they either fall under the sway of the priest, or die conveniently in a battle they never intended to start with someone they might (or might not) have counted as an enemy before running afoul of Verthara's servants.

Other Races: All of the races of Milia recognize the goddess of dark magics; the elves call her Cogadh-Cailleach, the War-Witch, but the rest all know her as Verthara.

copyright: 11/01/2006 Christine H. Rietsch and Troy D. Teske

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