This week’s challenge — The Geography of Blackbloom! — is live.
You people? You’re killing me.
What with your awesome (and oft-conflicting) entries.
Took me hours to sift through the killer options for gods and goddesses.
But, I think I’ve nailed it.
Some early comments:
While the more fictional and non-encyclopedic entries were welcome and fun to read, they often contained not enough information to go on and so they really didn’t end up getting included.
Also, a number of well-written entries conflicted with others I’d chosen, so this is less about me choosing which ones are coolest and instead about choosing which ones fit together. Part of the fun (and frustration) for me is looking for themes and picking them out and playing them up. I did find a few themes at work. I tried to grab hold of the ones I saw and run with ’em.
Just as the denizens of Blackbloom are separated by caste, so too, I believe, are the gods.
We also see mention at times of a court — a court that appears both defunct (in terms of power?) yet active (in terms of gathering?). Not sure what that means or how it plays out. (Part of the fun of this process is the raw potential — ideas yet to cement, undetermined, floating in the ether.)
The separation of the gods is as such:
We have the pair of Supreme Deities: Life and Death. They have no names, only identities.
They are parents to both gods and men — and their children (and, I suspect, their children’s children) form the middle of three tiers, or castes. This doesn’t have a name, yet — so, for now, I think it’s suitable just to think of them as the gods of the Common Pantheon.
But I also noticed that many had conjured what appeared to be “lesser” beings (some were fun, but were so lesser as to be almost silly), and these gods all seemed to be lower caste and, in many cases, dirty.
These, then, are the Unclean Gods. Lesser, somehow. For reasons as yet untold.
I also liked that a lot of the names sounded like they belonged together. Feels like everything’s a little more “together” then. A couple-few names in the Unclean Gods stand out as odd, though (Ashpuddle, Gloss, Sudswaller). That may be fine, or maybe that’s a naming convention unique to the Unclean? I can’t be sure.
Finally, I dug the sense that many of these gods are connected, that they have family and lovers and all the tangled drama and relations one comes to expect from a pantheon.
Given that the gods and goddesses “rained” upon Blackbloom, I don’t think these divinities are the only ones of Blackbloom. I expect we’ve many more to see, but this is a good start, at least.
Feel free to comment below — but note that any comments here are theorizing. It’s all heresy and apocrypha until we canonize things during challenges, so, don’t expect anything in the comments below to be “truth.”
Also, this week’s challenge will be up shortly.
In the meantime…
I’m going to work up a loose graphic to highlight the “family tree” at some point (and this calls to mind the fact we’re probably going to need a Wiki or something eventually), but for now, the gods in short:
Life and Death
THE COMMON PANTHEON:
The First Namer: Isyrm
The Three Children: Maritae is the god of the rainy season, I’m citing Tallyr as the god of the dark season, and the god of the dry season is as-yet-unnamed.
The Sisters: Koreth (Invention), Liam (Imagination), Perena (Luck)
Brother and Sister: Zephyr (Wind) & Chloe (Flowers)
The Family: Pasone (Love) & Torrda (Fertility) have a daughter: Diome (Apathy)
The Dancer: Yasri (Disorder and Madness)
The Duelist: Marriri (Passion and Violence)
The Abandoned: Kinnis (Otherworld/Underworld)
THE UNCLEAN GODS:
Sudswaller (Kitchen Sinks and Drains)
Ashpuddle (Collector of Broken-Yet-Precious Things)
Tatamiri (The Book-Keeper)
Tomtar (The Question)
THE ENTRIES IN QUESTION:
In the beginning, there were two gods: husband and wife. The wife was Life and the husband Death. They lived in a castle in the clouds. Together, they populated the world, giving birth to both gods and people, depending on the sexual position they used when conceiving. Their children fell from the sky like rain. One day, the goddess of Jealousy asked Death to strike down her false lover, but Death ignored her plea. In a rage, she killed her father. His blood rained down into a pond at the top of a mountain, where the Blackblooms now grow. (Sarah E. Olson)
After Death was killed by his wrathful daughter, Jealousy, their once-mortal children on Blackbloom discovered a way to live for eternity with a Second Life, using the flowers that bloomed in Death’s blood. With their new-found longevity, the humans ceased to believe in Gods; indeed, they began to perceive themselves as God-like entities. And so, without the strength of faith, the children of Life and Death became unrecognisable. In their anger, Life’s children began to wreak havoc upon Blackbloom, while she herself withdrew, burdened by grief at the loss of her husband. (LoveTheBadGuy)
Maritae is the eldest of the Three Children, who hold dominion over the changing seasons. Long ago she was worshiped during the annual rains. Angered over being forgotten, she spends her season wandering the cities, animating the algae-like creature and taken great glee when it devours someone’s pet. Her siblings find her yearly outburst amusing, which leads to greater annoyance and a spread of the algae problem each year. The rest of the time she can be found anywhere serving alcohol in search of interesting – and by interesting, we mean edible – company. (Kate Haggard)
The Sisters, named Koreth, Lian and Perena command the three principles of Invention; Imagination, Need and Luck. Each sister controls one of the principles and they have the power to influence it for better or for worse. The sisters have to work together but they often disagree. People worshipped The Sisters and in return they were granted fantastic discoveries and knowledge. When the people became arrogance and stopped worshipping, The Sisters felt abandoned and resentful. Now they covertly inspire the people to create more and more powerful weapons and magic so that they might one day destroy themselves. (Jim Franklin)
Isyrm is the First Namer, who speaks the tongue of the unflickering flame. His unfathomable words sing breath into the world, his touch brings the light of consciousness. He is most disturbed by the strangeness which makes the mortals unable to perceive him and the other gods. For the past two centuries, he has begun a plan to reach out to humanity, by slowly granting life to the world around them, hoping that other beings will perceive the gods and remind humanity of divinity lost. It is Isyrm who awakened the cities themselves from murmuring slumber. (J.M. Guillen)
Tallyr is the god-goddess of the Blackbloom flowers, which grant un-death. Tallyr was once called the Lightless Garden as he/she grew the Blackbloom flowers during the third season, when Blackbloom enters into an eclipse, when her power over shadows and their secrets ripens. It is said that his/her body is the soil and the seeds from which the Blackbloom flowers grow. Now, Tallyr walks as a frail figure with eye lids grown shut and the way he/she hears is through the vibrations in the ground. (Harry Markov)
Zephyr is the God of wind, and twin of Chloe, Goddess of flowers. It is said that both siblings have disliked one-another since they were created. The root of their animosity is unknown, but Zephyr’s effects on the world do not help matters. Constantly, Zephyr massages the winds to disrupt pollen spreads, including the much-revered, Blackbloom flower. Due to his hatred of these very things, he lives on the sand oceans and captains the Dune Drifter, a frigate he uses to raid Blackbloom shipments across the trading routes. Sailors pray to him, and do not believe in the un-life. (Ryan G. Sanders)
Diome, god of apathy. Bastard son of Pasone, outlawed love god, and Torrda, low level goddess of fertility, he takes two forms: human and wind. Diome creates apathy and/or impotence at will. He is rooted in spite and ruin. He detests children. In human form he is handsome, charming, and conniving. As wind he can pass through a living being’s soul, and replace human desire with torpor and lethargy. Ambitious to rule Blackbloom, Diome is a highly dangerous god. His pleasure comes not from causing death but in creating malleable subjects with long lives made empty and meaningless. (E.C. Sheedy)
Yasri the Dancer, Goddess of Disorder and Madness. Her dance is constant but ever-changing; perpetually in motion, it is thought that when she stands still it will bring the end of all existence. She spreads Chaos to combat the stifling stagnation of Order, for only through change can life be renewed. Some say she created the Games to upset the caste system. Passionate emotion and obsession are her hallmarks. Artists are most likely to perceive her true nature, but to know her is to lose touch with reality. All whores are her cultists but not all her cultists are whores. (Rachel T.)
Kinnis is the god of the otherworld, the land after death. For millennia his kingdom flowed with the finest art, music and food, produced by those who had passed. But, since the discovery of the Blackbloom’s power, his kingdom has only the poor and unwanted in its halls. Furious, Kinnis cursed those who take the flower, so they cannot leave the surface, and sets out to make their second life a living hell. (Alexa)
Marriri, goddess of passion and violent acts. Fallen from worship with the rest of the gods, she now travels throughout Blackbloom, encouraging fights, inciting riots, and acting as a catalyst for romantic affairs. Depicted as an ivory maiden with bloody fingertips, Marriri is the reason why it’s customary to wear white in a duel, or any overtly passionate activity. (A.J. English – note, I removed the last part of this so as to avoid conflict)
SUDSWALLER is a deity particularly overlooked by adults, though still recognized by lower caste smallings who are forced to wash after-dinner dishes for their spending coins.
Short and crusty in appearance, and somewhat foul smelling if ignored for long, this demi-god holds dominion over kitchen sinks and drains, and is appeased by anointments of soapy water and lemon oil. Prayers should be spoken in Sewer-tongue. The Sandsailor’s Lament refers to the god in the 103rd haiku: The galley grumbles, When Suds wont clean the trenchers, In Dark Season’s moon. (Kirsten)
Tatamiri, the Book-Keeper. She is the vagrant lady from the Veleto caste (the beggars) who sits on your doorsteps every evening, spreading all around her papers, records, datapads and what have you, items that she had gathered from trashcans, gutters and dumpsters. And she stays there for hours, crunching numbers and figures, speaking them under her breath. Tatamiri is keeping tabs on every soul the Blackbloom has robbed from Death. The ancients say that whenever her figures amount to nine billion, the Bloomed wither and their desiccated remains are scattered to the winds. And Tatamiri starts all over again. (MC Zanini)
Tylin is the god of the underdog. Ever since his attempted coup and resulting exile from the now defunct Court, he has taken a keen interest in the lives of mortals, whether they be flesh and blood or stone and steel. He seeks, above all, to raise the low above the high. As part of his punishment, each fresh memory erases an old one, leaving the limits of his abilities unknown even to him. Those who seek his aid must remember while that Tylin’s might can be a great boon, you may very well make yourself his next target. (Ryan Jassil)
Blackbloom gods are like minor nobility: a home estate and a place at court. Ashpuddle’s estate is at the bottom of the sandy ocean; that is, if something is lost anywhere in the sandy ocean, eventually currents in the sand will (thousands of years later) dump it in her domain. Everything there is worn smooth. A weakling goddes, her place at court is as guardian of the oft-Bloomed; she is said to be very small, dirty, shy, and an inveterate collector of things that are broken but still precious. (DeAnna)
Gloss is the god of language. He is seen on the streets, begging in bloody rags and murmuring to himself in tongues. All who meet the skinny wretch assume him mad, but in secret he speaks directly to the cities, and moves between them, exchanging plans. (Matt Roberts)
Tomtar – Most commonly seen as a pack of unruly children (species matters not) roaming the streets, looking into alleys and doorways, going up to strangers and posing odd questions about the state of reality with the unblinking innocence of a child but never waiting for an answer. Tomtar is the hermaphroditic god of the question. Associated with scholars, nomads and hobos when it was known as a god, it’s name has lost its significance only to be replaced as a slur directed towards the homeless and insane and even the foreign – tomtar. (Sven Nomaddson)