The Night Hag, The Patient One, The Queen of Shadows, The Mother of Loathing, The Crone
|Domain||Revenge, Hatred, Ugliness, Bitterness, Envy|
|Ethos||Loathing is powerful. Hate makes you strong. Let hate fester in your soul. Feed your power.|
|Typical Worshipers||Outcasts, Criminals, The Diseased, The Unwanted and any who seek revenge.|
|Head of the Church||None.|
|Demographics||75% Human, 17% Grum, 5% Dwarven, 3% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Eastern Ithria, very popular in Duthelm and the Coalition|
|Allied Faiths||Kael, Draxorith|
|Holy Symbol||A shattered hand mirror.|
Agethos is the ultimate incarnation of hatred. She is the patron deity of all those who seek revenge. She is the champion of the unwanted, the outcast, the imprisoned and the vengeful. She embodies ugliness, bitterness and spite. Agethos and her worshipers wage endless war against the privileged and the beautiful. Although hideously ugly, she is clever, wise and deceitful. She often tricks her enemies with crafty ploys.
In art, she is depicted as an ancient wrinkled hag, hideously ugly, stooped and scowling. She wears tattered green robes and old tarnished jewelry. She walks leaning heavily on an oaken staff topped by a leering human skull. Curved horns twist up out of her tangled grey hair. She carries with her a basket of broken bones and a vial of tears, both of which are said to come from her victims.
The faithful of Agethos believe that she will aid them in their quest for vengeance. They firmly believe that she walks the mortal world in various disguises to aid the faithful and further her wicked ends.
Myths and Legends
Various tales tell of the life of Agethos. There are legends that state she was a witch that lived ages ago, long before the Sundering. She was diseased and outcast from many villages. Eventually, a beautiful young princess ordered her captured, tortured and executed. It is said she rose from the grave by sheer force of will and used her magic to elevate herself to godhood. There are many variations on this tale and some of them conflict. The tale of Agethos bears some similarities to a Thullian legend of an outcast witch who sought revenge on a king.
There are many stories about Agethos. She is said to be a powerful witch able to weave a spell or brew a potion to use in her plots. . Tales about her exploits often describe the ways she works against the privileged or elite of the world. She is a crafty one and subtle in her ways.One popular tale tells of how she tempted a young human duchess to indulge in her love of rich foods and, in this way, took from her both beauty and love. Another tale portrays Agethos’ vengeful side and tells of how she captured a young elven maiden, renowned far and wide for her beauty, and poured acid on her face, condemning her to a life of ugliness. In another tale, she was given a gift of a hand mirror by a young noble who mocked her ugliness. She shattered the mirror and, with the glass shards, maimed the man. From this legend came the symbol of Agethos.
Overview of the Church
The church of Agethos is not a particularly organized faith. It is practiced loosely by individuals and small groups on a personal basis. The size of this church is difficult to say. Estimates put it at around a quarter of a million adherents scattered around eastern Ithria. However, there are many more who mutter an oath to her or offer up a prayer when engaging in an act of vengeance. While this is not a particularly powerful or widespread faith, the followers or Agethos are likely responsible for many murders and other crimes in the cities of Ithria.
The worship of Agethos is widespread throughout much of Ithria, particularly eastern Ithria. Agethos is worshiped openly in Duthelm, Ormek and the Coalition where she is quite popular in some areas. In those lands, grand temples to her can be found. The worship of Agethos in other, more civilized, lands is frowned upon or outlawed completely. Yet, even in the most civilized lands there are those faithful who keep secret shrines to her in hidden places.
History and Origins
The stories of Agethos have been told and written and read since at least the Thullian Empire. Such a universal concept of revenge has led to numerous myths and legends in which she has featured. Although not an organized faith, individuals seeking revenge would pray to her and sacrifice to her in hopes that she would favor them with victory. During the Age of Chaos, there was much conflict and much need for revenge. Those who found success would tell others what they had done. Rituals and prayers began to be passed down from generation to generation. When these were combined and mixed with the stories of the Crone, they began to take on the tone of scripture. Witches, in particular, invoked her name in spellcraft and began to look to her as a patron deity.
The first temple to Agethos was erected in the Coalition in 2319 CY. It was built by a trio of ogre witches, named Ugrith, Malak and Curela, who formed a small cult based on the tales of the Crone. Ugrith, the eldest, took it upon herself to compile all that was known of Agethos... ritual, prayer, rules, myth, tale and belief. She combined them into a great leather bound book and called it Agethosi Abhorri which is ogrish for "The Loathing of Agethos". The creation of this first temple and the compilation of this holy book marked a new chapter in story of the faith. Followers soon came to learn from the three witches and magical knowledge was shared. As such the first coven was born. Its ranks swelled and led to the creation of other covens. Some of these groups departed and went on to create their own temples in distant lands.
It has been four hundred years since Ugrith, Malak and Curela built their temple and wrote the book. They are long dead, but their work lives on.
As a whole, the Church has no focused goals. Only to help the faithful with their own personal quests of vengeance. In a broader sense, the various covens work to bring down and punish the wealthy and privileged.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
There are major temples to Agethos in Stovikar, Tyrrenkor and the Citadel. Minor temples can be found scattered throughout Ormek, the Coalition and Duthelm. There is no formal organization between the churches and temples of Agethos. Each operates independently. There are countless hidden shrines throughout eastern Ithria – in the basements of homes, in backrooms of shady taverns and in secret lairs outside the cities. Often, the followers of Agethos connect through temples and churches and sometimes unite to pull off plots and schemes that they might otherwise not have been able to do.
Many mutter an oath to the Crone or ask her favor when engaging in an act of vengeance. She is favored by criminals and thieves, outcasts and prisoners, witches and sorcerers, the diseased, the unwanted, the abandoned. She accepts all who the world has rejected. Anyone who has felt betrayed or rejected or wronged may follow her path for awhile. Many rejected lovers have taken to the worship of Agethos. Agethos is particularly popular among the ogres. Especially ogre women who pursue magic.
Worshipers gather in small groups and meet in the dead of night. These groups are called covens and may be as small as three members or as large as several dozen. Where they meet depends on the size of the group and their location. In less civilized nations (Coalition, Duthelm, etc), each coven will have its own temple. In more civilized lands, where the worship of Agethos is outlawed, they may have a small church or chamber that is hidden.
Not all who worship Agethos are coven members. There are many who worship alone with small private altars.
Surpisingly, there are some officers of the law who pray to Agethos. Perhaps it is because they seek justice . Often, those who pursue criminals are frustrated by the very law they uphold and so they seek retribution in a more direct fashion. Usually, membership in a coven by such individuals is carefully concealed and any small altar they might employ is well hidden.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
From time to time, a coven of Agethos may ally itself with worshipers of another Dark Lord if their goals align, but such alliances are usually short lived. The covens of Agethos are more likely to cooperate with each other or simply fend for themselves. Those who worship Agethos tend to be fiercely independent and wilfull. Generally speaking, the coverns of Agethos is strongly opposed to all the Elder Gods, Celestials and Kindred Gods. They are mostly neutral toward the other Dark Lord religions.
Hate is the most powerful weapon to the faithful of Agethos. Hate makes them strong and with it, they strike out at beauty and passion, hope and goodness.
For any injustice or insult, revenge is the answer. Revenge above all. Patience is also a valuable tool. Only through hard work and endless patience can true revenge be invoked. There is no greater joy in life than revenge fulfilled. Mercy and pity are for the weak. Revenge belongs to the strong.
Those who follow Agethos are expected to take what they are owed by the world. By force or stealth or deception, one must take what one wants. Her followers have a disdain for morality or civility or law. The world has rejected them, and so they reject the laws of the world.
There is only one holy book of Agethos. Known as The Loathing of Agethos, this volume is a collection of tales about Agethos, mixed with prayers, recitations, rituals and bits of lore. It is attributed to Ugrith, the eldest of the three ogre witches who built the temple in the Coalition.
The symbol of Agethos is a shattered hand mirror. It is taken from one of the oldest tales of Agethos. It represents not only the ugliness of the Crone and her hatred of beauty, but is also a symbolic rejection of the world and desire to take action and revenge. The faithful of Agethos keep no mirrors themselves and shatter the mirrors of those they fight against.
Covens meet at night to pray and worship together. As a group, they sometimes will carry out raids, assassinations and other acts of evil. Such acts are usually aimed at striking back at the world at large, but also to aid the faithful in their lives. Services sometimes involve the sacrifice of a beautiful, wealthy or successful man and woman, often a couple. Beautifully crafted objects are sometimes also sacrificed. At such rituals, a mirror is shattered.
Although the worshipers of Agethos sometimes worship together and sometime aid each other, they tend to be private individuals with few friends. This tendency toward isolation is further extended by a common tradition called the shunning. A “shunning” is a personal retreat, done once each year. Not all, by many, of the faithful of Agethos conduct shunnings. During a shunning, the worshiper will leave their normal life behind and go someplace where they can be truly alone. This usually involves a journey of some type and a great deal of meditation, personal reflection and prayer. A shunning usually lasts several days. The church of Agethos teaches that, only when truly alone, can a person achieve their most profound epiphanies. Through perfect solitude, one can renew strength and refocus purpose. The name is derived from the idea that the worshiper is shunning the world at large for a time.
The faithful of Agethos give a small portion of their wealth to their shrine or temple with each full moon. Raw wealth, such as gold or jewels, is stolen from sacrificial victims to further the cause. Beautiful objects and art are destroyed and sacrificed to the glory of Agethos.
The worshipers of Agethos gather once a month on the night when Mektor, the blood red moon, is full. Some gather at the temples. Others simply pray under the full moon or in their own personal shrine that night. The most holy day of this religion is the seventh day of the seventh month. It comes from one of the tales of Agethos and is supposedly the date of her execution. On this night, the faithful make sacrifices to the Crone, either alone or with their covens at the temples. Many work to have various plots and schemes reach culmination on this night. It is known as an evil night in many lands. Murders and assassinations, often attributed to the followers of Agethos, occur on this night.
The original copy of The Way of the Crone is an ancient tome and is considered a holy artifact by those who worship at the Coalition temple.
The Hand Mirror of Agethos is said to be the most treasured object of this religion. Supposedly once held by Agethos herself in ages past, this simple hand mirror, now broken, is said to show the future. Many followers of Agethos claim that this mirror was stolen many centuries ago and believe it will one day be found. Others claim that this mirror is a legend and metaphor only.
Overview of the Priests
Those who choose to devote their lives to Agethos become priests of her. Most lead covens and serve at the temples or churches of Agethos. Others choose to wander the world seeking their revenge. Priests of Agethos vary considerably. Most study magic on their own, as she did. Many learn alchemy to brew poisons and sleep potions and other useful tools.
The Role of the Priest
Smaller covens are led by a single priest. Larger covens may have several priests. Priests lead rituals, aid the the faithful in their plots of revenge, guide the coven members spiritually and serve as examples. Sometimes priests will call upon followers to aid one another. A follower called upon in this manner is expected to do what he can and such assistance will gain favor with Agethos.
The worshipers of Agethos are the outcasts of society. The old, the diseased, the insane, the ugly, the unwanted, the unlucky, the abandoned, the betrayed and the criminal. In the church of Agethos, they find a home and some measure of acceptance among others of similar ilk. All are welcome to come and worship. Above the worshipers there are three ranks priests: acolyte, priest and great priest.
Abilities and Spells
Acolytes are taught basic spells. Priests have a much larger compliment of spells granted them by Agethos. In addition to spells, great priests have the ability to wither flesh with a mere touch of their hand. The stronger the great priest is, the more times per week he or she can perform this feat. This can be used to punish underlings or used as an attack against an enemy. Often, it is used to wound and scar victims before they are sacrificed. In withering the flesh, the great priest absorbs strength and vitality from the victim.
Dress and Equipment
The priests of Agethos wear black robes and white porcelain masks during ceremonies. The masks are in the likeness of a humanoid face, but often show ugly bestial traits. The mask of the great priests are elaborate and made in the likeness of great and terrible beasts. As priests and priestesses of Agethos grow in power and rank, their beauty fades. They become more and more ugly. At the highest ranks, they are truly hideous, but they are also powerful.
Rules of Conduct
Priests of Agethos are forbidden to bathe, or perfume themselves or use mirrors.
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.