The Three Fates
|Domain||Battle and Fate, War and Destiny|
|Ethos||Power, Prowess, Purpose|
|Head of the Church||Multiple. Every temple has a high priest.|
|Demographics||32% Ogre, 25% Orc, 20% Human, 13% Saurian, 8% Dwarf, 2% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Coalition, Duthelm, War Vale, Drakkellian Alliance, Vorrik, Rukemia, Kitar, Asylum|
|Holy Symbol||Three crescent moons arranged with a fist, a blade and an arrow.|
The Three Fates refer to three ogrish gods of war who are worshiped together. Although popular with the ogres, the faith has spread forth from ancient origins and been adopted by warriors from many diverse races. The Three Fates are brothers and seen as an inseparable trio.
Each of the three Fates is associated with a particular style of combat and weapon. Each is also associated with one of the three moons. Together, they are said to “watch over the fates of those who fight”. Philosophy, fate, mysticism and fighting prowess blend together to form a unique warrior religion embraced by many.
The youngest brother is Grundel, known as the Brute and the Brawler. Renowned for his enormous strength and berserker savagery, Grundel stampedes his way across battlefields in a wave of mindless rage and has been known to turn the course of entire battles singlehandedly. He is the god of slaughter, bloodlust and rage. Grundel is depicted in song and tale as a massively muscled bestial humanoid with a bald head and sun scorched red skin. Orcs claim he is an orc, ogres claim he is an ogre. This particular point of disagreement has sparked countless tavern brawls. Grundel is depicted with bared chest, armored kilt and wearing a pair of cesti on his forearms. Grundel does not fight with weapons. In battle, he simply beats enemies with his armored fists. In stories, he has been known to hurl boulders or pick up a felled tree and wield it as a club. Grundel is associated with the giant red moon, Mektor. His color is blood red.
The middle brother is Vaylur, the Duelist, whose blinding speed and flashing blades have bested man and beast alike. He is the god of battle prowess and weapon skill. He is said to be a master with every weapon made by mortal hands. However, his personal favorite is Talon, a long and slightly curved, single edged blade with a handle and pommel fashioned to resemble an eagle. The entire weapon is crafted from a single piece of black metal which sparkles slightly in the moonlight. Vaylur is depicted as a rather tall, muscled humanoid with abnormally long arms. He has pale skin, long flowing locks of snow white hair and coal black eyes. Depictions of Vaylur always show him with Talon drawn and usually striking one of several stylized combat poses. Vaylur is associated with the pale blue second moon, Thrykar. His color is blue.
The eldest brother is Muthakra. He is known as the Marksman, the Watcher, the Patient and He Who Waits. He is the god of balance, choice, perseverance, life and death. He is seen as the judge of the dead, weighing the deeds and misdeeds of warriors who have fallen on the battle field. It is said that Muthakra watches every warrior and judges their actions. When a battle is over, he walks among the dead and collects the souls of the fallen.
As the eldest of the three brothers, Muthakra is often said to be the wisest. Tales of Muthakra describe a stern and serious nature. Muthakra is seen as a muscled humanoid with ashen grey skin and blazing green eyes. He has two enormous bat like wings that sprout from his back. In battle, Muthakra fights with a tremendous black bow and it is said he never misses. Indeed, tales of his exploits often include at least one nearly impossible bow shot. Muthakra is also a god of nature and the wilderness. He is the wanderer in the night, the hunter on the horizon and the silent stalker in the deep woods. The brutality of the predator, the sacrifice of the prey and the cycle of life and death are aspects of his domain as well. Muthakra is associated with the small third moon, Night’s Jewel. Like that moon, his color is green.
Myths and Legends
There are many tales telling of the exploits of these three brother war gods, but only a few relate their origin. One tale implies that the three were born from the chaos of battle itself. Another popular story states that they sprung from drops of blood shed by Kael in battle. A third states that they were the only survivors of the fiery destruction of the city of Quar’Ken in ancient times.
Overview of the Church
The Church of the Three Fates is not as large as the Elder Gods, but it is widespread across Ithria and prominent in certain regions. It is quite popular where ogres and/or warriors are present in large numbers. The Church of the Three Fates is influential with warriors of many types and sometimes plays a role in the culture and politics of the region by influencing fighters’ guilds, town militias and so forth. This is, above all other things, a religion of fighters and warriors.
The Three Fates are worshiped chiefly in the following nations: the Coalition, the War Vale, Ormek, Duthelm, Vorrik and Normidia. A scattering of worshippers and shrines can be found in other nations as well.
History and Origins
Of the true origins of this church, who can say? Prayers to the Three Fates have been on the lips of soldiers for as long as there has been war. The priests of the Three Fates will boldly claim that their temples have stood since before Time itself began.
Most historians and religious scholars agree that the Three Fates were, at one time, three separate faiths, most likely small warrior cults that emerged from the Darzek Tribes and the Barakus Clans during the First Age. When the Great War began, these three faiths found their ranks swelling as the nations took to war. In many places, warriors met, either as friend or foe, and the three cults were worshiped in common, across camp fires and across battle fields. In this way, these three faiths came to parallel each other. Over the years, they began to coalesce into a single battle field religion. By the end of the Great War, temples to the now united “Three Fates” had begun to appear. It is true that the Three Fates have been widely embraced by the ogres, but they are not, exclusively, ogre gods. In the modern age, the Three Fates are wide spread and soldiers on both sides of any battle likely pray to them.
The Church of the Three Fates seeks to encourage the glory of battle across the lands. Only in battle can a warrior find his “true fate” and so battle is good and conflict of all kinds is to be encouraged.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Temples of this religion are large fortified structures of grey stone and heavy timber. Within these forts one will find barracks, guild halls, training grounds, communal worship areas and huge altars devoted to the Three Fates.
Major temples to the Three Fates can be found in the cities of Tyrrenkor, Stovikar, the Citadel, Aerith and Tykron. At the major temples, followers can find shelter, healing, training, access to weapons and information about mercenary jobs, militia work and so forth. In this regard, the temples function somewhat as a warrior guild.
Smaller churches and shrines can be found in cities and major towns across all of Ithria, from Rukemia to Bathynia.
Most followers of the Three Fates worship all three gods equally. They will pray to Grundel for strength, to Vaylur for speed and Muthakra for accuracy and wisdom. Likewise, they will try to incorporate the teachings and beliefs of each of the Three Fates into their life.
It is not uncommon, however, for worshipers to select a preferred deity, typically one who mirrors their own personal style. Archers will pray to Muthakra, swordsmen to Vaylur and so forth.
One might think that only barbarians, brawlers, gladiators and brutes would worship Grundel. Actually, Grundel is the most popular of the three gods and the most widely worshiped. His blunt focus on personal strength, rage and slaughter appeals to some base mentality common in all soldiers and warriors. He is especially popular with enthusiastic young warriors out to make a name for themselves, reluctant common men pressed into militia service and untrained new recruits. There is an unspoken belief that Grundel protects all who worship him and lends them strength in battle. “Follow the Red or you’ll end up dead” is a common bit of advice given to first timers. The most extreme of Grundel’s followers are called “Red Devils”. True to their name, the Red Devils often paint their bare bodies red before a battle, usually with blood. Grundel is particularly worshiped by orcs who respect his ferocity in battle. Several orc clans consider him their patron deity.
Vaylur tends to attract swordsmen who value speed, skill and finesse over brute strength. Often those who chose to worship Vaylur are usually more experienced soldiers who have survived battles and bear the scars. They have mastered a weapon or two and seek to further their martial training. There are, of course, some who take this to an extreme. They tend to be loners and fanatics who enjoy the company of their weapons more than pleasantries and conversation. Followers of Vaylur spend endless hours training alone trying to achieve Rojae (pronounced ro-JAY-uh) an ogre word which translates roughly as "awareness" - that is, oneness with the weapon and one's surroundings. It is a unity of weapon and warrior, surroundings and the five senses that goes far beyond ordinary skill. Devotees of Vaylur spend many years working toward this goal. While they are usually masters of their weapon and excellent warriors, many never do. Fewer than one in a thousand disciples achieve Rojae and for those few who do, it is a life altering achievement. Those who achieve rojae become “rojavi" (which translates as "master” or "he who has achieved mastery") and enjoy great respect among the faithful.
It is a tradition for some followers to only use a weapon that they acquired through “fate” or by their own hands. In other words, they will never buy a weapon. They will only use a weapon if they acquired it from a fallen opponent, or find it on the battle field or acquire it through adventuring. If fate does not deliver them a weapon, they can craft it themselves.
In any case, they will always seek to obtain the finest weapon and keep it with them at all times. Finding and obtaining their weapon is not a thing taken lightly. It is common for a follower to search for many months through markets, bazaars and battlefields until they find the perfect weapon, one that fits them, physically and mentally. Some followers will even learn the craft of metalwork or become a bowyer so that they can craft their own weapon
Muthakra tends to attract the worship of veterans, older soldiers, commanders and so forth. Worshipers of all types pray to Muthakra when facing a difficult choice, a difficult task, when imprisoned, facing execution and so forth. They will ask for guidance, for wisdom, for the strength of will to survive. Worshipers believe that Muthakra is watching them always, weighing their actions and listening to their prayers. If a warrior shows strength in the face of adversity, Muthakra is pleased.
A common belief about this religion is that the three gods form a progression, of sorts, and this is true. Grundel has a tendency to attract young and brash warriors. Vaylur attracts more experienced soldiers. Muthakra’s followers are the true veterans. There are some followers, not all, but a few, who go through this very transition, moving their focus from Grundel to Vaylur to Muthakra as their gain experience, wisdom and age. Likewise, there is a progression in the way that these worshipers fight as well which is a reflection of the nature of the three gods. A common saying among them is “First, you fight with power, later, you fight with prowess and ultimately, you fight with purpose".
Allied and Opposed Faiths
The church of the Three Fates is on good terms with the church of Kael and neutral towards most others. The church of the Three Fates is opposed to the church of Sarreth.
The Teachings of Grundel
The Teachings of Vaylur
The Teachings of Muthakra
Every day, every choice leads one toward life or death. It is the choices we make that forge our future and define us. It is the path we walk that decides what battles we fight, the sides we choose, the outcome of every conflict. Will is the most important weapon and the means to choose. To endure is a choice. To give in to weakness, exhaustion, hunger, pain… that is also a choice. This is the truest nature of the warrior. Sheer will can overcome any obstacle. Choose to endure. Choose to survive. Choose to conquer. Choose wisely, for Muthakra is watching.
War is good and necessary. Only in battle is a warrior truly free and only in battle can a warrior find his “true fate”. This is an important aspect of the faith. Every warrior has an ultimate destiny that he is meant to find. This may mean battle, honor, glory, injury, defeat, victory, loss, redemption, martyrdom, sacrifice, a glorious death... whatever it is, that is the "true fate" that the warrior was meant to live. It is the specific role that he was meant to play in the world. Every warrior has a unique fate that is his and his alone. He need only have the courage to find it.
The Book of Fate is a collection of stories about all three brother deities and their most famous priests and followers. Every temple and shrine has a copy of this book. When a faithful follower of this religion lives a particularly colorful life or dies a particularly significant death, his life’s story may be added to the Book of Fate. This is the greatest accomplishment a follower of the Fates can achieve.
The faith itself has a single central symbol which shows three crescent moons arranged with a fist, a blade and an arrow. Each of the three gods also has a stylized rune-like glyph associated with them.
Many worshipers have the rune symbols of each god tattooed on their bodies in strategic locations… the symbol of Grundel on their thighs and biceps to give them strength, the symbol of Vaylor on their feet and hands to give them speed and skill and the symbol of Muthakra around their eyes to give them precise aim and the ability to see things clearly.
The Red Devils of Grundel paint themselves with blood before a battle, usually with the blood of an enemy or a sacrificial animal.
The Three Fates delight in living sacrifices. Such sacrifices must die on the altar and blood must flow. Most sacrifices are done by impaling through the heart. The altars have blood channels carved into them to collect the blood.
Overview of the Clergy
The priests of the Three Fates are expert warriors, versed in a variety of weapons and battle gear. They embrace the ferocity of Grundel, the speed and skill of Vaylur and the precision, tactics and will of Muthakra.
The Three Fates grant their priests powerful magic and spells useful for combat. However, they grant their priests no healing magic whatsoever. In this faith, magical healing is seen as a coward’s way out. Healing naturally is part of the process. Pain is part of battle. Scars are worn with pride. The strong endure and fight on. The weak and unworthy die from their wounds.
Different followers follow this belief to different degrees. The priests and the Red Devils take this to an extreme. They would rather die than accept magical healing.
Non-magical healing is, however, acceptable. Bandages, splints, crutches, poultices and other herbal concoctions are acceptable and frequently used.
Divisions and Rank Structure
The priests of Grundel have no divisions and no official ranks, but establish a pecking order through combat. Any priest may be challenged by any other for his position. This trial by combat weeds out the weak and keeps them all strong. Such trials are usually to the first blood, rather than to the death.
The best warrior among them is High Priest and rules at that particular temple or church.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.