The Ancient, The Dark Lord, The Destroyer
|Domain||War, Destruction, Chaos, Barbarism|
|Ethos||Civilization is slavery.|
|Typical Worshipers||Mercenaries, bandits, thieves, pirates, marauders, soldiers, murderers.|
|Head of the Church||None.|
|Demographics||30% Human, 25% Ogre, 19% Orc, 11% Saurian, 7% Goblin, 4% Sayune, 4% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Widespread throughout Ithria.|
|Allied Faiths||On neutral terms with the other Dark Lords.|
|Opposed Faiths||All of the Elder Gods, Celestials and Kindred Gods, but most especially Imarus.|
|Holy Symbol||The Chaos Symbol - eight arrows radiating outward from a common center.|
Belhelizar is the god of war, destruction and chaos. He is the chief nemesis of Imarus and the other Elder Gods. Belhelizar is the oldest and most powerful of the Dark Lords. Belhelizar is many things: the roar of battle, the fury of the storm, the spurt of blood from an assassin's blade, the gleam of hoarded gold and the blackness of the night sky. He is everywhere and everything.Belhelizar takes many forms. His primary form is that of an immense spiked sphere, monstrous in size, rusted and ancient. It is said that the ground shakes in his presence. There are tales of him taking the form of a tall and lean humanoid form, cloaked and hooded, standing head and shoulders above the tallest ogre. Beneath the hood, the priests say, is a body composed only of blades. They say that this avatar form comes to punish those that displease him.
Myths and Legends
Belhelizar is an ancient god who lives in ancient legends. Terror and respect are heaped upon his name. Stories of his brutality echo through the Ages. Belhelizar is powerful, ancient, cunning and evil. On this, everyone, even his enemies, agree.
According to the church of Belhelizar, in the beginning, there was perfect chaos. Sky mingled with land, sea with desert, night with day, ice with fire, trees with rocks and so forth. This was the universe in its natural state of freedom, before the corruption of order and the blight of law. Over this pure and perfect chaos reigned Belhelizar the Ancient. It was a time of perfection.
Alas, such perfection was not destined to last. There appeared in the chaos a mote of order from which crawled the Enemy known in the world as Imarus. Others crawled out of the mote of Order. Barrinor and Vorkayne and all the Elder Gods. Very quickly, Imarus led the Elder Gods in hasty work. They separated sky from land and lifted the sky up above. They gathered the waters together to form the seas, the sand to form the deserts and the trees to form the forests. He raised the mountains, carved the rivers, called forth the hills and the swamps and all that is. Bit by bit, perfect chaos was being imprisoned in a framework of order.
Belhelizar lashed out at the infidel intruders. The struggle between Belhelizar and the Elder Gods shook the universe. One by one, he smote them and destroyed them. With a mighty blow, he struck down Barrinor. With another, he rent Semorjon asunder. But each time, the Elder Gods would remake their fallen companion and the vanquished was made whole. Of all the Elder Gods, only Kael proved a worthy foe, but even he fell beneath the many blows of mighty Belhelizar. But like the others, he was refashioned and made whole by the collective work of the other Elder Gods. So mighty and powerful is Belhelizar, that it took all of the Elder Gods to match him. While the others battle Belhelizar and kept him distracted, Imarus completed the corruption of the Chaos and finished in fashioning a world enslaved by order.
When he was finished, Imarus realized that true enslavement required slaves and so he created the people and animals of the world so that he might enslave them and reign over them forever. Belhelizar, however, gave the people the gift of barbarism. With it, they had their first taste of freedom. They began to make war with each other, destroying and killing. Through them, Belhelizar began to undo the order that Imarus had imposed. Imarus responded by commiting his most heinous crime of all.... civilization. Under the guise of "gifts", he corrupted the people with reading and writing and trade. He tricked them into planting crops, crafting tools and settling down in villages. He lured them with promises of ease and contentment, but gradually stole away from them their strength, freedom and will. Finally, Imarus elevated some of the people above others, creating the first priests and masters and kings. These people achieved status over the others not through strength or courage, but by rules and laws. In so doing, he stole from the people equality. For all of these "gifts", the people called him "Great Teacher", but we know his true face... he is the Great Trickster.
Belhelizar has, to this day, worked to undo the horrors that Imarus has inflicted. The Destroyer has started wars, thrown down empires, slain kings and leveled cities. It was great Belhelizar who split the sun in two. It was this spark that ignited the World Storm and the Great War that followed. The Elder Gods are weak and feeble. Despite their great numbers, they have been unable to stop Belhelizar and the relentless path He has put us on. With each battle, we take one step closer to overthrowing civilization itself. With each war, we move closer to the freedom of our natural state... chaos and barbarism.
All hail to the mighty and all powerful Belhelizar. He will break the world and return all of existence to pure and perfect chaos. And then we will be free.
Overview of the Church
The church of Belhelizar is large, powerful and ancient. Belhelizar is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of common men. Tales of the evil done in his name permeate some of the darker chapters of history. It is a name that is known to all, but rarely spoken out loud. He is often referred to only as "the Dark Lord" or "the Destroyer". As the chief nemesis of Imarus, the worship of Belhelizar is outlawed in most civilized nations. However, even in the most pious and holy of cities, there are those who gather in dark places and secretly bend knee to the Destroyer.
Belhelizar is diametrically opposed to Imarus in every way. Belhelizar and his followers are devoted to bringing about the downfall of civilization. Destruction, disorder and chaos are the weapons they wield. They work to dismantle the civilized world and return all realms to a state of pure barbarism. Individual freedom and the right of the strong play a major part in their belief system.Oaths and curses invoking the name of Belhelizar are common amongst soldiers, thieves, pirates and killers. Dark sorcerers even work his name into their foul spellcraft.
Belhelizar is worshiped openly in the Coalition and Duthelm. Although not embraced by those governments, his temples are open to all and operate without interference. In both of those dark nations, the rulers have found the priests and worshipers of Belhelizar to be useful from time to time. In the city of Asylum, Belhelizar is worshiped by many and is, in some ways, considered the patron deity of the city.
In other realms, his influence is more subtle, his worshipers more discreet. The church of Belhelizar has faithful followers and hidden shrines scattered through much of Ithria, ranging as far west as the free city of Ithell, as far north as Normidia and Vorrik, east to the great Rukemian Empire and throughout the south coast form Ormek to the Drakkellian Alliance. He is also worshiped by many groups in the Pirate Isles. Although they operate from the shadows, Belhelizar priests have a long reach and a subtle influence on society, especially in the underworld of major cities.
History and Origins
Belhelizar is a very old god. The roots of this dark cult go back far into the early mists of the First Age. There are ancient texts, dating from the Myratz Empire, that speak of a dark power worshiped by the Darzek tribes. Amidst their blood magic and human sacrifice, there was a being called Bal. Bal was referred to in several Darzek myths as the Halazar... an ancient Darzek word which literally translates as “shadow chieftain” or “maker of darkness”. In the umlat dialect of Darzek, halazar also means “destroyer”. The cult based around Bal Halazar was driven underground and thought to be wiped out after the Four Kingdoms War when the Myratz Empire formed. Historians now believe it was merely driven underground.
The cult of Bal re-emerged after the fall of the Myratz Empire. As new nations rose and holy war raged, it crept among the shadows. When the Thullian Empire rose to power, it crept into the major cities. There were various imperial reports from the Thullian Empire that mention a "death cult" devoted to Balhalazar. This cult was notorious for human sacrifices and dark magic. As the Thullian Empire grew, so did the cult. With war, migration and trade, it spread. It has even been theorized by some historians that some members of the Alliance were secretly worshipers of Balhalazar and that they intentionally caused the Focusing to fail and the Sundering to occur.
Following the Great War and the collapse of the three great nations, this dark cult found a home in the city of Asylum and other dark pockets of barbarism. With each war and fallen kingdom, this cult grew stronger. Shifts in the language from Thullian to Rukemian led to a shift in the name, but the cult endured and prospered. With the fall of Duthelm to the ogres and the rise of the Coalition, the cult found new homes.
Over the last few centuries, the dark cult of Belhelizar has secured its position in several dark kingdoms. It exerts its influence through smuggling, slavery, assassination and war. Filaments of this faith corrupt civilization from within and from beneath.
Belhelizar commands his followers to destroy, pillage and make war. The priests claim that Belhelizar's ultimate goal is a world of chaos and barbarism… a world free from the tyranny of law and civilization. Individual followers worship for many different reasons. Some lust for blood and seek constant battle, which this faith promotes. Others seek freedom or wish to avenge themselves upon those who have imprisoned them. Still others seek the downfall of those with power so that they may elevate themselves.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
There are several temples dedicated to Belhelizar, though these temples do not cooperate with each other. Each temple leads its own network of priests, warriors, spies and common followers. There are major temples in Tyrrenkor, the Citadel, the Darkwood, the Pirate Isles and Asylum. There are rumors of hidden temples and secret shines scattered across the continent. These are often concealed in forests or borderlands between Kingdoms. Within cities, shrines may be hidden in secret underground chambers and the like. It is not known how many there might be or what influence they may hold.The greatest of the major temples is the one in Asylum… a monstrous citadel of black stone called the Void. The Void is built about a cavernous central chamber in which resides an enormous iron spiked sphere. This mammoth contraption rises from a gaping chasm full of fire and smoke. Its presence is accompanied by tremendous deep resonant horns that shake the floor and clouds of obscuring mist. It is an impressive site designed to shock and awe onlookers. Many, both the faithful and the fearful, believe that this IS Belhelizar and the priests do nothing to correct this impression.
The followers of Belhelizar revel in slaughter, bloodlust and lawlessness. Destruction, pillaging and war are their meat and drink. They destroy without purpose and kill without mercy. They care nothing for the laws of civilized men, waging an endless war against civilization itself. Those who worship the Dark Lord are a broad mix of villainy… orcs and ogres, thieves and murderers, bandits and thugs, pirates, saurian, goblins, trolls and worse.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
The cult of Belhelizar is opposed to all of the Elder Gods and the Celestials, but most especially Imarus. The priests of these two faiths will attack each other on sight. Belhelizar is mostly neutral towards the other Dark Lords. Sometimes his worshipers will work with followers of the other Dark Lords, sometimes they find themselves at odds.
Law and order only serve to limit and restrict life and joy. Laws enslave the strong and promote the weak. Such is a perversion of the natural order. Civilization itself is nothing more than slavery. This tyranny must be destroyed. Break the laws and kill the lawmakers. Those who would be your judges shall be put to death. Do not be bound by the laws of men or the shackles of civility. Go forth and live without limits. Make war. Destroy. Slay. Take what the world owes you. The strong deserve glory and the weak deserve to die. Only when free from the shackles of law can the strong be free.
The Scroll of Unmaking is the name of the only holy text. The entire document is 77,000 words and is a collection of philosophical essays and rituals. It contains the core principles of Belhelizar and is the foundation of the cult. It is typically written on a collection of seven scrolls. Each temple claims to have the original document, supposedly written by Belhelizar himself. Many copies of the Scroll of Unmaking have been made and most high ranking priests carry a copy with them.
The holy symbol of Belhelizar is the chaos symbol, eight arrows radiating out from a central point. This not only symbolizes the beliefs of the faith, but also is a representation of his primary form, the many spiked iron sphere.
It is tradition for worshipers of Belhelizar to drink the blood of an enemy that they personally defeat in battle. This is especially true if it was a worthy foe or a constant nemesis.
Belhelizar is associated with the great blood red moon Mektor. When the great red moon is full, the followers meet in temple or shrine and carry out foul rituals to honor their dark lord. Living sacrifices are an important part of this worship.
There is only one especially holy day for this faith. It is called the Ravaging. There is no set date, for each temple chooses its own Ravaging. It is a single night where in the faithful go forth and make war upon civilization. This may take several forms, but chiefly involves theft, murder and destruction. Those who steal try to take the most valuable or most well guarded object. Those who kill will try to kill a person of importance. Often people are kidnapped this night and sacrificed at midnight upon the altar. Sacrifice is done with spike hammers or blades to maximize the bloodiness of the killing.
Overview of the Clergy
The priests of Belhelizar are feared and respected for they serve a power so dark and terrible that the forces of good tremble at the mere mention of his name. Belhelizar priests are known for their wicked deeds, their powerful spells and their fanatical devotion. They are able to sway many to their cause.
Dozens of priests live and work at each of the greater temples. There is no organized rank structure among the priests of Belhelizar. Each is an individual with unique skills and spells. Some are naturally more powerful and skilled than others and each grows with experience. A natural pecking order develops based on their own personal strength. The strong dominate the weak and the weak dominate the weaker. Such is the way of things. Priests ascend through the ranks by assassination and open combat. If you can kill the one above you, you deserve his place. A priest is only as strong as those he can dominate. As priests rise in power, they gain more powerful spells and acquire better armor and weapons.
Priests of Belhelizar wear armor, as battle is a common thing for them. Regardless of what armor they wear, they cover themselves in a hooded cloak of dark grey. Such cloaks are often decorated with small metal studs. In addition, priests wear an iron helm with a faceplate adorned with small forward facing metal spikes. The hood of the cloak is typically worn up concealing all but the spiked faceplate.
The favored weapon of the priests is a special type of morning star - a heavy iron sphere with thirteen spikes that sits atop a heavy oaken shaft. This weapon is symbolic of Belhelizar's form.
Their holy symbol is a small iron sphere with spikes hung about the neck on a chain. The holy symbol itself can be swung by the chain and used as a weapon.
Priests of Belhelizar wield a wide arsenal of destructive spells. Below are a few of their more specialized enchantments:
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.