Ivor and Thriss sat quietly at Ulric’s feet, furs draped across their shoulders; their eyes were wide as Ulric detailed the stories woven into the tapestries hung behind him, spinning words as all good tale-masters were expected to do. The flickering firelight cast shadows across the wooden lynx mask he wore, deepening the grooves cut into its surface and picking out the painted details in shades of black and orange. He waved his hands dramatically.

“And so the Winter Lord was lulled into false confidence, drinking and feasting with the rest of his Hroendir, unaware that there was an enemy within his hall,” he boomed, pointing out the drowsing god in his great carved seat. “Reynhord snuck among the merry-makers, so silent and sly was he, and crept next to Lord Isengrim with malice in his heart.” Ulric laced his fingers together to create a shadow puppet. He moved his thumbs this way and his pinkies that way, and suddenly a foxy figure scuttled across the feast hall towards Lord Isengrim’s seat. “Looking to and fro, he saw that not even clever Jaloschian nor watchful Shes had spied him, and grinned his wicked grin…”

“Wake up, King!” cried Ivor, his fists clenched in anxiety. “There’s a Findahlir behind you!” Thriss shushed him frantically, but Ulric never lost a beat.

“Indeed, cry out through the ages to him if you like, but when the God of All Gods wishes to slumber, not even the teeth of his wild-eyed wife can wake him,” he said, flexing his fingers so Reynhord’s silhouette turned to laugh in triumph. “And so, cloaked in mischief and lies, the Prince of Foxes leaned close to the Ice-Breaker, and one! Two! Three! He plucked our great lord’s eyes from their sockets as easy as you might pull a bean from a pod!” Ulric’s hands fluttered and shook, recreating the ancient scene of violence and treachery, and a foxy shadow slunk away from the chaos.

“The gods all clamored and raged, for they had never been hurt in their own lands before, nor maimed as the Bringer of Blizzards had been maimed, and blood ran down Lord Isengrim’s cheeks like tears flow down the face of a broken-hearted lover; the icicles in his beard glinted red with his own oozing gore. Reynhord escaped in the frenzy, and while the Mother of Agony knelt to tend her brother-not’s wounds, Shes beat his wings like an eagle in a cage and took up his finest spear.

“Now, my little ones, what happens next? Do you know?”

“Um…” said Thriss, chewing on the tip of one of her braids. “Shes goes rushing after Reynhord to steal back Lord Isengrim’s eyes because he’s the fastest of all, and he sees something special, but I can’t remember what it is.”

“Very good, Thriss, I see you’ve been paying attention. Ivor, do you know what that special thing was that Shes saw as he stormed through the heavens?”

“He saw a goddess all wearing white!” said Ivor, bouncing with excitement. “And she’d caught Lord Isengrim’s eyes, because Reynhord threw them!”

“Excellent!” Ulric said, swirling his cloak dramatically to send up a burst of sparks from the fire. “Now sit and listen as I continue this tale, one of hanging the moon and casting the stars, and you will hear how our Lord Isengrim overcame this great insult, and what Shes did upon spotting Manene, and many other true things.” He took a pull from the drinking horn resting on the table beside him. “For though I am a godsman of the Lord of Liars, I will never tell a falsehood about things done by his brothers-not and sister-not. Listen closely to my words, which are the words of Jaloschian in their own way, and you will hear a great many things…”

The Hroendir, also known as the "War Gods," are a collection of deities venerated in most parts of Ydra and the Isle of Blain. They are a violent, largely chthonic group, and are usually depicted simultaneously as human and animal figures. Part of their history includes their sound defeat of a group of rival gods known as the Findahlir, or "Fire Gods."

There is no specific term for followers of the Hroendir, although those who strongly identify with specific gods may adopt a specific term (such as "Berovian" or "Shesite"). The Hroendir generally do not have any specific clergy, and it is not unusual for their followers to worship multiple gods with equal fervency. With few exceptions (namely the priests and priestesses of Berove Quor or his mother, Roghasoldarian), the gods are represented by godsmen, whose job it is to care for any shrines dedicated to their deity, keep verbal or (more rarely) written records of lore, interpret possible signs from their god, and generally promote their god's interests. Godsmen usually have some other occupation in addition to being a godsman, though more than a few are minor thegns.

Followers of the Hroendir have a name for the realm of the dead, Thyrnirheim, but don't associate it with any particularly good or ill actions in life. Special treatment after death requires attracting the direct attention of a god; even godsmen do not expect to achieve this during their lifetimes, as it is a feat generally reserved for great heroes or those who irritate the gods beyond the extent of simply killing the offender.

Myths of the Hroendir

Isengrim: the Lord of Winter, leader of the Hroendir, and favored of those who rule.
Shes: the Storm-Rider, warrior, messenger, and weather-caller.
Jaloschian: the Man who Laughs, a tactician, musician, and trickster.
Roghasoldarian: the Mother of Agony, both healer and butcher alike.
Yago: the Green Antlered Man, a wrathful god banished to the wild places.
Vadai: the Huntress, leader of the Wild Hunt and harrier of lost souls.
Terian Rose: the Quiet, who tends to the echoing halls of the dead.
Manene: the Star-Mother, a sorrowful goddess who weaves the Northern Lights.
Cabonprivet: the Water-Carrier, a meek but powerful god who toils endlessly.
Nesh: the Golden, who is followed by luck and riches wherever he goes.
Kakosuzar: the Tenfold Serpent, ruler of the black depths of the sea.
Berove Quor: the Ever-Wanting, a god of victories and sensuality.
Grisindr: the Green Serpent Woman, weaver of curses and strange wyrds.
Dansel: the White Cat, a fallen goddess of love and magic whose worship is outlawed.


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