Dolgrael the Forgemaster, Harbinger of Conflict
|Home(s)||The Forge of Dolgrael|
|Portfolio||War, honor, pride, metalsmithing, victory, defeat|
|Worshippers||Warriors, loners, blacksmiths, upstarts, footmen|
History in Avendar
The birth of humanity heralded great change for Avendar, epitomizing adaptability and growth. With their Father, Jolinn, immersed in His long slumber, other deific forces focused their efforts on the young race. One of which was Dolgrael, the forger of souls. The elder aelin discovered metal artifacts amidst the ruins of the fallen alatharya, and from it, discerned the rudiments of metalcraft. Humans, on the other hand, were introduced to the art directly by the Forgemaster. With their natural ingenuity, humanity developed a myriad of uses for iron, eclipsing the aelin bronze age. One of these uses, of course, was weapons and armor, about which Dolgrael offered special insight. With these new tools, human lust for expansion and battle knew few limits. They warred amongst themselves, and established settlements and kingdoms throughout the wilderness.
As Sythrak's warlords emerged from the marshes, they encountered the warlike and well-armed humans of the Earendam river valley. The srryn possessed limited power over the magics of Fire, but it was an imperfect weapon. It quickly became apparent that humanity would be no trivial foe. This led to a tenuous alliance between Sythtys' templar-generals and expansionist humans. The srryn learned first hand about the keen power of properly forged weapons, and in turn, created forges of their own. Humans, on the other hand, learned of the Flame, and honed it into power an order of magnitude greater than what any srryn could. Dolgrael was pleased, as this conflict would ensure that mortalkind had the possibility to test itself in the greatest forge. Great warriors arose from many races, but the Forgemaster was particularly impressed by an embattled aelin swordsman named Marlax. It would be he who would become Dolgrael's first chosen, and known the world over as the Falcon King.
The rousing of Jolinn and the rise of the magics of Water ended the War of Fire, and while beleaguered mortals breathed a sigh of relief, Dolgrael grew bored. Peace was tiresome, and the God of War focused His attention on His forge and the contests of demons and demigods, such as the Challenge of Ashurru. He empowered Marlax to serve as His agent on the Prime, and left him to perpetuate the ideals of honor. Meanwhile, Hammer-bearers refined their use of the forge to develop steel, as well as deeply influenced the development of the modern earth templar creed. With the emergence of the shuddeni from their subterranean world, Dolgrael's interest in Avendar was again renewed. As the War of Night shrouded the world in darkness, Marlax's white falcon would become a legendary symbol on the battlefield. The Forgemaster Himself took great pride in all those who proved their mettle, particularly during the Battle of Aramril.
With the sudden arrival of the ch'taren and their goddess, Rystaia Lightbringer, Dolgrael's anemic following suffered a heavy blow. Humanity's fickle interest grew beyond the now well-known art of the forge, seeking new territory with the magics of Spirit. Although Rystaia's religion claimed many of the best and brightest of the age, Dolgrael's greatest threat was much closer. Marlax's vast renown had led to his elevation in the eyes of mortal warriors, and he now acted as their god. He founded the Lords of Conquest, who while powerful, frequently lacked the true mettle demanded by Dolgrael. As their actions grew increasingly more honorless, Dolgrael decided that the age of the Falcon had ended. He heralded His return with a meteorite, and destroyed His first chosen. Claiming the Lords of Conquest for Himself, Dolgrael transformed the worthy among them into a legion of elite combatants known as the Invincibles. With the completion of Dolgrael's temple in the modern era, He is venerated throughout Avendar as the only true god of War.
Goals and Methods
Dolgrael seeks to create a world ruled by honor. Honor is what tempers the powerful into legend, allowing them to resist petty faults or blinding moralisms. To Dolgrael, the rule of this elite favors improvement over oppression, and avoids subservience to the inferior. The metaphor of the forge is common to the God of War's followers, as the steady shaping, forging, and strengthening of a weapon aptly describes their lives. Dolgrael seeks a world of action rather than stagnation, and expects His followers to remain in perpetual motion. This means continual testing and retesting of oneself and others. Jalassa's following is often compared to Dolgrael's, as both seek personal improvement through combat. However, while the Arbiter's devoted hope their toil results in a moment of sublime enlightenment, Dolgrael's warriors seek only to prove their merit to both Him, and themselves. Thus, while the former is defined by revelation, the latter is defined by personal honor.
To create the world Dolgrael envisions, He demands that His disciples maintain a rigorous code of conduct. They must be trustworthy, never breaking their word or violating the rules of a contest. They must take only what they need, and avoid the common vice of greed. They must avoid attacking unarmed foes unless circumstance utterly requires it, such as in self-defense. Finally, they must never succumb to cowardice, and always avoid using superior numbers against their foes. This representation of honor is only especially meaningful when it is tested in battle. Thus, Dolgrael demands that His warriors seek powerful foes, accept challenges and participate in wars. Conflict is the flame which keeps alight the forge of souls, and Dolgrael's chosen are always at its heart. It should be noted, however, that Dolgrael's vision of valuable conflict does not include "culling the weak", a hold-over from the once-famous Lords of Conquest. An expertly forged weapon is meant for glory, not tillage.
Organizations and Followings
Dolgrael's chosen serve under the banner of the Invincibles, which stands upon the ruins of the Lords of Conquest. It is expected that those who fight for the Forgemaster's creed will fight in their name, although they may serve in varying capacities within it. As a result, Dolgrael's warriors are divided by action, rather than faction. A description of the general ways in which a mortal serves the Invincibles is as follows:
Legionnaire of the Invincibles
"Come to the circle and know my worth."
A Legionnaire of the Invincibles tests himself against others often. This may include seeking other powerful adventurers to fight, or answering challenges from them. This often occurs within Dolgrael's temple, as it provides ample space for mobile or stationary contests. However, he is not merely a bull-pen ace; he will take to battle whenever he feels there is a challenge to be met. Much like a Knight of Enirra, he will always ally himself with the weaker side irrespective of his opponent. His primary goal is to better himself through battle, be it to hone his skill or prove his mettle. A Legionnaire is perhaps the most iconic representation of Dolgrael's following, as he makes a name for himself mostly within the adventurer class. Warriors, templars, and scholars comprise the majority of Legionnaires.
Challenger of the Invincibles
"Bring your best. I need no armor to defeat you."
While the Legionnaire primarily concerns himself with other adventurers, a Challenger of the Invincibles focuses on arbitrary challenges or great beasts. He will most often be found training, but will take it a step beyond the common concerns of coins or artifacts. Instead of seeking easy victory, he will try to increase the difficulty of his journeys just because he can. This may mean challenging great foes with the simplest of weapons, with little or no armor, with smaller formations or entirely alone. It may also manifest itself in accepting contests against other adventurers, but in much the same spirit; always choosing a disadvantage to see the limit of his strength or fear. A Challenger might appreciate the insane thrill-seeking of a Sensate of the Lotus, but even with a disadvantage, he intends to succeed. Scholars, templars, and psionicists are the most likely to follow this path.
Emissary of the Invincibles
"Know the Forgemaster and know yourself."
While a Legionnaire and Challenger are focused primarily upon themselves, the Emissary of the Invincibles seeks to train others in the ways of the God of War. They will often concern themselves with the training or empowerment of others, but only within the code of the Forgemaster. An Emissary will not only instruct, but demonstrate by example the proper behavior of one who seeks the Invincibles. He will train, accept challenges, and serve the Invincibles as any would be expected to; he does not put talk before action. It is primarily through Emissaries that Dolgrael's religion is spread, be it through organizations in which the Emissary is a member, or simply those he encounters on his journey. Fighters and water templars are most likely to be Emissaries, as they most often know the value of hierarchical training.
Dolgrael seeks those who are not faint of heart. If one chooses the path of the God of War, he must be willing to fight at all times, and he must do so with the steady resolve of honor. Although he does not have to fight for others, he avoids petty bullying or braggadocio. When a follower of the Forgemaster speaks, he says what needs to be said without embellishment; his voice is plain but confident. Dolgrael's followers represent the truest dedicants of war throughout Avendar, and often study tactics or carefully hone their skills. They are much more at home seeking their own personal growth, battling whoever seems most powerful, rather than commanding an army. While the life of the Hammer can easily be a solitary one, a follower of Dolgrael has no need to turn away friendships or seek meaningful relationships. However, those who forge such friendships always prove their worth in battle, and thus those closest to them often share a value for strength and devotion.
The worship of Dolgrael is common throughout Avendar's fighting companies. He is venerated most often by humans, ensuring the spread of His religion the world over. His following is not exclusively human, though, and can be found among most of Avendar's races. Shuddeni, ch'taren, and especially caladaran, rarely seek the God of War, be it because of a proclivity for "dishonor", a lack of relentless focus, or a less martial outlook overall. Dolgrael appeals to most professions, but frequently to the exclusion of rogues because of their dishonorable methods. The enlisted men of a standing army often venerate Dolgrael, while officers or hereditary aristocracy instead favor Jalassa's philosophy of enlightenment. Because of His multiracial appeal and lack of upper class support, those who seek to worship Him do so at His temple or in private, rather than at public, city shrines.
Those who find favor with the God of War are marked with the Sigil of the Iron Hammer.
Dolgrael is known throughout pantheon for His elite following and magnificent creations. Ch'taren deities appreciate Dolgrael's martial bent, with He and Calaera sharing a mutual interest in the art of war. The gods of the caladaran are mixed on Dolgrael's meaning. While His direct application of violence appalls Alajial, Jalassa approves of His rigor and dedication, and Chadraln finds His warriors' feats fascinating moments in history. Other deities of the light accept Dolgrael's help when it is available, but do not rely upon it. Gods of darkness often have little use for Dolgrael, as His followers rarely show interest in truly forwarding their dark designs. Gods of chaos, in particular, dislike the Forgemaster's lawful bent and resent His snubbing of their capriciousness. However, Alil provides a curious echo, with Her lust for thrills mirroring His drive for greater challenge. Gods of law are neutral toward Him, as His concerns and Theirs rarely meaningfully overlap.
Enirra has a troubled but functional relationship with Dolgrael. While She and He both seek upheaval and conflict, their methods often clash as much as they cooperate. Enirran Knights tend to have little value for the Forgemaster's honor when balance is at stake, while the Invincibles have little use for the copious, under-skilled ranks of Her devoted. However, Enirra and Dolgrael both recognize that their warriors share many of the same battlefields, and thus have developed a measure of quiet respect