Sitheus the Dispossessed, Outcast of the Mires
|Home(s)||Upon a Lake of Brackish Murk|
|Symbols||The Black Serpent|
|Houses||Guardian, Shunned, Raider|
|Portfolio||Undeath, punishment, jealousy, obedience, decay, exile|
|Worshippers||The vindictive, the overlooked, victims, necromancers, void templars, egomaniacs|
History in Avendar
Of Fenthira's two immortal children, the second was Sitheus, master of serpents. Deft and intelligent, He easily established Himself within Sythtys, the great swamp over which His mother had dominion. During this time, he warred with His brother-rival, Sythrak, as both attempted to assert themselves as worthy of Fenthira's favor. Sitheus coveted the talent His brother possessed for magic, but could not command himself: it only deepened his loathing when Fenthira chose Sythrak over Him to create the first clutch of srryn. The War of Fire, sparked by Sythrak's ambition and self-assurance, maddened Sitheus, drawing into sharp relief His own perceived shortcomings.
As Sythrak's war ultimately failed, He was then left vulnerable; when His following was at its weakest, Sitheus struck. Having long sharpened his claws for the opportune moment, Sitheus' viciousness was legendary. He savaged Sythrak, but did not banish Him from Sythtys-- rather, the greatest punishment He could imagine was a long, painful, and relentless impotence in the shadow of His former glory. With Fire's power broken, Sitheus encouraged the srryn to hone their natural guile. As well, He was the first of the race to recognize the growing power of Void. How He came to that revelation remains a mystery; Sythrak's chosen assert it was gained through cavorting with warmbloods.
Sythrak, however, would not be denied His claim to Sythtys and the srryn. His rage at Sitheus' backstabbing drove Him to greater and greater command of Fire. At the dawn of the modern era, Sythrak returned with a vengeance. The battle of Fenthira's sons was protracted and spectacular; srryn shamans say that fire rained down on the swamp for seven months as the two struggled for supremacy. In the end, Sythrak smote Sitheus, vaporizing His body and exiling His undying spirit from Sythtys. Sitheus' deathless spectre roamed the Prime Material, mad with jealousy and defeat. Capitalizing on His new ethereal state, He began to tap into the power of Gamaloth and its otherworldly command of the dead.
Sitheus fashioned for Himself a new body from the remains of dead srryn, rotting plant life, and brackish slime. Reveling in His new form, He began to craft His own utterly obedient following of undead. As He mastered the intricacies of negative energy, He raised countless twisted constructs of vine and bone into His service, and claimed the Fens as His own. Soon, His abominations would siege human settlements and Sythtys alike; giving rise to His own Sept, known as the Thissa, within the heart of Sythrak's domain. Outcast but unwavering, Sitheus continues to seek greater power through undeath, asserting His own twisted form of srryn dominance upon mortal Avendar.
Goals and Methods
If Sitheus has an ultimate goal, it is to achieve the model of dominance: to create and maintain an utterly devoted army, who live and die in the service of His reckoning. He despises betrayal in all of its forms unless it is His own, fueling His investigation into undeath. As such, those who follow Him either are slaves themselves, or crafted in His own image. He believes that all mortals fall into one category or the other, and discerning the two is the imperative of all who have something to prove. He contrasts deities like Serachel in that He does not tend to subtlety or manipulation; His veils are short-lived and only when necessary. He equally contrasts Arkhural, in that He does not cow others at large with havoc, but rather, punishing specific persons or groups with devastating focus.
Sitheus' primary method in all things is a lust for vengeance. The slight He feels for His ousting from Sythtys is legendary, and as such, it is this feeling that He nutures in those who follow Him. He believes that this feeling can be harnessed to not only drive mortals to new heights of power, but also that controlling it can encourage an unusual level of self-discipline. As a result, He may bide His time for generations, millennia if needed, to gain that which He desires. Sitheus contrasts Jalassa in that the root of His self-control is negative; there is no harmony to be found in His guidance. He also contrasts Ashur's following, in that the final goal is not nihilistic-- He has much invested in claiming the empires of those who have crossed Him.
Organizations and Followings
Sitheus' ideal is often an individual one, based on internal suffering and unrequited desire. In spite of this, organizations have risen in His name, which have some particular interest to adventurers rather than common people. However, this tends to make each member of a given group more or less on their own, or at the very least, pursuing their own goals before any other's. Some examples are as follows:
The Thissa Sept
"Your time has come."
Perhaps the most well-known of the Sithean factions, the Thissa Sept is well-established within the swamp of Sythtys. The group itself is composed of like-minded srryn, whose goals range from asserting their power over demonkind to mastering Avendar at large. Inspired in part by the legendary templar, Zyal, their will to dominate is unquestioned even amongst their own kind. An adventurer of like mind tends to be vicious and uncompromising, with a focus on srryn supremacy by way of the Void. They may do so in a variety of ways, but virtually all of them are martial in focus. The Thissa only allow other races to do their bidding, meaning that such seekers would endure a life of slavery at their claws. Srryn assassins, barbarians, and Void templars tend to be the heart of the Thissa.
"Death is only the beginning."
Sitheus is known for His mastery of undeath, unrivaled in the deific pantheon. As such, necromancers and occasional other scholars of Void are attracted to Him as a patron of their art. The acts they perform in His service are often grotesque, up to and including grafting undead body parts onto the living. Their fearsome reputation has helped exclude them from mainstream guilds that specialize in the craft. Because Void scholars and necromancers can never be srryn, their inclusion as something other than simple slaves puts them at odds even with other followers of Sitheus. Their master, however, demands their unflinching obedience as equally as He would of a saurian, and He offers comfort to none. Humans and shuddeni are the most likely to be Seteysh, as they are the most likely to bow for the promise of power.
The Chosen of the Serpent
"Underestimating me was your last mistake!"
The most inclusive branch of Sithean belief are the Chosen of the Serpent, who represent individuals that epitomize His own craven lust for revenge. These followers tend to not associate themselves with each other, as their goals are so exclusively and feverishly personal. This group knows no race or creed, as all who hear the call of vengeance can consider themselves at home within it. It has been suggested that those who achieve their ends to the most impressive degree find the elusive favor of Sitheus Himself, and may be rewarded by becoming saurians in His own ghastly image. While any can consider a life as a Chosen, He is discerning in who is worthy of the honor, and those He turns away may only return when their malice is strong enough to impress.
Sitheus appeals primarily to two groups: those who have been painfully betrayed, and those who feel unjustly overlooked. What binds both is the strong feeling that they have been denied something which should rightfully be theirs. As such, His creed can appeal to virtually all types of individuals, but tend to be most closely aligned with evil for their lack of compunction. A follower of Sitheus will often be unusually calm or measured when dealing with others, until something raises her ire. She strives for mastery both of her skill but also of her relationships, never allowing herself to be in a position of weakness. While she likely has interests that fall outside of her quest for revenge or supremacy, they tend to be a coping mechanism for her generally negative outlook, rather than something which inspires true peace.
The worship of Sitheus is strongest where outcasts can be found. This primarily includes mire-like locations such as the Fens, where typical srryn worship is not performed. It may also include undercities or prisons, where individuals may be kept against their will. Races such as the ethron or caladaran are infrequent followers of Sitheus, as they tend to have the wisdom to recognize the damaging effects of a life driven by vengeance alone; the ch'taren never follow Him, as their innate predisposition to joy and inherent goodness prevent them from feeling the internal blackness that His methods require. Adventurers who follow Sitheus are most often assassins, Void templars, or Void scholars. Within mainstream society, Sithean belief is shunned even within guilds who may otherwise have a wide tolerance for evil. The city-state of Earendam has a prohibition on Sithean practice in its entirety. This only further drives His followers into the mental or emotional space He requires of them, consequently making them more His.
Those who find favor with the Outcast are marked with the Sigil of the Black Serpent.
Sitheus is an outside voice amongst the pantheon. He is considered a simpleton by deific masterminds such as Serachel, and too measured by lords of destruction like Khanval or Arkhural. His dismissal of the laws earns Him the disfavor of Iandir and the ire of Rveyelhi, though his followers are generally stable enough to serve. Neutral deities such as Girikha have little use for Him, while others such as Chadraln or Dolgrael find Him a curiosity but largely underwhelming. His strongest connections are with other deities which encourage self-discipline, such as Jalassa or Ashur; however, their respect is muted by either His actual goals or general indifference.
Fenthira and Sythrak are the two deities which give Sitheus' existence purpose. The first is both a point of focus in His quest for dominance; to win Her favor is a recognition of His power and supremacy over His brother. The latter is the object of his hatred, which inspires Him to create and evolve into greater and more unstoppable form. Sythrak's rage is ever-present in the mind of Sitheus, which is the only objective measure of His success at twisting the proverbial knife. Ultimately, overwhelming both is the unattainable desire that backs Sitheus' mad quest for supremacy over the srryn race.