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Title: The Guide To Oblivion
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Death, Grave
Symbols: The Caduceus, The Serpent
Statements of Faith:
- The halls of the dead are filled with the echoes of the living
- Death comes to all without exception
- The dead have earned their rest
- Heaven’s Gate
- Nusar (Sworn Enemy)
Almawt is both feared and respected across the continent of Ivalion, and his worship is entrenched in a similar duality. For many, especially those that call Blackrock Heights their home, death is the decision of Almawt alone. The act of killing is the most grievous sin. To others, death is worthy of celebration and praise. Many warriors and champions praise the daily selections Almawt must make. In both schools of thought, visiting the god’s domain atop Blackrock Heights is a common, once-in-a-lifetime journey. Some spend their entire lives saving enough money to be able to die in the god’s presence.
Almawt appears on the Material Plane under the guise of an ancient human man with weathered skin, slowly walking across the continent with a plain staff of bristlecone pine. He is ominously silent, only gesturing the few times he communicates with mortals. The acolytes of Death believe the god also communicates through omen, and often carry sets of tarot cards, animal bones, and tea leaves to divine his will. Blackrock Heights, and the Bottomless Crypts, are the god’s primary residence. Miles upon miles of catacombs branch off in every direction, all connected through a vast central pit with no apparent end. Those who have tried to find the crypt’s bottom have all mysteriously vanished, and some believe that it hides the god’s private sanctum- a place no living being can enter.
Almat’s holy day is fittingly the last day of the last month- the dying of the year. Celebrations of this occasion are as varied as individual perspectives of death. In the Empire of the First Sun, it is often a quiet day of reflection. In the Eternal Horde, the dead are celebrated with feasts and music. The Kingdom of the Red Lion falls somewhere in between, with long, traditional ceremonies that mourn the dead but celebrate the time we have left in this world.
As one of the original eight deities of Eibellion, Almawt came into existence during the Sundering of Mount Propius. Almawt emerged from the Fold as the fourth god, following Nar, Odo, and Shú; making him the antithetical deity to Nusar. As the mortal races came into being, Almawt left the High Heavens to guide their souls in life to more fulfilling deaths. However, he abandoned those who willingly gave their lives for glory and honor.
The First Age
During the First Age, Almawt wandered the five continents learning from the mortal races. Eventually, his travels took him to Blackrock Heights- an isolated island in the furthest northeastern corners of Ivalion. There he met the Hethens, a community entirely comprised of pacifists that worshiped the natural cycles of life and death. Having found true worshippers, the god finally settled in the massive networks of caves embedded in the island. Around this time, the villagers began customary burial rites and offerings within these caves- turning them into the Bottomless Crypts known in modern history.
As the centuries rolled forward, Blackrock Heights became a common destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. Fearing their way of life would be destroyed, or that their community would be attacked, one hundred of the locals formed the first orders of paladins and clerics. By sacrificing their own rights to a peaceful afterlife, Almawt imbued them with the power to protect their homelands. These warriors became experts in non-lethal combat, and swore the first oaths of mercy.
Towards the end of the age, the threat of the necromancer known as the Dark Ascendant washed over the island. The untold numbers of bodies in the Bottomless Crypts were an obvious target, but Almawt forbade his new order from leaving the island to make a pre-emptive attack. Frustrated, the order of paladins splintered and the first progenitors of the Death Squads exiled themselves from their home to defend it. Those staying behind began training the growing numbers of refugees, including a young orphan known as Avalon.
Almawt took special interest in the young monk. Seeing his deep spiritual potential, the god revealed much of the spiritual basis that formed the Ruminations - specifically the cycles and balances between life and death. As Avalon grew into adolescence, he left the island but the god stayed behind- refusing to intervene in the War of the Gods. While most of the continent was left devastated, Blackrock Heights remained a beacon of safety.
The Second Age
With the construction of the Great Barrier, Almawt became trapped on the Prime Material plane; however, this has had little impact on his worship. Blackrock Heights continued to be a site of pilgrimage, eventually greeting the first Dawnbringer. The paladin of Nar sought Almawt’s aide in rebuilding the continent, and he allowed his orders to operate within Heaven’s Gate. They were specifically tasked with peacefully neutralizing the growing resource conflicts in the eastern lands that eventually fell beneath the banner of The Eternal Horde.
They were greeted with scorn, as they had hid atop the sheer cliffs of their island home during the War of the Gods. The people had come to worship Nusar without question, believing that war and the power of the individual was the only path to freedom and glory. Their every attempt to aid the struggling individuals and tribes was met with bloodshed. Standing no chance against the battle-hardened warriors, the paladins and clerics scattered across the southern reaches of the continent. Seeking vengeance, and furious at their god’s refusal to intervene, the Death Squads signed their first contracts as mercenaries with the fledgling Kingdom of the Red Lion.
Even during the onset of the Ivalion Conflict the god’s stance on pacifism was left unchanged. His ranks of worshippers sunk as war overtook the continent, and faith in Almawt was equally corrupted. True glory in death became the ultimate goal for thousands of soldiers. The lack of true worshippers weakened Almawt, who eventually fell silent upon the deaf ears of Ivalion.
The Third Age
During the Cataclysm of the Second Age, Almawt passed out of existence; however, the mantle of Death was not left unfilled. His domain was taken over by the ascendant deity known as the Raven Queen.
- “Almawt” is the Arabic verbal noun for both death and demise.