Of all things learned through the course of the moon and sun's chase in the heavens is that the power of nature, of anger, of the beating heart is greater than anything else. Raw creation and destruction are born from the pains and needs from within. Without the will, you are nothing more than a mere breeze milling about grasses. But those with greatness, pride in themselves, strength and resolve of heart and mind, can strike down mountains into plains and crumble civilization with crashes of thunder and whipping winds. Thus is the power of storms; thus is the strength of pride.
Anskar, God of Storms, quickly joined the pantheon of Audalis through his prowess in battle and ability as a leader. He was a fearsome force under the tutelage of Therassor. Strong of arm, striking of form, he could control entire nations through battles and looks more than any other seen in the world of man and god. However, once he joined the pantheon, his love of self and mastery of the elementals of war, of wind and storm, brought him tumbling down. He gloried in his might, thundered in his heartbreak, and was soon cast into the ever-watchful and cunning care of Tyrannis.
The fellowship and worship of Anskar is one of pride and love in one's works. It is the fulfillment of emotions through the awesome and majestic power of wind, rain, thunder, and lightening. To walk Anskar's path is to feel emotions stronger than any other, to love one's self rather than others, to walk amongst the hurricane, to whisper to the gail. It is a lonely but powerful following in which one will lose all they have but gain a power that has made gods tremble for ages. Priests of Anskar are a mixed group of warriors, wizards, and priests. They not only tempt the tempest but pull it about them as a comforting blanket. These followers seek power for the sake of magesty and greatness, for their own gain, but it is always as a loss of others. Each priest carries this constant pain as if touched by the melancholy curse of the Master of Airs.
The temples of Anskar are grand places of rock and stone carved by the winds themselves. Each temple displays the greatness of the Storm King and the high-priest governing it. Halls may have dedicated pieces of large sculptures, paintings, libraries, songs trilling on winds, and trophies of wars and hunts. Each temple has a different feel, but all are in raised areas, such as cliffs, hills, and mountains. Some are mansions while others are towers.
At all times, the faithful of Anskar feel the watchful gaze of Tyrannis and her servants upon them. High-priests tend to be followed by flocks of ravens with silver-blue eyes, the wardens of Anskar's imprisonment under the Dark Lady's power. But despite the judging eyes, the priests and devout of the Storm King continue to rail against the world, rending their landscapes and homes with screaming winds and devilish storms, all the while lamenting their loss and taking comfort in themselves.
Joining the Pantheon
Anskar was a grand warrior of Therassor. He had once tried to become a follower of Rydor, a holy warrior. But his constant quarrelling with the grand-masters about his pride, arrogance, and questionable tactics sent him looking for a better home of faith and fellowship. In his youth, he was selfish but not dark nor evil. After a long discussion with his father, he turned to the church of Therassor and found what he sought.
Dashing and capable beyond all of his teachers expectations, he excelled in warfare and diplomacy. As the years drew onward, he rose in stature through battles on the field and in the warroom. Treaties and dignitaries flooded his ancestral home in Drannon as he continued his assault and control over nobles and peasants. But there had to be more, had to be something greater, for he knew he was among the best. In seeking this grand station, he left in a quest, accompanied by a lovely lady whose visions were among some of the keenest. Through dark lands beset by feral creatures and and ancient magics, he fought towards his shining goal, the Opaun Geilles, the white sword of Therassor.
Long he travelled, pushing himself, his party, and his seer to their limits. Yet his eyes remained bright, his smile radiant, his arm strong. Through his journey, he lost himself to the blustering need that grew daily within his breast, his obsession for power and prestige. Misted lands that spun a delirium of sights and sounds enrapt them in chaos. This was the fears the seer had warned of. But by then, the seer was long dead, as were most of his men and horses. Forcing himself forward through will alone, he sought a shining light in the blinding whiteness. What seemed an eternity finally ended as he grasped the hilt. Letting out a thunderous cry, he lifted the sword aloft. Lightening crackled and struck the summit where he stood silhouetted against a storm risen by gods themselves. Frightening, his cringing men waited to see nothing but smoking flesh. What they found was a newborn god with eyes that reflected the storms roiling about them.
History in the Pantheon
Anskar bore a less than desirable reputation among his fellow gods from the very beginning. Selfish, narcissistic and presumptuous, he tired the heavenly court with repetitive and heavily-exaggerated accounts of his exploits: disruptive and tactless displays of brute power that, much like wildfire and tsunami, were awesome to behold but presented many grave stipulations, among these the damage inflicted upon the realms of other gods. Particularly furious were Kith-Jora, Telamor, Solanis, Khamaruz and Cardista; Anskar's storms stripped entire forests of their delicate riches and rendered otherwise hospitable places uninhabitable by the nature-lord's favored creatures. They tore the roofs from ancient temples and weakened the walls of fantastic cities over which the god of Arts had assumed great responsibility. Where clouds resided, the power of the Sun was diminished; Solanis' clerics were exhausted by the simplest of prayers. Khamaruz' gift, snowfall, became a curse upon the land when coupled with Anskar's bitter winds. The sea writhed and heaved when confronted by Anskar's tempests, causing many ships under Cardista's protection to be lost, costing her much love and many followers. When approached by his victims, the storm-god merely laughed or waxed defensive, insisting that as a god, displaying his power was both his right and his responsibility.
Not all of Anskar's ventures were purely destructive; nor did the gentler gods remain exclusively angry with him for a prolonged period of time. Oftentimes the Storm King, as mortals named him, left a token by which the good in him could be remembered. Scarlet sunsets and rain in arid lands, enriching floods and cleansing forest flames represented an aspect of his spirit largely concealed from the world; a part of Anskar the god thought soft and unfit for the deliverance of divine duties.
There existed one place in which Anskar sought solace and thought to bare his heart: the court of Cardista. Though the Storm King's irresponsible frolics across the sea-goddess' territory posed a problem concerning Cardista's popularity amongst mortal worshippers, Anskar's love for the beautiful water spirit was genuine. For days on end he would hover along her shores, composing sweet melodies upon his syrinx that played as softly upon Cardista's ears as waves upon the sand, notes as passionate and piercing as the sorrowful cries of gulls, as deep and resonant as the eternal hymns of whales. A lovelier sight was seldom seen than when Anskar knelt upon the tawny dunes, Cardista leaning upon her elbows in the surf before him, the music of the stormlord's panpipes mingling with the clear blue voice of the sea.
Anskar's happiness was not to be... though whimsical and flighty herself, Cardista was ultimately galled by the Storm King's fanciful ways, angered by his stubbornness and seeming lack of perspective, and found herself in the arms of another suitor: the crafty Kith-Jora, whose grace, wisdom, and stability appealed to the wild sea-nymph. The subtle caresses and surreptitious gestures shared by Cardista and her feral interloper went unnoticed by the short-sighted Anskar; it was not until he discovered the two, carnally entwined in a secluded glade upon the beach, that he realized the profundity of his plight. The Storm King loved Cardista even then; it was this affection that made him turn silently from the sight and retreat along the shore to the place where once they communed. Raising his eyes to the darkening heavens, cold and resolute, Anskar cast his syrinx into the sea, never to sound again. Lightning flashing from his eyes, his flowing silver tresses gleaming with the glow of his wrath, the Storm King wrought the greatest tempest ever witnessed by man or beast, laying waste to the entire northern region of Antaron. So great was Anskar's fury, some say, that the earth itself was sundered in his wake, and lands once teeming with life were forever lost beneath the unforgiving waves.
On that fateful day the gods held Council, and not a one of them uttered a word when Rydor, Supreme Judge of Audalis, decreed that Anskar should be eternally banished from among them, cast into the Darkness of the Void that preceded all. Not a one, that is, save Tyrannis. "Who are you, Rydor," she hissed, "to determine from among us who shall thrive and who shall fade? Were you yourself not chosen by the Alseyr, and I as well, to rule at your side and counter your every move, that the Balance of the Universe wavers not? Give Anskar to me; I will keep him in his place -- if he falters another time I will see to it that the shreds of his remains outnumber the very stars of Heaven." Such was the power of Tyrannis' voice that the lesser gods drew back in terror, but Rydor remained unmoved. It was then, after having taken the measure of Tyrannis' intent, that Lysora rose to speak. "For reasons I cannot divine," she replied, her voice as soft as rose petals falling upon marble, "within Tyrannis' words is bound the wisdom of the Alseyr. To cast him out would no more right the wrongs that have been committed than Anskar's assault upon Audalis restored his broken heart." At these words, it is said, Cardista's face grew white, and Kith-Jora knew that he had lost her. From that moment forward Tyrannis held true to her promise, and the will of Anskar, King of Storms, was forever bound to her own. Scarcely a breeze turned a blade of grass that she did not first approve.
Cardista returned to the sea; never again did she take a lover into her arms. Even now the song of the Storm King plays upon the edge of her memory like a shard of glass, echoed by generations upon generations of wise sea birds and gentle aquatic Behemoths who well remember the passion and pain of Anskar.
By the might of the Storm King, I shall bring to bear the fierceness of wind, screaming of thunder, and terror of lightening. Beware the wrath of this hand, entrusted with the power over the skies above and the hearts within. I will crush your dreams as our Lord's have been, for my will is greater than the capricious notions of a soft woman's heart. - Calcena Denhe, High-Priestess, Knights of the Tempest
Through the power of rain and wind, storm and fury, arrogance and pride, the world will be wiped away and changed. Such is the power of creation, such is the awesome might of Anskar. Ours is not the way of destruction, but the teaching of hard lessons through extravagant messages of the sundered mountain, the leveled plain, the flooded city. And once learned, the enlightened will always know the power of the storm. They will fear it. They will love it. It is a rapture that can tear you apart in bliss and beauty.
Anskar appears as a dashing gentleman with flashing eyes like the lightening and dark looks like thunderheads. He wears the colors of midnight and dark clouds, blues, blacks, and purples in fine silks and cuts of a nobleman. His look is that of a romantic highwayman, fluid, graceful, and deadly. His shoulderlength black hair shines with blue highlights under a feathered cap with a singer feather of silver adorning it. Hanging at his side is a rapier of bright silver with inset midnight opals.
The clerics and followers of Anskar delight in the magics of weather and charm, bringing to them the power of lightening, the command of thunder, and the seduction of word and movement. The devout of the Storm King tend be warrior-priests though many also tend to arts that
The fellowships of Anskar include the following:
Yulnas el'Feinilanous Gualkwayuln (Drinkers of Pride's Chalice): The Drinkers are a prideful group that call upon the Master of Airs to bring them great power, riches, and glory. Nobles, artists, and warriors all seek the greatness of station and reputation that can come to them over the course of their lives, but those who partake of Alexir's chalice seek that success quickly, without waiting. This group has a large following, especially in the elven nations, but few long-term clerics. Though priests who remain in the service of the chalice do have large estates, eager patrons, and immaculate temples, if not anyone trustworthy to share it all with. Their numbers have dwindled over the ages, though with the change of patrons with Tyrannis, many of the Drinkers see a brighter future for them. As the revelers of riches and esteem continue their work, they have gained many new followers for themselves, Alexir, and Tyrannis.
Knights of the Tempest: Once called the Kings of Thunder's Roar, this order has long fallen with their lord, tarnished from their previous connection with Therassor under the steel boot of Tyrannis. The Knights were once the most glorious of warrior-priests, joining Therassor's legions in battles of ferocious splendor. Raging with the power of wind and thunder, they were a spectacular force to watch upon the fields. But after the subsequent fall of Anskar, so to did his knights, becoming nothing more than glorified fighters. Many of the order dream of the past, the ages when the Storm King called upon his holy warrior-priests with a thunderous roar and brilliant lightening bolt. Once many halls of nobles and lords held these faithful, now few of their legion are found. Though, far in the port of Bayris, a new gathering has been growing calling themselves the Knights of the Tempest. These warriors bring the screaming rage of the hurricane with them. A slow awakening is occurring under the teachings of their unconventional leader, a tall and battle-hardened woman called Calcena Denhe. No one is sure where she hails from, but her long-blonde tresses and clear blue eyes mark her as from the Antarian Reach.
Sirens of Silver Zephyrs: Beautiful and deadly, the Sirens are embodiments of storms, wound with winds, seething with thunderous rage, and striking with devastating lightening. This group includes men and women, typically elven and human, who are fearsome ravengers and seducers. Once the smallest of Anskar's fellowships when under the patronage of Therassor, their numbers have swelled to outdistance the Yulnas el'Feinilanous Gualkwayuln. Personifications of storms themselves, the Sirens seek only the tempest filled lands of hills and empty plains to work their worship such as the Chindari Plains and the Klais Chasom in Coria. In recent years, they have all heard a call on the winds, beackoning them to a place beyond the land of elves called Brathnaii Hallows. Here the fury of wind is felt and heard roiling across the seas, a place dedicated to the Storm King.