Spotlight: Jharus and the Heretics

JHARUS

God of artisanry, bravery, creation, and justice

Alignment: Chaotic Good

Symbols: Eagles, precious stones, swords

Names and Titles: Jharus, the Artisan, the Sword of Life, the Host Lord, the Lord of Mardelthwaide, Ureleth (Eagle Helm)

Abode: Mardelthwaide (Salvendum)

Enemies: Daemoth

Vassals: Ava, Iala, Loragg

Religious Organization: The Jharric Faith

THE HOST LORD

Jharus is the younger of the Sons of Sowm. With Daemoth he subdued the primordials and built a throne for himself in Vinramar. His tower was called Anarthos, seated in the highest peaks of the South.

When Sowm was slain and her body broken, Jharus and his son Loragg crafted a new one—a great stone to replace the fallen sun. Jharus bound himself to the stone and became Salvendum, the source of all light and natural life. Mardelthwaide, the Hall where Jharus sits bound, lies at the center of creation and can be seen from all the four worlds. It's home to the many gods and exarchs in his service.

Few have seen Jharus since he became the sun. He is depicted as a colossal man with golden-feathered wings, dressed in golden armaments. He's known for his courage and cunning mind, counseling his servants and directing mortal affairs from afar.

The Jharric Faith

The Jharric Faith is an ancient religion. Its adherents, called Jharrics, have worshiped the Jharric Pantheon (Jharus, Loragg, Ava, and Iala) since the first children of the gods took breath. Each of the four gods is represented by a separate order of priests within the faith. Though they revere all four gods, many of the faithful identify with one more closely than the others.

Once the Jharrics were a highly organized group with a rich tradition, but are now so depleted in numbers that most congregations are really just a handful of the faithful praying together at hidden mountain shrines. Outlawed in most nations, the church is required to operate in secret to avoid persecution.

In the secret cities of the jharethil, hidden from the sorrows of the world, the church is still organized as it was of old, with the reigning king or queen serving as high priest over the people. The Council of Lansari sits beneath the high priest, each Lansarus presiding over one chapter of the faith. The chapters consist of four branches, one for each god in the pantheon. All the branches within a specific geographic location meet together in the chapter house.

Central to the ethos of the Jharics is the concept of mahat, which represents the five pillars of the natural universe: balance, justice, life, morality, and truth. Mahat is both a concept and a force. It is what protects the four worlds and all natural life from the infectious influence of the Darkplane. It emanates from Salvendum, sowing life and ordering matter by natural laws.

Those of the Jharric Faith are expected to preserve mahat by embodying its five pillars—maintaining personal balance, sustaining order and justice, preserving life, encouraging moral rectitude, and speaking only truth. Of course, this is far easier said than done, especially when most of the world wants to execute you as a heretic.

Priests of Jharus

Domains: Life, Light, War

Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good

Type: Orthodox Communal

Place of Worship: Jharric chapter houses

Holy Symbol: Ensign of the golden wings

Among the Jharric gods, the priests of Jharus are the quickest to action. The most elite of their order train in both combat and the channeling of divine magic. Those who follow Jharus are expected to uphold his tenets and succor the weak. Though they embrace all five pillars of mahat, the priests of Jharus place more emphasis on justice than life, allowing them to take life in retribution for sin or oppression.

 

Zeriel's Light by Chris Cold

Zeriel's Light by Chris Cold

THE JHARETHIL: GUARDIANS AND HERETICS

At Anarthos, in the earliest age of Vinramar, Jharus built forges and mines where he and Loragg crafted the arts of the earth—cities, ramparts, crowns, and swords, all set with the radiant gold and the finest cut stones. Jharus’ hand was greatest among all living things in the shaping of creation. While Anarthos stood, the land about it was bathed in constant daylight from the workmanship that adorned its walls.

Though Jharus delighted in craft, Loragg desired most to emulate the beauty of Mother Sowm in the creation of life. From the soul, spirit, and body of Vinramar itself he shaped a woman and called her Forlortha. At her creation Forlortha was more beautiful than Rinshari and wise as Loragg himself. Though she loved her creator and husband, her chief love was with the earth from whence she came, with trees and flowers and the beasts that roamed the wild. Forlortha bore numberless children to Loragg, Jhareth and Feiren being the eldest.

The children of Loragg revered Jharus and Sowm as the Lady and Lord of Life, the Mother and the Son of Creation. Jhareth took Eralatha his sister to wife. Their subjects were the jharethil, radiant souls that soon filled the valleys and woods at the feet of Anarthos. Feiren took his sister Culfirith to wife, and their followers were the Fey Kindreds who settled across the Sea of Tacarros.

The jharethil were much to the liking of Jharus their grandsire, and he taught them in all his arts of craftsmanship. Their wisdom and valor became greater than their cousins, and under the tutelage of Jharus they were appointed protectors of Vinramar. As their power grew, their spirits shone through their flesh in auras of light, and they manifested wings, great and feathered like those their lord Jharus bore. The jharethil rarely strayed from the sight of golden Anarthos except in small patrols.

Their peace and glory wouldn't last. Anarthos was sacked and turned to a nest of unspeakable horror. Millennia of war, captivity, and bloodshed changed the jharethil from the righteous protectors of the earth into a secretive and despondent race despised as heretics in most parts of the world. Their cities have been taken up into the invisible High Realm, a dimension that protects them from outsiders. Many jharethil were left behind to curse the god that abandoned them.