Kor’och. Rarely has one name meant as many different things to so many people. A hero, a patron, a god; depending on who you ask in Remusia, and even Tokaria, cities in the Icelands Coast region of northeast Sarvonia, you can find many different views. To the followers of the Temple of Kor’och, he is a god who rose from mortality to defeat the Ice Tribe pantheon, destroying the gods that held sway in the lives of the Ice Tribes for centuries. To the average Remusian, he was a hero who led his men against both orcs and enemy Ice Tribes in defence of Remusia. To warriors, both in Remusia and in Tokaria, he is a patron of their ilk. He rose to become more than a man, who came when needed most to defend those who revered him. 
Origins. The unique aspect about the belief in
Kor’och, compared to many other religions, is that Kor’och was a man; a
verifiable historical figure. He was born in 453, the result of a rape of a
Remusian warrior and a Tokarian
woman. The Remusian found out that
the woman became pregnant, and since he had no other children as his
Remusian wife had died years ago,
ordered the Tokarian woman to live with him in Rhemir. It was a tough
childbirth, and the woman did not survive. The
Remusian warrior, however, never
truly forgave the boy for his mixed heritage and treated him very poorly. Later
in his life, Kor'och would recount how his father would get drunk and throw
knives at the boy in his anger. When Kor’och was 15, he claims that he turned on
his father and killed him. To escape justice, he changed his name to Kor'och,
which means "rebirth" or "reborn" (later it was to come to be another name for
god), and joined the army. There are no records of what his name might have been
prior to this.
Kor’och joined the army in Rhemir and entered adulthood as a brutish killer, devising a two axe technique that has never been duplicated. He rose in the ranks as he fought the Tokarians, the Sarmanians in the east and the orcs to the south. His uncle on his mother’s side, a blacksmith, created Kor’och a great shield which he used with his lance.
Here, it is said, is where the divinity of Kor’och begins to emerge. First, his weapons became enchanted, though through Kor’och himself, and not magically. Through his own being, he transferred power into these items that they did not have before he took them. Legend relates how, after his patrol got lost in a snowstorm in the Gathorn Mountains, they were on the brink of starvation, and Kor’och wandered off on his own. When he returned, a small herd of wison were following him, and his patrol was thus able to keep from starving to death.
When Kor’och entered his fifties, he began to devote more and more time to prayer and self awareness. Needing solitude, he retreated to the Gathorn Mountains, where he lived by himself, hoping to spend time in quiet contemplation of his life. A few of his closest companions kept returning to Kor’och’s retreat, bringing him supplies and checking on the man. It was rumoured that Kor’och's retreat was in a lush green valley that did not freeze, even during the winter. His followers were sworn to secrecy, so that this retreat would stay hidden.
Kor'och is oft depicted as a winged giant of a man with a blood soaked beard,
riding a horse, the Kor’och fey Mologh and carrying a great axe. Remusians, who
are most attributed with Kor’och, but the Tokarians as well, are not a people
who are heavy into art that depicts lifelike figures. Paintings, murals, and
frescoes are very rare. Less so are statues of stone, with ice sculptures being
most prevalent. Still, what artistic depictions there are of Kor’och all seem to
follow that general guideline. How this came to be is a bit lost in the annals
of time, as each of these traits are not attributed to the man whom it is
believed ascended from mortal to divine being. To look at it, we shall need to
look at each trait individually.
Kor’och riding a horse has long been a favourite motif for the man turned god. In Kor’och’s time, he was born in 453 a.S., horses were very rare in the area of the Icelands Coast where Kor’och lived, which is the modern day province of Kordos. Most of these were Kev’lor descendents, mixed with wild horses. Nothing is stated in any verifiable documents that Kor’och the man ever rode a horse at all. Still, as legends grew around him, it became fashionable to place him at the head of his army, atop a large black horse. This physical elevation of him mirrored the spiritual elevation that was occurring at the same time.
Around 250 years ago, the popularity of the new Remusian breed of horse, the Kor’och fey Mologh (lit. "Mount of Kor’och"), began to influence the image of Kor’och. No longer was Kor’och portrayed upon a Kev’lor style horse, but was now atop the Mologh. Of course, scholars rightfully point out that the Mologh had not even been developed at the time of Kor’och, and would not be for another 900 years!
The bloodied beard of Kor’och is a simple tool to make him appear fiercer than he would without one. Kor’och had entered the army at age 15, after supposedly killing his abusive father. At this time, he was clean shaven, and it has never been mentioned that this facial style changed until his later years, when he went into the Gathorn Mountains, finding a green valley called Shyu -ohm- Fythera (lit. "Sun’s Fire"), the Remusian word for summer, for the valley was never invaded by winter. Here is where he is said to have grown a long beard, from which the portraits are based on.
The great Axe of Kor’och seemed to appear around the same time as Kor’och was placed on top a horse. No one is sure why this happened, as his two axe fighting style was celebrated as being unable to duplicate by others. Still, when his figure was placed on the horse, the two axe style was changed to a giant battle axe. Some scholars from the artistic community have theorized that the composition of the sculpture, or other form, has a more impactful statement with the one large axe than the two smaller ones. Religious and military scholars have no argument to this, so this theory is the one that most historians agree on.
The final area of depiction that is contrary to the historical man is the wings and size of the man. This is completely taken from the myth of Kor’och. This depiction came to prominence in the years after the Third Orcish War in 814 a.S. The great Remusian hero, Caladayn, claimed that he was guided by the figure of Kor’och, who came to him during times of meditation. Caladayn claims:
"As I focused my mind through prayer, preparing for the battle on the morrow that would decide my fate, and the fate of my men, I had an unexpected visit from a spirit. I knew that this was no man, for he hovered above me, back lit against the pale moon that lit the field on which I was knelt. At first, I had hoped that this was a visit from my god Chelinor, to guide me toward a victory. Soon, I was to learn that this was no god. The figure claimed to be Kor’och, and in my heart, I knew that he spoke the truth. How he had come to be there, in spirit form, I was not to learn, for I had not the voice to speak. Instead, his voice, serene to my ears, yet shaking the ground beneath me, commanded me to gather my men this very night and make our way north. His voice, the commanding quality of it made it impossible to refuse, as did the imposing figure of him, making me seem as a hrugchuk mouse in his presence."
The words of Caladayn then came to be the origin of Kor’och the
giant, and Kor’och the winged man, although, neither was expressed as such in
the narrative. By following the commands of the spirit, Caladayn’s men chanced
upon a Tokarian unit that had a leading Tokarian general. Caladayn’s men were
able to overwhelm the enemy unit and kill the general before he could meet up
with his waiting troops. The confusion this led to in the enemy, gave Caladayn a
great advantage in the weeks to come.
Personality. Not much information on Kor'och the man is available; mostly just stories handed down from generation to generation. It is believed that during his younger years, that Kor'och was a hard man, very unforgiving and even angry. The abuse at the hands of his father might explain this. It is what made him such a formidable warrior during the war. Still, he had a commanding presence and garnered the respect of his men, who followed him without question.
A change came over Kor'och after the time he spent in self imposed exile in the Gathorn Mountains. When he returned, he was more calm and reserved. He seemed to have a deeper insight into who he was, and by extension, his place in the world. It is because of this that Kor'och can be called Kor'och the Destroyer or Kor'och the Wise, each representing different times in his life.
Mythology. Caladayn claimed to both have dreams where Kor’och visited him and instances where Kor’och visited him in physical form. One such time, Caladayn and his men were surrounded in a small steep canyon in the southern Gathorn Mountains by a superior orcen army. There was only one way into the canyon, and it was narrow, so Caladayn set up his defences here. A standoff was reached that lasted over a week, but time was against the Remusians. On the ninth day, Caladayn and his men were visited by Kor’och.
It was a stormy day, with winds blowing fiercely and snow flying in all directions. As Caladayn’s men rested from the many attacks, their food gone and morale near depleted, there came a booming voice that overwhelmed the howling of the wind. “Wyshnirs! Do not despair, for you shall not be defeated this day. Hear me! For I am Kor’och! You will gather what wood you can and build a great fire before your enemy. When the moon reaches its zenith, you shall begin to sing. Raise your voices as loud as you can, and I shall deliver you from the forces of evil that would have you dead!”
Many were sceptical, as the weather was so thick that none could tell what time of day it was, and where the moon would be in the sky. Caladayn, however, believed in the vision and ordered his men to obey. While the light of day held, his men gathered any wood they could, from trees and alicott shrubs that inhabited the canyon. They piled this wood at the entrance to the canyon. As soon as the pile was large enough to block the canyon, it was lit.
As flames licked the sky, the weather cleared. The snow stopped falling and the winds stilled. The orcs renewed their attack with vigour, but were repelled by the bonfire that blocked their way. Angrily, they gathered beyond the flames, awaiting the time that they would burn themselves to embers. As the flames grew shorter, the moon reached its apex, and Caladayn began to sing. One by one, Caladayn’s voice was joined by each of the men under him, until the night air was filled with a chorus of voices.
Suddenly, the flames jumped, the wind howled once more, and a great image of Kor’och appeared above the fire. Several voices faltered, but Caladayn called out for them to continue singing, to not stop. The orcs growled, some fled, and others sent arrows at the giant figure, but nothing would pierce him. Kor’och’s arms opened wide; his head was thrown back and a howl came from him that made most men and orc alike freeze in their tracks in fear. The ground began to shake, and suddenly a wall of snow came cascading down from the sides of the mountains.
In less than a heartbeat, the orc army was gone, buried under 1000 pygges of snow and ice. Also gone was the vision of Kor’och, leaving the Remusian army in an eerie silence. Shaken at the marvel that was Kor’och, Caladayn was able to lead his men back to friendly territory, and was regaled as a hero who had destroyed the orcs.
Becoming a Patron. After Kor’och’s death, ca. 512 a.S., many writings of his were found on vellum scrolls. The fact that he could write is often debated as proof of his divinity, as he had no formal schooling and in life he was never known to have learned to write. Thus, believers say, that is proof that he had become a god, while detractors claim the writings were later works of an anonymous source and were only attributed to Kor’och. These works go into detail how Kor’och believed that all life, all men were the mixture of Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Darkness. He claims that with the right mixture of these elements, one could become the perfect being. Though Kor’och never claims in these writing to have achieved this himself, later scholars would argue that he had indeed done so, and thus had not died, but ascended to the next realm.
Temples. The Temples of Kor’och have developed a formulaic design, which is very symetrical in shape, with the door in the center of the wall, flanked by stone guardians on either side, usually in the form of a caracal. The main area of the temple is dedicated to Kor’och, while there is usually two small rooms off of this, one to house the cleric, and the other as a sort of small library, housing important scrolls. The temples are fairly simple buildings, allowing the cleric a clear view of the entire temple from the raised dias that holds the altar. The altar in all temples faces in the direction of Remhir.
Temples of Kor’och can be found in all five main Remusian cities, the largest of which is found in Rhemir. As well, one Temple can be found in Tokarian lands, namely Hargarth. All these temples follow the formulaic design. The temple in Rhemir is the main Temple, and all of the scrolls here are originals, while copies are distributed to the other temples. These scrolls contain prayers that are used, as well as more historical documents and myths pertaining to Kor’och.
The first places of worship to Kor’och began to spring up in the mid 550’s. They were simply caves in the Gathorn Mountains, which the Temple of Kor’och has always revered with significance. Large ice statues were carved to honour him, in much the same way as the Ice Tribes revere ice totems to their gods. Each winter, religious devotees would come and create new statues to replace the ones that had melted each summer. Scholars point out that this is where the Remusian skill of ice carving first came into prominence, becoming the rich artform it is today.
In the early 600’s, the caves were abandoned in favour of temples, the first being in Rhemir. They teach the philosophy that life is not real, but only a test. That true life begins in the next world, once one has gained perfection through the five elements. It is a philosophy that catches on rather slowly, as it gives women access to this next world as equally as men. It also breaks away from the strict warrior code that all Ice Tribe follow. This is quite interesting, as Kor’och himself was an accomplished warrior.
Celebrations. The Remusians ascribe no festival of celebration to Kor'och. There are no special days of worship or celebrations of deeds. Instead, each follower of Kor'och prayes to their patron to themselves or aloud before a battle. Because of Kor'och's dour nature as a young man, and reserved nature as an old man, it is thought that a celebration would not befit his memory. In truth, the Remusians hold very few celebrations of any kind, so the fact that there are no celebrations to Kor'och is not surprising.
Importance. The importance of Kor’och to the Remusians is well documented. He first appeared as a man, a hero, and the graduated to a mythical status and finally was vaulted to a divine being. Lesser known is the cult status he holds to Tokarians, having been half Tokarian at birth.
Many Remusians now look upon Kor’och as a god. To others, however, his status is still less than divine. The beliefs of traditional Remusians, those who worship the Ice Tribe pantheon, has Kor’och in a position of the neither man, nor divinity, in a place reserved for a patron. This view, however, is discouraged by most of the shamans who hold positions of influence within the Ice Tribe religion. This is because of the Council of Rhemir in 1339 a.S., when the followers of Kor’och claimed that Kor’och had defeated the old gods and taken their place. After that, the very mention of Kor’och in old god religious circles was frowned upon.
Still, many warriors continued to revere Kor’och as a patron figure to them, even as they continued to believe in the old gods. It was, and is, kept secret to a very large extent. The Kor’och-ohm-Wyshnir were especially linked with the patron image of Kor’och. These elite warriors were created by Caladayn in the early years of the Third Orcish War. Many of their victories in the war were credited with the appearance of Kor’och to Caladayn.
 Compendumist Note: This entry deals with Kor’och the patron. Kor’och the deity is dealt with in a more in-depth way in the Temple of Kor’och entry, which deals with the divinity of the figure, and how his followers created a major religion from this. Kor'och the man will also be dealt with in a seperate entry recalling his life in depth. [Back]