ARMEROS, SANTHARIAN GOD OF WAR

NAMES - APPEARANCE - MYTHOLOGY - LORE - IMPORTANCE - SYMBOLS
CELEBRATIONS - TEMPLE DESIGN - TEMPLE LOCATIONS
- PRAYERS

Armeros is the War God, responsible for all aspects of struggle, conflict, or judgement. Wherever there is dispute in the mortal realm, Armeros must choose a side and throw his divine justice down to resolve it. His primary duty is to maintain the cosmological balance.

Names. Armeros is also called the Armourlord, Master of Battles, Lover of War, The Just One, Lord of Balance, Swordlord.
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Armeros, God of War

View picture in full size Picture description. Armeros, God of War and Balance with the Truth-Splitter, the Sword of Justice. Image drawn by Quellion.

Appearance. Elves and men differ in their concept and thus portrayal of Armeros, but one common aspect is the Just One’s form and colouration. Shown with solemn black eyes and a deep brown skin stretched taut over stern cheekbones, the Swordlord almost invariably stands, sometimes supporting his mailed hands on his chest-high sword, the Truth-Splitter, sometimes with arms folded and hands resting on opposing shoulders, fists clenched. He has been depicted at times as mounted on a stallion (see Herguam the Gnome’s marvelous illuminations in the Stratos Tome of Battleways) although the elves prefer to sketch him in motion, as if running or in the midst of a duel with an invisible opponent.

Usually clad in armour, though the style varies depending on the area and the age of the representation, Armeros can be shown with a number of weapons and sometimes with his other attributes about him: trumpets, snakes, measuring scales, warcloaks, and so on. If painted, the tones are always subdued and sombre; if sculpted, a brown or black stone is chosen in preference to the more common white marble.
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Mythology. Armeros is the God of War. He is one of the Twelve Gods or High Spirits (Aeolía) who sprang from the Dream of Avá the Beautiful according to the elven myth as recounted in the Cárpa'dosía. Together with Foiros (the God of the Sun) and Etherus (God of Excess) Armeros is one of the three Gods dedicated to the Element of Fire. The third month of the Santharian calendar, the month of the Awakening Earth (Styrásh: Avénni'modía or
Avénni'modía) is dedicated to Armeros. Return to the top

Lore. The following myths are recounted about Armeros in many books of lore:

Importance. Armeros is a brooding, noble god, torn by conflicting demands of honour and desire. Balance is a key concept for Armeros; in his auspices as God of War he must oversee destruction, rage, and slaughter, but he is also the Lord of honour, justice, resistance, and valour. Defeat or victory for one side or another is decided by him personally, whether it be a minor legal squabble or a great clash of empires.

Practically, Armeros taught the races of Caelereth how to use the weapons for defense and attack. He taught them strategy and the uses of weapons of war and that war was as important as the longing for harmony in their lives. Spiritually Armeros is said to be responsible for holding back the minions of Coór and the Titans.

The elves and the humans see Armeros as representing two very different concepts: for the former, he is a god of philosophical balance, necessary to hold the scale for Jeyriall, his counterpart. For the latter, his destructive aspect seems more prominent. The well-known human philosopher A. Federkiel has commented:

“For the elves, Armeros represents the principles of difference, of opposition and contraries, of antagonism. For every thing that exists there needs to be a counterpart (in the negative and in the positive sense). Harmony is only possible because of antagonism and Armeros represents this difference between things and beings (similar to Arvins who stands and mediates between life and death: hunting and killing is part of life itself)....”

-- Artimidor Federkiel: "Essay on the Gods", p. 43, in: "An Anthology on Beliefs" (published by the SUA; the Santhalian University of All Sciences) Return to the top

Symbols. Armeros’ symbols are many but easily understood. There is the Sword Truthsplitter, which has two edges and can either wound or defend. It is sometimes shown with one side sharpened and the other edged with sword-breaker niches (small indentations cut or forged into the blade which can be used to catch and twist away the attacker’s weapon) to represent this duality more powerfully.

Armeros' animal is the mythical Ur-Viper, a snake with a head at either end of its body, twisted into an infinity symbol with the two heads opposing each other. He is in charge of all measurements and weights, since it is believed that his honour will be offended if a merchant attempts to cheat or tamper.

Armeros' colour is a simple dark brown, the result of mixing all other shades together so that no one predominates or wins.

The Tali Night Vine and its resultant earthy, spicy wine is dedicated to Armeros as well.

Additionally Armeros has jurisdiction over weaponry, battlefields, warriors, law courts, iron ore, heartbeats, weights & measures, house roofs, the male genitals, pine trees, surveyors, eagles, rope, horses (particularly stallions), the large fish which tear a man’s nets to escape, the pepper plant, snakes, mountain passes, and the tongue. The drum and the trumpet are particularly beloved of him, as they stir men’s hearts towards valour and conflict.

The Sword, the Arrow Returning
Image description: The star constellation of Armeros: The Sword or the Arrow Returning (in the elven interpretation).

The star constellation of Armeros, the God of War, consists of a group of six stars with a single star faroff to the northwest (when the constellation is in place), while a group of five stars gathers to the southeast, four of them more or less in a single line, one seperate a bit off. It is said that the constellation represents Armeros' proud sword pointing upwards, thus challenging an opponent - at least this is the common interpretation of human astronomers. Elves read something considerably varying in the same sign, a fact which also indicates the differences in the cosmological role of the races: According to elven myth the six stars of Armeros represent an elven arrow. It is returning to the one who fired it. While humans view the Sword of Armeros as a sign of heroic warefare, elves fear the Arrow Returning as a reminder of the undeniable fact that the Everlasting War (Styrásh: O'kroi or O'kroi) of the world is constantly continuing. It is no coincidence that the sign of Armeros marks the month of the Awakening Earth as for the elves the fight between the Element of Earth (Styrásh: sá mód or sá mód) versus the Wind (Styrásh: só avásh or só avásh) dominates the universe and is permanently renewed. Return to the top

Celebrations. Most celebrations in honour of Armeros are impromptu affairs, rather like Arvins' offerings, as they happen after a successful duel, contest, fight, battle, or war. Tali wine is often drunk and damaged weapons added as gifts to the Shrinepoppet (see below). Acts of random charity are encouraged at this time as well. Among serious practitioners this involves going out into the community and finding a needy recipient of coin or food; however, it is not uncommon to hear randy and inebriated mercenaries attempting to set their indulgencies at the local brothel against Armeros’s account... This is, of course, frowned upon by the paladins and goes without appeal to the Arms (see below) , who prefer that worshippers give their charity to the temple for later disbursal to the truly needy.

Metal amulets of Armeros are common purchases for soldiers; small bronze or brass ovals with an bas-relief image on one side and a piercing through the top, so that they may be hung about the neck. These may be bought at most temples, or more cheaply made (and unblessed) in the markets. Of late some nobles who fear disfigurement in battle, or to be stripped of their identifying trappings or shields, have had their names inscribed on the reverse, and this habit has taken hold among the common soldiers as well. The belief holds that no one would be so poor as to steal a brass trinket, or so impious as to thus dishonour Armeros, and so they hope that their names will remain with them in death.

For the sake of competition, entertainment, and honing one’s purpose, there are regular Jousts and other honour matches set up by the paladins, sponsored by local nobles, or organized by the king, all in Armeros’s name. It provides eager young blades a chance to work off some energy, and is usually considered beneficial to the community’s economy at the same time. Affairs of honour can be settled at this time, certain disputes which the Arms have suggested can be taken to the area can be resolved, and warriors can keep their skills fresh in times of peace.

In more cosmopolitan areas sometimes hired warriors, gladiators or mercenaries do battle for the public’s entertainment: these fights are known as Games rather than Jousts and can involve travelling sellswords, wild beasts, or even slaves imported from Aeruillin.
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Temple Design. A small shrine to Armeros exists in every guardhouse, armoury, castle, fortress, and town hall in Santharia. Its basic structure usually takes the form of a humanoid-shaped display of battered or worn-out armour and weapons (a shrinepoppet). Whereas most gods are believed, rather like humans, to prefer the best and freshest items for offering, in Armeros’s case it is the evidence of conflict and loyalty which is prized: so a typical shrine may consist of a pole and cross piece upon which a much-hacked corslet is tied, a dented helmet perched atop, and a slashed and tattered cloak blowing freely from the shoulders of the whole. Usually a belt is added where a number of men are gathered together, so that old or broken weapons may be fastened to it. Older shrinepoppets are hung with many such belts, so that the human shape is lost under layer upon layer of forged iron, eventually resembling a gigantic metallic crow, with blades for feathers.

Barbarian Battlescene

View picture in full size Picture description. A barbarian battle scene depicted on a mural in the Armourwain in the Vardýnnian Capitol Voldar. Image by Faugar.

His larger temples (Armourwains) are typically set up in cities, over springs of fresh water or on a river tributary, and serve as fortified bastions of defense in times of difficulty, but also as law courts in times of peace. The presiding judges and bailiffs are all drawn from the devout order of paladins who have vowed their lives and duties to the Lord of Balance, given the unwieldy name “The Guardians of Armeros’ Ways”, or the “Arms” for short.

The description of the Armourwain in Voldar (Vardýnn) is characteristic enough to serve for most, so is given below.

The temple structure is unique for a religious building but very well-known among martial structures: the floor plan is shaped like a large square with four smaller squares (heavy towers) outset at each corner. In the centre of one side a double-layered gate is constructed, known as the Dispute Gate. A small courtyard outside serves as a meeting area and rendezvous for those who have come to have their cases heard by the “Arms”, as they are colloquially called. Just inside the Dispute Gate stands a long, low wall, running parallel to the gate, and blocking incomers’ ways. Its top is hollowed into a trough, filled with fresh water constantly renewed from the Armourwain’s own spring. People may wash and drink, symbolizing the god’s impartiality towards each party until the facts of the dispute are made public.

And made public they are - from each corner tower the name of the parties involved, the cause of the dispute, and the desired retribution or fine is given out loudly, so that anyone within earshot may inform himself, and if having information which the Arms deem essential to the case, may choose to join the dispute against one side or the other. After the case has been heard and judged, the result is also announced, so that people cannot later claim to have been ignorant of the decision or dispute it.

The temple also holds numerous small rooms for its paladins, training fields, simple chapels, storage of field rations, many crude cells for offenders, and, it is gossipped, large treasure rooms to hold the fines which they exact. The Arms attempt to diffuse this last charge by also holding public alms-givings, in which they disburse some of the funds so collected to widows, maimed soldiers, and children orphaned by war. Flags with the Ur-Viper are hung out in the temple area and from the four corner towers on the almsdays, but most pensioners are regular attenders and would never miss the Arms-dole upon which they have come to depend.
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Temple Locations. One such large temple (Armourwain) to Armeros stands at the Ch’une Oasis in the coastal desert just outside of Dasai, in the Santharian province of Truban, and acts as a fort and supply station. Another well-known Armourwain is located in Voldar (Vardýnn), see description above.
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Prayers. There are many prayers worshipping the God of War, which mainly are sung in the last hours before battle. Among these songs the following is one of the most well known throughout Santharian lands:

ARMEROS ARMOURLORD
by Bard Judith

Armeros Armourlord, lend us thy armour’s ward,
Give us the strength of the Truth-Splitter’s blade!
Keep our lifetales from thy measuring scales,
And we give thee praise that thy glory not fade.

Armeros come, as we summon with drum!
Trumpet and heartbeat shall bring thee to hear.
In the red battle’s call save us from dying fall,
And from the little death cowards call fear.

Armeros ware if our cause be not fair!
Send out thy vipers to strike at our foes.
Let them taste earth in their death as their birth,
Confident warriors are we for thy blows.

Armeros Battleking, ‘tis to thee we do sing,
Fighting thy causes wherever we roam.
Shrinepoppets bright we shall honour each night,
Bless thou our amulets, bring them all home.

Armeros Armourlord, lend us thy armour’s ward,
Give us the strength of the Truth-Splitter’s blade!
Keep our lifetales from thy measuring scales,
And we give thee praise that thy glory not fade.
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