Deity Profile: Garra Ktarra, The Night Runner

Arguably the greatest hero in the history of the rir people is the warrior-priest Kerry Kijana.  Known more commonly by his nickname Garra Ktarra (loosely translated: the bloodied blades), the terra-rir warrior was also one of Gori Sensullu’s most devout priests among the first generations of rir born of mortal parents.  A stark contrast to the majority of his peers due to his long blonde hair, the terra-rir commander was otherwise a rather ordinary specimen, standing at just under six feet tall, muscular, and fairly handsome, though not strikingly so.  What truly set Garra Ktarra apart from the people of his day was his skill with the axe and his utter fearlessness.

Having trained up and served alongside Sechre Tori, Garra Ktarra brought the faith of the rir people in the Creator to the front lines of battle against the minions of the Devil Queen, Seril.  Garra Ktarra was well known for returning from patrols with his axes uncleaned, dripping with the black blood of the serilian demons, and this gave birth to his nickname.  Garra Ktarra was also the first to rush to the crash site when humans were marooned on Citaria, and with the help of his friend and several of their braver soldiers, they were able to rescue nearly all of the humans, even those gravely wounded.  After rescuing the humans, Garra Ktarra acted as an ambassador to them, and helped the other priests and wise men of the early rir society learn to communicate with their alien guests.

Sechre Tori’s death weighed heavily on Garra Ktarra, who was able to drive the Devil Queen off, though not before she took the life of his friend.  Knowing he was marked by the Devil Queen after “besting” her in combat, Garra Ktarra left the city of Sarchelete and its temple to Gori Sensullu in the capable hands of his fellow priests and went into a self-imposed exile.  Little did his peers know that the exile was, in fact, based on a vision from Gori Sensullu.  Garra Ktarra trekked across the southern end of Askies Island during the summer, and was able to cross the mountains of the southeast before the days began to grow short and cold.  There, nestled in the mountains, Garra Ktarra came into contact with one of the Creator’s other works: the terra-bengal people, organized into a kingdom they called Jirtorex, which was also the surname given to the royal family.

Garra Ktarra quickly became a curiosity to the terra-bengal people, and was taken as a mate by the queen, Eitanya Jirtorex.  They had several children together, and Garra Ktarra lived out the rest of his days in peace as the Prince Consort.  The bloodline he sired, named Jir’tana as a hybrid of the two surnames, was passed down through the terra-bengal royal family for nearly 2800 years, until it culminated in the birth of Kaelariel himself.  Thus, one of the oldest Citarian deities is a direct forefather of the youngest who, in light of the Apocalypse, is now the leader of the pantheon.

Garra Ktarra is a patron deity to explorers, mostly due to his legendary solo trek across the southern end of Askies in a time when Seril and her minions were completely unchecked.  He is also the god of skill, largely being considered one of the greatest fighters in the history of the world, and fighters the world over revere him for his incredible skill with his dual axes.  Finally, he is considered the god of the night, as he preferred to patrol in the evening and show the serilian demons that they were far from the most terrifying thing prowling the darkness.

Garra Ktarra’s holy symbol is a golden, twin-bladed axe.

Next up: Karmi G’Dorrinn

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Sehre Tori, First in Battle

The first mortal to ever be exalted to deity status among the Citarian pantheon was the fierce warrior Sechre Tori, whose name roughly translates to “god among men.”  Among the first generations of rir who were born rather than created whole by Gori Sensullu, Sechre Tori, who stood at nearly seven feet tall, became one of the finest warriors of his day.  He fought for years alongside his friend and mentor, Kerry Kijana, who would later be exalted himself and become the god Garra Ktarra.  Side by side, the two scored victory after victory over Seril’s skirmishers, and were responsible for the rescue of the first humans who arrived in a crashed space vessel.

Always found in the front lines, Sechre Tori met his end at a young age when he was personally sought out and killed by the Devil Queen.  Remembered as a fearless and stalwart soldier, he was revered among the rir warriors after his death.  This reverence led the Creator to offer Sechre Tori a position as a subordinate deity, which he readily accepted.  Within weeks of his exaltation, Sechre Tori became known as the patron of soldiers and fighters, and was anointed the god of war.  His nickname was given as “First in Battle” in recognition of his fearlessness and willingness to lead the vanguard in virtually any circumstance.

Unlike the war gods of most pantheons, Sechre Tori is not consumed by bloodlust, nor does he try to cause wars.  His primary function is the guidance of the military and professional fighters of all kinds to make certain that when the winds of war blow, the right side comes to victory.  It is little mystery that the prevalence of his worship among the shakna-rir is directly related to their powerful militaries and mastery of war.  Even in modern times, most organized militaries at least pay homage to the terra-rir deity, whether or not the individual soldiers claim him as their patron.

Among the pantheon, Sechre Tori is closest to his friend and former mentor, Garra Ktarra, as well as Kris Fletcher and Zalkar the Unyielding.  Despite the similarities in their followers and fierceness, Sechre Tori strangely does not get on well with his Koryonite counterpart, Cabal.  Since the death of Gori Sensullu, Sechre Tori has taken up a position as an adviser to Kaelariel, who is now the leader of the pantheon.

In appearance, Sechre Tori is a terra-rir who stands almost seven feet tall with a lean but muscular build.  His eyes and his hair are both deep red, with his hair being fashioned in a mohawk.

Sechre Tori’s holy symbol is a longsword with a red blade and a black hilt.

Next up: Kerry Kijana, also known as Garra Ktarra

Until then,

Shoeless

Arakiel – Portrait of a Creator

Arakiel, “The Creator”

The first and most important of the deities of the Citarian pantheon is, of course, Arakiel – known more formally to his people as Gori Sensullu (roughly translated: “benevolent father”).  Arakiel is directly credited with the creation of the world of Citaria, the rir people, and all other life forms upon the world but for two: the serilian demons and human beings.  The former, of course, were created by his rival and nemesis, the Devil Queen Seril, while the latter arrived on Citaria via spacecraft, though unwittingly.

Seen only on extremely rare occasions by his own people, Arakiel’s description was nevertheless well-known amongst his people, as the other deities related what he was like to their own followers.  By all accounts, Arakiel appeared as a near-perfect specimen of terra-rir, with deep blue eyes and long, dark blue hair.  Some scholars have long argued that he took the form of whatever race he was speaking with, but this has been countered by many, not the least of whom is his own son, Kaelariel.

It is unknown to the people of Citaria – rir, human, demihuman, and serilis-rir alike – exactly what caused the rift between Arakiel and Seril that led to the creation of their respective peoples and the subsequent wars.  They have long held the belief that Arakiel created Seril to be his mate, and that for some reason, she rejected him and instead regarded him as an enemy.  The zeal with which their peoples have tried to wipe each other out certainly points to an incredible enmity between them, though the exact reasoning remains a mystery.

The rir people have long held that the humans did not come to Citaria, but rather were brought to Citaria by the hand of Arakiel.  The limited records of the first human settlers, who assimilated into the fledgling rir society in what eventually became the holy city of Sarchelete, certainly seem to support this theory.  In all their vast records of space exploration, the humans had apparently never even known about Citaria or its people until their arrival.  In each of the crash landings that brought the humans to Citaria, their ships and technology were rendered inert – undoubtedly the work of Arakiel’s hand – and it was by their ingenuity and adaptability that they not only learned to survive, but to assist the rir people in thriving.

Arakiel always had a fondness for his adopted human “children,” as evidenced by the number of humans that he elevated to deity status: Kris Fletcher, Zalkar the Unyielding, Mitreus and Zitenius Satachi, Carlos Bouron, and even the deity he created whole, Karmi G’Dorrinn.  Speculation abounds as to whether he always intended to “borrow” humans to bolster his own world, but the near-seamlessness with which the humans and rir have assimilated into a single culture certainly points to predestination.

Arakiel was slain at the end of the Apocalypse, at the same moment his counterpart, Seril, was slain by the hand of Kaelariel.  It has been speculated since then that Arakiel and Seril may actually have been two halves of a whole, and that one could not survive without the other.  Whatever the case, the control of the pantheon was bequeathed to Arakiel’s son Kaelariel, who has taken the reins under the wise guidance of his mother, Tisa Ch’Brakkh, and their Koryonite counterparts.

Up next: Sechre Tori

Until then,

Shoeless

First Up: An Examination of the Pantheon(s) of Citaria

So, my first project here will be an in-depth review of the pantheon(s) of Citaria.  I say “pantheons” because, as is mentioned in Salvation’s Dawn, the Citarian pantheon was merged with the pantheon of the world of Koryon during the Fifth Demon War.  (Don’t worry, more on the wars is coming soon, too.)  So for starters, I’m going to take a look at how the pantheon came into being, and then subsequent posts will go over each of the deities in greater detail.

The pantheon of Citaria was created mainly for use in Dungeons & Dragons games.  Since the domains and powers of clerics and even druids in the game are dependent on the deities they serve, it’s important to make sure a good D&D campaign has a rich and detailed pantheon – even if it’s an already established one.  (When I was introduced to the game, for example, our DM used the Norse pantheon, for which there was already a long write-up in a source book.  Probably not accurate, but then we weren’t playing in a Scandinavian campaign, so, no big deal.)  So, when I began creating my own campaign world, one of the first steps was to ask myself, “What deity created these alien species and why?”

The answer to that first question sparked the conflict around which the world of Citaria is built: the bloody rivalry between the god Arakiel (more commonly called Gori Sensullu by his people) and the being known to the people of Citaria only as Seril, who is also commonly called the Devil Queen.  Their conflict set the tone for the creation of the races: Gori Sensullu created the rir species, while Seril created what are called serilian demons.  Once you have a conflict that gives birth to your mortal races, congratulations!  You are already well on your way creating a world.

A quick pass through the Appendices of Salvation’s Dawn reveals six major wars between the armies of these two god-like beings: five Demon Wars and the final one called the Apocalypse.  With this growing conflict and the many skirmishes that inevitably fell between them, a history began to emerge from which great heroes arose and, consequently, were deified.  From the commanders and warriors of the first wars – Sechre Tori and Garra Ktarra – to the more unsung heroes that kept the flame between the wars – such as the Satachi twins – a pantheon emerged from the greatest heroes of Citarian history.  Then it was only a matter of splashing in a few others to fill out the major spheres of influence: Karmi G’Dorrinn the sea goddess, and Carlos Bouron – better known as the Beast – as the god of shapeshifters and lycanthropes.

Thus was formed the Citarian pantheon, from eldest to newest:

Gori Sensullu, “The Creator”

Sechre Tori, “First in Battle”

Kerry Kijana, “Garra Ktarra”

Kris Fletcher, “The Ghost”

Karmi G’Dorrinn, “The Lady of the Depths”

Zalkar the Unyielding, “Avatar of Vengeance”

Mitreus & Zitenius Satachi, “The Sandur Striders”

Carlos Bouron, “The Beast”

Tisa Ch’Brakkh, “The Dawn of Hope”

Kaelariel Arakiel Jir’tana, “The Ascending Dawn”

The Koryon pantheon was actually developed for an alternate campaign world called (appropriately) Koryon.  It was due to a later Dungeons & Dragons campaign I ran that I decided to have the two worlds cross over, and thus the pantheons merged to then face the threat of Seril.  The Koryon pantheon required a lot less work since they were patterned after the Citarian pantheon, with the difference being that the Koryon pantheon were not mortals who were deified, but rather pre-existing divine beings that banded together for various reasons.

The Coramin family formed the backbone of the pantheon, comprised of father Ambergaust, mother Carsius, their children Bek and Cabal, and Ambergaust’s brother Tigron.  From there, it was a matter of adding additional deities to, again, fill in the gaps.  The difference, again, was that since these were pre-existing divine beings and not mortals that were deified, history was dependent on these deities rather than the other way around.  Koryon is, therefore, nowhere near as deep or detailed in its history as Citaria, but that may change once the main storyline of the Eve of Redemption series is completed.

So the Koryonite pantheon was created:

Ambergaust Coramin, “The Wellspring”

Carsius Coramin, “The Mother of Truth”

Bek Coramin, “The Resultant Truth”

Cabal Coramin, “The Iron Fist of Heaven”

Tigron Coramin, “The Celestial Mender”

Krollmar Stonetender, “The Celestial Smith”

Belgrin the Wanderer, “Tender of the Roots”

Korbaz the Constant, “Lord of the Second Law”

Braum the Clairvoyant, “The Magnificent Intellect”

Ellen Dragonborn, “Fruit of the Great Tree”

One of the most fun things about having deities with such rich pasts and personalities is letting the characters of the novels discover it all over time.  Everyone on Citaria is well aware of who makes up the pantheon, but that doesn’t mean they know very much about the gods themselves – particularly the Koryonite deities.  And that, I hope, extends to my readers as well: I hope you enjoy learning about these deities, how they came to be, what they control, and what their own motivations may be as much as I enjoyed creating them.

In my next posts, I’ll begin taking more in-depth looks at each deity.

Until then,

Shoeless

The Art of the Newbie

So, I’m new to all this.  Not to writing; I’ve been doing that for the better part of 30 years.  But I’m new to everything else: publishing, blogging, advertising, and tweeting.

My goal with this blog will be to share a lot of the background and little tidbits about Citaria that even my books don’t touch upon too much.  I’m going to put together a “dream cast” of actors and actresses that I think would be perfect to play the characters of my book(s) if making a movie was possible.  I may also do short “character profiles” to give readers a better idea of what the characters are like.

The trick, of course, is to give everyone enough to make it interesting without spoiling anything in the series!

If you’ve read Salvation’s Dawn, then thank you for joining me on Kari’s adventures!  If not, I welcome you to do so: the first volume is only $0.99 on Amazon.com.  The series is planned for 13 books to cover the main story arc, and then I will be doing several spin-offs after the main series is complete.

If you’re curious but skeptical, here are some links to some fantastic, in-depth reviews I’ve received from fellow authors and readers on Goodreads.com:

Character Review of Kari with an Author Interview

Review by Cori Dyson, author of the “All Things Character it is” blog

Review by Alexandra Engellmann, author of “Sky Ghosts: All for One”

Review by Valicity Garris

Here is the planned series:

Book I – Salvation’s Dawn (Published)
Book II – White Serpent, Black Dragon (Published)
Book III – Serpents Rising (Published)
Book IV – Legacy of the Devil Queen (Published)
Book V – The Huntresses’ Game (Published)
Book VI – Preludes to War (Complete, Pre-publishing)
Book VII – Convergence (Complete)
Book VIII – The Awakening (In Progress)
Book IX – Three Kings (Conceptualized)
Book X – Wrath of the Huntress (Conceptualized)
Book XI – Phoenix Ascending (Conceptualized)
Book XII – Serpent’s Kiss (Conceptualized)
Book XIII – The Unbroken Circle (Conceptualized)

I hope to see you on Citaria!

~Shoeless