August 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm #10395
Down With PeopleSpectator
And so I began to envision a darkness that was long before the dark of night
And a strangely shining light
That owed nothing to the light of day
SUBERE (Darkness, Magic)
MYTHOS AND HISTORY
Before everything else, there was Chaos. Out of Chaos and in defiance of Chaos came the Darkness. Darkness was the first thing and it was everything. Many things were eventually born out of the Darkness, and many of those things grew to fear and hate the Darkness, but they were still, after all, born from Darkness.
The things that hated the Darkness made a place where they would never have to think about it, and they forgot. But the Darkness remembered. It grew an entire world of Darkness like nothing in the bright place above it. A long time later, the Mother of Mothers was born there, and her children carried the Darkness inside of them. They did not fear what was already inside of them, and they called this under-world their Wonderhome.
They could not stay there forever. Burner, the brightest thing in the world above, fell down into the Underworld. He was the terrible thing creatures in the Aboveworld had instead of Darkness, and all things that were Darkness were burnt by its presence. They either died, or fled to the Aboveworld. However, the Burner could not burn, destroy or disperse one Dark thing. It did not move to hide from the brightness, because it remembered when the brightness was born. It was not afraid then, and it wouldn’t be afraid now.
This Dark thing that not even the light could frighten is Subere. She is the Oldest Thing. Light creatures think that the Darkness follows them around, waiting for them to go away so it can be itself, but they are wrong. Subere is a Projecting Darkness, spreading the Dark all around her as the Burner spreads Fire. She created an entire world from her Darkness, and many other things besides that. All things that exist – even many of those things that thing themselves Above her – carry Subere inside of them, in the Darkness that no one sees.
One time, Subere gave some of her power willingly. She gave her distant daughter Kyger Litor an eating blackness, that she might fight Gbaji. The eating blackness was returned to Subere, which was wise.
One time, Subere’s power was stolen from her. Eurmal found her down in a cave, and grabbed the first Dark thing he saw. This was Death, and it was never returned. All things now suffer the Death because of that god’s foolishness.
There are few who know about Subere, and even fewer who are brave enough to worship her. She gives nothing and promises nothing but Darkness. All things were born of it, and Subere knows all things return to it.
NATURE OF THE CULT
The cult of Subere is small. Few people know of it, and many of those who do fear it and try to destroy it. Subere is known to the Uz, who remember the Darkness, and she is sometimes invoked in song and ritual. But Subere’s is the Projecting Darkness. It’s not the Comforting Darkness of Xiola Umbar, or the Angry Darkness of Zorak Zoran. It is Darkness beyond Darkness, and that is frightening to most Uz.
Regardless, most worshippers of Subere are trolls. Aside from that, the cult is populated by mad renegades from other cultures. They are those are drawn to the Darkness because they want to master it, or because they have a deep affinity with it. The cult’s influence is strongest in the Kingdom of Ignorance, where Suberites are feared and respected by all.
Subere is depicted in a variety of ways. She is sometimes a troll with similar trappings as those of Kyger Litor. She is sometimes an angry many-armed goddess. Her cultists never seek to depict her as anything other than a black disc, showing totally opaque darkness.
Subere is the Queen of the Underworld, the Projecting Darkness and the Goddess of the Inner Dark. She is the daughter of Nakala, the first goddess of Darkness, and has inherited Darkness from her. As well as being the owner and source of Darkness, Subere possesses the Magic rune.
Subere is Darkness. There are many deities with power over Darkness, but the true power is Subere. As the source of the Darkness Rune, initiates of Subere have the broadest possible power over Darkness. A very incomplete list of abilities Suberites have been known to use the Darkness Rune affinity for includes: seeing in total darkness, finding their way through dark places, summoning and dismissing dehori, extinguishing all light, summoning shadows, enchanting lead, teleporting from shadow to shadow, killing with cold, suffocating with shadow, warding off fire and light, killing Earth entities, using the Darksense, speaking Darktongue and communicating with trolls. Initiates strong in this rune are quiet, introspective and alien.
Subere is associated with the Magic Rune. An incomplete list of abilities Suberites have been known to use the Magic Rune for includes: resisting magic, augmenting other magic, sensing enemy magic, meditating for long periods of time, understanding grimoires and locating other initiates. Initiates strong in this rune are ambitious, intelligent and sometimes mad.
Subere is incompatible with Fire. Creatures of light are not able to overcome themselves and embrace their Inner Dark.
PARTICULAR LIKES AND DISLIKES
Subere is fond of trolls and other creatures of Darkness, because they alone have remembered the Dark. She dislikes the Burner, whose sudden intrusion disrupted the Underworld. She is also opposed to Chaos, because her existence defies it. There is nothing she truly hates, because even the light will one day return to the Dark. And when it does, Subere will be waiting with open arms.
CULT ORGANISATION AND HOLY PLACES
The cult has almost no organisation. A cultist with more experience can sometimes tutor one with less, but they can only show them the way, not lead them upon it. Contemplation of the Inner Dark is ultimately a solitary pursuit, and Subere’s cultists must leave their old culture behind if they are not driven out first. Subere is part of the Darkness pantheon, but still outside of it.
Any hole into the Underworld is a holy place to Subere. Notably, the Black Well in Kingdom of Ignorance attracts all those with an interest in Darkness, even those who are ignorant of its true nature.
The priests of Subere have no special name and no role in society. Some live amongst others and some are hermits. Some are nomads, and some tend to one shrine all their lives. Amongst themselves, the only authority cultists recognise is one who is Darker than they are. Worshippers of other Darkness deities sometimes look to Suberites for guidance or assistance in rituals.
Darkness is timeless. There are no special holy days for Subere. Other Darkness worshippers include her in the holy day of whoever the most important Darkness deity is in the area.
There is no way to earn the favour of Subere. She accepts only Darkness and gives only Darkness.
To become an initiate of Subere, the prospective Suberite must already be a Darkness creature or worshipper. They must have both the Darkness and Magic runes at a rating of at least 1W. There is no special process of initiation: they simply realise that there is a greater Darkness that they are drawn to, and from then on they are a Suberite. If they know a more experienced initiate, they may receive some instruction and guidance on how to continue. But after that, they must pursue Darkness alone.
An initiate must have their Darkness rune at least 11W to become a devotee of Subere. They must have been to the Underworld to commune with the Projecting Darkness (a significant plot obstacle) at least once.
The devotee has learnt all the ways of Darkness. They are familiar with the lesser forms of Darkness that are worshipped by others and the true Darkness of Subere. They know both the Darkness that abounds in the Underworld and the Darkness that lives inside of them. They no longer hate light, but feel apathy towards it. Even amongst others, they are alone.
In that moment, the devotee becomes like Subere. They realise that everything is Dark. Even light came from Darkness. Even Chaos, which exists by being opposed to everything, produced Darkness. All things came from Darkness, and all things will be returned to Darkness. There is no Inner Dark, just one Darkness that exists forever.
In game terms, the effects of this epiphany are similar to that of Illumination. As such, they are beyond the scope of this writeup.
Even when her powers were stolen, Subere did not seek to take them back. Similarly, there is no special punishment that awaits those who fall from the path of Darkness. However, these ‘failed’ Suberites are recognised by the cult as being dangers to themselves and others. They develop an obsession with somehow mastering or replacing the Darkness, and do great harm to the world around them in pursuit of this goal. The cult takes it upon themselves to forcefully return these madmen to the Dark.
So this is my take on Subere! Comments/criticisms are welcome, as always.August 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm #10432
I could also see western Arkati / Stygians having some form of Subere worship, or a Grimoire written about her.August 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm #10434
This is lovely – very similar in substance to my version. (details will vary, as do gloranthas)
The only really significant divergence, IMO, is i’ve taken a very different tack on the consequences of becoming a Subere “Devotee” which I am fond because it really emphasizes her distance and danger…
A worshipper who attempts to incarnate Subere becomes one with the darkness and loses themselves in her vastness. No one has ever been known to return from such an endeavor in a form recognizable as that they had before the attempt. A few immensely powerful Uzuz priestesses have been rumored to have performed this feat, but no one living knows if it was an act of desperate devotion, or simply suicide.August 15, 2014 at 12:39 am #10435
Down With PeopleSpectator
@aumshantih: I figure that in the West, the worship/study of Subere is seen as Chaotic, or at least not something that any decent zzaburi should take up. Of course, Arkati would have a different view. Suberites might even be among the secret societies of Safelstran.
boztakang: I’m glad you like it! I agree that becoming a devotee of Subere should be a big deal, no matter what. When I was writing this, I was even toying with the idea that the devotee immediately goes down to the Underworld forever, leaving behind a shadow of themselves to enact their will in the world. Kinda like a shaman’s fetch.
The forum ‘Glorantha Discussions’ is closed to new topics and replies.