Table of Contents
“Without destruction there is no creation… without creation there is no change.”
On Jaern and Cahyali alike, the name of the Boon of Destruction makes even the bravest tremble. Followed wherever she goes by scorched earth and the joyful cries of her priests as they bring to rubble all in sight, Mishra is a deity of good and evil in equal measure. Taking many aspects, she brings the glory of destruction to those who want it or not.
On Jaern, the violence of Mishra has been tamed somewhat, with many Mishrites serving as demolitionists under the employ of cities, destroying that which is old and no longer has use. Fear of the Boon of Destruction is less prominent on Jaern than on Cahyali; on Cahyali, the name Aremakh is synonymous with ruin. Cahyali considers Mishra to be a goddess of war, particularly the sort of war that is base and bloody. Mishra acts as a “cleaner” of sorts on the divine stage. Threats that cannot be dealt with by the other gods, and are outside of the domain of adventurers to solve, are shot through and blown up by the destructive force of Mishra, as are errant mortals and their creations that violate divine law.
Like most gods, Mishra appears in many forms to mortals, and each of these forms has a distinct appearance and personality. These aspects are determined by mortal worship and opinion; for example, the just and heroic Mishra-Eleutheria may be more likely to appear to a small village resisting the occupation of an enemy force, while the warlike and vengeful Mishra-Sachmis may appear before a pillaging army ready to take small villages to the slaughter.
The Revolutionary, Mishra-Eleutheria
This aspect is the most human of all Mishra's aspects. She appears as a human, perhaps around 40-50 years old, wearing a red beret and military clothes. Each appearance of Mishra-Eleutheria differs, but her form is usually a woman or someone of ambiguous gender. She has long, usually black hair, tied in a braid or ponytail running down her back. Often, the Revolutionary will stay with a mortal effort undercover for months or even years with none realizing that she is in fact a god. They smile and laugh often, with a voice that witnesses have reported to resemble that of a “stern but kind parent”.
Mishra-Eleutheria appears to those seeking to destroy tyranny, standing on the side of revolution and the common folk. She is borne from Mishra's belief that the status quo must be upturned, with the old order destroyed to make room for the new. The least outwardly destructive of all Mishra's aspects, the appearance of Mishra-Eleutheria rarely results in undue death. The Revolutionary rarely fights directly, instead guiding those they stand with towards victory.
The Adversary, Mishra-Sachmis
This aspect of Mishra appears as a lion-headed beasthide orc with six arms, standing near sixty feet tall. She bears a crown of blades, and unearthly ribbons of spectral flame emanate from her form. The face of the Adversary is usually twisted into a roar, and she wields a different weapon in each hand. Mishra-Sachmis wears an outfit composed of a short linen top adorned with golden accessories, as well as a long flowing skirt of white fabric that seems to catch ablaze as she moves. The voice of the Adversary is loud and angry, sounding like a guttural woman's voice layered and echoed over itself several times.
Mishra-Sachmis is not a kind aspect. When she appears, death and blood are soon to follow. She represents Mishra's belief that humanity must endure pain to grow, and that all they hold dear must sometimes be destroyed for life to move forward. She often appears with a single target or goal in mind, and will not cease on her path of ruin until that target has been reduced to scorched dust or a bloody pulp.
The Guiding Hand of Ruin, Mishra-Agni
This aspect appears as a humanoid woman nearly a hundred feet tall, and has only appeared on battlefields or sites of similar widespread destruction. She wears a crimson cowl underneath which her face cannot be observed - though one can see that Mishra-Agni has a multitude of long white braids and dark skin. Similarly to the Adversary, tongues of spectral flame surround her. The Guiding Hand of Ruin seems to conduct destruction as if it is a musical piece, heightening the damage of each explosion, the strength of each weapon, and the efficacy of each gout of magic.
Mishra-Agni has never spoken, and seems to appear to those who pray to her before the day of a great battle. She appears for only short periods of time - often less than ten minutes. However, some have heard her laughing and whooping along with her priests, reveling in the destruction. She is borne from Mishra's joy at witnessing and participating in the act of destruction.
Unlike many of the other gods, Mishra was never mortal. She was born fully formed from a persistent thought and desire of Orus'. As mortal science and knowledge advanced and refined, explosives were created for both utility in tearing down infrastructure and mining of resources buried underneath, and for the killing and destruction in warfare… and even in pyrotechnics to bring joy in vibrant explosions of color in the night sky. More and more people found their calling in channeling the immense and powerful destruction of explosives and firearms, taking their own emotive desire to see things brought to rubble and calling upon Orus with their hate, joy, spite, and more to fuel their wake of demolition.
To these followers of Orus, he took on a new persona, one who urged on the wanton destruction, whose answer to any question or problem was to blow it up. Monsters and villains blown to pieces by grenades, walls and doors were merely piles of rubble who haven’t ripened yet, bullets that could be so much more! As the movement gained more and more popularity, the sect of Orus eventually became too large and split off from the main church as its own priesthood and temple, just as the aspect of Orus separated from the main wellspring of emotion into Mishra, a fully formed deity of their own right.
The worship of Mishra as a war goddess came after her birth, as explosives and firearms began to see more use in war. As the death tolls from these devices mounted, many came to see their destructive force as something dark, and feared the deity worshiped with them.
The followers of Mishra are known as Mishrites. On Cahyali, where she is known as Aremakh, her priests are called Aremites.
The Mishrites are usually seen as a necessary thorn in the side of many priesthoods. The priests are known to be volatile and destructive, and their temples are usually placed outside city limits. Temples support themselves through the sale of firearms and explosives - usually to adventurers. They also participate in demolition efforts, hired by the city. Many Mishrites also do mercenary work, though they are quite discerning regarding the jobs they take. It is just as common for a Mishrite to blow up the hirer attempting to hire them for a bad job as they are to complete the job and blow up the target.
Larger Mishrite temples are led by a head priest known as a Wesson, who presides over the temple's affairs. They may also employ gunsmiths and armorers. All priests in a temple are capable of blessing and sanctifying devices for use with Mishra's spells. Mishrite priesthoods place no limitations on prospective members, and place new priests into a yearlong apprenticeship learning the ropes of servitude to Mishra and the duties of the priesthood. Apart from the role of Wesson, the priesthood of Mishra is not hierarchical, with every priest contributing what they can as equals to the temple.
Prioritizing function over form, Mishrites generally wear loose and comfortable clothing allowing free range of movement. Most Mishrites will wear clothing that can easily accommodate bandoliers of ammo, bags full of grenades and C4, and numerous holsters for a veritable armory of firearms. A popular color scheme among Mishrites is dark clothing with splashes of fiery reds and oranges.
Mishrites commonly display a finger gun to the air gesture to mean “May Mishra Guide You”. This gesture is commonly used in blessings and as greetings and goodbyes. Conversely, pointing a finger gun at someone, especially a Mishrite, is an intensely threatening insult.
The priests of Mishra are obligated to understand the line between appropriate destruction and wanton destruction. The priests are expected to not excessively destroy what is around them, as destruction should be balanced with creation for the world to progress. However, this line can become increasingly subjective depending on the priest, so the Wesson of the temple may define specific tenets and rules.
Holidays and Feast Days
On Jaern, the Lux’nakto is celebrated on the last night of Jorn, marking the transition between the wet Akvofojo season and the hot Fajrovojo season. Once Onra sets on the horizon, pyrotechnic displays of unparalleled magnitude fill the night sky, causing colors and flashes that are sometimes brighter than the daytime sky. Due to noise and smoke concerns, most larger towns have mandated the Mishrites to set off their displays from a ship a few mets out on the sea nearby. Every year, a segment of the Centralian Lux’nakto is funded by noble families who pay the Mishrite temples to put on a display that showcases their family’s heraldry and claim to fame.
The Rospera Feast is celebrated on the last day of Led, marking the transition between the hot Fajrofojo season and the dry Sekafojo season. The Mishrite temple hosts a day of celebration, culminating in a public feast of roasted and barbequed meats and vegetables. Many Mishrites like to perform explosive and impressive cooking, involving coordinated dancing or feats of hand-eye coordination, as well as constructing precariously high-stacked Flaming Onion Volcano dishes.
On Cahyali, Aremakh's feast days are primarily celebrated by orcish tribes in the north, venerating her as a goddess of victory. One such holiday is the Manipura Feast, observed by the tribes of Arenti in mid-autumn. This event brings tribes from all over Arenti together, and features a grand roasted meal as well as a roaring bonfire.