Thieves & Kings
Sarrok - The Gray Slayer
Lord of Battles, The Vandal, The Reaver – God of War, Battle and Strength
Born of an unlucky union, Sarrok, the Gray Slayer is destruction itself given form, especially that of war. Patron of soldiers, warriors and mercenaries, Sarrok is the god of the body, the physical struggle and beholden by both orcs and dwarves alike.
Sarrok is a god of bloodlust, requiring fearlessness and bravado of his adherents. He loves the “sport” of war, and takes great pleasure in watching, and even participating in , large battles. The only virtue admired by his adherents is courage. Sarrok is viewed as the god of the northern vikings.
The Halls of Sarrok are found wherever mercenaries, soldiers or other warriors gather. There is no actual central authority in the church, however, allowing local churches to gather and compete in matters of dogma and authority. Each recognizes the other as legitimate and equal. Continuous synods have kept the church’s dogma remarkably similar.
“Honor Your Brothers and Sisters” : Followers of Sarrok see all people as equal in the study of the blade, regardless of stature, strength or station. They show no rank of privilege. This is the ideal, the goal which all adherents strive for. As a result, aristocracy and kingship are not respected, and those of noble blood must prove themselves worthy through force of arms. Also as a result, anyone can attain position by force of arms.
“Honor Your Body” : Followers of Sarrok glory in their physique and morality seems of little value among them. The faithful avoid tobacco, alcohol and other intoxicants. This is also the perfection they strive for, but a difficult one to achieve.
Generally appearing as a barbarian warrior wearing filth-covered armor, blood-matted hair and dreadlocks, wielding matching axes encrusted with filth. He is instant death, fear in battle. His mortal followers pay him fearful tribute, and include the apocalyptic cult of ravening vikings, known as “The Vandals”.
Sarrok’s symbol is the blood-red greataxe, upright on a silver field. His priests often use many weapons, but followers almost exclusively use either the greataxe or twin handaxes.
Sarrok’s clerical domain is War.
According to Sarrok doctrinal myth, the world was once a primordial maelstrom of chaos from which the pantheon of principles and deities arose, as well as the plethora of mortal creatures. Eventually, each god claimed a kingdom, and Sarrok chose the rugged coasts and mountains of Argoth. He was forced to kill, subjugate, or drive-out the semi-divine entities that dwelt here, known as the Pradeyalkiri before laying claim to the northern mountains as his own. After a lengthy conflict, Sarrok and his allies defeated an outlandish assortment of devils and demons, including his own father Skarakyldrik and his grandfather Uyessegryn.
Lord of the Pradeyalkri was Suerlji, a horrific serpentine beast that had remained upon its mountain perch (said to be Mount Ilbengaad) deep in the Icesilver Mountains far to the north, for most of the battle. Eventually the two met in a duel to decide the dominion of northern Argoth.
After a twelve-day battle, Suerlji steadily weakened until, with a blow that “…caused the First Ones to gaze upon his might…” Sarrok hewed the serpent’s head from its body.
Sarrok dwells in Talagaad, an ice castle rumored to exist in the depths of the Icesilver Mountains, far to the north of Argoth. He dwells there with his Vandals, warriors who have fallen in battle in his name, his many wives, and various servants, most of whom are defeated demonic spirits from the Pradeyalkri. Near Talagaad stands Meflygur, the tree of the slain, which grows a hundred crimson apples each night, and it is said mortals finding and consuming the tree are blessed with healing for their ills or wounds, immortality and perpetual youth.
The Sword Edicts
Closely tied to the religious popularity of the Gray Slayer in The Border Kingdoms, the Sword Cult enforces chivalric rules and usages of war, known as the “Sword Council Edicts”, or simply the “Sword Edicts”. The numerous mercenaries and those who otherwise follow the priests of the Gray Slayer tend to follow these rules.
As described by most initiates, “What it boils down to is this; a smaller state may attack a larger, but a larger state may not attack a smaller, except in retaliation for an overt attack… A smaller state may enter into compact with one or more others of comparable size to attack a larger, but if they lose, then all of them are open to attack by the larder state they attacked. But should a larger state openly declare war on a smaller state, unprovoked, things will get sticky for them.”
“It may even start before he attacks, for when his intent is made clear, all Sword Initiates (which should include his vassals and his Freefighters) are bound by Sword Oath to desert him. If his force contains sufficient non-Initiates or oath-breakers for him to actually press his attack, then he is certainly dead and his dynasty as well. All surrounding states , large and small will likely march against him. His lands and titles will be forfieted to the ruler he attacked. If he fails to die in battle, then he will be hauled before a tribunal of the Sword Cult, who will decide the manner of his execution. Likewise all surviving oath-breakers in his service. Non-Initiates are subject to Sword Cult discipline.”