Kraetis

KRAETIS
The Black Rider, the Breaker of Cities (once known as “the Brazen Rider” and “the Impetuous”)

Lesser Deity
Symbol: A Parthan war-helmet with a monstrous face mask
Home Plane:
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Portfolio: Battle, strife, conflict, mayhem
Worshippers: Parthan warriors, and Pyrrhae especially; outcasts and renegades. Some non-Parthan mercenaries also have taken up the worship of Kraetis, but they are rare.
Cleric Alignments: CE, LE, N, NE, LE
Domains: Destruction, Strength, War
Favored Weapon: Sword

Kraetis (KRAE-tiss) is Memnos’ first-born son by Hathonae. Once seated at his father’s right, he grew ambitious and decided to use the time of chaos after the war with Kamora to make a play for the throne. His schemes were checked by his father, though, and he was defeated by him in single combat. Memnos did not go so far as to cast him out or disown him (keep your enemies even closer and all that), but Kraetis’ wounds left him crippled for centuries and disfigured forever.
Since then, Kraetis has come to personify the dark side of Parthan warfare. He is seen as the bloodthirsty reaver, the merciless sacker of cities, and the callous murderer. Kraetis exults in savagery and excess. He finds solace only in those rare moments where he not only defeats his foes in battle, but is also able to inflict suffering.

Kraetis was once as handsome and statuesque as his father. He wore brass and bronze-lacquered armor and wore a majestic helm whose facemask mirrored his own visage. Following his defeat at Memnos’ hands, though, Kraetis was left horribly scarred. Despondent, he covered his armor in night-black lacquering, and adorned it with grotesque designs. He took his helmet’s face-mask and carved on it the leering features of a monstrous, gorgon-like being. Despite his fall, Kraetis continued to exert influence over Parthan warriors. Ironically, those statues that depicted Kraetis malformed inspired many Parthan warriors to emulate his fearsome war-mask.

Kraetis is not loved by most Parthans, but he is recognized and is sacrificed to as is proper. Among the Pyrrhae, though, he is revered outright, and is still held as their patron deity. Some go so far as to venerate him even above Memnos, though they do so in secret. Such men often become some of the most troublesome foes of Parthus.

Kraetis demands that prayers be voiced to him prior to battle. Few Parthans indulge in his desires after battle, though; nor are his mysteries celebrated in the citadels. The Pyrrhae tribes that revere him are another matter, though. Their rites include bloody raids and coming-of-age rituals involving kidnapping, murder, and even rape.

History/Relationships: Kraetis largely stands alone among the Parthan deities. He is so brutal, savage, and hateful that he has isolated himself from virtually every other member of his pantheon save for Sekthiss. Kraetis generally despises them all, but he particularly hates Polynikia, Ariston, and their son, Tharos. He fears his father more than anything else, and it is because of this that he has restrained himself from doing any of the other gods violence.

Dogma: Victory is all, and to the victor go the spoils. Suffer not the weak to live or the defeated to rise again. Let your steel visit ruin on all those who cannot best it.

Clergy and Temples: Kraetis has no temples. Even his Pyrrhan followers state that their god’s will is for his only temples to be the ruins of those of other gods.

There are few dedicated priests of Kraetis, but those who do follow that path are among the most dangerous reavers in Verosia. Such men gather unto themselves entire hosts of brigands, raiders, and mercenaries and exist only to plague mankind with calamity. Among the Pyrrhans, the most dangerous of his priests are those who maintain an unbroken lineage between his priesthood from his days of glory, millennia ago, and the present.

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