PANTHEON
Geb

The worship of Geb has been part of mortal life as long as the iaret have walked upon his body.  The iaret venerate Geb as the Father of Serpents, believing that he lifted up the iaret from the dust and gave them dominion from horizon to horizon.  His word becomes law, to be promulgated throughout the lands he has given to his people.  In this guise, he is depicted as a golden iaret, garbed in a white kilt and cobra-like headdress. 

Mythology holds that Geb laid down his body to become the earth, creating the world from chaos.  From the boundless outpouring of his power, all life is born and renewed.  Thus he is also revered as a healer, as Geb Lifegiver, Lord of the Threshold, the Wellspring of Life who all must pass by on the way to the afterlife.  Priests devoted to this aspect of the god perform miracles in curing diseases and healing injuries, in addition to more mundane contributions to public health.  When emphasizing this facet of his godhood, he is depicted in a burial shroud, with arms crossed in repose, and with his eyes closed.

He is also spoken of as Geb of Overflowing Vaults, the Lord of Secrets, the source and keeper of all knowledge and riches.  Great mysteries are held within his body, as are treasures within the stone of mountains.  To his faithful, he grants the knowledge of power and dominion.

Prominent symbols of his worship are the cobra signifying his authority over life and death and his rulership over the gods.  The ouroboros symbolizes his everliving nature, as well as his role as Lord of Secrets.  Gold and blue are used to represent him, or more rarely green, when emphasizing him as the wellspring of life.

Human worship of Geb is divergent in the interpretation of him as the Father of Serpents.  His role in granting dominion to the iaret is ignored, and while he is still known by that title, he is depicted as a golden human dressed in white robes, sometimes hooded, holding a golden snake in one hand.  The import of symbolic authority over the serpent that this depiction implies should not be ignored.

Among the ozrut, Geb is worshiped as Mother Mountain, an imposing woman with short horns, sometimes rumiany, sometimes markotny, with black hair.  Occasionally she is depicted holding a ewer to represent her life-giving nature.  Mother Mountain is a stern goddess, with a slow, implacable anger and a willingness to mete out terrible punishment.

Ranute

Just as early worship identified the earth as the foundation of existence, so too was the divine found in the heavens.  Ranute, the Queen of the Skies, is the spouse of Geb, and coaxes forth his beneficence with the nurturing warmth of the sun and the comforting cool of the night.  She is depicted as a golden iaret in a sheer kalasiris, with her arms outstretched to represent the encompassing embrace of the skies for the earth.  Rainbows are her sash and headdress, and one of her eyes is green and the other is the sun, usually painted with a kohl wadjet.

Ranute is a generous goddess and by her intercession Geb sends forth his unending life.  Her gifts are more direct as well, and the greatest of them all is the gift of magic.  Like the airs of the sky, it permeates the world and is a potent tool for those skilled in its use.  Learned mages worship Ranute as the winged Disc of the Sun, a representation of the overwhelming power of this gift.  In addition to the magical arts, Ranute inspires all artists to create according to their talents.  In the Jewel Cities, where reverence of this incarnation is common, she is depicted as the Generous Sun with many hands descending from it.

Sometimes she is known simply as the Golden, and blesses honest trade deals conducted in her sight.  Straightforward and open dealing in commerce brings her gifts to all participants.

Themes running through her symbolism are the use of orange, white and red with contrasting blue to represent the daylit sky in all its phases.  Wings, such as the winged sun or a winged crown are also common.  Rainbows show her gifts and the inspiration she grants to all who see them.

The ptak speak of Ranute as their mother, the Greatest Flock, an amorphous mass of colorful birds of every kind.  It was the many gifts that she granted to the ptak such as their quick wits and beautiful voices that weighed them down to earth and robbed them of the ability of flight.  Legend holds that some ptak thought to hide from her light, but she is the night as well, and cursed them to always walk in darkness.

Primitive worship by the ozrut holds her to be Father Cloud, the spouse of Mother Mountain.  Representations of the impressively bearded Father Cloud emphasize his size and strength, often showing him bearing a drum almost as large as himself.  He is well-meaning but flawed, excessively kind to his children even as he is quickly angered by slights and disobedience.  His bouts of fury usually leave him spent and regretful, eager to dole out kindness to the targets of his passing ire.  Weather is his intervention, with rain his tears, thunder his shouts and drumming, and snow or fog his long flowing beard blanketing the land.

Neath

Neath is born of the eternal union of Geb and Ranute.  Earth and sky are elemental forces but their child is a goddess of mortals and their desires.  Deliberation and solidity combine with caprice and consumption to make Neath the Two-Faced Goddess.  She appears as a golden iaret, sometimes in armor, sometimes in a white sheath dress, with an arrow or other weapon in one hand and a torch in the other, sometimes one side of her face frowning, and the other smiling.  Depictions in the Jewel Cities are more literal, showing two women, back-to-back, sometimes conjoined, one armored and scowling bearing a hammer, the other in a dress, smiling, and carrying a torch.

One face shines a warming yellow light, as the Hearthkeeper, and beckons travelers to safety.  Hurts and quarrels are soothed beneath her roof and breaking the peace of hospitality is a terrible crime in her eyes.  As the Lady of the Home she finds joy in family, joining spouses together and blessing children.  A torch in an open door or a candle in a window are parts of her iconography.

The other face, the Bellicose, is red with anger and hardship, and she is also the Mistress of the Forge who beats metal into implements of war.  She thrives in conflict, and challenges her worshipers with turmoil to strengthen them.  As a warrior and protector, her sword bars hearths, doors and gates from marauders.  Artificers in particular revere her, entreat her for inspiration and invention, and prefer the image of a hammer rising from flames.

Fire is the most important of Neathís symbols, for it can be a beacon, a hearth, a forge, or an arsonistís torch.  Yellow and red and the shades in between are the colors found most often associated with her worship.

Worship of Neath has found fertile ground in the south, perhaps attributable to the weak identification humans have with the greater divine powers.  The foster children of iaret civilization place special emphasis on her as the get of Geb and Ranute.  The grey and black of iron, coal, and smoke join other colors in representing her among humans.

Of all the gods, Neath is a favorite of the ozrut, who knew her as the Red and Blue Daughter.  She was the first child of Mother Mountain and Father Cloud, and would never be equaled as her half red/half blue body represented the best of both rumiany and markotny.  Stories of the Daughterís deeds describe her walking the earth like a mortal, with an axe in one hand and a torch in the other.

Apsu

Apsu presents a mythological conundrum in that she was already present when Gebís body became the earth.  Certain schools of theology hold that the goddess is the sister of Geb, given form by this division of solid ground from water.  Her staunchest adherents claim that she dreamed all things into being before time.  Within recorded history, however, she was gravely wounded by the star which plunged into the Mor Dyfn.  The most common image of Apsu is a silver iaret, in a white kalasiris, wearing a blue circlet or crown, with a bloody hole in her chest over her heart.  In one hand she holds a scallop shell, and in the other a spear or trident.

The falling star was not only a natural disaster, but a metaphysical one as well.  Apsuís devotees had been troubled by dire portent prior to the arrival of the star, and the divine powers bestowed by her were greatly changed following the calamity.  The storm-tossed and monster-haunted seas were a reflection of the pain and suffering of the Wounded Lady.  This affliction is represented in iconography by a spear piercing a blue circle.

The depths of the sea are pregnant with knowledge, and in ancient times, Apsu blessed the apkallu with wisdom and sent them forth to teach the iaret.  After her wounding, however, she jealously guards what dark secrets remain beneath the ocean.  This is the significance of the closed scallop she clutches in her hand, full of mysteries which are not for mortals.  A deviant form of this worship has arisen in the Jewel Cities among mages and seekers after forbidden truths. They depict her as a black-scaled iaret, provocatively nude, her wound ringed with teeth, and the iconic shell open to display a black pearl.

In contrast to the firmament of Geb, she is the Everchanging Waters, a cresting wave always alive with motion.  Sailors treat her with all the care afforded a capricious lover; one day her oceans are smooth as glass, with favorable winds, and the next she will punish the devout and faithless alike with tearing gales and lashing rain.

Shades of blue are favored by her worshipers to represent Apsuís waters.  However, white is just as important, because she is not restricted to the depths of the sea.  Her storms hold sway above the waters, showing her power in that realm as well.

To the muruch, Apsu is a seductive goddess, with long, shimmering translucent flukes, a shawl of trailing shells, and hair composed of foam and spray.  She is said to be the source of their alluring magical abilities and shapeshifting.  Some believe that humans were once muruch she took as lovers.  When she quarreled with or tired of them, she cast them up onto land where she would never have to look at them again.

While iaret tradition holds that the original apkallu teachers were sent by Apsu, there is little in the way of corresponding myth among the apkallu themselves.  Their concept of Apsu is more cerebral, with her consciousness forming the Other Ocean.