Apshai

Apshai is a minor power who is not officially recognized by the state of Mulhorand, but whose cult has a minor presence in the Taranoth region, and a more established following in Murghom and Semphar.

 

Mythology

Apshai is revered as a god of insects among the Mulan, but rather than worshipped he is placated to keep the often reviled creatures away. Insect plagues can strip the land bare of vegetation and cause widespread famine, and while many insects perform vital ecological roles such as consuming dung and decomposing corpses, the scarab beetle is particularly feared for the agonizing death it can bring.

Apshai is often depicted as stalking the major battlefields of Mulhorand’s history, devouring the dead and slaying the wounded. Some murals show a large scarab beetle feeding on the corpse of Ra in the battle of the Orcgate Wars.

Apart from this predatory historic depiction, Apshai appears to have no relation to the Mulhorandi pantheon.

 

History

The history of Apshai is an amalgam of multiple myths and legends into a single being that is now worshipped in the lands north of Raurin.

The Imaskari and their slaves had legends of an evil insectoid shadow that would stalk the cities and slave farms, spreading a plague amongst the unsuspecting that turned its victims to dust. He was also said to be a master of magic and would often tempt his victims with magical power before infecting them with disease. A corrupted form of the name of this beast survives into modern times among the tribes of Raurin, he is known as Shartralessighur (The Darkness That Crawls).

The legend of the Dark One stayed with the Imaskari slaves and was carried to the lands that would become Murghom, Semphar, and Durpar (although Mulhorand, Unther, and Akanu lost the legend but kept their dislike of insects).

The concept of an insect god arrived in Mulhorand around -150 DR, when migrants were driven south from the Hordelands and into northern Mulhorand by the expanding Kalmyks. These migrants brought with them the worship of animal totems, including one Nnuuurrri’c’c, known as the King with Wings, who was an enormous mosquito like insect that these beast cultists revered as a god.

Finally, the Dragonsword Mountains are whispered to contain a terrible monster, originally named Asphshay (shortened over time to Apshai). This creature was first spoken of by the godkings Ra, E-Anu, and E-Nlil, upon their return from the land known as Fuirgar. They spoke of a huge insectoid creature made up of thousands of smaller individual scarab beetles which all acted in concert as a single being. This Asphshay is said to control all the scarab beetles in Mulhorand (which curiously exist nowhere else), and occasionally stalks down from the mountains to consume people in a matter of seconds.

The worship of Apshai is derived from all three creatures, but only one of these still survives in this region.