Here’s a snippet from the forthcoming Cults Book that ties into some recent posts of mine:
About a century after the Dragonkill War, an incredible event occurred which changed Kethaela forever—the arrival of the man first called Belintar the Stranger, but later titled the God-King.
Belintar came from another time and place, and he said he was from the far past. He had fallen into the Sea of Time when he failed on a wayward heroquest and swam ashore from the deadly ocean one morning in the year 1313. He was a person of great bearing and power, and he quickly proved he was no pauper washed ashore. He undertook great trials and travels, and he made important allies quickly. His identity was never learned, though all Hell knows the Only Old One tried.
The Rightarm Islanders thought his arrival miraculous and aided him in every way, at least at first. Belintar was not slow to choose sides in various disputes, and it became plain to see that whatever side he supported would be successful. Since he supported the Islanders, the Caladraland people tried to kill him, using both force and magic. But they failed, and Belintar used the powers of the Steam Demons to win his fight against their leaders.
Belintar revealed that he had come to depose the Only Old One and liberate the Shadowlands from Darkness. He did it through the process of mustering ancient allies on heroquests and opposing the magical forces of the Only Old One. He explored the God Time many times, and each time provided himself worthy of ruling over one of the peoples of Kethaela. Belintar called forth many of the original Silver Age heroes, plus others of more recent or different origin.
The process was long and difficult, and Belintar was slain and devoured at one point. He fought against all the peoples of Kethaela at one time or another. But in the end, he succeeded and met the Only Old One himself in combat and cast him down and cut him into pieces. Then he destroyed the Castle of Black Glass, covering all the Shadow Plateau with a dense and heavy black sand which smothers life.
In 1318, Belintar began a great magical rite which apotheosized him. He then took the title of God-King or Mangod, arranged the land in a new way, and began his rule of the diverse populations which line the Choralinthor Bay. He protected them from other enemies, and integrated humans, trolls, and Triolini into his realm. He made other changes to the land as well, as he raised Loon Island and made the City of Wonders in the center of the Mirrorsea.
The accession of the God-King in 1318 also marks the beginning of the term Holy Country to describe Kethaela, and it soon gained a reputation for being a place of mystery and wonder The God-King began it with his proclamation of rule and the barbarians all about echoed it, for the land was kept holy by its residents and the rites arranged by the God-King. Some were unhappy, but all accepted the God-King’s authority. It prospered internally and cowed all who might think to invade with its strength.
The God-King kept good contacts with all the gods of the Holy Country, and to the rest of the world this was a part of the Otherworld manifest in the mundane world. Occasionally, gods or great monsters visited the Holy Country, and there were known to be many secret gates into the Otherworld.
The God-King showed little interest in expanding his realm. He used friends and allies to guard his borders, sent messengers and merchants outward, to the west, through Maniria to Ralios.
As was written by the trolls:
Belintar spoke little of his own origins, claiming that the moment was more important than the past. He proved himself to whoever demanded such proof, and then demanded something in return. He was true to his friends and deadly to his enemies.
I often compare and contrast Belintar with another long-lived ruler that has taken many forms. But where the Red Emperor is the most recent bearer of a long tradition of Pelorian emperors, Belintar was pretty much sui generis. He came out of nowhere, unified six disparate lands, ruled for centuries, and then disappeared. When he disappeared so did the unity he provided. No bureaucracy, administrative machine, or ambitious heirs managed to hold things together – or even particularly tried. It was clear to all that only the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death could provide a new God-King, and it had failed.
Belintar was a surprisingly tolerant God-King, who laughingly acknowledged his non-worship by the atheists of God Forgot but took their tribute in other ways. He ruled lightly, “less than a feather, as heavy as Dawn’s early light,” but also without any real threat or challenge until the Lunar Empire entered Dragon Pass
I seem to remember reading somewhere that Belintar was a HeroQuester from the future? No, it was joke suggested by Greg who later strongly stated to me “Not True”. Greg often changed directions. Maybe at some point I’ll post the original stuff on Bronding the Swimmer (his original name before Greg came up with the far cooler Belintar).
If the Only Old One and all the spirits in Hell couldn’t figure out Belintar’s origins, what makes you think we’d spill the beans to mere mortal gamers!