Lore Story: The First God
By Rick Merriman as Onus Brushstroke
With hair of honey, bleached by the sun to a soft platinum with a pleasing golden glow, with skin the hue of Fae milk touched by roses, and with a figure as curvaceous as the winding paths of the Goldmont foothills, the blue-eyed Goddess, Siberlee is considered the most beautiful female in all of Mernac’s long history.
Eternally young in body and form, she was at history’s beginning just as she will be at its end, for Siberlee, The Mother of Nature and all that is Good, was the first God The One and The Other chose to place on Mernac, seventeen millennia before the birth of Man.
Siberlee, or Siberlee Araf, as she is sometimes called, is without doubt the most important and prominent character in all of Mernac’s long history. Endeared by most, criticized by few, and thought to be “humanly imperfect” by some, there is no doubt that she has influenced more people and events in Mernac than any other being. It has been argued that her failings and imperfections are the real reason she is so successful in her fight against evil, and it is actually her greatest strength. For all who know her stories can always identify with her mistakes and occasional “un-godlike” behavior and see that within themselves they too can achieve greatness, despite their own failings. With that understanding comes empathy, and with empathy comes love.
Siberlee is the leader of the Mothers and all the races of the light. She is also often called “The Champion of Good, for above all, “Good” is what she stands for. Many of the religions based on Siberlee’s teachings dictate their members make a “Decision of Good,” just as Siberlee did, to become a member of that church’s clergy. This requirement is also the case for all who attain the title, Champion of Mernac.
The Decision of Good is to make a personal choice, where making that choice may harm the one who makes it – or harm the ones they love … but to do so serves the greater good.
There is much debate as to which of Siberlee’s choices or actions would be considered her personal Decision of Good. Those who subscribe to the notion she was a mortal on a different world before becoming a God of Mernac, believe it was that she sacrificed her lover, Barak’s life so that others may live and “good” may prevail. It is also suspected that this event and its perceived betrayal may be the initial seed for the evil which eventually consumed Barak … and his apparent disdain for “good” – even before his nature turned dark.
In the earliest of times, before the creation of man, and for near a millennium after that, Siberlee divided her time equally between a simple life on Mernac, and being the queen of the Gods in Mirorden. After her sister Kanola was captured by the Fathers and given to Barak as a prize, Siberlee and all the Mothers were forbidden by The One to freely roam Mernac, save on Chandralee, that rare time when not one, but both of Mernac’s Moons, are full in the evening sky.
With so little time on Mernac, the Goddess became disconnected from the world she created, so Siberlee found numerous ways to remain aware of the important happenings on Mernac. The most common of these is to disguise herself as an old hag. Throughout much of the lore of Mernac one will find references to “the old woman of the woods.” Most scholars agree this is Siberlee in disguise, or maybe her spirit inhabiting some willing participant.
It is also well established that she will often use the eyes and ears of several animals when unable to visit Mernac directly. The most common of these is a calico cat. Usually smallish in size and almost always a constant companion to a devout follower of Siberlee, this cat seems to appear at the most opportune time to garner information. There is some disagreement whether it is but one cat throughout history under some enchantment of immortality, or if there are in fact many cats. It is also often argued that it is not a cat at all, but somehow Siberlee manifesting her spirit into some type of Hundar illusion. None, however, disagrees this cat, cats, or spirit have some strong affiliation with Siberlee, as their name invariably begins with the letter “A,” characteristic of Siberlee’s surname, Araf.
Becoming a God
The story of Siberlee is a long one. In essence it is the story of Mernac, for that matter, the story of all humankind. It follows a naïve fledgling Goddess, her childlike understanding of things in the beginning years, to adolescent rebellion and misbehavior, to the beginning of understanding, and finally wisdom. All, however, done attempting to understand her soul and to do “Good.”
Though most is lost to history, there is a prologue to the history of Siberlee on Mernac. Before she became a Goddess, it is rumored she was a mortal on a different world called, Chandralee. On that world her name was Siberlee Araf, and it is from this, Mernac’s larger moon, “Araf” gets her name.
Most agree that on that world she was a person of some importance and was somehow integral in shaping that world’s history. Through her good work she and Barak were gifted with their own world to create… and nurture. However, for those who follow the teachings of Barak and the Fathers, it is from Barak’s sacrifice they were gifted their own world to create … and rule.
It is said that Siberlee once spoke to the great fire Dragon Kalos on how and why she and Barak came to be selected to be placed on our world and create Mernac and that the meeting lasted for more than a moon. It is also thought that she had much guilt for something she had done in order to be selected and the guilt was eating at her soul. At the end of the meeting, Kalos reportedly scoured the far reaches of the world to secure a large supply of Golden Bramberries which he brewed into the very first Fonsil’s Slip potion. The potion was administered to Siberlee and she ceased to remember almost all her past on the world of Chandralee… save in an occasional dream. So, there is no-one but Kalos who truly knows the story… and he has never spoken on the matter.
Whether it be Kalos’ potion or time which erased even her long memory of that time on Chandralee, it is agreed by the learned Sages who have had the opportunity to read portions of The One Book, or who were blessed enough to actually meet Siberlee, that even if subconsciously – it is from her life as a mortal where Siberlee draws most of her essence as a Goddess.
According to Onas Brushstroke, The First Disciple of Siberlee and her former lover, Siberlee would sometimes speak of Chandralee in her sleep or in those moments when one first wakes and dreams are still fresh in your memory. It is from these fleeting moments Onas pieced together her history on Chardralee.
Excerpt from The Book of Onas: (often called Onas’ Fables)
“It seems my love was a mortal on a world called Chandralee at one time. A disciple to a God, just as I am now to her… or at least that is as close as I can make out from the words she mutters in her sleep. Unlike myself my love was not a Scribe and artisan… but a great practitioner of Magic. One with great power, or so it seems. Near as I can tell, she was a member of The Tember Class – or its equivalent on that world, thus, this explains why she has always been a matron to the Tember class on Mernac.
”The Class of Tember is not the only thing my love chose to become the matron of, based on her mortal life – though I am convinced those choices were made subconsciously. When I speak to her when she is fully awake and lucid, she seems able to remember little, if anything, of her former life. In her dreams however, stories of her youth are often present. It seems as a young child my love lived at a zoo or animals’ refuge for as pets she had a lion, a wolf cub, and some sort of giant lizard which I think can only be described as a Dragon. This fully explains her unnatural affinity to these fearsome beasts on Mernac.
Though Siberlee was not a Sage or recorder of words, I think her mother must have been a writer or a scribe like myself – and once again it explains why Siberlee has chosen to be a Matron to that class.”
Siberlee’s earliest history as a young Goddess and the creation of Mernac as we know it, is probably best documented by the scroll entitled, “Siberlee’s Good.” Copies of this testament can be found at the altar of any Nature’s Own temple and portions are integral to that religion’s ceremonies. The original parchment which resides in the Great Library of Hob is unsigned, and is written as if penned by Siberlee herself, however, most suspect it is Onas Brushstroke who actually authored the document as it is completely filled with the visually descriptive and sensual prose which Onas is fond of using.
Unlike many of the other Mothers and Fathers, Siberlee is active in every age or historical period and the Scribes and Sages in all of these ages have documented her activity well. This is as it should be, considering Siberlee is the leader of the Mothers and the Champion of “Good” throughout history. Even with her frequent appearances throughout history, her influence is strongest felt in the first half of the third millennium, a time that has come to be known as the Age of Siberlee
It is widely documented that Siberlee appears differently to each race, class, or even to individuals within those groups. According to Siberlee’s Good, this is easily explained: Before the time of man, or any of the Races, Siberlee and Barak placed an enchantment on each other so that they would always appear beautiful to all. Thus, all see Siberlee as their own personal vision of beauty.
Excerpt for Siberlee’s Good:
“Barak and I agreed to place an enchantment on each other. It was so that all who may ever see us on this wonderful world would see us as their own personal vision of what beauty is.”
Despite this, with a few notable exceptions, most written accounts of Siberlee, and virtually all art, depict the Goddess as a slender blue-eyed blond human female. In some of the other Race’s accounts she will often also have some of that race’s key characteristics, for example; Elves will often (but not always) see Siberlee with characteristic, pointed elfin ears, while Merfolk will often see Siberlee with a scaled tail – usually of an azure hue. The Races of the Dark however, typically see Siberlee in a beautiful human maiden form and not that of their own race.
In all cases, she is seen with very feminine curves; well-rounded but not overly large hips and firm breasts still retaining a youthful upturned shape. Her skin is usually pale with subtle pink overtones. Her facial features have been reported as extremely attractive with high noble cheekbones, smallish nose, and she is usually wearing little to no face paint. In some descriptions, particularly the art of Jason Sternwolf the noted Murmil artist, she is depicted with large white wings. These usually appear similar to white dove wings and are always snow white. Sternwolf’s images show the wings whether Siberlee is on Mernac or in the heavens. Other artists usually do not show the Goddess with wings if the scene is set on Mernac proper, but will often show wings in scenes set in Mirdoren or the other heavens.
Most who have spoken to her, or who have met those who have, state that Siberlee usually wears simple clothes, usually a white, silver, or sometimes a pale blue garment minimally adorned with jewelry of silver or killeth. She is rarely, if ever, seen wearing gold but will sometimes wear simple, clear gemstones – particularly those of a blue hue. Often, she is seen in a toga, simple wrap, or silken skirt. Much of the art depicting Siberlee, as with most of the Mothers, has her nude or in a state of undress, accentuating her striking feminine form. It is thought this is to reinforce the fact that all the Mothers represent fertility and beauty.
Onas Brushstroke was the first artist to portray Siberlee with wings at the end of the first millennium. That painting was stolen and was used to capture the Mother, Kanola. Thereafter the practice of showing goddesses with wings was thought to be sacrilegious. It remained that way for almost 2,000 seasons. Showing Siberlee or the other Goddesses with wings did come back into favor until the Enlightenment Period in the late 2900s and the practice was quite prevalent in both paintings and in sculpture. The practice became popular once again in the retro-contemporary art movement of the mid 4500s.
Until the Sap Wars, Siberlee would always be seen or painted wearing a large necklace of Tember called Chandralee’s Light. This is allegedly the only item The One saw fit to allow Siberlee to bring with her when she came to Mernac and the power it is said to possess is nothing short of legendary. In 2646 Siberlee gifted this magical necklace to Vanessa Freeheart, the girl who was chosen to become a Champion of Mernac – as documented in the “Five of Seven” chapter of The Book of Grumby.
Arguably the most notable of Siberlee’s features is her hair. Onus Brushstoke was the to first described it as:
“With hair of honey, bleached by the sun to a soft platinum with a pleasing golden glow.”
Since then a myriad of artists and writers have used that phrase and it is often used to describe any female with exceptionally attractive blond hair.
Most accounts of Siberlee speak of her hair as being long, flowing, and luxurious. It is usually shown in art extending down to her mid back or to the top of her buttocks. In some instances, it is also shown in intricate up hairdos, almost always without any ribbons, flowers or other adornments. There have been numerous accounts of the exact hue of her hair, which seems to be ever changing. None more famous than that of Onus himself when describing it to King Rainius of Hob in the early 2200s.
Excerpt from Onas’s Fables:
“My love’s hair… it is like the color of the light which fills this throne room. Golden yellow when the sun is high on a summer’s day, a sleek arousing silver like the hiding moon on a winter’s night, or with the splashes of a thousand different colors peeking through the leaves during an autumn sunset. Your highness, you see … it all depends on which is most pleasing for the time and the place.”
Powers & Magic
Though most attribute Barak as being the most powerful being in Mernac or the heavens, it could easily be argued that Siberlee is just as powerful in her own way and with her own brand or Magic. Both Siberlee and Barak are unique among the Gods for they alone can learn to use the Magic of the other Gods, thus giving them as much power as all the other Mothers and Fathers combined. This being said, both rely more heavily on their own class of magical powers and only delve into using magic of the other Gods when absolutely necessary.
For Siberlee, this is the power of Tember, a highly revered magical discipline and also the Class of which she is Matron. Tember has many applications but primarily it allows followers to cast detrimental spells on their opponents during battle. Because of this, the Tember Class is popular with those who would prefer not to kill or maim using magic, but it is often used for defensive purposes. According to Onus Brushstroke, when Siberlee was still a mortal (for those who believe she ever was) she was a member of the Tember Class and one of its most powerful practitioners.
Most of the spells and powers are more defensive in nature. Siberlee herself is attributed with creating and first casting the following Tember Spells:
Winter’s Moon Sleep
Arcane Slowness (also known as Jed’s Slowness of Thought)
Unlike most in the Tember Class, Siberlee is not limited in the power or frequency she can cast magic by the size or quality of a Tember Stone around her neck. She, in fact, requires no stone of Tember to practice her magic. Siberlee is reported to have given her own Tember necklace to Vanessa Freeheart at the beginning of the Sap Wars.
Disciples & Trauncha
As Siberlee was the first of the Gods to have a child, the Race of Man, she too was the first to attain a Disciple. Not long after the creation of Man, Siberlee fell in love with a young artist by the name of Onus Brushstroke. Onus was killed by a lion through his own pride and ego but also because of deception by several from the Races of the Dark. At that time the Gods, even Siberlee, did not have the power to restore life. Siberlee took Onus’ body to the Heavens (Mirdoren) to ask The One and The Other to restore life to her love and beg that he become immortal as she was. When she did so, many other Gods also asked for the power to grant life and immortality, for many had favorites they upon whom they wished to bestow such a gift. Reticent to grant such a power freely, The One and The Other gave the power grudgingly and with limitations and dire consequences. Collectively, these limitations and consequences were called Trauncha and if met, the recipient of a God casting the spell upon them would be called a Disciple and be granted immortality.
The limitation given was that each God could only create 20 disciples throughout all of time. When the Fathers were forced out of the heavens in 666 the number of disciples they could create was diminished to 10 as a punishment for their actions, while the Mother still retained the ability to have 20 disciples.
The One and The Other took a full Moon to make the decision on Disciples. Once they did, The One spoke to Siberlee and the Goddess was given the first part of her Trauncha, She was clearly told it would apply to Onus and any disciple who may follow him: If Siberlee chose to create a Disciple, she and the Disciple may never again physically touch each other. If the Trauncha was broken that disciple would cease to exist. The One and The Other were also afraid that Siberlee was becoming too attached to the human race, becoming distant to the other races, so they dictated that she may only have one Disciple from each of the 20 races of Mernac. Furthermore, each Disciple could only be one who Siberlee truly came to love. With this The One hoped that Siberlee would come to love all the races equally. It is unclear what The Other’s intention was, but most agree … it was for a far different reason.
As with all Trauncha there is also a portion which affects the new disciple. For Siberlee’s disciples they are saved from death – but not from aging. Each of her disciples continues to age as they normally would until the point where they would naturally die. At that time they would remain unconscious for 20 days – it is thought one day for each of the Gods. On reviving they would still be old and decrepit but would start to become younger again. This continued until they reached the point when they reached the physiological age they were when they became a disciple. They would once again lose consciousness for 20 days. On reviving, their age would once again begin to increase as before. The cycle would continue for eternity.
Though she would never again be able to hold Onus in her arms or touch him in any way, she quickly agreed to the terms and Onus Brushstroke became Mernac’s first Disciple.
God of: Mother of Nature and all that is Good
Home World: Chandralee
Matron Religion: Nature’s Own
Matron Race: Man
Matron Faction: The Greater Good
Matron Guild: Priazza (non combative Magic users)
Matron Title: Champion of Mernac
Matron Classes: Tember, Scribes
Matron Places: GoldMont, Hooklock Mountains, Gilmore/Traddlebow
Matron Creatures: Wolf, Lion, Dragon
Trauncha: Disciples must each be from one of the 20 different Races, someone she has loved and who has died in her service. When brought back to life as a Disciple, she may never physically touch them again.
One Desire: To be able to have a true child of her own with a “Good” man (or God) is the common Belief and what Siberlee thinks is her desire for most of Mernacian History. Her true secret desire is that this “Good” man be Barak and he gets his soul back so they can coexist for eternity.
1st half of One Book Page: To come to truly love at least one from each of the 20 races.
List of Disciples
Onus Brushstroke – Human
Oomba Aamba – Fur