The Sea of Shadows
Gods of the Sea
Below are three example Gods of the Sea – there are, of course, more, but these three are some of the more well known ones. The Empire cares little if Natives worship the Gods (as long as they are not worshipping Void, which no sane Native does), but denies their existence officially. Usually humans don’t openly worship them, as that makes you instantly a social pariah in most circles (albeit nobles often worship some God in secret ceremonies, either real or something that they made up but that sounds fascinating to other depraved aristocrats). The worship of Void is considered high treason.
The Kraken Mother, or Grand Monster, Queen of the Sea (some Natives call her the True Queen of the Sea, as long as nobody important enough is listening) and countless other names
Fairly benevolent God by the standards of the Sea, the Mother of Krakens is worshipped by the Natives who have dozens of different names for her. She is said to represent life on the Sea, and to be its protector. That said, her wrath is said to be terrible – some Natives whisper that the destruction of several of the Empire’s greatest warships by some of the most terrifying sea monsters ever seen happened due to the unfortunate fates of some Native tribes. The greatest gift that her worshippers can get is said to be the ability to communicate with, and even control some of the fiercest beasts that lurk in the dark waters.
The Natives often talk of how even in the darkest waters, the benevolent eye of the Kraken Mother watches over all her children, her many tentacles never far away from those that need her. Most humans and Devils find this a bit uncomfortable, despite the well meaning intent behind the words.
The Traveller, or the Lost One, Wanderer
Seemingly a young God, the Traveller only appeared shortly after the arrival of the British Isles on the Sea. He is the patron of all travellers, of survivors of shipwrecks, of all those who need someone else’s help to traverse the Seas. Sailors tell stories of an odd man appearing on ships, demanding that he be taken to some odd location, sometimes far away, sometimes close by. Sometimes the Captain refuses. Stories are told of how the Captain is thrown overboard in those cases, and the Crew takes the traveller to where he wants to go. The traveller is said to give modest thanks, his blessings and an artifact of strange, but beneficial powers to all who complete his request.
There are no stories about what happens when both crew and captain refuse the request. Sailors know why.
Void, Darkness, That Which Wants Nothing
Void is nothing but the darkness of the Sea. It is both the weakest, and strongest of all the Gods. Void wants nothing, and it will do anything to achieve it. No Native worships it, because that might attract its attention. Some Native tribes have beliefs and religious practices whose sole purpose is to avoid Void’s attention. No Native has ever written down anything about Void, as even that might attract its attention. Natives have rather been tortured than talk about Void to Empire’s interrogators.
Naturally, the first God of the Sea to have been worshipped by humans was Void. The worship of Void has been declared the highest possible crime any being can do after what Lord James Hawke undid in its name.
Somewhat similar to Kraken, the god taking the shape of a massive, three headed sea serpent is a mostly benign God, albeit its vicious side is far nastier than Kraken’s. The Great Kraken is the mother of all in the eyes of the Children of the Sea, while the Serpent is the god of the hunt, of survival. Its worshippers mostly belong to the more aggressive Native tribes, although a few of them have somewhat mellowed out after following Sha’Chack’s lead in allying with the Empire. Still, they are hunters at heart, and it always shows eventually.
Usually you can identify whether a Native worships the Great Hunter or not by claiming that Man is the greatest hunter, that mankind rules over nature. The most common reaction by the Serpent’s worshippers is hysterical laughter at this claim, sometimes followed by a challenge to prove their mastery of the hunt. Those who are smart decline the challenge, swallowing their pride, those who are foolish enough to accept usually find out why they were laughed at. Of course, they usually don’t manage to survive to take advantage of that particular lesson.