Return of the Godspell
The Demon Queen, The Bloodletter, Lady of Discord, Mistress of Murder, The Tormentor
INTERMEDIATE POWER OF THE ABYSS, CE
PORTFOLIO: Bloodlust, Murder, Darkness, Curses, Lycanthropy, Discord, Pain, Torment, Undeath
ALIASES: * S’Thith the Ravager
*DOMAIN NAME: The 666 Torments of The Abyss, layer 969/ The Bloody Glade
FOES: * Khamund, Bythal Dalax, Cabernasus, The Children of the Glade, The Orphans of the Fens, Nemaria, Thore Mire, Celzar, Lanira, Ausarii, Vhanthermis, Ganlarid
*SYMBOL: A circular representation of the moon, the top half a dull white or gray, the bottom half red and dripping, on a black background.
WORSHIPPERS’ ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil, Chaotic neutral, Neutral evil
The Demon Queen Ostensis has been a terrible force of evil in Drm since the Age of Mist. For centuries, her presence has plagued the forces of good, peace, and safety, destroying families, causing discord, and currying fear. She is one of most insidious and grotesquely evil of all the Aldra as she is entirely focused on encouraging meaningless acts of violence and terror. The continent-realm of Drm would be a much better place if Ostensis and her vile worship were removed.
Ostensis is almost certainly the fourth most powerful evil god in Drm, following just behind Dauth Alman, Khamund, and Malvolans. Although she is ranked by scholars in the intermediate strata of Powers, Ostensis’ power vacillates between intermediate and greater depending on location. In Worm’s Wood and the dark, subterranean forests of dead D’Alicar, L’Iston, and Z’Ythral, she has the might of a greater god, while across the rest of Drm, she maintains intermediate god status. The reason for this fluctuating power lies in the fact that much of her portfolio continues to be contested with those of the Dread Khamund, with whom Ostensis shares Darkness and to whom she recently lost Fear. Still, there is no doubt that she is an evil to be reckoned with, a plague to be feared.
Ostensis is persistent and senseless to a fault, possessing no logical reason for championing terror and torment. Unlike Dauth Alman, who prefers to lead mortals into the pit of darkness by their own folly, Ostensis would just rather see mortals butchered and their remains dumped into a dung hole. While Khamund wants mortals to come scraping and begging for him to remove their afflictions, Ostensis wants to listen to mortals’ screams while she cuts and disembowels them. And, although Malvolans shares Ostensis’ love for senseless acts of violence, Ostensis’ passions are not limited to any particular occasion; she is as pleased watching mortals behave as raging, blood thirsty animals in times of peace and prosperity as any other time.
Dogma and Influence
As the goddess of murder and bloodlust, Ostensis promotes the violent death of all living things. She wishes to see everything die painfully at the hands of those strong and vicious enough to kill. She is the patron of sociopaths and psychopaths, people who try to derive pleasure or feeling from the violent deaths of others. These people, as predators, have a lust for the blood of those they kill for through Ostensis, the consumption of a sentient being’s blood confers power and grants authority over victims’ souls. Murder does not and should not have any meaning other than the act itself. Revenge is for weaklings and justice is for fools. Murder because it is fun, pleasurable, and the fulfillment of strength over weakness. This kind of soulless darkness also relates to Ostensis’ ties to fear. Slaughtering the weak under cover of darkness, when victims are already filled with fear, when they cannot see their flesh torn and rent, when they cannot see their blood flow like rivers across the ground, but when they can feel their doom, is the ultimate expression of Ostensi bloodlust over the weak. Darkness is the hunter’s territory where her true nature can take hold without the interference of Light. Although Ostensis champions murder of all kind, she prefers that the weak suffer slow, agonizing, lingering deaths as a reward for their impotence.
Ostensis is the god of evil most closely associated with those cursed to pursue blood and murder in the night. While not the only god to use lycanthropes and undead, she is most closely associated with such beings, particularly those who travel during the night, seeking to slaughter mortals; unsurprisingly, many werewolves, wights, ghouls, ghasts, and vampires view her as a kind of hatred patron as they both blame and thank Ostensis for their curse.
Ostensis was originally a powerful demon. According to the Cilidian, Ostensis was a balor named S’Thith the Ravager. For whatever reason, she maintained great power in heavily wooded, dark places like the Agrabathor Jungle and The Bleakwood, serving as a symbol of death and pain for all unworthy of traveling through such places. Apparently, the Z’Ythral elves, a sect of drow that suffered under the corruption of the Orphans of the Fens and the drow of D’Alicar, first called on S’Thith as a god during the days of the elves’ first Family War. How these drow came to depend on S’Thith is unclear, but the balor responded to their cries for help, commanding them to abandon any semblance of order or sense, and to slaughter their masters without pity or mercy. These attacks slowly crumbled the D’Alicar. The story of how S’Thith destroyed the avatar of the greatest Orphan, Alilth, and used the body parts and the blood of some of her own servants to create the Wand of D’Alicar (also known as the Hand of D’Alicar) is still recounted by the elves across Drm. The role S’Thith played during these wars ultimately led to the collapse and destruction of the D’Alicar and S’Grieyl Empires, and served to elevate her to lesser god status among the elves.
When the elves migrated north, S’Thith continued to be worshipped by the drow that would eventually found the subterranean lands of Z’Ythral. In perpetual war with both the Children of the Glade and the Orphans of the Fens, those that served S’Thith was forced down into the Lands Below, where they presumably continue to battle those drow loyal to Alilth. However, a few drow live in the elven Kingdoms of L’Istona, secretly attempting to find ways to release their brethren from their prisons in the Lands Below.
While elven worship and fear of S’Thith spread across Drm as the elves migrated from the (Desolate) South, her worship among sapiens was largely limited to the Agrabathor Jungles. Here, she was known as Ostensis and as the personification of the dangers in jungles and forests. She was incorrectly associated with the ravagers that dwelled within and protected the Jungles, and became identified with wolves and other dangerous predators. Over time, small cults among the earliest Yahillian people arose, plaguing the numerous tribes. This added veneration allowed Ostensis’ power to increase enough for her to push south, eventually into the northern most borders of Vhendimmoth by the Age of Greatness. However, her influence was greatly diminished by both Thore Mire and Khamund. The rise of her cult in Vhendimmoth was ended during the earliest days of the Righteous Wars when the Thore Mirian paladin, Lan Carlsonian, killed her most powerful priestess in Vhendimmoth, Alexis of Dusk during the Excavation of Yahilli.
Unfortunately for the world, Vhendimmoth could not maintain its hold on the Agrabathor Jungle, which subsequently did not allow the thrones of Thore Mire to wipe Ostensi worship from the face of Drm. Ostensis eventually became a part of the Yahillian pantheon and an enemy to Ausarii, who also shared the night. Still, Ostensis made sure her servants kept a watchful eye on Vhendimmoth, a huge city filled with blood and victims. Thus, when the Dread Khamund’s avatar was destroyed by Evelyn the Gray in the Silver Age and the severely weakened god was sent reeling into the Beyond, Ostensis was ready to take aspects of his portfolio, namely Darkness and Fear. She became the mistress of murder and fear in the night in the largest cities of Vhendimmoth, urging her clerics and followers to commit acts of senseless brutality, all the while using the new “forests” of the cities to hide from the children of Celzar and Nemaria. By the Age of Darkness, when the Golden Plains replaced much of southern Agrabathor, Ostensis had subtly adapted to the influence of the Mandlite people and the Vhendimmothian settlers, finding a nitch that no other god had taken – Murder – and had assumed the rank of intermediate god in time for the Demon Wars.
Like Cabernasus, Lestonises, Malvolans, Masteronus, and Terranolyn, Ostensis was granted direct access to Drm, although her deific might was greatly reduced due to the Pact of Dominance. Since she could not release her elven servants from the Lands Below, Ostensis took a direct role in harrying the fleeing elves of T’Alimar, instructing her demons to kill thousands before she took control of Yahilli. Her presence and bloodlust drove the tribes into a froth of violence, tearing apart the Union of Tribes, and creating countless undead and lycanthropes. Simultaneously, she sought to destroy her former servant, the god Terranolyn who had taken control of the Agrabathor Jungles. The insanity that gripped the Golden Plains and the Agrabathor Jungles would rage until T’Oth’s Forbidden Decree that forced the so-called “Demon Princes” to do the will of the arch-lich. T’Oth Maldran used Ostensis as his herald, sending her into northern Vhendimmoth to murder countless people. Although she hated the servitude, she valued the work and proved to be the least difficult of the “Demon Princes” for Maldran to control. However, Ostensis’ reign of blood and murder came to an end when the Seekers of Righteousness tricked the gods into fighting each other in the Temple of Winds in Quasii.
During the years following the Demon Wars, Ostensis’ servants among the elves would find their way into the various royal families of L’Istona, corrupting them. Although they could not free their brethren from the Lands Below, these elves would be the blocks upon which T’Oth Maldran would build the upcoming Darkhold. When The Darkhold came, Ostensis returned to Drm once more, leading the armies of the Forbidden Orders. Her presence alone shattered the Armies of Noon dozens of times until she was at last defeated during the Bloody Field of Havenspeak by the Heroes of Noon.
Since The Darkhold, worship of Ostensis has continued to grow despite the return of Khamund and his forceful reclamation of the Fear portfolio and most of Darkness. Her church is a large one, although it is splintered into scores of adversarial factions, each trying to kill the others for the glory of their goddess. Like most of the gods of Drm, Ostensis was forced to Midlorr during the Barthrax Crisis in Oriund, which afforded her the opportunity to kill Arcanu, the Aldra of Paranoia.
Ostensis has no allies as no Aldra trusts her. Ostensis, for her part, is more than content working alone and believes that alliances are for the weak. She has plenty of enemies, chief of which is Khamund, who seeks to reclaim the rest of his portfolios from Ostensis. Having returned to his former might, Khamund is capable of defeating Ostensis if the Demon Queen is unprepared, so Ostensis has taken pains to keep aware of her surroundings during the rare times she departs her realm in The Abyss. She does not fear Khamund but recognizes his power. To this day, Ostensis continues to war against the Orphans of the Fens, particularly the Lady of the Mangroves, Alilth. The two goddesses regularly send their demons into each other’s realms and both advocate the total destruction of the other’s worshippers. Ostensis has a special hatred for Cabernasus. According to some legends, the two gods are siblings whose rivalry grew into loathing. The cause of their mutual animosity is unknown but Cabernasus does all he can to steer clear of the physically more powerful Ostensis. Such is not the case with Bythal Dalax. Bythal Dalax is Ostensis’ orderly mirror, supporting executions, revenge, and curses in pursuit for vengeance. Bythal Dalax sees Ostensis as a usurper and has (naturally) sworn to avenge herself against the Bloodletter. Across the board, the remaining Aldra hate Ostensis. Unfortunately for them, Ostensis is so wrapped in darkness that they can only do so much to stifle her, not to mention that mortals are so filled with vice that she continues to be venerated for every act of senseless pain and death that occurs on Drm.
Ostensis appears as a black shadow of a beautifully-shaped woman of average height that moves with a wolf’s grace. Her hands are large and end in massive talons that unendingly drip blood. A dull, red mist surrounds her, thickening to the point that a cloud of blood covers the lower parts of her shapely legs, leaving a trail of blood in her passing. Although her body and face are typically featureless, at times, usually when she has engaged in a great deal of killing and bloodletting, a huge, sharp-toothed maw opens from her midsection to groin, with which she devours her victims.