Of Mercy and Wrath

Prophet Aleki nodded. “I understand your skepticism, Sorcerer Ian,” she replied. “But these strangers have not come for your blood, or mine. Their quest is a different path, and Ri’hannon has given me a message for them.” “Then they are here,” Ian said.

“Indeed,” Aleki agreed, “and if you spill their blood inside this temple, you will answer to Ri’hannon for your mistake. And he will not look kindly upon you for it.” The Prophet’s voice had taken on a chilly undertone. “Now go. I swear to the Gods, if you let these strangers be, they will not harm you. Their vengeance is not for you.”

 

Lillith, the God of Wrath, and Ri'hannon, the God of Mercy, share rule over the mortal world. They created the After as a realm of their own, a place where they could safely watch over the mortals and, once those mortals died, where they could interact with the spirits.

The Gods are powerful beings, but their power only reaches the After. To influence the human world, the Gods listen to the prayers of their Prophets and grant them boons - shards of the Gods' powers that the Prophets can then use. Prophets can sometimes hear the words of the Gods, if they are focused and quiet enough, but ultimately they can use the boons for whatever they so choose. Most Prophets feel closer to one God over the other, and Lillith and Ri'hannon agreed from before the beginning that they would not ever attempt to sway one's Prophet to the other's cause. A few Prophets maintain contact with both Gods; this requires a lifetime of dedication and balance and focus, and few are able to achieve the calm necessary to use boons of both Wrath and Mercy. Those who do become known as High Prophets and are held in extremely high regard.

Because of the Prophets' presence and the obvious powers of the Gods' boons, there is no doubt that the Gods exist and are watching the human world. Therefore, finding anyone who staunchly disbelieves the Gods' existence is near impossible... and those few who have been foolish enough to question the Gods soon find themselves in the After, where they come face-to-face with these powerful beings.

The Gods are very much equal in power and knowledge, even though the details certainly differ. For example, if Lillith gave one of her Prophets a boon to strike down a human, but Ri'hannon gave one of his Prophets a boon to protect that human, their power would cancel out and the human would be unaffected. Also, while they are not all-knowing, they are immortal and exist outside the human flow of time, which has given them hundreds of thousands of years to study and watch the human race. Their knowledge of an individual family or person may certainly differ, but their overall wisdom concerning the mortals is equal.

The humans know only what they have learned from the Prophets (and they have learned only what they have heard from the whispering of the Gods). They know that Ri'hannon is male, holds the place of Mercy, and has reserved black as his color (signifying deep love, peace, and rest). They also have attributed the blue moon with Ri'hannon, which has a softer light than its red counterpart. Ri'hannon, upon learning this, was amused and has even been seen walking the After in deep blue tones.

People have also learned about Lillith. They know she is female, holds the place of Wrath, and has reserved white as her color (signifying the purity of fury and pain). They have also associated her with the red moon. Lillith was pleased at the choice and it has since become her tradition to wear red when she is calm. The more angry or excited she becomes, the paler the red gets until it turns a blinding white. This applies to her clothes as well as her hair.

Perhaps the most important thing the humans have learned (beyond the proof that the Gods very much exist) is the meaning of oaths. When a person says they swear to the Gods, Lillith and Ri'hannon hear that oath and will be watching to make sure that oath is upheld... and woe to the one who breaks that oath. Many people made quick oaths to Ri'hannon to bail them out of a tight situation, banking on his mercy to get them out of the oath once the danger had passed - forgetting that the God of Mercy can just as easily withhold his mercy as he can give it. Ri'hannon may have a longer temper than Lillith, but his anger is just as dangerous.

 

Fun Facts (that no humans know!):

Lillith and Ri'hannon are lovers. They have been together since before the creation of the After, and care deeply about the well-being of each other. They have no concept of marriage.

Most of the time, both Gods look human. They have learned that the mortal-souls which find them in the After are much more comfortable speaking to a being with a recognizable build. However, they have been known to don wings and claws on occasion.

Although they exist outside the human flow of time, the Gods do have a basic understanding of it. They mark the passage of time in the human world accurately, and do not bother looking to the human future, since the humans' decisions are constantly shifting it anyway. Since they are immortal, both Gods are essentially of the same "age," although between the two of them, Ri'hannon is slightly "older."

There have been talks between them about the possibility of swapping roles for a single human day, where Ri'hannon would become the God of Wrath and Lillith the God of Mercy. In spite of the entertainment factor, however, they are too concerned as to what the long-term conditions might be to actually try this.

As Gods, Lillith and Ri'hannon have complete control over everything in the After - including the paths of all the mortal-souls in it. Those mortals who have earned anger from both Gods are punished until Ri'hannon and Lillith come to an agreement that they may be let out into the rest of the After (which is a rare occurrence, since by nature Mercy and Wrath tend to disagree). However, they are often extremely frustrated by their inability to directly influence the mortal realm. Such frustration has even branched out into wishes to travel to the mortal realm to get things done... but since their Godly powers were never meant for the human world, they would likely become trapped as a mortal on earth - a thought which keeps them firmly in the After, despite the inconveniences.