The New Divine Order
“And thus, the Teotl War, the greatest, most bloody conflict that the world had ever seen, ended. Not with a mighty clash of two fierce competitors, not with a raging battle of two equally matched foes that lasted for days, but rather with a single, perfectly calculated thrust from Bagheera’s blade – one that toppled the Teotl threat forever.” – excerpt from The War by Solar Lord Wordweaver, Bladesong, of Rathess (abbv.)
Bagheera is the god of reason, forethought, and battle. The Silver Prince is a calm and dignified man which is befitting a god of his massive intelligence. He asks his followers to spread the enlightenment that reason provides to every corner of Second Earth as well as protect from those who refuse to follow reason’s path.
“If you cannot do it in a single stroke, don’t do it at all!” – mantra of Bagheeran crusaders
Thanks to the diligence of Bagheeran scribes, a great deal is known about Bagheera’s history, although his true parents are unknown, though they were certainly divine. Since he was born very close to Ragnarok, and quickly orphaned by the disastrous events. Already remarkably clever at even a young age, the small boy raised himself deep in the jungles of Afric and quickly matured to be a skilled and capable man. During his time alone, Bagheera met and befriended Lilac and became a surrogate father towards her despite the fact that she was considerably older than him. Eventually, he was discovered by Teotl and became a member of their armed forces. His great skill was quickly visible and he was moved to be a lieutenant in King Tezcatlipocla’s unit. Bagheera, reluctantly, took part in several battles that destroyed several of the mountain cities of the Thutmose growing increasingly uncertain of his new role, considering a return to a life of solitude. However, after he heard, and witnessed evidence, (he was not present at the event) of Tezcatlipocla’s murder of his friend Lilac, Bagheera defected and went to Kumo and asked to be leader of the defense against his former liege, whose attack on North America was about to begin. Kumo, in a decision that changed an age, agreed.
The stories of Bagheera’s deeds during the War have become the material of the greatest of legends. It was his bold strategies and forward thinking that cost the Teotl the key battles that denied them ultimate victory and it was Bagheera that delivered the final blow that destroyed the Teotl threat once and for all. While his strategies were not without controversy, such as his abandoning of the Keshian Parallel, few scholars deny that without Bagheera’s vast tactical skill the New Order would not have claimed victory. In peacetime, stories of Bagheera become significantly more scarce and the deity has proven content to wait peacefully, silently and capably protecting the kingdom and the people that he calls his own.
Appearance: Gods are magnificent beings to behold, whether they are exhilarating in their beauty like Aquila and Bethany or horrifying in their repulsiveness like Filth and Davey Jones, they are sure to leave an impression. However, Bagheera proves the exception to this rule. He is, by all accounts, unremarkable in appearance. So much so, that according to Lester Matteson, chronicler of the New Order, one could easily mistake Bagheera for a regular mortal if one based their opinion purely on looks, albeit a handsome and muscular one. Complicating chronicles of his appearance are the Silver Prince’s own iconoclastic tendencies – he dislikes images of himself even among his own worshipers. Almost every church respects his wishes in this manner by representing Bagheera as a great black cat, rather than an image of his true appearance. That said, the Order of the Panther claims that their uniform derives from the uniform that Bagheera wore during his defeat of Tezcatlipoca at the Battle Before the Gates, which includes a silver breastplate, a blue leather hauberk underneath, and a blue turban. Men of the Order tend to grow out beards too, implying that Bagheera also possesses one.
Bagheera and the New Order: While his title of Silver Prince is a purely honorary one, his title as Lunar Grand Marshal is not. He is the head of the Celestial Forces and the last line of defense should the Celestial Kingdom ever be threatened. In addition, he holds several positions within the bureaucracy – no-one is quite sure how many, but Bagheera seems to be able to keep up with the work – and is Kumo’s most trusted adviser on several issues. In addition, Bagheera is married to Tourmaline, the occasionally volatile goddess of Winter and his family has proven to be a strong bloodline within the New Order.
Bagheera and the Races of Second Earth: Bagheera’s dogma of forethought and patience has resonated well with dwarves and serpentfolk and both races consider him to be their primary god of worship when armed conflict breaks out. His worship in human societies is also frequent with many churches of Bagheera serving as an additional, or sometimes the only, form of law enforcement in their settlements. Many of his churches possess miltaristic arms including the famous Order of the Panther, one of the most numerous and successful heraldic orders on Second Earth. He is also worshiped by goblins somewhat regularly, who celebrate his leadership skills and devotion to his crew (though true Bagheerans would say his unit) and the election of a new captain on a goblin vessel is sanctified by a Bagheeran ritual. Halflings are less frequent in their worship of him, due to their reliance of instinct and distaste for violence, though they state that his calming of Tourmaline is one of the key events of Second Earth as it allowed them to focus on their agriculture without as much worry. Elves focus too much on the individual for Bagheera’s taste and his ‘needs of the many’ dogma often falls on deaf ears for them. Orcs, while they do not fear Bagheera like they do Corax, tend worship him as a sign of respect for his great prowess in battle and war, instead of an actual adherence to the beliefs he espouses.
In addition, churches of Bagheera take special prominence in Levia, where he is worshipped as the father of their founder, Noac. He also receives reverence from giants as the husband of Tourmaline and the man who finally sated her rage. Overall, while he is not the most heavily worshiped god in the New Order, his churches have a tendency to be prominent and highly visible on Second Earth.
Bagheera, God of Battle:
“You’re not getting it. Pretty much any god can take Bagheera in a fight, but they can only ever take him once… because then he knows everything you can and will do, because he’s figured you out – he’s studied you and he knows how to counter every strength you have and how to use your every weakness against you – and he never forgets a damn thing. See? That’s why I’ve never fought him, because one day, I might actually need to beat the old bastard.” – Lilac, to Lester Matteson
Bagheera is, primarily, a god of battle and war. However, unlike the other chief war god in the New Order, Aquila, Bagheera finds war to be unpleasant. He finds no joy on the raging battlefield as Aquila does, but he does believe that war is sometimes necessary to defend yourself, your people and your beliefs. In this way, Bagheera is a god of defensive war and is normally the patron god of soldiers and armies and his way of war focuses on tactics as opposed to ruthlessness. While individual warriors tend to focus their worship to one of the more personal combat gods, like Corax or Lux, some of those who focus on skill and tactics rather than natural ability choose to worship Bagheera instead, though the Dread Cat’s followers tend more to be the members or commanders of units or groups of warriors.
Bagheera, God of Logic and Reason:
“The cat has made his point.” – Levian expression with the same meaning as ‘the fat lady has sung’
There are clever mortals, then there are genius mortals, then clever gods, then genius gods, and then there is Bagheera. To say that he has a brilliant mind could be considered an offensive understatement. The Silver Prince possesses intelligence like no other, able to grasp the most complicated of concepts with a few moments and being able to predict detailed outcomes and make correct conclusions in situations that no other could possibly achieve. He is known for being able to completely change the face of an argument, or end a debate, with a single perfectly timed and well thought out comment. On Second Earth, scholars, philosophers and thinkers pay homage to Bagheera as the founder and greatest of their profession and many books on new or radical thinking contain a dedication to Bagheera as a request to consider their new viewpoint.
- Reason’s Point – Bagheera’s first longsword, which shattered after his defeat of Tezcatlipocla at the Battle Before the Gates. Its many shards have become artifacts of some standing on Second Earth and are sought after by many who seek a connection with the divine. The Order of the Panther are known to have several pieces that are part of their induction ceremony.
- Dawnbringer – Bagheera’s second longsword, commissioned by Kumo and forged by Bethany and her many assistants during the Age of Heroes. It is frequently considered the finest sword in creation and is the only one known to be crafted with both Celestial Gold and Moonsilver. While he is never seen without wearing it, it has said that Bagheera has never once drawn it entirely from its scabbard.