Developing Akorros – Khoronus and Chardastes

I have recently been developing some of the immortals in my version of Akorros, and so I have been researching the canon. One Immortal particularly pertinent to Akorros is Khoronus, patron Immortal of Akorros, and with his main temple based in Akorros – I have placed it on the southern tip of the island in the main bay opposite the foot of Toney Plaza. Here is a bit of development of the church of Khoronus. I also wanted the temple to be associated with healing, but it took a surprising amount of digging to find the patron Immortal of Healers on Mystara. I eventually tracked Chardastes down, so here is also a description of the Chardastes Wing and how it came to be attached to the Temple of Khoronus.

A note on Immortals

Immortals in the boxed sets on which the gazetteers are based are the equivalent of gods in other systems. They are extremely powerful beings whose life force has transcended the limits of mortality – once mortal, they have performed some task which has raised them to the ranks of immortality. The Immortals have immense power, an can assume any form convenient to the time and place. They can create all sorts of things – objects, beings, and even entire planes of existence. But they are themselves dwarfed by beings of even greater power, and they were not the original creators of the multiverse.

Many Immortals are worshipped by particular races, professions or groups of people…with varying amounts of return for the worshipper depending on the interest and inclination of the Immortal in question. Clerical spells (clerics, druids and paladins) are granted by the Immortals they worship, and they can grant boons to anyone – or alternatively use their powers to punish.

Immortals are a member of one of five Spheres: Matter, Energy, Time, Thought or Entropy, and there are ranks of power within each Sphere, with corresponding increases in abilities and what they can achieve. Each Sphere has a Hierarch who is the ultimate leader.

Khoronus

Khoronus , also known as Father Time, The Grim Reaper and The Eternal, is the Full Hierarch of the Sphere of Time. His origins themselves are lost in the mists of time – he himself has come to wonder if by some temporal circularity he became his own Immortal sponsor.

He is also the patron immortal of Akorros; it is here that his most impressive temple is to be found.

The Sphere of Time is closely related to the element of water. Its purpose is to promote change in all things while remaining unchanging itself and to maintain the flow of time. Time is everywhere, ebbing and flowing, recycling the lessons of the past to remind the present. It is a creative, shaping force causing change through aging and rebirth. Time is opposed to Matter’s efforts to withstand change, consumes Energy over time, and teaches Thought the lessons of history.

According to Wrath of the Immortals

Khoronus is an old, thoughtful Immortal: a lecturer and a thinker, a peacemaker and a moderate. Many Immortals grow impatient with his insistence on examining all the options before committing himself to a course of action. However, once his mind is made up he will not hesitate to do what he thinks is right; hence he is highly respected. He’s capable of very human emotions; long ago, he fell in love with Djaea, an Immortal of the Sphere of Matter, and she with him. They have been a couple since that long ago time.

Teachings

The Church of Khoronus teaches patience, wisdom and farsightedness in all dealings, recognising that the best decisions are made calmly once all aspects have been considered, for a decision made in haste without full knowledge of the situation can only be optimal by chance.

It promotes knowledge and education for all, for a solid understanding is the underpinning of good choices, and it encourages study of history, to learn from both the successes and mistakes of the past to inform better decisions for the future. To this end, the Temple of Khoronus houses one of the largest libraries on the continent, drawing rich and poor alike to study in its tomes.

Priests of the Church of Khoronus see themselves more as teachers than shepherds. It is not their place to make decisions for their supplicants. The priest doesn’t know the innermost details of the supplicant’s life and desires. The priest’s place is to provide the supplicants with the information they need so that they can make and own their own decisions. As they say, “a priest may advise, but never gives advice.”

In particular, the Church of Khoronus promotes balance and the cycle of life and death, creation and destruction, for within every new creation are the seeds of its downfall, and a razed landscape provides the light and space for new growth. However, it also teaches that events have their proper time, and it is wrong to attempt to hurry proceedings – neither premature killing nor forcing of the new before its time show proper respect to the natural rhythms of life. And so the Church has made a study of Protective magic and of healing, ensuring that everyone and everything can enjoy its allotted span.

Life is a balance between change and stability. Too much change leads to chaos, while not enough leads to stagnation. The annals of history show that while everything changes, yet everything also remains the same. And so the church celebrates the passing of the seasons – the essential reminder of the cycle of life – and the priests are central to the rituals of birth and burial.

Chardastes

The Church of Khoronus concentrates on learning and education, and teaches the rhythm of the seasons, the cycle of life and death, respect for life, and acceptance of death when it comes. While its clerics, naturally, enjoy and employ healing magic to aid people who might otherwise die prematurely, healing is not the primary focus of the church. And so it may be considered surprising to find a whole wing of the Temple of Khoronus dedicated to healing and to the study of maintaining and restoring health and life.

The patron Immortal of healers is Chardastes. He* was a magic user from the former Traladara (now The Grand Duchy of Karameikos ) who studied the use of herbs, plants and natural ingredients in curing ailments and disease, and founded the Healing Order for others to study the same. He quickly discovered that the wizards who came to study with him tended to be less interested in healing and more interested in power, so they left fairly quickly, and he found himself surrounded by druids and clerics instead.

He became an Immortal of the Sphere of Time, and used his new position to fight diseases which could harm mortal races. He charges his followers to offer their services to anyone, and not to accept payment in return. Obviously this rather reduces the number of people willing to pledge to him.

[And here Mystara canon ends and my Akorros development begins]

Celia Rebello was a minor member of the Toney family, and about sixty five years ago, she travelled to Karameikos on a trading mission. While there she was attacked on the road and left for dead, but fortunately for her she was found by the Healing Order, taken in and nursed back to health. She found herself curious about the treatment provided to her, and then to the other patients, and she started helping out. She discovered an aptitude for both the use of herbal cures and magical healing, and became ordained as a fully-fledged cleric of Chardastes.

In time, homesickness drove her to leave the order and return to her home city of Akorros . She was struck by the afflictions of the poorer people in Akorros, and determined to do something for them, but since she was prohibited by Chardastes to take anything in return she needed some way to survive.

After receiving direction from Chardastes in her prayers, she approached the Archbishop of the Temple of Khoronus , asking if he could sponsor her to set up a place where the poor people could come for healing. He prayed to Khoronus, then he said she could use a spare room in the west wing of the temple as her consulting and treatment room, and that she could live with the novices.

Several years later, she had built up a small reputation, and the archbishop had allowed her to take on a couple of apprentices from the novices. A dreadful plague struck Akorros, and as usual it hit the poorest people (who were crammed together, and couldn’t afford clerical healing) worst. It responded to Cure Disease spells, but there were far too few clerics to be able to heal more than a tiny minority of the population.

Celia spent a whole week in her apothecary, mixing different plants and trying different combinations and active ingredients, and those nearby said there was a glow coming from her rooms and she didn’t sleep at all. There was also mention of a mysterious dark-skinned stranger working with her, who no-one had seen before.

At the end of the week, she came out of her rooms carrying bottles full of a cloudy purple liquid, and went out into the nearest poor area of the city. There she treated all the sick people she could find with this liquid, before returning to the temple. She went straight to the archbishop, and asked for all his clerics to help – the fate of Akorros depended on it, she said. Bemused, he followed her to where she had a scroll with a recipe, and lists of ingredients to source. She also took him to the area she had dispensed the treatment, and he saw all the people she had treated already recovering.

He made over the full resources of the temple to producing the cure and to distributing it widely among the people of Akorros, and very soon the plague was brought under control and eliminated from the city (except in a few small pockets where people refused the potion).

In recognition of her services, he made over the whole west wing for her use, dedicated to the service of Chardastes, and provided living for her and all those who joined her in her endeavours, on condition that she treat or train anyone who asked, and that she build a library devoted to healing within the wing.

Now the wing has fourteen trained disciples of Chardastes, with several hundred who have trained over the years and moved out as itinerant healers. It has three main treatment rooms, plus two wards with beds for up to thirty and various smaller rooms for consultations. Many people over the years have been “taken under the Wing of Chardastes”. There are also twenty small clinics spread throughout the poorer areas of Akorros, marked by a bell with no clapper affixed above the door.

They also continue their research. A notable recent discovery by Iorwen Glorfindle and Maidel Silvertongue has been the Ophio anaesthetic, of which more in another article.

* Most sources refer to Chardastes as “he” and his standard avatar on the mortal plane is of a 40-year-old Traladaran man. However, there are some dissenting sources which suggest that Chardastes might originally have been female.

References

The Immortals of Mystara are described in various places.

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