Under a Red Rust Sky
Thaum, The Wave-Breaker
“There’s no bigger fish.”
-Scholar’s account of Thaum
Thaum the Wave-Breaker is the god of the seas, mariners, and the winds. He is commonly depicted as an enormous, hulking creature somewhere between, a man, a fish, and an octopus. His holy symbol is a cresting wave overlaid upon a conch shell. His domains are water, air, weather, travel, and destruction, and his favored weapon is the harpoon.
According to legend, it was Thaum who first created the tides and winds through his undulating movements through the water and air. As the god of both the sea and winds, Thaum naturally finds the vast bulk of his worshipers among mariners of various types, from impoverished fishermen to wealthy trading galleon captains. As one would expect, this means that his church is largely isolated to coastal cities and ports, with some smaller contingents in large trading cities inland. Additionally, in the whole of The West Winds, a ship without the conch of Thaum engraved upon its main mast would be quite a rare sight to see. While he does not make many demands of his followers, Thaum in turn often seems unconcerned with the plights of those who worship him. Thus, a certain mysticism has surrounded him within maritime culture, as evidenced by the countless tall tales and sea shanties of Thaum swimming through the surf or passing below the keels of ships.
Possibly the oldest of such myths originates from very early in the history of the world; only a short time since the advent of humanity. According to Thaum’s holy texts (known as The Deep-Sea Shanties), a fisherman had taken his wife and daughter with him on his small boat to net some food, as the winter was approaching and they needed to create a stockpile to survive. However, that particular day was quite dark; freezing rain pouring from the black clouds above. Regardless, the fisherman decided to embark with his family that day, and it was no surprise that they soon found themselves lost at sea. Luckily, Thaum was aware of their plight, and decided to assist the foolish fisherman. He sent a gentle wind to guide the small fishing boat back to the hamlet from which it came. Unfortunately, the fisherman stubbornly tried to sail against the wind, and ultimately the tiny craft shattered on a reef below the water. Both the fisherman and his wife drowned in the cold water, but Thaum was able to save the daughter by providing a current to guide her unconscious form to the nearest beach. Upon awakening, the distraught girl foolishly believed Thaum’s winds to be the cause of her parent’s deaths, and declared the god of the sea, and all those who worship him, to be her mortal enemies. Many, many years later, that same girl, now a woman, ascended into godhood herself, having trained her martial abilities beyond any human before or since. Taking the name “Sen, The Storm-Hammer,” she ruthlessly attacked Thaum, prompting the god of the seas to respond in kind to defend himself. Throughout the battle pouring black clouds covered the sun, the winds ripped through the sky, and Sen’s bolts of lightning flew from above and struck the ground with a tremendous thunderclap. After hours of fighting, the two gods both retired, thoroughly exhausted. To this very day Thaum and Sen continue to fight, and their battles have become so commonplace that the sentient races of the world created a specific word for them: storms.