A grasshopper stood motionless upon a drooping blade of grass. Water beaded at the tip of the blade, growing with snails speed. The grasshopper twitched its back legs, its wings fluttered for only a fraction of a second, the motion so quick it was a blur. It sprung from the grass, sending the water droplet plummeting to the ground below as it flew to join with a large locus swarm. The cloud of ravenous hungry insects wove on a slow course across the field meticulous in their destruction of the natural green. If it stood, it was food and they were going to feast.
Across the field from my vantage point stood a Blighter, a dark druid, guiding the motions of the swarm by moving his hand. The dark robed figure looked at me, his black eyes revealing no animosity or anger. I only saw grim satisfaction, knowledge that this was how it was meant to be. A female voice spoke out from the robes, the serpentine slither of the voice sending chills down my spine; a voice I shall never forget, not even after I die. “It is as it must be mortal,” She spoke, letting every S slide across her tongue. “Without death there can not be life. When this field grows back it will be rich again, pure if you will. The people will cry in anger and despair at first, but in time they shall recognize my glory.”
I didn’t have to agree with her, nor could I have denied what she said then. Only the understanding of what I beheld could hover in my mind. Some things in life are certain. There is death, disease, plague; there is Pasquirn.
Diseases have ravaged the people and creatures of the world for ages. Locust swarms devour crops and the sickly fall and die. This is the realm of Pasquirn, goddess of Pestilence. Her dark reign draws followers left and right, sacrifices to prevent death in families, or for revenge again a farmer is her game. She guides plagues and disease because it is part of the natural order, a fact that has drawn an entire division of druids to her cause. The concept: from death better life will rise, turns many a druid to her vision. The goddess is also the matron of snakes and scavengers.
She was once the goddess of Purity, a form through which she is still worshipped as in the dying elven lands of Tashminé. Her essence in that form still flows out within the land if one looks close. The elves in that region continue to worship the goddess as Purity, hoping she will return to restore them to their former glory.
There is another view where the goddess falls within the Pantheon as a neutral god. It is said that she exists to punish those who would punish each other. These individuals feel that there is a time that is coming when Pasquirn will become two gods. One as Purity, a god of good, to guide the elves of Tashminé. The other as Pestilence, guiding the fanatical Othar. Most disagree with this ideology, but then again, Dragons are rarely wrong.
The followers of Pasquirn are most often referred to as Blighters. Within the Druidic Conclave the Blighter faction is looked down on with scorn, as their methods for keeping nature have strayed far from the normal. Their belief that without death there cannot be life opposes all of the tenants built toward protecting nature. Such druids have been all but cast out of the Conclave orders. The fact that they remain apart but still part of the Conclave fuels their belief that they are acting correctly.
Druids however, are not the only followers of Pasquirn. Many farmers can be seen giving praise to the goddess of Pestilence to ward off the locust swarms that would otherwise destroy their crops. Many feel that while she is counted among the evil gods, she is one of the more merciful. Sacrifices given to the goddess are rarely ignored and often lead to conflicts of interest within mortal communities. Some Arambashian societies have observed rival farmers performing sacrifices to ensure that the others crops will be destroyed. One farmer sacrifices a newborn lamb and is pleased to see that his rival’s fields have begun to whither while his prospers. The rival then makes an equal or better sacrifice, either to give life back to his own crops or to get revenge. Sadly, revenge is often the motivating factor, ultimately leading to both fields becoming barren for the year. The destruction of the crop is sometimes seen as a punishment for foolishly fighting amongst each other.
The Elves of Tashminé include themselves as followers of Pasquirn. Rather than follower her as the goddess of Pestilence though, they still consider her to be Purity. The land of Tashminé has become poisoned by the goddesses influence, but springs of her former power continue to sprout up throughout the land. Those who follow Purity feel they have not been abandoned by her, but are being tested. If they can weed out any impurities in their society they will be restored to their former glory.
The most fanatical of the goddess of Pestilence make their home in the depths of Nighthaven. The Othar believe they are the most blessed of the goddess. They have dedicated their lives to following her above and beyond the tenants of being a nature god. They infiltrate into societies and “poison” them from the inside out, leaving a swath of chaos in their paths. It is not unlike Othari style to incite an instance such as the Arambashian incident mentioned above. The Othar are further blessed with the ability to take on the likeness of their goddess, transforming body and limb into the visage of a serpent.
Pasquirn appears in the form of an Othari woman. Her hair falls in deep black waves, mixed with a purple blue tint, much like the feathers of a raven. Her eyes are like a snake’s, thin olive slits wreathed in gold. Her skin is ageless, as smooth and soft as silk but looks like scales, begging to be touched and lavished upon by those who gaze upon it. When she speaks her voice is soft and clear like the jingling of small bells but her anger is quick to peal like the crash of thunder, and her wrath is a miasma of hissing and fluttering locust.
Bodies are left to rot, bones left to bleach.
Pasquirn was conceived through the unions of Zamikeye, goddess of the Seas and Demuen, god of Fire. She was once the goddess Purity, but fell from her position after her parents began feuding over the banishment of Kantoram. Legends say that she confronted Balphurus, blaming him for the troubles between her parents. She would later learn that the conflict began when Demuen proposed her betrothal to Surdem. To protect her daughter, Zamikeye gave her body over to Surdem, drawing Demuen's ire.
Seizing an opportunity, Balphurus struck the goddess with the Thorn of Spite, casting her into Saratta where her pure essence bled out, replaced by the poison of Hate. When she recovered, she returned to the Pantheon and for a short time assisted her mother in raising Sendall and Brashq. As the poison became more pronounced, Pasquirn began to seclude herself and took only a minor role in events for some time.