Amakita and Askerali

Amakita and Askerali are twin goddesses who are considered to be the moons of Oerth. Askerali is the larger one, and Amakita is the smaller, unobtrusive one. Their holy days are the night of two full moons (considered their birthday), and the night of the single eclipse, called Amatikaís Glory, when Askerali steps aside to let everyone appreciate her sister (who normally stays in the background so Askerali can shine). The night of the double-dark moon is considered cursed, because neither twin keeps watch over the world that night. Baklunes believe that evil beings take advantage of this and cause all sorts of trouble. Janskyd is thought to take form and wander the earth then, in order to protect people from devils and demons.

A Baklunish myth

As the Baklunes are a people defined by their families and clans, so their gods reflect them (or is it vice versa?). Istus, Zurren, and Meni are siblings. Amakita and Askerali are twins. So too, Iblis is the father of Mat and Pa, deities of the wasteland. And this is how that came about.

Askerali was the fairest of all the gods. She was so lovely that the gods long ago begged her to take her place in the sky so that even the mortal world could be blessed by her beauty. Her twin sister, Amatika, was beautiful also, but her most pronounced feature was her courage and willingness to give of herself in order to protect others. She took a place in the sky next to her sister, but always stayed unobtrusive, so she would not draw attention away from Askerali.

The devil Iblis, like many devils, was a handsome man, but purely evil. He conceived a desire for the beautiful Askerali. He approached various beings and asked for advice on how to win her. Though some of them had good ideas, no one could figure out a way to get around the watchful Amatika. Finally, an evil death god suggested that Iblis simply take her. The god promised Iblis a safe refuge in his underworld if Iblis would do him a favor later. Iblis agreed, and set off to kidnap Askerali.

Ever vigilant, Amatika heard of Iblis' scheming. She could not bear the thought of her innocent sister falling into such a creature's hands. But before she could do anything to stop him, Iblis had already snatched Askerali and run away with her into the underworld, where Amatika could not follow. As everyone knows, besides the rulers of death, only mortals can walk freely in the underworld, because only mortals can die.

All the gods were horrified at Askerali's kidnapping. She was so beautiful and sweet, she was a favorite among them. But like Amatika, none of them could follow to rescue her. A few tried to make a bargain with the death god, but he did not want to betray a devil lord who owed him a favor, so they were helpless.

The mortals were upset also, for their lovely moon had vanished from the sky, and they had no one to watch over them in the dangerous night. However, the mortals didnít know what to do either. None of them were willing to fight Iblis, even if they could get to the underworld to do it.

Finally, just as Amatika despaired of saving her sister, one courageous human came to the holy places. He declared that if no one else could help Askerali, he would do whatever it took. His name was Janskyd, and he was a powerful, cunning warrior. Some say he was a magician as well, though he was too canny to ever let anyone know. At any rate, he knew a great deal about the nature of devils and how to fight them. He even had a talking scimitar, created to slay such evil things, which gave wise advice on such matters.

Hearing his call, Amatika came to him in the holy places. She told him exactly what had happened. He repeated that he would go into the underworld and confront Iblis himself in order to rescue Askerali, whom everyone loved. What was more, he promised that he would bring Iblis back so that the gods could pass judgement on him for doing something so terrible.

Amatika was concerned, because she didn't think that a mortal man could do such a thing, but Janskyd reassured her. He was powerful and pious, and all he asked for was her blessing on a crystal flask. Amatika gave it willingly, and told him where the entrance to the underworld lay.

Janskyd had many adventures to get to the underworld and find Iblis and his captive. He had to pass through many trials and challenges, and outwitted as many creatures as he defeated in combat. He even convinced the death god to allow him to go to the underworld and come back alive. He did all this, and finally found Iblis, whom he challenged to a contest.

Iblis, being a lawful devil, was forced to accept the challenge. Truthfully, he accepted out of amusement, because he didn't believe a mortal could defeat him. But Janskyd outwitted him in the game by making him say a magic word three times. The flask Janskyd had asked Amatika to bless was actually enchanted, and Iblis trapped himself within it by saying the magic word. With Amatika's blessing on it, the artifact was strong enough to hold him.

With Iblis trapped, Janskyd returned to the living world with Askerali. The gods took the devil to put him to trial. From that day forward, Amatika agreed to especially represent and protect heroes and warriors. Janskyd became a special favorite of hers, and she imbued him with a small part of her power. He eventually was elevated to the ranks of the gods.

However, all was not well. While he had her in his power, Iblis had also had his way with Askerali. Now she was pregnant. Though they feared the nature of the children, neither she nor her sister could bring themselves to kill the newborns, so Askerali soon gave birth to twins. These twins unfortunately took after the nature of their father, corrupting the generous essence inherited from their mother, and so Pa of Droughts and Mat of the Wastelands were born. They hated Janskyd from birth for what he had done to their father, and for a time they ran amok over the mortal world, causing rampant famines and hardships, until Janskyd fought them back. To this day, these three still have a hateful rivalry.