Barakas is a large male tiefling of a deep red skin. Great rams horns curl from his head, and his tail flicks with a dexterity beyond that of most tieflings. He wears either hide or scale armour and bears a greataxe as his weapon of choice.
Followers of Barakas are generally wrathful people, generally quick to anger when their ire is invoked. Other followers of Barakas hold strength in high regard, any form of strength, whether it is physical or mental.
The Law of Barakas
Long before mortals entered the world, there was war. And the war was between the gods and the chaotic primordials, and the gods proved the stronger, and the primordials were banished. And the first mortal races came into the world. And there was a second war. And in the second war, gods fought gods. And there was one god most hated by all the others, but feared even more. And His name was Ryloth. And he made war upon the other gods. And some of the more cowardly or simply more foolish gods did join him, and make war upon their fellows. But the goddess Atari sacrificed herself to defeat him, and her loyal followers, the avengers also died. And all of Ryloth’s worshippers were destroyed save his prophet, and he was defeated. But lo, Ryloth was not killed, only chained. And he and his prophet attempted to break his chains.
And centuries passed in this manner, as Ryloth attempted to break his chains. And an empire of humans, powerful, rich, and corrupt grew up, as Ryloth attempted to break his chains. And to keep control over their empire, the humans made a pact with devils. And the humans became not-human. And they were called the tieflings, and they had devil blood. And their children had devil blood. And their empire fell, but the tieflings remained. And they were hated by humans. And there was born a tiefling, in a city called Gareth. And his name was Barakas. And he lived in the streets, and he dreamt of escape. And he found a Way, and he escaped. And he became a mighty warrior and commander, and all throughout the land the bards praised the names of him and his companions. And they were The Nameless, and their history was unknown, and they made themselves known by their own strength. And his wrath was mighty to behold, and gave him much power. And he and his companions triumphed over many foes. And in this time, Ryloth had attempted to break his chains. And the centuries had passed, as Ryloth attempted to break his chains.
And lo, Ryloth’s prophet now returned, with much power, and started to break his chains. But Atari, too, still had some influence. A fraction of her power had been kept. And it had been kept to be given to a group of mortals. And that group of mortals would replace her avengers, and prevent Ryloth from escaping. And if Ryloth escaped, they would again defeat him. And her power was given to The Nameless. And they were strong. And Ryloth’s prophet was strong, and he had resurrected their vanquished adversary, Lyit the assassin. And he was cunning. And they defeated The Nameless, and they freed Ryloth. But The Nameless escaped. And they retrieved the artefacts of Atari, and they created anew her sceptre. And Zaknafein the Drow did take up the sceptre, and he did battle with Ryloth, and did wound him terribly. And Ryloth was weakened, and did flee from that fearsome power.
But lo, the sceptre was destroyed. And The Nameless had now once again only their own strength, and that granted them by Atari. And Ryloth gathered an army, as the Nameless did pursue Lyit and Ryloth’s prophet. And they did defeat them both, and did capture Lyit. And The Nameless sought help from the gods to defeat Ryloth. And some of the gods did help them, and some did not. And some of the gods who did not, they slew. And they did slay Asmodeous also, because as Barakas was away some of his companions did foolishly make a pact with the devil Be’lal. And as The Nameless slew Asmodeous, Barakas blamed him for the suffering of the tieflings, and the rage inside him burned hotter than ever before. And his great wrath mingled with the measure of divinity granted him by Atari and unlocked it fully, and he became like a god. And the instrument of His wrath was His axe, and it received a measure of His power. And it was called Vengeance, and it burned with the fire of His rage but was not consumed. And Be’lal and the devils did agree to fight for Barakas against Ryloth. And though Barakas was not so foolish as to trust a devil nor to make a pact with one, he and Be’lal did respect each other and often aided one another.
And The Nameless did travel about the lands, and they raised an army of men and of tieflings and of elves and of dwarves. And as they raised the army of men, The Nameless went to Gareth. And there Barakas did slay the corrupt leader of the city, and Therai the Diabolical did make another pact with Be’lal, and the city was destroyed and rebuilt in a day. And the people of Gareth did pay homage to Barakas, and worship Him as a god. And they were His first worshippers. And they devoted themselves to the Ways of Strength. And the worship of Barakas did spread from there.
And goblins also joined the army of The Nameless. And the goblins were led by Tarak, and he also worshipped Barakas. And he later became Lord of All Goblins, and their god. And the goblins and the “goodly” races knew peace, and that peace continues to this day. And they learnt much from the humans. And they learnt of bathing and of washing. And their scent was much improved.
And then Ryloth’s army and the army of The Nameless did battle. And the army of The Nameless was valorous, but the army of Ryloth was terrible. And then Ryloth at last revealed himself, and The Nameless did fight him, and he was slain, and at last, he died, never again to trouble the world. And the army of The Nameless were victorious, and there was great rejoicing. And the worship of Barakas spread further still. And Barakas and The Nameless travelled the lands for a time, before going their separate ways. And Barakas ascended to the heavens, and claimed His place among the gods. And His fortress, The Burning Citadel, is the closest of the gods’ dwelling places to The Nine Hells and to The Abyss, where do dwell the Demons and Devils. And He and the souls of His followers do help Be’lal make war upon the demons on behalf of the gods, and in return Be’lal and his devils interfere not with the affairs of the gods and their followers. And the demons strength is greatly weakened.
In the time before He left, Barakas did teach his followers of the Ways of Strength. And the Ways of Strength were thus:
1. There are many kinds of strength, and they include not only physical talents but also cunning and fortitude, and strength in magic. And:
2. Strength should be used for the betterment of the self and of others. And:
3. The strongest should receive the highest positions, and their strength should be appropriate for their position. And:
4. The strong do not allow themselves to be dominated, nor need to dominate. And:
5. There is strength in numbers, and in strengthening others. The strength of one is the strength of many, and the strength of many is the strength of one. And finally:
6. Those who abuse their strength to weaken others or who are not worthy of their position should have it stripped from them, and this should be done by those who have the strength to do so.
And the followers of Barakas set up temples of training throughout the land after His ascension. And they do train warriors; increasing their strength and teaching them the Ways of Strength that they might use it well. And after their training, the warriors of Barakas are free to do as they please. And they do use their strength to destroy the unworthy and defend the land against any threats that may arise. And though some of them have strength that does not reside in weapons but in their cunning, in their magic, or in their tongue, or in anything else, all are trained in their use, for through strength of arms they bring glory to Barakas. And some return to the temples, and it is they who train new warriors for Barakas. And some also return to the temples to receive further training. And those who are suitable become great rage-warriors at the temples of Barakas. And they, even as He, use the flames of their great wrath to destroy their foes.
And to this day the worship of Barakas does spread and corrupt rulers are vanquished in his name, and the cities under the protection of his warriors flourish. And his great temple is in Gareth, where remains the centre of his worship.