The Village of Eternal Night
“Be my eyes, and guide my hands.”
—Short prayer spoken by Sceptomain clerics
|Titles||The Masked God of Many Eyes|
|The Eternal Watcher|
|The Raven Prophet|
|Patron of||Sight, observance, wisdom, prophecy, birds|
|Symbol||A half-mask made of black feathers|
|Followers||Diviners, prophets, advisors, guards|
|Former lover||Necerian (deceased)|
|Divine creation||Vixilia (deceased)|
Sceptomais (pronounced “sep-to-MACE”), the Masked God of Many Eyes, constantly observes the mortal realm of Tayvanse from his great glass watchtower situated above Taralthon’s northernmost point. Although his divine sight does not grant him true omniscience, Sceptomais is capable of perceiving more of the material world than any of his fellow gods, who come to him seeking his perspective on the events that unfold within their domains.
Sceptomais rarely appears to mortals outside of his priesthood, but nearly every temple dedicated to him features an elaborate fresco or painted statue. Across nations, he is consistently depicted as a slim, solemn man with dusky skin, chin-length dark hair, and angular black eyes. The most important elements of an image of Sceptomais are his beaked half-mask and long, trailing cape—both made of raven or crow feathers, with the cape’s train featuring black-dyed feathers from a peacock’s tail.
Many Sceptomain clerics, particularly those from Marsadia and the Silversands, choose to create images of their god that portray him with a clear elven cast to his features. This has historically led to some tension between priests from these nations and those who come from Vastrea, who argue that no god of Taralthon would take on the form of a half-elf. The conflict has settled some in recent years, largely because the god himself actually bothered to make his distaste for the entire debate very clear.
Art depicting the Masked God without his mask is nearly impossible to find. The vast majority of what was made were paintings and sculptures of Sceptomais and his former lover Necerian, and after the end of their romance, these pieces of art were confiscated by temple authorities who found them profane or simply lost to the ravages of time.
Sceptomais normally keeps his fellow deities at a distance, preferring to dwell alone in his watchtower as he gazes upon the world of mortals below. The other gods occasionally visit him to seek counsel, but he only leaves his home when he looks upon an unfolding or potential disaster that may require divine intervention. Those who know enough of the world’s history or their deity’s past know that two exceptions have existed, but they were so brief and so long ago that they have largely fallen out of memory.
“When dark-eyed Sceptomais turned his face toward the dawn, first it stole his breath and stopped his heart—then Necerian smiled at him with all the beauty of the sunrise, and Sceptomais lived again.”
—The Dawnbringer’s Compendium, a collection of writings penned by Necerian’s first priests
It is said that Sceptomais fell in love with Necerian the instant he laid eyes upon the dawn-god’s radiant beauty—and that Necerian was the only being in all of Saelise that could keep Sceptomais’ attention. For almost a century, Sceptomais pined and despaired, believing that someone as lovely and full of life as Necerian would never consider having someone like him as a lover… but when he finally confessed his feelings in a fit of desperation, Necerian answered with a kiss.
They spent the next hundred years together and eventually performed the divine melding, creating the minor goddess Vixilia from their joined souls as a testament to their devotion. As the world of Taralthon aged, however, Sceptomais witnessed things as divine watcher that would have made the most starry-eyed mortal into a bitter cynic, and he grew weary—weary of the world and of his lover’s endless idealism. He withdrew into the solitude of his watchtower for longer and longer stretches of time, resisting Necerian’s attempts to pull him back out into the wider world and remind him that beauty and warmth still existed.
On the hundredth year of their romance, Sceptomais told Necerian that their love had been a mistake, and that their relationship was hampering his ability to act as the world’s divine watcher. They would not see each other again until the night of midwinter’s eve in 1183, just before Necerian vanished forever.