Few gods had as much impact on the Age of Mankind as Umbar, Lord of Sea and Storm though oddly enough, he didn’t really stand out from the crowd in the Elder Days. Based on his prominence, or lack thereof, in the ancient tales, you might even call him a laggard compared to his illustrious brethren in the Ealar and Elehu. Consider the Seeress, who entertained a constant stream of visitors in Aux, or the Laughing Gods’ bellows, which could be heard echoing throughout the Elvetur, or Celetran who was … extremely social with the Elder Races. Umbar though, would only get up from his heavenly couch, so to speak, when Sudnar convinced him to get out and meet the neighbors. Then, with Sudnar and his tiger Razu, Umbar would visit the Elder Races but mostly he hid in the waves and slammed unsuspecting ships with huge waves. That was Umbar’s idea of a rip roaring good time and he was quite excellent at it, as any of the ancient mariners would attest. Of all those sailing the seas in the Elder Days, only Indallar and his ship, The Blue horizon,, ever bested him.
His brother, Rabyn, patron of the Dolforro, played larger role in the tales of the Elder Days. In theory, they shared dominion over Sangrar’s seas and until the Battle of Unending Night, Umbar ruled the surface and Rabyn lorded over the depths. The BUN, however, changed everything. Rabyn’s beloved Dolforro did not survive the Darkening and losing them drove him mad with grief and made him susceptible to the Dark Lord’s whispers. Rabyn remained in the oceans, but shirked his duties, leaving Umbar pretty steamed. Things between them came to a head when Celetran concocted her elaborate plan to hatch the Vanara. Rabyn had grown to love Davyrma, the Dragon Queen, and when she chose Umbar over him, it was the last straw.
Umbar and Rabyn battled in Heaven’s oceans and when it was over, Rabyn was triumphant and Umbar hurtled to the earth. He landed in a small fishing village with no memory of who he was or where he’d come from. Raena, a girl from the village found him and they fell for each other instantly. She named him Thar, which meant stranger in her tongue, and it didn’t take long for his talent to shine. Within a few years, Thar was running the show in the village, which had been renamed Sangrithar after him, and he was the proud father of two daughters, Averanda and Gwynna.
Still ignorant of his origins, Thar and Raena took the infant girls to see Kandol, thinking that the Elf Lord might help him understand his power. Kandol knew exactly who Thar was and how he’d come to the world, but even back then, secrets were Kandol’s best friends and he kept his lips buttoned tight. Later, he told me that he wanted to tell Thar the truth, but everything happened for a reason, including Umbar’s fall from Heaven. I asked him point blank if the Lady had told him to let things be, and in typical fashion, he elaborated at great length without ever actually answering my question.
Thar who was Umbar led Sangrithar for one hundred and thirty years, with holy Raena at his side the entire time. Without doing so consciously, Thar’s godly essence, which was buried under amnesia but not stilled, extended her life and the lives of their daughters. It all came crashing down when Arcanicles, who was really the god Sudnar, Umbar’s BFF back in the day, came to Sangrithar.
You see, when Umbar had battled Rabyn, Sudnar had been in Belecontar the Winking Star, wrapped in Celetran’s loving embraces. By the time he pulled himself from her arms, Umbar had already been spat out of Heaven and was lost. Sudnar vowed to find his friend, but it took longer than he’d thought it would. Eventually, Thar’s reputation caught his attention and he came to Sangrithar wearing the guise of Arcanicles.
Sudnar couldn’t come right out and announce the truth, he had to work his way up to it and so, he challenged Thar who was Umbar to compete in a series of athletic challenges, sort of a Sangritharian decathlon. To everyone’s utter amazement, Arcanicles won, earning a boon from Thar, and he chose to accompany Thar on his annual jaunt to the crater where he renewed his vow of allegiance to Sangrithar. With Arcanicles in tow, the ceremony didn’t go as planned. When Thar who was Umbar reached the center of the crater, lightning sprang from Arcanicles’ fingers and smote him in the chest, but instead of killing Thar, it awakened his memories and restored his fully godly power.
Thar who was Umbar knew that he had to return to heaven, but he loved Raena too deeply to leave her. Sudnar had restored his lost memories, but they did not replace the new ones gained since arriving in Sangrithar. Thar remembered everything and his love for Sangrithar was real, in many ways more real than swimming in the oceans had been, and he would not leave without providing for his adopted city. He named Averanda queen and Gwynna priestess and assured the people they’d be in capable hands with his daughters. Then, rather than leave holy Raena behind, he shared his godly essence with her and together they ascended into the Outermost Heavens. As his last act before leaving, Thar who was Umbar fashioned the Garden of the Gods in the Sangrithar’s central plaza as a reminder of the gods watching from above.
From that day until the Pearl Throne fell thousands of years later, Thar who was Umbar was the top ranked god in every Sangritharian survey. Before the curse, Umbar stood slightly higher than other favorites, gods you’re quite familiar with by now, such as Finbardin, Deridean, Harnor and the Maiden, who, thanks to Kandol’s teachings, had enjoyed a massive resurgence, all the more remarkable since She was, by all accounts, dead. The curse put an end to all that though. Once shadow infected the God-Emperors, tolerance for other faiths dropped to zero and the other temples, churches and shrines were razed, except for the Stones on Tar-Numerath. Tormyn did try to bring down the Stones, but every Averchai involved was struck down by lightning, leading to the ghost stories popular in Hali’s time. After that, none of the God-Emperors dared to try and undo Gwynna’s greatest work.
When Hali went south to Tyrnavalle after toppling the Pearl Throne, he took Umbar’s faith with him as well as the Maiden’s. Though a Devotee, Hali was also a patriot, a true Sangritharian, and as such, his faith in Umbar was deeply ingrained. The new kingdom of Halitai on the sub-continent’s northern shore celebrated Umbar as first among the gods and the faith thrived for several centuries, but as the settlers worked their way inland from the coast to found new cities, the virtues of a sea god began to pale. Renk was the greatest city of the sub-continent and completely landlocked. Umbar’s faith held little appeal for its people. The center of Umbar’s faith in the latter days of the age was Enlas, a city on the northeastern tip of the sub-continent and its sister city, the nearby Big Enlas, which was just a hop, skip and jump away, across the Straits of Rabyn.
The religion of Umbar continued in Sangrithar until the end of days, though after Hali, it was not what it had been. The populace was of two minds. After the mad depravations of the God-Emperors, and centuries of falsely proclaimed divinity, they wanted nothing to do with Umbar, not after a succession of Gods Reborn. But, Umbar was all that most of them knew. All other faiths had been driven out of the city long ago, except the underground Devotees, and as you know as well as me, people need to have faith in something. Umbar was all they knew. It was never the same in Sangrithar, Umbar no longer had a stranglehold on the city, but neither could the people shake free entirely from his grip, nor did they want to. In the centuries after Hali, the people in the City of the Golden Star offered prayers to Umbar, the Maiden and a host of other gods.