There was a lord of Algorand named Seosham who survived the Cataclysm to record the death of the millions. He saved those he could but the seas took many and the famines took most of the rest. After he had provided for his surviving followers in the new, blighted world, he sought reasons behind the great calamity. He travelled widely through the world, visiting the spirits, seeking the surviving wisdom in the world. On his journeys he might other travelers and some of these, he became convinced, were the gods traveling in disguise. Many shared his horror at the destruction and loss but a few did not and he wondered why this might be so.
It occurred to Seosham that even though mortals honored the gods and the gods took a few to their halls in the High Mountains, the purpose of the gods might not be for the betterment for mortals as they claimed, that they might have their own purposes and that these might be at odds with the well being of mortal man. It was true, he knew, that they had helped eradicate the undead but they had been in peril as much as mortals. Had the interests of the gods and mortals grown apart during the millennia of the Algorand Empire? Could the gods have prevented the Cataclysm?
To these questions, Seosham could find no answers but in his travels, he did find many who doubted the gods’ benevolence. These like-minded people felt that the promise to a tiny of few of some centuries of conscribed life in the gods’ halls was not a worthy return for mortal devotion if the gods could not or would not prevent the devastation of the Cataclysm.
The Seoshama (Say’-oh-shama)
After Seosham died, returned to the underworld and not taken to the halls of the gods, others of like mind began to gather lore on the gods and their purposes so that they might better understand the nature of the gods and decide whether it was right to honor them. In time, these became known as the Seoshama. Over the centuries, they have grown few in number. Mortals need hope in these bleak times and do not wish to abandon the gods. So too, some Seoshama think the gods work against them and have meted misfortune on the Seoshama.
Some still exist in the world. In many places, the Seoshama are organized around spirits. Spirits are not beholden to the gods nor do they fear them, being more powerful than gods in their domain. In these cases, the Seoshama have small communities within the domain of the spirit. They send their followers out into the world to learn the ways of the world and to spread their ideas. The exact nature of the Seoshama enclaves vary from enclave to enclave.
Risteard is an earth spirit in the hills southeast of the Hedeby ruins in the region known as The Bore. In the village of Somerland, he provides a home for an enclave of Seoshama.
The Risteard Seoshama as they are known (or simply Seoshama in the Ruined Forest region as they are the only Seoshama in the area), are one of the more organized groups. Though they take followers from among their children, they do not indoctrinate their children and prefer instead to find new, adult followers. They maintain a modest library focused on the gods and the cataclysm and instruct their followers in several paths, some martial and adventuring so that they may successful journey in the world and seek new members, common professions are bards and wardens.
The Risteard Seoshama do not try to overtly subvert the worship of the gods but they do relate stories that the gods would probably not wish heard and they do try to open the minds of the willing to the possibility that the gods do not serve the interests of mortals. Their most famous work is a song that asks “Where were the gods at the Cataclysm?” that stresses the deaths of millions and the poor fate of mortals since that time.