Xolotl

xolotlThe son of the god Deep Sashelas and his sea elf wife Trishina, he was accidentally thrown in to the underworld during one of Sashelas’ arguments with his sister Lolth, which were known to cause natural disaster. He was out picking mushrooms in a forest and was swallowed by a fissure in the earth, landing crushed and in agony in the underworld. Hypnos and Thanatos took pity on the strange, broken, demi-god and healed him as best they could, and made him the guardian of the gates to the underworld. Xolotl is a simple god, as easily pleased as he is angered. He is grey-skinned with a doglike head and humanoid body, bright green eyes peering out from either side. Though Xolotl does not know this, his father regrets his actions and wishes to make things right, and while his mother wanders the world looking for her lost son, he will not see his mother for fear of his father finding them both as he lives in fear of his father’s rages. He is in awe of Thanatos and Hypnos, but also suffers from a short attention span and an excess of trust. Once every thousand years, Xolotl is reborn in to a willing adult host to experience a little of life in the mortal realm in a way that will keep him disguised from his family. He treasures these moments, but as the years went on, a willing follower was becoming more and more difficult to find. Finally, on his most recent visit to the mortal world, he was convinced by a heartbroken man to allow him entrance to the underworld to retrieve the soul of his lost love. Alas the poor couple had only a few hours together again before Thanatos arrived to return the soul and restore the balance. Xolotl has been stripped of many of his powers for his transgression and removed from his position. He struggles now to regain Thanatos’ favor and regain his powers, and also to teach himself to be less gullible and never to be tricked in to releasing another soul.

There were few worshipers of Xolotl to begin with, those being only the sea elves and others who lived near the oceans, and these days there are even fewer. In ancient times, before Xolotl fell to the underworld, he was worshiped as a sort of saint in the church of Sashelas. In modern times, few churches remember this, most having cut the story of Sashelas’ wife and child from their tales, though his name persists in some very old texts as the patron saint of dogs and children. After he fell and was cut from the church of Sashelas, he was honored in a strange tradition in the temples to Thanatos; the temples keep guard dogs, always black or grey, that guard the gates of the temple. The majority of the modern churchgoers are not familiar with the origin of the tradition, but it persists, and some very ancient shrines to Thanatos will have smaller shrines to Xolotl as well, sometimes in the shape of dog statues. The rare individual shrines are found in usual places, such as the havens of street urchins in large cities, remote seaside outposts, or islands abandoned by the sea elves. The shrines consist usually only of a simple statue or drawing of the god, usually wildly different from shrine to shrine, with candles and incense burning along with offerings of shiny rocks, buttons, or other small found (or stolen) trinkets that would amuse the god. Toys are not uncommon offerings, and many an urchin will tell tales of leaving a broken toy on a shrine and coming back to find it whole. Xolotl was only a young man when he was tossed in to the underworld and is the patron of all lost, abused, and cast-off children. He is a god who likes to involve himself in the lives of his very few followers, and so an earnest prayer to him will usually yield results, however those results may not be as intended. While Xolotl has the best of intentions, he does not always solve problems in a straightforward or sensible way. He has a short attention span and is easily distracted, he may leave in the middle of dealing with a problem when another comes along, or get bored of how things are going and change things or leave. To ask this god for help is to take a chance that you could end up worse than when you started. Still, he will fiercely defend children and others from abuse and neglect, and many a waif has awoken and found themselves inexplicably covered in blankets with food nearby when they sleep near caves or other places Xolotl can safely creep out of the underworld without attracting his father’s attention. He will never overstep his bounds for fear of signaling to his parents he is still alive, and will more often retreat than take chances, Many of his followers also shun Sashelas, and may be responsible for the occasional pranks played on the temples to him.