Gerbanis is the religion most prevalent in the Stormlands, but variations of it are also practiced by some tribes of Wildfolk. Its followers worship the Sturmasira, a host of gods led by Stormi, the Father and the Warrior, and regularly commits sacrifices in the Storm Gods' honour.
Gerbanis is named after Gerban Hvungdir, the Great Watcher. A powerful chieftain, he and his clan had learned of a new god, and they spread the word to the other chieftains. And when the chieftains had to unite to fight a great army of basjturs from the north, Gerban was put in charge.
Four great battles were fought, and when the war was over, a new country, Vortland, had been formed. Though Gerban himself did not survive the last battle, his memory is kept through the land and the faith he helped to form. The newly elected king, Hjoar Whitebane, took the title of Pater, and decided that from now on, the law of Stormi would be the law of the land.
Glorimra Stormhandr is the current Pater, the semi-official head of Gerbanis and the regent of Vortland. The office of Pater is also the official head of Gerbanis, but this often means very little to stormikjalts outside of Vortland (and to some extent, Fynheim), as they often are very independent from each other.
Most Stormlanders worship the great god Stormi and the deities that live by his side. Stormi is the Allfather of Gerbanis. Many Stormlanders expand their belief beyond their devotion to Stormi and worship their forefathers, the moon, and other nature deities. The religion of Gerbanis is one that is imbued with the rite of sacrifice. Stormlanders make blood gifts to the gods and to Stormi himself to wish for a good harvest, a merciful winter, or even saving a dying person from their fate. The greater a favour you ask from the gods, the greater you must sacrifice. A firstborn son is considered to be one of the greatest things to sacrifice. A blood offering is usually held at a ritual spot where a blot pole has been raised, and the offering is drained of its blood by a sacrificial blade. This blood is then drunk by a priest and showered over others who take part in the blood gift using a blot broom.
Those who follow Gerbanis view the universe as a great chaos storm filled with evil and eldritch forces that seek to penetrate the world, with Trudvang the eye of the storm. When a person dies, they are cast into this great storm and must take heart and be strong to navigate the maelstrom without being consumed by evil powers. If they succeed, they will find their way to a great green country where Allfather Stormi rules. But the storm must be braved over and over again, for often Stormi will venture into the darkness of chaos and battle the forces that reside there. Those who have managed to reach him will accompany him into the storm and do battle at this side. Therefore, it is not necessarily a bad thing to die young and strong in the Stormlands.
The deities of Gerbanis can be divided in three groups, the Sturmasira, the Hvergelift and the Vanerlifr. Aside from these groups there are a number of entities with a place in the myths and stories, but they don't have much function in daily life aside from the role in those stories.
Sturmasira, the Storm Gods
The Sturmasira, or the Storm Gods, are the main deities of the Gerbanis faith. They are led by Stormi, the Father and the Warrior, and fight an ever-raging battle against the Hvergelift and the Vanerlifr, the gods of chaos and death, respectively.
The Sturmasira include Stormi, Vinda, Jorn, Solvei, Tyrd, Enken, Nattra, Vigdis and Hagal.
The scholars of Valkalainen consider all of the Sturmasira to be Aesir.
Stormi is the main god in the Gerbanis pantheon and the god that is most tightly connected with this barbaric and ancient religion. He is the Allfather and the Warrior, god of wisdom, might and wind. Strongly connected with the wind and the storms, he is the protector of the weak and the ones that pay tribute to him, the strongest god there is. It is said that his is the strength of a thousand jotunn and a thousand dragons combined, so that when he thrusts his mighty spear into his foes, the very fabric of reality trembles. He rides the mighty steed Snarfari, who has six legs and two heads, across the thunderclouds, lightning following in his path. He is dressed in dark chainmail, blackened by the fire of a thousand dragons. On his right arm he wears the Gutra Ring, a divine bracelet that makes all his weapons deal enormous damage. In his hand he carries a battle axe or a heavy hunting spear. He dwells in the midst of the great chaos storm and gathers his warriors that will join him in the final clash when the powers of chaos must be subdued.
Stormi is mainly associated with responsibility, courage and strength.
Vinda is the Creator of the World, the Wise One. She exists in the heavens, the sea and the land in between, and she is the mother of Stormi. Where people build and create, Vinda is there to blow strength into the work. She is without sight, but the other Sturmasira comes to her for wisdom and prophecy. She is an old woman, living alone with Djofur, the swine said to be able to create anything in but a day. She can also take her original form of the Primeval Heifer, a huge brown cow who can traverse a mountain with but one step.
She is associated with patience, wisdom and the joy of creation.
Jorn is the Night. He is the god of the ones who dwell in the shadows. His father is Stormi, his mother is his own sister Nattra. His half-sisters are Tyrd and Solvei, and Solvei is also his wife. He is the Darkness, the Voice of the Stormi and the Untamable. It is said that he sometimes walks the path of the Wildfolk and fights the other Sturmasira, but he is clever enough to not be caught doing so. He takes the form of a man in the dark, a stranger, a raven on the roof. He is a young man, blonde of hair with a keen look in his eye, dressed in Fjortsvartnir, the Cloak of Night, giving him the ability to walk among human and bastjurs both without fear of discovery.
He slithers and weaves around the world, stepping from creature to creature without ever being noticed. You can never be sure where his motivations lie or what his true intent really is. He is cold and cunning and can never be captured or caught, even when he battles the other gods. For when he wraps the cloak of Fjorsvartnir around himself, he is as abstract and unfathomable as darkness itself.
He is associated with action, fickleness and cunning.
Solvei is the Day, the Beautiful Dawn, the Warmth of the Sun. She is the Goddess of Fertility and Love, the daughter of Stormi, and Jorn is her husband. She is the warm summer, the calm autumn, the beautiful winter and the blossoming spring, and even Stormi heeds her council. Her hair is long and flowing, and wherever it brushes the ground or the trees, flowers blossom to life. She is dressed in a gown made of clouds, and gives health and happiness to everyone from her copper urn Erkvejka.
Attributes such as fertility, mercy and health are often associated with Solvei.
Enken is the Lone Wanderer and the god of nature. He is the son of Vinda and Birnhögg, the God-Bear. Hearing and seeing everything, he is the eyes and ears of his half-brother Stormi. Enken is the Lord of Animals and the Giver of Freedom. It is he who will gather the armies when the time has come for Havafall, the Great Battle Against the Storm at the end of the world. He looks after the small things and the great things in the world and is constantly watchful. At any time, Enken can shapeshift into any beast or animal that he wishes and thus can be anywhere and see anything. He is often seen as a huge bear, but is said to be able to take the form of any animal he wants to. He is sometimes seen as a wolverine plodding through the snow, or a draug-lynx stalking through the woods.
Enken is associated with freedom, instinct and vigilance.
Tyrd is the Grudge and the Vengeance, the Mother of the Blood-Feud. Stormi is her father, Solvei is her sister. The polar opposite of her sister, she is the Goddess of Anger and Revenge. Whenever someone swear an oath of vengeance they promise part of their loyalty to Tyrd. She takes the form of a crazed, naked woman, covered with the soot from the sendings, one of the darkest sacrifices the Stormlanders practice. Her dark hair is disheveled and bloodied, her nails are long and twisted. She carries Harnagga, the Dagger of Vengeance, the blade who can slay a jotunn in a single thrust, and she is ever accompanied by her two raging garmrs, Gvann and Kveld.
Tyrd is associated with anger, hate and vengeance.
Nattra is Violence and War. The daughter of Stormi and Bodvildur, the Mistress of Helgardh, she has darkness within her, but is not seen as such a deceitful god as Tyrd, but is more associated with honourable conflict and violence. She is the Shieldmaiden, and the Commander, the mother of Jorn, and she is the tip of the gautla. She takes the form of a strong warrior, her head shaven. She carries the Garmdolj, a huge round shield said to be able to withstand the charge of a hundred wolfbeasts. Sometimes she takes the shape of a wolfbeast herself, with fur black as night, leading the vanguard of the Stormgods.
Nattra is associated with honour, violence and war.
Vigdis is the Loving Home, the Protector. She is the daughter of Solvei and Jorn, and Hagal is her brother. The Goddess of Marriage and Family, she exists in every loving home and family. Often taking the form of a young woman, she also exists in fires of the longhouses all across the Stormlands. She carries Evslaenda, a needle to sow protections against the Hvergelift and the Vanerlifr into the houses of all of those faithful to the Storm Gods.
Vigdis is associated with love, safety and protection.
Hagal is the Singer and the Poet. The son of Jorn and Solvei, and the brother of Vigdis, he is the God of Peace and Celebration, and the Patron of Skalds. It is he who tells the tales of extraordinary humans to the other Storm Gods, and he leads the songs sung in Stormwatch. He appears as a young, carefree man, lute on his back, and a smile on his face. He carries Allvissla, a flute that can calm even the angriest jotunn, and is accompanied by Kyddis, a song bird who spreads the music of Hagal to all across Trudvang.
Hagal is associated with carefreeness, celebration and peace.
Hvergelift, the Chaos Gods
The Hvergelift, is the antithesis to the Sturmasira. While the Death Gods of the Vanerlifr are seen as a necessary evil, or even a representation of the natural passing of life and death, most Stormlanders view the Hverglift as pure evil. Led by Helfrigg, one of the Sturmasira who was cast out by Stormi, they live by Hvergelmir, the cauldron where the winds surrounding Trudvang originate from. There they plot for Havafall, while cooking the bodies of all those who couldn't get through the storms to Helgardh or Stormwatch.
The Hvergelift include Helfrigg, Draugrahim, Hlökk, Illigri and Kaldragga.
Vanerlifr, the Death Gods
Bodvildur, the leader of the Vanerlifr, was once of the Sturmasira. However, since Stormi asked her to become the caretaker of the dead and she moved to Helgardh, she has become something else. Now the Mistress of Helgardh, Bodvildur is seen as one of the three most powerful deities of Gerbanis together with Stormi and Helfrigg, capable of forcing dragons and the strongest spirits of the dead to her service with a single gaze.
To help her guard the gates of Helgardh she created the Five Guardians. The siblings are called Modgun, Mogunda, Moga, Mogrand and Modgil, and they each guard one of the gates into the realm of the dead. Because of his foretold role in Havafall, Mogunda is the most well-known of the Guardians. He carries the sword Nagelbite, who is said to be made out of the nails of dead humans.