The Dark Mother. CE demipower of birth, fertility, tribes (She/Her)

Pantheon: Orcish

Symbol: Two gauntleted fists

Realm: Limbo / Volkorgoth

Dretha, the Dark Mother, commands a profound reverence amongst the Upstarts. As the goddess of fertility, birth, and death, she weaves together several  fundamental threads of orcish life, sustaining the cycle of their fierce strife-ridden existence.

Dretha’s divine domain encompasses the most primal aspects of orc life, overseeing the relentless forces of birth and death that shape the orcish tribes. Her blessings are sought not just for the strength of the body, but for the resilience of the spirit, ensuring that each new generation of orcs can rise, strong and unyielding, from the ashes of the old.

Despite her importance in orcish life, Dretha is depicted within the pantheon as subservient, a reflection of the gender dynamics that pervade orcish society. Yet, beneath her sullen silence simmers a deep, unspoken rage—a reminder that her power, though often overlooked, is fundamental to the very survival of the orcs.

Among mortal orcs, Dretha is venerated with a reverence that transcends the usual ferocity of their kind. Dretha’s visage, that of a pregnant orc cradling her swollen belly, is a symbol that resonates deeply with the orc women, who see in her the epitome of their own strength and endurance. Sacrifices are offered to the Dark Mother in the hope of her protection through the perilous journey of childbirth. Whether or not these prayers work is unclear—Dretha isn’t really the caring sort—the offerings are not mere rituals but heartfelt pleas to ensure the continuation of their line through string offspring who will grow to defend their tribe.

In orcish lore, Dretha is often claimed as the mate of the tribe’s favoured male god. Her ancient enmity with Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, highlights a fierce protective streak, defending her children from corruption and monstrosity.

Despite the internal hierarchies of the orc gods, Dretha’s worship is nearly universal among the orc tribes. This widespread devotion underscores her importance, transcending the preferences for other deities. Her followers, particularly orc women, look to her for the grit to survive and thrive in a cruel and unforgiving world. This has not gone unnoticed by Gruumsh, who has yet to act to put down this upstart. The chant goes that perhaps this is because he’s considering taking a second wife—whether she, or Luthic for that matter, likes it or not.

Dretha’s legacy is one of silent power, a reminder that strength comes in many forms, not all of which roar. In the shadows of orcish rage and conquest, she nurtures the future, guarding the cycle of life with a fierce, quiet determination. To her followers, she embodies the resilience of the orcish spirit, ensuring that no matter the battles lost or the blood spilled, the heart of the tribe beats on, strong and undaunted.

Source: Inner Sea Gods [PF1e] p187

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