An Introduction to Mahid
Udus, called Withering and The Releasing Gaze, is claimed to pace across the sky and under the dusts endlessly, forever watching the life of Mahid in its endless struggle of death and rebirth, like droplets of water dancing about, merging and splitting as they boil on a flat stone. His true form is hidden behind the veil of the sky, but the glowing gaze of his single great eye pierces through like that of a coyote watching from deepest night; forming what nonbelievers call the Sun.
Udus’ supposed nature changes somewhat from region to region, but most of his adherents claim him a benevolent god who wishes all life free to wander as he does. This includes, among other things, freedom from the tyranny of the body, available to those who have achieved a “wholeness of enlightenment” through his blessed gaze, either directly through withering direct exposure, or through the application of the toxic flora that sprouts in its wake.
Recommended practices to seek enlightenment vary, but common ones include meditating while meeting the gaze of Udus directly for hours on end, detailed recording and analysis of the paths of his wanderings and the patterns found therein, and using not-quite-fatal doses of various poisons to induce visions and “heightened” states of the mind… or administering doses on others which are fatal but produce effects similar, but stronger, before death. To the faithful, the death of an Enlightened person by death or solar exposure, called Ascension, is the highest possible honor and life goal. Death without enlightenment, though, is a disgraceful waste. For this reason, some Udusites seek out others they believe to be enlightened but too humble to accept Ascension themselves, to bring them their reward. While not the majority of Udusites engage in (or even agree with) this practice, enough do have made others suspicious of Udusites, particularly around great or famous persons.
Because of this suspicion, as well as the other strange activities commonly undertaken in search of Enlightenment, Udus has a reputation for attracting followers with strange or unsettling personality quirks. Magicians in particular demonstrate a higher propensity for following Udus, perhaps because many of them feel driven to sit in the open already anyway.
Opinions differ among Udusites on the nature of Urkhema. Some claim it is the freed souls of the Enlightened. Others claim it is a barrier erected by Dul Rothak or Hadrok to prevent Udus from simply coming to the land personally.
Most Udusites do not consider their faith incompatible with a belief in Halba, Hadrok, or Mother Dust, whom the more zealous among the Udusites cast as counterpoint to their deity of choice; naming them manevolent scavengers sowing Englightenment-ruining chaos and premature death so that they might consume souls for their own purposes.
4e players may treat Udus as having the domains Sun, Freedom, and Poison.