Nirzali is one of the chief deities of Idiri, worship of her being widespread throughout the continent. While most gods and spirits worshiped in Idiri are local ones, Nirzali transcends geographic boundaries and is revered alongside the deities of given places and peoples. Represented in the sky by the pole star of the north, often called the Outcast, Nirzali watches over mortalkind from afar, distant from her people yet ever-present.
Like the mortals she looks after, Nirzali is a mix of positive and negative aspects. She is a goddess of compassion, healing, and purification, the bringer of the rains that allow crops to grow and livestock and people to flourish. But in her dark moods she brings instead the violence of storm and flood, and in her exile she represents solitude, selfishness, and sorrow. She guides travelers through the night and lends comfort to those who are alone and forsaken as she is, but woe betide the mortal who forgets her during times of merriment and revelry, and fails to make their offering to the eternal Outcast.
She is most often depicted in art as a dark-skinned woman with blue-green stars for eyes, and long black hair worn in a multitude of braids. However, various watery motifs such as showers of rain, waterspouts, tidal waves, and stormclouds are often used as a symbolic stand-in for the goddess.
Nirzali the Outcast
The bright blue-green northern pole star is known to most peoples of Idiri and the south Adeleantean shores as the Outcast. But this is not just a star; it is also the goddess Nirzali, goddess of storms, sorrow, loss, solitude, and compassion. She was cast out from among the gods of Idiri for her culpability in the death of the great hero Nthanda, who had been raised to a place among the gods for his wondrous deeds. But though he lived among the gods he was still mortal, and when he boasted thoughtlessly to his friend and lover Nirzali that he was so great he could best even her at anything, she vied with him in a series of increasingly ambitious challenges that led to the most terrible disaster. In jumping mountains that were leagues apart, even the wonderful hero Nthanda could not follow Nirzali's furthest leap between the two highest peaks of Idiri -- and he fell, plunging to the earth with such force that his impact created a deep crater, and he perished.
The goddess was beside herself with horror and sorrow, and in the storm of her grief she filled up the bowl of the crater with her tears, which also flowed off the land and created the great rivers of Idiri. The other gods, meantime, were aghast at what Nirzali's foolish pride and daring had led to, and she was exiled from among them, sent off to wander in the lands far to the north and cursed to solitude until such time that the other gods deemed her punishment sufficient. But she vowed that she would no longer lead others astray and would instead serve as a beacon for them in the darkest night, and so now she can be seen in the heavens all night long, every night of the year, always occupying a fixed spot in the cold northern sky and helping guide travelers safely to their destination. But all the other stars circle around her at a distance, and she must watch and guide their own wanderings while knowing she can never be reunited with her beloved friend until her penance is finally done.