Contributed by: Thulsa (), partly based on source material from "GURPS Conan" by Steve Jackson Games.
"... when he calls his father, the god comes!". -- Roy Thomas/L. Sprague de Camp: "The City of Skulls"
According to Meruvian legend, the valley known as the Cup of the Gods was once the Roof of the World: a flat, icy plain that ran from the tops of the Himelias to the tops of the Talakmas.
The Meruvian legend continues: "Then Yama, the king of the demons, determined to create this valley for us, his chosen people, to dwell in. By a mighty spell, he caused the land to sink. The ground shook with the sound of ten thousand thunders, molten rock poured from cracks in the earth, mountains crumbled, and forests went up in flame."
When this enormous upheaval was over, the land between the mountain chains was a deep valley, warmed by the heat of the ground, and plants and beasts of the warm countries came to dwell in it. "Then Yama created the first Meruvians and placed them in the valley, to inhabit forever."
Yama is the patron god of Meru, and the Meruvian king is his ever-reincarnating son. Priests of Yama are all-powerful and serve as officials, advisors and judges.
Spheres of Influence: Kingship, devils, fear
Symbol: Six-armed torso
An immense, 30 feet tall, six-armed jade statue of the devil-god rests within the inner temple sanctum of Shamballah, the City of Skulls. According to the priests of Yama, the god will come to life when the god-king Jalung Thongpa calls upon his father.
Meruvian law is simple: obey the priests. The priests are the source of all law (as the spokesmen for mighty Yama), and their word is by definition the will of Yama.
The Meruvians give full obedience to the priests. This is partially due to the belief that the priests are born into their lot due to their spiritual purity, but also because of the threat of the vengeance of Yama.
The head of the government (and of the priesthood) is the Rimpoche (god-king) Jalung Thongpa, Terror of Men and Shadow of Heaven, the ever-reincarnating son of Yama. When Jalung Thongpa dies, the priests scour Meru for the child born at the time of the previous Rimpoche's death; this child, no matter how deformed or unfit, is declared Jalung Thongpa's reincarnated form.
The High Priest, or Grand Shaman, is usually a gaunt man with shaven head, scarlet robes, wielding a carven staff of ebony. Lesser priests also have shaved heads, slanted eyes and wear red robes.
Tanzong Tengri is the current high priest of Yama in Shamballah.