Father of Terror; He Who Knows; Rainbow Serpent; Secret Keeper; Unblinking Eyes

Symbol: An open blue book with an eye superimposed on its visible pages
Home Plane: The Astral Plane
Alignment: Neutral
Cleric Alignments: Any Neutral
Portfolio: Knowledge, lore, riddles, memory, truth, secrets, serpents, literacy
Worshipers: Sages, mages, and all who seek the truth
Domains: Darkness (Moon), Knowledge (Memory), Magic, Rune, Serpent, Void (Dark Tapestry)
Favored Weapon: Staff

Physical Description:
The Rainbow Serpent is not just an alternate appellation for Hawl: it is also a good description of his typical appearance. Looking like a great, undulating cobra twisting itself into steadily more complex knots, its scales shimmering in endless, scintillating patterns, Hawl is a beautiful, fascinating, and terrifying sight to behold. There is always an aura of subtle menace that accompanies Hawl, which causes the weak-minded to flee in terror, and his eyes force those who look into them to see themselves for how they really are, a horror that can sometimes shatter minds and crush spirits. When he is trying to be more subtle, Hawl can appear as a common or giant cobra, or as an attractive member of a mortal race with deep-set, unblinking eyes. When he takes a mortal guise, Hawl regularly takes the form of either an apparent fool, someone obviously in desperate need of education and assistance, or else that of a stern sage, who provides education and assistance to those who need it.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
Hawl is a terrifying deity, radiating an aura of subtle, creeping menace on his first impression with anyone. As one gets to know Hawl, however, this sensation of terror gradually recedes and is replaced with a deep fascination, a fascination that strikes some faster than others. This impression is deliberate, as Hawl does not want those who are not serious about seeking knowledge and the truth to become involved in matters beyond their ability to understand, or to learn so much that it makes them miserable. The Father of Terror's desire is only for those who truly desire understanding to be able to find it, by paying the appropriate cost of time and effort. Hawl is a curmudgeon, secretive and cryptic and occasionally brusk, but he can become very intimate in his dealings with those who take the time to get to know him well, and when he has decided to open up to someone, he will gladly reveal the secrets of the universe itself.

Getting to know Hawl is a process that is much like getting to know any subject. Hawl advocates learning, but he feels strongly that learning should also be protected from the casual and the uncertain. Knowledge is precious, and only meant for those who are willing to pay the price required to gain it, so Hawl and his worshipers work to make learning available, but not so available that anyone can just pick it up with the ease of touching a button. Those who truly follow Hawl are collectors of secrets, lore, and knowledge in all its forms, seeking to collect information, hoarding it, and sharing it as often as is possible. Hawl's worship, though, is less about the practical application of knowledge (which is instead part of the portfolio of Ink) and more in its compilation, protection, and dissemination. The truth is also of vital importance to Hawl and his followers, and his worshipers and clerics will never knowingly and voluntarily tell a lie; they might leave out important details of the truth, or mask their words cryptically, or else refuse to answer, but they will never outright lie.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
All of the clergy of Hawl are scholars as well as his servants, and are chosen for their love of learning. Hawl's clergy are the only clerics who can, indeed, study their way into gaining divine magic, and in fact Hawl expects all of those who wish to be his clergy to earn their place by achieving some degree of expertise in a field of academic learning before he is willing to grant them his power, even if that expertise is only that of an apprentice. Because of the highly cerebral nature of becoming a cleric of Hawl, many of his clerics are also multiclass wizards. The clerics of Hawl are readily identifiable by their long blue or black robes with mortarboard caps, though the headgear might be omitted for sake of practicality.

Most schools and libraries have at least a shrine dedicated to Hawl, where students can pay their respects and ask for Hawl's assistance in their studies. Some schools and libraries often are shrines to Hawl, while all of Hawl's temples are also places of learning as well as repositories of knowledge and lore, making them somewhere between an academy, a library, and a museum. The architecture of Hawl's temples often has a serpent motif, especially frightening images of cobras at the front to warn off those who are not willing to risk the dangers that come with learning, but beyond this they tend to be fairly simple and functional. Many of Hawl's temples also add stone lions or dogs on their front steps, as a way of asking for Talus' protection, much as many public buildings do.

The point of holidays escapes Hawl, who would rather spend his time learning, and he expects the same of his clergy. While he is willing to accept them taking breaks, understanding their mortal limitations, and even allows his followers to take part in the holy days of other gods, he still considers such behavior frivolous and something to be avoided as much as possible.

Keepers (from the Fiend Folio) of immense age and power are among Hawl's regular servitors, as he is said to have been their original creator; sadly, Hawl has lost control of most of the younger members of this race, and now they seek to hoard knowledge rather than trying to spread it, taking Hawl's belief that gaining knowledge should require effort too far. Spellweavers also pay homage to Hawl, and all but their heretics serve him implicitly. Sphinxes revere Hawl fanatically, as he is said to have had a principle hand in their creation, and all sphinxes, regardless of alignment, will follow his commands without question.

History and Relations:
The middle child of Bahamut and Tiamat's brood, Hawl was one half of a set of twins originally. His sibling, a sister, was slain in the war against the Fallen Ones, one of several casualties among the gods as well as the titans. She was in charge of truth, while Hawl was in charge of secrets, but after her death he had to shoulder both burdens of power. Because of the loss of his sister, Hawl despises the Dark One and Worm with a passion, and his worshipers hunt their worshipers wherever and whenever possible. He is also less than cordial with Lugscar, to put it mildly, because of their clash of personalities. Lugscar hates Hawl about as much as he hates everybody, though perhaps with a little more focus than he has on most others, but Hawl regards Lugscar as his personal antithesis, and would do away with him if it were possible. Hawl is also violently opposed to Swarm, regarding the tyrant god's tendencies to burn books and do away with places of learning in favor of state-sponsored indoctrination as solemn sacrilege. The claim that truth and beauty are the same thing isn't completely true, since Hawl and Wysha are separate deities, but these two deities do have an ongoing and passionate love affair that frequently causes their worshipers to work together in relative harmony. Thankfully for the peace of mortals as well as gods, Hawl is very understanding of Wysha's frequent dalliances outside their relationship, while Wysha is very understanding of Hawl's frequent obsessions. Ink is one of those obsessions, and Hawl and Ink have an on-again, off-again relationship that frequently involves Wysha, since Ink is one of her lovers as well, though Ink always remains just out of Hawl's reach, so that he can never possess her in the way that she possesses him.

Hawl, along with Talus and Lydia, act as the supreme judges of all the souls of the dead, with Hawl providing the Truth of each mortal's life, Talus the pure Justice needed to act, and Lydia the Love that gives mortals an opportunity to change, even past the coil of mortality, and perhaps to be reincarnated once more for another chance to get it right. Grimrose brings these souls to judgement (when he feels like it, that is), while Nimbus pleads for mercy on behalf of the mortal, and Sin Eater drags the souls of those judged off to be purified and made fit for their next state of being, be it reincarnation or movement to one of the Outer Planes. Hawl and Talus get along the best of all these deities, their foci of truth and justice meshing together quite well in most cases. Grimrose and Hawl are quite fond of each other as well, which is a significant reason why Grimrose has never been replaced by a more reliable deity.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
Secrets are Hawl's favored offerings. Those seeking his favor will often go to one of his shrines and whisper their secrets to his statues there, usually about once a month. Lavish offerings to Hawl include all manner of tomes, scrolls, books, and other means of storing knowledge, which are donated to the libraries connected to his temples.

Hawl is fascinated with mortals, finding their relatively blind state, compared to that of the gods, to be pitiable, but their eager searching for the truth is captivating. Because of his interest in mortals, Hawl is quite ready to help by providing assistance in unraveling puzzles, mysteries, and secrets, and those flashes of insight needed to truly understand knowledge once it has been perused. He also can lend aid to mortals trying to remember things, and many of his more favored clerics have eidetic memory, as a blessing directly from Hawl. However, though Hawl is happy to help in these matters, he only does so after mortals have truly exhausted every available means to solve a situation on their own, since he believes that this process of stretching the mental muscles for an extended period before enlightenment comes is the only way that mortals can properly learn.