Uthkalas is the powerful city-state ruled by an enigmatic, immortal group of beings bound to statues, known as the Fathers. In ancient times, it was a non-descript trading town straddling the Great Road on the slopes of the great mountains. Despite its small size it was riven with feuding and violence between the petty merchant houses that wielded power.
Legend has it that one day, a humble man was cutting wood in the mountains when he heard a voice speak to him. The voice claimed it was of a previously slumbering god, and promised to lead Uthkalas to peace and greater glory if they could only provide a host for his power. The man saw the wisdom of the voice and fetched the town’s ruling merchants to the mountainside. The voice introduced itself as Batal and, upon universal acclimation of the merchants, became the First Father. Uthkalas sculpted a great and forbidding gemstone-studded statue to host Batal’s power and placed it in their hall. From there, Batal began to guide Uthkalas to power. Its neighbors were conquered and razed, leaving Uthkalas in firm control of local trade. Batal sent his followers out to find and retrieve his brethren; carrying gemstones to use as temporary hosts, they found other benevolent gods and brought them back to Uthkalas to place them in new statues.
This is the legend but the truth of the Fathers is far less clear; their origins, their intent, and their benevolence. Uthkalas’ power is maintained through a stranglehold on trade through the Renkat Mountains and by force of arms. The society the Fathers has built is rigid, hierarchical, and oftentimes brutal. Their statues, seven in all, are hosted in the great Hall of the Fathers in the city’s center. The statues cannot fully sustain their power; over time, they blacken and begin to deform such that a new statue must be carved and the Father transferred to it through a elaborate ritual.
Each Father has a distinct personality and their statue representations are individualized. It is said that they can hear anything said within Uthkalas as they inhabit every stone within its thick walls. Smaller statues and representations of them are ubiquitous; from monoliths on the roads outside the city walls to personal totems carried by citizens and soldiers. All other gods are considered to be false and their worship is forbidden. Carrying or displaying a holy symbol of a god such as Iluvitar will bring at best a warning and at worst a beating.