The question of faith has been asked of the stars for many years, and there are many religions in the world of Althanas. Some countries, such as Raiaera, are very strict in their laws on such things, but not all regions are as close-minded.

[top]Church of The Etherial Sway

As the official state religion of Salvar, The Church of the Ethereal Sway once held nearly unchallenged authority over the country's people. It was once perhaps the largest and most powerful religion in the known world. However, when the Church and Salvar's king, Iorlan Rathaxea, began to squabble, civil war between the factions broke out. This conflict resulted the death of the monarch and the weakening of both the aristocracy and the church. The two sides have since reconciled and the Ethereal Sway works to steadily recover and rebuild. It remains the official and most widely practiced faith in Salvar.

The religion itself centers on worshiping a pantheon of mysterious spirit-beings, the Ethereal Sway. Religious texts state that they traveled to Salvar from another world and guided its early rulers along the path of greatness for their fledgling country. After leading Salvar to a golden age of peace and prosperity, the Sway vanished. No one has had direct contact with them for a thousand years. The Church itself formed to continue guiding the kingdom according to the tenets of their divine benefactors. They claim that by upholding the proper laws and moral values and living righteously, they will prove themselves worthy and the Ethereal Sway will return to guide them once more.

The official head of the Church is known as the Justice. Historically appointed by the king, the Justice is now elected by the League of Nobles as part of the peace agreement between church and state. The position currently remains empty, with the elder clergy leading the Church for the time. The last Justice, Lev Testhan, was slain by Ashiakin and his cohorts during the civil war.

The Church was a law unto itself during the height of its power, trying and executing traitors, witches, and heretics for a wide variety of crimes, perceived or otherwise. These included witchcraft, corruption, demonology, and heresy. Some of the more radical agents even spoke out and acted against non-humans (though Dark Elves and Dwarves seemed largely exempt due to a long-standing Salvic alliance with Alerar.) The fearful image of a black-robed witch hunter brandishing a torch and the emblem of the All-Seeing Eye remains a common nightmare to this day -- a story that mothers often tell misbehaving children. Large-scale witch-hunts rarely happen anymore, due to the terrible losses that the Church suffered during the civil war. Still, they were once commonplace enough to perpetuate fear, just as the Church leaders wanted.

Despite their dark stigma, the Ethereal Sway performs many good works across the region. Their witch hunters root out infernal forces, necromancers, and other very real threats to civilization. The power of faith once maintained order and internal peace in the kingdom, and even after the civil war, it provides a bastion against chaos and bloodshed. Their holiest saints perform great and mysterious miracles. Their missionaries feed and clothe the poor, and help rebuild villages after natural disasters, and their churches always welcome weary travelers and the homeless.

The Ethereal Sway's core doctrines and tenets include nationalism, selflessness, devotion to duty, and submission before authority. They encourage daily prayer so that individuals may attempt to communicate with their missing gods and seek guidance and visions. Its most revered saint was Denebriel, a nationalistic and seemingly immortal woman who would vanish for centuries and reappear during times of need. She last returned to lead the faithful during the civil war, but was allegedly killed near the war's end. Many now view her as the holiest of martyrs and others believe that she will return again in a future century.

The faith also preaches purity of body and thought, which includes alarmingly anti-magic rhetoric. Most scholars point to the War of the Tap as the reason for this condemnation. The Ethereal Texts, the Church's holy documents, contain pages upon pages of historical tales supposedly told by the spirits of the Ethereal Sway themselves. Many of these records described the ancient war and the catastrophic destruction wrought by magic run wild. Other accounts tell of demonic influences and claim that magic can corrupt the mind and scar the soul. The Sway prophecies even say that the world will end in sorcerous fire, and as such pyromancy is especially hated and feared.

While magic itself is not fully illegal, it remains sanctioned, supervised, and controlled by the Church. The most notable arcane agents of the Sway are the Empowered Priests, robed men and women armed with unique iron spears who command wind, lightning, and ice, and the Aeromancers, high in their towers using magic to tame the region's harsh weather. Even after the civil war, witch-hunters still venture across the countryside and through city streets to hunt warlocks, rogue sorcerers, and those believed to consort with demons. Meanwhile, other agents hide within secret dungeons, studying and experimenting on sorcerers, shamans, and other arcane practitioners.

Even in its diminished state, the Church remains vigilant, doing its best to stamp out any magical influence not under its control before it spreads like an infection. The age is changing, however. The resources of the Church have been stretched thin as it struggles to recoup its losses and reassert its authority. Will magic surge back to prominence or will the Church eventually regain its hegemony in the kingdom?

The oldest surviving written text speaks in sparse detail of three things: the Old Gods, a vast civilization of Ancients who feared and worshiped them, and the Great Calamity, a world-spanning disaster that washed away the Ancients in a tide of war and fire. From that fire stepped the Thayne.

Currently the Thayne are worshiped openly in Corone and Scara Brae, although their influence has spread to other regions in smaller ways, most notably in Alerar, where the Elder Thayne Khal'jaren is worshiped by King Edari'axa.

[top]Fallien Religion

The main religion (and only religion supported by the Jya and her priestesses) is the worship of Suravani, the moon goddess. The Jya, as mentioned previously in this guide, is thought to be Suravani incarnate. She is served by her priestesses –representatives from the surviving tribes- and is thought to rule justly. It is said that there are tribes living still in certain of the ruins, however, who do not worship Suravani. These tribes, instead follow her brother, Mitra, in the Cult of the Sun. Little is known of their worship at this time, except that it is, ironically, far darker than that of the Jya.

[top]Dheathain Religion

Fuileadan Faith (Drakari)

The Drakari are ruled by their religion. They live by its rules and through their devotion hope to enter their eternal resting ground when they die. Their religion is ritualistic, highly superstitious at times, and sacrificial. Though the Fae have worked for generations to spread their "more enlightened" beliefs, little change has come. The Flame Caste shepherds the Drakari spiritually and resist any change.

The Fuileadan, very roughly translated to "divine blood", worships the Progenitors who the Drakari believe created them. The religion claims that these ancient dragons, fueled by their spiritual might and purity and the devotion of their followers, ascended to divinity so that they might watch over their children until the end times. Each of the four Progenitors rules over a certain aspect of Drakari life and are each associated with one of the four Draconic Virtues.

  • Chalazae the Ebony represents war and violence and embodies the virtue of Anger.
  • Piospius the Cobalt rules over all knowledge and learning and embodies the virtue of Wisdom.
  • Soervia the Verdant is a god of fertility and prosperity, embodying the virtue of Greed.
  • Noazoth the Pale is the guardian of the sea, earth, and sky and the god of the seasons, embodying the virtue of Patience.

Each of the four has his or her own Temple, Priests (or Priestesses), and Acolytes dedicated for them. Prayers and sacrifices to specific Progenitors are done in their respective temples or at home if the Drakari has their own private altar to their chosen god. Smaller towns and villages usually only have one Temple dedicated to all four and thus anyone may pray or sacrifice to whomever they please. The Great Temple at Suthainn similarly services the entire pantheon, but has the space to feature an altar for each as well as one huge altar at the top of its steps.

Needless to say, the Progenitors are very different gods than the Thayne worshiped elsewhere, embodying inhuman virtues. Portrayed as vast, alien forces, they demand constant appeasement through worship and sacrifice. The Drakari caste system, surprisingly, does not feature prominently in Drakari religious doctrine. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, the castes did not originally exist (see the Caste section above). Second, with one's caste already strongly linked to their physical forms, spiritual reinforcement is rarely needed to keep all members in their places.

The Fae's Spiritual Beliefs

Unlike the Drakari, the Fae do not worship any gods. As magical beings, they see themselves as closer to the divine than other 'lower' races. Instead, they follow a philosophy of empowering themselves and believe that in doing so, they bring themselves even closer to divinity.

Essentially, they believe in evolution of the spirit. According to their spiritual philosophy, such evolution is how the Fae first came to be, that deeper understanding and true mastery of the mind and soul elevates one above mortality. For the religious amongst the Fae, it is a constant process, a journey toward divinity. The most spiritually enlightened Fae sometimes shed much of their elemental aspect, supposedly pursuing a higher, purer divine energy.

The Fae believe there are twelve different houses of learning for the soul to go through. These can be as simple as learning to put others above oneself, or even the other way around for one who gives too much but never to themselves. They do not yet know everything or completely understand all of this, but they continue to explore their own spirituality and debate it constantly in open forums.

Twin Lore

Twins are an extremely celebrated occurrence in Fae Lore, for many different reasons. Some Fae theorize that twins are of a higher spiritual standing and were brought into the world to teach those around them lessons. Others believe it is the soul within the twin Fae themselves that is there to learn a specific lesson, and usually more than one. One thing that does remain constant is that all Fae believe twins are born of one soul separated into two bodies. Twins are more common among Fae than any other race on Althanas. Though always identical in looks, their personalities are quite different, classified as either "Compliments" or "Contrasts". One twin may be extremely energetic and carefree, the other more reserved, quiet and cautious, etc. While all Fae twins share a unique supernatural connection, some possess a link more powerful than others. In rare but notable cases, one twin will feel the pain of the other, and sometimes even drop mysteriously dead when the other twin perishes.

[top]Raiaera Religion

Raiaera, while lacking an institutional religious establishment, does observe certain religious practices and hold to a certain “pantheon” of gods and goddesses. Their de facto religious leaders are the members of the High Bard Council, itself headed by the Cora'Lindstra, who presides at the major events of Raiaeran religious life. Although lacking a concrete schedule of religious observance, there are a few holy days that are observed strictly.

Raiaerans could be considered deist. They do not believe the gods and goddesses intervene directly in the world except in extreme circumstances. Such circumstances have been rare in history; only the creation of the elves and the cursing of the Black Desert are believed to be examples of direct intervention on the part of the pantheon of Raiaera.

Despite this inactive pantheon, Raiaerans still take their religion seriously. Their foundational mythology believes that they are called to spread the light of art, beauty, and song to the world. They are sure that they will, at the end of time, be judged by their gods and goddesses based on the merits of their successes; if they were faithful, they will take their place as the fruits of the Star Tree, Manwelindomë. If they were not, they will forever be bound to the land.

The Elvish Pantheon

  • Aurient, the Star Mother. She granted the Raiaerans the benefit of resilience to disease at the creation.
  • Galatirion, the Sky Father. He gave the Raiaerans the benefit of extended life, so as to taste part of the immortality of the heavens.
  • Earlon, the Rain-Star. He gave the gift of the seas to the Raiaerans, a gift which later vanished when the best shipwrights were banished with the Dark Elves.
  • Arddunwë, the Sweet-Star. This star-god gave the gift of physical beauty and an appreciation of art to the Raiaerans.
  • Cuarye, the Swift-Star, gave the gift of archery, bowmaking, and dexterity to the elves.
  • Megillion, the Silver-Star, whose gift was of working in precious metals and ores, and of swordplay and sword-forging.
  • Selana, the Young-Star, gave the greatest gift of all: memory, that the Raiaerans might remember the star-magic and keep alive the melodies of heaven on the surface of the earth.

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