The State of Divinity

“Turn to the gods for salvation? What gods? The ones who were supposed to guide us through these lands? To protect us from the stalkers in the dark? They forsook us long ago, torn apart by their own quarrels, or tired of our own ceaseless wars.”   —Hecate the Mad, said to be the the last true saint of Syrrha

A Godless World

  Once, the gods were said to care about the Land. Once, they were said to guide its people forwards through the darkness.   No more.   The gods care nothing for the land, or the squabbles of those who try to destroy it. They did not guide its people through darkness. They guided them into darkness. And left them there.   Some say the gods have left this reality entirely. Others that they have simply withdrawn back to Haven, the realm of divinity and peace from whence they came. Maybe they were banished, maybe they fled, maybe they departed in disgust.   Maybe they were driven mad by the colossal failure of their creations.   Regardless of what really happened, one thing is true: since the Ashen War, the gods that once led their peoples to safety and prosperity have lapsed into utter silence.  

A Deserted People

  After so many generations, many are starting to doubt that the gods ever existed, if they were nought but the ravings of the ancestors. Others try to uphold the dogmas of their former deities. These few that remain faithful - or retain some twisted degree of it - are viewed with disdain in some places, reverence and fear in others. Isolated from their gods for so long, many of these churches and self-proclaimed saints often skew their deity’s dogma out of its true meaning to suit their own needs.   In these days, the reception of religion varies from region to region and town to town. In some parts of the world, many of both the common folk and those of higher class remain devoutly attached to the old gods. They place their faith in the few remaining saints and prophets, holding on to a hope that the gods will return to save the land. Founded or not, such desperate faith is easily manipulated. Churches exact heavy tithes on the people of a village. New cults spring up every day, despite the better efforts of so-called "holy orders" - who themselves are riddled with corruption.   Other regions, far be it from them to be undermined by their perception of "corrupt, baseless faith", view religion with great prejudice, and often outright reject it. To them, they are forward thinkers. To outsiders, they are cruel, heretical, and just as corrupt as those they seek to avoid.  

The Pantheons of The Bloodless Land

 
"If the meaning of life really is living, you'd think our righteous gods'd put aside petty wars and help us doomed bastards down here on the surface. Nah. I think they're just as sadistic as we are. We're their experiment, a game they play with the universe. The universe is winning."
 

The Young Gods

  Nearly five centuries ago, humans arrived on Ravengrin. They came in peace, refugees from across the seas. They brought with them new customs, cultures, technology ... and new gods. The human pantheon was one of power and ambition, impersonal to the masses. Now known in a pseudo-derogatory means as the Young Gods, with the human victory of the Ashen War, they have become the primary faith of Ravengrin.   There are six deities in the human pantheon. None are considered inherently greater than the others, though there is great variance in the prevalence of each deity's worshippers.  

Prion, the Starfather

God of Creation, Learning, and the Cosmos   The foremost of the Young Gods, Prion is believed by the humans to have been the first to unlock the secrets of the universe. It is believed that all magic stems from him. His followers strive to gain and gather knowledge, and discovery is his greatest tenet. In years previous, The Church of Prion was a major political mover, but with the collapse of the Eitridean empire, its significance has decayed.   Prion is depicted as an old man, his colossal strength tempered only by his ancient wisdom. His symbol is a featureless mask with two perfectly almond shaped eyes, surrounded by stars and planets.  

Syrrha, the Redeemer

Goddess of Endurance, Sacrifice, and Redemption   Syrrha is likely the currently most worshipped deity in Ravengrin. As the goddess of endurance, her followers have been particularly active in recent years. Her church is possibly the largest faction in Ravengrin, based in Valendost. They seek to bring hope to the dying land ...   Or so they say. In reality, the Church of Syrrha is inwardly corrupt, and in this day, followers of Syrrha with truly pure motive are a rarity, even moreso within the clergy.   Syrrha is depicted as a beautiful, winged woman with golden hair, dressed in grey, white, or red. Her symbol is a red hand grasping a broken, golden chain.  

Morsis, the Honorsworn

God of Honor and Valor   Morsis is the god of paladins, of zealots, of chivalrous orders and cult-hunting clerics. To Morsis, deception, betrayal, and subterfuge are the greatest sins, while truth and valor are to be revered and rewarded. Undead are an abomination, and innocent life, if it can, should be protected with utmost reverence. Conversely, justice and the greater good should be upheld at all cost, even to the detriment of the individual.   Since the Ashen War, there has always been - and, most say, will always be - a presence of Morsis' followers in Ravengrin. This devotion comes most often in the form of orders of holy warriors, dedicated to upholding their god's teachings. Sometimes, these organizations are truly pure, but those that are rarely last, or remain so. Instead, they often lose sight of their initial dogma, their eyes clouded by law and power, as many say Morsis himself has been.   Morsis is depicted as a fearless, six-winged knight, his eyes and hair waves of searing light. His symbol is a large, left-facing falchion, flanked by two red wings.  

Sephira, the Seraph of Graves

Goddess of Mercy and Death   Sephira is the only deity in the human pantheon not to have been the original one of her dogma to lead the humans to Ravengrin. Her predecessor, Aurus, was killed during the Ashen War. It is said that Sephira was chosen from Aurus' servants as a replacement. Her divine duty is to guide the dead into the next life, to ease the passing of those whose time is near, to bring comfort to the ones who suffer, and to sometimes prevent an untimely demise, especially if it conflicts with her own divine machinations.   Sephira is seldom worshipped in Ravengrin. She is, however, the deity in whose name priets bless graves by, and by whom gravediggers swear. Her sigil can be a symbol of foreboding, or a means of comfort in times of mourning.   Sephira's depiction varies, muddled between Aurus' and her own. Generally, she is portrayed as a woman, cloaked and hooded in tattered grey garb. Her symbol's appearance also changes, but usually involves some combination of a boat, stars, and tears.  

Athes, the Warfire

God of Conquest, War, and Ambition   Athes is the most unpredictable and impersonal of the Young Gods. He is the god of conquest and conflict, though these more violent attributes are sometimes tempered by zealotry, and ambition. His devotees are soldiers, from the common infantryman to the greatest general. Nearly every human soldier burns prayers to Athes, or at least utters a verbal prayer of supplication to him, before going into battle.   Common folk view Athes with a healthy level of fear and respect, but any Eitridean with even liminal understanding of human history understands that humankind owes Athes an unpayable debt. Not only was it he who scouted the new land as a haven for humankind, but without him, the Ashen War would surely have been lost. It is also because of this that, for obvious reasons, Athes is the human deity most despised by the First Kind.   Athes is depicted as an impossibly tall man in ancient armor. His symbol is that of a spear pierced through a helmet, the head of which is often stylized as a three-pronged flame.  

Hallas, the Slumbering Destruction

Goddess of Destruction and Fire   Even for humans, Hallas is an obscure deity among the Young Gods. It is believed that even before the arrival of humans on Ravengrin, Hallas was stepping back from divine intervention. Since the Ashen War, her few followers have dwindled almost into nonexistence. Human lore and prophecy says that Hallas has entered into a great sleep. It is prophesied that she will one day awake, to bring total destruction to all the world. She will purge all life from the planet, to begin again without the mistakes of the past age.   Hallas is portrayed as a tall woman with skin like black, cracked ash, wreathed in flame. Two flame-green wings sprout from her shoulders, and different depications show her with varying stages of clothing.  

The Elder Gods

  The Elder Gods are said to have been the first to walk the lands of Ravengrin, after the death of Verndari. They are the deities and, most say, progenitors of the First Kind, and it is by them that they are worshipped with fervor and exclusivity.   The First Kind say that with the coming the humans and the Young Gods, the Elder Gods faded out of existence, their peoples destroyed by war, many of their own number killed or injured. Different legends among many different races say that the Elder Gods will one day return from a time of rest, to mete out revenge and justice for the wrongs done to them.   Regardless of these legends, worship of the Elder Gods has dwindled out of prevalence since founding of Eitridea, and continues to do so after its collapse.  

Astaf, Sixit, and Kirth, the Elvenhost

Deities of the Elves   The elves are ancient and proud, and so are their gods. In the lore among the First Kind, the three goddesses of the Elvenhost, formed from Verndari's heart, were said to be the first of the Elder Gods to lay eyes upon the land of the Raven. Their minds were the first to eclipse its great, suffusing need for balance, and it is towards that that they, and all of elvenkind, strive to achieve.   Astaf, the Lifesong, is said to be the greatest of all the gods, and her domains are those of life and death, growth and decay, creation and destruction. Her creations, the wood elves, seek to commune with, protect, and maintain the balance of nature.   Sixit, Astaf's elder daughter, is the Rulesong. She is the goddess of knowledge, art, and craft. Her followers, the high elves, seek to learn and build from of nature, to improve its imperfections. They are those that erect massive woodland cities in their goddess' name.   Kirth, Astaf's second daughter, is the Changesong. She is the goddess of death and mutation, of beasts and unnatural creatures. The dark elves are her devoted followers, and in the eyes of outsiders, their only goal is to destroy, pervert, and corrupt nature.  

Moraed and Kreian, the Crucible

Deities of the Dwarves   To outsiders, the dwarves have a single deity: Moraed, the Firefather. To them, he encapsulates all of dwarven culture: he is the god of fire, of craft, of war, and of family. And it is true, all dwarves serve Moraed with avid reverence. The dwarves believe him to be the fire that purifies metal and burns away opposition. Kreian, the Bondmaker, is the other dwarven deity. She is far less known to outsiders, though just as important to the dwarves themselves. She is the goddess of protection, zealotry, and strategy. She is the water, the coolant that tempers savagery into deadliness. Together, they form the Crucible, the divine device though and in which all dwarves are forged. Dwarven legend say they were formed from the mountains, from Verndari's bones.   In times past, dwarves worshipped both of their gods with great reverence and greater exclusiveness. With the great schism that drove the dwarven race apart, however, many of the Pactmaker dwarves have begun to worship the Young Gods.   Even among the Honorsworn, who view the Young Gods with deep animosity and disgust, religion is declining. Even they, known for their faith being beyond tenacious, begin to doubt the long absence of their gods.  

Grate and Vial, the Witchery

Deities of the Orcs   The orcish Witchery, bred from Verndari's Talons, are the most unpredictable and atypical of the Elder Gods. Atypical in that unlike the others of their pantheon, their creations possess a much more marked freedom from their gods. The dichotomy between Witch-eyed and Witchery is not one of subservience and rulership, but of mutual respect.   This is not to say the orcs do not model themselves and their culture after their god. It is quite contrary to this, in fact. The orcs believe their gods encapsulate all of orcish culture. Grate, known as the Right Talon, is the god of freedom, endurance, and craft. Vial, the Inner Beast, is the goddess of savagery, justice, and vengeance.   As with all of the First Kind, the orcs' faith in their gods has waned. After three centuries of hardship and exile, they have reasonably begun to question the presence - or even existence - of their gods. Now, many orcs believe that it is time to take matters into their own hands, to forsake the ways of old - the gods of old - and forge new paths forward.  

Saitra and Rind, the Skyhost

Deities of the Dragonborn   The gods of the dragonborn, or the Skyhost, as they are known, are a unique case. For while they are unequivocally of the number of the Elder Gods, their creations are not considered of the First Kind.   The dragon gods do not have domains in the way their contemporaries do. Rind, the Pearl Dragon, is simple the Creator, the one to breathe life into all of dragon kind. Saitra, the Rose Dragon, is the Perfector, the one who guides the dragonborn through the land. Both are worshipped with equal reverence.
All articles images (including cover art) owned and produced by Free League Publishing, from their Symbaroum product.

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