Followers of the Elemental Court
Religion on Iosterra is dominated by the pantheon of the Elemental Court. Worship of the elemental deities directly is rare however, with aspects of them being worshiped on a regional and cultural basis instead. The pantheon of the Elemental Court is comprised of the arch deities of Air, Darkness, Earth, Fire, Light, Mana, Void, and Water. Para-elemental deities exist too, reflecting the joining of the conventional elements and their divine offspring. These deities include Smoke, Lava, Steam and so on. Aspects are the local and regional gods worshiped by people around the world. Examples are the noble Atlili the Fire Lord and the unpredictable Garn the Consuming Flame (respectively worshiped by the Itlan humans and Dire Peaks gigants). Both are aspects of the same member of the Elemental Court, but are wildly different in attitude and demands of their worshippers. Most of the time, worshipers of aspects of the same deity are able to bridge their differences, but other times, they fall into rapid conflict. These are, by far, the most common religiously motivated conflicts on Iosterra. The pantheon of the Elemental Court has, collectively, the largest number of followers on Iosterra, but lacks any sort of true central organization. They are extremely regional in many ways, but they do share some bonds through their religious practices. In recent centuries, they have increasingly challenged by the Cult of the Four Dragons and the Way of the Numena. The Elemental Court does not care though; they were there for the creation of the world, and will be there long after these other gods are gone to dust.
Temples and temple complexes typically maintain their own small military forces for protection and to engage in their own efforts in the ruin filled wild lands. They fall, largely, into three types: Zealots are the soldiers of the Elemental Courts, and are skilled light combatants. Templars are holy warriors, blessed by an Elemental Lord with limited divine abilities. Theurgists are the battle clerics of the Followers, renowned for their divine magic.
The Followers of the Elemental Court possess no technologies or sciences not already possessed by the cultures that they are apart of. However, they do have superior communications capabilities, and can transport individuals and small groups across the world if needs be, allowing them to access expertise from outside their regions. This is done via ancient magitechology that is only found in the largest temples or well established temple complexes, the secrets of which they guard from the outside world.
Mythology & Lore
We were created by the elements, we are surrounded by the elements, we will return to the elements. The Elemental Court created Iosterra and the universe around it, and populated the world with its first life. Everything revolves around them, and the spirits who represent their will upon the earth. To worship them is to respect the ultimate creators, and their gift to the peoples of the world.
The Elemental Court has existed since before Iosterra, and are the "Lords" (they have no gender) of the elemental planes and the para-elemental planes. Their origins are unknown, as they have always been.
Surrounding the world and its universe are the elemental planes. One one axis are Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, as well as their para-elements, Ice, Lava, Silt, and Smoke. Like a bubble between them and the world is Mana, the elemental plane of life of magic. Around the outside, Void wraps it all and prevents the elements from spilling out into the unknown. And finally, circling around the configuration are Light and Darkness. Apart, they are strong, but together, all the elements were able to create a world, its universe, and maintain it.
The ethics passed on by the Followers of the Elemental Court are entirely dependent on the aspect that has dominance in that culture. The Hateful Fire and the Warming Blaze have very different attitudes towards helping others and social conduct for example. These will be explored more fully in the individual entries for each elemental deity.
Shrines, temples, and temple complexes are the normal places of worship, and are near or contain a representation of the element and aspect they worship. Simple prayers and offerings are the daily norm for most followers, with sacrifices (blood or non-blood, depending) being reserved for high holy days, major events, and large celebrations. Priests are generally only found in temples or temple complexes, with shrines being run by families or communities.
Granted Divine Powers
These vary by the Elemental Lord.
Political Influence & Intrigue
The Followers of the Elemental Court are at once a huge political block in most places, but at the same time a fragmented one. If the faith is exerting any sort of influence, it is more often than not because a sect or temple has succeeded in achieving a level of orthodoxy and strong political ties, and is either directly ruling the people or acting as advisors to the political powers that be (backed by the faithful).
There are many sects, some of which have reach across cultures, and some that are local only to a particular village or city. Notable sects will be covered in the individual entries for each elemental deity.