Religion

Summary

The Pantheon of Skyrthorn revolves around three gods – the brothers Lofwyr, Strohm, and Daylin – and one demon – known simply as The Other. While all three religions agree that the three gods are brothers and that the true name of The Other should never be spoken, that is about all they have in common. In the thousands of years since the founding of the religions they have largely devolved from each other to the point where they are almost entirely incompatible with each other. In recent times this scism has been expanding ever wider, and extremists in each religion are pushing the view that their's is the one true god, and the other gods are but tricks of The Other designed to corrupt humanity and allow his re-entrance to the world.

Most of the population nominally belongs to one of the three religions, though the actual level of devotion varies from person to person. The level of belief is generally higher in the country and among those with riskier professions, than it is in the towns and citites. The country-folk are also more likely to be broadly polytheist, attending the major festivals of all religions, as well as practice their chosen religion on a day to day basis.

In the towns and cities the divisions are more obvious, with attendance at another religion's services is neither sought nor welcomed. Although the general level of religious belief is lower in towns, the level of extremisim is higher. It is in the towns that the preaching of the monotheistic one true religion sects is most often heard, proving especially popular with the young and the poor. This has left some towns divided into ghettos, where the believers of each religion would neither dare nor desire to cross into another's area, fearing the corrupting influence of those false religions and – perhaps more importantly – the very real risk of violence.

The one thing that all creeds – and even those who profess no creed – agree on is the existence of The Other. Variously portrayed as a demon, a fallen and corrupted human, or even as the half-brother of the gods, The Other is the personification of evil. His true name is neither spoken nor written down for fear that it will summon him back to the earth, from where he was banished eons ago by the combined power of the gods. Even to name him as The Other causes many to fear his corruption and to perform superstitions to ward off his attention – mumbled blessings, throwing dirt over the shoulder, and spitting to right and left being among the more popular.

Lofwyr

  • Adherents
    • Lofites
  • Element
    • Earth
  • Power base
    • Northern Skyrholme
  • Afterlife
    • Lofities do not believe in corporeal life after death, and believe that the soul leaves the mortal realm at the moment of death and can never return (at least not to a mortal body). They view the alleged resurrection rituals performed by the Daylinites as an insult to the gods, for only the gods have the power to create the soul required to animate a mortal shell. As a matter of theology any resurrected person can be treated as an object rather than a person. Thus, for example, one could no more murder a resurectee than one could murder a stone. This is a rather abstract debate, however, because the Daylinites refuse to confirm or deny performing the ritual, and no convincing proof has ever been put forward that anyone has ever been resurrected.
    • A soul's position in the afterlife depends on how they conducted their mortal life. Those who die a heroic death in battle, or who have led a good life – known as The Beloved – are allowed immediate entry to Lofwyr's Hall. The rest – known as The Shunned – must cross the Infinite Plain that surrounds the hall, battling the forces of The Other all the way. If they reach Lofwyr's Hall and knock three times upon the door then they are permited entrance. Some who don't make it are downed in battle with The Other, their souls destroyed utterly. Others fall to the seduction of the enemy, and become willing additions to The Other's hordes
    • Lofities are buried in the welcoming earth together with many religious symbols (as ornate and expensive as the family can afford) to display how pious the departed was, along with arms and armour to protect them should the display of piety not gain them immediate entrance to the hall. In ancient times, the most powerful were occasionally buried with an entire entourage of servants and bodyguards to help him cross the infinite plain. Whether this was through willing devotion to a much loved leader, or something more coercive is not clearly recorded.
  • Major Feasts
    • Long Night
      • It is said that the Infinite Plain approaches closer to the earth at night, and retreats during the day. The longest night of the year brings the Infinite Plain brushing against the boundaries of the mortal world, and occasionally it can even break through. This is the time of ghosts and demons, when doors are locked and windows are shuttered against the night. The faithful Lofites spend the night in prayer at church or in the home, asking Lofwyr to hold tight the bounds of the mortal world and keep the denizens of the Inifinte Plain from breaking through.
    • Earth Abides
      • Held the day after Long Night, Earth Abides is a celebration of life and of surviving another Long Night. The day starts with a dawn service praising Lofwyr, and thanking him for defending the Earth as he did long ago. Once the service is over the people return home to celebrate with feasting, drinking, dancing, and song. It is a day for family and friends, for forgetting the fights and feuds of the previous year. It is the one day, when the otherwise rather lawbound and stuffy Lofites really let their hair down. In the cities it is mostly a family affair, but in the country it is common for whole towns and villages to celebrate together in the hall. It is also said that a child conceived on Earth Abides is especially blessed by Lofwyr, although it's unknown whether the copious quantities of wine and ale help or hinder the process.
  • Security
    • For general day to day matters, the Lofites largely default to the ruling power of the King and place their trust in the law. Most of the most famous legal scholars over the generations have been high ranking members of the Lofites, and debates on the finer points can last for years. That is not to say that the Lofites think the law is flexible, far from it! They are known for their iron clad application of the law. Even where there is debate, once an interpretation of a law is decided upon it will be applied in exactly that manner for centuries. All the most senior lawyers and judges are almost without exception graduates of the famous Lofite-run law school in Skyrthorn. Their critics charge that this is an old-boys network, controlling access to everything from law school places to appointments to the highest levels of the judiciary. While this is possibly true to some extent, it also cannot be denied that the standard of both teachers and students at the school far exceeds any other law school in the land.
    • It is worth noting that due to their control of the judiciary the direction of the law tends to follow the beliefs of the Lofities to a degree, especially in the more arcane and theoretical areas. So, for example, Resurrection is a crime, and a resurectee has no rights to property, or even to their own safety.
    • The Lofites also maintain a relatively small, but elite force known as The Defenders who are tasked with defending the property of the church and acting as an internal police force. On rare occasions they are also tasked with investigating the most serious cases of suspected treason, The Other worship, or similar crimes.

Strohm

  • Adherents
    • Strohmish
  • Element
    • Water
  • Power base
    • South Western and Southern Skyrholme

Daylin

  • Adherents
    • Daylinites
  • Element
    • Fire
  • Power base
    • Central Skyrholme

The Other

  • Adherents
    • No large-scale organised worship, though persistant rumours of group know as the Marshalls of the Night's Dawn has led to them being called Marshalls.
  • Element
    • Void
  • Power base
    • None, though rumours of black temples secreted in hidden city vaults or remote mountain hideouts do make the rounds every few years.

 

Religion

The Betrayers farrago