Category:Religion

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The powers worshipped throughout Avaria are as diverse as the world itself, ranging from an all-powerful creator god to pantheons of local deities to ancestral and nature spirits. The list below represents only the most common faiths likely to be encountered in the game, and is not by any means exhaustive.

The One God

Worship of the One God is perhaps the most widespread single form of belief in Avaria, but this worship takes many different forms. The Yehani and perhaps a few other peoples have followed the One God for over a millennium, with other cultures only later building their own particular structures of belief around the same deity. The general conception of the One God is relatively uniform across these different faiths, with each believing in the omnipotence and omniscience of the One God, and conceiving of this deity as the Dreamer of all things in existence. However, each separate faith adheres especially to the teachings of a particular prophet whom they believe to have brought the final and most perfect message of the God. The Yehani honor a variety of different prophets, the Kalentoi follow the teachings of Kalen, and the Azadi adhere to the practice of faith as conveyed through the poetry of al-Azadi. Other smaller branches of the same basic faith are spread about western Ruleska and parts of Idiri, with their own unique interpretations and customs.

The God of Good Thought

The followers of the God of Good Thought are known as Elestaarians after the original founder of the faith. Elestaari is native to the realms of the former Irzali Empire, though adherents of the God of Good Thought can be found scattered through much of central Ruleksa and other parts of the present-day Sirdabi Caliphate.

The God of Good Thought is neither all-powerful nor all-knowing, but rather relies on a willing partnership with mankind to promote all that is good in the world and to strive against the evil in it. Elestaari takes an overall positive and optimistic view of humanity, perceiving mortals as worthy partners of the God and fully capable of overcoming evil in themselves and the world around them, even if it takes continual striving. They also believe that while the true nature of the God may be unknowable to mortals in life, they are able to fully understand the will of the God through their reason and their innate knowledge of good. Since the God is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, Elestaarians need not struggle with the question of why the God might permit evil to be in the world, or allow terrible things to happen even to good people. Instead, evil forces are acknowledged simply to exist in the world, and the God has created humanity to aid in combating it. Elestaarians believe that the actions of virtuous humans are necessary to the struggle, and to create the most beautiful harmony of creation.

In fundamental Elestaarian dogma, the God of Good Thought struggles only against the general manifestation of evil in the world, and there is no true antithesis to the God, no divine antagonist consciously opposing him. Over time, however, it has become increasingly accepted by many practitioners of the faith that the Unbeing is the supreme evil force against which the God of Good Thought and his followers must fight. Although this is a deviation from the actual teachings of Elestaari, the majority of Elestaarians now accept this personification of the world's evil, perhaps in part influenced by followers of the One True God and their belief in the archfiend.

Elestaarians are often described as fire worshipers, which is a misrepresentation of their reverence of fire as the visible manifestation of the God's light and warmth. However, it is true that every temple to the God of Good Thought contains a sacred flame that is never allowed to go out save as part of certain rituals involving the ceremonial renewal of the fire. Elestaarians are also rumored to be practitioners of certain types of magic involving fire and sunlight. Indeed, a flame created by the manipulation of the light from the sun is considered the purest and most holy flame of all.

The Unbeing, the Other, the God That is Not

It is assumed by many that the entity known by these various names exists solely as part of the Elestaarian worldview, representative of the cosmic forces of darkness and disorder against which followers of the God of Good Thought strive. But in truth the Unbeing has existed -- in the minds of mortals if nowhere else -- for far longer than his supposed nemesis. Ancient oral traditions from millennia past speak of the Unbeing or the Other, and the earliest known written references to this strange and mysterious being go back as far as ancient Amunat. All this being so, it is uncertain how many people have ever actually worshipped this god or considered themselves its followers, despite occasional mention of propitiatory rituals and invocations of the god in matters of luck.

Despite its Elestaarian associations with evil, very little in the traditions associated with the Unbeing can in fact be classified as such. Shadows, reflections, delusions, and hallucinations all have been said to belong to the nebulous realm of the Unbeing; so do the hours of evening and morning twilight, the moments that lie between waking and dreaming, and often the world of dreams itself. Perhaps more than anything, the Unbeing embodies uncertainty and the unknown: chance, chaos, unformed matter, thoughts and ideas not quite realized, possibility and potential -- for good or ill. The Unbeing is, in short, not so much the God That is Not, as the God That is Not (Yet).

The Children of Dawn and Dusk

The Children of Dawn and Dusk are an assortment of pagan deities who collectively are said to reside atop the Pillar of Creation. They are divine in their extraordinary powers and their influence upon mortals, but often human-like in their passions and ambitions. They are neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but still can perform incredible feats beyond the reach of any mortal, and likewise have greater knowledge of past, present, and future than any human might hope for.

Once one of the most widespread religions in the lands around the Adelantean Sea, worship of the Children of Dawn and Dusk now persists in widely scattered locales, most notably the Ruveran kingdom of Jadniez and the city-states of the High Hinterlands. Other worshipers of the Children can be found in the more isolated pockets of far northern Ruvera and Altaruleska, as well as in pockets of Near Ruleska and northern Idiri, where they often blend with local shamanic traditions. For reasons unknown to all but those who worship them -- and perhaps not even to them -- all of the Children of the Dusk save for the goddess Neiru are said to have departed from the lands they once occupied, and in their distance are no longer touchable by the prayers and pleas of the faithful.

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