Faiths of Blackmere
The Church of the Highfather is the most powerful faith present in the kingdom of Blackmere. Altius [ALL-tee-us] the Highfather rules the universe from his heavenly realm of Celestia as an omnipotent arbiter of justice and righteousness. As the state-supported church, it is at least the second most powerful organization in the kingdom—and some even claim that it wields greater might than the king himself. Certainly the church wields great military might, as typified by the Altian Knights, powerful holy warriors dedicated to Highfather’s service.
Though the Church claims that it follows only Altius, "the one true god," the past several centuries have seen worship of various subordinate deities and divine servants grow up around the main faith. Metron [MEH-tron], son of Altius, is worshipped as a benefactor of civilization, trade, and culture. Metron’s wife, Aasandra [ah-ZAHN-druh] watches over family life and the home. Their many offspring, called aasimon, are divine servants who, according to legend, walk the earth in the guise of old men or young children.
Two other significant faiths exist, though their existence is alternately denied or derided by the Church of the Highfather (that is, when the Church isn’t actively seeking to destroy them in one of its Purges). The worship of Erynis [eer-INN-iss], the Earthmother, dates back to thousands of years before Blackmere was first settled by humans. In fact, most scholars describe Erynis as merely an aspect of the elven goddess Anaerynsia, mother of the elven people. This nature goddess supposedly rules over all the aspects of the natural world, from beasts to vegetation and from weather to the stone of the earth itself (or herself, as the druids of Erynis say). Early in its history, the Church of the Highfather integrated Erynis into their religion as the wife of Altius, but current teachings claim that Erynis was actually a witch-goddess who seduced Altius, only to be slain by that god later when she attempted to kill their firstborn son, Metron. Erynis is still venerated by a druidical order (who are called witches or warlocks by the faithful of Altius). Despite her disfavor with the priests of Altius, she also retains many casual followers in agricultural lands.
The other "rogue" faith of Blackmere is the Ordo Templi Sethis (or Order of the Temple of Seth). This religious order, founded by a priest excommunicated from the Church of the Highfather nearly 500 years ago, worships the god Seth, the younger son of Altius and the brother of Metron. The templars of this dark order construct secret shrines to their god in the hidden bowels of the cities of Blackmere, as well as in dank caverns beneath the earth. Supposedly, Seth was cast from Celestia by Altius for attempting to slay his elder brother many centuries ago. Since then, his name has been stricken from prayers and books of worship, but is still whispered in curses and warnings of damnation. The faithful of Altius often claim that the Order is linked to the faith of Erynis, lumping the two groups together under the banner of "evil."
A strange new faith that has existed in Blackmere for only a few generations is the worship of Kamella [kuh-MEHL-uh] the Luckbringer. Supposedly brought by priests from across the Sea of Tempests, this faith is like nothing seen before in Blackmere. Despite having no permanent shrines or temples, the "guerrilla-style" preachings of Kamellans (as her priests are called) have successfully spread the faith among hundreds, if not thousands, across Blackmere.
The dwarves of the setting usually worship Moradin, though a few have joined the faith of Altius. All elves worship Anaerynsia, though this goddess has no clerics, only druids and rangers devoted to her faith. Halflings have no unique deities, instead worshipping human gods.
Some smaller, regional cults also exist, including the various Beast Cults (worshippers of specific animal totems), the mysterious Fireshapers, and others, but these are generally very small and/or limited to a small territory of influence. In addition, the barbaric peoples of the frozen north and distant south no doubt have their own pagan gods as well.
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All material copyright Andy Collins 2001-2008.