Powers and Principalities
Deities, Clerics, and Divine Power
Throughout Devanand, dragons are considered the avatars or physical manifestations of deities. However, there are more deities worshipped than there are dragons in the world. People still mentally view the other deities as dragons, or dragon-like. For example, Death is believed to be a ghostly black female, breathing darkness and corruption from her mouth and fanning it with her wings. In Jarayu, worship tends toward elemental and celestial deities. In Lalika, worship is confined to Janesh and Death. In Devidhyaan, the people tend to worship deities of nature: seasons, harvest and planting, field and forest. They also venerate deities of wisdom, knowledge, and change.
It is important to note that clerics have true power. Their prayers are often answered. The healings, blessings, and divinations are authentic. If dragons aren’t actually deities, and they are not, from where does the power come?
The dragons believe in their own gods. Bhanu reveres the moon as a representation of Sahoda, goddess of mystery, change, and healing. She is the being providing the Sacred Dreamers their prophetic dreams and visions. Mother Tarlah follows Shikshak, the Teacher, and Devidhyaan has been graced with wisdom and knowledge. However, when dragons acknowledge their deities they do so in a way that implies the gods are brothers and sisters, preserving the illusion that dragons are, themselves, deities.
Even though dragons are magically powerful, only the “lesser” races worship and venerate deities in such a way that they are granted access to divine power, a fact that terrifies many dragons.
The divine power of clerics is clearly not magical. It is accessed in a completely different manner, can accomplish things magic cannot, and has restrictions which magic does not. For example, no amount of spellcasting will heal an injury or cure an illness, and no amount of praying will move or shape stone, or pull fire from air. The two disciplines do overlap when it comes to enhancing a person’s abilities. Prayer and magic both can temporarily increase a person’s strength, stamina, or agility. Certain artisans can craft magical or blessed items that will increase attributes permanently, as long as the item is on the person and intact.
Dragons, drakes, and dragon-kin are inherently magical. Each species possesses specific abilities that enhance their potential for survival. However, any thinking creature can access the power of magic through knowledge of magical properties and the development of spells.
Magic is an inexhaustible energy that flows throughout the cosmos, an essential part of the fabric of space-time. Intelligent creatures can learn to access and manipulate this energy, creating specific desired effects, by using specific sounds, gestures, and materials. It takes years of diligent study to grasp the underlying rules governing the flow and manipulation of magic, and many more years of study and practice to master it.
Magic can be drawn, focused, and released as a spell with temporary effects, or it can be crafted into an item. Any artist or craftsman with enough skill and personal power and the right materials can create a magical item. The more skilled and powerful the craftsman is, the more powerful the item he or she can create. For most people, crafted items are the only contact with magic they will have. Casting spells is difficult and dangerous, both physically and politically.
How and why magical and divine powers differ is a matter for debate, the answers unknown to any except, perhaps, the true gods. Perhaps divine power is simply the manipulation of magic on a scale incomprehensible to mortal minds. This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The gorgeous photograph is courtesy of Amanda Lueckenhoff, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.