Deities and Belief
The Powers That Be on Erde are primal. They are the essences of natural phenomena. They are not separate from the mortal world, but an essential part of it: awakened and aware by the virtue of belief in their existence.
Religion on Erde is not yet organized. Yes, there are temples and shrines and places where people gather to revere a deity together or to seek help. Yes, there are those called to closer relationships with the deities, people who dedicate their lives to one or more of the deities. But the people don’t worship so much as venerate. There isn’t a sense of loyalty or duty or following so much as deep respect and love and, sometimes, fear.
The deities themselves are many and varied. Nearly every person acknowledges Sun and Moon, Land and Sky. Those near the coast accept the Sea as well, while those inland often revere deities of lakes, rivers, and streams. There are local deities, too: Kogo Mountain, and DeepWood, and Silver Water Falls: spectacular natural places where the awe of thinking beings has awakened the spirit of the place. There are little deities too, who often remain nameless. They wake in the house where a family has lived for generations. The family loves their home, and their home loves them back. They wake in quiet places where people go to think and meditate: small pools, and quiet groves. It is in these places that dryads and nixies and the like are born, gaining substance over time. A dryad doesn’t live in a tree; a dryad is the tree.
The deities are not male or female. They do not have sway over specific spheres of influence either. In some places the sun is revered as a warm and loving father. In other places the sun is a grandmother, burning with anger. Some people revere the moon as the pale lady of gentle healing. Other people believe he is the lord of wisdom shining softly in the dark to show the way. There are many facets to each of the deities, and every person develops a unique relationship with them.
None of the deities could be classified as good or evil. A mountain just is. The sun brings warmth and new life to cold places with the same light and heat that burns the desert dry. The deities bestow their powers and gifts on those who ask because that is what deities do, is it not? They withhold their powers and gifts sometimes too, because that is also what deities do. They do not lie, or plot and scheme, or vie for supremacy. But, like the dryad, they are gaining substance over time. They were awakened by belief, and are shaped by that belief. And they are learning.
They are learning.
As mortal belief evolves, the deities evolve as well. Among the changes in recent millennia is the creation of three new, separate beings: Death, Time, and Tide. Death was once a separate aspect of Life, the twins of being. But when a broken, twisted, overly ambitious cleric tried to ascend to godhood the whole world suffered. It took great sacrifice to end the cleric’s mad schemes and the Earth itself, wakened from its normal slumber, paid the price. In that aspect, he became known as the Drowned King. From that the aspect of Death became a separate entity. Death is known by many names, but the three most ancient ones are the Drowned King, the Mistress of Ravens, and the Hunter of Shadows. The Hunter once more stalks the land as another mad fool seeks power not meant for mortal hands.
When the Earth sacrificed herself, she also lent some of her Essence to both Moon and Sea who, having watched the mortals for eons, wished for children of their own. Moon and Death combined and brought forth Time. Sea and Life combined and brought forth Tide. The birth of the Twins was cataclysmic, destroying the temple in which the Rituals were performed, and inundating the coast with a massive tidal wave. Now the Twins have been captured, stripped of their memory and powers, and cast naked (quite literally) into the mortal world.
Moon and Sea love each other as only siblings can. They are also jealous of one another, as only siblings can be. Each has been deceived and made to believe that the other is responsible for the disappearance of their sons. And that is the beginning to the campaign titled The Sons of Moon and Sea.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.