Religions

Lucent

Worshiped nearly universally throughout the human nations, Lucent is an omnipotent deity who watches over and guides all the civilized people of Shard. Over the years, views of Lucent have developed and diverged, leading to the birth of many different but for the most part peacefully coexisting sects, all worshiping different representations of the same deity.

The Endless King

The earliest aspect of Lucent and still by far the most popular, worshipers of The Endless King see Lucent as a stern but benevolent creator and guardian. He has watched over humanity since he first shaped the world, and will continue to do so through the rise and fall of kingdoms into eternity. He created magic as a gift to mankind, but many believe that he has grown displeased with how they have used it and now seeks to wipe it from existence again. The King’s disciples believe that while their god chooses not to influence the world directly, when his people need him he reaches out and touches a mortal life, creating a great hero who can lead them out of darkness.

The Condemner

A far more recent sect, but one that has been gaining power quickly thanks to the influence of the Inquisition. Followers of the Condemner believe that this is not the first world that Lucent has created, nor will it likely be the last. Rather, Lucent creates the world anew time and time again, sitting in judgment of those that walk its surface and hoping that they will achieve all that he dreams of them. But inevitably his creations fail him, and he purges the world to start anew. This is the primary faith of the Inquisition, and inquisitors are taught that magic is a curse that corrupts to soul and drives its users mad, sent by Lucent to wipe clean a world he believed to have grown decadent and corrupt. Many believe that the only hope to save the world from cleansing fire is to root out magic and finally prove mankind’s worth to their disapproving god.

The Sculptor

A fringe sect that has caught on with the youth in some of the larger cities, the Sculptor’s disciples see Lucent not as a ruler or a judge, but as an artist, creating his masterpiece in cosmic brushstrokes. Their sect prizes pacifism and tolerance, seeing all peoples and viewpoints as necessary parts to some grand work of art incomprehensible to human eyes. Devout followers of The Sculptor provide places of haven and acceptance in many major cities, though they have a tendency to attract shadier figures due to their lack of judgment and loose sexual mores.

The Mother of All

Still considered heretical by most mainstream Lucenians, the Mother of All is a hybrid of Lucenian dogma and halfling nature-worship that sees Lucent not as a male deity but as a female one, a creative and mysterious force that is responsible for all that is good and all that is evil in the world. Most Mother-worshippers still practice in secret, since their sect has often rightly or wrongly been linked to witchcraft.

The Outsider

A being opposed to Lucent, though little is known about him and less is spoken. Some believe that his goal is to destroy Lucent’s creation, while others think he prefers to corrupt it beyond all recognition. Many blame him for twisting magic into a dark instrument, while some even say he was the one who originally brought it into the world. It is heresy to create any images of The Outsider, or even to describe him, and so he remains a formless figure of darkness, taking on whatever shape the frightened imagination of the people gives him.

The Hall of Ancestors

Dwarves have no traditional god to speak of. Rather, they believe that their people began with a group of twelve dwarves known as the Ancient Ancestors. The Ancient Ancestors begat hundreds more dwarves, and when their lives were coming to an end they built the Hall of Ancestors, a magnificent palace where their souls could dwell forever after death. Since that time, the souls of noble dwarves have joined their ancestors in the endless hall, while those who betray their people are condemned to wander forever alone. The dwarven people pray to their ancestors individually and to the Hall itself as a symbol of the collected honor and wisdom of Dwarfkind.

The Hierarchy

Through a combination of immortality and deeply imperialistic hubris, the elves have come to believe that no greater power exists than themselves. They prize strength and cunning above all, and deify those who possess them while at the same time scheming to take their place. The Elven Hierarchy is considered the pure expression of this belief, a cutthroat contest encompassing the entirety of elven civilization in which the strong rise to the top and the weak are culled. At the very pinnacle of this pantheon is The Hierarch, the one elf who by whatever means managed to triumph over all others, and his fellow elves regard him with hushed reverence even as they dream of the day that they might one day slip a dagger between his ribs and sit the throne themselves.

The Verdance/The Call

Through a series of strange historical coincidences that have yet to be thoroughly explored, the religions of the halflings and the orcs have had a bizarrely parallel development. The halfling religion centers around a force they refer to as The Verdance, a sort of universal spirit composed of all living things and the relationships between them. All life, be it human or halfling, elf or dwarf, or even plant or animal, is made up of the same material and comes from and returns to the earth. The halflings are a part of the Verdance, and at the same time see themselves as its caretakers, maintaining the delicate balance that allows all life to flourish.

The more philosophically-inclined of the orcs grappled for a long time to understand their place in the world, created as they were by man. Following the guidance of their savior Feng Vola, they turned their backs on their twisted creator and embraced nature as their surrogate deity, a parent both harsh and generous who helped them build a new life while hardening them into peerless warriors. Orcish shamen began to refer to the connection the Orcs felt with all life around them as The Call, a primal howl echoing through time that broke them free from slavery and beckoned them to take their place in the natural order. Like the halflings, the orcs believe that all living things are connected by this Call, though some can hear it better than others. But the orcs envision this force as something far more vicious and chaotic, a baying horde of predators hunting and copulating and feeding on itself in an endless cycle of death and rebirth.

Religions

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