Religion, the pantheons of deities and places of worship in Mortalissar have become as common a sight as royalty and peasantry. In the first Age of Identity (the first ten millennia), the Gods and Goddesses (also known as the Divine or Deities) walked the earth and ruled over their worshipers or creations. Their very existence, and for some their power and ability to function, are derived from the belief and faith systems created by their line of worshipers. Most of them are defined by how fervent they worship them. Here then are the pantheons of the gods and goddesses from the First Age of Identity (the First Age of Mer), what they represented and what happened to them by the end of that age.
We know that the Divine or Deities departed Mer Taelysae by the end of the First Age. However, throughout the beginning of the Second Age, over the four thousand years into the current year Tae 4329 (marked as the date in the novel Allastria), the footprints left behind by these Deities remain in their territories - the ones they ruled over.
The map below shows the various Gods and Goddesses currently worshiped or recognized in these regions. Let's list some of them shall we?
This map of the world helps you navigate and find the nations/continents to cross-correspond with the deities they worship in the divinity map guide above.
Primus the Beast God (Nature)
Primus, or Praemos, is the Beast God of Nature. He or she or it (it is often hard to define if they have a gender) is known to be the one who created the main landmass, all natural beasts and plant-life on Mer Taelysae.
The story goes that Primus was reverred because he created the earth and the animals but chose to leave the mortal isle behind once his creation was complete. In other words, he had no intentions to be remembered or worshiped. However, when the Horned Wyrm Xeptemoth and the Demonlords of Khulta began to create abominations from the animals and plants, giving them sentience, motives and intent, Primus was angered and disappointed. He had initially wanted to destroy the abominations, but was overpowered. In captivity, he summoned all manner of animals to his prison and gave them the power of sentience, speech and understanding. The animals took human forms, becoming the anthropomorphic versions of their natural brethren which we now know as the Primoerials.
The Primoerials helped Primus escape his prison and a war was fought against the abominations spawned by Xeptemoth and the Demonlords. The Primoerials won, pushing the Demonlords' armies back towards the west and south, and Xeptemoth's armies to the east. Primus then rendered almost the entire central landmass of Mortalissar inhabitable by even the hardiest mortals, leaving only the Primoerials capable enough to adapt and thrive on their own.
Horned Wyrm Xeptemoth (Rebirth or Metamorphosis)
The Horned Wyrm Xeptemoth, or Saetamo in a different tongue, was a devious creature of the underworld (according to old folk songs or what was written in ancient stones). While usually taking on the shape of a gigantic many-horned worm, it can metamorphose into a cocoon (at rest, to hide or for protection) or a flying beast (usually a moth, a behemoth dragon-like beast or insect-like abomination).
Xeptemoth is a believer of cycles, such as the life-cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth, and with each transformation, the soul, or Sae, becomes stronger and brighter. In other words, his worshipers devote much of their lives perfecting the prayer of reincarnation, karma and an ascended life after death. It is believed that believers of Xeptemoth are heralders of the Age of Sae, after millennia of recycling, where all mortals will bow to Xeptemoth as the one true god by the Fourth Age.
Anyway, during the First Age, Xeptemoth saw what Praemos had created. In his curiosity, he defiled these creations to experiment as his envisioned. He wanted to see if these creations could metamorphose into something better, stronger and wiser. Not long after, Xeptemoth began to experiment with humans as well, teaching them the art of transformative magic which defied the natural laws. The first humans who worshiped Xeptemoth were mainly druids. Some of these druids sacrificed themselves, metamorphosed into dryads to become one with the forest/trees. Over time, these metamorphosed into wood elves, and later the elves we know today. The early elves became Xeptemoth's most accomplished warriors, demigods and near-immortals mostly, and they led many of Xeptemoth's abominations for conquest.
The elves multiplied, fighting wars with many of the denizens of the other deities (including the Primoerials), but some eventually turned and worshiped other gods. The ones which most remained were later called Dreuds and their kingdom became known as the Dreuden we see today.
The Demonlords of Khulta (Sacrifice)
The demonlords are too numerous to name and they come in many shapes and forms. Some appear as a dark shadow in the night, others appear as ghastly wraiths while the more powerful ones emerge as fiery beasts or hounds with many heads and tails. The term, Khulta, was derived from the nether regions of the underworld where they abide. Khulta, or The Cult, was the name of a group of young gods who did not like structure and foundations set forth by the Older Gods (even before the First Age) and were subsequently banished to hell.
The demonlords were very much feared when they roamed the mortal isle in the first age. They ruled over much of the southern and western parts of the land then, but were constantly bickering and contesting leadership not just with each other, but with the other deities, from the Goddess Bershaevol and Serpent God Ywral in the south to the God-Princes of Arryasul and Astrakhan to the west.
They mostly hunger for acceptance by their worshipers and demand sacrifice. Initially, the sacrifice would take the form of blood pacts and killing virgins on altars, but that later transitioned to self-sacrifice in battle (to earn the devil's blood of berserkers during warfare) or spilling the blood of many in battle. There were also cults devoted to the demonlords whose very goal was to murder innocents from neighboring kingdoms.
What's interesting is that after the split from the wars in the First Age, many worshipers of the Demonlords of Khulta were dispersed. The ones who remained to the south formed territories like Jarakhan, Faethia and Oeranthia, and the ones to the west became the dynasties of Keitan, Shindai and Maiku. To each of these nations, the Demonlords appear to them in different forms but the theme is usually the same - blood pacts and many sacrifices.
God Thall (War)
The God of War, Thall, or Taal in the ancient tongue, is renowned for his bloodthirst for fights. He is someone who itches for a fight all the time, be it by picking a fight with a peaceful neighbor or just taunting his allies and enemies to come at him. If the God Thall isn't on his demesne overseeing his subjects, he'll most likely be on a battlefield fighting a duel or leading his worshipers to war.
Thall's spirit is made out of hellfire. He can never take on physical form on Mortalissar. Thus, without the ability to take on a solid form, he armors himself fully to remain physically present in the First Age. He would often appear as a tall, obsidian knight, wielding a large blade and shield and riding a black horse.
His worshipers are mainly fire giants, who worked as his blacksmiths and forgers, when they're not following him to war. He also carved entire fortresses out of mountains, providing a safe haven for his giants who were wounded in battle.
There was a time when Thall was upset by the Goddess Astrial and he locked her away in his fortress far away in the mountains. Astrial's worshipers, the warrior-priests of Ehren, stormed his fortress and rescued her, vanquishing many of his giants and black knights.
In his anger, he waged a war against the warrior-priests, driving the entire world into a massive darkness, and causing a calamity that threatened to destroy Mer Taelysae itself (the Apocalypse of Mer 9897). Unable to restore order to the balance, Thall and the rest of the deities made a pact with the mortals. The pact became known as the Divine Oath, which meant that all of the deities will leave Mer Taelysae for good.
With Thall's departure, his demesne became known as Thalladorn, occupied mainly by his fire giants. An offshoot army of humans, known as the Thallonians, went a little west and established the kingdom of Talony. They became known as a kingdom of warrior-knights, with the goal to perfect their skills in combat and war.
Goddess Astrial (Silence or Sorrow)
The Goddess Astrial, or Aestria in the ancient tongue, is one of the Seven Great Goddesses from the First Age. The other six are the Goddess Aryssanthia (deity of humility), Goddess Vassa (deity of love), Goddess Bershaevol (deity of deception), Goddess Vaultari (deity of water), Goddess Maeyari (deity of pride) and Goddess Soseikyo (deity of death).
According to folk tales, Astrial was probably the quietest and least vocal among the goddesses. However, she had an internal resolve unmatched by many. When she set her mind on something, her goal never wavered.
Her relationship with her people - the priests of Ehren - was initially tenuous, as they were peaceful folk, constantly harassed by denizens of Thall or Xeptemoth. So she had to step up to defend her borders for them on her own, learning to craft weapons from the hills and rocks and using the trees and winds as her eyes and ears.
She trained her people in the art of defense, turning them into warrior-priests. Among the priests, there were two brothers - the older Ehrengar and the younger Allastine - and their younger sister - Ehrenthel. They led Astrial's forces as her army grew.
It was said that the God Thall grew jealous of the close bond Astrial had with the siblings and started a terrible war that later sparked the Great Apocalypse. The war cost the loss of many lives, including Ehrengar's. His death was one of the reasons that drove Astrial to hide away in sorrow, earning her people and land the moniker, kingdom of sorrow, or the silenced land.
This ends Part 1 on Religions, Gods & Mythologies in Mortalissar. Hope this has been insightful. To continue to Part 2, hit the link here.
About the World
This section highlights the world of Mortalissar in greater detail, especially her territories, countries, races, magic, calendar and belief systems. Occasionally, I will write short fiction stories relevant to a particular realm to define its unique characteristics set against a larger canvas. Hopefully, over time, the collection gives you, the reader, a greater appreciation of the uniqueness of this world, and her many qualities and flaws.