Last week, I wrote about the two main religions of the Tellurin (humans): The Faithful, and the Holy Mother Church (HMC). But what does everyone else in Tellurin believe?
You didn’t think I was going to stop at two, did you?
Well, I’m not. But I’m not going to go into great gaudy detail about them either. In the process, you’ll learn a little more about the various inhabitants of Tellurin.
Other Tellurin religions/belief systems
While the Parimi, Haldane, Espanic, Island Kingdoms, Saxon, Sami, and Skaldic all believe to a greater or lesser extend in Auraya and espouse The Faithful religion (some distinctively coloured by their own pagan belief systems), and the Caldone alone believe in the HMC, there are still other Tellurin cultures that believe in neither.
The Nubiin espouse a faith based in the divinity of their ruler, or Osire, and resulting cult of death. The Osire (a man or woman) is tied to the land, responsible for the weather and tides that provide for a fruitful growing season in a relatively arid region. Prosperity in the form of abundant crops and livestock result in a long rule, the opposite can result in a short one.
When an Osire ascends, work begins on his or her funerary monument. The relative greatness of that monument and the treasures enclosed with the deceased is tied to the length of their rule. Sound familiar? It should. The Nubiin are based losely on the Egyptian culture.
In the wake of the Cataclysm, and the advent of the devastating storms of Vedranya, the Nubiin faith was shaken. If the Osire held no power over the storms, how could they be considered divine? For nearly a hundred suns, the Nubiin struggled, even adopting a bastardized form of The Faithful religion for a while, but eventually, they returned to their traditions, rationalizing Vedranya as the cost of their prosperity otherwise.
The Hussar of the plains believe that the gods exist, but that they have no interest in what happens in Tellurin. They believe in the power of a good horse, the strength in their limbs, and the pleasures of a life honourably lived. They have an ethical code rather than a religion per se.
The Shooksa-Nai of the north-western region of Tellurin still live in a tribal fashion and have an animistic belief system, that is they believe in the spirits of things. Their shaman are their spiritual leaders, healers, and advisors. The Shanzu of the Deep Forest are similar.
A word about those pagan belief systems I mentioned off the top. They relate to the first gods, the akhis. Most revolve around the lord of the land (Zaidesakhi) and the lady of the waters (Augesahki). Sacred groves were often consecrated to them.
The okante (think orcs) territories are just south of the Shooksa-Nai and they too are a tribal, animistic people, and were largely peaceful until Yllel co-opted them into soul-slavery. Now they live in fear of the mad god and do his bidding in the hope of saving their people from his wrath.
The krean (think trolls) are a seafaring people and revere the oceans and weather as their deities. This has its roots in the akhis as well, Augesakhi and Freyesakhi. Like the okante, they have been enslaved by Yllel and live in a similar fear of him.
The grunden (ogres), who live in the mountains, and blinsies (goblins), who live in the Deep Forest and love to harras the Shanzu, have no religion, but are also enslaved to Yllel.
The anogeni, as I’ve written in the past, were once the hands of Zaidesakhi, the fingers of Augesakhi. The hidden people are special. Though they’ve lost both “parents” they live in the belief that they will return to their children. They have no true religion, because they know the true nature of the gods. They do not require a structured religious practice as such.
They not only believe in the spirits of things, they actually study them and know them as friends. There are twelve plants whose spirits have proven especially powerful: the ashkiwine. It is through their relationships with the spirits that the anogeni practice their form of magic.
Because of their relationship to the akhis, they also know the spirit of the world, which they call the anoashki, the great mystery. He is their grandfather, and they serve his purpose, one of the primary goals of which is to resurrect the fallen akhis.
Though the anogeni we meet in Initiate of Stone live in the earth, there are other groups of the anogeni that make their homes in the great trees, and in the oceans. These last are an aquatic form of the anogeni, but they don’t have fish-tails 🙂
Another interesting thing about the anogeni is that they hold the memories of their ancestors, are born with them in fact. As a result, they have a complex system of prophecies based on these memories and the patterns they have seen in them. These prophecies and the anoashki guide them.
The dwergen, similarly, have no structured religion. Dwergesakhi still lives in the heart of the earth, still speaks to them, and they know him well. A self-evident god requires no faith. Dwergesakhi is their creator, though, and as such they offer him respect and will do his bidding unquestioningly, as any good children might.
The eleph, being from Elphindar, are a little different. Elphindar has no gods, but the eleph still revere the kaides esse, or the powers that be. They believe in a kind of clock-maker, something beyond their understanding that created the universe, but then left the experiment to tick itself out in the fullness of time. Like the Hussar, they have an ethical code by which they live.
When the eleph first arrived to Tellurin, Auremon came to them to try to make amends. They were startled that the kaides esse of this new world took corporeal form and that they intervened in the affairs of mortals. Since he confessed his role in their eviction from Elphindar and his inability to restore them, the eleph had no use for Auremon, and rebuffed him.
Not long afterward, the eleph encountered Yllel, when the mad god attempted to enslave them. Yllel could not trick them, however, and this encounter only served to entrench the eleph enmity of the Tellurin gods and the people who worshiped them.
Finally, the favrard espoused an intricate system of ritual and discipline that did not focus on one god, but on all of them, past and present, known and unknown. When Yllel enslaved them, he made them abandon their spirituality. Some attempt to cling to their past, but Yllel punishes them for it. The favrard are Yllel’s special pets, and one of the few peoples that he can possess. The tortures he can inflict from within are fearsome indeed.
With this, we’re almost at the end of my world-building epic. Next week, I’ll talk about some of the other distinctive features of Tellurin, some of the cities, keeps, towns, and villages that figure in Initiate of Stone, as well as a few odds and sods.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about Tellurin and the characters in my novel.
I’m Writerly Goodness, circling three times and settling down for a nice sleep. Until next week!