Divine Worship

One of the most common forms of spirituality in Tolrea is the worship of a god, goddess, or pantheon, whether through the mediation of a clergy or directly. It remains unknown in Tolrea whether the gods truly exist; the faithful think so, and point to the abilities of clerics and other divine spellcasters as evidence of this, but skeptics point out that magic is at best poorly understood, and that the few individuals who harness divine energy may draw their powers from another source entirely. The debate is unlikely to conclude anytime soon, since even the faithful agree that the only way to see one of the gods is to visit his or her home, and that this is only possible for those who have died and gone to their eternal rest.

Of the several belief systems falling into this general category, some of the most important are the Celestial Court of the Aureshan Empire, the dwarven pantheon, and the elven pantheon. The nameless single god of the Ferindi nomads has also gained popularity in recent years, as his adherents have begun to proselytize to outsiders, and the priest-kings of Enteria to the north and east of the Aureshan Empire continue to uphold the dignities of the Sky Mother and Earth Father, as well as to spread their blessings to Enteria's neighbors.

Aside from the pantheons and deities named above, there are also innumerable minor gods and goddesses who are worshipped only by members of certain professions, races, or organizations, or whose devotees are tightly confined to a specific geographic region. The divine landscape of Tolrea is nothing if not diverse.

A few of the dizzying array of competing faiths and creeds are:

  • The Celestial Court: The Empire of Auresh has exported its gods and goddesses along with its people. Most of the Empire's citizens are humans, but members of every race are part of the Imperial culture, and any of them might worship a member of the Court.
  • The Elven Pantheon: The elven race is widespread over the face of Tolrea, and many groups within it lend devotion to other gods and goddesses. But despite this, a substantial subset of the elves, including those which live in the Mereflow Valley, are devotees of the elven pantheon.
  • The Stone Lords: Most dwarves worship only three gods, brothers whom they consider co-creators of their race. This trio of deities, whom the dwarves term the Stone Lords, is a distillation of the qualities which the dwarves count as virtues.
  • The Nameless God: Peculiar amongst the gods known to the Aureshan Empire and the inhabitants of the Mereflow Valley is the lone god worshiped by the Ferindi nomads of the desert which separates the two regions. Theologians and scholars not of the Ferindi simply refer to this deity as the Nameless God; his true name is a secret known only to the highest-ranking priests of the faith.
  • Philosopher-Priests and Other Anomalies: The rarest and most controversial aspect of spirituality in the world of Tolrea is that belief in a deity is unnecessary for some people to manifest the ability to channel magic in the same way as a cleric. On extremely rare occasions, a philosopher-cleric arises spontaneously. 
  • The Faith of Zenthar: The Faith of Zenthar is unusual among the religions of Tolrea because it features religious veneration of a nation. This religious movement began at the connivance of Zenthar the Lich-King, in life a powerful elven wizard who led an evacuation from the lands of the Empire of Auresh (then the home of an elven civilization in the process of being overrun by human barbarians out of the east who eventually founded the empire). The loss of the elves' homeland to the humans had rendered him and many other elves agnostics, and rather than offer his devotions to gods who may or may not have existed, he and the elves in his care channeled a sufficient degree of faith and hope into their new city that some of them effectively became clerics of the state.

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