Courellian Religions

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Dalinism

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Dalinism is a monotheistic (sometimes pantheistic) religion based upon the teachings of the Great Prophet Dalin. It is centered on the belief of a single divine entity, called God or the One God, that created the world and oversees the operation of the universe through human Intercessors.

The basic tenets and beliefs of Dalinism are expressed through a series of Creeds, which express belief in the One God, and in his servants, who have lived, served and died in service of the will of the One God. Belief, service, and dedication to the teachings of Dalin is said to allow for salvation. The teachings of Dalin and the revelations given to him by God are expressed in the Dalinian Scrolls, although there have been many other Addendatory texts since Dalin's death.

The religion arose in the late Iron Age. As written sources do not exist before the Atlian Kingdom, an exact date is impossible to ascertain, but it is certain that the religion was practiced in several parts of Atlia during the conquest of King Jaspus, and was later adopted by Jaspus' son, Bengar, as the religion of the Atlian Kingdom. Today, Dalinism is the largest religion in Courelli.

History

The history of Dalinism concerns the Dalinist religion, Dalinist countries, and the Church with its various sects, from the 1st century to the present.

The Life of Dalin (c. 250 BCE - 219 BCE)

Dalinian tradition regards Dalin as the Great Prophet, specially chosen by the One God to deliver his message and enact his will. According to the earliest surviving biographies, Dalin first reported receiving revelations that he believed to be from God, conveyed to him through visions as he slept on a warm rock. Having accepted this new role as a prophet of the One God, Dalin set out on a long journey across the entirety of the Atlian peninsula. Over the course of his travels, he taught the revelations of the One God to any who would listen. Over time, Dalin acquired several companions, who diligently memorized the content of Dalin's divine revelations. After Dalin's death, these same companions spread Dalin's teachings by word of mouth, starting an oral tradition that would decades later be codified as the Dalinian Scrolls.

Early Dalinism (200 BCE - 301 CE)

  • 200 BCE: Dalinism begins to gain support; prototypical forms of the Dalinian Scrolls emerge.
  • 20 CE: Giliite Rebellion, first armed conflict within the Church.
  • 30 CE: The Letters of Hart Isle, by the prophet Malcolm, discovered in Scelsi.

Early Dalinism developed out of the teachings of Dalin, whose earliest followers formed an apocalyptic cult devoted to his teachings during the late Iron Age. Initially, these early Dalinists believed that the fulfillment of the Prophecies was imminent, and some even believed that The Redeemer -- the messianic savior of Dalinism -- was among them.

As Dalinism expanded, the faith lost its apocalyptic focus. The Holy Dalinian Church was founded in 92 BCE in Leoncavallo, which had a large, active, and growing Dalinist community led by Avus the Righteous. Avus was later martyred in 61 BCE, while visiting the city of Falceri to spread the teachings of Dalin. 3 years later, the position of Archon of the Holy Dalinian Church was created, and Avus was posthumously appointed as the first Archon. Following the example set by Avus, Dalinists went on to spread the teachings of Dalin around the known world, founding churches wherever they went.

Rise of the Vexite (301 CE - 619 CE)

  • 301 CE: Vexite Council formed by the Archon to settle the legitimacy of the Letters of Hart Isle.
  • 571 CE: Matteo, Aptus of Monte Gabrieli, named Archon; doctrinal crisis leads to the Mattite Heresy; Archon Matteo deposed.
  • 603 - 611 CE: Wars of Conversion

Early Middle Ages (619 CE - 967 CE)

High Middle Ages (967 CE - 1392 CE)

Late Middle Ages (1392 CE - 1663 CE)

Early Modern Age (1663 CE - 1819 CE)

Late Modern Age (1819 CE - 1900 CE)

Age of Ideology (1900 CE - Present)

Beliefs

There are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Dalinian Scrolls, especially since the text wasn't put to paper until some time after its genesis as an oral tradition. Because of these irreconcilable differences in theology and a lack of consensus on the core tenets of what defines Dalinism, different sects and theologians often deny that members of other branches are Dalinian.

Holy Texts

The Holy Scripture held most central to the Dalinian faith is the Dalinian Scrolls, accredited to the oral tradition started by Dalin and eventually laid to paper by Ferdian of Cilea. There are many versions and translations of the book. All versions contain the same core 8 Books of the Intercessors. The Books of the Intercessors chosen to be contained in the Dalinian Scrolls have been the center of many doctrinal schisms, since only the stories accredited to Dalin himself can be contained in the Scrolls.

The second half of the book contains the Books of Prophecy, a collection of five books said to be the prophetic visions given to Dalin describing future events. Some scholars accredit these prophecies to later writers, who used the Dalinian Scrolls for political leverage in their own time.

In addition, most translations also contain the Letters of Hart Isle, a collection of 9 letters by the prophet Malcolm, which further explain the doctrine of the faith and the basis of Dalinian practices.

There are many other books which are used to supplement the Scrolls, the collection of which is called the Addendatory. The most important are the Biographies, the collection of life stories of later saints and intercessors. The highest of the Biographies are the Holy Journals, the diary texts of actual saints. Second to these are accounts of the lives of the saints given by their immediate followers. The lowest of the Biographies are those written later, by those who didn't know the saints directly.

There are also the Books of Practice, which describe the rituals and rites to be performed in church service. Some Dalinians do not prescribe to the Practices, seeing them as earthly and not divinely inspired.

The Four Corners

Dalinians believe that the one and only purpose of life is to give glory to and worship God through faithful service. To this end, they frequently follow the Four Corners - central practices believed to hold up the rest of the faith. They are:

  • Exultation (giving glory to God in worship)
  • Service (diligent and faithful work in the name of God)
  • Fasting (showing dedication to righteous ideals through limitation of material need)
  • Provision (providing some portion of their worldly income to the Church to serve God).

These actions represent the four virtues of Dalinism:

  • Faithfulness
  • Diligence
  • Temperance
  • Generosity

The Nature of God

There are several intrinsic disagreements in the Dalinian faith about the nature of God. The most widely spread belief is that God is a single entity who has a vested and direct interest in the material plane of existence, and who interacts with it through fate, blessings, divine inspiration, miracles, and other divinely appointed events. In this school of thought, intercessors are primarily teachers and miracle workers, simply acting as intermediaries for the miracles provided by God's power. All divine purpose and guidance is vested in God and in no others. These traditions often believe strongly in the power of prayer, prophecy and fate.

A second school of thought believes in a more distant God, who created the universe but who only has interaction with it through the intercessors. In this tradition, the imperfection of the universe means that God cannot exist within it, and therefore he does not interact on a day-to-day basis with it. God's only hand in the universe is through the intercessors. Intercessors still have their power granted by God, but the power of prayer is negligible or non-existent in this tradition.

A third tradition believes that God does not directly interact with the material plane at all, and that the powers of the intercessors are wholly their own as divine entities. Belief in this concept is often branded as heretical or near-heretical, since followers of this belief often worship the intercessors as opposed to directly worshiping God. Supporters of this school of thought will claim that worship of the Intercessors is actually indirect worship of the One God, since many believers in this faith have a semi-pantheistic belief that their pantheon of Intercessors are all incarnations of the one God himself, carrying a spark or element of his divine fire inside them.

In all traditions, however, the One God is nameless. This has led to the use of many nicknames for God, often referencing an aspect, role, or notable action of the One God. The most prevalent are as follows:

  • The Nameless One
  • The Ever-Present One
  • The Giver of Serenity
  • The Judge
  • The Healer
  • The Sanctifier
  • The Provider

Prophets and Intercessors

Dalinians believe that there have been many Prophets.

Intercessors are divinely-inspired Prophets who act as mediators between God and man. They act as Messengers of God on Earth, and are prayed to as divine emissaries, and take special precedent in the afterlife. The spiritual process of becoming an Intercessor is referred to as Apotheosis.

In some traditions, Intercessors are actually aspects or avatars of the One God, while in others they are mortals who were divinely inspired and take special precedent in the afterlife.

In every tradition, Dalin is considered the highest and foremost among the Intercessors. He is said to have been given the Book of Life and Death upon his Apotheosis, and acts as God's divine emissary and messenger to all Intercessors since.

The Redeemer

Dalinians believe that a Redeemer will eventually arrive on Earth, an event that will occur at the end of time after a period of severe disaster and trial. Generally, it is believed that the Redeemer will create a Great Kingdom of the Dalinian faith, unite believers across the world, usher in peace and freedom from want, and, eventually, unify the world. Signs of his coming will include healings and curing of disease, an expansion of Dalinism across the globe, and the end of death. The Redeemer will be both a Great Warrior and a Great Teacher. It is prophesied that the Redeemer will lead Dalin and the Intercessors back into the material world, where they will rule the Great Kingdom according to God's will. While all humans, living and dead alike, will live in the Great Kingdom, Dalinist believers will have a special status in this Kingdom.

Many Dalinians adhere to the belief that there is a person born each generation with the potential to become the Redeemer, if the will of God warrants their coming; this candidate is known as the Chosen of the Time.

Salvation, Judgement, and the Afterlife

Salvation is an important aspect of the Dalinian faith. Salvation in the Dalinian faith is earned, not given. It is through hard work, moral living and service to God in life that one is saved. It is believed that by emulating the lives of the Intercessors and holding their messages close to heart, one can achieve salvation and earn their place in the Great Kingdom.

Belief in the divine judgement of human beings is also crucial for most Dalinists. It is believed that the time of judgement is preordained by God but unknown to man.

Dalinists believe all humankind will be judged by their good and bad deeds, by which their place in the Great Kingdom is determined. The Dalinian Scrolls make it clear that God is not merciful; on the contrary, salvation and status within the Eternal Kingdom is strictly earned. Dalinists believe that by emulating the lives of the Intercessors -- through hard work, moral living and service to God -- and holding their messages close to heart, one can achieve salvation and earn their place in the Eternal Kingdom.

Creeds

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as Creeds (from Atli credo, meaning "I believe"). Some Dalinians reject definitive creeds as an admission of faith, and have referred to this use of creeds as "contractual faith," focused on outward expression as opposed to inward acceptance.

A traditional artistic rendering of the text of the Intercessory Creed.
Intercessory Creed

I believe in the One God,
who created Earth and all beings,
who made mankind in reflection of his image,
who guides forth the fate of all with mercy and graciousness.
I believe in his intercession through the Saints,
who work upon earth in the name of the one God,
who serve and proclaim his message,
who die and are lifted up to be glorified eternally,
to be granted life everlasting.
I believe in the message of the Great Prophet,
who is first amongst the Intercessors,
who spoke the Word that is Law,
to be followed in this life and the next.

Creed of St. George

I believe in the mercy of God,
so that I may be cleared of sin in intercession,
though I am undeserving and weak,
though I am given to corruption,
though I am made of mud,
and to mud my body may yet be given.
I believe in the fire instilled in me by God,
so that I may live and breathe in his graciousness,
and be forgiven of all frailties of humanity,
through hard work and sacrifice in this life,
through service to his glory in this life and the next.

Creed of the Redeemer

I believe in the coming of the Chosen of God,
who will unify all of the world in the name of God,
who will stand manifest in the glory of God,
who will preach the Law and know the face of God,
who will ensure that all in this world know the name of God.
I believe, in full readiness, for his present coming,
that although he waits and bides his time,
that the chosen is swiftly on his way to us,
to deliver us from all evil,
and carry us into the Eternal Kingdom.

Sects

Holy Dalinian Church

The Holy Dalinian Church is the largest Dalinian sect. As Courelli's oldest and largest continuously-functioning institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Courellian culture. The Church consists of almost 83,226 congregations around the world on every continent, each led by its Patrus. The Archon is the Church's spiritual leader, entrusted with the promotion and defense of the faith and its Four Corners. The Church is headquartered in the [NAME???], located in Leoncavallo, EN, Courelli. The Holy Dalinian Church teaches that it is the holy church founded by the Great Prophet Dalin, and that the Archon is the holy vessel of the Great Prophet, who is "first among God's chosen."

Hierarchy, Structure, and Ranks

The Holy Dalinian Church is led by the Archon (currently The Most Serene Philippe XIV), who governs the Vexite Council. The Council, first formed in 301 CE to settle the legitimacy of the Letters of Hart Isle, is composed of the Vexi (singular: Vexus). Each Vexus governs a national subdivision of the Holy Dalinian Church (vexate), and oversees multiple Apti (singular: Aptus), who govern sub-national regions (aptate). Each Aptus oversees multiple - often dozens - of Dalinian congregations and their individual leaders, called Patri (singular: Patrus). Ultimately, ecclesiastical authority rests chiefly with the Archon and the Vexite Council. Patri and Apti serve as their assistants, coordinating and implementing the teachings and practices of the Church in congregations all across the world.

As of October 15, 2020, the Holy Dalinian Church consisted of 194 vexates, 1,164 aptates, and 83,226 individual congregations.

Archon

The Archon (Atli: arcos, meaning "arch"), is the spiritual leader of the Holy Dalinian Church. Since 1719, the Archon has resided in the [RESIDENCE NAME] in Leoncavallo, EN, Courelli. The current Archon is Philippe XIV, who was elected on 17 December 2018, succeeding Francisco VI.

According to Dalinian tradition, the Archon was established by Dalin in the 1st century BCE. The position of Archon is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. In ancient times the Archon helped spread Dalinism, and intervened to find resolutions in various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Dalinist monarchs. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Dalinian faith and doctrine, the Archon is involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of human rights.

In some periods of history, the Archon accrued wide secular powers rivaling those of secular rulers. However, in recent centuries the secular authority of the Archon has declined and is now almost exclusively focused on religious matters. By contrast, claims of spiritual authority have been increasingly firmly expressed over time, culminating in 1478 with the proclamation of the Doctrine of Archal Apotheosis - that upon ascension as Archon, one becomes the holy vessel of the Great Prophet Dalin - which gave the Archon broad authority to issue formal definitions of faith or morals. To this day, the Archon is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic, cultural, and spiritual influence.

Vexus

A Vexus is a leader of a national division of the Church appointed by the Archon. He generally chooses Apti who lead important Aptates, or otherwise demonstrate particularly exceptional service to the Church. As a whole, the Vexi compose the Vexite Council, which selects and advises the Archon. The position of Vexus is not an integral part of the theological structure of the Holy Dalinian Church, but largely an honorific distinction that has its origins in the fact that the Archon is selected by the principal clergy. Because of their resulting importance, the term Vexus (from Atli vex, meaning "central point") was applied to them.

It is worth noting that not all Vexi served first as an Aptus. The 1712 Book of Practice introduced the requirement that a Vexus must be at least a Patri. Previously, they were only required to be a member of minor non-clerical orders. However, it is rare that the Archon will appoint Vexi who are Patri only and not serving as an Aptus, as Vexi have precedence over all other clerical positions.

Aptus
Patrus

In the Holy Dalinian Church, a Patrus is an ordained minister who governs a local congregation, teaches doctrine, purifies the world, and upholds the Four Corners of the Church. As of 2020, there were approximately 102,371 living Patri.

Worship

Avus Gustavson described 1st-century Dalinian liturgy in his letter to King Willem, and his description remains relevant to the basic structure of Holy Dalinian liturgical worship:

"Ond an þe day hight saturday, al who live in cities or in þe country gaþer togeþer to that oone place, ond þe lives off þe saints art recounted, or þe prophecies spoken, als long als time permits; þen, when þe reader has ceased, he exhorts to þe imitation off þese good þings. Þen we al rise togeþer ond pray, ond, als we er seyde, when our prayer sy ended, bread ond ale ond water art brought, ond þe reader in as manere offers prayers ond þanksgivings, accord'ng to his ability, ond þe people assent; ond þere sy āc distribution to ech, ond āc participation off þat over which þanks hath been given, ond to þose who art absent āc portion sy sent by þe deacons. Ond þey who art well to dōn, ond willing, give hwæt ech þinks fit; ond hwæt sy collect'd sy deposit'd wiþ þe priest, who succors þe orphans ond widows ond þose who, þrough sickness or hwelc oþer cause, art in want, ond þose who art in bonds ond þe strangers sojourn'ng amonge us, ond in āc word takes rekke off al who art in ne'd."

Thus, as Gustavson described, Dalinians assemble for communal worship on Saturday, though other liturgical practices often occur outside this setting. Scripture readings are drawn from the Dalinian Scrolls or the Biographies. Instruction is given based on these readings, called a sermon. There are a variety of congregational prayers, including thanksgiving and intercession, which occur throughout the service and take a variety of forms including recited, responsive, silent, or sung. Creeds are regularly spoken or sung.

11th century art depicting worship in the Holy Dalinian Church.

Worship can be varied for special events like baptisms or weddings in the service or significant feast days. In many churches today, adults and children will separate for all or some of the service to receive age-appropriate teaching.

Rites of Faith

Rites of Faith are acts which were implemented by Intercessors as outward displays of God's grace and action on the material plain. The Rites of Faith as practiced by the Holy Dalinian Church are:

  • Birth Rites
  • Confirmation of Faith
  • Ordination
  • Marriage
  • Death Rites
  • Funerary Rites

Since redemption can only be achieved through action in Dalinism, there is no baptismal rite in Dalinism, as is common in some other religions. Instead, the public Confirmation of Faith acts as a celebration of a person's entry to the faith.

Liturgical Calendar

The Holy Dalinian Church follows a liturgical calendar first established in the early days of the faith in the Inter-Kingdom Period. The calendar frames the cycle of worship in a year, divided into seasons, with different theological emphases and modes of prayer.

Generally, the liturgical calendar breaks the year up according to different Intercessors, with each week being focused on the teachings of a specific Intercessor in a cycle. Each season is divided into a specific group of Intercessors: winter is held for martyrs, spring for missionaries and evangelists, summer for angels, and fall for warriors and defenders of the faith.

Milonian Orthodox Church

The Milonian Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Dalinian Church, is the second-largest Dalinian sect. Formed in 619 CE, it operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its Patrus in local congregations. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Holy Dalinian Archon, but the Patrus of Monte Gabrieli is recognised by all as "first among equals" of the Patri. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions, the Milonian Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Courelli.

Milonian Orthodox theology is based on holy tradition which incorporates the dogmatic decrees of the Vexite Council of the Holy Dalinian Church, the Scrolls and Addendatory, and the teaching of church leaders. Milonian Orthodoxy is viewed as the most traditional of all Dalinian sects, focused on a very rigid and complex liturgical structure. In addition, they are most focused on the prophecies of The Redeemer, and place great importance on the immediacy of his coming. Their priestly structure is highly regimented, and their services differ somewhat drastically in content to a great many other major areas of the faith. They are highly apocalyptic in nature, and decry the evil nature of the material realm. Milonian Orthodox Dalinians are generally extremely conservative in their religious interpretations, and maintain that they practice the original Dalinian faith, as passed down by tradition.

Reformate Dalinism

Reformate Dalinism is one of the largest branches of Dalinism, formed in the early 1480s after a schism from the Holy Dalinian Church. The split between the Reformists and the Holy Dalinians was made public with the 1493 Picci Declaration: the Holy Dalinian Church condemned Reformists and banned discussion or defense of Reformist theology. The divide centered primarily on the proper source of authority in the church. Reformism advocates the doctrine that scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith, as opposed to church hierarchy.

However, Reformists retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the Holy Dalinian Church, with a particular emphasis on the Confirmation of Faith. In practice, the Reformist Church is considered more "moderate" than the Holy Dalinian Church, having dropped many of the more hardline biographies from its canon, implemented a less rigid liturgical calendar, and abolished the position for the head of the church. The largest doctrinal difference is that it does not subscribe to the 1478 Doctrine of Archal Apotheosis, and seeks to return to a "Pre-Vexitian" practice focused on traditional action instead of "arbitrarily deifying mortal individuals."

Southern Servile Dalinism

Southern Servile Dalinism is a Dalinist movement which traces its origins to the ???? Schism. The movement is generally seen as an offshoot of Reformate Dalinism, although this view has been challenged by some Southern Servilists. In the 21st century, there are large cultural differences between assimilated Southern Servilists, who do not theologically differ much from Reformists, and traditional groups, like the [???].

Southern Servilists were heavily persecuted in the 17th century by both the Holy Dalinian Church and Milonian Orthodox Church, largely because of their interpretation of scripture which put them at odds with official Church interpretations and with the Crown. Southern Servilism was never established by any state and therefore never enjoyed any associated privileges.

The sect was given the name "Southern Servile" by their more mainstream persecutors, referring to their "primitive" worship structure, featuring independent local churches with few ordained ministers, no sacred rituals, and a strict adherence to works of humble service as the preeminent virtue. Notably, they use the least number of holy texts in their canon, employing only the Dalinian Scrolls with no Addendatory. Their greatest difference from many other sects is their absolute rejection of Creeds as an element of the faith, seeing it as "contractual faith" as opposed to an internal, heartfelt devotion to God.

The early members of this movement did not accept the name "Southern Servile," claiming that opulent ritualism was not part of scripture and was therefore null and void. They said of such practices:

"Did the Great Prophet travel in gold-adorned robes? Did he conduct ornate sacred rituals? Did he concern himself with the Church's coffers? No; for him, and for us, a mud-stained tunic was enough."
— "The Cilea Confession", 1602

United Church Dalinism

United Church Dalinism seeks to unite members of all other sects under a single banner of unity. All other sects are welcome in United churches, and the United Church utilizes a "unified" holy library, based on the most widely accepted texts. Church services and the nature of their content vary widely, due to the United Church's decentralized nature.

Western Servile Dalinism

Western Servilism is an off-branch of Southern Servilism. It differs from its cousin namely in its apocalyptic focus, which reflects that of Milonian Orthodoxy. Western Servile Dalinians are viewed as extremely conservative, also similar to Milonian Orthodoxy. They are generally viewed as the most intense hardliners of the faith.

Zeo-Dalinism

Zeo-Dalinism is a very new branch, formed from the combination of Neo-Dalinians and Zen Dalinians in 1987. They are viewed as somewhat heretical by other sects due to their implementation of Zen teachings, and their great divergence from the standard elements of the faith. They use a greatly reduced version of the Dalinian Scrolls based on the Reformate Book, and no other texts. Zeo-Dalinians have a widely developed - but completely altered - prayer structure based on meditative practices. They view Intercession as much less important than development of personal enlightenment through hard work and practice, particularly through perfection of technical skills.

Ancient Atlian Mythology

Atlian mythology is the body of mythology of the Ancient Atlian people stemming from pre-Dalinian paganism, and continuing after the Dalinization of the culture and into the Courellian folklore of the modern period. These include myths in Atli and other languages, as transmitted by Ancient Atlian people, as well as other ancient ethnic groups, such as early Afafanuans. Atlian mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition. Atlian mythology is primarily attested in dialects of Ancient Atli, both spoken before and during the First Kingdom. As in many cultures' mythologies, Atlian mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history. Thus, in the study of historical Atlian culture, many of the stories that have been told regarding characters and events which have been written or told of the distant past have a double tradition: one which presents a more historicized and one which presents a more mythological version.

Most of the surviving mythology centers on the plights of the Gods, their home Heilagrvegr (ˈhe͜ilawɣɾ̥vɛgɾ̥), and their interaction with various other beings, such as Humans in Menskrvegr (ˈmɛnskɾ̥vɛgɾ̥) , the Hynaldin (ˈçinal̥dɪn) in Dyrvegr (ˈdyɾvɛgɾ̥), and friends, lovers, or foes of the Gods. The cosmos in Atlian mythology consists of a dichotomy of order and chaos, with a swirling elemental vortex that flanks a central cosmological tree, Rutwoltrigg.

The Realms

Heilagrvegr

Heilagrvegr (ˈhe͜ilawɣɾ̥vɛgɾ̥), literally "Sacred Realm," is one of the Five Realms. Constructed by Atyr in the earliest days, and centered upon his forge, Aldrnari, Heilagrvegr is the home of the Gods. It is an indestructible fortress from which the Gods keep Myrkr at bay and rule the Five Realms.

Sæmdvegr

Sæmdvegr (ˈse͜imtvɛgɾ̥), literally "Honor Realm," is one of the Five Realms. This eternal paradise, designed to house the immortal souls of humans, is ruled by Omeyar, and is often visited by Ast Ydarr, who guides the souls of mankind from Menskrvegr to Sæmdvegr.

Menskrvegr

Menskrvegr (ˈmɛnskɾ̥vɛgɾ̥), literally "Man Realm," is one of the Five Realms. This Realm, inhabited by humans, is often visited by the Gods, who seem to enjoy meddling in the daily affairs of mankind.

Dyrvegr

Dyrvegr (ˈdyɾvɛgɾ̥), literally "Beast Realm," is one of the Five Realms. Designed by Atyr to be a prison for the Hynaldin and other abominations, this Realm is ruled and guarded by Hynaldir. The creatures imprisoned here seek to destroy Heilagrvegr and enslave humanity, and it is prophesied that they will be set loose on the Realms before the End of Days.

Feigrvegr

Feigrvegr (ˈfe͜iɣɾ̥vɛgɾ̥), literally "Dead Realm," is one of the Five Realms. It is all that remains of the Ellrikæsir, or the Old Gods. It is the oldest Realm, predating Atyr and Aldrnari. It and its inhabitants were ravaged by an unknown force named Doom, which birthed Myrkr. Travel to Feigrvegr is severely restricted, due to its dangerous nature.

The Pantheon

Atlian Pagan Pantheon.png
Atyr
The foremost God among the followers of Atlian traditions was Atyr (ˈaːtyɾ̥), who is portrayed as a relentless bulwark between Humanity and the Darkness, called Myrkr (ˈmjiɾ̥kɾ̥), that would consume them. Atyr was described as stunningly beautiful, so much so that he was said to glow with light, and his hair said to be made of molten gold.

He is the Creator of All Things, the King of Heilagrvegr (ˈhe͜ilawɣɾ̥ˌvɛgɾ̥), the Protector of Menskrvegr (ˈmɛnskɾ̥ˌvɛgɾ̥) and the God of Crafting and Metalwork. He forged the weapons of the Gods in his mighty forge, Aldrnari, on the edge of the Void. His forgehammer, Njrnal (ˈnɪjɾnɑl̥), had the power to shape the very earth in a single swing, and was once stolen by Ast Ydarr, who accidentally split the Isles apart by its misuse.

Daoi
Daoi is one of the oldest of the gods of the Atlian pantheon. She is known as the Mother of the World, and Milk-Mother of the Gods. Daoi is either depicted as an old woman in shawls or as a naked, young mother. She is the Goddess of Life, Fertility, and Childbirth. In addition, Daoi is the Goddess of Medicine and Healers.

She is said to have taught all healing plants their tricks, and to care for the souls of those who died of illness or infection. She is said to be the being that aided in the birth of the world, and was there at the birth of most of the gods in Heilagrvegr. As she was at the birth of the world, she is also said to be there at the end of it, and will carry the world's soul to its next stage.

Hynaldir
Hynaldir (ˈhynɑl̥dɪɾ̥ɹ) is an anomaly among the Atlian Gods. He is the Gatekeeper of Dyrvegr (ˈdyɾvɛgɾ̥) and the God of Strength, War, and Victory. He is one of the staunchest allies of Atyr, and is a friend to all Gods, but his children, the Hynaldin (ˈçinal̥dɪn), - vicious monsters and wild giants who reside in Dyrvegr - oppose the Gods at every turn and seek the ruin of mankind.

He is one of the oldest Gods in the myths, birthed to Atyr and Daoi in the Earliest Days, and bears the power of absolute invincibility: no blow, no matter how great, can bring down Hynaldir, and all threats of the world turn away from him. This leaves Hynaldir the happiest of all the Gods, since he is completely unaware of misery or pain. However, when he is roused to anger he is said to become the storm clouds themselves, his beard rippling with lightning and his hair filled with rain.

Ast Ydarr
Ast Ydarr (ˈawstʰ jidar̥) is frequently mentioned as a popular God. He is the God of Trickery and Death, and serves as the as Leader of the Basuu. He is responsible for overseeing a soul's journey between Life and Death, bridging various realms of existence, although this role is frequently left to his servants.

He is an adventurer and is described as the most cunning of the Gods, although he is undisciplined and mercurial. Armed with his trusty Fa'Kael, a silver coin that always lands heads-up, Ast Ydarr often challenges both Gods and Men alike to competitions of wit and probability.

Eikkjon

Eikkjon (ˈɛkʲɔ͜ʊn) is the Omnipercipient Chronicler of the Gods, the Writer of all True Histories, and the God of Silence, Pacifism, Laws, and Justice. Eikkjon writes the deeds of all men and Gods in the Scrolls of Life, and acts as Witness in all disputes.

He rarely appears in stories, save for when he is called as a witness in some Godly dispute, since he doesn't take action of his own accord, but he is rightfully feared by the other Gods, since he knows all of their secrets and indiscretions.

Elenja

Elenja is a popular goddess among maidens and unmarried women, and is the Goddess of Love, Romance, Fertility, Suicide, and Death. Elenja is the Lady of the Underworld, where she keeps the souls of those who die and sends them to their rightful end. She is said to weave mighty threads, with which she binds souls together before they are born.

Eirik

Eirik (ˈɛkʲɔ͜ʊn) is the God of Bravery, Friendship, Oaths, and Fraternal Love.

In the stories, Eirik was a human soldier who fought alongside his brother, Sigemund. He made an oath on Atyr's shield to defend his brother with his life. When Sigemund was tortured and killed, Eirik kept his oath and threw himself upon his brother's funeral pyre for failing to protect him. His soul began its journey to the Underworld, but Ast Ydarr was so impressed by his bravery that he instead carried Eirik to Heilagrvegr, where he was made the God of Oaths.

An oath made in Eirik's name was said to be unbreakable. He is depicted as a stoic, black-bearded god wielding a sword, Stinjalt.

Ilvana

Ilvana is the Goddess of Youth, Spring, Duality, Agriculture, and Fate. She is depicted as being in eternal youth, either as a child or a young lady, and is accompanied by bees, butterflies, songbirds, and oxen in her positive aspect, and by wasps, bats, crows, and wild bulls in her negative aspect.

She is representative both of the rebirth of spring and the growth of crops, and of spring tempests, hurricanes and retribution. She is sometimes referred to as "The Inevitable", since her form represents perpetual potential growth and the inexorable march of fate. She also represents cosmic balance between order and chaos, as a deity formed of both sides of the Atlian cosmic cycle.

Erjos
Erjos (ˈæɾjɔ͜ʊs) is the God of Bards, Poetry, Music, Brewing, and Revelry, and is the best-spoken of the Gods. Ereus is known for his great ego, and for his witty insults getting him into frequent trouble.

Erjos is known for being able to take the form of birds, which is how he learned the Art of Song. He is also the Keeper of the Orchard of the Gods, where the Fruit of Poetry grows, as well as the Fruit of Immortality.

Erjos is swift to both insult and be insulted, but is also called upon to soothe anger and calm tempestuous hearts.

Ynnir
Ynnir (ˈjitniɾ̥) is the God of the Sea and Sailors. Unlike the other gods, Ynnir doesn't reside primarily in Heilagrvegr, but lives in the depths of the endless oceans beyond the Isles. Ynnir is depicted as blind, solemn and wise, his mind as vast as all of the oceans. Despite his blindness, he is said to know all things that happen on or along his domain.

He also controls the weather, directing the winds and captaining the mighty flying ship Vangast (ˈvawngast), whose wake forms the clouds. He is sometimes said to be Hynaldir’s brother and rival, especially in tales of their arguments over the wind spirit Rhja (ˈɾ̥iːja).

Meri
'Meri is the "Goddess of Traders, Merchants, Wealth, Luck and Fortune. She is portrayed as a young woman with dark hair, a black or gold hat and a red or yellow robe. She carries a wooden staff in her right hand and a golden ingot on the left. Merchants and businessmen prayed to her to bless their job. She was said to have first led man to trade amongst themselves by making the first deals with man to give them fire. As such, she is sometimes depicted as a Giver of Fire.
Omeyar
Omeyar (ˈɔ͜ʊmejɑɾ̥) is also frequently mentioned in surviving texts, often as a foil to more headstrong Gods or as the fixer of problems caused by other Gods' meddling. One-eyed, horse-riding and raven-flanked, clad in a cloak of night and stars and wielding the Moon Shield and impossibly sharp knife Fungr (ˈfynkɾ̥), Omeyar pursues knowledge throughout the worlds.

In an act of self-sacrifice, Omeyar is described as burning himself each dawn to summon the sun, to be reborn each dusk. He created the alphabet and mastered the names of all things, creating language and magic, which he passed on to humanity, and is the God of Wisdom, Knowledge, Language, and Innovation. Omeyar has a strong association with death, particularly self-sacrifice, and is the ruler of the eternal paradise Sæmdvegr (ˈse͜imtvɛgɾ̥).

Lyyja
Lyyja (ˈlyjːa) is Omeyar’s sister, but is sometimes depicted as being his wife. Modern retellings usually lean towards the pair being married, due to Courellian cultural mores regarding the sexual nature of a few of their shared myths. Lyyja is a Goddess of Warriors, Hunters, Beasts, and Travelers. She is depicted either riding a wolf or wearing one's skin. She is a shapeshifter, frequently taking the form of birds or beasts in her myths, and is seen as a jealous and possessive Goddess at times, while also protecting the souls of fallen warriors and carrying them to Omeyar’s halls. Her other important role in the cosmology of Atlian myth is fighting the Beasts of Chaos that would try and consume Rutwoltrigg alongside Atyr, and to aid her she was said to wear the Crown of Invisibility and wield the mighty bow Mulagir (ˈmylɑgɪɾ̥).
Hjrna

Amongst the Goddesses, Hjrna (ˈçəɾ̥na) is seen as foremost in popularity from surviving records. Described as the most beautiful of all the Goddesses, she is the Goddess of Beauty and Peace. She was also the Goddess of Secrets, and Prophecy, and was associated with planning and foresight.

Hælgi

As the Goddess of Nature, Growth, and the Harvest, Hælgi (ˈçəɾ̥na) interacts with mankind more often than any of the other Gods. Her frequent visits to Menskrvegr have earned her a special place in the hearts of most humans - and staunch disapproval from the more uptight and disinterested Gods.

Other Creatures

Rutwoltrigg, the Great Tree of Life, is occupied by dozens of kinds of creatures, spirits, monsters and entities within Atlian Mythology. Roughly, these creatures can be divided into the counterbalancing forces of Order and Chaos. Creatures of Order support the Tree, life and existence. Creatures of Chaos seek to return the Tree to elemental chaos, from which the cycle of the universe will begin anew. While forces of Order are generally portrayed as the protagonists of the stories, due to the gods being representative of Order in general, neither side is truly good or evil, but are seen as necessary counterbalancing forces to one another within the cycle of the universe. Good creatures and evil creatures can be found on both sides, and thus questions of morality are explored less in terms of opposing cosmic forces and more in terms of personal application of social order.

The Hynaldin
Rrudrhand

Myths

Creation

In the beginning, there was nothing but the Void; an endless expanse of shadows where cosmic winds washed over the scattered bones and ruins of What Had Been – Feigrvegr. No light, no sound, no life; just unending emptiness.

In the depths of the Void, a formless chaos of elemental forces roared. Fire, water, stone, wind, ice and light swirled about in constant opposition to one another, never destroying each other and never outweighing each other. Over time, this chaos coalesced into a cosmic seed, and the seed was nurtured by the chaos. The fire provided it warmth; the stone a place to take root; the water fed it; the ice protected it and the light fed it; while the wind carried to it all manner of distant powers.

So it was, and so it remained for countless eons.

From within the seed came two beings. The first was the tree, Rutwoltrigg – massive beyond imagination, the tree stood firm against the bitter winds; bone-smooth crimson bark twisted into a great hanging canopy covered in leaves so white that they shone blindingly in the darkness, a trunk so thick that if one stood facing it from miles and miles away you could not see where it began to curve, and roots that burst forth from the ground like great serpents. The Great Tree gathered the elements and pushed back the chaos.

The second was Atyr, the last of Those Who Were, kept safe from the Doom that destroyed What Had Been and ushered in the dark of Death; the final defiant seed of a dead civilization. For time uncountable, Atyr learned and grew strong in the embrace of Rutwoltrigg, shielded from the stirring evil in the Void by its roots and canopy. He thrived, but he was alone, and wished to see what lay beyond the encircling roots and leaves. Ignoring the whispers from the Tree, he made his way out of the cover of Light and emerged to face the Void, and the evil stirring within it. There, a Cloak of Leaves and a Hammer made of crimson wood – Njrnal – lay waiting. Garbed and armed, the voices ushered Atyr to safety.

Seeing that Atyr desired a companion, Rutwoltrigg reached into the cosmos and created Daoi, the Mother of the World. In the weeks to come, Daoi birthed three sons of Atyr: first was Hynaldir, who tended the branches of the tree and made the sky; next was Ynnir, who gathered water for the tree and made the seas; the last was Pann, who hung himself from the branches and died, making the earth. From Pagn's vast body, all life emerged, and the gods Omeyar and Lyyja were the first among them.

Other creatures emerged from the Tree, too – man and beast and god. Hynaldir took Hælgi to his bed – against her will – and they lay together for sixteen years. Following this, Hynaldir opened his mouth, and the Hynaldin, who were angry giants, crawled out and came to be in the world. Rejected by their mother, and angry, because, unlike all the rest of creation, they had no spirits or souls. So the Hynaldin went into the world to destroy that which they could not obtain.

In the chaos, other things had come to be – nasty parasites that wished to chew upon the roots of the. The gods knew they had to care for the tree, and they built a great city at its base, where the trunk and branches and roots all met, and this was Heilagrvegr, which is the home of the gods. In the center, Atyr dug a great pit, laid his cloak in the center, and settled a simple anvil beside it. With a soft breath against the leaves, the pit ignited into a blaze of pure white light, and with its heat Atyr began to work the Forge Aldnari. The sparks from Njrnal striking the anvil flew far and high into the reaches of the Void where they twinkled and shined; spinning unabated through the Void and bringing light for the first time in uncountable eternity.

Humanity in those days were ugly and naked and stupid, like all other apes, and were covered in fur and ate bugs from the mud. The Hælgi, Goddess of Nature, Growth, and the Harvest, took pity upon them, and went to the gods and asked why Man, who was so like the Gods in shape and countenance, must be the same as all other apes, and so the gods took pity on them too. They took one man and one woman from their numbers, and Eikkjon, the Omnipercipient Chronicler of the Gods, the Writer of all True Histories, and the God of Silence, Pacifism, Laws, and Justice, who knew all the names of all of the things in creation, named them Llyn and Llylla. They became beautiful, and Atyr saw them and loved them as children, and brought them back to earth and helped them build a home – Menskrvegr –, and they became the first people, who are the father and mother of us all.

Since the world had been born out of Pagn's death, it was only right that so too must all things die, and when they die, their spirits are drawn down the tree and through Dyrvegr – the veil between Life and Death, where there are many wicked things seeking to ensnare a wayward soul. The Hynaldir linger there, and so too do witches and monsters, and so the gods chose the cleverest of them all, Ast Ydarr, to guide the souls of men into the afterlife, called Sæmdvegr.

And this was how the universe came to be the way it is.

End of Days

The following prophecy was given by Svala, a servant of Omeyar in Mennskvegr, to declare to the inhabitants of all Five Realms what shall soon take place.

Like the Ellrikæsir in Feigrvegr before him, the reign of Atyr shall not last forever.

WIP

And with the death of Atyr, the leaves of Rutwoltrigg, which power the forge Aldrnari, shall shrivel up and dry. The forgefire will be extinguished, taking all light with it. There shall be nothing but the Void; an endless expanse of shadows where cosmic winds wash over the scattered bones and ruins of Heilagrvegr. No light, no sound, no life; just unending emptiness.