The Four Sovereigns
Sin, the lord of Flesh and Fire
The mortal world his sole desire
Vindur, Master of the Sky
Jealous of his world on high
Li-Ban, Queen of Ocean Deep
Sunken secrets hers to keep
Erecura, mother earth
To deathless kings she’s given birth
— Ison Siranox’s Little Book of Knowledge
Four powers shape the world and rule its various reaches. They do not lay claim to mortal souls or allegiance, nor demand the construction of temples in their names. They lie at the foundation of all things, old as any god, fundamental to the world.
These are the Sovereigns, the Elemental Lords, who are said to have shaped the world from chaos. Their power and influence can still be felt to this day, and though few worship them, all acknowledge their supremacy. They are among the most powerful entities to walk the world.
Most actual adherents of the Four Sovereigns are Druids, spirits, fairies and other supernatural beings. Giants, in particular, are usually loyal to Vindur, with some exceptions.
Others may use Sin’s name as a curse when a fire won’t light, mutter a prayer to Li-Ban for safe passage across an ocean, delightedly shout Erecura’s blessings if they strike gold, or sing a song of Vindur to hope for fair winds. Outright worship is rare.
Sin Al-Gawwar, Sovereign of Flame
Called Flame-Father, The Burning Lord, The Maelstrom and many other names, the Sovereign of Flame loved the Mortal World above all others, choosing to keep his home here when the kingdoms were made. He taught mortals the use of fire, how to hunt, the keeping of knowledge, and other lore they needed to survive in the world.
However, mortals grew proud, and Sin grew angry. They destroyed their own cities through violence and arrogance. Sin descended in fire and rage to rule a land of his own, forcing humanity to evolve and mature whether they wanted to or not.
After a long reign of harshness and forced loyalty, a human gifted in song and indomitable in spirit challenged his cruelty. She proved his match, testing even his unrivaled power, and he remembered the love he once held for humans. He became her king, she his queen, and their great empire flourished, until she perished giving birth to his child.
Then Sin abandoned the mortal world, stricken by grief he’d never felt in all his immortal years, and the empire fell into dust and ruin, until his son, thought dead, appeared, challenging him to return to his people. In the hour of need, Sin sent forth his power once again, rekindling hope in that great empire and crowning his son as the new Burning Lord.
When the people of the desert empire were safe and prosperous once more, Sin turned his gaze beyond the horizon, and departed at last, leaving the mortal world in mortal hands.
The power of the Sovereign of Flame can still be felt today, throughout the eastern continent where he ruled, in every hearth, every camp fire, every forge.
When the Sovereigns divided the world into the Four Kingdoms, Vindur alone claimed sole rulership over an entire domain. The sky, he said, would be his, for he would set the Celestial Lights ablaze in their depths, a burning wall against the Hungry Dark.
Where Erecura and Sin have faded into time, no longer incarnate personifications of their elemental powers, Vindur stands. His throne in Terranimbus towers over the castles of mortal rulers. His will is the wrath of the storm.
Li-Ban, Ocean Queen
The endless depths of the sea are home to the deep palaces of Li-Ban. Her brother Sin she scorns for a fool—she holds no love for mortals. Dark places are her sanctum, crushing depths her sanctuary. All rivers that run and waters that flow, flow from her, and return to her. Her power is death as surely as it is life. Mortals pray that Li-Ban’s whims may include mercy, or that her attentions will escape them entirely. She is the keeper of secrets lost at the deepest places of the world.
Erecura, Mother Earth
Mighty, somber, keeper of the sun at night, Erecura shaped the mountains, dug out the valleys, scattered iron, silver, gold and precious jewels across the world. Her words were seldom and her judgement final.
So it came as a terrible shock when, early in the days of the Four Kingdoms, the eldest fire giant betrayed and killed her. The Sovereigns cannot truly die, but Erecura is no longer incarnate—she does not walk the earth she made as a goddess any longer. For their crime, the fire giants were cast out of the Sky Kingdom, placing them into eternal conflict with the dwarves.
Though Mother Earth was slain, her spirit endured, flowing through the Western continent, enchanting it and agitating the Otherworld. In the wake of her death, Erecura’s son, Ramius, laid claim over the Underworld, seizing it and binding it to his will and in her memory.
The Old Religion
Before mortals came to this world, it was ruled by powerful tribes of gods and spirits, each invading the land and displacing those who came before them. Before the coming of The Church, most of the people of the land prayed to multiple local divinities, believed to be the former inhabitants of the world.
In the Old Religion, respect for the fay is paramount. Every forest and river is said to have its own spirit. The gods worshipped by the Old Religion are not always the archfey of the seelie and unseelie courts—there are other entities, old names of fertility gods, sun gods, and others. The Old Religion lacks a set of dogma—it describes an array of beliefs that predominated in the region.
The Old Religion’s influence is still felt powerfully, especially the further one gets from Gloriana or the large cities. Rather than being supplanted by The Church, tenets of the Old Religion get incorporated and adapted. Even the faithful will still carry a coin in their pocket for good luck.
Some noteworthy figures in the old religion are the Queen of Stars, the Whirling Fury, the Laughing God, and even Ri Searbhas.
The Laughing God
Eldest and ageless
First and foremost
Last of the lost,
Lord of the Song
King of the crownless,
Master of merriment,
Even those who have converted to the ways of the church may mutter an old prayer for luck under their breath. The Laughing God is the god of miscreants, outcasts, orphans—all those who live by their fortune, wit and swiftness. Wherever two or more are gathered together with wine, song and pleasant company, the Laughing God is there. He humiliates the powerful and brings smiles to the lowly.
Morco, the Great Bear
Once Iommor‘s patron, the skinchanger may be gone, but the Great Bear remains. Morco is a faery spirit of strength and familial loyalty. He cares little for the intricacies of huldra and mortal, seelie and unseelie. Morco respects only strength. A ponderous bear with white fur and bright red eyes, he dwells in a grotto that has become linked to Iommor’s Tomb in the Bulwark Mountains.
Morco grants his skin to druids who can best him in a test of strength. When he deigns to speak, he speaks slowly and often has trouble using the right word. Those who are weak should fear him, and those who are strong can expect to be tested.
Spirit of the Thorn Trees at the feet of the Bulwark Mountains, Nuinn’s temperment changes with the seasons. In spring he is merry, delighting in beauty and fortune. The rest of the year, he finds fear itself beautiful, wreaking havoc on those in his domain just to see their fear. He dwells in a secret grove close to the mortal town of Arkaley.
The Church of Our Triumphant Family
Having gained ground in Gloriana, the Church of Our Triumphant Family zealously spreads its teachings throughout the land. At its center is the story of a mother and father who lived a virtuous life and died in defense of their child. That child went on to become a prophet, healer and champion of virtue. The Church believes that the three are enshrined in a high place, above all other gods, bathed in the light of the Golden Tree.
While the Queen has definitely not forbidden the worship of other gods and spirits, clerics of the Triumphant Family do their best to draw attention away from the Old religion and towards their practices. They teach a doctrine of bravery, sacrifice and community that appeals to nobles and peasantry alike. Much of the support for the Church comes from a powerful order of knights, the Order of the Pendant. Knights of this order have a higher duty to the protection of the weak and vanquishing evil than to any monarch.
Prayers of this religion are usually addressed to Fearless Mother, Kind Father and Blessed Child
The Alfar do not speak of their gods. Their relationship to the divine is more nuanced that worship. They respect and revere the divine but do not serve it—instead, their gods seem to be sources of inspiration and role models.
The Huldra have their own gods and worship. They know the names of every river and tree in their lands, and are not afraid to use them.
The Path of Righteousness
Elam eschews traditional gods and worship. They instead practice the Path of Righteousness, a way of living handed down by a series of teachers who each discovered some step or route to take in the search for virtue and peace. There are many variant philosophies concerning the path, and vigorous debates over the merits of each are a time honored tradition amongst all educated citizens of Elam.
In the halls of the dwarven lords, rune-sages guard chambers carved with the endless names of the ancestors. While the various tribes of dwarves keep their vigil in different ways, all of them venerate those who have gone before. The oldest ancestors are incarnations of natural power — for the Snow and Wind dwarves, primeval storms; for the Ember dwarves, volcanoes. The Desert Dwarves venerate the Sun as the First Rjufa. Mountain dwarves have sacred peaks and caverns, the Hill dwarves grottos and valleys, and the people of the Gelmir worship the seas and sacred springs as First.
Not too long ago, a Volcano sacred to both the Rjufa and the people of the Nidavell lost its fire and died. This is seen as a terrible omen and a sign of doom to come—after all, if even the Gods can die, what does that say of their children?