Most of the religions and mystical orders in Elatreus stem from early Druidic beliefs and practices. Over time, there evolved a canon of codified beliefs now known as the Elder Tomes which expands upon the early Druidic foundations.
Further to this, the Holy Paragon built upon these ancient foundations a new religion for the Aelutian Empire, and upon his death ascended to demi-god status.
Thankfully, religious conflict is rare in Elatreus as each of the major religious orders have the same basic belief system at their core and openly acknowledge it, happy to tolerate other belief systems from the same lineage.
THE CREATION MYTH
While the wording differs, the universe itself was believed to have started as a giant cosmic egg, which imploded – drawing into itself all the forces that would make up the various planes of existence and took the form a giant Firebird that trailed off the stars and the planets in its wake as it filled the empty void.
Throughout the universe, the embers and sparks left behind coalesced to form the sun and the moon, dual halves of a singularity, who in turn created the world, their world, and gently nurtured and developed their creation.
Over millennia, under their slow, steady and patient care and guidance, new life forms began to evolve. And as the world, which was in its earliest day was a paradise, began to grow ever more beautiful and complex, new settlers from different planes of existence began to arrive, the first of which were the grey elves.
Then suddenly, the trickster god paid a visit to this world as he did every other he could find, and left behind his blasphemous joke. The forbidden ones, made in the direct image of the gods themselves, only puny and without wisdom, intelligence or any understanding of who they were and why they were suddenly here..
While on some worlds the humans were promptly destroyed by its creator gods, the all father in his wisdom took pity on this poor, confused species and created the heavenly host – who were to be guardians and advisors. But one of them rebelled, and the world was to be forever changed..
TYPES OF GODS
At the top tier of the gods of Elatreus is the All Father and the Sky Mother – to whom Elatreus is firmly within their domain of influence and the source and sustainer of all living things.
Below the Dual Gods (who, in the deeper mysteries and some heretical sects considered to be two aspects of the same being) is the hierarchy of the Heavenly Host – the Archons, Witnesses, Watchers, Seraphim and other Angelic and Demonic beings with god like powers.
And beneath the Heavenly Host are the demi-gods – elevated mortals such as the Paragon or local spirits infused with power over generations of devotion, prayer and supplication.
In the higher mysteries and in some schools of magic, there is a belief that far away there are other Sun gods and moon goddesses that created their own worlds in a myriad of different forms and configurations, but being so far away, normally exert little to no influence on Elatreus.
The Oldest of all the religions in Elatreus are the Druids, who have no sacred texts but who instead pass down their knowledge through direct instruction and personal experience. While rare in the Empire, they are common elsewhere, especially in Tuath De.
The most common form of worship in the Aelutian Empire is to the elevated demi-god the Paragon, whose proverbs expand upon the work of the Elder Tomes and are engraved in stone for all time at the Holy Temple of the All Father in Paragonia and there exists considerable cross pollination between the original Church and the Church of the Paragon.
The savage Northmen reject the All father and the Sky Mother and prey instead to ancient war-chiefs who rose to demi-god status in a similar way as did the Paragon, though in a violent and cruel manner. Other small cults and sects exist throughout Elatreus who worship other raised up demi-gods, both good and evil, powerful and localized.
And in some areas, powerful beings such as Dragons, spirits, demons and abominations force or trick humans to worship them as they attempt to enter into the ranks of the Demi-gods.
There are two notable exceptions.
The first and perhaps most notable exception is to be found in the mystical Kingdom of Lhasa, ruled by the sleeping Dragon Tianlong the Gentle.
It was here that 2000 years ago the Half-Dragon Prince Shaosu, born just before the War in Heaven, founded a philosophy based on self reliance and discovery, universal compassion and meditative practices known simply as the path of Enlightenment, of which a more militant form based on controlling the mind and body to become as one is practiced by the warriors and warrior monks of Escia.
The second exception is in the Land of the Dead, where all religion is outlawed on pain of death.