The Free City of Riverhold
Faith and Belief
The Church of the Holy Lineage
Few religions have enjoyed such widespread success and prosperity as The Church of the Holy Lineage. Established upon the traditions of earlier, more primitive religions, it has always been flexible in its doctrines and mythology, quick to adapt itself to political needs and more beneficial social and economic arrangements. Its position as the official religion of The Empire ensured it a permanent place among the belief systems of the civilized world.
This pantheon consists of four deities, siblings whose parents were the first people to walk the face of the earth. It is the belief of these folk that although their gods once possessed physical forms they have long since ascended to the heavens, and now act through their servants alone, favoring them with blessings and fortune through prayer and obedient service.
- Edala is the goddess of life and all living things.
- Isward is the god of knowledge and insight.
- Berden is the god of courage, honesty, and strength.
- Darian is the god of perseverance, labor, and devotion.
Devotion to one of these gods is by no means exclusive to the others. A devout farmer may pray to Edala to bless his crops, to Isward to help him make difficult decisions, to Berden when he faces a frightening or dangerous situation, and to Darian when preparing his stores for a long winter.
Offshoots and sub-sects of The Holy Lineage can often be found, particularly in out of the way rural areas where the locals have yet to be taught the current official doctrine. Due to Riverhold’s almost complete freedom of religion, many of these sects have taken root within the city as well. Notable sects include:
- The Order of the Unnamed: The current dogma, on an official level, states that the parents of these deities were the pinnacle of omnipotence, birthed from the skies at the dawn of time, but that they since have passed into the furthest realm of divine being. These two beings, known only as “The Unnamed”,are sometimes worshiped by small sects who believe they still have power over the lives of mortal men.
- The Earthly Lineage: These separatists believe that the four holy siblings chose mates from the most pious of their mortal followers. During the passing of the centuries, these unions gave birth to demigods who walked the earth committing great deeds and kindnesses, spreading the credos of the faith. These beings are worshiped with an almost equal reverence as the four siblings, and it is the alleged descendants of these demigods who alone have the authority to lead the faith. This stance, more than any of their other practices, has led to heated contention with The Holy Lineage.
- The Edals: Some priestesses of The Holy Lineage revere Edala to the exclusion of the other siblings. Traditionally, Edals have maintained their faith in officially sanctioned, isolated cloisters, but in recent times their power has grown. Theirs is one of the few sects that is officially recognized and supported by The Holy Lineage.
Although The Holy Lineage does not include an evil or malicious deity, the existence of demons and evil spirits is acknowledged, especially among the more rural and simple folk. It is believed that they are birthed through the evils of men, and subsist to feed upon whatever suffering they can find or create. Some of these entities that have managed to remain in the public consciousness through the years are:
- Neruva is is the bringer of death, darkness, and decay.
- Tolos is the ruler of emptiness, nonexistence, and things that cease to be
- Deros is the master of lies, deception, and secrets.
Due to Riverhold’s policies, there is nothing The Holy Lineage can do, in an official capacity, to put an end to troublesome sects and demon worship. However, if the city assembly can be convinced that the group in question poses a threat to public health and safety, legal or martial action can be voted upon. It is not unheard of for The Holy Lineage to use their wealth and influence to their advantage in dealing with harmless groups whose dissolution benefits the church on an economic or political level.
The Southern Pantheon
Prior to the spread of The Holy Lineage, many different religions were present throughout the civilized world. During Imperial rule, their worship was gradually outlawed. The most devout followers of these old gods kept their faith, and when the seeds of revolution first took root in the south this religion experienced a rapid rebirth.
Notable deities of The Southern Pantheon include:
- Oldath is the god of nature, fertility, plants, and animals. He is considered by his followers to be the father of the earth itself.
- Wudgar is the son of Oldath, and is the god of battle and strength. He is regarded as valuing power and purity through victory and conquest.
- Lyrida is the goddess of the sea, lakes, and streams. She controls the wind and rain, and is thought to bring luck to her followers.
- Athaya is the goddess of death. She is usually depicted as impartial, grim, and somewhat kind. Her principle role is to bring final relief to the dying and guide their souls to the afterlife, but cults are rumored to exist whose members view Athaya as a malevolent, fearsome being that can offer great and destructive powers to her most devoted followers.
Other Faiths and Beliefs
- Animism: Different animistic groups often have their own specific beliefs and practices, but all worship the various spirits and forces of earth and nature. Animists are often regarded as quaint, superstitious, and usually harmless by members of more modern faiths.
- Sun Worship: The Korites practice a monotheistic religion revolving around the worship of the sun. Spirits of nature and the earth are recognized as having power, but are not worshiped as divine beings.