Algabol : The Cult of the Sun
The Cult of Algabol is by far the largest faith on Brixton, particularly in Dernholm and parts of Primeas. The faith is centered around traditions and rituals following a piece of the sky that fell to the world long ago and which remains enshrined in a cathedral near Dernholm’s capital. The rock itself was said to contain patterns of the sun and also of the stars in the sky.
Feasts, offerings, rules for conduct, masses, dances, and burning massive pyres all feature heavily in the religion. Prayers are made to light the way for children to return home, and for the celestial body to keep the dangers of the world at bay.
According to the old texts of the church the world is suspended from the solid stone sky by four cords at the corners of everything, beyond the land and beyond the sea. The sun, named Algabol, came to a formless and shapeless Brixton from the Outer Dark, and after a period of restless sleep and loneliness he took from himself to create the world from his own flesh and blood.
The formation of the world did not satisfy his loneliness, and so again from his own essence and blood he created Man after many failed attempts that resulted in the lesser races. Overjoyed and curious, he lived with his children in the Eastern lands near the Boundless Sea. Where he dwelt, however, he charred and burned the places where he went with his radiance. The people became dark and sick, and the land turned to scorched sand.
With great sadness he knew he must leave his children. He wanted them to live happily and peacefully without him, so he gave them Law. With the law came his promise that if Men did not obey he would cut the cords that bind the world to the sky, and it would vanish into darkness.
After giving his children the law his heart was full of pain, and his tears created the great salty Lake of Sorrow. He sprang into the sky, but found that he was still too close to Brixton. He asked the help of seven birds, who he enlarged to great size, to carry him far enough away to where he would not harm his children. The flapping of their wings against the hot earth created the mountains and valleys of the world. On the Seventh day he reached Gulkwagine Digalulatlin, the Seventh Height. From this place he watches his creations with the love of a father.
To thank the birds who carried him to this great height he imbued them with his power and combined them with the form of men, creating seven Devas, each who would protect and watch over man and who could create one Law each to guide them. Six laws have been given by the Devas.
The seven original laws as given by Algabol are as follows:
1.) You are precious and were born of my life and blood. You are not permitted to take the life of another of my children.
2.) Lesser forms similar to men did I make before you. Show them no mercy or kindness, for they are my error and will be relegated to the dark places of the world.
3.) The animals of the land, sea, and air were made for your use. On Tuesdays you must eat only of them and have no other nourishment.
4.) This world I have made for you and for you alone. Seek no worlds beyond these, and tolerate no interlopers.
5.) By my will I have created some men greater than others so that they might lead your nations. Obey them in their wisdom.
6.) All things are watched and known by me. Act on each other kindly with words and deeds that are the same as you would like to receive.
7.) Do not take those things which are not given either through force or deceit.
Order of the Radiant Sun
A schismatic group of the Cult of Algabol. Although still revering the sun god, the followers of this growing sect believe that their deity is so far and distant from the world that he and even his servants can not directly interfere, either for good or ill, and have little use for traditional ceremony, prayer, and strict adherence to his tenants and those of the church.
They do believe, however, that he looks down and watches intently, and so they have a perception of the entire world as quite literally a large stage for the sun to behold. They believe, in fact, that this is the whole purpose of their creation in the first place. Naturally the Order attracts entertainers, bards, dancers, orators, artists and all manner of creative folk. They strive to make the world a place of kindness, love, energy, and entertainment so that the sun that watches down on them will be pleased and amused. Some might find their rituals and festivals loud or immoral, but mostly their presence is heartily welcomed by the towns and travellers that they come across.
The Order of the Radiant Sun began in the eastern deserts of Primeas and remains most popular there, with some rumors that the royal court itself has adopted the religion.
Elmyrah, The Tranquil Grey / The Quiet Shepherd
As well as people can tell Elmyrah was a living philosopher during the devastating War of Ascension that took place 300 years ago, resulting in a united Dernholm under the Graemson family. Her brand of negative utilitarianism was welcomed by many as the disastrous conflict reduced entire towns to smoldering ruins. As the world went violent and mad in the worst war torn areas people flocked to her mantra of detachment, and found comfort in the many who numbed themselves to the world and worked to limit the pain.
Myths of her resurrection, reincarnation, or lingering spirit have elevated her to the status of a deity, and her shrines and temples can be found throughout Brixton – although they are exceedingly rare in the southern regions. Her adherents swear off comforts and pleasures, and either cloister themselves far from the world or travel throughout looking to minimize pain. This can come as a boon to troubled areas, but people speak of some extreme followers committing euthanasia, infanticide, or wholesale murder if they believed it served the purpose of decreasing the world’s share of misery.
Loria, The Fertile Earth / Guardian Moon
Conspicuously absent from the mythology of Algabol is that of a mother figure. The writings that are considered canon by the church speak of him creating Man and all other creatures from his essence, born of the earth, and speak of no other involvement. Many, particularly those with a fondness for nature, take this to mean that the earth itself was the womb for these creations and that she played an active role in the nurturing and caring for the young creatures of Brixton. Many take the moon to be her aspect and an extension of her, watching when Algabol can not.
Her adherents gather almost exclusively outside of cities, living in communes that seek to find balance and harmony with nature. A number of all female communes dot the land where women worship Loria away from the patriarchal societies they have found to be stifling. They are typically tolerated by the church and government, although distrusted for their supposed connection to the druids.
Bellerogrim, the Serpentine Power / The Way of the Dragon
The existence of the large, powerful serpents called dragons is a cornerstone of many legends in all of Brixton’s cultures. Whether or not they genuinely existed is a matter of debate, but all those who grew up hearing stories of the fantastic beasts around a fire like to believe. So pervasive are the creatures in the old stories the Dragon Knights from the War of Ascension incorporated their image into their arms and armor, and some say they drew on much more than just that. The success of these knights and the old stories created its own sort of religion that grew from a confederation of enthusiasts who scoured the land for clues as to the dragons existence or whereabouts.
Those who consider themselves members of the Way of the Dragon are bound together by common fascination and rituals. Study of ancient sites have led the followers to believe they have pieced together the old tongue of these creatures, the study of which is taken seriously by some and mocked by others. The study of these writings uncovered rituals and martial techniques, the details of which followers guard closely. Their order involves honing their bodies and minds in the style of the Dragon Knights – training that prepares them for searching the dangerous corners of the world for further clues about the magical beasts that are either extinguished or hiding.
The Archarest Pantheon
Within the dozen main tribes and unrecorded subtribes of the southern steppes and mountains of Archarest exist innumerable gods, goddesses, and quasideities. Frequent contact with each other over the years have homogenized their beliefs considerably, but even when a common god is accepted amongst a wide area local flavors of belief or ritual are common.
Belief in and reverence for beings that embody cleverness and power are especially common, perhaps because both are commonly needed to survive in the often hostile environments found to the South. Stories of heroes and tricksters light up the imaginations of many of Archarest’s young, and they often grow to try and emulate the stories of old with the most ambitious among them striving to achieve a sort of immortality by becoming legends in their own right.
The belief in the physical world as a layer that exists alongside a spiritual world where the gods and the dead dwell is commonly held throughout the tribes, with many shamen and priests dedicating their lives to weakening the barriers between these two things for healing, wisdom, or power.