Nightsdeep: Keeping Faith
Nightsdeep has a rich connection to various religions. Saluwan has long been the main religion of Nightsdeep and although it is banned officially, many still worship in secret. Before the worship of Saluwan and even for a long time after, there was the worship of the old gods. These were the gods worshiped during the time before the clans were even founded.
Saluwan, the wrathful sun
Soluwan is the personification of the sun. There are deferring beliefs among his priests and priestess’ about whether Soluwan walked among the people as a mortal or not or if he was the sun itself or a servant of it. Suffice to say that he is a wrathful as well as placid god. In writings, Soluwan is slow to anger but when angry, his fury is downright frightening. Some of the beloved stories involve things like Soluwan summoning a storm of fire to destroy an entire army. When he isn’t angry though, Soluwan seemed to be very focused on peace. He was often found tending to his garden or teaching children. Many of his followers attempt to follow his lead. It is said that the words any priest of Soluwan lives by is, “be prepared for when words fail.”
The Fallen Sun
Though worship of Saluwan was all but dead. Since the last sunset, however Saluwan worship has increased rather dramatically among the free marches. Ruins and temples of Saluwan have become places for learning about their fallen god. Since so much about Saluwan and his worship is interpreted by the priests and priestesses, much of their practices will vary by tribe or by shield.
The Sleeping God
A unifying belief among the priesthood of Saluwan is that when he returned to life, weakened and tired from defeating the poison, he needed to rest. The belief is that he is in a deep sleep and will return when his people need him enough. They are practical and calm but yearn for the time when their lord will return to vanquish the evil that plagues his people. This belief informs their view of preaching. They feel that whether the listener truly believes in Soluwan or not, isn’t what is important. What’s important is that they too yearn for the hope that can become his call.
Sons of the Ebon Warrior
A fairly new denomination that sparked among the Marches are the Sons of the Ebon Warrior. This religion is fairly new and was founded by Hael Eirikson of the White stone Bondi. Central to it’s teaching is the idea that Saluwan’s return is soon and that he will bring back the sun, free the Zwei people and reunite the land. Hael Eirikson claims to have met and spent time with the scion of Saluwan. A warrior with ebon skin who could not be killed. This warrior travelled with a retinue of powerful servants whom he directed to build monuments to Saluwan. One of these monuments, the lightning tower also brought a shaft of sunlight to the White Stone Bondi. Hael believes that by understanding these relics and hunting any traces of Saluwan that he and his cult can find, they will be able to speed the god’s return.
One of the more distinctive features of this cult is that it’s followers will mark themselves with ash. Many choosing to mark their foreheads as a way to show the world what they believe. Behind the wall, the cult is seen with extreme distrust by the general populace. The rulers suppress and eradicate any cults that they can find. Interestingly, many Sons have begun to preach from within sanctuary in direct defiance of the bans.
|History According to the servants of Saluwan|
|Banishment of the Old Gods||The Shadow battles the Old Gods for total control the the Eternal Darkness. It wins and banishes the Old Gods.|
|The Beginning||The spark and the shadow begin their battle, the spark creates the world.|
|The First Kingdom||The spark sends the sun down to the earth to rule over the land. The sun teaches great magic to a few chosen ones.|
|The Sundering||The sun is defeated by the shadow and must return to the sky|
|The Wandering Age||Man must make it’s way without the sun’s guidance. This is a time of great turmoil.|
|The Second Kingdom||Men are united under the banner of the Shining Lord and create a kingdom in the manner of the First Kingdom. The great magic is used in all manner of daily life.|
|The Fall||Agents of the shadow infiltrate the Second Kingdom, urging it’s rulers to become decadent and unjust.|
|The Great War||A great war is fought for the fate of the Second Kingdom, all sides use the great magic in terrible ways.|
|The Red Plague||The spark turns away from the world in sorrow. In his place, the shadow brings about a plague that nearly wipes the world clean. The plague kills those able to wield the great magic.|
|The Before-time||The spark sends Saluwan to bring peace to the land|
|The rise of the Clans||This marks the beginning of commonly accepted history.|
The Old Gods
Collectively, worship of the Old Gods make up the oldest organized religion known in Nightsdeep. It’s gods are deeply tied into the land and strange magics. Each holds sway over a particular facet of existence. Invoking an Old God is an especially careful affair because each god expresses a duality. Worship of the old gods is heavily persecuted and the strange heretics who dare do so are almost always put to death when discovered. Commonly, it has long been believed that this religion is dead.
Grao, the roaring storm/ placid ocean
Grao is a god of the waters. Favored by fisherman and fishing villages, Grao’s blessing can provide a bounty of food and calm weather or his curse can bring about diseased waters and raging storms. He is often invoked by those wishing to participate in some aspect of the ocean. It’s bounty of life, it’s endlessness or it’s uncaring lack of mercy. He is also called “the gray man” as his color is Gray. He is symbolized by the eel, eating itself.
Mahalon, the accuser/ victim
Mahalon is the god of the hanged. He is favored by criminals as well as judges. His blessing grants wisdom to those who need it or cruelty to those who desire it. He is often invoked by those who stand to lose something important to them or who desire something greatly. He is also known as “the hanged man”. His color is blue and he is symbolized by the crow.
Marka, of the boundaries/ roads
Marka is somewhat a goddess of death. She is also a goddess of those who are lost. Her blessing brings back things that were once gone, it grants a peaceful death and casts out ghosts. Her curse however brings death and disease among the healthy, lays waste to villages and opens the gates to the other world. She is known as “Queen of the crossroads”. Her color is black and she is symbolized by the worm and the skull.
Holun, who hollows out men/ fills them with knowledge
Holun is said to be a quiet goddess of peace. Whether it’s the peace that one gets when they are empty inside or the peace of knowing the way that things will turn out. She grants visions and warnings to those who invoke her. She also is a goddess of magic and as such, can grant the knowledge of how to perform it. She is known as “The lady in red.” Her color is red and she is symbolized by a red snake whose coils are in a figure eight.
Ursinnig, The Raging Flames/ Calming Snow
Ursinnig is said to have been a man who castrated himself in a rage. He is a god of vengeance and regret, temperance and excess. His blessing can make an addict feel well again or it can grant a high so powerful that life itself pales in comparison. He can grant the strength and fury of a hundred men or he can placate a battlefield. His color is yellow and he is symbolized by a bull, with it’s stomach split open. He is also known as “He who burns”.
The Blood Maw
Many vampires of Nightsdeep believe themselves to be superior to humanity. To the believers of the Blood Maw, this belief is codified by their faith. They believe that vampires are the chosen of the Blood Maw, a manifestation of the night itself. They believe that Saluwan was an enemy of the Blood Maw and his death was it’s victory. The core tenet of this faith is that the vampire is the supreme being and the ultimate growth of humanity. Similar to how a butterfly comes from a grub.
The Blood Maw has four commandments:
- Let no mortal be raised above the children of the Blood Maw.
- You are the wolf and the Shepard, the mortals are your sheep.
- Let your words never be hollow.
- The blood holds the power, always aim to become closer to the Blood Maw.
This fourth commandment is the cause of great consternation for the unbelievers as it seems to say that consuming an older vampire is the way to become closer to the Blood Maw. The fact that many believers refuse to give a straight answer to this only reinforces their fear. A further point of contention is the fact that many believers in the Blood Maw choose to worship in secret. Any vampire could be a believer.
The Path of Green Flame
There are those who actually believe that the fire in the sky was judgement and that the Deep holds our destroyer. Rather than hate the Hollow Ones, the members of this small cult believe that the wall must fall. The believe that the creator has judged this world unworthy and that they should assist the creator in hopes of being spared. Members of this cult tend toward the fanatical and they used to carry out suicide attacks on the wall itself. Now, they are trying to infiltrate the ranks of the Veggr in order to bring the wall down from within.