Alsara: Requiem and Revolution
Also called Dragon Cults, this is the veneration of Dragons as supreme beings. All of the Gods in a Draconic pantheon resemble Dragons in some way, from their physical appearance (scales, tails, breathing fire, stuff like that) to their actions and attitudes. There are many kinds of Dragon Worship, but there are some major cults that are still around in number.
Cult of Hellena
The Vokayan Uplift brought a lot of interesting things into the world, and among them it warped the native elven understanding of Dragons. Dragon Worship was still going strong in Vokaya, but the Dragons that emerged from the ruins of Gora were not like the ones from The Dragon Age. They were kind, unbelievably wise, curious, and most of all they were willing to treat humans as equals. Or at least, as humans who were worthy of care and respect, rather than animals.
This sort of flew in the face of established Dragon Worship. So, a new creed was born.
Styles of Worship
Hellena is sometimes worshiped in combination with other deities from the the Vokayan Sept with the exclusion of Morgana, who is usually too similar for most Dragon Worshipers to see her as a separate deity. This similarity, however, will cause many followers of Hellena to pray at shrines to Morgana, as the deities are somewhat interchangeable; and shrines to Morgana are much more common.
|Title||The Mother of Dragons, the Divine Mother|
|Portfolio||Dragons, Magic, Protection, Knowledge, Succor|
|Typical Worshipers||Lords, dragons, mages, clerics|
|Worshiper Alignment||Neutral Good|
|Domains||Magic, Dragon (Scalykind),Protection, Knowledge, Healing, Good|
|Subdomains||Divine, Defense, Purity, Restoration, Thought, Redemption|
Hellena is the goddess of succor, healing, and knowledge. She is a Dragon, not human or elven, but rather than rule us, she is trying to help us. There are not many stories about Hellena, but when she does feature in a tale, she usually serves as a Deus Ex Machina that solves the problem at hand, usually by giving the troubled characters some bit of knowledge, or some magical tool. She rarely is seen to punish if not doing so to protect a vulnerable character, and it will often end in the redemption of the punished.
Followers of Hellena worship the Dragons as equals, who brought much to the world and are enslaved to the Torpor. They also tend to embrace magic and magical items, often seeking to craft them and make them. They value knowledge and community, and are often very forgiving, trying to emulate their chosen goddess. They exist, ironically, in violent opposition to the Ancient Dragon Cults, even though they despise the Torpor as much as their cruel brethren for taking the Dragons from the world. Many consider followers of Hellena to be ignorant, and their hate of the Torpor extremely dangerous, and thus the persecution by the Orthodox Imperial Sept continues.
Cult of Balor
The Dunvales fought for their isolation for centuries before being conquered by the Empire, and the core of their resistance stemmed from their love of their dragon-god, Balor. Even before the reformation of the Dunvales Conclave, Balor heresies against the traditional Imperial Sept had been rampant in the region.
The Baloran faith holds several things in tandem: first, community service is a sign of your ultimate commitment to Balor, as you improve his works and his people. Second, self improvement allows you to better serve Balor, and your community, and it can lead to an apotheosis of your spirit, granting you greatness in the afterlife. Third, mortal sacrifice for others is considered to be the ultimate redemption, including redemption of not being useful enough to remain alive.
|Title||The Timekeeper, The Soul Keeper|
|Portfolio||Dragons, Crafts, Community, Sacrifice|
|Worshiper Alignment||Lawful Neutral|
Balorans are well known for their skills, and spend a substantial amount of time committed to a daily “building of foundations,” in which a person ritually practices their craft for the sake of improvement. When a man comes of age, they perform a ceremony and embark on a path: crafts, battle, agriculture, among a few others. This craft becomes their Foundation, and they will pursue it for the rest of their life. Changing a path is a difficult thing, and incurs a substantial debt to the community and to the soul. Whether a man picks his own path or his father picks his path for him depends on the region and the local practices, sometimes even the specific family.
They are also fiercely loyal to a so-called “natural order,” the way in which a people and a kingdom must obey. Balorans believe strongly in ritual and organization, and, unlike most other people of the period, they use clocks to order their lives. This facet comes from the Dunvales themselves, as there are impressive clock towers in nearly every major city. Elsewhere, they use water clocks in churches, and ring bells when major events over the day should occur.
The last concept is the idea of the individual’s debt to Balor. By being born, they owe Balor a life. They can pay this life-debt through service to the community, or, if the need arises, they can pay it by returning it. The Tithe collects those who have deemed themselves (or been deemed by priests) to be unable to pay their life-debt to Balor, whereupon they are ritually sacrificed to their God. All men and women are considered to owe a debt to Balor, and rejection of that debt is a very easy way to join the Tithe.
Under strict Baloran laws, a women’s path is chosen for them: child rearing, housekeeping, and pleasing men. This can vary in some areas, but even in places where they are given some choice of path, the choices are always fewer, and they are always chosen by their fathers. Women who cannot—or do not—build the foundation of their path on a regular basis frequently join the Tithe.