Korweynite religion - as it is
written down in the "Aseya" (the "Book of Heaven") - is one of the most
widespread religions in Nybelmar practiced
by most people of the Korweyn Empire as well as by various other tribes. This belief was also the basis for the
millenary holy war between the first "Empire of the Sun" and the "Shadowrealm"
of the Murmillions.
Prevalence. The Aseya, the religion of the Korweynites is widespread on the eastern Nybelmar and has influenced many other cults and philosophies of this continent. Within the era of the first Korweynite Empire many of the conquered tribes and cities took Aseya as their official religion. Beside the state religion followed by the Korweynites and their closest allies, most notably the Kassites and the people of Anis-Anpagan follow the "Aseya" or slight variations of this faith. While different concerning the conclusions about how to better serve the Archgods in their struggle against evil, all these factions nevertheless follow the same basis.
With all the various interpretations of its teachings, the Aseya is the most common religion in all Nybelmar. Besides the centers of belief in Kormendale, Fez, Gelm and Anis-Anpagan, strong followers of this cult also exist as minorities in the elven enclave of Fullwanooth and in the continental cities of Aca-Santerra.
Belief Outlines. The Korweynites pantheon can be divided into two groups, one consisting of the Archgods (the "Eternal Entities" - who always existed) and one of the lesser Gods (the Creator Gods that built Helón but were drawn into the war between Calderón and Bothú).
The Archgods rule over the realms beyond the world - like the vastness of the sky, the earth to its deepest caverns, the time or the space. The lesser Gods compared to the Archgods are beings of very limited power, only able to change their environment and to influence the mortal beings. They were Inthadín's servants and their creation is the world and all the living beings. While their power is limited compared to that of the Archgods, they still have a great influence over all the beings of this world.
The Korweynites tell of four Archgods fighting over the fate of the world, but they only worship three: Inthadín (the God of the Eternal Sky), Calderón and Thiát (the latter being two "children" of Inthadín, the Sun and the Moon, sent to battle Bothú and his evil kin). Bothú (the God of Earth) is the antagonist of Inthadín, intending to prevent the creation of Helón.
Korweynites view themselves as servants of the Sky Gods, soldiers fighting for the good side in this War that shakes the world since the beginnings. As they are beings created out of earth they must primarily fight against the ancient corruption of their own body and mind - the power that Bothú has over them through the essence of Earth.
They worship Calderón and Thiát to prevent that and to become an active part of the Creation and thus they fight to stop Bothú. Inthadín cannot take an active part to this, as the skies are infinite, thus He cannot care but for just one small fraction of the realm that He sees.
While there are only four Archgods relevant for the destiny of the world there are also other beings like Inthadín who may even exceed His power and greatness, however they have never taken part in this war, being merely passive bystanders. We might mention two still very known Archgods of this category: Leethian, the Forger of Time, and Golam, the God of Being. Some myths also tell about another Archgod beyond these two, but the "Void", or however one would call it, is mainly subject to philosophical debates, as the appearance of this Archgod would negate the existence of anything. In the philosophical texts of Korweyn this entity is usually named "Luch", the Korweynite word for "emptiness".
The "Aseya" or translated "Book of Heaven" as the basic of the Korweynite religion describes the story of the Everlasting War and all the mythological deeds the various deities achieved in their war with each other and with the "Minions of Bothú". An interesting aspect of this vast collection of tales is, however, that from the very beginning to the very end it is written as if it already has taken place. Therefore the Korweynites see themselves as part of the Everlasting War, its outcome being already written down. However it is to be noted that while the "Aseya" is the most respected collection of versions about the Everlasting Wars, there also exists a nearly endless amount of variations on this matter and even entirely different tales about the gods of Aseya.
The imperial cult practiced by the emperors and the priesthood accepts only the Aseya and tolerates only minor variations of the story. In this great assortment of legends and myths also exists a second book: the "Book of Earth". This other version of the Everlasting War that also rewrites the ending is illegal in the empire and heavily persecuted by its priests.
The Doctrine of the Essences. Korweynites believe that everything can be reduced to an "essence". But this "essence" should not be understood as a core, irreducible substance of a certain thing. Instead, that thing is in a certain way just because of this "essence". The essence is that which makes a thing be, and actually that which makes a thing be in a certain way. Everything is a moral problem for Korweynites, so the essences of things are no different. it is believed that there are things that tend towards evil and things that tend towards good, as all depends on the certain essence of that certain thing.
Originally the Doctrine of Essences was strictly of religious content - to explain the world, but later on it was taken and separately developed by philosophers. Stripped of all its religious content, this theory can be found now in the Anis-Anpagan culture (as they have imported it from Korweyn during the Dark Age of Nybelmar). But for the Korweynites it is still the very thing the world is made of.
The creation of Helón comes from Inthadín, as the earth becomes destined to be the mirror of His glory. To realize this, Inthadín is using the sixteen mediating beings (the Creator Gods), but these beings are not truly creators. Instead they are transforming the earth and use what Inthadín has given them for this purpose. The outcomes of their doings are these essences and everything is "created" in the manner of these essences. From Inthadín Himself comes one essence, the purest of all: the "soul" (mind, conscience, reason), which is the very core of any being. With this gift the Creator Gods spawn the other essences made out of earth: the "energy" (will), the "blood" (that which makes the dead matter to differentiate into a body) and the "breath" (exchange, flow, growth).
A being just created in the manner of these essences would be a perfect one, a pure form of existence. Yet such a creation does not exist, because there is also one more essence, present in each and every thing that was created. And this essence is the essence of Bothú, the essence of "earth" (though the strict translation of the Korweynite term would have the more generally meaning of "dead matter"). Three of the essences were created out of earth to build the mirror of the sky and thus "earth" is still part of everything if only in smallest amounts. It is what makes everything mortal, for Bothú means refusal: And this refusal corrupts the perfection of the four essences and puts everything in the world under the influence of His evil nature.
Origin. There is no telling of when the teachings of Aseya were first introduced. Aseya stems from the Styrásh word "aseía" (aseía) meaning "Heaven". The Korweynites see it to have been always there, as it resembles the only true interpretation of the world and its divine forces. The writings of Aseya are based on various cults that seem to reach back even beyond the dark age of Menemronn, however the oldest written texts date back to 4.200 b.S. - written by a scholar known by the name of Erindár from Kormendale. In two books, "The Prophecy of Helón" and "The Everlasting War" he summarizes the myths and legends that form the basis of this cult known as Aseya today.
Gods Overview. Beside the four Archgods there is also a series of "lesser gods", merely supernatural beings that are taking an active part in the destiny of Caelereth. The Myth of Creation refers to them as "Creator Gods" but they are also called "the Architects": They are the sixteen beings that Inthadín rose to life to create Helón, the mirror of the Sky. As opposed to the Archgods, the Korweynites believe that these beings can actually walk among the mortals and help or harm them. Thus they are not so much revered as they are prayed (as in "pleaded") for aid in certain tasks - from heroic deeds to facts of everyday life. Also they are supposed to be mortals too, as they suffer from the same flaw any being on Caelereth has to endure: the Essence of Earth is part of them. Legends often tell about the death of a certain "Creator God", but the common belief is that they can be resurrected (by either Thiát or Bothú) when enough of their spirit prevails. So Bothú's corruption has reached them as well, some of them falling more than the others under His malevolence.
The lesser gods can be ordered in eight pairs, each of them having its counterpart but the Korweynites only worship eight of them (those that remained loyal to Inthadín during the Rise of Bothú) and they shun the presence of the others.
The list of these eight pairs is as follows:
God of Truth
He is worshipped by most people as the god that only raises his sword for good, the one that will punish those that have fallen to the side of Bothú. Honor and justice are his highest ideals, which made him highly popular among Kassites - whose codices are closely related to these ideals.
God of Deception
Once the brother of Ghal, Norn became corrupted by Bothú early during his Rise and with his lies and betrayals caused many deaths and destruction. Behaving like him is seen as disgusting among Korweynites, and a lie "under the sword of Ghal" (a court), means certain death.
Goddess of Wisdom
Paerí is highly favoured as a great teacher of the lesser species and has the greatest knowledge about the ways the world came to life. She especially taught the elves, the oldest of all races and the most eager to understand the ways in which the world was meant to be.
Goddess of Oblivion
Luring at the edges of one's consciousness she intends to steal the heart and souls of the mortals and to put them back to sleep. While she is not seen as entirely evil the people fear how she weakens ones very soul by destroying its past. In her the Korweynites not only see Bothú's will to destroy the dream of Helón but also to undo the past by destroying the memory of it.
God of Courage
He was said to pick up the sword to defend the work he and the other Creator Gods had built. He not only defied the corruption of Bothú but paid dearly for it with three scars running over the left side of his face, his left eye missing too. He is an even better warrior than Ghal and the soldiers pray for just a portion of his bravery, and thus to find glory on the battlefields.
God of Fear
"Fear can even destroy the strongest of men." This proverb shows the power of this deity that infests the hearts of those who are not shielded by Gonna's powers. Together with Camoná he destroys the faith of mortals and Creator Gods alike, so Norn's lies find a more fertile ground to grow.
Naressá, Goddess of Modesty
Naressá is also seen as Goddess of Balance. To create an order between things is her greatest goal and in the same way mortals should act, so all mortals may live in total harmony. She'll bring rain, fertile soil and good harvests so that everyone may prosper but she will not do this on the expense of others.
Devlín, Goddess of Greed
She strives to subdue all, not only what is fair and just but also everything beyond. Restraint is not among her concepts and the seed she plants into so many mortals' heart is small but as it grows so does the peril it will cause.
Loreán, God of Beauty
Loreán is the god of artists, sculpturers and architects alike. His ultimate goal is the creation of Helón and thus the beauty and greatness of the skies on Caelereth. He does not bother much about the war as he never took part in its battles (except very few) and this neutrality also shows the danger too much arrogance might cause: To lose the grip of reality. But it is said that his inspiration is the cause of many masterworks, as only his visions may give mortals the ability to see the true beauty.
Zellá, Goddess of Terribleness
Zella's goal is not only to corrupt all the creations of Loreán and twist them in the most terrible ways but he also works together with Vynál and Camoná to plant the seeds of fear and despair preparing the defeat of the sky. He may also divert people by raising prejudices and hatred between them.
Thiotís, Goddess of Love
It is said that when Bothú destroyed the dream of Helón and the Eternal War began, Thiotis wept over any creation lost in the war as her love is for anyone, the Young and the Old, the Strong and the Weak, the Beautiful and the Ugly. Her spirit fills anyone with the very emotions that makes one care for anything.
Leán, God of Hate
He means to scatter all love and care that might help to overcome the flaws from which any mortal being suffers. His powers cause disputes, murders, war, death and destruction. Though not a fighter himself he finds pleasure in heating the hearts of the enemies on the battlefield so any mercy and love that might still spark in their very inner soul would vanish and more hate will cause even greater destruction.
Spirá, God of Hope
Her dreams encourage the people during difficult times, her sweet voice leads them through the darkest hours of their lives, and her visions show the full glory of the prize. Without Spirá the other creator gods might not have dared to rise against Bothú, for only with hope courage and all the other positive feelings one may prosper.
Camoná, Goddess of Despair
As Thiotís wept over the loss of Helón, Camoná's cold laughter echoed through the ruins for she sees the return to Bothú as the only possible outcome as Inthadín broke the ancient order. She is one of the most feared of the corrupted gods as she drives out any positive aspect that might still reside in one individual. Thus the only key to fight and defeat Camoná lies within the very soul and will of any given individual.
Kary'n, Goddess of Health
Not the balance between things but the well being within any individual is Kary'n's aim as only when every part of the world is without flaw, the world as a whole can be without flaw. She is closest to Thiát, to preserve and heal the wounds the war causes and she tends those that suffer.
Menér, God of Sickness
Menér, once the husband of Kary'n, sought other ways to corrupt and so he plagues the mortals with all kinds of diseases so that the other gods might find a way into the victim's heart and destroy it.
system of the Creator Gods is very complex as they're perceived as
representatives of virtues and vices and as well as "Architects" with
certain powers and control over the world. The later aspects are however
mainly based on the mythology found in the texts of Aseya and today they're
mainly perceived by their main function, as blessings or curses able to
influence the human mind.
Worshipping Practices. Due to the nature of the Archgods these beings are not worshipped in temples or shrines. As they're believed to be omniscient and Divine Entities residing in the heavens, any earthen building would be seen as offensive, given the fundamental antagonism of Earth and Sky in the Korweynite faith. It is a common practice for the faithful to confess to Calderón before going to bed and when a new day begins to thank Thiát for her healing touch during the night. Calderón is represented by the sun and seen as the protector of the Korweynites driving away all harm during the day. Thiát on the other hand is seen responsible for fate, ultimately granting any good man what he needs so the world will once become a perfect place. However, safe for desperate situations Korweynites would never pray to these gods to plead for something as their powers are beyond the necessity of mortal beings. As such they stand morally beyond the Creator Gods.
As the Archgods are only worshipped with great respect, dealing with Creator Gods is a far more worldly issue. In any household, in any fundament of a building, on the roads as well as in the sewers or on the fields one would find various symbols and sculptures referring to one or the other Creator Gods to plead for their blessing. Shrines containing a sculpture of a god are common in most of the wealthier houses and the prayers to any of the Creators are directly addressed to ask for certain assistance - Creator Gods attend to many matters, ranging from emotional to economical ones.
In particular each God stands for a certain caste in the Korweynite society: Calderón as protector and warrior of the holy cause of erecting Helón the paradise on Calaereth, is in conjunction with the imperial family. The priests as spiritual healers and preservers are representing Thiát. The nobility represent Ghal as judges. The scholars worship Paerí, the soldiers Gonná, the merchants and traders Naressá. Artists, sculptures and architects worship Loreán. The caste of the farmers worships Thiotís, the musicians and bards Spirá and healers Kary'n.
Aside of shrines one will also encounter temples of various sizes and decorations throughout the empire. Here people can also try to 'buy' their blessings. Yet they are not run by their own priests but maintained by the priests of Thiát, because the Creator Gods are servants of their own. The priests serve as subtle reminders and councilors to any that seek a temple and help to evaluate if a certain prayer to a Creator God might not be looked at kindly by Calderón - in which case a monetary donation is not advisable as it would make one fall in Calderón's eyes.
Many of the rituals performed by the Korweynites either replay - also a popular profession by priests - myths and legends from the Aseya telling of the affairs of the various gods, or are often closely connected to astronomical events. Each time when Thiát's face disappears from the sky, each Korweynite household puts candles or lanterns in the windows and the priests walk in processions through the streets praying for the safety of the people during Thiát's absence and against Bothú's evil minions that might walk the world that day.
There are many holidays in the Empire, most connected to the rise of a certain star that in Korweyn cosmology represents the souls of outstanding heroes. So when Korweyn's Star rises at its highest in the West, his great deeds are to be remembered. Also the Rise of Tiara's Star is to be celebrated as the rebirth of the Empire. At the rise of Finnás' Star all those beloved who were lost are to be mourned. And there are many more. This astronomy is as well performed by the priests especially to decide when a star has raised into its climax, as it is seen as bad omen to celebrate such a holiday on a wrong day.
In all its complexity the whole system is however aimed in helping the people to become better individuals.
Ethics. Korweynites found their stories on essentially moral grounds. For them anything has an antagonist, counterparts working against each other. All things have their place and naturally also something that works against them, e.g. good vs. evil, light vs. dark, spirit vs. materia. In theory these principles are locked in an eternal war but the Korweynites think that it is in each and every individual's power to turn the balance towards the good side.
Helón (the world of Caelereth as it is destined to be) is the ultimate goal of all their doings and all their actions are based on the belief that they must not fail in supporting this goal - because, as opposed to the general Sarvonian beliefs for instance, they do not believe in preserving a balance but they believe in Bothú's defeat that may allow Helón to become manifest.
The behavior of a Korweynite is thus valued by how close he follows the principles of Calderón and Thiát and the virtues the lesser gods represent. Only those that obey to these principles act honourable and already one failure might destroy the hope to have taken an active part in bettering the world. Thus the Korweynite ethics are strict and perfectionist not allowing any disobedience. Still they think that anyone's fate lies in his or her own hands but only those that achieve to follow the virtuous path might be honored by Calderón and enter Helón.
Myth/Lore. Numerous legends exist, which tell the tales of the many Aseyan Gods. Quoted below is an excerpt of "Father to Son", one of the oldest of the Korweyn parchments that survived the Dark Age; it is attributed to a Korweyn Emperor and can be found today in the Public Library of Dasans:
"Watch this fire
for a while, my child. Watch the joyous way in
which the flames are dancing. We made this fire now, to bring us warmth
and light. And so we are dressed now, in the joy of Calderón...
There are countless
tales and legends about the lesser gods of
Korweyn, there are
also the myths of the four Archgods and the great struggle that defines
them, but we will mention here just the two stories related to the origins
of the first and then of the second Empire and as well the story telling
about the origins of the elves (powerful
and trusted allies of
Korweynites during the
The Seed of Menemronn
There was a time when
Bothú got very close to destroying Helón for the
races were not always aware of the Eternal Struggle as they are now.
Seeing how the races are oblivious to Inthadín's will, Bothú sent a
servant of infinite malevolence under the disguise of a mortal shell to
destroy the work of Inthadín from within. This creature, called Menemronn,
brought great destruction to the lands, twisting every living thing into a
mockery of its essence. For death, decay, sickness and oblivion spelled
the name of Bothú's beloved spawn. A great despair engulfed the human
tribes as they wept for their sins, and just when everything seemed to be
lost a great hero arose among them: Korweyn, the
greatest of warriors, the wisest of teachers.
The Legend of the Stars
The Korweynites believe
to be blessed by the Archgods of the skies as the inhabitants of
Caelereth, which stayed loyal to the skygods since the beginning. Thus
Calderón, to recognize their fate as "mere mortals in a game of immortals"
gave them an opportunity to take part in the struggle for the mythical
paradise Helón and forever gain a place among those meant to enter it. He
created the stars hanging over Caelereth, both as a map of destiny for
Korweynites but as well as home for those souls that served His cause on
Caelereth well, in the form of mortals. Most emperors and some of the
heroes thus, have a place in the sky and among "Calderon's" heavenly army.
Among the many beings
created by the gods, the Highfolk the elves were
the first ones and they followed closely the guidance of the gods as Helón
arose and blossomed around them. In these good years before Bothú's
awakening they flourished and learnt many things from the gods and
accumulated great wisdom about all things for they were strong in the
essence of the soul and the will and thus soon became vital servants of
the gods themselves. When Bothú arose they were the latest to fall under
his spell and still they fought his might. As Elderfolk, they were the
first ones and still remember how Helón's dream looked like, close to its
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken