THE ASEYAN RELIGION (KORWEYNITE BELIEF)

PREVALENCE - BELIEF OUTLINES - ORIGINS
 
GODS OVERVIEW - WORSHIPPING PRACTICES - ETHICS - MYTH/LORE

The 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.
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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.
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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. Return to the top

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:

The 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. Return to the top

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.
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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. Return to the top

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...

Watch it a little closer, and you will soon feel your sweat helplessly overrun by this joy. Fear not. It just wants to come out and join the flames in their cheerful dance...

Touch the ground with your palms now, my child. And feel this joy coursing through the cold stubborn immobility of the rock...

And now look up, above you, my child, look in the greatest of mirrors. And you will see countless of other fires like this one, dancing their flames in the same joyous way. For this is the army of Calderón, chasing away Bothú's hideous kindred.

This is the Eternal War, my child. Fear not. As you are dressed now in the mighty armour of Calderón. And you are safe."

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 ages).
 

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.

Answering the call of the High Folk, he brought back Inthadín's truth, Calderón's light and Thiát's hope to the humans. And thus, the humans followed him, joining the armies of the sky. Fighting with the courage of the righteous they finally managed to defeat Bothú's kindred, helping Calderón and Thiat to win back what they have lost due to the humans' sins. Sadly though, Korweyn, the Great Hero, died from Menemronn's treachery while fighting this holy battle. But his loyal followers had never forgotten him and thus they have built a great nation bearing his name. A nation that will shine in the eyes of Inthadín, a nation that will chase and fight until its last breath Bothú's evil kin. Because, indeed and sadly again, the treachery of the evil one is beyond anything that can be imagined. Menemronn might have been defeated but his sickness was spreading even beyond death. He corrupted everything he touched and so many humans fell under his evil grip. Kyras, the Dark hero, was such a man. Once a great warrior, fighting the darkness side by side with Korweyn, succumbed to Menemronn's whispers. And thus he betrayed the humans and became Bothú's new champion, continuing from Menemronn's ruined fortress, and the destruction of anything that is good in the world.
 

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.

An extraordinary example of this is Tiara Ueweniel who was referred to after her death as the "Evenstar", one of the brightest stars that shine in the west over the Sohoi Mountains. The legend tells that her immortal soul burnt so brightly that when she died, returning in the eternal skies, the star was ignited by it in white fire, standing now as guidance to those she left behind and as a challenge to those of dark hearts, who might feel safer in the darkness of night, when Calderón's sword may spare them...


Of the Elderfolk

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 completion. Return to the top
 

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