Religion in Mystos Edit
Religion is an inherent contradiction in Mystos. On the one hand, the people recognise the magic at work in their world and understand the gap in power between themselves and the gods. On the other hand, they also have the upper hand on the gods in many ways. Members of most city-states of Mystos are religious, but not to the point of zealotry. In fact, zealous behaviour is considered rediculous by members of society. The people only give to the gods when they take from the gods.
The story of creation (also called the Divine Cataclysm) in Mystos defines the role of mortals and immortals in the cosmos. As a quick summary, the story navigates the creation of the gods (who are created by an entity called Chaos) and their war against their children, the god-born (many of which are also lesser deities). In the end, the god-born convinced Korla, the goddess of fire and the original leader of the gods, to betray Selione, her daughter, which resulted in Selione's death. In her last breath, Selione managed to hide her secrets from the god-born, by teaching them to mortals. The gods and god-born realized the detrimental results their fighting had caused. Now their toys, the mortals, were important to the cosmos and the gods needed them as much as they needed the gods. Indeed, one special secret of Selione's: the method of which the gods kept their power, was given to mortals. In order for the gods to maintain their place as gods, they now required sacrifices from mortals.
Now, even though you won't see soldiers praying before every meal and attending church every Sunday, does not mean that religion plays a minor role in Mystos society. The name "Mystos" comes from the leader of the gods, Mysta. Wherever the temples are found in a city, hers will be the biggest.
With respect to the mantra "don't give to the gods unless you take something from them", people of Mystos have many different ways of fufillign their role in the cosmos. When going to war, a short prayer may be made to Kael for victory, a small sacrifice may be made before the war to get Kael's attention, but the larger sacrifices will be withheld until victory has been won. Foolish kings in the past have gifted gods with temples, sacrifices, and prayer only to meet the scorn of another god without any protection from their patron. Priests and priestesses are often those who have received a great windfall from the gods: it is an honor to spend a small part of their day in devotion to a god in exchange for the luxurious life they have been granted.
Greater Deities Edit
There is only one greater diety, if it can be called that: Chaos. Chaos literally is the raw energy and substance of the universe. The orgins of Chaos are unknown, but it was what created the goddess Korla, who was the spark of life for the other gods.
Some theologians speak of a second entity, Order, that encompasses Chaos. Order represents the flow of time and, therefore, is what Chaos resides in (all substance exists within the realm of time). Whether Order exists or not has been the topic of debate amongst scholars for centuries. The main point of interest to them is, if Order is a being, then, like any of the gods that impose rules, the rules can be both bent and broken. And even a village fool can appreciate the power that would be granted to an individual able to bend and break the rules of time.
Intermediate Deities (Gods) Edit
The intermediate dieties of Mystos are the original pantheon of gods. Korla was the first god to exist and she created Neul. Together, they had children Mysta, Oros, Korm, and Selione. Their children's children (or some of their own children from flings with mortals) are less powerful than the gods and are called the god-born (many of which are still powerful enough to be considered lesser deities).
Now, Korla and Selione are really only considered gods by tradition only. Selione is dead and Korla was banished from the Hallway of the Gods. Thus, there are only four seats in the Hallway of the Gods, each representing rulership, even though there were initially six gods.
- Goddess of fire
- Secondary: sex, passion, lust, light
- She was the first God to exist. She created Neul from a spark of life.
- Mysta, Oros, Korm, and Selione are all children of her and Neul.
- She was banished by Mysta during the Divine Cataclysm.
Korla is often described as the most extreme of the gods. She fights ferociously and loves tenderly. As the mother of the other gods, she is well respected -- even after her banishment from the hallway of the gods by her daughter, Mysta. Now she spends her time in Phylea, away from the other gods. She tends to be quick to anger and jealousy and often makes life miserable for would-be heroes. She particularly hates any offspring of Neul because her banishment has meant that she cannot see her husband often (she lives in the sun, Phylea, and he lives in the moon, Nox).
She is depicted as a red-haired, young adult woman of beauty only paralleled by Maeli.
- God of the dead
- Secondary: patience, calmness, dreams, medicine
- The first God created by Korla, and also her husband.
- He takes care of the dead as their souls make their journey of rebirth.
- He is very powerful because he is owed debts by those who never payed them in life.
- He is not a joyous god, but he is very peaceful and comforting.
Neul is probably the least extreme of the gods. He tends to promote peace and serenity, invoking a strong sense of communion with nature. It is very hard to offend him, but if it happens, he is a very powerful force to be reckoned with and, without a doubt, terrible things will happen to you. Either way, he is a very forgiving god and relaxed to the point that some consider him to be uncaring (to which he never voices any strong opposition).
Cults of Neul take many forms, but more often than not, they focus predominantly on the usage of hallucinogenic drugs to achieve a dream-like state of serenity while awake. Other cults (that are frowned upon by "normal" folk) kill off weaker members of society through use of opiates. These victims may have something as simple as a lame leg before they are put to death through a peaceful slumber.
As father of medicine, healers in Mystos attribute much of their ethics to Neul. When a healer sees someone that will not survive, it is their duty to give them a peaceful death, rather than drag out their life. If this is not performed, Neul will likely get very upset.
He is depicted as an old man with a slight smile on his face. He is often shown leading the sick (be it to a happy recovery or a peaceful death).
- Goddess of water
- Secondary: power, strength, storms, magic
- Leader of the gods
- Has children with Korm: Kael and Durao
Mysta is the leader of the gods and has the most dominion over Mystos. In fact, before the Divine Cataclysm, Mystos was said to have balanced the elements evenly between earth, air, fire, and water. After the murder of her daughter, Selione, Korla was banished by Mysta to Phylea. Korla's influence in the world became much weaker and fire became much more difficult to create and control. Mysta's influence, on the other hand, became much stronger and her water rose, swallowing up much on the earth below it in seas. Mysta, as to not anger Korm, allowed him to build a great mountain in the middle of the world so that there would be a large area of earth above the great seas.
Mysta is a symbol to many of raw strength and might. Many people honor Mysta by dedicating heroic feats to her. She is almost as deceptive and cunning as her sister, Selione, was as well. Many hero has fallen victim to becoming her pawn in some scheme to enact revenge against another god, or, more likely, a god-born.
She is depicted as a matronly figure, often holding a shark-tooth necklace and a net.
- God of air
- Secondary: artists, music, performance, travel, merchants
- He is the god of safe and swift travel.
- Has a child with Korla: Maeli.
Oros is a handsome god that wields an extremely long golden spear and has brilliant golden wings. Both merchants and performers alike dedicate much of their success to Oros. If he is in a good mood, he will send strong wings to travelers to speed their journeys at sea. Just like the other gods, if a mortal upsets him, he will do terrible things. There are many tales of those that have boasted their skill at seafaring without giving any attribution to Oros' winds. These foolish individuals end up lost at sea, capsized, or never able to pick up wind again.
- God of earth
- Secondary: defense, courage, food
- Defender of the Hallway of the Gods.
Perhaps the most predictable and dependable god, Korm is more than just the god of earth: he is the god of stability. No settlement would be possible without Korm's blessing. He strengthens those who choose to defend the small amounts of land that they can lay claim to. He aids them in plowing the fields and raising livestock. And he helps them have have the courage to raise armies and attack other cities.
And despite his grand generosity, people still have the discourtesy of not thanking him for his efforts. Korm really doesn't like when this happens. Just as he can grant courage and fertility in crops, so he can take it away. And when he does, he is merciless. Insect plagues, disease, and attacks from monsters are just some of the tools he uses to punish arrogant mortals.
And for the few mortals that dare climb Mise, Korm will use his gemstone sword (made from all that glitters beneath the earth) to send tremors to knock those foolish mortals back into their rightful place.
- Goddess of secrets
- Secondary: trickery, lies, deception
- Killed by her mother, Korla, during the Divine Cataclysm.
- Major domain was given to men, other domains taken by Maeli.
Although a dead goddess, Selione is still worshiped by many as the "friend of mortals". During her last moments before her death, she gave mortals the secrets to immortality. And although that was an inherent contradiction (mortals being immortal), the secrets she gave to them were something the gods needed. Because of this, the gods require worship and sacrifices to remain immortal. Furthermore, mortals have their souls channel through Nox and back to the world over time, thus, mortals have immortal souls.
Lesser Deities (God-Born) Edit
- God of war
- Secondary: hunting, revenge
Kael is an angry and jealous god because, as the god of war, he believes he should be part of the ruling gods and not the god-born. Like a clever tactician, however, he only takes risks when the gains outweigh the losses. His plans usually end up with him ending up in a worse position before.
When he joined Jango and Jangi against his god parents during the Divine Cataclysm, he found out that he was going to be invited to sit with the gods in the hallway of the gods had he not joined the cursed twins. He found this to be a cruel twist of irony and loathes his god-born siblings all the more for it.
Kael is cold, methodical, and deadly. Some would also attribute him as the god of assassins and murderers (although he would be offended by the latter). Those who anger Kael must be wary because when he does eventually choose his revenge, which is guaranteed, it will be horrible.
- God of architecture
- Secondary: crafting
Durao is the builder of the gods. He delights in architecture, primarily, but often enlists other gods to help him build wondrous art, boats, or any other thing conceivable. He is crippled and makes use of a magical metal leg to help himself move around.
When Maeli was born, he was absolutely smitten by her beauty. He made an arrangement with Korla for her hand in marriage. Korla asked him to build a wondrous city that reflected his love for Maeli. If the city was satisfactory, he could be married to Maeli. He built the first city of brass and was married to Maeli the same day. The next day, however, the city was gone. Korla told him that each day he must rebuild the city, otherwise he could no longer be married to Maeli. Since then, he has built a new city of brass -- each day more wonderful and different than the last.
- Goddess of beauty
- Secondary: theiving, trickery, lies, deception
They say that beauty is a stronger weapon than a fleet of soldiers and a prize more valuable than diamonds. And as disputed as this saying may be, Maeli personifies the truths of it. There have been many cities that have fallen over quarrels of love. Beauty is the thing that convinces men to fight bravely and also allows them to let down their guard. Those who understand Maeli understand that beauty and deception are really just two parts of a whole. A woman of unsurpassed beauty will be treated far more kindly than other women. The beauty itself disguises the personality.
Maeli, herself, is constantly devious. Her tricks are elaborate and often fall to unfortunate ends for others, but, in the end, they still want to believe she as told the truth. If looks reflected personality, she would probably be hideous. But as it stands, she is unsurpassed in beauty, to the degree that she looks like the ideal woman to whomever sees her. The only part of her that looks the same is her extremely light blue eyes.
Jango and Jangi
- Gods of "fore-sight" and "past-sight", respectively.
- Twin children of Selione and Korm that are often called the cursed twins.
- Jango can see events in the future, but has a memory less than 2 minutes.
- Jangi can see events in the past, but cannot plan more than 2 minutes ahead.
- They lead the fight against the gods (the Divine Cataclysm).
- They were punished for starting the fight and now have to drag Phylea (the sun) and Nox (the moon) across the sky.
The twin gods of divination were cursed for starting the war between the god-born and the gods. They take turns carrying the sun and moon across the sky (the moon being the better one to carry because 3 days a month, there is time to take a break). And, although they are cursed to this task, they do find time to brew up schemes to displace Mysta from her throne.