Transcript – The Gods of Toor

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Gods. No matter the world, no matter the time, gods always seem to creep their way into the collective consciousness of the peoples who walk the worlds that make up the thread of the Continuum. And Toor is no different.

If only they could learn, could accept, that there are no gods, there never were. Or at least, there were not supposed to be.

It has already been told that it was not gods who brought Toor into being but rather the power wielded by the Aenaeti, the first folk, who brought creation, knowledge and presence to the blank canvas of the world, making it and shaping it and filling it with life. And it was they who brought into being the two peoples, the Halka and the Liina, who would in time come to be known as the dwarves and the elves respectively.

These peoples dwelt in peace for many thousands of years with the Aenaeti ruling and watching over them, as lords and monarchs, but never as gods.

Then came the Great Warping. The misguided effort of King Orcanor to steal the power of the Eastern Lighthouse, Rhunenaur. This dark deed backfired, scourging Orcanor and his lands in the south east of Irdaliin and his people who dwelt there. The Tharvan Elves, the Elves of the grassy plains, had been renowned for their horse breeding and riding ability, and as lovers of music and poetry. But now they were changed, filled with the power of the Fae, their bodies made bigger, stronger and tougher while their minds were overcome leaving nothing but wild storms and rage.

It is not known how the Aenaeti quieted their minds and restored them, bringing back the people they had once been. All that is known is that it drained them of nearly all of their power and that was not enough to undo what had been done to them physically. They remained taller and much stronger than other elven kindreds but they no longer lived as long as most elves did; the oldest among them never living more than four hundred years. Also, the innate ability that all elves had to use magic had gone from them, with the very occasional exception. The Tharvan Elves were no more. Now they were known as the orcs.

Following these events, the Aenaeti were forced to depart Toor. They had been too weakened by their work on the orcs and could no longer dwell alongside the peoples of the world. So, after leaving a final message to the world upon a tablet in the Lighthouse of Caled-elu, they returned to where they had come from, leaving the three peoples alone.

And how quickly the minds of mortals forget. As it ever has been, history faded to legend, legend became myth, knowledge became belief which soon faded into faith.

The stories of the Aenaeti were passed by the elves and the orcs to their children and to their children’s children and so on. Until the truth of the First Folk was all but forgotten. Their names had been given to new characters that were now praised and worshipped. The gods had come to Toor.

This was not helped by the new arrivals. The Gwingwaith, the new people, or sometimes known as the Cuilthenta, the short-lived. Wherever the Aenaeti went to, it opened the way for other peoples to enter the world of Toor. Humans, gnomes, goblins, halflings, peoples with lifespans that could be measured in the span of a century. They spread across the face of the world and they heard of the Aenaeti and joined with the elves and the orcs in their worship. After all, how could such great and powerful figures be anything other than gods?

Only the dwarves, it seems, went untouched by this fashion. Perhaps because of their preference to remain apart from the other peoples. But across the various dwarven cultures and cities, there are no gods, no churches and no priesthoods. The dwarves have instead developed a kind of veneration, or hero worship, of notable ancestors, those who have done great or notable things and deserve to be remembered. But always strictly as mortals. They were great people, yes, but still no more than people.

But here I shall set down, for the sake of completion, the gods and goddesses that are now worshipped in Toor, in their various forms.

First among the divines, Mother of the World, Anorel is the goddess of the Sun and of Fire. She typically also holds domain over all things traditionally feminine; beauty, wisdom and motherhood. The current myths state that it was Anorel who first brought the world into being, spinning out the world and the stars upon a cosmic loom.

Assisting her in this effort was her consort, Ingithil, who is worshipped as god of the moon and lord of waters. As Anorel is to all things feminine, Ingithil is believed to hold domain over all things traditionally masculine; fatherhood, leadership and fortitude.

In all temples of the gods, Anorel and Ingithil are always pictured together, with Anorel being the taller of the two. It is interesting to note that, even in the heavily patriarchal Aladia, who always held Ingithil in higher regard, Anorel was still given prominence over her consort in all depictions. The one exception is in goblin culture, where their equivalents, Gorrik and Gor, are shown as equals.

The tenet of Anorel and Ingithil is; Understand thyself and do thy duty. In study and understanding of the self shall ye find true purpose. Honour the law and lawgivers. Honour thy parents and honour thine own life.

Singer of the winds, Chain-breaker and Long-strider of the World, Aialagos is the goddess of the skies and the winds. She is the patron of travellers and protector of those who live in bondage. The image of Aialagos was generally used synonymously with freedom and life on the open road and, maybe because of this, Aialagos has no dedicated temples, which sets her apart from the other gods. Instead, roadside shrines can be found across the world which are dedicated to the goddess of freedom. The tenet of Aialagos is; Look to the sky, look to the horizon. Seek the next beyond. Allow none to restrain you and seek ye not to restrain another.

Halkraud is god of the earth, of metal and smithcraft. He is also patron of trade and of builders. To the orcs, who know him as Belakh, he is also seen as a god of discipline and dedication and, as such, is held by them in high honour. Indeed, the largest temple of Halkraud can be found in Khran Dur. It is said that anyone wishing to find an example of masterful craftsmanship need only look to the feet of the statue of Belakh, for there you will find a pile of them given to the god in offering. The tenet of Halkraud is; Only in admitting defeat can thou be defeated and only in thinking something good enough shall ye reach thy potential. Strive ever for greater and work hard and ye shall know no limit.

The Lady of Peace, the Open-Handed, Ialaonen is the goddess of life and healing. She is the patron of all those who give their lives to the service of others. In Ilarth, where she is known as Ilaheld, she was always held in the highest regard and, in the human city of Sacara, she has actually supplanted the other gods and is now worshipped alone by the people who dwell there. The tenet of Ialaonen is; Be kind and generous to thy fellows. Protect and love them, and heal those in need. Stand against those who would do harm to the innocent.

The Wild Huntress, the Queen of the Forests and Stalker of the Night, Rhovarn is the goddess of the wild places of the world. Her domain is the forests, the woods, the rivers and she is the patron of the trees and animals. Rhovarn cares little for the worship or adoration of the mortal races and, as such, her temples are few and far between. But she is venerated highly by rural communities, who pray for her favour and protection from the wild animals that come for their livestock. The tenet of Rhovarn is; Thou art a part of the world, not an exception to it. Live in peace with the world, its forests and its creatures, and great bounty will be afforded to you. Dwell apart from it, or seek the domination of it, then thou will know the fury of the wilds and in it see my wrath.

Master of the Library, Keeper of Secrets and Whisperer in the Dark, Irkhereth is god of knowledge and lord of the dead. He rules over the underworld from the Citadel of Solace, a place of dark and quiet serenity where every book ever written stack the shelves of the Eternal Library. Every non-dwarven town and city in the world has a hall of the dead where prayers are given to Irkhereth in the hope that he will protect those going to his charge as well as those already there. The tenet of Irkhereth is; Fear not the inevitable and flee it not. Death comes to all things in its time. Live the life you have, learn all you can. For knowledge is its own reward and all you can bring with you to the next world.

The Laughing One, Chaos Incarnate, Lord of Power. These titles and more have been given to Purnalac, the god of magic. According to stories, it was Purnalac who first taught the elves how to harness the power of the Fae Realm that bled through into Toor, and it was Purnalac who raised the four lighthouses at the end of the War of the Dawn. Purnalac is unique among the gods in that he is not usually depicted with a figure similar to that of an elf. He is usually shorter and lither, much more similar in appearance to one of the fae. I wonder if Purnalac was, perhaps, a servant of Ophaeron, who wished an end to the conflict and so struck a deal with the elves. An interesting possibility to consider. Purnalac does not have a tenet associated with him, only words of advice; The power of magic is dangerous, use it carefully.

Empty idols, all of them. No more divine in their power than I am. But, I suppose the lessons ascribed to them are decent enough. And, in the troubled times the people of Toor now face, I suppose I cannot begrudge them whatever comfort they can find. And better their devotion be directed at empty idols than… other powers.

But my highest regard remains with the dwarves. They who eschewed the worship of the divine and instead turned their devotion towards other pursuits. While the other peoples raised temples and monuments to their gods and prayed for a heaven, the dwarves built marvels and created their own heavens in the form of their cities. And one city more than any other was the pride of the dwarven race and was, for a time, the foremost wonder of the world.

But of these things, we shall talk another time.

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