In the beginning there was chaos and the sisters of destruction Rihisti and Teshi ruled without boundaries and devoured all. But Belu, lord of the gods, saw their mindless destruction and was discontent. He then summoned his brothers and sisters and their hosts and they struggled with Rihisti and Teshi. First rode Mutu, youngest among the gods and eager to prove his worth. Mutu sprung onto Rihisti and gave her many wounds with his scythe but then grew careless and fell before her might. As his brother fell, a great fury grew in the heart of Belu. In his anger he then wielded the great blade Namsaru, broke Rihisti with his great strength, and shattered her body. Kudurri, the mistress of boundaries, then locked Teshi outside the circles of the world which were now ruled by law and out of Rihisti’s flesh all the lands were then formed.
The history of the spheres, chapter 1
About the gods
When the people left the Iron Isles they brought their gods with them and to this day their worship is a central part part of the Alanu republic. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different tales concerning the gods and their doings that are told on the streets, at the taverns, in the temples and in the palaces of the great city of Alanu. Their chronologies, characterizations and morals often seem to clash but they are nonetheless all somehow sort of true, according the senate. This as long as they are told by good citizens of the republic. The republic and its virtuous citizen are seen as an embodiment of the divine order.
The gods of Alanu are, with one important and controversial exemption, gods of law and order. They are mainly known as the creators of the world and the origin of order in the universe. Although there are some philosophers and wizards who, often inspired by heretical elven ideas, claim that gods are just temporary outgrowths of a eternal impersonal plane.
The old gods of the islands are officially worshipped and all citizens are expected to honour them and support their temples. Traditionally the exiles have frowned upon the foreign gods of the conquered lands. At best they have been seen as imperfect and barbaric copies of the true gods, at worst they are seen as demons of chaos.
The struggle between order and chaos is prominent in Alanu religious thought. The traditionally dominant view is that the gods are originators and upholders of order while an emerging and, according some, heretic view is that the gods themselves emanates from a higher plane of order. Many conservatives complains that elven thoughts about the gods have spread among many youths and philosophers. Elves generally see order/law/contentment as the founding principle of the universe from which all that is good originates. They doesn’t view evil as power in itself. It’s only founded in the temporary absence of order.
Belu– Lord of the gods. God of the lords. The protector and creator of law and order. Worshipped as the main god of the republic. Most senators are priests of Belu and the high priest of Belu is very powerful in Alanu politics. The priesthood of Belu is exclusively male.
Mutu– God of death, judgement, renewal and learning. Mutu takes care of that which has been lost in the battle against chaos and decides what is to be renewed into the world. He rules over the fields of mourning, the lands of death. A place where the dead rest och toil. Often seen as a son to Belu.
Mother Alissu – The mother of the republic. Godess of birth, fertility, motherhood, birth, home, comfort and patience. Maybe the most popular among the gods.
Practically every Alanu woman participates in the cult of the Mother. Especially during Mother’s day when women are released from their ordinary duties in order to participate in temple rituals. A significant part of the female population of Alanu citizens are priestesses of the Mother and priestesses of the higher levels enters a marriage with the republic itself and learn the inner mysteries of the Mother Alissu. A priestess having sex with a foreigner is punishable with death for both. It is very common that times of misfortune are explained by the infidelity of priestesses. The priesthood of Mother Alissu is exclusively female and grown men who enters a temple of the Mother are executed. The high priestess is the only female in the senate. Mother Alissu is often seen as the wife of Belu but many, especially among women, see her as the mother of Belu.
Kudurri – Mistress of borders. Defends the necessary borders between order and chaos, between life and death, between childhood and maturity and other things. She is mostly worshipped by soldiers and wizards. Often seen as a daughter to Belu and Alissu.
Nusha – Wife of Ikkaru. Goddess of fertility, joy, growth, farming, youth and sexuality.
Ikkaru – Husband of Nushu. God of farming, stability, growth and strength. The priests and priestesses of Ikkaru and Nusha mostly consists of wise men and women who learn the mysteries and rituals as apprentices and gains full priesthood when their predecessor dies. The only priest that are formally above the others is the high priest of Ikkaru who is chosen by the clan council. The worship of Nusha and Ikkaru is very common in rural areas.
Qablu – Lord of war, valour, violence, victory and righteous wrath. Qablu seldom take sides in the battles of mortals. He is more interested in the quality of individual soldiers than in the success or defeat of armies. He recruits the best among the fallen to the host of the gods while his two hounds devours both traitors and cowards. It is commonly believed among soldiers that fallen great soldiers sometimes have persuaded Qablu into supporting their side at a battle. Especially if they seem to be loosing.
Nikassu – God of balance, ambition, luck, change, mediation, secrets, wealth, trade, riddles, games and magic. The first king that united the Iron Isles under his rule, about 500 years before the great sinking. Claimed to be and is now generally seen as the son of Rihisti and Belu. It is said that Nikassu never died but only left the throne and went into hiding. He continuously tests and guides his people in order to keep it strong. Nikassu is the only god that is acknowledged by the senate without having a lawful alignment. His official cult is small and controversial among many senators. But privately many traders, gamblers and magicians turn to Nikassu. He is a trickster and instigator of change in many popular tales.
Spawn of chaos
The order of the gods are opposed by chaotic powers, often called demons. Because of their nature they often change in form and name. Detailed knowledge of demons is not encouraged i Alanu society. Worship of demons is punishable by death. The two demonic powers that are generally known are the two sisters Rihisti and Teshi.
Rihisti was broken by Belu in battle and the world was made out of her body. She isn’t slain, only forced into submission and servitude. Her body serves as the foundation of the world while the gods keep her rebellious chaotic urges at bay. Her body and mind is broken, but not her chaotic spirit. Her true nature is seen in earthquakes, storms and the evil of men. Many, especially those who oppose the use of magic, say that the existance of magical abilities among the creatures of the world is part of Rihistis mindless struggle to break free.
Direct worship of Rihisti is strictly forbidden but, in practice, many have a ambivalent relationship to her. Especially among some worshippers of Nuksha who see her as another aspect of their goddess. The high priest of Ikkaru, with the support of the senate, is trying to uproot this belief but it is often hard and time consuming to differentiate between the legitimate worshippers of Nuksha and heretical chaotic witch-cults.
Sailors and fishermen in general equals the wrath of the sea with the wrath of Rihisti and therefore often make sacrifices in order to calm her. A practice that is opposed by most clerics. Fishmen and the Kraken are often viewed as the servants of Rihisti.
When Rihisti was broken her sister Teshi fled and remained outside the world. But she soon returned and attacked the world in order to free and destroy the order created by the gods. Since then she has always been driven of but then she relentlessly returns in her struggle to destroy the world. Teshi has numerous children which she constantly spawns and devours.
Magicians aligned to chaos often try to break the borders of the world in order to release or tap the great unworldly powers of the demons.