The Many

History:

The Many (also known in some circles as “The First Gods”) are the oldest and most numerous faction of the Gods, but in modern days their power has waned significantly with the rise of the Faith of the One. The Many came to power when men and women began dedicating themselves to singular endeavors at the exclusion of nearly all else. In the early days, achieving a certain degree of supreme focus could indeed unlock the secrets of Godhood. Thus the Gods of the Many each came to embody concepts in and of themselves. In modern belief, there are countless numbers among the Many Gods. Nearly any concept supposedly has a God for it (this is indeed a source of ridicule from members of other religions). The truth is that while the Many are still the most numerous faction of the Gods, their individual power is comparatively weak, and the manner of worship they inspire (such as it is) does not empower them as strongly as the Gods of The Tuskanuld or The One Faith.

The Gods:

The Gods of the Many are simply known by the concept they embody. So the God of War is simply “War,” the God of the Sea is simply “The Sea.” Etc… Etc… While technically the religion of the Many claims their numbers are endless there are most certainly a select few among their number that are prayed to above most others: War, The Sky, The Sun, The Moon, The Winds, The Sea, The Harvest, The Hearth, and The Mountains, as well as the four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Night is a well-known but little-loved God of the Many, and Death is of course considered among the most powerful of their number despite little public acknowledgment.

Worship:

Icenaila is the largest area that still predominately worships the Many. There are occasional isolated pockets of worshipers of the Many in Four Corners and Aequor (more so the former than the latter), but the rise of the One Faith has pushed it to the fringes of society, and often into secrecy as such worshipers must constantly avoid the eyes of the One Faith’s Inquisitors. In Galenthia, however, there is unwritten tolerance for the Many within the Kingdom, particularly in the lands of House Kaedon, an openly Many worshipping County that walks a fine line in order to maintain its high position. The Duchy of Sokar is full of other Many worshipping houses; despite the former Robar Dukes of Riverwatch's religious fervour, they often overlooked these houses' religion in return for higher taxes. A few other fiefs are Many worshippers in Galenthia - in the Sokar lands, House Charwin, just south of County Kaedon, House Rosendal and House Thalesia. In Tarris lands, House Ulsen worship the Many while the old ways are observed in Romante lands north of Firen by House Thrace.

Worship of the Many is in many ways a passive affair, with little in the way of codified beliefs and practices. The Many are not prayed to in the traditional sense, except on solstice festivals and special occasions wherein general prayers to ALL the Many are performed and sacrifices are made. On occasion a worshiper might ask for blessing from a particular God in a particular endeavor but the primary tenet of the Many is an odd blend of self-sufficiency and community. By working to emulate the drive and focus of the First Gods, men can perfect themselves. Likewise, by forming strong families and communities they provide a mirror of the strength of the Many, who had to band together to battle the Old Things. If one works hard enough, and is a strong member of their community that makes the whole stronger, they can earn their place in the afterlife serving the God that suits them best. If they are found lacking, or if they work against their fellows rather than with them, they rot in the Earth.

In many ways, strength and power are considered signs of favor from the Many, and thus war and attempted conquest are not looked down upon. It is this particular cultural tenet coupled with the occasional human sacrifices practiced on their solstice festivals that gives worshipers of the Many a reputation for savagery and barbarism. In truth, the worship of the Many is not particularly more or less brutal than any other Religion, but it does tend to occur that the culture of its’ followers tend to be forged by harsh environs and circumstance, so the “barbarism” may be a self-feeding cycle.

Organisation

Traditionally the worship of the many has been a passive affair with little in the way of codified beliefs. Recently however with pressure from the far more organised faith of the One threatening the survival of the religion within Galenthia a fledgling church has sprung up under the guidance of Countess Sonya Kaedon.

As well as providing an official clergy and more codified beliefs and practices this church also establishes an honor guard in the form of the Many Masks and a Knightly Order in the form of the Battleborn as well as granting the church the structure needed to potentially spread beyond its previous areas of strength.

The Church of the Many

Some more information on the Church of the Many:

Sonya Kaedon is the current High Priestess.

Acolytes are trained for several years in the temple at Silverhill, Kaedon. This training primarily focuses on all the lore surrounding the various gods and the histories and myths that are important to the faith. The best priests/priestesses are also talented storytellers. Priests under the Temple of the Many are granted a regular stipend/income according to their responsibilities as it is considered a full time vocation. The vows of priesthood are for life.

All Priests should have the religion-Many skill at 1 or 2 to represent this education and consider buying the performing skill.

Most religious gatherings involve the recounting of these histories and myths as actual worship remains a very private thing. There are two communal worship meetings each year - The Summer and Winter Solstices. These solstices will usually be surrounded by a festival period and and will always include significant sacrifices alongside important rituals of renewal and death. The temple of the Many does not practice human sacrifice. It is at the summer solstice that new members are welcomed and the winter solstice where the achievements of the years dead celebrated.

The temple's current mission is to bring other Many worshippers into the shelter of an organised religion and to collect, share and maintain the faiths histories, stories and traditions. Priests/priestesses are discouraged from approaching One worshippers with the intent of conversion. However should any One worshipper approach the priest/ess then there are no rules against converting people from the one to the many.

The temples consist of a central pillar full of altars to various dieties along with a large north facing shrine that is consecrated to all. The exact composition of altars is determined by the needs of the local population but so far every temple holds a shrine to both winter and summer moon. These altar pillars are usually housed inside a building to protect the offerings and relics which will range between a simple roundhouses to the elaborate domed building in Silverhill with its extensive libraries and learning centers. There is usually a removable roof section above the altar pillar so that the sun and moons can witness worship without impediment but where this is not possible outdoors altars are often provided.

The church of the Many has its own holy order tasked with the protection of those who hold the faith. The Battleborn. When Temple guards are on active duty they wear special masks which cover their entire face. Kaedon has an entire military unit of these guards called the Many Masks which it distributes as appropriate to protect the temples.

The church of the many has a heavy presence within the county of Kaedon and a small (but hopefully growing) presence in each of the Galenthian regions which have an established population of many worshippers such as Thrace, Hytal and Ulsen (see worship for a more comprehensive list). A single priest of the temple tends the dockland shrine in Four Corners.

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