Church of Aitheoir
The church of Aitheoir is the dominant religion on By’thrhan as is worshipped by all the major empires. Aitheoir is the creator of the most of the planes of existence and the church is acts as the mortal servants of his will on Bythr’han.
Aitheoir in Bythr’han
Aitheoir’ power is active within the world, hence the lack of any major competing religions, though he does not directly interact with the Bythra except in the rare instance when a prophet emerges. Direct calls for aide are not often directly answered, and when they are it is done by an Angel of Aitheoir rather than the great deity himself. However, his power is readily observable. For example: it is not uncommon for those who openly blaspheme Aitheoir, particularly in large numbers, to fall prey to unusual natural disasters or other forms of divine retribution.
Worship of Aitheoir
Worship is generally conducted by priests at a temple or shrine. Except for the Exalted Church in the Holy City of Aither, all churches around the world are dedicated in the name of either one of the Angels or the Prophets of Aitheoir. Worship generally entails a sermon by the local High Priest, a period for worshipers to confess sins and request aid of the Aitheoir in the name of the church’s patron angel, and a collection of tithes.
Temples and shrines are generally overseen by a High Priest and a number of lesser Priests based on the number of worshipers they service. Larger temples also employ Paladins, highly trained soldiers blessed by the temple’s patron angel.
Angels of Aitheoir
Angels are the holy beings created as extensions of Aitheoir’ will and generally embody one of the aspects of either Aitheoir or the world. Angels are typically the ones known to directly interact with Bythra on the rare occasions that such events occur.
- Avandra (Change, Freedom, Luck) Angel of Halflings
- Bahamut (Hope, Justice, Protection) Angel of Dragonborn
- Corellon (Arcana, Skill, Wilderness) Angel of Elves and Eladrin
- Erathis (Civilization, Creation, Justice)
- Ioun (Fate, Knowledge, Skill)
- Kord (Storm, Strength, War)
- Melora (Life, Sea, Wilderness)
- Moradin (Creation, Earth, Protection) Angel of Dwarves
- Pelor (Hope, Life, Sun) Angel of Humans
- Sehanine (Love, Moon, Trickery)
- Raven Queen (Death, Fate, Winter)
Fallen Angels and Demons
Though Aitheoir is the most commonly worshipped deity, there are other beings worshipped by the more savage races and by evil forces. None of these beings can rival the power of Aitheoir himself, though they are often equal in power to his Angels. In fact most of these beings are fallen angels who have betrayed their role as servants of Aitheoir and corrupted the aspects of him they were meant to embody. However, some beings worshipped by the forces of evil are instead Demons: evil, chaotic creatures from other planes whose power and influence has bled through into the world.
- Asmodeus: Civilization, Tyranny
- Bane: Skill, War
- Gruumsh: Destruction, Strength
- Lolth: Darkness, Trickery
- Tharizdun: Destruction, Madness (Demon)
- Tiamat: Strife, Vengence
- Torog: Earth, Torment (Demon)
- Vecna: Undeath, Secrets
- Zehir: Darkness, Poison (Demon)
Dragons are believed to be the work-horse of Aitheoir and his angels and come in two varieties:
Also called Holy Dragons, these are the majestic beasts that inhabit the celestial realm of Aitheoir and his Angels. These dragons appear only rarely in the world and usually at the behest of an Angel. Metallic dragons are rarely aggressive toward Bythrans unless under orders from an Angel.
Also called Mortal or Fallen Dragons. These dragons are believed to be the descendants of holy dragons that were cast out of the celestial realm along with fallen angels. These dragons are often viewed as evil, though they are actually merely just highly aggressive wild creatures. Chromatic dragons are very territorial and highly aggressive towards Bythrans who encroach upon their lands or who inhabit lands that they wish to claim.
Prophets are Bythra who were granted the ability to directly commune with Aitheoir without the intervention of an angel. Prophets are very rare and typically arise only during times of great turmoil within the world. Once they have died they are revered in association with their patron angel.
Paladins are carefully selected and highly trained soldiers who are able to wield a small measure of the powers of their patron angel. It takes far more than skill to become a paladin; the candidate must also display the highest levels of holiness. Most paladins come from the church’s priesthood, though some are recruited directly as paladins. Paladins largely serve as defenders of their local temples and shrines, and are occasionally called upon to face greater threats such as demonic forces.
As the only significant religion observed by the established races of all the Great Kingdoms the Church wields a massive amount of political influence across the kingdoms, while not enough to end the centuries long war between the Yuan-Karth and Barastovar kingdoms the churches influence is such that both agreed to cede the land bridge that they had fought to control when the last Prophet was told that land would become the site of the Holy City, Aither. However, no recognized representative of the church is allowed to hold any government office. The church is adamant that it must remain an external influence on the Great Kingdoms.
Aither, the Holy City
Aither was built based on a vision received by the last great prophet, Gavin Hearthbow. Between the two warring nations of Yuan-Karth and Barastovar was a land bridge that had been the choke point preventing Barastovar’s expansion into Yuan-Karth. The Prophet Gavin had been sent to try and broker a peace between the two nations and during his time there received a powerful vision of a shining holy city built at the center of the land over which the two armies had fought so bitterly.
After the church had verified the prophecy and discovered Gavin’s role as a true Prophet both nations agreed to cede the land to the church. Gavin oversaw the initial construction of the city, which he named Aither, as well as the Temple of Aitheoir (the only church in the world dedicated directly to Aitheoir). The construction of the temple and the surrounding buildings took nearly a decade, and the city around it quickly grew in size. After the passing of Prophet Gavin a new shrine was built within the city proper and dedicated in his name.
The temple is ruled over by the current High Holy Priest, who acts as head of the entire Church. The city has its own democratic government which, though it is ostensibly a separate entity, largely serves to carry out the church’s will within the city walls.
The Arch-Paladins of the Holy City are the most highly trained force in the world, and as such are highly selective of who they train. Only the most skilled and most dedicated to the service of Aitheoir have a chance of becoming Arch-Paladins. Many of those who apply to join are already Paladins for other temples, though they must go through a separate, more rigorous, training to become an Arch-Paladin. Each year there are over a hundred applicants for the Arch-Paladins. Of those only 20 are accept to train and generally less than 5 are able to pass the training to become Arch-Paladins.
The city possesses its own guard force separate from the church’s Paladins which act as a local police force. The city guard has some of the best trained troops in the kingdom as many who fail to become paladins choose to stay within the city walls and sign up as guards.