Religion, as it is in Trinity.
A number of terms in the following sections are borrowed from other sources. The term lucavi (and a significant majority of the creatures that bear that name here) is borrowed from Square-Enix's Final Fantasy Tactics; the term eidolon is borrowed from Square-Enix's Final Fantasy IX, and has roughly similar connotations. The term char is borrowed from Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The lucavi Yothoth is based loosely on the Cthulu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.
- 1 History of Religion
- 2 Divine Beings
- 2.1 The Divine and Atheism
- 2.2 Divine Beings: The True Gods
- 2.3 Divine Beings: The Scions
- 2.4 Divine Beings: The Shards
- 2.5 Divine Beings: The Servants
- 2.6 Religions
- 3 Spirits of Nature
- 4 The Void
- 5 The Soul
History of Religion
In the beginning of the world, there were no individual deities, nor servants of them; there was only the Divine itself, to which the universe - that is, Nature itself - sealed off into what is known as the Metaphysic.
Over time, the Divine gradually worked itself into the fabric of reality, able to exert its will upon the happenings therein, albeit slowly and indirectly. The first and foremost of these channels were what are known as the True Gods - beings that were directly tied to the Divine itself, channeling the power of the Divine in an overwhelming manner.
The True Gods, however, were not limitless in power, and - in order to hide their activites from the gaze of Nature - so created minions to do their bidding throughout the world. These are collectively known as the Scions, children of the True Gods, and they came in two forms: Saints and Lucavi, terms that are recognized even today. Unable to directly gift their creations with the power of the Divine, the True Gods forged a bridge between their essences and the Metaphysic: only through faith, and faith alone, could these beings attain a semblance of the Divine power wielded by the True Gods.
However, reality did eventually turn its eye to the machinations of the Divine and its direct servitors. In the Fourth Age of the Second Epoch, known simply as The Fracture, a massive cataclysm arose that resulted in the utter and irreversible destruction of the True Gods. Only their "children," the Scions, were spared.
Unlike their masters, the Saints and the Lucavi were not disrupted by this event; however, their power was directly tied to worship. Seeking a means to prevent the power of the Divine from waning utterly from reality, they took the ashes, shards, and splinters of the True Gods, and fashioned each fraction into a being unto itself: thus were born Angels and Daemons. These creatures retained a semblance of the power wielded by the True Gods, but it was fractional and incomplete; in the deaths of the True Gods, the sentience and free-will of the Gods had been lost. However, with these servants, the Saints and Lucavi could retain some amount of Divine power in the face of waning faith.
What follows are descriptions of the various Divine Beings that exist in Trinity.
The Divine and Atheism
Atheism in Trinity is not quite the same as it is in the real world. Divine miracles are not an uncommon occurrence, and there is a wide range of empirical evidence that suggests that the Divine can and does have a real effect on the world.
In such a world, one can reasonably ask the question: how do atheists exist? To this question, the Trinity atheist points out that there is a world of difference between acknowledging something's existence, and deciding to believe in it. It is one thing to say that a man is a Saint; it is entirely another to put one's faith in that Saint, and to worship such a being. Trinity atheists no more deny that the Divine exists than they deny that gravity is real; they choose, however, to not put their faith in such things, relying instead upon themselves and their own abilities.
Divine Beings: The True Gods
It is not known how many True Gods there were; even if it were, their names and natures have been lost to the ages. The lore and ecclesiastical texts regarding the origins of some of the more powerful remaining Divine beings make vague references to these beings, but only in one - the origin of the Lucavi Ajora - is a name directly given, that of the True Goddess Kolaita.
Unlike the Scions, whose power waxes and wanes with the strength of faith placed in them, for whom it is possible to lose and re-attain Divine status, a True God's power is not dependent upon faith; their existence is a fact, made possible by metaphysical links forged between reality and the Divine. If this link is severed, the True God dies - and once such a link is severed, it cannot be reforged. In the event known as the Fracture, the links between the Metaphysic and all of the True Gods were cut; no amount of faith and no mortal attempt can bring these beings back from the dead. While it is possible for new Divine beings of other sorts to come to the fore, and old ones who had long been forgotten to suddenly return, the True Gods are truly gone.
It is known, however, that the power the True Gods held is present in the form of the still-existing Divine beings of the world: the Scions were direct creations of the True Gods, and even those newer Scions can still draw their metaphysical lineage directly to the True Gods; the Shards are creatures crafted by the Scions out of the fragments of the True Gods that still held a hint of the Divine spark; and the Servants are beings crafted by the Scions out of the leftover physical remains of the True Gods, imbued with the souls of departed mortals.
Divine Beings: The Scions
The Scions were the direct servants of the True Gods, in the time before the Fracture. After that time, they exist as the highest source of Divine power in the world, and it is from them that paladins, priests, and their ilk draw power.
When the True Gods shaped the Scions, they created two distinct groups - the Saints, and the Lucavi. The Saints were mortals, drawn from their ranks because they received great praise from their peoples, which the True Gods saw as a form of worship. The Lucavi were crafted to seek out power by offering things in exchange for worship, such as goods or favors. In this manner, the True Gods believed that the Divine presence in reality would not die out, as at least one of the two sets of Scions would prevail in the face of adversity.
Scions require faith to continue their Divine existence; without it, a Saint or Lucavi reverts to its natural form. Even so much as a single person with true faith in an individual Scion is sufficient to grant the being Divine power, thanks to the bridge formed between that individual and the Metaphysic itself.
In the absence of the True Gods, the two groups of Scions eventually set to feuding with one another; while the presence of the True Gods managed to give them a shared sense of purpose, the collapse of an overarching Divine hierarchy has left them to their own devices, and no longer do the two groups work at least in tandem. Since the Fracture, the two groups have vied nearly constantly, though their very natures prevent either group from winning entirely.
Throughout the whole of history, there have been individuals who rose above their peers, performing deeds thought impossible or performed against overwhelming odds. The "hero worship" these people were given, especially after their deaths, paved the way for the True Gods' creation of one of the two groups of Scions - the Saints.
Unlike their peers, the Lucavi, the Saints are not simply made; instead, Saints are drawn up from the ranks of mortals, their peoples' belief and faith in them rising to the level of true faith, in a Divine sense. When a soul attains its first true believer, the soul rises from the rank and file of the afterlife and becomes a Saint, their essence becoming metaphysically linked to the Metaphysic itself. So long as the Saint has at least one true believer, that link cannot be severed, and the Saint can utilize the power of the Divine.
Worship of Saints is protected almost everywhere, regardless of which Saint is worshipped; this is primarily due to the belief that Saints are or were people deserving of such trust, and that even an evil Saint must have some redeeming qualities if there are those who choose to believe in them.
- Tracy Vannieu, of the Gun
- Konoe Ishikaru, of the Blade
- Arcostes Germonik, of the Book
- Samahtar, of the Mind
- Saiwin Aiwe, of the Wind
- Luna Lorne, of the Night
- Sardon, of the Lightning
- Fortang Diaclo, of the Forge
- Calixte, of the Muse
- Jareth Larin, of the Labyrinth
- Rashida, of the Moons
- Uriah Morodov, of the Road
- Ajriquexl, the Lightning's Hand
- Tamerlane, the Metal Lady
- Iocus, the Manifest Destiny
Not all mortals freely give their faith; some require a trade, knowing full well what their faith does for those that ask for it. Thus, when the True Gods shaped the Scions, they made the Lucavi, a small caste of demons gifted with Divine power to grant gifts to mortals in exchange for their faith. If someone does not believe of their own free will, the True Gods reasoned, then perhaps something in return will secure their faith.
Unlike the Saints, whose origins are in the mortal races, the Lucavi were crafted by the True Gods, then instructed to acquire followers. True faith is integral to their material cohesion; while the base faith necessary to maintain their existence was originally provided by the True Gods (an awkward inversion of the standard understanding of faith), the Lucavi have since lost this safety net. As such, they are constantly seeking out new followers amongst the mortal races: behind every Faustian deal is the desperation of a being seeking to maintain its own existence.
In the beginning, the Lucavi were not all necessarily evil creatures, but the death of the True Gods combined with their nature of accruing power, they rapidly became "evil" in the classic sense. The discovery that mortals who commanded the worship of those around them could rise to Scionhood showed the Lucavi that they could rival the Saints in terms of raw Divine power at their disposal, and thus they have continued to thrive and prosper, even though no new "true" Lucavi can be made.
- Ajora, the Blood Angel
- Zalera, the Char
- Adrammalech, the Wrathful
- Velius, the Warlock
- Teniel, the Beast
- Hashmalum, the Regulator
- Elidibs, the Manipulator
- Kali, the Seductress
- Falriox, the Destroyer
- Crusader, the Judge
- Yothoth, the Horror
- Sko'veyux, the Pain
Divine Beings: The Shards
The channels the Divine itself cut through the chasm to bridge the gulf between the Metaphysic and reality were deep, and though they were torn asunder in the event known as the Fracture, causing the death of the True Gods in the process, not all of the Divine power was lost.
The Scions looked upon the scattered remains of their patrons, and saw the glimmer of Divine power left strewn amongst the ashes; though the power the True Gods tapped into could never be reassembled, a crude facsimile of their existences could perhaps be constructed from their remains. Thus the Scions - Saint and Lucavi alike - set about to breathing life into the ashes, shards, and fragments that remained of their former masters: and so were the Angels and Daemons of the world born.
Unlike the Scions, those who are known collectively as the Shards do not rely upon faith for their continued existence nor access to their power: they call upon the same channels the Divine hewed and gave birth to the True Gods from. However, these channels were torn asunder in the Fracture, and are only a mere shadow of what they once were; not only that, but each Shard contains but a mere fragment of what was once a True God. While it is enough to provide these creatures with a firm existence in reality, as well as the power to call upon the Divine itself, they are little more than automatons; an Angel or Daemon has little in the way of free will. Instead, a Shard always seeks to serve a Scion: their relationship mimics, in many ways, the relationship between the True Gods and the Divine itself. A Shard without a Scion master is a rare thing indeed, and rarer yet is the Shard that operates of its own accord.
Shards are impressionable beings, and having little in the ways of a concept of self, they often take on the aspects of the Scion that commands them that best reflect the deific fragment that forms their core. Shards are not copies of the True Gods from which they sprang, nor the Scions that they serve - they are somewhat a combination of both, aspects of the two personalities they draw from magnifying each other, resulting in usually rather extreme personalities.
Shards, much like the True Gods, are capable of true belief in a Scion; as such, Lucavi crave their service, as a legion of Shards can suffice to fulfill the role of existential safety net that the True Gods once played. Saints appreciate the presence of the faith of Shards, as such faith can see the Saint through in times when mortal belief dwindles.
Divine Beings: The Servants
When the remaining sparks of the Divine were swept from the ashes of the True Gods, and all that remained were husks devoid of any Divine connection, the Scions yet saw opportunity: though physical, even the pieces of the True Gods that lacked any hint of Divine spark were made of far sterner stuff than anything on the mortal coil.
The Scions shaped this refuse into crude shells. Tapping into the realms of the afterlife, the Scions imbued these lifeless husks with the souls of the departed, creating for themselves not life, but something close to it. It was all the Scions could do to use their Divine power to imbue semi-life into these creatures; though they possessed souls, they were not alive in a mortal sense, and they rarely retained memory of their mortal lives. To make matters worse, the remnants of the True Gods the Scions had had left to work with were utterly cut off from the Divine - even to the point of making their faith, or lack thereof, have any impact upon the continued existence of the Scions themselves.
Despite these shortcomings, the Scions felt that these beings could be useful tools. With continued growth and experience, it was possible for the Servants to eventually gain experiences and memories that belonged to the fusion of mortal soul and Divine body, gradually improving the creatures' connections to the Divine - and in some cases, to the point where a Scion could "upgrade" the new being to something resembling a Shard in power and purpose, if not in origin.
The Saints, in crafting their Servants, tend to choose the most pure of the mortal souls to place into receptacles. Regardless, no soul is pressed into service, though it is seen as an honor to offer a soul the opportunity to be joined with the remains of a slain True God. Celestials who prove to serve exceptionally well are given the opportunity to become parangels, an Angel made by infusing a tiny remaining spark of a True God into a mortal soul.
Unlike the Saints, the Lucavi see the Servant creation process as one of opportunity: with luck, a particularly power-hungry soul may seek to climb the ranks and become what the Lucavi call a neodaemon, a Daemon raised up rather than crafted from the original remaining fragments of the True Gods. It has been found that Neo-Daemons are just as capable of providing faith for their masters as classic Daemons, and thus Lucavi are keen on producing as many as possible; however, to ensure dedication and unwavering loyalty, the Lucavi oftentimes put their Servants through much more pain and suffering than the Saints would ever put the celestials through.
Against this backdrop of the Scions exist the religions in the world of Trinity. Throughout history, vastly different religions have risen and fallen; though their purpose is to support the same structure - that is, the Scions - they oftentimes do so in vastly different ways.
Regardless of the trappings of a given religion, however, a number of things hold true. While the Glabados Church had a number of rites and beliefs unique to it, the underlying principles of the workings of the Divine held sway.
When they were created, and the underpinnings of their existence understood, the Scions crafted a set of rules for themselves and their believers, known amongst them simply as the Tenets. While they are often disguised or hidden in the dogma of a given religion, all of the Tenets are present in every religion; even if an individual comes to faith in a given Scion by means other than a church or organized religion, it often becomes very clear very rapidly that a Scion will honor the Tenets regardless of how a follower came to believe in the Scion.
The First Tenet: Prayer
Above all else, a Scion listens to prayer. Given that a Scion's existence is wholly dependent upon faith, it is almost always in a Scion's best interest to at least acknowledge a prayer, if not answer it directly. The initial purpose of the Scions' existence was to assist a True God in answering prayers, and so they are well-equipped with abilities to do so.
A Scion whose name is invoked in prayer is almost assured to award a blessing of some kind, provided the prayer is genuine. Scions have (relatively) limited power and ability to answer prayer, and thus only answer those prayers that are from the truly faithful.
The Second Tenet: Blasphemy
All of the divine beings and souls related to a Scion, including the Shards she helped create, the Servants currently serving her, and the mortal souls in the afterlife who profess faith in her, are tied to her continued existence; should the Scion falter, the Shards serving her waver in purpose, her Servants falter in corporeality, and the mortal souls who have faith in her awaiting their turn to become Servants in the afterlife become more ephemeral.
Cursing a Scion's name, or abusing it in any way, weakens the power of invoking her name in prayer, if only for a moment. Prayer bolsters a Scion's existence, strengthening the metaphysical link between her and the Divine itself, while blasphemy harms it, diluting the knowledge of her name and the ties it has to a Divine being. As such, blasphemy of any sort is frowned upon; it is even agreed between the Saints and Lucavi that believers of one group not be encouraged to blaspheme against the other (though some followers of either group will still gleefully ignore this Tenet).
It is acceptable for a Scion to punish a blasphemer, though this is only possible if the blasphemer has faith of any sort; in such a case, the Scion blasphemed against is allowed to make a case to the blasphemer's patron Scion, and ask permission to seek retribution; such retribution often takes the form of a reversed blessing. Due to the nature of faith itself, atheists who blaspheme have no effect on a Scion, and thus blaspheming atheists are ignored.
The Third Tenet: Truth
Faith that is directed at a lie does no one any good, and useless in terms of preserving the existence of a Scion. As such, it is paramount that a follower know exactly what the nature of the being they choose to worship is; without sufficient knowledge, or if purposefully misdirected, the faith of a believer is of no benefit to any Scion.
As such, when recruiting a follower to become a true believer, it is agreed amongst all Scions that there shall be no direct lie made, regarding the nature of the object of worship. Omission of the truth is acceptable, but direct deceit is not, as confusion muddies the waters of faith.
Spirits of Nature
What follow are descriptions of the various Spirits of Nature.
Spirits of Nature: Gaia Herself
In the beginning, when the universe was born, the Divine rapidly found that the universe resisted direct meddling, capable even of sealing the essence of the Divine force into the Metaphysic, a separate plane of platonic ideals. The Divine recognizes this underlying essence of the universe as Gaia.
Gaia is the lifeforce of the universe. Gaia lacks gender, and her only physical manifestation is the universe itself - she does not have avatars or other direct servants that exist independently of her in the world. Gaia gives no indication that she has any kind of self-awareness, save when the natural course of the universe is disrupted (or has potential to be disrupted) by an outside force.
Creatures of the universe do not have faith in Gaia Herself; even those who follow the path of the force of Nature do not have faith in Gaia as priests have faith in the Scions (or True Gods, prior to the Fracture). Druids and their ilk are understood to be Trinity atheists, and hold fast to this position, as they often have no interest in furthering the goals of the Divine in attempting to control the natural course of the universe.
Spirits of Nature: The Primals
Though Gaia Herself does not express herself in a physical sense in the universe, she is ever reactionary, and so when the Divine so fit to create entities that could express itself in the universe, she did so, as well. To combat the Deities, Gaia summoned forth the Primals, entities that are not simply extensions of the elements as normal elementals are, but extremely powerful, symbolic representations of them.
Each Primal is representative of a singular element of nature, the most extreme expression of that particular aspect of Gaia that exists in the universe. While the forces of nature ebb and flow throughout the fabric of reality, the Primals are constant, a manifestation of the raw elemental power that exists within the universe.
In accordance with Gaia's reactionary nature, the Primals do not intervene in the realms of mortals: while they exist firmly in the realm of reality, they surpass mortal understanding and lifespans. However, it is possible for mortals to call upon the power of a Primal, should they find themselves in a part of the universe with a sufficiently strong presence of that Primal's element.
- Ark, Lady of Despair
- Atomos, Lord of the Pit
- Fenrir, Lord of the Moons
- Garuda, Lady of the Vortex
- Ifrit, Lord of the Inferno
- Leviathan, Lord of the Whorl
- Maduin, Lady of Hope
- Ramuh, Lord of Levin
- Shiva, Lady of Frost
- Titan, Lord of Crags
Spirits of Nature: The Eidolons
As time passed, and the Deities created the Scions, so, too, did the Primals respond: but this through a means that Nature provides, that of procreation. The Primals bonded and created children amongst them, multiplying and creating representatives not necessarily of the raw elements, but now of Natural concepts: thus were born the Eidolons. While of a different breed than their parents, this new generation of Eidolons is every bit as powerful as the former, though now occupying niches of a different kind.
To ensure mortals' awareness of these younger powers, Gaia reshaped the stars in the skies into shapes that would be recognizably symbolic of them, though as time passes and stars are born and die, so, too, do these constellations change, and mortals acknowledge an ever-changing (on a long enough timescale) tapestry of Eidolons, though all continue to exist. Children born under the sign of a particular Eidolon are said to exhibit some of the personality of that Eidolon.
Some geomancers learn to call upon these powers, and rather than rely upon the world around them, instead use powers granted to them by these entities, eventually even able to summon projections of them to assist them in their endeavors. While they seem to share much in common with Divine petitioners, these geomancers see Eidolons not as objects of worship, but instead powerful allies and perhaps even companions, representatives of the idea that Nature is always-present and always-vigilant against the actions of those that would bend it to their will.
What follow are descriptions of beings of the Void.
The Void: The Void Itself
Before existence, the Void was. After existence, the Void will be.
There is a malevolent yet patient intelligence lurking behind the fabric of the world, and that intelligence is simply the Void. The Void is only self-aware due to existence; without existence, the Void lacks comparison, and so loses its sense of self. It is the Void's end goal to return all of existence back to a state of non-existence; as such, it is generally thought to be anathema to any mortal being.
There are, of course, those who disagree with prevailing views, and align themselves with the Void. They say that, with sufficient knowledge and training, a mortal member of existence can bind himself to the Void in such a way as to retain consciousness, but join with the all-consuming nothingness. In a way, they say, one achieves a kind of immortality.
Due to its interest in returning the universe to a state of nonexistence, the Void will answer the call of mortals who seek its power of nothingness, using them as gateways into the well-protected center of the universe, ripping holes in the fabric of reality.
As with the spirits of Nature, those who follow the path of the Void do not actively worship the Void; instead, they simply follow either its beliefs directly or devise a philosophy that is similar (and such philosophies often forgo the "destruction of all reality" bit) to it.
Now that we have detailed the various religions in Trinity, the next question is - what is the soul?
Souls are possessed by mortal, sentient creatures. They are not necessarily what enables them to act; artilects, for instance, are able to function on-par with humans, despite their soulless nature. While creatures of lower intellect can sometimes possess souls, this is unusual, though reincarnated souls can return to the prime as animals (see the section on reincarnation, below, for more detail).
Souls enter the prime material by means of the Soulfont, a transitive plane that exists beyond the Ethereal. It, in turn, is connected to the Metaphysic through a number of other planes.
Nature of the Soul
Souls are tiny pieces of the Divine itself. Similar to the divine essences of the true gods, but much weaker and smaller in scope. It is souls that empower prayer and the ability for mortal faith to empower Saints and Lucavi; without a soul, a creature's faith has no effect on Divine entities.
When a mortal creature - or another being that has somehow come into possession of a soul - dies, their soul is released from their mortal form. The soul's eventual destination is dependent upon the faith of its bearer.
The soul of a creature who believes in a deity, Saint, or Lucavi returns to the Soulfont, and passes through it to come to rest on one of two planes - either the Golden Realm, or the Lucavic Throne - and then into the plane of its patron. A soul of an individual that was Divine-aligned will always pass into one of these two planes.
The soul of a creature who believes in Gaia, or is Nature-aligned, returns to the Soulfont, but is almost immediately pulled back to the prime material to be reincarnated by Nature. What type of creature the soul is reincarnated into is difficult, if not impossible, to determine, though some more powerful Force effects can "read" a soul to determine where it has been before. Souls tend to retain a small amount of the personality of its past lives.
The soul of a creature who believes in the Void, or is Void-aligned, is immediately subsumed into the Void upon the creature's death. Such souls are permanently and irrevocably lost, and can never be recovered.
The soul of a creature who has no strong belief in any of these entities, and lacks a relevant Force alignment, becomes a ghost and remains on the Ethereal plane.