The Twelve Plus One
|A manifestation of The Great God T'Ao - |
God Of All Evil
The Gods are:
- Jen The All-Father
- Mother Issus
- Arh The Sun-God
- The Green Man
- Matapha (or Triton)
- The Great God T'Ao (or Ballor)
Religion in the kingdom of Elyntia (like much of civilised Cidri) revolves around a core pantheon of 13 gods called the Mnoren Gods - or The Twelve Plus One - with Jen The All-Father being the "supreme being" that oversees all. Among his broad portfolio of influence, he is the god of the sky, fear (both causing and protecting from), fate, honour, royalty, fatherhood, virility and strength.
He is also sometimes referred to simply as The Creator (see The Mnoren Creation Story for the faithful's understanding of how Cidri came into being).
The centre of Elyntia's Mnoren worship is Kel, the fortress-cathedral and capitol of the duchy of Kel (ruled by a mighty priest-king known as the Hierophant - Jen Mnoren's representative on Herph).
|Symbol of |
Arh The Destroyer
Arh The Lifegiver
The god of the earth and nature has many names and many faces - from The Green Man, the Horned Man, The Hooded Man, The Green, Lord Of The Trees to Robyn Y The Hood - and can be both playful and stern.
He is seen to be generous to those who do his bidding and spiteful to those who don't. It is not unusual to see carvings of his leaf-hooded face on trees in Cidri's many, vast forests... although no-one will ever admit to carving them.
|A carving of The Green Man|
on the edge of The Great Forest
Bridging the gap between positive and negative is the goddess Eris, goddess of chaos, freewill, anarchy (and fun). A complex goddess, just as likely to encourage a noble crusade as a mass slaughter of the innocents depending on her whim.
Her areas of influence also embrace love, romance and mystery - basically anything that could be classed as unpredictable or unknown falls into the realm of Eris.
Braghah, the god of time, is primarily celebrated on the last day of the old year and the first day of the new year, with wild festivals involving lots of alcohol, food, and general good-natured debauchery as people give thanks for surviving another year and send raucous prayers to the heavens for the gods to smile on them in the year ahead.
Blessing and curses are also said in Braghah's name when people want a "bit more time" to complete a task - or when time runs out and they still haven't finished.
Mariners, fishermen and farmers are among the most vocal worshippers of Matapha (also known as Triton), the god of water in all its forms, whether they are looking for a safe passage across a rough sea or a downpour of rain to nourish their crops.
|Volund - God Of Weapons|
The God Of Weapons is the closest the Mnoren pantheon comes to a god of war, but Volund is not a violent or aggressive god, rather his focus is on strength of arms and military prowess.
The lands that pay homage to the Mnoren Gods are a violent place - much like all of Cidri - and when a person dies his soul passes into the care of Sateb, god of the afterlife... if they are worthy.
It is said that Sateb judges a person's honour with his piercing gaze and if they fail to reach the standards that Jen Mnoren has set for entry to the afterlife then their soul is condemned for an eternity in the hellfires of the underworld, a demon-ridden inferno of ever-lasting torture.
As with many of the Mnoren gods Merkelig, the god of magic, is prayed to by both by those who want to channel his gift and those who want protection from it. As magic is force beyond the ken of most inhabitants of Elyntia the majority of homes will - somewhere - feature either a stone "eye" of Merkelig hung on a wall or a painted eye for protection against curses and other dark magics.
Merkelig is the husband of Eris, although she is not the most faithful of brides.
The core Mnoren pantheon is rounded out by a "god of evil" (the "Plus One" of its name), but The Great God T'Ao (also known as Ballor) is not there for worship by Mnoren believers, but is the person who gets blamed for all the bad things in the world. While accidents are the remit of Eris, deliberate acts of evil are the fault of T'ao.
He is a trickster, master manipulator, slick-tongued politician and callous killer. He is "the enemy" and ruler of the Underworld aka Hell.
He and Jen are locked in eternal war over the souls of man. Some say that Ballor is actually dead, slain by his most debased and corrupt followers, the death cult known as The Duvan'Ku.
While the other gods are the children of Jen and Issus, T'Ao is his brother and Mnoren mythology chronicles at length his envy of Jen's high status and his belief that he should be the ruler of the pantheon.