Phaelism is the body of religious beliefs based on the teachings of Lophael, largely compiled into the Book of Lophael. The religion has been in a state of internal dispute from its earliest days, with the First Schism War beginning around three decades after the distribution of the Book of Lophael. There are a number of denominations and religious societies connected to, or using imagery from, Phaelism, but there are a few primary things which are true of all religions that trace back to the mage.
Beliefs and History Edit
Throughout Veşti and Prindern, there have always been various local gods worshiped or at least tolerated to varying degrees. Over the centuries, the peoples around the Hasberan Sea began to borrow gods and names from one another, leading to a largely uniform, though disorganized, list of deities. The names and general purposes of each god were shared among these lands, but there was no system for deciding which gods should be worshiped or opposed or how.
Roughly 50 years after the Great War, a man named Lophael, who had vanished near the end of the war, reappeared, having apparently not aged, and began teaching that he had been to the Higher Realms and got the story of the gods from Time himself. He began wandering the lands around the Hasberan, presenting his teachings and uniting people into the new religion. Around -23 Reformed, he retreated to Vortex to write down his account so it could continue to be spread after his death. Lophael himself never returned from Vortex, and there are wildly differing accounts on how the book made it back to be reprinted and distributed. The only record from around that time that offers insight is the Epic of Hadral; but since the Orthodox Phaelists consider the book wildly heretical, they refuse to consider even the possibility that it accurately describes this detail, and are thus left to speculation.
The Empire of Vorell was the first nation to accept Phaelism as their state religion in -16 Reformed, though they would only have access to the oral teachings of Lophael and his followers until the book emerged in 7 Reformed. Many nations around the Hasberan followed suit, including Enrelisha. However, in 23 Reformed, after nearly continuous strife over how to handle texts written by someone other than Lophael that seemed to share his views, Enrelisha and Vorell condemned each other as heretics and began the First Schism War. This divided the Hasberan world into the Orthodox (Vorelli) side and the Reformed (Enrelishan) side. The war lasted 16 years before Vorell had to back down to face increasing pressure from the Agnarin from the south. This major division in Phaelism exists to this day, and has spawned a number of other wars and local conflicts.
Phaelism is largely built on the idea that many of the gods are against mankind, and that humans must find a way to survive. It includes beliefs about how best to undermine the gods in opposition to man, and how best to serve and aid those who consider mankind as allies. As a whole, it is sometimes contrasted with Agnara, which has a similar pantheon but seems to be told from a different perspective. Phaelism celebrates mankind's use of magic and opposes the gods that take offense to it. To this end, much of Phaelism is built on understanding how to undermine gods who stand against mankind, interact with gods who are patient with humans, and prepare for the Endwar when they believe mankind will finally be victorious.
There are a few major denominations of Phaelism, and a host of smaller orders and cults which are considered part of Phaelism or use imagery and claim descent from the teachings of Lophael.
- Orthodox Phaelism - The belief system based only on the direct teachings and writings of Lophael himself.
- Reformed Phaelism - The belief system based on the Book of Lophael, Epic of Hadral, and Worlds Beyond.
- Neophaelism - The belief that the Book of Lophael was altered by Ngv, and must therefore be accepted and tested hesitantly.
- Ristarian Phaelism - The belief system that Lophael's description of the Ancient and the Banished were attempts to understand Krandahl, and that the rest of the gods are lesser spirits in service to him.
- Cult of Ngv - The belief that there is only one god, Ngv, and that all others are masks he wears or lies he has told.
- Cult of Shast - The belief that Shast is at the heart of all things and the only divine worth pursuing.
- Order of Branu - A military cult which follows Branu alone.
The Absolute Edit
The gods of the first tier are considered fundamental, the forces upon which all other deities and beings rely for their very existence. These gods are seen as largely neutral toward mankind.
- The Ancient, god of order and creation, one of the two original deities
- The Banished, god of void and destruction, one of the two original deities
- Denbora, trinitarian god of time
- Kalpesh, god of chaos
- Nirasa, androgynous deity of life
- Raeshi, goddess of death
The Firmament Edit
Full article: The Firmament (Phaelism)
The gods of the second tier comprise the raw physical universe, and most are believed to be antagonistic toward mankind.
- Hassmaat, god of ice
- Khadaka, god of earth
- Krophis, god of the moon (and magic)
- Mirelle, goddess of wind
- Mora, goddess of the ocean
- The Mountain King, god of the mountains
- Rani, goddess of fire
- Sholis, goddess of the Sun
The Host Edit
The gods of the third tier represent aspects of sentience, and generally view mankind in an interested, if not positive, light.
- Branu, god of war
- Eldonar, god of civilization
- Elyse, goddess of magic (except in Orthodox Phaelism)
- Kelcid, god of vengeance
- Ngv, god of trickery
- Phala, goddess of justice
- Shast, goddess of desire
- Trilon, messenger of the gods
Notable Figures Edit
These are beings who are considered important to Phaelist belief and practice. While some are treated as gods in select circles, none are officially listed as divine by any denomination of Phaelism.
- Hadral: Defender of mankind, hero of Enrelisha, and guardian of Elyse and her worshipers. Believed to be functionally immortal and armed with a sword capable of killing gods, if necessary, though the latter is never stated in the Epic of Hadral.
- Herot: While never mentioned in any Phaelist religious texts, similarities between his view of the gods and that of Lophael has spawned significant rumor that the two had some interaction with, or at least influence over, each other. Some artistic renditions of the Epic of Hadral associate him with an unnamed figure occasionally seen with Lophael on Vortex.
- Lophael: As founder of the religion and prophet of the creation and end times of the world, Lophael holds a very important place in the minds of Phaelists. While not directly stated as such in the Book of Lophael, there is a common folk belief that he will return at the end of the world to lead the armies of the dead and the faithful in one last push against the manipulations of the gods.
- Magus: Thanks to his role in bringing magic to mankind and beginning what the Phaelists view as the rightful overthrow of the Firmament, Magus is treated as something of a folk hero.