Faith of Nesra
From Dragon Eye Atlas
The Faith of Nesra is a religion in central and northern Auseka. It is the largest religion on the continent, with over 12 million believers.
The faith has a curious relationship to the Faith of Ikoyo. Both are based on largely the same ancient mythology, but their founders and first prophets revealed very different truths from those seeds. This has led to at times peaceful coexistence, when the similarities between the two religions were dominant, and at time bitter conflicts when the differences were more pronounced.
For the past century about, relations have been peaceful, but affected by a deep distrust and intense verbal conflicts. In fact, in the last thirty years alone, scholars from both sides have produced texts and proclamations proving the other faith as a disfigured, wrong version, in volume easily dwarfing the actual amount of holy texts on both sides.
The Faith of Nesra believes the surviving gods are a mixed group of both good and evil gods.
There are 16 gods, but only 6 of them are spoken of. In fact, children aren't taught of the 10 evil gods until they come of age. Temples are typically dedicated to all 6 of the good gods, because only together can they stand against the majority of evil in the world. Only the largest cities or those with a special affinity to a specific god have temples specific to only one of them, and even in those temples there are always at least some small corners or alcoves for the other gods. None of the good gods is ever left entirely alone.
The Six are the good gods, friends of humans and supporting them. They are:
- Iona, goddess of nature, animals and hope
- Jukon, god of justice and order
- Kusmis, goddess of harvest, fertility and growth
- Ola, goddess of love, beauty and art
- Batall, god of battle, fortune and truth
- Aditos, god of honor, mercy and peace
The Six have temples and shrines dedicated to them all over Elladan lands and every child learns their names and what they stand for. They are venerated and admired.
Note that speaking the name of one of these gods in public is a crime in many Elladan lands, and where it is not outright illegal, it is likely to incur a beating or shunning. The only ones who are allowed to utter these names are the priests, when they need to use them in a banishing ritual. These rituals are performed regularily to ward off the evil gods, even though everybody knows that a god cannot be banished by mere mortals, it is known that the rituals are effective, at least for a time. Even if a god still touches the mortal plane, his effects upon it will be diminished. Protecting the mortal world from The Ten is one of the primary duties of the priesthood.
Fortunately for both The Six and mortals, The Ten are not united. They fight amongst themselves in constantly shifting alliances as much as they fight other gods. In fact, these are the two benefits of their existence. Firstly, the conflict between good and evil and between the various shades of evil, keeps the world in motion. Secondly, their jealousy and conflictability keeps other gods out of Elladan lands and in a way protects the Elladan people from outside evils.
- Gurth, goddess of death
- Soto, god of pain and misery
- Unira, goddess of betrayl and broken promises
- Shotu, god of necromancy and evil magic
- Qomis, goddess of winter and hunger
- Ridarae, goddes of envy and discord
- Ecmera, goddess of loneliness and confusion
- Testus, god of monsters
- Gadros, god of diseases
- Rerohr, god of injustice and oppression
Nesra was born about 700 years ago, during The Suffering Years in the area of what is today Neamei. His exact year and place of birth are lost to history. As the youngest of five children, he had no place on the farm of his father nor the craft of his elder brother, and took to trade as a profession, travelling to the east and west, and in later years to the north as well, which is said he liked particularily and in his later years as a prophet he went as far as the northern sea.
At the age of 24, he almost died in a rockslide when crossing the mountains at the edge of Ebronland, and claims to have been saved by Iona, who took pity on him and spirited him away to a holy cave, where he stayed for two months and learnt the truth about the gods from the spirits within, who were the Nesfharin, the servants and messengers of the gods.
Nesra spent the rest of his life preaching. At first, he had little success and was thrown out of towns and villages, who still adhered to their older religions, mostly of nature spirits and angry gods in the sky. But slowly he gathered a small following. Then, a harsh winter struck, and Nesra went from village to village with a group of believers about 30 strong. Despite the bitter cold, they were dressed lightly, and they claimed to be protected by the gods and that Dikotz (the evil god of winter and hunger) had no power over them as they had seen the truth. Miraculously, none of them seemed to be cold or hungry, despite all around them people were suffering from frostbite and starvation - people who had a home with a warming fire and storage shed full of food.
At the end of that winter, the Faith of Nesra had thousands of believers all through Kinmaa, and was growing rapidly. Its prophet, however, had decided to turn to the oceans next, looking towards healing Auseka. He went towards the northern seas, preaching and gathering followers along the way. When he reached the northern coast he is said to have been struck by awe, unable to speak for three days. Two years later, he moved south again and wandered along the inner coasts for several years, this time gathering support, for his mission to heal Auseka. He claims to have seen in the south what is wrong with the inner sea and declared a mission to set out to sea and raise the lands lost in the Epoch of Destruction again. On his 41st birthday, he set sail with a small ship and a hundred believers. They were never seen again. The legend has it that he negotiated with the gods and was refused his request because too few of those living in Auseka were following his creed. But he and those with him on the ship were taken straight into the afterlife, to sit at the side of the gods.
Rules and Traditions
The Bascian Blasphemy is a cult within the Faith of Nesra that follows a darker interpretation of the faith.