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|pronunciation = Old-Gods
|pronunciation = Old-Gods
|origins = [[Old Ceardia]]
|origins = [[Old Ceardia]]
|deities = 8 primary Herrehem (Archgods) and 3 each Maarda (part-gods) each belonging to a Herrehem.
|deities = Too many to list
|subsects = [[Velheim]], Riklander, [[Fridurfolk]], [[Zvorun]] variant, and Highland & [[Breizh]] variant.
|subsects = Cellik and Velheim variants
|}}
|}}
Old Gods is the oldest [[Religion]] known to the [[Ailor]] [[Race]], predating any and all religions, but also being wildly different from its original inception due to the constant modification as the centuries passed by. Old Gods is inherently a very disorganized religion, meaning that regional differences and small custom exceptions may exist, though generally speaking, its core principles are well followed. Among the [[Velheim]], Old Gods is by far the most practiced religion, and all major changes and religious sites also exist in their lands. Other notable populations of Old Gods worshipers exist in the Highland Territories among the [[Caeren]] and even some [[Dunbrae]], [[Fridurfolk]], [[Tarkkin]], and [[Zvorun]], particularly in the northern mountain regions of [[Drixagh]] where [[Unionism]] reverted back to Old Gods. Old Gods is a polytheistic religion, setting it apart from most other Ailor religions, though it has many aspects in common with the [[Faith of Estel]], and is often accused, by [[Altalar]], as a copy of the Altalar faith even if Velheimers will violently disagree with this assertion. Old Gods as a religion shrunk considerably since the creation of Unionism by [[Theomar]] at the rise of the [[Regalian Empire]], however it remains a massive religion for the Ailor, far outclassing all other minor religions isolated to various cultures, and second only to Unionism. To some Unionists even, Old Gods has a certain allure of freedom and spiritual absolution not revolving around back breaking work or self sacrifice. While Old Gods is certainly shrinking in the [[Regalian Archipelago]], where whole regions have not a single worshiper left, elsewhere, Old Gods is actually on the rise as populations among the Velheim and Heartland Ceardian kingdoms continue to grow due to an increase in welfare, following their introduction into the Regalian Empire, increased food supplies, and Regalia’s relatively moderate religious freedom laws.  
==Origins==
The origins of the Old Gods [[Religion]] are somewhat murky, because of intensely conflicting versions. Old Gods as a religion has always lacked an organized hierarchy, and so local communities as well as diasporas do not agree on a common origin tale. While many [[Regalians]] consider Old Gods synonymous with the [[Velheim]] [[Culture]], they actually are not, and there are more [[Ceardians]] who worship Old Gods under the Cellik variant than there are Velheim Old Gods worshipers. Old Gods reaches beyond these cultures however, with [[Zvorun]], [[Tarkkin]], and [[Dunbrae]] all having slight variations on the same ideology. All Old Gods worshipers agree that their faith started on the island of [[Yervonth]] (called Jerl in old Velheim) however they all disagree with what happened after. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods however are the two largest denominations controlling around 80% of the total worshiper population, and as such, their version is generally accepted as common dogma. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods doctrine claims that when the menace from the west ([[[Nelfin]] slavers) arrived on the shores of Ceardia, that a group of Pagan Gods created a pantheon together and spirited large communities away from the Ceardian continent, harboring them in safety on the Yervonth island. From here, Old Gods would continue to spread over the world with migration waves, however the further they went, the more their doctrine was changed by local variations and changes. Unlike Unionism, Old Gods never underwent any major cataclysmic changes or schisms. As such, this page will treat the average understanding of Old Gods as fact, though minor local variations like changing a God's name or patron identity is permissible.  


==Etymology==
==Core Identity==
Among the practitioners of the faith, there is no real official term for Old Gods, rather, the term was invented by the Regalians upon the creation of Unionism to create a clear distinction. To the Velheim and other Old Gods believers, the Old Gods simply are “The Gods”, and so there is no official term for them. Commonly however, Velheim and other Old Gods worshipers accept that for the sake of easy communication, the term Old Gods suffices. It is curious to note, that Unionism does not fully reject or debase Old Gods as a Religion. In fact, it could be claimed that because of their distinction between the “new god” (namely the Everwatcher) and the Old Gods, that they universally accept that the Old Gods dogma was true, but that with the blessings of the Everwatcher, they became redundant, or subservient to the [[Regalian Emperor]]. Indeed, the Celates have no official stance, and the Creed does not have any particular concept of denying Old Gods as a true faith, rather simply stating that upon the arrival of the Regalian Empire, the Everwatcher deemed the Ailor more worthy than the Altalar for the mantle of the world, and sought to raise up paradise through them and for them. Old Gods as such was mostly left behind as a cultural and traditional curiosity, and it is notably that relaxed attitude towards Old Gods, that has mostly kept their religion alive amid aggressive proselytization and missionary activities. Even the [[Skagger Wars]] were never truly about religion, even if some Emperors used the concept of Holy War to rile up the masses to fervor, as the Velheim were allowed to keep their religion intact in Drixagh in particular.
Old Gods is a religion that developed out of the old concept of Ailor Paganism in Ceardia, which was a polytheistic religion with a theoretical infinite amount of gods. Old Gods as a religion reformed this principle, attaching itself to the tangible gods that the people could see and interact with, and then centralized religion to them. Old Gods as a religion is centered around the concepts of Honor of the Soul, which is similar to [[Asaredu]], but not strictly bound to combat honor alone, rather to the purity of one's soul as understood through the lens of behavior, actions, and things said. Old Gods worshipers refer to the Honor of the Soul as Soldi. It is actually a common misconception to think that Old Gods worshipers refer to their own religion as Old Gods. This is incorrect, because the term Old Gods was used by Unionists to refer to the faith that was largely replaced in the Archipelago by Unionism. Old Gods is actually referred to as Sjelbyrd by Velheimers or Selbarad by Cellik Old Gods worshipers. Because Ailor kind however has so many varied cultures, and because so few of them still worship the Old Gods, the term Old Gods has simply become commonly used, even by Velheimers when they speak Common.
===Tenets===
* '''Bravery:''' Soldi is gained with bravery, to fight against foes that overwhelm and overpower, to seek out challenges that bring glory and honor to one's family name, and to generally not show cowardice. Soldi is lost by showing cowardice and shirking from one's duties. One must always accept challenges, even if they could result in death or infamy. One must always commit to one's decisions.
* '''Wroth:''' Soldi is not strictly gained by being mean or violent, but rather by the idea that one should never give up or simply let things happen that one does not want to happen. Inversely, Soldi is lost by simply being meek and weak and letting events transpire without affecting them. One must never shirk from duties, or show weakness when strength and power are demanded by the public eye.
* '''Pleasure:''' The matter of chasteness versus pleasure is not really a matter that demands any Soldi satisfaction. Old Gods worshipers just don't really believe in chastity. That being said, dishonesty and deceit to one's lovers and spouse(s) results in loss of Soldi. One must always remain honest and truthful to those who one spends their life with, and afford them respect as if they are gods themselves.
* '''Vengeful:''' Soldi is gained by settling scores, Soldi is lost by letting a vendetta or nemesis simply walk all over one's self. Old Gods worshipers declare Motsaga against a person to declare them their enemy with scores to settle. The Old Gods worshipers came up with the saying "An eye for an eye". If another person is not strong enough to settle their scores, one can offer to do it for them, for Soldi's sake.
* '''Greed:''' Soldi is not specifically gained or lost while being charitable or greedy, but Old Gods as a religion generally rewards those who attain and retain the power to seize what they want and be merciful with what they have, but shows little favor on those too weak to make their own destiny. Greed over finances is however not encouraged. Old God worshipers should put little value in money, and more in possessions.
* '''Honest:''' Soldi is lost with deceit and lying, though not specifically while withholding information. Old Gods religion has a concept of "white-lies", and only punishes those who tell lies for explicit personal gain or to prevent danger to self (which they must be brave to face). White lies are acceptable if they prevent someone else from losing Soldi, or make everyone happier and easier off in the long run.
* '''Pride:''' Soldi is gained when others are aware of how great a person is, and Soldi is lost if a person is forgettable and irrelevant in the scope of history. Old Gods worshipers should endeavor to make sure their skills and talents are always known to others. One should never have paintings or statues made of one's self however. Artistic vanity is considered taboo, one can only accept such gifts made by others.
* '''Respect:''' A very important aspect of Old Gods worship is the acknowledgement of respect. While one must be proud of one's self, one must always deeply respect the skills of others, and pay homage to those who are simply better (even if they deserve a challenge here and there). One should never ever pretend like even one's enemies have no qualities or respect worthy aspects about them and one must vocalize them without spite.
* '''Soldi:''' The most important aspect of Old Gods is Soldi, which is like a currency of Honor. There is no strict numerical minimum or maximum, but being accused of being without Soldi is the worst insult to levy against an Old Gods worshiper, one that they believe condemns their soul. When someone's Soldi is lost, it is possible for relatives or friends to try and reclaim Soldi for that person by attributing their deeds to them.
* '''Loyalty:''' A very important aspect of Old Gods is loyalty, which can mean loyalty to family, to lovers, to one's overlord, one's ruler, or just the gods. Vows of loyalty are taken very seriously, and breaking one is considered a great way to lose all Soldi instantly. In the Regalian context, this usually means loyalty to the Gods, but also loyalty to one's Duke or Emperor depending on one's position.
===Beliefs===
* '''Narrative:''' In Old Gods beliefs, the world is one giant proving grounds for all living things (even wild animals) to prove the value of their soul and prevent loss of Soldi until they die. While all living things are born with Soldi, the effects of evil causes them to commit sins. Sins causing a loss of Soldi are a person's soul showing weakness and thus not having the right to pass into the afterlife. Old Gods dictates that while bodies are made by the gods, and Dragons create a kindling of a soul, that ultimately a soul's development, nurturing, and aging, is entirely up to the person themselves. When a person dies and their soul has enough Soldi they pass into the afterlife or the Valley of Life, which is an idealized version of life with drinking, feasting, and fun. When a person who passes into the Valley of Life also has a hero or legendary status soul through some great achievement or fame in life, they go to the Valley of Legends, which is an upgraded version of this afterlife where their every whim is satisfied. In case a soul is deemed without Soldi, they are condemned to the Mirror world, where the soul wanders for eternity on the salt-flats without color, smell or sound as penance. It is said that some souls have such evil in their hears that they escape the Mirror world, and become Undead in the real world. This is why Old Gods worshipers have such a negative view of Undead who were Old Gods worshipers in a prior life, but are apathetic to Undead from other religions.
* '''Canon Evil:''' Canon Evil in Old Gods is called Demons, which takes similar origins as Unionism, but has a more flexible interpretation. On one hand, Old Gods worshipers do acknowledge Demons from the Void, Exist, and [[Bintaar]] as evil with corrupting intentions. They refer to them as Betrayers, with one particular Demon called The Great Betrayer being the worst, which scholars believe to be the Arken of Power. Demons seduce people into doing things that ruins their Soldi with promises of power, fame and legend. On the other hand, Old Gods worshipers acknowledge the evil in mortals as a far more realistic source of bad things in life. It is said that the Gods and Dragons made a pact, with the Gods making the bodies of Ailor-kind, and the Dragons providing the breath of life, which would create a seedling of a soul. However, as life develops, the person who the soul belongs to creates the expressions, actions and feelings of the soul themselves as it grows over time, and that evil is simply the person being too weak to hold onto virtues in life and engaging in sin. As such, evil can neatly be defined as either Demons inducing weakness in otherwise strong people, or weakness just existing in a soul because the person themselves are weak.
* '''Identity:''' Old Gods dogma has no explicit gender, sex, sexual orientation or gender-identity bias, though it has an implicit male-bias. While any Old Gods worshiper will claim that all genders and sexes are equally fair in their religion, traditional male-coded masculinity takes a unique place that discolors a lot of the nuance about gender. Strong, masculine and emotionless are framed as virtues for men living by the examples of their gods, and so Old Gods society can come across as publicly egalitarian, but having hidden masculine preferences under the surface.
* '''Conversion:''' Old Gods as a religion does not require preaching or spreading through missionaries, which is usually a practice reserved for [[Estellon]] and [[Unionism]], though to say it is without violent impression is false. Among Old Gods worshipers, holy wars can rage between two distinct populations over small denominational ideals (some as ridiculous as the believed hair color of a god), but bigger conflicts arise with other religions. Old Gods worshipers in general are very intolerant to other religions mostly born out of necessity, because disloyalty to the gods (for example by converting from Old Gods to Unionism) means a complete loss of Soldi and thus a soul being condemned to the Mirror world. Old Gods worshipers have been known to force their faith at the end of a sword and axe, especially in the far north where they are in the majority. Old Gods worshipers also frequently deface religious symbols of other faiths or engage in desecration of holy sites.
* '''Sins & Taboo:''' The worst cases of sinning and taboo for Old Gods are disloyalty to god, family and one's leaders, backstabbing, betrayal, deceit for greed's sake, and refusing a challenge of honor or duel of honor and abiding by cowardice. Never does a single sin or transgression cause Soldi to be lost fully, it is more like a currency that slowly leaks away, however repeat offenses do cause eventual loss of Soldi altogether. Old Gods does not really have a central body of priests to condemn a person, but generally speaking, Old Gods communities have a very communal sense of expelling a member when they believe their Soldi to be too far gone.
==Gods and Goddesses==
Old Gods recognizes one greater entity called Arne, the Tree of Life, from which all Old Gods worshiper believe Ailorkind was born (and by extension, every other living entity on Old Ceardia), though it is somewhat nebulous whether this refers specifically to Old Gods heritage Ailor, or all Ailor of the entire [[Race]]. Old Gods doctrine never made any claims on how the world or reality actually started, but implied that other religions are valid (to a degree) because they refer to the "Old World", where-as the world in which Old Gods exists now is the "New World". Simpler put, Old Gods acknowledges other religions and beliefs that pre-date itself as legitimate within their time-frame, but claims that with the birth of Old Gods, those religions or beliefs became invalid for Ailor, and that Old Gods is the only valid truth. This does mean that Old Gods is a mostly Ailor-centric religion. This causes particular conflict with Unionists. While Old Gods believers claim that the Everwatcher probably is real, they consider the faith false, because it induces its followers to engage in actions that cause them to lose Soldi and be condemned to the Mirror World. Arne supposedly stood in [[Old Ceardia]] for many centuries, until he communed with [[Dragons]] (who are not considered divine, rather just really powerful entities of legend), and developed a voice. With his voice, he spoke to fauna and flora, and with them approaching his roots, his mind expanded. With expansion came his desire to create his own life, and so with each new animal or event around Arne that he became aware of, a new god or goddess was born, creating the traditional pantheon by willing them into existence, which in turn caused them to create the Ailor Race. Arne is not worshiped however, because while he is the Tree of Life, he is seen more as a means to an end, and when all the Gods were born, he went into a lifeless slumber that created the afterlife in his dreams, the Gods and Goddesses instead are worshiped. Arne's physical body is believed to have perished with the [[Destruction of Ceardia]], however this didn't spell disaster, as it is believed that his spirit and dreams (and thus the afterlife) live on even without his physical form. 
===Bev, Mirror of Life===
{|
|[[File:Flying cloth.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Bev, the third son of Arne, was born when a mother deer and her children died beneath the Tree of Life, confronting it with the necessity of death.
*'''Themes:''' Bev’s themes are  the afterlife, measure of the soul, solitude, serenity, mourning, and the dead. He is also invoked during burials, and when communing with the dead.
*'''Depictions:''' Bev is depicted as a shrouded figure in a large funeral cloth, with only his pale white hands showing of his body, and always holding the Mirror face out.
*'''Worship:''' Bev is worshiped specifically by the Staargir, blind-folded singers of the dead, but also by offering food and candles to Bev shrines in Helbolwen.
*'''Manifestation:''' Bev does not manifest in the living world, only serving to hold the Mirrror and pass souls into the afterlife, which he must do without fail and reprieve.
*'''Individual:''' Bev does not manifest to individuals or groups at all, as he is only ‘met’ when someone’s soul is passing on for judgement. He is rumored to have made the Vaarda Gates however.
*'''Worship House:''' Bev is worshipped in Old Gods Crypts, or Helbolwen, where a statue in his likeness with a mirror is kept. These mirrors reflect hundreds of lit candles, to represent the dead.
*'''Relations:''' Bev is the husband of Hel, doomed to never embrace, as he cannot leave the water, and she cannot enter it. He is also tasked to hold up the Mirror, which Hel would destroy.
*'''Other Notes:''' It is believed that if Bev should ever drop the Mirror, it will shatter, and release the Soldi-less dead who reside within it, causing a terrible undead cataclysm to occur.
|}
===Hel, Dancer of Death===
{|
|[[File:Flying clothfyhgsb'.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Hel is the first daughter of Arne, who was born when the river flooded the Tree of Life and touched its bark, thus familiarizing it with large amounts of water.
*'''Themes:''' Hel’s themes are water, the ocean, protection from the waves, misery, unrequited love, and abandonment. She is intensely linked with Bev due to their relation.
*'''Depictions:''' Hel is a lithe woman with many tattoos and a body or dress made of the torrential waves. Her anguish and loneliness cause her to be cruel and whimsical.
*'''Worship:''' Hel is worshiped only by those who go off to sea, or know someone who is going off to sea, praying for their safe travel and return by dancing and offering her company and song.
*'''Manifestation:''' It is believed that every great typhoon, hurricane, tsunami, and waterspout, is Hel's manifestation, and that each of them are her physical presence.
*'''Individual:''' Hel has not touched anyone individually per se, rather she has supposedly caused the deaths of thousands of sailors, dragged to an early grave under the ocean.
*'''Worship House:''' Hel’s shrines are built on cliff sides near oceans, her cult is called the Sea-Dancers, water mages who ‘dance’ with their magic on ships to protect them from her wrath.
*'''Relations:''' Hel is the wife of Bev, but she cannot touch or be with him, as he resides below the ocean, and she can only dance on the surface of it: the source of her anguish.
*'''Other Notes:''' Hel is considered the goddess who takes lives, and knows when all Old Gods worshippers will die. This is mostly why Hel is feared rather than admired.
|}


==Pantheon==
===Adal, Prince of Forgiving===
Old Gods, because of its central lack of clergy or a unifying clerical body, does not have the same exact consistency across all lands. There exists a diversity of ideas and traditions from region to region, culture to culture, and even nation to nation. Generally speaking however, Old Gods are divided among polytheistic and pandeistic lines. The former claiming that all gods were born as seperate and unique individuals, the latter claiming that all gods were born from a single all-god, who after creation ceased to exist as a single entity and instead became many. The different terms used for these two spiritual denominations are Fleregud, and Enkelgud, or Flere and Enkel.  
{|
===Unions===
|[[File:Treetyujgrf.png|220px|thumb|left]]
There are, primarily, eight Herrehem (Archgods) in the Old Gods faith. Archgods is not a term used within the Velheim or Common language, rather, it is a Regalian distinction to create a clearer boundary between the Herrehem and Maarda, as the Velheim call them. The Old Gods faith has a form of derivative god birth where each Herrehem in theory exists out of the combination of several Maarda (part-gods), but these Maarda are also individuals. Furthermore, of all the eight Herrehem, each of them are paired in two called Unions or Gudpar in Velheim, with various religious implications. Beyond that, Maarda are also capable of interacting with mortals and the living, and as such, Maarda are also capable of siring demi-gods among the people, something that commonly is a recurring theme in Old Gods folklore. To understand the Herrehem, one must first understand the primary Unions and what they represent.
|
====Union of Fire====
*'''Identity:''' Adal is the son of Bard, who was born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut two branches off the Tree of Life, familiarizing it with pain.
The Union of Fire is commonly described as “all that feels”, and that is roughly what the Union of Fire also represents. Their primary element is fire, representing protection, parentage, passion and rage, and a wider variety of emotion. The Union of fire is supposedly responsible for all the feelings and emotions that the mortals have, and in ways also affect their emotions during the daily life, depending on their favor or disfavor.  
*'''Themes:''' Adal’s themes are giving aid and help, enforcement of laws, conceding, forgiveness, holding no grudges, and also of the lightning and thunder of the world.
====Union of Air====
*'''Depictions:''' Adal is usually depicted as a male with glowing golden tattoos and dismembered arms, the tips covered in gold, and replaced with lightning.  
The Union of Air is commonly described as “all that wants”, and that is roughly what the Union of Air also represents. Their primary element is air, representing freedom, change, ceremony and combat, and a wider variety of human needs. The Union of Air is supposedly responsible for the needs and wants of people (detached from emotion, which belongs to Fire). The Union of air is commonly blamed for all calamities in the world.
*'''Worship:''' Adal is not worshiped on a day to day basis, but by Pilgrims who wish to forgive someone, but cannot find the strength to do so, traveling to his Temple.
====Union of Water====
*'''Manifestation:''' It is believed that every thunder strike is an expression of approval by Adal, which is why Old Gods worshipers sometimes ask things of Thunderstorms.
The Union of Water is commonly described as “all that perils”, and that is roughly what the Union of Water also represents. Their primary element is water, representing grief, fear, treason and death, and a wider variety of pestilence and misfortune. The Union of Water is supposedly responsible for all the bad things that happen on a personal level for all mortals, but has a duality in that it also represents acceptance, forgiveness, peace and tranquility. The Union of Water is more complicated, because it not as strictly positive like the Union of Fire, or (almost) strictly negative as the Union of Air. It represents both good and bad sides of death and sorrow.
*'''Individual:''' Adal is not known to have made a personal presentation in front of anyone, because his manifestations are mostly in the elemental realm.
====Union of Earth====
*'''Worship House:''' Adal’s shrines are built high atop mountains, where lightning may strike them, and where bottles of Celectic gas store electricity in visible form.
The Union of Earth is commonly described as “all that knows”, and that is roughly what the Union of Earth also represents. Their primary element is earth, representing will, justice, learning and yearning, and all knowledge based aspects. The Union of Earth is supposedly responsible for storing all information and knowledge, memories and remembrance.
*'''Relations:''' Adal is the twin brother of Odal, who he feels responsible for, eternally on a quest to convince Odal to return to the pantheon, but eternally failing.
*'''Other Notes:''' It is said Adal’s arms were cut off by Bard, who had gone into a rage, though this is dubious, because many also claim he was born without arms.
|}
===Odal, Prince of Vengeance===
{|
|[[File:Treetyujgrfhgdfh.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Odal is the son of Bard, born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut branches off of the Tree of Life, crushed a family of hedgehogs below.
*'''Themes:''' Odal’s themes are revenge, overcoming, conquest, magic, corruption, and the indomitable spirit. Odal is sometimes considered good, sometimes evil.
*'''Depictions:''' Odal is a corrupted god, in allegiance to the Great Betrayer (who corrupted him), he still acts in favor of the Old Gods worshippers who align with him.
*'''Worship:''' Odal worship is offering him food and goods in a ritual fire to stave off his vengeance. Odal’s Avengers is a cult of for-hire revenge seekers, called Odalv.
*'''Manifestation:''' Odal has been known to personally manifest, particularly to protect the respect and honor of the Great Betrayer, when Old Gods worshipers defile him.
*'''Individual:''' Odal has countless of individual encounters with Old Gods worshipers, instilling a fear in them not to speak of the Great Betrayer in bad ways.
*'''Worship House:''' Odal has lingering shrines decorated with blue-painted horns, but only because people are afraid he’d destroy them if they destroyed his shrines.  
*'''Relations:''' Odal is the twin brother of Adal, and is constantly fighting Bard to force his way back into the pantheon, It is said only he can challenge Bard.
*'''Other Notes:''' It is not known how Odal became corrupted, but is thought to be because of his anger at the inaction of the Old Gods, letting the Great Betrayer do it.
*'''Other Notes:''' Rarely, will Olds Gods' worshippers feel pushed enough to accept his ‘blessing,and become a demonically possessed avatar of vengeance, called Odalv.  
*'''Other Notes:''' If they succeed their Odalv Quest, their Soldi is cleansed and they are restored, if they fail, he kills them and they are sent to the Mirror world.
|}
===Bard, King of Bears===
{|
|[[File:Treeagdsgsgjdjf.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Bard is the first son of Arne, and was born when bears rested under the Tree of Life. Bard is considered pivotal in the Pantheon due to his relations.
*'''Themes:''' Bard’s themes are battle, rage, strength, endurance, stability, power, solitude, and being the ‘guardian of the gods.’ He is said to be strongest of all.
*'''Depictions:''' Bard is always depicted as a large rugged man, covered in animal pelts, with charcoal around his eyes emulating bear claws and broad stance.
*'''Worship:''' Bard is worshiped before, after, and sometimes during battle. His cult, Bard’s Bears, was partially eradicated in the Carrhen War by the Regalian Empire.
*'''Manifestation:''' Bard has been known to manifest as a giant in front of those who committed high treason to the Old Gods, cursing them with the Marken Affliction.
*'''Individual:''' Bard exclusively visits individuals, but only on rare occasions, because one knows they have really messed up if it requires Bard to show up.
*'''Worship House:''' Bard’s shrines are large stone steles with inscriptions and bones, or stone tables with bowls on them. Animal carcasses are offered as sacrifice.
*'''Relations:''' Bard is the husband of Njal, but was originally a loner. His temperament was soothed by Njal, who found him, calmed him, and they became spouses.
*'''Other Notes:''' Despite Bard's Bears being eradicated in Carrhen, a small branch of them is yet alive in Talahm Gall, a rugged province of Gallovia.
*'''Other Notes:''' Bard’s fits of rage are legendary, and uncontrollable, losing all semblance of humanity during them, except for Njal's artistic touch.
|}


===Herrehem===
===Njal, Prince of Art===
====Lensa====
{|
Lensa is usually depicted as a woman with exceptional beauty, long hair flowing all the way to her ankles in a variety of braids and golden blonde. She usually has a variety of feathers and green budding twigs in her hair, her body covered with various pieces of traditional male body wear, such as male-fitted armor or male pants and shirts. Rather than being an outright cross-dressing god, the implication here is that beauty can be found in even the rugged of man, a reflection of their subjective beauty through the judgement of the beholder. Lensa is tall, moves with poise, and the wind always sweeps her hair in ways that accentuate her tallness and floaty movements. It is common for Velheim to compare a woman they love dearly to “the beauty of Lensa”, or to call their sweetheart a Lensån, meaning daughter of Lensa. Lensa is commonly believed to be of a soft temperament, caring and loving, soothing and embracing. In other ways, she also represents the obedience and loyalty of children, and the closeness of friendship and lovers. She is bound to Ellmår in a same-sex female union, though is sometimes also considered Ellmår’s daughter in other regional variances, where their Union represents the dedication of parents and children to each other instead of lovers. Those who dedicate their identity to Lensa, have a tree-like tattoo applied to the nape of their neck, running from the top of the spine adjacent the shoulders, to the lowest edge of their hair. This tree represents Lensa’s wide and covering care, the shade of her embrace sheltering the person’s heart.  
|[[File:Treeagdsgs.png|220px|thumb|left]]
====Ellmår====
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Ellmår is usually depicted as a woman with exceptionally strong masculine features, short hair and with a very strict and average face, with fiery red hair. She usually has a variety of chains and necklaces around her neck, as well as belts around her arms that represent the duty of parentage and the bonding of offspring. Ellmår wears traditionally female clothing such as long flowing dresses and knee-high skirts with sashes and over skirts. Rather than being an outright cross-dressing god, the implication here is that any parent can take any role they need to for a child, and that a woman and a man are both equally capable of acting in a parental role. That being said, the existence of Ellmår has become a bit of a curious Regalian oddity. Some Regalians (even though they believe in Unionism), have created an exceptional fondness of Ellmår, as she (more so than Lensa) represents gender-dimorphism among religions, perhaps being the only deity that is so obviously non-gender conformist in a patriarchal and male-dominated world. As such, even if they are Unionist, some Regalians sing the praises of Ellmår through the scope of a cult or society to feel a sense of divine inspiration and connection over trials and happiness that is unique to them. Ellmår is also invoked for women who behave in traditionally male roles and societal standards. A woman who fights with the ferocity of a man is considered an Elmark, or a Warrior or Ellmår. She is believed to have a measured outwardly, yet passionate internal personality, remaining very stoic and reserved to outsiders, but extremely involved with those closest to her. She is bound to Lensa in a same-sex female union, though is sometimes also considered Lensa’s mother in other regional variances, where their Union represents the dedication of parents and children to each other instead of lovers. Those who dedicate their identity to Ellmår have tattoos of chains applied to their wrists, not as a sign of slavery, but as a sign of dedication to their family or their lover. Among Velheim, traditional chaining is not often if at all seen, which is why being chained by a Regalian guard is considerably humiliating to Velheimers, given that they see this act as a religious dedication, not a part of a judicial prison system.  
*'''Identity:''' Njal is the second son of Arne, and was born when birds sang perched on the branches of the Tree of Life, seeing beauty for the first time.
====Basjtur====
*'''Themes:''' Njal’s themes are creativity, art, fertility, compromise, male beauty, silver tongue, and protection from godly cruelty and care for mortals.
Basjtur is usually depicted as a man with exceptional strength, a wide frame and a muscular body, with long hair and a body covered in tattoos, pitch black hair on his head. He usually wears nothing on his upper body, instead wearing only battle pantalons and boots, but always wielding at least one weapon, if not more. Basjtur is the simplest and easiest representation of a a warrior god, and lives up to that expectation to the T. He is always depicted in some sort of battle, either with Mærsjel as some sort of combat spar, defeating some sort of beast, or taking on a whole horde of enemies. Basjtur is commonly seen as a the guardian of the Gods, and is also the only one truly depicted taking on Demons, who are frightfully absent from the Old Gods faith, unlike Unionism. It is commonly said that through Basjtur’s blessings, the Velheim people and the Old Gods worshipers don’t have to deal with the negative side of Demons, as Basjtur is in an endless battle with them in the nether world. Basjtur is always invoked on the eve of battle or a duel, for the sake of invoking his rage and skill in battle. Inscriptions of him are placed on weapons to grant them the durability of his body, and warriors bring offerings to his name to grant god-like strength in battle. Basjtur is bound to Mærsjel  in a same-sex male union, though is sometimes also considered Mærsjel’s student in other regional variances, where their Union represents the raging beast that is liberated by the calm mind. Those that dedicate their identity to Basjtur have an axe-like tattoo applied on their back, the blades on their shoulder blades, and the stave on their spine.  
*'''Depictions:''' Njal is a handsome young man wearing expensive clothes, with an air of arrogance and calmness in his demeanor and stance.
====Mærsjel====
*'''Worship:''' Worship is done by saying a prayer, and then giving gifts to any artist. His cult is Njal’s Harps, who host debauched feasts and parties.
Mærsjel is usually depicted as a man with exceptional youthly beauty, a thin and slender frame of body, with short curly hair and a youthful face full with lips and rose cheeks. Mærsjel usually wears Altalar clothing, as Old Gods considers Altalar culture a high standard worth emulating for those seeking fortune in culture and art. He is never depicted without his harp or flute of soothing, often playing it, or dangling by his side. Mærsjel represents the arts and culture that flow from the freedom and liberty afforded by peace and prosperity. In many ways, Mærsjel is the natural consequence of Basjtur keeping everyone safe. Comparing someone to Mærsjel is an extreme complement of their entertainment capacity, and any tavern called a “Hall of Mærsjel” is the highest honor bestowed by an Old Gods worshiper, believing that spending time there is roughly equal to the afterlife in pleasure and comfort. Mærsjel is bound to Basjtur in a same-sex male union, though is sometimes also considered Barjtur’s teacher in other regional variances, where their Union represents the idea that no warrior or great sage is too good to learn new things from a young thinker or an amateur who is not set in their ways. As lovers, Mærsjel is usually depicted as the fawn chased by the wolf, but also the soothing tune that brings peace to the raging bear, a moment of comfort in a world of misfortune and misdeeds. Inscriptions of him are placed on the backs of paintings and in the wooden engraving of wooden instruments,
*'''Manifestation:''' Njal is said to permanently dwell among mortals, because creativity is a gift of the people, not of Gods, and he wishes to see art.
====Bev====
*'''Individual:''' Njal's has not been seen for thousands of years, though was very active before this point, no one knows exactly why.
Bev is usually depicted as a flying cloth, devoid of a physical body inside, though it can also be depicted as a man covered in black robes with a white mask, blood coming out of the eyes and mouth sockets that are pitch black. Bev is always depicted through the frame of a mirror, as if looking into a mirror, with Bev on the other side. Bev is an often unspoken God, because it is believed that to invoke his name is to bring misfortune itself, Bev is the reason why Old Gods worshipers are uneasy with those who wear masks, in their culture, masks are seen as the faces of Bev, worn by those who wish to do Bev’s bidding, which is to cause death, but also to act as Bev’s eyes. Those who are seen by Bev are believed to be on their way to the grave sooner for each time they are seen by Bev. It is largely why devout Old Gods worshipers refuse to participate in masquerades. Bev is usually depicted in a loving and tender desire for Alu, but never being able to actually reach Alu, as he is a reflection of her in the mirror. Those that have surrendered themselves to become dealers of death have a twin-sickle tattooed across their shoulder blades.  
*'''Worship House:''' Njal’s shrines are always mobile, in carts or on harnesses so people can carry them, as Njal never sits still and roams the land.
====Alu====
*'''Relations:''' Njal once roamed to find the perfect art. Then he met bard, and realized the perfect art was man. They soon fell in love and married.  
Alu is usually depicted as a haunting beauty, a woman floating off the ground with long hair that is wispy and longer than her own body, extending all the way to the ground, almost holding up her body like the stand of a street lamp. She is usually depicted caressing the mirror from which she looks at Bev, or admiring herself in a reflection. In many ways, Alu represents life and the obsession that life has with itself, a mysterious longing and curiosity for death, but equally a fear for it that prevents them from utterly embracing it. Alu’s expression is always different, depending how the light strikes her face. From some angle, whe may look at ease, peaceful and kind. In other angles, she may look ambitious, sneering, prideful, and others yet sorrowful, sad and in anguish. This shows the many faces of living and being alive, and her hair represents the length of life, each strand of hair cut off, representing a person who has died, passing that single hair through the mirror to Bev like a love letter to the dead. Those that wish to strongly represent Alu have the infinite braids of life tattooed all across their chest and stomach.  
*'''Other Notes:''' Njal always has heterochromia, one light blue eye and one light brown, which he uses to always watch Bard, who has dark brown eyes.
====Handrin====
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Handrin is usually decpited as a sagely old man, who is so old that his eyelids are permanently closed, his busy eyebrows furling over his eye sockets, and a beard that reaches all the way down to the ground. He is usually depicted seated on a great throne, but more bending over and hunched as he no longer has the strength to sit up from age. Handrin is presumed to know everything, the guardian of knowledge and fact, and forever true. Yet, at the same time, he represents the inability to move, narrowmindedness and dogma, stuck in his chair through roots that have started growing from his robes into the ground. Handrin is usually depicted seating opposite to Julvira, in a pose traditionally seen as debate among the Old Gods and Velheim. The Old Gods worshipers believe in healthy debate and discourse leading to new ideas and new contexts from which to see the world, and so Handrin always represents experience, knowledge and sageness, while Julvira represents new ideas, revolutionary concepts and upsetting established dogma with new information. Those that wish to represent the knowledge-seeker tattoo a pair of hummingbirds on the back of their hands.  
====Julvira====
Julvira is usually depicted as a spritely young woman with very short hair, wearing a collection of colorful robes with exotic plants and items hanging from chains and belts on her. She is seen as worldly, travelling around the world absorbing new views and new ideas to bring back to Handrin and upset him in his established notions and beliefs by constantly challenging him. In a way, Julvira and Handrin also represent the struggle of the older generation with the newer, as well as child versus parent. Still, Julvira and Handrin can also be depicted as lovers, one who is moving ahead in the world with ambition and want, while the other is stagnant, unable to move and content where things are, representing the eventual loss of love because one partner moves faster in the world than the other. Julvira and Handrin can mean a great deal of things, which is why the Union of Earth is not as clear cut as the Union of Fire and Air. Those that wish to represent the worldly ambitions of Julvira have waves and wind patterns tattooed across their forearms and their ankles.


===Maarda===
===Gro, Shaper of Flesh===
* The Maarda of Lensa are Beauty, Loyalty, and Fertility, three women clad in dresses made of leaf and flowers each with beauty rivalling Lensa. It is often said that the three sisters compete with each other for who is the most beautiful, with beauty dolling herself up with make-up and fancy clothes, Loyalty seeking the adoration of others through their loyalty to her, and Fertility seeking the adoration of offspring. It should come as no surprise that Fertility is said to have the most demi-gods under their wing.
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* The Maarda of Ellmår are Femininity, Command, and Virility, three men clad in simple fur robes and harnesses. As opposed to the Maarda of Lensa trying to rival her beauty, the Maarda of Ellmår try to disgust Ellmår to be rejected. Femininity does this through deceiving others of their gender, Command through the slaughter of soldiers by commanding armies, and Virility by siring too many useless demi-gods, which is considered a grave insult to godhood among the Herrehem and Maarda alike. The Maarda of Ellmår are often accompanied by their respective sibling Maarda from Lensa.  
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* The Maarda of Basjtur are the so-called Hounds of War, Masculinity, Pride, and Combat. Each of these are believed to be wolf-men, gods with the heads of wolves and the bodies of men. They are also often called the giants, as when seen in the world, they were as tall as houses, slaying many foes and allies alike in berserk combat.  
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* The Maarda of Mærsjel are the so-called Virtues of Beauty, Art, Poetry, and Music. The three of them always compete to outdo the other, proclaiming they are the truest of beauty, whether through the painted piece, a spoken poem, or a played melody. The Maarda of Mærsjel are often accompanied by the Maarda of Basjtur as their protectors.  
*'''Identity:''' Gro is the last daughter of Arne, and was born when Dragons spoke of the Nelfin, and the Tree of Life dreamt of flesh.
* The Maarda of Bev are Forgiveness, Empathy, and Compassion, the three heralds of death, and those also most commonly depicted as Valsung, and invoked by the Valsung to aid their song in reaching the ears of the dead. The Maarda of Bev commonly walked [[Aloria]], found wandering through Helbolwen hills and graveyards.  
*'''Themes:''' Gro’s themes are largely lost, but she supposedly begged the Dragons to breathe life into the her meat dolls, creating the Ailor.
* The Maarda of Alu are Revenge, Murder, and Betrayal, the bringers of death. It is said that while the Maarda of Bev announce the arrival of death, the Maarda of Alu actually bring it forth, inspiring those without Soldi to take lives. The Maarda of Alu are universally feared, as they have had a habit of forcing good people to commit heinous crimes.  
*'''Depictions:''' Gro's depiction has mostly been lost to time, but it is assumed she was an amalgam of blood and flesh.  
* The Maarda of Handrin are Age, Wisdom and Knowledge, though they have never by themselves been seen in Aloria. They are rumored however to exist as tomes and books all over Aloria, Artifacts of centuries past that collect the memories of those who touch them.  
*'''Worship:''' Gro is considered a lost god, but when she was worshipped, she played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
* The Maarda of Julvira are Glee, Whimsy and Wanderlust, the sisters of the world. It is said that their running all over the world is what causes the world to rotate, and the sun to rise, and the moon to sink from the horizon to herald a new day.
*'''Manifestation:''' Gro supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was her hubris.
*'''Individual:''' Gro has not been seen since she was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for her either.
*'''Worship House:''' Gro has no known worship houses, though the concept of Gro shrines has been debated as of recent due to finding Sunnan Velheim worshiping her.  
*'''Relations:''' Gro is the wife of Jord, both bargained with the Great Betrayer (which they were expelled for), forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
*'''Other Notes:''' The memory of Gro and Jord is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.
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== Beliefs==
===Jord, Forger of Metal===
===Concepts===
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====Soldi====
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Soldi is perhaps the single most important term in Old Gods, as well as Velheim culture. Every living being has a Soldi, but it is not quite the same as a soul (which is more specifically Sjele). Soldi represents the honor of the bearer, a quota that exists in either having, or not having, and there not being any greys in between. Every person is born with a clean Soldi, regardless of the crimes of their ancestors or parents, and through life, Soldi is affected by nearly every action. Generally speaking, all things that are good uphold Soldi, where/as all things that are morally or ethically bad result in loss of Soldi. Betrayal is the worst kind of Soldi loss, resulting in an instant evaporation of virtue, where-as self-sacrifice is the greatest of Soldi gain, reinstituting even the worst of affected individuals who lost their Soldi long ago due to betrayal. In a sense, Soldi represents the ability of everyone to find redemption and forgiveness, albeit some at a heavier price than others. Soldi is a necessity to travel to Speillørgard, the Old Gods version of the Afterlife. Soldi is in most cases a personal matter, meaning that if a son loses their Soldi, that the parents are unaffected. There is however a practice called Soldi Redda, in which case a family member may take it upon them to restore the Soldi of a person who has lost it, whether they are alive or dead. This frequently occurs for sons to fathers and fathers to sons, and the Old God Worshipers believe that if they can redeem the injustice perpetrated by their relative, that their soul will be saved from the Imellomgard, or the in-between realm, and be permitted to join the others in Speillørgard. Those with exceptional Soldi that goes beyond the basic maintenance and slow accrue of Soldi, become Soldigurd. This is usually reserved for great heroes of mythical deeds, as well as kings, and those who are touched by the Maarda, capable of achieving greater feats, but also greater betrayals.  
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====Sjele====
*'''Identity:''' Jord is the last son of Arne, and was born when the roots of the Tree of Life touched metal ores in the ground, which it could not crush or bend.
Sjele is in the simplest way of putting it, the Old Gods version of a Soul. Unlike other religions however, the Old Gods believers believe that souls exist in two forms, the soul in the Egetgard (what is commonly understood as the real world as perceived by the living), and the soul in the Speillørgard. The two souls always live apart from the moment a child is born, but live in an inverted manner, since Speillørgard is a mirror-realm to Egetgard. For example, if a soul in Egetgard kicks another person, it is believed that the Sjele in Speillørgard is kicked in turn. This is where the concept of Karma comes from, the Old Gods believe that every little thing a person does, is done back to their Sjele in Speillørgard, and vice versa. It is believed that the more a person damages their Soldi until they become outcast, the Soul in Egetgard and the Sjele move further and further apart, until they can no longer become one when the person dies. In such a case, the soul is transported to Imellomgard, while the Sjele in Speillørgard becomes a wandering flame in the valley of forever warmth.  
*'''Themes:''' Jord is no longer worshiped as he is considered a lost god for dealing with the Great Betrayer. Only small groups still worship him.
====Draugr and Gaudr====
*'''Depictions:''' Jord is depicted as a male with a body made of metal, bent and straightened around his body, and long arms with ball joints, made of dark blue metal.
Draugr are the restless living, while Gaudr are the wandering dead. The terminology can sometimes be confusing to an outsider, because in Regalia, there is no difference between a Poltergeist and an actual [[Undead]], though the Old Gods worshipers have many unique distinctions. When it concerns Draugr, they are the dead who have come back to life, their body wandering the Helbolwen (or other places) and living as if they were still alive. It is up to the Staargir to put the Draugr to rest, they are also called upon if there is an infestation of Draugr away from Helbolwen, as it is not uncommon for old burial sites to be washed open. The presence of Draugr is a considerable problem in Drixagh, because Velheimers do not burn or behead their dead, like is common practice in all other regions of the Regalian Archipelago due to the Undead problem. To other Regalians, the dead body is just a piece of leftover meat after the soul has passed on, but to the Old Gods worshipers, the dead body is in a way seen as a conduit to the Sjele, from where those still alive can send messages to the dead and sometimes receive messages back through the Valsung. The Old Gods worshipers consider the Undead a relentless problem, because it upsets the balance of the living and dead between Egetgard and Speillørgard. It is believed that if too many Undead or Draugr roam Egetgard, that the two realms will flip upside down, and all chaos will break loose as the living will suddenly be dead, and the dead will be alive. The valleys of Speillørgard will freeze over from the cold, while all life in Egetgard will end, without being able to pass on to the afterlife. This potential event is called Dodarrøs, which is practically synonymous with the apocalypse in Old Gods beliefs. Gaudr on the other hand, are far more benign, even if they can sometimes have streaks of deceit and violence. Gaudr are body-less spirits of the undead, usually left behind due to some unfinished business, their soul unable to merge with their Sjele in Speillørgard. It is up to the Valsung to approach the Gaudr and commune with them, whether they are visible or not, and speak to the living to resolve their business.
*'''Worship:''' Jord is no longer worshiped, when he was, he played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
 
*'''Manifestation:''' Jord supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was his hubris.
===Places===
*'''Individual:''' Jord has not been seen since he was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for him either.
====Speillørgard====
*'''Worship House:''' Jord has no worship houses, but was last rumored to be seen on the isle of Barratt, which is surrounded by a terrible maelstrom.
Speillørgard is considered the Old Gods afterlife, or at least the positive version of it where a person can go to live a happy after-life. Speillørgard is describes as a world with endless valleys, one for each Sjele, plus three, one for the Herrehem, one for the Maarda, and one for the Sjele that have dislodged from their souls in Egetgard, and become flames in the valley of forever warmth. It is believed that if a soul arises to Speillørgard with adequate Soldi, that they live in a valley of plenty, where rivers teem with fish, the wildlife is abundant, and the frost of winter is far away. A warm cabin with plenty of mead and good company await. There is even a greater version of these valleys called the Herrehem Himmel, which is roughly located in the sky far above all the valleys. This is where the Herrehem, Maarda, and the Soldigurd come together for the great feasts and boasting sessions where they praise one another’s deeds and live in an eternal feast above the other souls in the valleys below. It is believed that a Soldigurd Sjele can travel between the eternal feast and their valley, content to sit among the gods, but also find the comfort of solitude.
*'''Relations:''' Jord is the husband of Gro, both bargained with the Great Betrayer, forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
====Imellomgard====
*'''Other Notes:''' The memory of Jord and Gro is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.
Imellomgard is where the souls of those who lost Soldi during their life go to wander into endless twilight. This realm is described as made of obsidian, endless plains and seas and mountains of obsidian with howling freezing winds, all the snow and particles of the wind made of cutting glass that torture the souls that wander. Souls stuck in Imellomgard are condemned to always wander the endless barren wasteland in search for comfort and warmth that they will never find, occasionally bumping into each other or objects that should remind them of their life, but they can no longer place in memory. It is said in a way that Imellomgard is a torturous hellish existence, this also where the term “Hel” comes from in Velheim language, that was later adopted by the Common language to describe a terrible place or doomed location. The bards who record the tales of Imellomgard are not exactly clear on whether the souls stuck there are aware of what is happening, since often it is described as a place of never-waking or not being able to perceive the passage of time, yet it has also been described as a place where the souls are caught in a cycle of punishment, and as such, the implication is made that they indeed are aware of their endless torture.  
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===Halfvel, the Father of Demigods===
Curiously enough, the Old Gods worshipers acknowledge a concept called “Second Death”, that can only occur to those who are struck in Imellomgard. It is said that the souls wandering Imellomgard can only remain present there for as long as their names are known among the living. It is believed that the moment someone’s name is spoken for the last time, that their soul in the Imellomgard simply vanishes and ceases to exist, or indeed, as if it never existed to begin with at all. Yet, in the spirit of redemption, even a soul that has been removed from existence might be revived in Imellomgard. A name might last part someone’s lips five generations down, and for all intents and purposes experience their Second Death. Then, 200 years later, a Navner finds a lost tome, or written record of the dead, speaking out their name. It is believed that when a Navner speaks out a name of a person who has died centuries ago, that if they were lost in Imellomgard, that they are brought back to life, for as long as the Navner remembers their name.  
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====Helbolwen====
|[[File:Wolfgod.png|220px|thumb|left]]
Death is a very important aspect of Old Gods worship, and caring for the dead is doubly so. For this purpose, Helbolwen are created like necropolises, housing hundreds if not thousands of dead, mummified into alcoves, rowed in tunnels that reach ever deeper underground, usually hewn from stone. Helbolwen frequently are placed near each other, the largest collection of which still actively used in Irvainvik, where the coastal Helbolwen of Himmelgard sits atop a valley flanked by tall jagged mountains. Helbolwen have a central entry room called the Endrerom, where the dead are mummified and prepared for burial by the Staargir, all the while guided from Egetgard to Speillørgard by the song of the Valsung. Beyond the Endrerom is the Fjorarom, which usually contains a pedestal and a statue of Bev, who in a Helbolwen represents the afterlife, usually flanked by a large collection of candles which the Old Gods worshipers use to remember the recently deceased, having carved their name in the candle wax. These candles in and of themselves also represent the hope and will that the name of the dead person is not forgotten. Even if a person’s soul has transferred to Speillørgard, it is believed that the Second Death is a profoundly sad thing, even if it can no longer affect them when they have passed on without issue. Beyond the Fjorarom is the Haardrom, which in itself may extend to further Haardromma, which is where the dead are stored in alcoves. Most of then just wrapped in linens with parting gifts, but also commonly in coffins. Raiding a Helbolwen, or stealing items from it without the approval of the spirits, is considered a grave sacrilige and assured to ruin someone’s Soldi, yet it still happens, especially in Drixagh where life can be hard in the more desolate places.  
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*'''Identity:''' Halfvel, nicknamed the Father of Demigod and Wolf-God, was born when the mortal Berrin fell in love with Bard, King of Bears, because some part of Arn wanted Demigods to exist.
====Haugbolwen====
*'''Themes:''' Halfvel does not represent any themes, but rather is the sole source of Demigodhood, blessing pregnant mothers with the Godspark, which can either be Mundane or Magic.
Haugbolwen serve much of the same purpose as Helbolwen, but are generally reserved for Nobles, or those who can pay for them. Haugbolwen are smaller burial chambers with single corridors dug into mounds of dirty and sand that eventually grow covered with grass and have Lily of the Valley flowers planted on top covering it in a blanket of flowers, climate permitting. When a person is to be buried in a Haugbolwen, the body is usually embalmed in a Helbolwen, and then carried on top of a bed of shields with Valsung guiding them with lamentations of the dead to their final resting place, where the embalmed corpse is put into the sarcophagus. If a person was particularly wealthy, the sarcophagus is filled with honey to preserve and sweeten the voyage of the dead, however an assortment of flowers and berries are also common, before closing the lid. Haugbolwen differ from Helbolwen in that they are designed to hold exactly one stone tomb, and the personal effects of the buried person, while remaining entirely open to the outside. The tomb itself is made of heavy slabs of granite usually, thus preventing any Draugr from escaping. The stonework on the outside of the tomb is decorated with the exact copy of the dead person's Velheim Tattoos, so the tomb tells the story of their life, and the beam crossing the entryway bears their name, so it may be seen even from further away, and strangers may carry the name in their mind and not forget. Haugbolwen generally remain open, meaning the doorway can simply be passed through, and offerings may be left at the stone sarcophagus. Because the Velheim don't take precautions against Undeadism (unlike other Cultures) it is not too uncommon to hear an uneasy scratching noise in Haugbolwen. Regalian Scholars insist this is an undead trying to get out of the tomb, however Velheimers insist these are Draugr who have taken possession of the body of the deceased and are trying to break into the mortal realm. In fact, hearing noises inside a Haugbolwen is considered a blessing of good luck, because it means that the Union of Air has blessed the body there-in with vigor and strength, a memory of the person in their afterlife. Families can however choose to close down a Haugbolwen. This can be done for a variety of reasons, though primarily involves preventing the personal effects of the dead person from being stolen, which is sadly quite common even among the Velheim people. The act of leaving offerings and items in a Haugbolwen is not considered a religious act, merely a cultural one, so thieves do not lose Soldi, or simply don't care because of the harsh living conditions. Other reasons might be that the person has died so long ago that nobody maintains the tomb anymore, with moss and water damage breaking the stonework. In such cases, it is often considered better to just lock the tomb, as a large circular stone is rolled into place to block the entrance and seal it forever. Draugr breakouts from Haugbolwen are exceptionally rare, mainly because the sarcophagus is so heavy and large, a deterrent that usually does not exist in regular Helbolwen where the dead are often left embalmed and exposed to the open air in the inner corridors.
*'''Depictions:''' Halfvel is always depicted with his Cloth of Godliness, in which it is said all Demigod children are born or laid to be found in the forest surrounded by Wolves.
 
*'''Worship:''' Halfvel is worshiped by traveling the world, seeking out his children, and aiding them on the path of their divine purpose, whether they are Magical or Mundane.
====Dyrbolwen====
*'''Manifestation:''' Halfvel is often said to appear before mothers who pray intensely for purpose for their children, but is also said to disguise himself as a Wolf-man and birth Demigods among mortals.
Old Gods believers are the only religion known on Aloria to bury their pets with reverence, and that is exactly what a Dyrbolwen is, a burial place for pets. The process for pet burial is much simpler than the complex process of a Helbolwen or Haugbolwen burial however. When pets die, the embalming is often done by the family who owned the pet, and the process could be seen as rather gruesome by other cultures, but is considered the final homage a pet can get while passing into the afterlife. The Old Gods religion is very vague about whether pets actually arrive in any type of afterlife. It is in fact more commonly believed that because animals can be heralds of the Gods, that pets simply go to the side of their particular patron God, to wherever the Gods are in the afterlife. It is also believed that pets are not measured for their Soldi. Rather, it is believed that pets are always "good" and that even evil pets that commit misery are only following the command of their master to show loyalty and devotion, and that as such, pets are always blameless of whatever crimes they are accused of. The process of embalming a pet involves with removing the head and seperating the body. The animal is usually skinned also, but this is not strictly necessary. The hide is reserved, and the meat is usually discarded into nature to be eaten by scavengers or wild animals. The head is then skinned also, and boiled so thoroughly in lye that all organic material eats away, and only a pure white skull remains. This skull is then removed from the lye, dried, and will have stories of the animal written on it either in a written language, or in Velheim tattoo, applied with the ink. Finally, to put the animal to rest, is to find an alcove in Dyrbolwen, put down the animal's hide (if there is one) as a mat inside the alcove, and then rest the animal's skull on top of the hide. The alcove is usually covered with a wooden hatch, as Dyrbolwen are actually in the open air, and weather wear would otherwise destroy the alcove. The wooden hatch is usually painted upon by the owners of the animal to express their animal-soul with colorful depictions of things they loved in life, or places they liked to be. Each type of animal held by Old Gods worshipers goes to a different Dyrbolwen, as there are usually different locations for each type of animal. Canine or dog-related pets are buried in the Union of Air's Ulvar Dyrbolwen, which has a large statue of a sitting wolf. Cat-like or feline pets are buried in the Union of Earth's Gammeldom Dyrbolwen, which has a large statue of a reclining big cat. Bird or Insect-like pets are buried in the Sjkonn Dyrbolwen, which has a large statue of a monitor lizard, belonging to the Union of Water. Finally, any other type of animal that is held as a pet, like a goat or a hog, is buried in the Annan Dyrbolwen, belonging to the Union of Fire, and having a large statue of a Frostback. Offerings can be brought to the Dyrbolwen, but it's unusual. There is however the 29th of August, which is the holiday of the faithful animals in life, where Old Gods worshipers visit the Dyrbolwen en masse, and read and perceive about the lives of loyal pets who have gone before, by looking at the hatches and any notes left behind on the alcoves belonging to the dead pets. Most of the hatches are even opened on this day, so long as the weather is not awful, in the belief that it allows the souls of the animals to breathe at least one day in the year and look spectators in the eyes. At the end of the day, everyone comes together to share stories about pets they have lost, or would like to own one day, and shares A Hønningkake, which is a carrotcake baked and drenched in honey so it resembles more a wet sponge, often coated on the outside with oven roasted flour to make it easier to hold and eat.
*'''Individual:''' There was once a Temple in Old Ceardia which supposedly housed Halfvel nearly all year round, however this place has not been visited since the destruction of Ceardia.
 
*'''Worship House:''' Halfvel does not have any official Temples, however shrines dedicated to him are a wolf skull rested on several black wolf pelts, coins of gold inserted into its mouth for well wishes.
====Trellemur====
*'''Relations:''' Halfvel has no formal relations with the Pantheon, as he largely avoids them altogether, concerning himself more with creating the fates in the mortal world.
Old Gods worshipers, when also Velheim, actually do not bury their slaves in any of the aforementioned locations. A Haugbolwen is obviously too wealthy for a slave, while a Helbolwen is considered only for Old Gods worshipers and free folk, while many Velheim slaves are in fact not even Old Gods worshipers. Slaves are buried at the Trellemur, though it is more accurate to say they are cremated and then left at the Trellemur. Slaves that die are burned on the Trellestein, a large bed-like stone with a depression where wood may be stacked so the body can be burned. The ash left behind from the burning is then mixed into a so called Døklemens, which is a form of concrete that sets with clay and sand and can be shaped into a stone. Then, the family places this stone on their Trellemur, which is a small stone wall either somewhere in a field, or near a pond, or on a mountain, it entirely depends on how well the family treats their slaves. Badly treated slaves simply have their Døklemens tossed into a ditch along with the other rocks where weathering eventually crushes them down to pebbles or sand and leaves nothing behind. Slaves that are well treated have their Døklemens stacked up on a neat wall that usually stretches a few feet long, with each generation of the family adding more and more stones on top as slaves come and go. The practice of the Trellemur is to commemorate the slaves for their contributions to the family, to build the foundations for a better life, but not to treat them to well as to honor them with a burial in a Helbolwen. Trellemur are often not visited with offerings save for perhaps a candle when one of the family members who was not a slave has died, and slave names are rarely imprinted on stones. While there is obviously no chance for Draugr to appear near a Trellemur, Gaudr have been seen there. This is why Trellemur are usually built more in isolated nature and away from any hunting grounds or places where the worshipers live and work. Because Velheim living in cities cannot reasonable make thousands of Trellemur near their city, there is a common understanding that Trellemur are built in one massive cohesive wall structure. For coastal settlements, this usually involves using the Døklemens as added stones for any coastal defenses or dykes to keep the water out. For in-land settlements, this usually involves using the Døklemens to strengthen the outside walls, and offer a first-line defense against siege weapons cracking the actual walls of a city or townlet. Because this close proximity endangers the city with contact to Gaudr, Valsung frequently patrol the outside walls or Dykes, singing to the dead, in the belief that this eases their minds and prevents them from coming back. There are no Trellemur in Regalia, as they are considered vulgar and illegal. As such, in Regalia, Old Gods worshipers simply dump their slaves in mass-graves for the poor that the city provides.
*'''Other Notes:''' Halfvel's Demigod children supposedly have icy-blue eye-color, a high rarity among Ailor. Halfvel turns an unborn child or conceives each Demigod for a specific fate, some bad, some good.
 
|}
===People===
===Asbjørn, the Punished Winter===
====Navner====
{|
Navner are religious individuals within the Old Gods community. The best way to describe them, is to call them “Those who seek out the names of the forgotten, and bring them back from Second Death”. Some Navner in fact take this duty a step further, and even take it upon them to engage in the practice of Soldi Redda, to save that person from eventual Second Death again (or Third Death in this case) when the Navner forgets their name, and to allow them to rise up to Spellørgard. Navners are not specifically solely a Navner. The act of being a Navner is often combined with being a Valsung, or even a Skorda. Most Navners can be told apart from non-Navners by the bearing of a thick tome attached to a chain on their hip, or a large scroll in a holder on their back. This piece of writing is used to record the names of those who have passed their Second Death, so that the Navner can remember the thousands of names they might encounter while they live, and occasionally recite the names again to stave away Second Death. Navner frequently travel the world, scouring old records in Velheim towns, or even down ruins and forgotten places, hoping to find a shred of names to bring back to life. The act of being a Navner in itself grants Soldi, but it is a decision for life, as those who believe in the Old Gods also value the weight of bearing the potential soul-death of all those people on their shoulders.
|[[File:Asbear.png|220px|thumb|left]]
====Staargir====
|
Staargir are a revered and reviled bunch in equal measure by different groups of people. By Regalian Empire terms, they are nothing but soothsayers that claim to know the future. As such, Staargir occupy a very strained position within Regalian Empire lands, though the Velheim greatly appreciate their services and advice. Staargir are chosen from children who are either born blind or become so after a disease or simply from malnutrition. Staargir specifically look frightening since their lips are cut off, while their eyelids are darkened with charcoal dust, all acts done in the belief that it will make them invisible to the Undead who wander the inner halls of the Helbolwen, and it actually seems to work. Their face is often also littered in scars, lines drawn with knives to resemble Old Gods runes to allow them to hear the gods. Finally, they blacken their teeth with charcoal paste also, cutting all hair and dressing head to toe in black. Even if a Staargir is reluctant to become one at an early age, they eventually realize the benefits of having the adoration of the Velheim as well as a position of power for little work. They are provided everything they require by donations from those living near Helbolwen.
*'''Identity:''' Asbjørn, nicknamed the Punished Winter, (prior Berrin, a mortal) was made God when he committed a crime by falling in love with Bard, God of Bears, forced to bear a curse.
 
*'''Themes:''' Asbjørn's themes are punishment, service, restitution, Winter, seeking forgiveness, and taking responsibilities for one's crimes and wrongdoings in the eyes of society.
The accuracy of Staargir predictions and fortune telling is a hotly debated topic among the Regalian Scholars in particular due to their unusual far-higher average than usual prediction correctness. It is as such believed that their practices through the dead and the soul essence that drifts in these great cities of the dead, somehow has an impact on their ability to perceive events from far away or to predict natural occurrences before they take place simply by reading the world around them through the essences. The dead are tended to by the Staargir, who actually live inside the Helbolwen from where they dispense their fortune and potions to the people when they seek them out among the dead. It is also their job however to put the restless dead back to sleep, the so called Draugr, usually by removing the head and then sewing it back on when they have been returned to their alcove.
*'''Depictions:''' Asbjørn is always depicted as a white bear, usually in chains, but often also in a resting pose. There is always a dubiousness to him, as if his godhood may not be a curse.
====Valsung====
*'''Worship:''' Asbjørn isn't strictly worshiped, but rather invoked when someone should submit themselves to punishment to make up for their wrongdoings, and he gives them strength to bear it.
It is said that the Staargir live in the cities of the dead, while Valsung are the tenders of the restless Spirits. There are two known Helbolwen in the City of Regalia, and many more scattered across the Velheim-populated areas of the world. Valsung in particular can be found on the fringes of Helbolwen, singing the songs of the dead and laments of the dead, or simply standing guard in them or the traveling Staargir. The Valsung sometimes are told to have dyed red hair, and this is only partly true. It is in fact because Valsung sometimes, while singing the laments of the dead, wash their hair with the blood of the recently deceased, because it is believed in allowing them to perceive the lives and stories of those who have died, so that they can sing their name one last time, until they are sent through the mirror of Earth, and sending them to Speillørgard. Valsung and Skorda are very similar, though the bigger difference is that the Valsung pre-occupy the majority of their time talking to the restless Spirits called the Gaudr (and avoiding the Draugr which are the business of the Staargir), and doing only minimal fighting if the interior of a Helbolwen is breached by an invader. The Valsung and the Staargir equally rely on the Skorda to make sure that the invaders never reach the Helbolwen.
*'''Manifestation:''' Asbjørn has occasionally appeared, when a prisoner collapses under their punishment, or someone who is seeking forgiveness is about to give up, giving them strength once more.  
====Skorda====
*'''Individual:''' Asbjørn only ever helps individuals, but he seems quite jovial for someone who is being cursed, some speculate that he is actually quite devious, and was cursed on purpose.
Skorda are religious warriors who protect the Helbolwen, and by extension the Valsung and Staargir, and sometimes also the Sammun. Skorda are more often than not hermits who live on the edges of society, and have taken the charge on them to protect a Helbolwen from incursions, tying their own Soldi to the Helbolwen in particular. If the Helbolwen is never breached during their lifetime, they ascend to Herrehem Himmel in Speillørgard. If however the Helbolwen they protected is breached, their Soldi is destroyed, and they must go on a pilgrimage to secure their honor and justice. Skorda are usually excellent warriors, many of them in history having been blessed with weapons from demi gods and the Maarda to execute their duty. Many Skorda have gone into legends, defending great Helbolwen from invaders, particularly during the Skagger Wars and the incursions by [[Gallovians]] and [[Clannadh Alban]] Highlanders. Skorda in particular have a dislike for Highlanders, still avidly remembering the rampant plundering and wanton destruction left behind by them during the Skagger Wars, and the many Skorda that were lost defending the Helbolwen from looting.
*'''Worship House:''' Asbjørn's largest and most important Temple is the Ice-Crag Hall in Hedryll, a temple where docile polar bears roam, though it has recently fallen in disrepair by Vampires.
 
*'''Relations:''' Asbjørn is said to be madly cursed and in love with Bard, but this has been pulled into question recently because none of the other folklore supports this sentiment.
====Sammun====
*'''Other Notes:''' Asbjørn is sometimes somewhat dubiously treated because it unclear if he genuinely wants to help those seeking restitution through punishment, or is just using them to get to Bard.
Sammun are religious guides and priests for the living, business not related to the dead like the other religious figures of the Old Gods community. The Sammun in particular specialize in soothing the worries and anguish of the living related to earthly and living matters. The most common practice of the Sammun, is to engage in confessions of personal failings, acts against Soldi, and other wrongdoings. It is then the Sammun’s responsibility to provide guidance on how to best make amends for the Soldi loss, or how to best deal with a situation that the person sees no way out of. It is distinctly not the Sammun’s position to tell the living what to do, but rather to equip them with the knowledge and context to make a decision for themselves. Sammun are never part of any noble families, and if they decide to become a Sammun while part of a family, they usually disavow the family and take no name, so as to avoid personal involvement and bias in their position. The worst loss of a Soldi that a Sammun can ever receive, is to betray the confidence of their charge, if they ever reveal the secrets or the statements made by someone seeking guidance. While Sammun do not operate from Helbolwen, and frequently just take those seeking comfort to their home, they do usually hang around a Helbolwen, just because it is a religious nexus from which to seek out all other religious activities.
|}
 
===Frode, Carer of Spring===
==Faith Variants==
{|
===Highland Variant===
|[[File:Spingguy.png|220px|thumb|left]]
The Highland Variant of Old Gods is worshiped in areas of the Highland Cultures territory as well as minor regions of Breizh population, though it is most common among the Ceardians spread across Aloria. The faith is known as the Cellik Old Gods, with Old Gods translating into Seann Dhiathann.
|
*Herrehem are instead called Thighearn
*'''Identity:''' Frode, nicknamed Carer of Spring, was born when the early dew of spring first slipped down the leaves of the Tree of Life, creating the seasonal change in Old Ceardia.
*The Maarda do not exist in Cellik Old Gods
*'''Themes:''' Frode's themes are Spring, rebirth, sweetness, insects and plants, flowers, sweet smells and cold colors, the sounds of life, and teeming flora in the forests.
*The Goddess Lensa is called Lenna, and is instead a large moth-woman
*'''Depictions:''' Frode is always depicted as if gliding on the green light of nature in spring, anytime they touch grass, causing the most wildest of floral arrangements to bloom.
*The Goddess Ellmår is called Ella, and is instead a large owl-woman
*'''Worship:''' Worship to Frode is done near or around a Tree, woven and decorated to mimic the Tree of Life, usually in a park, and by engaging in social happenings around that tree.
*The God Basjtur is called Bannor, and is instead a large wolf-man
*'''Manifestation:''' Frode has manifested a couple of times through history to save important groves of the Old Gods people, but in general seems more skittish than the other Gods.
*The God Mærsjel is called Mannor, and is instead a fox-man
*'''Individual:''' Frode is said to hate being regarded, and as such, most encounters were supposedly more of their smell (a distinct cut-grass and honey mix) than their actual face.
*The God Bev is called Delu
*'''Worship House:''' Frode has no real worship house, but Old Gods worshipers often build Frode circles in the forest, which are patches of grass with stones arranged in circles.
*The Goddess Alu is called Anu
*'''Relations:''' Frode is the twin sibling of Toke, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
*The God Handrin is called Hanna
*'''Other Notes:''' Frode is why Old Gods worshipers have a positive relation to Yanar, and can often connect quite well with the Estellon worshipers in Yanar inhabited regions in Regalia.
*The Goddess Julvira is called Alvir
|}
*Soldi and Sjele are called Urram and Arram
===Toke, Lirh of Autumn===
*Speillørgard and Imellomgard are called Sgàtantalla and Meadhantalla
{|
*Navner, Staargir, Valsung, Skorda and Sammun are called Ainman, Splechdman, Seinnma, Dìonma and Eìstma
|[[File:Treeghvfjgfdhgfm.png|220px|thumb|left]]
*Helbolwen/Haugbolwen/Dyrbolwenn/Trellemur, Draugr, and Gaudr are called Dachaigh-na-tinn, Corpolc and Corpmath
|
===Zvorun Variant===
*'''Identity:''' Toke, nicknamed Lirh of Autumn, was born when the leaves on the Tree of Life faded to red and brown, creating the seasonal autumn that swept Old Ceardia.
The Zvorun Variant of Old Gods is worshiped almost exclusively by the Zvorun Culture itself, while portions of Tarkkin, Fridurfolk, and a tiny minority of Velheim also follow it. The faith is known as Taevõnnis Old Gods, with Old Gods translating into Igivana Jumalad.
*'''Themes:''' Toke's themes are Autumn, the world slowing down, taking care of yourself and loved ones, caring for one's own mental health, warm colors, and fauna itself.
:*''For more information on the Zvorun Variant, click [[Zvorun#Religion|HERE]].
*'''Depictions:''' Toke is always depicted as if dancing, reminiscing a leaf falling from an autumnal tree, conspicuous feline ears in their hair and a mischievous smile. 
*Herrehem are instead called Joobes-jumal
*'''Worship:''' Toke Worship is done by hosting seasonal feasts, particularly those in which Old Gods worshipers dress up as animals and try to prank and trick each other.
*The Maarda are instead called Tähtapsed
*'''Manifestation:''' Toke's manifestations were often to protect wildlife from extinction, miraculously saving a few viable pairs in a valley to protect them.
*The Goddess Lensa is called Sündema, and has white, fluffy wings
*'''Individual:''' Toke has not ever been known to enjoy being regarded by mortals. As such, their ears or fox-tail is seen more often than Toke themselves fully.
*The Goddess Ellmår is called Armasema, and has stone hands and feet
*'''Worship House:''' Toke has no real Temples or shrines, but supposedly lives together with Frode in the Frode circles in the forest, as animals are eventually drawn to them.  
*The God Basjtur is called Maruvur, and has a billowing thunderstorm for a beard and head of hair
*'''Relations:''' Toke is the twin sibling of Frode, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
*The God Mærsjel is called Tuulaul, and has small pale blue wings
*'''Other Notes:''' Toke is why, even when killing wildlife for the hunt or sacrifice, Old Gods are always respectful, and will say a prayer for Toke to receive the animal's soul.
*The God Bev is called Näguvaras, and has a single red eye along with a formless body
|}
*The Goddess Alu is called Leharmas, and has a pair of slick black wings
===Leif, Summer of Passion===
*The God Handrin is called Kõiketeatark, and has a body half formed of vegetation
{|
*The Goddess Julvira is called Vehklejamal, and has a pair of broad brown wings
|[[File:Firedude.png|220px|thumb|left]]
*Soldi and Sjele are called Hingkaal and Hing
|
*Speillørgard and Imellomgard are called Igavenpäev and Igavenöö
*'''Identity:''' Leif, Summer of Passion, was born when the Tree of Life first experienced the love between Bard and Njall, and a fire erupted on some of its branches.
*Navner, Staargir, Valsung, Skorda, and Sammun are called Meerik, Pimetark, Soikustark, Kõulööja, and Elutark
*'''Themes:''' Leif's themes are passion, fire, burning feelings, expressions of love and willpower, never giving up, divine inspiration, and offspring specifically.
*Helbolwen/Haugbolwen/Dyrbolwen/Trellemur, Draugr, and Gaudr are called Surmmaja, Valju-soikus, and Sosin-soikus
*'''Depictions:''' Leif is always depicted with some part of his hair on fire or spitting flames, his hands covered in glowing golden light for the wealth he brings.
 
*'''Worship:''' Worship to Leif is performed by bringing offerings of rare earth metals to open flames, and dancing with or inhaling the smoke.
==Practices==
*'''Manifestation:''' Leif has not known to manifest himself, though it is said that a part of him lives in each and every flame, and that he always listens.
===Worship===
*'''Individual:''' Leif's individual relation to mortals, is that he supposedly inspires and enflames their emotions, with love itself being inspired and fated by him.
Worship of the Old Gods is fairly simple and easy to do anywhere. The most common practice is to create a bowl of incense along with dried flowers, herbs and spices, as well as additional food offerings for the great feast in Herrehem Himmel. More complex rituals of worship include the sacrifice of cattle and livestock, as well as the burning of large quantities of grain and fruits. A common way to disturb someone’s luck and favor of the gods, is to deposit rotten food items into their prayer bowls and offerings, so as to offer something bad to the gods, by which punishment is handed to the person who owns the bowl. Personal prayers can also be said to the gods however, usually through meditation, or through drawing Old Gods runes on the body of the worshiper themselves, or to draw them onto others for blessings or protection.
*'''Worship House:''' Leif's largest Temple is the flame-spire in Billund, Regalian Archipelago, a large and steep peak mountain which near permanently fumes smoke.
===Rites of Passage===
*'''Relations:''' Leif is the husband of Estrid, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
All Old Gods worshipers go through a Rite of Connection at the age of 15, where they perform a certain ritual depending on the chosen patron god they wish to associate with. Each Rite is different, and each rite must be completed before the age of 20, otherwise they lose Soldi.
*'''Other Notes:''' Leif is claimed to have a particular burning hatred for those who discriminate based on gender, supposedly spontaneously immolating terrible offenders.
* The Rite of Lensa requires the initiate to breathe life where there is none. This one is rather flexible, allowing one to choose bringing life to a barren garden, children in a home that is unlived in, a school that does not know the laughter of children, or a retirement home that does not hear the stories of generations past.
|}
* The Rite of Ellmår requires the initiate to serve for two years as a Livgardet or Husgardet. Livgardet are the personal guards of jarls and the nobility and other wealthy persons. Husgardet are healing houses of the ill, using herbology and mundane healing principles to cure the ill and give comfort to the dying.
===Estrid, Queen of War===
* The Rite of Basjtur requires the initiate to defeat a 3 on 1 duel in the arena of Basjtur, such arenas exist in many cities where Old Gods worshipers live, one even exists in Regalia in Old Town. Those challenged must always be warriors, and must always be older than the one going through the Rite of Passage.
{|
* The Rite of Mærsjel requires the initiate to tame a wild beast. This does not necessarily mean an actual animal, the rite can also involve attaching one’s self to a wild criminal or savage person, and bringing them to discipline and calmness.
|[[File:Treeghvfjgfbattlebnniot.png|220px|thumb|left]]
* The Rite of Bev requires the initiate to die, and to survive. This does not necessarily mean they actually die, but rather, can also imply near-death experiences, or experiences that would normally kill others but not them, like ingesting lethal amounts of poison, yet surviving. Not many of Bev’s initiates survive the ritual, and it is not a commonly chosen one.
|
* The Rite of Alu requires the initiate to save the life of someone who is destined to die, in whatever way they can think of, medical, or simply by killing a would be assassin.
*'''Identity:''' Estrid, Queen of War, was born when the Tree of Life's branches caught fire in Leif's birth, which she then doused by absorbing them and funneling them to war.
* The Rite of Handrin requires the initiate to go on a 2 year information sabbatical that causes them to write a Jovbok, a book of knowing. The book is then presented to the great library of Jokkalan found in the capital of [[Nordskag]]. If the Sammun at this library deem the Jovbok of adequate new information or new theory, the rite is accepted. If not, the person is sent back to start over.
*'''Themes:''' Estrid's themes are similar to Bard's but differ slightly in that she specifically concerns herself with War, conquest of other lands, ferocity and challenge.
* The Rite of Julvira requires the initiate to travel the five Julvin Gates. These are massive contraptions at the heart of traditional Velheim homelands, each of the five great Heims. The first is the [[Yervonth Tribedom]], near Old Ceardia, the second is [[Cain Folkar]] on [[Cain]], the third is in the [[Yervonth Kingdom]] on [[Talamoor]], the fourth is in the Throatcap Mountains in Drixagh, and the fifth and final gate is in [[Tryllejag]] on [[Ellador]]. It is believed that once these gates were all connected allowing instant transportation between them, but no longer so, they are just massive inert stone gateways.
*'''Depictions:''' Estrid is always depicted in her typical "Gothik" style, dark hair and intense darkened eyes, dark clothing and pale skin, with lots of accessories.
 
*'''Worship:''' Estrid worship is usually performed before armies face each other on the field, known as the 'high hour', 3 hours before the battle, when Old Gods armies are weakest.
===Festivals===
*'''Manifestation:''' Estrid has appeared at every major pivotal battle the Old Gods worshipers had to face in their expansion, but stopped appearing one day, for no-one knows why.
*5th of January is the Solstiger Festival, where the Old Gods worshipers celebrate ancient heroes. Anyone who is able can perform, sing, or speak an ancient tale, story, and such about such figures on a stage, and the crowd throws a certain number of flowers depending on how much they enjoyed the tale, performance of it, or both (since it is all personal). The one with the most flowers at the end of the night becomes the favored god-king for a week, who all Velheim are compelled to listen to.
*'''Individual:''' Estrid never had any individual appeal, rather keeping expansion for the Velheim people, and by extension, Old Gods open, until she ceased.
*2nd of April represents the Gladdamat Festival, a festival where Old Gods worshipers bring thanks for food abundance, and celebrate the diversity of Velheim cooking by creating a large collection of dishes from the Old Gods cultures, and offering them up to strangers in the street. It is very common to bake sweets and savory bites, put them in a bag, and hand them out to passer-by’s in the street to enjoy, while telling them a bit about Old Gods cultures cuisine.
*'''Worship House:''' Estrid has the most amount of Temples across the world, each of them called a Temple of Fire, in which a massive bonfire is lit around the clock.
*17th of May represents Freedom Day, where all Old Gods worshipers celebrate the freedoms they were given by the Old Gods, and their ability to live the life they want to live, the way they want to live it. It is said that during this day and this day alone, Soldi crimes that are not the worst (like betrayal and grave robbing) are forgiven by the gods. Many do not tempt fate, but still, the 17th of May is a day of dressing up nicely and drinking copious amounts of mead to get very drunk.
*'''Relations:''' Estrid is the wife of Leif, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
*5th of June is the Øya Festival, where the Old Gods worshipers celebrate the arts of Mærsjel in Music. This is commonly a large music festival where numerous musicians both within the Old Gods and outside of the Old Gods community come together to make music for 24 hours straight, while all the spectators get immensely drunk.
*'''Other Notes:''' Estrid is sometimes blamed for the reversal of Velheim expansion in the world, coinciding with the quick rise of the Regalian Empire.
*10th of August is the Traldi Festival, wishing for the Union of Air to bring calmness to the sea and the winds, to pray for safety among the sailors and fishers and explorers. This festival is celebrated by wearing bright blue clothing and offering cloud-cakes to travelers and fishers alike, which are made out of white-fish cakes that are steamed with salt and vinegar.  
|}
*11th of November is the Traalbess Festival, wishing for good fortunes to come for the next year, and signalling the final harvest of Ripebær from the highest coldest mountains. This festival is usually celebrated through the eating of berry and fruit rich compote pies, and wearing crowns of dried blueberries and raspberries.


===Hagen, Crafter of Time===
{|
|[[File:Olderguyt.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Hagen, Crafter of Time, was born when the Tree of Life remembered history and all events that had gone before, creating wisdom and knowledge for the ages.
*'''Themes:''' Hagen's themes are wisdom, sagely advise, dogma, staying true to rules and laws, obeying precedence and the elderly, and ancestry and heritage.
*'''Depictions:''' Hagen looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with his crafting apron, which is on purpose, as he travels among mortals.
*'''Worship:''' Hagen worship is done passively simply by becoming a more knowledgeable person. Reading books is often good enough as a form of Hagen worship.
*'''Manifestation:''' Hagen like Tove has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
*'''Individual:''' Hagen's manifestations are usually Static. Tove and Hagen represent a debating duo, where Hagen always insists on dogma and knowledge gotten before.
*'''Worship House:''' Hagen's largest Temple is the House of Stone Healing in Nordskag, which doubles as a massive library with stone debating chambers and reading rooms.
*'''Relations:''' Hagen's relation to Tove is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes he is depicted as her grandfather.
*'''Other Notes:''' Hagen appears different each time, sometimes of passable age, sometimes so decrepitly old that his beard touches the floor and drags behind him.
|}
===Tove, Daughter of Dreams===
{|
|[[File:Atovilgf.png|220px|thumb|left]]
|
*'''Identity:''' Tove, Daughter of Dreams, was born last of all Gods, and somewhat a mess, as the Tree of Life started dreaming, experienced 1001 random thoughts, and then slept.
*'''Themes:''' Tove's themes are gladness, dreams, happiness, making others happy, challenging dogma, questioning the world, youth and youthfulness and being carefree.
*'''Depictions:''' Tove looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with her unnecessary belts, which is on purpose, as she travels among mortals.
*'''Worship:''' Tove worship takes the form of finding random strangers, and doing something for them to make them happy, or to elicit a smile, or to break some dusty rule.
*'''Manifestation:''' Tove like Hagen has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
*'''Individual:''' Tove's manifestations are usually chaotic. Hagen and Tove represent a debating duo, where Tove always takes the questioning side with a constant barrage.
*'''Worship House:''' Tove's largest Temple is the House of Stone Caring in Nordskag, next to Hagen's Temple, doubling as a hospital with free healthcare for children.
*'''Relations:''' Tove's relation to Hagen is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes she is depicted as his granddaughter.
*'''Other Notes:''' Tove appears different each time, sometimes as an adult, but more often than not as a recalcitrant teenager, ready to combat Hagen's opinions.
|}
==Trivia==
==Trivia==
* The [[Great Oak Order]] takes their foundations in the Old Gods religion, basing their code of honor on the concept of Soldi.
* There are many correlations between the [[Avatars of the Gods]] in Faith of Estel and the Maarda in Old Gods.
* Unlike the Avatars of the Gods however, the Maarda are said to still walk Aloria, with numerous sightings all over the world.
{{Religion}}
{{Religion}}
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Revision as of 21:00, 14 August 2022

Old Gods
VelTap.png
Religion
Pronunciation Old-Gods
Origins Old Ceardia
Deities
Too many to list
Subsects
Cellik and Velheim variants

Origins

The origins of the Old Gods Religion are somewhat murky, because of intensely conflicting versions. Old Gods as a religion has always lacked an organized hierarchy, and so local communities as well as diasporas do not agree on a common origin tale. While many Regalians consider Old Gods synonymous with the Velheim Culture, they actually are not, and there are more Ceardians who worship Old Gods under the Cellik variant than there are Velheim Old Gods worshipers. Old Gods reaches beyond these cultures however, with Zvorun, Tarkkin, and Dunbrae all having slight variations on the same ideology. All Old Gods worshipers agree that their faith started on the island of Yervonth (called Jerl in old Velheim) however they all disagree with what happened after. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods however are the two largest denominations controlling around 80% of the total worshiper population, and as such, their version is generally accepted as common dogma. Cellik and Velheim Old Gods doctrine claims that when the menace from the west ([[[Nelfin]] slavers) arrived on the shores of Ceardia, that a group of Pagan Gods created a pantheon together and spirited large communities away from the Ceardian continent, harboring them in safety on the Yervonth island. From here, Old Gods would continue to spread over the world with migration waves, however the further they went, the more their doctrine was changed by local variations and changes. Unlike Unionism, Old Gods never underwent any major cataclysmic changes or schisms. As such, this page will treat the average understanding of Old Gods as fact, though minor local variations like changing a God's name or patron identity is permissible.

Core Identity

Old Gods is a religion that developed out of the old concept of Ailor Paganism in Ceardia, which was a polytheistic religion with a theoretical infinite amount of gods. Old Gods as a religion reformed this principle, attaching itself to the tangible gods that the people could see and interact with, and then centralized religion to them. Old Gods as a religion is centered around the concepts of Honor of the Soul, which is similar to Asaredu, but not strictly bound to combat honor alone, rather to the purity of one's soul as understood through the lens of behavior, actions, and things said. Old Gods worshipers refer to the Honor of the Soul as Soldi. It is actually a common misconception to think that Old Gods worshipers refer to their own religion as Old Gods. This is incorrect, because the term Old Gods was used by Unionists to refer to the faith that was largely replaced in the Archipelago by Unionism. Old Gods is actually referred to as Sjelbyrd by Velheimers or Selbarad by Cellik Old Gods worshipers. Because Ailor kind however has so many varied cultures, and because so few of them still worship the Old Gods, the term Old Gods has simply become commonly used, even by Velheimers when they speak Common.

Tenets

  • Bravery: Soldi is gained with bravery, to fight against foes that overwhelm and overpower, to seek out challenges that bring glory and honor to one's family name, and to generally not show cowardice. Soldi is lost by showing cowardice and shirking from one's duties. One must always accept challenges, even if they could result in death or infamy. One must always commit to one's decisions.
  • Wroth: Soldi is not strictly gained by being mean or violent, but rather by the idea that one should never give up or simply let things happen that one does not want to happen. Inversely, Soldi is lost by simply being meek and weak and letting events transpire without affecting them. One must never shirk from duties, or show weakness when strength and power are demanded by the public eye.
  • Pleasure: The matter of chasteness versus pleasure is not really a matter that demands any Soldi satisfaction. Old Gods worshipers just don't really believe in chastity. That being said, dishonesty and deceit to one's lovers and spouse(s) results in loss of Soldi. One must always remain honest and truthful to those who one spends their life with, and afford them respect as if they are gods themselves.
  • Vengeful: Soldi is gained by settling scores, Soldi is lost by letting a vendetta or nemesis simply walk all over one's self. Old Gods worshipers declare Motsaga against a person to declare them their enemy with scores to settle. The Old Gods worshipers came up with the saying "An eye for an eye". If another person is not strong enough to settle their scores, one can offer to do it for them, for Soldi's sake.
  • Greed: Soldi is not specifically gained or lost while being charitable or greedy, but Old Gods as a religion generally rewards those who attain and retain the power to seize what they want and be merciful with what they have, but shows little favor on those too weak to make their own destiny. Greed over finances is however not encouraged. Old God worshipers should put little value in money, and more in possessions.
  • Honest: Soldi is lost with deceit and lying, though not specifically while withholding information. Old Gods religion has a concept of "white-lies", and only punishes those who tell lies for explicit personal gain or to prevent danger to self (which they must be brave to face). White lies are acceptable if they prevent someone else from losing Soldi, or make everyone happier and easier off in the long run.
  • Pride: Soldi is gained when others are aware of how great a person is, and Soldi is lost if a person is forgettable and irrelevant in the scope of history. Old Gods worshipers should endeavor to make sure their skills and talents are always known to others. One should never have paintings or statues made of one's self however. Artistic vanity is considered taboo, one can only accept such gifts made by others.
  • Respect: A very important aspect of Old Gods worship is the acknowledgement of respect. While one must be proud of one's self, one must always deeply respect the skills of others, and pay homage to those who are simply better (even if they deserve a challenge here and there). One should never ever pretend like even one's enemies have no qualities or respect worthy aspects about them and one must vocalize them without spite.
  • Soldi: The most important aspect of Old Gods is Soldi, which is like a currency of Honor. There is no strict numerical minimum or maximum, but being accused of being without Soldi is the worst insult to levy against an Old Gods worshiper, one that they believe condemns their soul. When someone's Soldi is lost, it is possible for relatives or friends to try and reclaim Soldi for that person by attributing their deeds to them.
  • Loyalty: A very important aspect of Old Gods is loyalty, which can mean loyalty to family, to lovers, to one's overlord, one's ruler, or just the gods. Vows of loyalty are taken very seriously, and breaking one is considered a great way to lose all Soldi instantly. In the Regalian context, this usually means loyalty to the Gods, but also loyalty to one's Duke or Emperor depending on one's position.

Beliefs

  • Narrative: In Old Gods beliefs, the world is one giant proving grounds for all living things (even wild animals) to prove the value of their soul and prevent loss of Soldi until they die. While all living things are born with Soldi, the effects of evil causes them to commit sins. Sins causing a loss of Soldi are a person's soul showing weakness and thus not having the right to pass into the afterlife. Old Gods dictates that while bodies are made by the gods, and Dragons create a kindling of a soul, that ultimately a soul's development, nurturing, and aging, is entirely up to the person themselves. When a person dies and their soul has enough Soldi they pass into the afterlife or the Valley of Life, which is an idealized version of life with drinking, feasting, and fun. When a person who passes into the Valley of Life also has a hero or legendary status soul through some great achievement or fame in life, they go to the Valley of Legends, which is an upgraded version of this afterlife where their every whim is satisfied. In case a soul is deemed without Soldi, they are condemned to the Mirror world, where the soul wanders for eternity on the salt-flats without color, smell or sound as penance. It is said that some souls have such evil in their hears that they escape the Mirror world, and become Undead in the real world. This is why Old Gods worshipers have such a negative view of Undead who were Old Gods worshipers in a prior life, but are apathetic to Undead from other religions.
  • Canon Evil: Canon Evil in Old Gods is called Demons, which takes similar origins as Unionism, but has a more flexible interpretation. On one hand, Old Gods worshipers do acknowledge Demons from the Void, Exist, and Bintaar as evil with corrupting intentions. They refer to them as Betrayers, with one particular Demon called The Great Betrayer being the worst, which scholars believe to be the Arken of Power. Demons seduce people into doing things that ruins their Soldi with promises of power, fame and legend. On the other hand, Old Gods worshipers acknowledge the evil in mortals as a far more realistic source of bad things in life. It is said that the Gods and Dragons made a pact, with the Gods making the bodies of Ailor-kind, and the Dragons providing the breath of life, which would create a seedling of a soul. However, as life develops, the person who the soul belongs to creates the expressions, actions and feelings of the soul themselves as it grows over time, and that evil is simply the person being too weak to hold onto virtues in life and engaging in sin. As such, evil can neatly be defined as either Demons inducing weakness in otherwise strong people, or weakness just existing in a soul because the person themselves are weak.
  • Identity: Old Gods dogma has no explicit gender, sex, sexual orientation or gender-identity bias, though it has an implicit male-bias. While any Old Gods worshiper will claim that all genders and sexes are equally fair in their religion, traditional male-coded masculinity takes a unique place that discolors a lot of the nuance about gender. Strong, masculine and emotionless are framed as virtues for men living by the examples of their gods, and so Old Gods society can come across as publicly egalitarian, but having hidden masculine preferences under the surface.
  • Conversion: Old Gods as a religion does not require preaching or spreading through missionaries, which is usually a practice reserved for Estellon and Unionism, though to say it is without violent impression is false. Among Old Gods worshipers, holy wars can rage between two distinct populations over small denominational ideals (some as ridiculous as the believed hair color of a god), but bigger conflicts arise with other religions. Old Gods worshipers in general are very intolerant to other religions mostly born out of necessity, because disloyalty to the gods (for example by converting from Old Gods to Unionism) means a complete loss of Soldi and thus a soul being condemned to the Mirror world. Old Gods worshipers have been known to force their faith at the end of a sword and axe, especially in the far north where they are in the majority. Old Gods worshipers also frequently deface religious symbols of other faiths or engage in desecration of holy sites.
  • Sins & Taboo: The worst cases of sinning and taboo for Old Gods are disloyalty to god, family and one's leaders, backstabbing, betrayal, deceit for greed's sake, and refusing a challenge of honor or duel of honor and abiding by cowardice. Never does a single sin or transgression cause Soldi to be lost fully, it is more like a currency that slowly leaks away, however repeat offenses do cause eventual loss of Soldi altogether. Old Gods does not really have a central body of priests to condemn a person, but generally speaking, Old Gods communities have a very communal sense of expelling a member when they believe their Soldi to be too far gone.

Gods and Goddesses

Old Gods recognizes one greater entity called Arne, the Tree of Life, from which all Old Gods worshiper believe Ailorkind was born (and by extension, every other living entity on Old Ceardia), though it is somewhat nebulous whether this refers specifically to Old Gods heritage Ailor, or all Ailor of the entire Race. Old Gods doctrine never made any claims on how the world or reality actually started, but implied that other religions are valid (to a degree) because they refer to the "Old World", where-as the world in which Old Gods exists now is the "New World". Simpler put, Old Gods acknowledges other religions and beliefs that pre-date itself as legitimate within their time-frame, but claims that with the birth of Old Gods, those religions or beliefs became invalid for Ailor, and that Old Gods is the only valid truth. This does mean that Old Gods is a mostly Ailor-centric religion. This causes particular conflict with Unionists. While Old Gods believers claim that the Everwatcher probably is real, they consider the faith false, because it induces its followers to engage in actions that cause them to lose Soldi and be condemned to the Mirror World. Arne supposedly stood in Old Ceardia for many centuries, until he communed with Dragons (who are not considered divine, rather just really powerful entities of legend), and developed a voice. With his voice, he spoke to fauna and flora, and with them approaching his roots, his mind expanded. With expansion came his desire to create his own life, and so with each new animal or event around Arne that he became aware of, a new god or goddess was born, creating the traditional pantheon by willing them into existence, which in turn caused them to create the Ailor Race. Arne is not worshiped however, because while he is the Tree of Life, he is seen more as a means to an end, and when all the Gods were born, he went into a lifeless slumber that created the afterlife in his dreams, the Gods and Goddesses instead are worshiped. Arne's physical body is believed to have perished with the Destruction of Ceardia, however this didn't spell disaster, as it is believed that his spirit and dreams (and thus the afterlife) live on even without his physical form.

Bev, Mirror of Life

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  • Identity: Bev, the third son of Arne, was born when a mother deer and her children died beneath the Tree of Life, confronting it with the necessity of death.
  • Themes: Bev’s themes are the afterlife, measure of the soul, solitude, serenity, mourning, and the dead. He is also invoked during burials, and when communing with the dead.
  • Depictions: Bev is depicted as a shrouded figure in a large funeral cloth, with only his pale white hands showing of his body, and always holding the Mirror face out.
  • Worship: Bev is worshiped specifically by the Staargir, blind-folded singers of the dead, but also by offering food and candles to Bev shrines in Helbolwen.
  • Manifestation: Bev does not manifest in the living world, only serving to hold the Mirrror and pass souls into the afterlife, which he must do without fail and reprieve.
  • Individual: Bev does not manifest to individuals or groups at all, as he is only ‘met’ when someone’s soul is passing on for judgement. He is rumored to have made the Vaarda Gates however.
  • Worship House: Bev is worshipped in Old Gods Crypts, or Helbolwen, where a statue in his likeness with a mirror is kept. These mirrors reflect hundreds of lit candles, to represent the dead.
  • Relations: Bev is the husband of Hel, doomed to never embrace, as he cannot leave the water, and she cannot enter it. He is also tasked to hold up the Mirror, which Hel would destroy.
  • Other Notes: It is believed that if Bev should ever drop the Mirror, it will shatter, and release the Soldi-less dead who reside within it, causing a terrible undead cataclysm to occur.

Hel, Dancer of Death

Flying clothfyhgsb'.png
  • Identity: Hel is the first daughter of Arne, who was born when the river flooded the Tree of Life and touched its bark, thus familiarizing it with large amounts of water.
  • Themes: Hel’s themes are water, the ocean, protection from the waves, misery, unrequited love, and abandonment. She is intensely linked with Bev due to their relation.
  • Depictions: Hel is a lithe woman with many tattoos and a body or dress made of the torrential waves. Her anguish and loneliness cause her to be cruel and whimsical.
  • Worship: Hel is worshiped only by those who go off to sea, or know someone who is going off to sea, praying for their safe travel and return by dancing and offering her company and song.
  • Manifestation: It is believed that every great typhoon, hurricane, tsunami, and waterspout, is Hel's manifestation, and that each of them are her physical presence.
  • Individual: Hel has not touched anyone individually per se, rather she has supposedly caused the deaths of thousands of sailors, dragged to an early grave under the ocean.
  • Worship House: Hel’s shrines are built on cliff sides near oceans, her cult is called the Sea-Dancers, water mages who ‘dance’ with their magic on ships to protect them from her wrath.
  • Relations: Hel is the wife of Bev, but she cannot touch or be with him, as he resides below the ocean, and she can only dance on the surface of it: the source of her anguish.
  • Other Notes: Hel is considered the goddess who takes lives, and knows when all Old Gods worshippers will die. This is mostly why Hel is feared rather than admired.

Adal, Prince of Forgiving

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  • Identity: Adal is the son of Bard, who was born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut two branches off the Tree of Life, familiarizing it with pain.
  • Themes: Adal’s themes are giving aid and help, enforcement of laws, conceding, forgiveness, holding no grudges, and also of the lightning and thunder of the world.
  • Depictions: Adal is usually depicted as a male with glowing golden tattoos and dismembered arms, the tips covered in gold, and replaced with lightning.
  • Worship: Adal is not worshiped on a day to day basis, but by Pilgrims who wish to forgive someone, but cannot find the strength to do so, traveling to his Temple.
  • Manifestation: It is believed that every thunder strike is an expression of approval by Adal, which is why Old Gods worshipers sometimes ask things of Thunderstorms.
  • Individual: Adal is not known to have made a personal presentation in front of anyone, because his manifestations are mostly in the elemental realm.
  • Worship House: Adal’s shrines are built high atop mountains, where lightning may strike them, and where bottles of Celectic gas store electricity in visible form.
  • Relations: Adal is the twin brother of Odal, who he feels responsible for, eternally on a quest to convince Odal to return to the pantheon, but eternally failing.
  • Other Notes: It is said Adal’s arms were cut off by Bard, who had gone into a rage, though this is dubious, because many also claim he was born without arms.

Odal, Prince of Vengeance

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  • Identity: Odal is the son of Bard, born when Bard’s anger caused a thunderstorm that cut branches off of the Tree of Life, crushed a family of hedgehogs below.
  • Themes: Odal’s themes are revenge, overcoming, conquest, magic, corruption, and the indomitable spirit. Odal is sometimes considered good, sometimes evil.
  • Depictions: Odal is a corrupted god, in allegiance to the Great Betrayer (who corrupted him), he still acts in favor of the Old Gods worshippers who align with him.
  • Worship: Odal worship is offering him food and goods in a ritual fire to stave off his vengeance. Odal’s Avengers is a cult of for-hire revenge seekers, called Odalv.
  • Manifestation: Odal has been known to personally manifest, particularly to protect the respect and honor of the Great Betrayer, when Old Gods worshipers defile him.
  • Individual: Odal has countless of individual encounters with Old Gods worshipers, instilling a fear in them not to speak of the Great Betrayer in bad ways.
  • Worship House: Odal has lingering shrines decorated with blue-painted horns, but only because people are afraid he’d destroy them if they destroyed his shrines.
  • Relations: Odal is the twin brother of Adal, and is constantly fighting Bard to force his way back into the pantheon, It is said only he can challenge Bard.
  • Other Notes: It is not known how Odal became corrupted, but is thought to be because of his anger at the inaction of the Old Gods, letting the Great Betrayer do it.
  • Other Notes: Rarely, will Olds Gods' worshippers feel pushed enough to accept his ‘blessing,’ and become a demonically possessed avatar of vengeance, called Odalv.
  • Other Notes: If they succeed their Odalv Quest, their Soldi is cleansed and they are restored, if they fail, he kills them and they are sent to the Mirror world.

Bard, King of Bears

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  • Identity: Bard is the first son of Arne, and was born when bears rested under the Tree of Life. Bard is considered pivotal in the Pantheon due to his relations.
  • Themes: Bard’s themes are battle, rage, strength, endurance, stability, power, solitude, and being the ‘guardian of the gods.’ He is said to be strongest of all.
  • Depictions: Bard is always depicted as a large rugged man, covered in animal pelts, with charcoal around his eyes emulating bear claws and broad stance.
  • Worship: Bard is worshiped before, after, and sometimes during battle. His cult, Bard’s Bears, was partially eradicated in the Carrhen War by the Regalian Empire.
  • Manifestation: Bard has been known to manifest as a giant in front of those who committed high treason to the Old Gods, cursing them with the Marken Affliction.
  • Individual: Bard exclusively visits individuals, but only on rare occasions, because one knows they have really messed up if it requires Bard to show up.
  • Worship House: Bard’s shrines are large stone steles with inscriptions and bones, or stone tables with bowls on them. Animal carcasses are offered as sacrifice.
  • Relations: Bard is the husband of Njal, but was originally a loner. His temperament was soothed by Njal, who found him, calmed him, and they became spouses.
  • Other Notes: Despite Bard's Bears being eradicated in Carrhen, a small branch of them is yet alive in Talahm Gall, a rugged province of Gallovia.
  • Other Notes: Bard’s fits of rage are legendary, and uncontrollable, losing all semblance of humanity during them, except for Njal's artistic touch.

Njal, Prince of Art

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  • Identity: Njal is the second son of Arne, and was born when birds sang perched on the branches of the Tree of Life, seeing beauty for the first time.
  • Themes: Njal’s themes are creativity, art, fertility, compromise, male beauty, silver tongue, and protection from godly cruelty and care for mortals.
  • Depictions: Njal is a handsome young man wearing expensive clothes, with an air of arrogance and calmness in his demeanor and stance.
  • Worship: Worship is done by saying a prayer, and then giving gifts to any artist. His cult is Njal’s Harps, who host debauched feasts and parties.
  • Manifestation: Njal is said to permanently dwell among mortals, because creativity is a gift of the people, not of Gods, and he wishes to see art.
  • Individual: Njal's has not been seen for thousands of years, though was very active before this point, no one knows exactly why.
  • Worship House: Njal’s shrines are always mobile, in carts or on harnesses so people can carry them, as Njal never sits still and roams the land.
  • Relations: Njal once roamed to find the perfect art. Then he met bard, and realized the perfect art was man. They soon fell in love and married.
  • Other Notes: Njal always has heterochromia, one light blue eye and one light brown, which he uses to always watch Bard, who has dark brown eyes.

Gro, Shaper of Flesh

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  • Identity: Gro is the last daughter of Arne, and was born when Dragons spoke of the Nelfin, and the Tree of Life dreamt of flesh.
  • Themes: Gro’s themes are largely lost, but she supposedly begged the Dragons to breathe life into the her meat dolls, creating the Ailor.
  • Depictions: Gro's depiction has mostly been lost to time, but it is assumed she was an amalgam of blood and flesh.
  • Worship: Gro is considered a lost god, but when she was worshipped, she played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
  • Manifestation: Gro supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was her hubris.
  • Individual: Gro has not been seen since she was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for her either.
  • Worship House: Gro has no known worship houses, though the concept of Gro shrines has been debated as of recent due to finding Sunnan Velheim worshiping her.
  • Relations: Gro is the wife of Jord, both bargained with the Great Betrayer (which they were expelled for), forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
  • Other Notes: The memory of Gro and Jord is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.

Jord, Forger of Metal

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  • Identity: Jord is the last son of Arne, and was born when the roots of the Tree of Life touched metal ores in the ground, which it could not crush or bend.
  • Themes: Jord is no longer worshiped as he is considered a lost god for dealing with the Great Betrayer. Only small groups still worship him.
  • Depictions: Jord is depicted as a male with a body made of metal, bent and straightened around his body, and long arms with ball joints, made of dark blue metal.
  • Worship: Jord is no longer worshiped, when he was, he played an active role in the lives of Ailor, which other Old Gods did not and did not allow.
  • Manifestation: Jord supposedly helped mortals with even simple day to day tasks, making their lives easier and more comfortable, this was his hubris.
  • Individual: Jord has not been seen since he was expelled from the Pantheon thousands of years ago, and nobody has really gone looking for him either.
  • Worship House: Jord has no worship houses, but was last rumored to be seen on the isle of Barratt, which is surrounded by a terrible maelstrom.
  • Relations: Jord is the husband of Gro, both bargained with the Great Betrayer, forcing the Velheim people in millennia of hell, but saving them from slavery.
  • Other Notes: The memory of Jord and Gro is said to have faded when the Old Gods worshippers broke free from the Great Betrayer, called the 'Liberation'.

Halfvel, the Father of Demigods

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  • Identity: Halfvel, nicknamed the Father of Demigod and Wolf-God, was born when the mortal Berrin fell in love with Bard, King of Bears, because some part of Arn wanted Demigods to exist.
  • Themes: Halfvel does not represent any themes, but rather is the sole source of Demigodhood, blessing pregnant mothers with the Godspark, which can either be Mundane or Magic.
  • Depictions: Halfvel is always depicted with his Cloth of Godliness, in which it is said all Demigod children are born or laid to be found in the forest surrounded by Wolves.
  • Worship: Halfvel is worshiped by traveling the world, seeking out his children, and aiding them on the path of their divine purpose, whether they are Magical or Mundane.
  • Manifestation: Halfvel is often said to appear before mothers who pray intensely for purpose for their children, but is also said to disguise himself as a Wolf-man and birth Demigods among mortals.
  • Individual: There was once a Temple in Old Ceardia which supposedly housed Halfvel nearly all year round, however this place has not been visited since the destruction of Ceardia.
  • Worship House: Halfvel does not have any official Temples, however shrines dedicated to him are a wolf skull rested on several black wolf pelts, coins of gold inserted into its mouth for well wishes.
  • Relations: Halfvel has no formal relations with the Pantheon, as he largely avoids them altogether, concerning himself more with creating the fates in the mortal world.
  • Other Notes: Halfvel's Demigod children supposedly have icy-blue eye-color, a high rarity among Ailor. Halfvel turns an unborn child or conceives each Demigod for a specific fate, some bad, some good.

Asbjørn, the Punished Winter

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  • Identity: Asbjørn, nicknamed the Punished Winter, (prior Berrin, a mortal) was made God when he committed a crime by falling in love with Bard, God of Bears, forced to bear a curse.
  • Themes: Asbjørn's themes are punishment, service, restitution, Winter, seeking forgiveness, and taking responsibilities for one's crimes and wrongdoings in the eyes of society.
  • Depictions: Asbjørn is always depicted as a white bear, usually in chains, but often also in a resting pose. There is always a dubiousness to him, as if his godhood may not be a curse.
  • Worship: Asbjørn isn't strictly worshiped, but rather invoked when someone should submit themselves to punishment to make up for their wrongdoings, and he gives them strength to bear it.
  • Manifestation: Asbjørn has occasionally appeared, when a prisoner collapses under their punishment, or someone who is seeking forgiveness is about to give up, giving them strength once more.
  • Individual: Asbjørn only ever helps individuals, but he seems quite jovial for someone who is being cursed, some speculate that he is actually quite devious, and was cursed on purpose.
  • Worship House: Asbjørn's largest and most important Temple is the Ice-Crag Hall in Hedryll, a temple where docile polar bears roam, though it has recently fallen in disrepair by Vampires.
  • Relations: Asbjørn is said to be madly cursed and in love with Bard, but this has been pulled into question recently because none of the other folklore supports this sentiment.
  • Other Notes: Asbjørn is sometimes somewhat dubiously treated because it unclear if he genuinely wants to help those seeking restitution through punishment, or is just using them to get to Bard.

Frode, Carer of Spring

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  • Identity: Frode, nicknamed Carer of Spring, was born when the early dew of spring first slipped down the leaves of the Tree of Life, creating the seasonal change in Old Ceardia.
  • Themes: Frode's themes are Spring, rebirth, sweetness, insects and plants, flowers, sweet smells and cold colors, the sounds of life, and teeming flora in the forests.
  • Depictions: Frode is always depicted as if gliding on the green light of nature in spring, anytime they touch grass, causing the most wildest of floral arrangements to bloom.
  • Worship: Worship to Frode is done near or around a Tree, woven and decorated to mimic the Tree of Life, usually in a park, and by engaging in social happenings around that tree.
  • Manifestation: Frode has manifested a couple of times through history to save important groves of the Old Gods people, but in general seems more skittish than the other Gods.
  • Individual: Frode is said to hate being regarded, and as such, most encounters were supposedly more of their smell (a distinct cut-grass and honey mix) than their actual face.
  • Worship House: Frode has no real worship house, but Old Gods worshipers often build Frode circles in the forest, which are patches of grass with stones arranged in circles.
  • Relations: Frode is the twin sibling of Toke, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
  • Other Notes: Frode is why Old Gods worshipers have a positive relation to Yanar, and can often connect quite well with the Estellon worshipers in Yanar inhabited regions in Regalia.

Toke, Lirh of Autumn

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  • Identity: Toke, nicknamed Lirh of Autumn, was born when the leaves on the Tree of Life faded to red and brown, creating the seasonal autumn that swept Old Ceardia.
  • Themes: Toke's themes are Autumn, the world slowing down, taking care of yourself and loved ones, caring for one's own mental health, warm colors, and fauna itself.
  • Depictions: Toke is always depicted as if dancing, reminiscing a leaf falling from an autumnal tree, conspicuous feline ears in their hair and a mischievous smile.
  • Worship: Toke Worship is done by hosting seasonal feasts, particularly those in which Old Gods worshipers dress up as animals and try to prank and trick each other.
  • Manifestation: Toke's manifestations were often to protect wildlife from extinction, miraculously saving a few viable pairs in a valley to protect them.
  • Individual: Toke has not ever been known to enjoy being regarded by mortals. As such, their ears or fox-tail is seen more often than Toke themselves fully.
  • Worship House: Toke has no real Temples or shrines, but supposedly lives together with Frode in the Frode circles in the forest, as animals are eventually drawn to them.
  • Relations: Toke is the twin sibling of Frode, and the two are said to dance in the forests, cycling between Spring and Autumn, until Leif burns in Summer and Asbjørn freezes in winter.
  • Other Notes: Toke is why, even when killing wildlife for the hunt or sacrifice, Old Gods are always respectful, and will say a prayer for Toke to receive the animal's soul.

Leif, Summer of Passion

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  • Identity: Leif, Summer of Passion, was born when the Tree of Life first experienced the love between Bard and Njall, and a fire erupted on some of its branches.
  • Themes: Leif's themes are passion, fire, burning feelings, expressions of love and willpower, never giving up, divine inspiration, and offspring specifically.
  • Depictions: Leif is always depicted with some part of his hair on fire or spitting flames, his hands covered in glowing golden light for the wealth he brings.
  • Worship: Worship to Leif is performed by bringing offerings of rare earth metals to open flames, and dancing with or inhaling the smoke.
  • Manifestation: Leif has not known to manifest himself, though it is said that a part of him lives in each and every flame, and that he always listens.
  • Individual: Leif's individual relation to mortals, is that he supposedly inspires and enflames their emotions, with love itself being inspired and fated by him.
  • Worship House: Leif's largest Temple is the flame-spire in Billund, Regalian Archipelago, a large and steep peak mountain which near permanently fumes smoke.
  • Relations: Leif is the husband of Estrid, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
  • Other Notes: Leif is claimed to have a particular burning hatred for those who discriminate based on gender, supposedly spontaneously immolating terrible offenders.

Estrid, Queen of War

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  • Identity: Estrid, Queen of War, was born when the Tree of Life's branches caught fire in Leif's birth, which she then doused by absorbing them and funneling them to war.
  • Themes: Estrid's themes are similar to Bard's but differ slightly in that she specifically concerns herself with War, conquest of other lands, ferocity and challenge.
  • Depictions: Estrid is always depicted in her typical "Gothik" style, dark hair and intense darkened eyes, dark clothing and pale skin, with lots of accessories.
  • Worship: Estrid worship is usually performed before armies face each other on the field, known as the 'high hour', 3 hours before the battle, when Old Gods armies are weakest.
  • Manifestation: Estrid has appeared at every major pivotal battle the Old Gods worshipers had to face in their expansion, but stopped appearing one day, for no-one knows why.
  • Individual: Estrid never had any individual appeal, rather keeping expansion for the Velheim people, and by extension, Old Gods open, until she ceased.
  • Worship House: Estrid has the most amount of Temples across the world, each of them called a Temple of Fire, in which a massive bonfire is lit around the clock.
  • Relations: Estrid is the wife of Leif, though they are more than that, the folklore specifically defines them as soul mates with a fated connection.
  • Other Notes: Estrid is sometimes blamed for the reversal of Velheim expansion in the world, coinciding with the quick rise of the Regalian Empire.

Hagen, Crafter of Time

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  • Identity: Hagen, Crafter of Time, was born when the Tree of Life remembered history and all events that had gone before, creating wisdom and knowledge for the ages.
  • Themes: Hagen's themes are wisdom, sagely advise, dogma, staying true to rules and laws, obeying precedence and the elderly, and ancestry and heritage.
  • Depictions: Hagen looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with his crafting apron, which is on purpose, as he travels among mortals.
  • Worship: Hagen worship is done passively simply by becoming a more knowledgeable person. Reading books is often good enough as a form of Hagen worship.
  • Manifestation: Hagen like Tove has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
  • Individual: Hagen's manifestations are usually Static. Tove and Hagen represent a debating duo, where Hagen always insists on dogma and knowledge gotten before.
  • Worship House: Hagen's largest Temple is the House of Stone Healing in Nordskag, which doubles as a massive library with stone debating chambers and reading rooms.
  • Relations: Hagen's relation to Tove is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes he is depicted as her grandfather.
  • Other Notes: Hagen appears different each time, sometimes of passable age, sometimes so decrepitly old that his beard touches the floor and drags behind him.

Tove, Daughter of Dreams

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  • Identity: Tove, Daughter of Dreams, was born last of all Gods, and somewhat a mess, as the Tree of Life started dreaming, experienced 1001 random thoughts, and then slept.
  • Themes: Tove's themes are gladness, dreams, happiness, making others happy, challenging dogma, questioning the world, youth and youthfulness and being carefree.
  • Depictions: Tove looks relatively normal in comparison to all the other gods with her unnecessary belts, which is on purpose, as she travels among mortals.
  • Worship: Tove worship takes the form of finding random strangers, and doing something for them to make them happy, or to elicit a smile, or to break some dusty rule.
  • Manifestation: Tove like Hagen has manifested many times, always paired together, to offer words of meaningful advice (or misadvise in the case of Tove) to their lives.
  • Individual: Tove's manifestations are usually chaotic. Hagen and Tove represent a debating duo, where Tove always takes the questioning side with a constant barrage.
  • Worship House: Tove's largest Temple is the House of Stone Caring in Nordskag, next to Hagen's Temple, doubling as a hospital with free healthcare for children.
  • Relations: Tove's relation to Hagen is somewhat dubious, sometimes depicted as two sides of the same coin, sometimes she is depicted as his granddaughter.
  • Other Notes: Tove appears different each time, sometimes as an adult, but more often than not as a recalcitrant teenager, ready to combat Hagen's opinions.

Trivia


Accreditation
Writers MonMarty
Processors FireFan96
Last Editor Birdsfoot violet on 08/14/2022.

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