Paganism

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Nemoan Kingdoms

Nemoan Paganism is not a term used by the Nemoans themselves. It was invented by Imperial diplomats and merchants to describe the…vast, confusing, and often unusual rituals and beliefs held by the Nemoan people toward the Pale Kings.

To the Nemoans, the Pale Kings are as innumerable as the stars. There are Kings beyond counting, and each of them has a part to play in the grand war between the them, the Fae, and the Demons. In fact, they go far beyond that: the Kings influence every aspect of every day, going so far as to bless the harvests, the weather, the health of the faithful, the birth of children, even whether the bread will rise and the meadhall won’t catch fire. All things others might call luck, the Nemoans call Greida.

There are as many ways to improve your Greida as there are Kings. The constant rituals and ceremonies are small gestures to placate the Pale Kings, and each one targets a different King. The happier they are with a given individual, the better that person’s Greida, and the more often things succeed. Supposedly, anyway.

There are religious leaders among the Nemoans that are not dissimilar from a preacher, or a priest. They study the rites of the Pale Kings in all their minutiae, and seek to educate others when one might need to correct their Greida. These religious leaders call themselves Theurges, and most every major settlement has at least one of them; some large cities house entire schools dedicated to the field. There have to be quite a few of them, after all; some Jarls hold the Theurges in their employ personally responsible for the accuracy of their advice, and failure is occasionally fatal. While most charge for their services, some believe that doing so corrupts their own Greida…well, technically, most might suspect such things, but it is difficult to worship while hungry.

While the Theurges help people understand the constant minor rituals that rule their Greida, there is a layer of faith that extends beyond the concept of Greida entirely. While everyone performs the ceremonies to elicit small favors from the lesser Pale Kings, the more devout will choose a Patron to guide their every step. They will learn the ways to commune with their Patron, so they might know its undying will, and compose themselves accordingly. Most are given little to nothing in recompense; a Patron is not beholden to those that follow it, as what they receive is closer to faith than any material reward. The follower’s life has purpose, and they live, and die, knowing that what they did was right. These people are called the Starbranded, and few outside their number really understand their motivations. Some among the Branded believe that their obedience to their Patron renders them immune to the influences of Greida, and that their Greida is always balanced.

Of all the Pagans, the Starbranded are, unsurprisingly, most likely to become Clerics. Ironically Theurges are no more likely to be Clerics then the people they advise, but most place that fact on the academic nature of their research. A Theurge does not act out of faith, but out of scientific certainty that their rituals correct the Greida of their participants. The self-service inherent to the process tends to preclude the sacrifice often associated with Clerics.

Paganism

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