Elven Dogma and Theology
Elven Dogma and Theology is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
In the beginning, there were the Drakes. They were not deities, technically, but for all intents and purposes they were treated as such. The Elves, full of pride even so early in their culture, were forced to cower in the forests. Graciously, they accepted the kindness of the Arkati, who kept the Drakes at bay. To the elves, the Arkati were gods, simply by virtue of their seemingly limitless power and apparent immortality.
A single, heretical shaman known as Yadzari, son of Illistim changed that notion. Considered a blasphemer of large proportions at the time, he first questioned why, if the Arkati were true deities, they allowed the Drakes to run rampant. Why did the Arkati appear to serve the Drakes, instead of control them? The Elven theologians, of course, had a number of answers, but Yadzari would not be swayed. He set out to prove his ideas beyond all doubt.
Some of the more hysterical Elves blamed the Ur-Daemon War on Yadzari and his quest for correctness. Amused, he denied the allegations, but did take the opportunity to point out that the Arkati hid from the rampages, and appeared just as surprised by the Ur-Daemon as the mortals did. If the Arkati were benevolent gods, why did they allow their devotees to suffer so in this awful time? Why did they not take them away to someplace safe? Their faith shaken, the primitive Elves grudgingly began to listen.
A hunting party discovered Yadzari's final proof approximately halfway through the Ur-Daemon War. Looking for something to feed their starving people, they came across the body of an Arkati, lost to the wars that still raged. It was badly abused, saturated with dark magics and lacerated by claw wounds, but that it had been an Arkati was unmistakable. Yadzari Illistim, for the first time, was silent. He need not say anything more.
Amas, son of Faendryl, ancestor of Korthyr, quietly ordered his family to remove the body from the public view, that it might be properly disposed of. It was never seen again.
The following centuries were a dark time for the Elves. Their religion, which had supported them as religions support most cultures, had been ripped violently away in the worst time anyone had known. Left foundering in the chaos, they sought a spiritual safe harbor to nurture their souls. Their trusted caretakers had lied to them all this time, and the betrayal cut deeply. In desperation, they turned to Yadzari.
The Illistim scholar, old and sick now, spoke softly but powerfully. The Arkati had not made them strong, nor had they made them great. If the words of their Faendryl brothers were correct, the Arkati had brought the horrible Ur-Daemon plague upon the planet. The truest strength had come from within, and it was the Elven spirit and will that would see them through. The mistake had always been looking outwards for salvation. Closing his eyes, he drifted into sleep. Yadzari Illistim would never open his eyes again.
These words meant different things to different people. Eight separate schools of thought began to form in the Elven culture, not surprisingly along family lines. When the last Ur-Daemon was driven from the plane and the Arkati descended to rebuild the planet, they found the Elves beginning the process of forming a great Nation.
The Elves were not ungrateful for the Arkati's protection during the time of the Drakes. But the misrepresentation of their status was not something the Elves would fall for again. After the time of the rebuilding, the Seven Noble Houses founded and went their separate ways, taking their separate beliefs with them. Those who turned away from the seven houses formed the Dhe'nar.
The Seven Cities, established about fifty thousand years after the Ur-Daemon war ended, provided the center of the Elven Empire. Each House of Elves declared patrons, Arkati that they respected and honored, and built temples in which to leave tributes of appreciation. However, this should not be mistaken for worship. They treated their chosen Arkati as casual vassals might treat an undemanding liege.
Those Arkati not taken as patrons were often scorned and looked down upon. The serious Illistim found Cholen too frivolous, while the Loenthra found Kai positively unevolved. The Faendryl chose no patron at all.
Today, Elven religion is little changed. They worship no god, but pay respect to their given patrons. Some few Elves have experienced epiphanies, coming out the other side nearly zealots. Other have casual deity/worshipper relationships with Arkati, enough, at least, to be given clerical magics by their chosen god. Mostly, however, Elves believe that the one thing worth worship is their own personal initiative.
What follows is a list of current Elven patrons and active disassociations by House.
Vaalor patrons include Koar, Phoen, Kai and Eonak. They actively dislike Oleani, Charl, Cholen and Tonis. Of the lesser gods, they also respect Voln, and some female Vaalor warriors align with Leya as well.
Nalfein patrons include Ronan, Charl, Tonis, Fash'lo'nae and Andelas. Given their pursuits, they consider it strategically poor to actively dislike any deity. Of the lesser gods, they respect Onar.
Ardenai patrons include Phoen, Oleani and Imaera (a House favorite). They actively dislike Koar and Charl. Of the lesser gods, they respect Kuon.
House Ashrim, long since disappeared into the waves, took as patrons Charl and Niima. They disliked all other gods.
Loenthra patrons include Ronan, Oleani, Jastev and Cholen. They actively dislike Lorminstra, Kai, Charl and Eonak. Of the lesser gods, they respect Tilamaire.
Illistim patrons include Lumnis, Jastev and Fash'lo'nae, although it is said a forbidden pseudo-cult to Gosaena exists. They actively dislike no gods, although Charl gives them a distinctly bad taste. Of the lesser gods, they have an odd respect for Jaston.