Faendryl Atheism and Sorcery as Religion (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Faendryl Atheism and Sorcery as Religion

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere

Faendryl Atheism

It is sometimes said that the Faendryl are an atheistic people. While this claim is not entirely unfounded, it is problematic on two counts. First, “atheism” is a slippery word and even though it may bear great precision for the wielder, it loses all specificity once unleashed. Second, the charge of atheism is often precursor to the charge that the Faendryl worship demons.

If only I could hire a rogue to clamp shackles upon the tongues of those who advance such ignorance. All of Elanthia would sleep easier knowing that a treasure trove of stupidity is safely locked away.

For the purposes of this essay it is sufficient to note along with the general histories that the Faendryl are “perfectly aware that the Arkati are not gods at all.” This is not collective memory or secret knowledge; plain reason reveals the so-called gods for what they are.

I concede that the world is ordered with some races possessing superiority over others by virtue of inborn spiritual and physiological properties. This does not, however, imply that certain races possess or even desire deific authority over lesser peoples. In such a world the rat would worship the cat, the cat would worship the orc, the orc would worship a prince among humans, and that prince would worship a Faendryl scullery maid. This maid, of course, would worship me. I digress. I jest!

The point is that while inborn superiority applies to the right ordering of our political and cultural lives, it does not bestow godhood in itself. For that matter, what civilization have the Arkati stragglers created? What culture have they brought?

There is a peculiar particularity to the Arkati. Charl, for instance, is styled as the Lord of the Seas. He is the master of all manner of scuttling creature on the ocean floor and the terror of tall wooden ships. Does Charl know nothing of forests and squirrels? Is he ignorant of mountains and dwarves? The Arkati are tethered in a way to their respective realms. It is evident that even though they wield vast influence over their respective domains, that they too are conditioned in return. What gods are these? Just as infinite regress points back toward a greater reality than these Arkati, common sense reveals that myopia warrants meager admiration.

Sorcery as Religion

Seeing the Arkati for what they are, we must push back beyond the veil to seek a greater reality. The study of sorcery provides the most immediate path toward this end. By shaping illusions ourselves we are better able to pierce through the illusory fabric of the physical world. Through the study of hybrid circles of magic we are better able to transcend those limitations that have arrested even the Arkati.

At the entrance of the Sorcerer’s Guild near Wehnimer’s Landing there is a golden plaque with the inscription, “Power lives. All else crumbles to dust.” This is an easily misunderstood reiteration of the sorcerous emphasis on power. I have heard many a tiresome warlock drone on about his mighty ability to disintegrate the kobold population of the Lower Dragonsclaw. Perhaps this luminary should consider the power of a dagger in his chest while he sleeps. Physical vulgarities, though they sometimes manifest a certain elegance of our art, can only carry a sorcerer so far. Even Elven flesh becomes dust and power must endure beyond this if it is to be powerful at all.

Myths that ascribe the creation of matter to “the One” project a single personal agency behind the fabric of existent things where there is none. I have torn open voids and discovered no comprehensible intelligence on the other side that reigns above the manifest plurality of the world. And yet we are faced with the fact that there is something rather than nothing. Existence would seem to issue forth from the very nature of existent entities and in this willingness “to be” there is a profound power. I would advise sorcerers to reflect on their art and its relationship to this point. In the mysterious shift between oblivion and existence there lies a power that endures beyond flesh.

The authentic pursuit of sorcery is the pursuit of transcendence. This is a form of internal alchemy whereby the sorcerer becomes more fully real. Realizing the falsity of the Arkati is only a first step along this path and the achievement of the Faendryl in this regard suggests that entire cultures might escape prior limitations. Sorcery as religion offers an alternative to the groveling appeasement of the Arkati and it carries the promise of enduring transformation. Power lives. All else crumbles to dust.


I offer no advice on the means, ritualized or otherwise, of practicing sorcery as religion beyond deep meditation on the inner workings of our art. I will leave such matters to my brethren or a future essay of my own if need arises.