The Thousand Gods
|The Thousand Gods|
|Regions Where Prevalent:||Mwayambi|
Almost unanimously, the nations of Mwayambi worship races of Gods rather than individuals. The Bakbé call this race the Murowé, and its plane of existence Mu. The Berjeron call them simply The Thousand Gods and the Heavens.
They liken the relationship of these gods to mankind similar to that between the smallest of insects and mankind. The Murowé are aware of mankind, and may choose to help or hinder them according to their own disposition or the intercession of the clergy. Mankind may only catch vague glimpses of the Murowé at work, as a gnat could scarcely comprehend the hand that squashes him, let alone its wielder.
The clergy differs from insects, of course, in that it may communicate with the gods through its prayers and rituals, invite certain actions of the gods, should they wish to intervene, and call upon divine spells. The intercession of the Gods is vital in a relatively harsh land where sorcery is so rare.
The Berjeron believe that all other gods of all other peoples: Pallodain, Menxvan, Alou, etc, are simply those of the Thousand Gods who have identified themselves to mankind and intervened individually for their own reasons. Thus, whenever a new god is encountered, it is enthusiastically studied and reported to their capital, where the Temple of A Thousand Gods enters their name and likeness onto its lists for appropriate (if occasionally modified) veneration. Thus, some other nations are reluctant to attack the Berjeron, as they, in a way, worship the same gods. It may displease said god if one were to attack a temple wherein its image is graven. Gods from monotheistic cultures are simply referred to as Jealous Gods. The Aslarians are looked upon as sharing the Berjeron religion.
The Kadut believe that the Murowé can be divided into three groups: The Nadut sky gods, the Gyasut earth gods, and the supreme Badrut who mediate between them. The dwarf-like Badrut represent fertility, honour and goodness and are the patrons of the dwarves. It was they who, it is believed, diminished the dwarves, their chosen people, in size and lengthened their life spans so as to be more godlike than their human ancestors and cousins.
The teleology of Mwayambi is fairly uniform among the three known nations. The gods have always existed, while the world has not. While the Murowé (or Thousand Gods, etc) males fashioned the earth, sun and moons, the females fashioned three eggs.
Out of the first hatched a multitude of insect-featured demons to spread evil and chaos across the land. Out of the second came the neutral Kelelé, near-mythical beings who could be mischievous and fickle, yet provide a boon to mankind as well. The contents of the third were meant to be a goodly race of peaceful beings to balance the world, but were stolen and corrupted by the demons, and taken under ground and far away. The lost "Third Race" are now forgotten by all lore save that of the Gods, Kelelé, and demons themselves.
Unhappy, the Murowé drove the demons onto other planes of existence to make the world safe for their new, fourth egg, that which begat mankind. Those demons that managed to avoid the Murowé devolved themselves into simpler monsters and unnatural beasts. Some of the more clever even hid as concepts (such as matricide), symbols (the pentacle) and magical spells. It is a demon, thought of as an infestation within the flow of divine magic, that is used to raise a body from the dead. The corpse is infected with the unconscious essence of a demon, like a rotting tree. This essence manifests itself as red maggots, worms, cockroaches or another form of insect, inhabiting the body under the skin.
Hidden essences of demons are also bound into the Eldritch Masks, allowing the use of sorcerous magic. Demons were always bound to the sorcerous magic flowing throughout the earth, which may explain why the undead crave sorcerous energies.
The Kelelé are often called the "Hidden People" and likened to fey and other spirits by Southerners. The females are small and gnome-like while the males are human-sized and piercingly beautiful to look at. Neither gender has eyes in their faces, but instead have them upon their fingers and toes, twenty in all. The males paint eyes on their blank foreheads and like to entice wayward human women into their oases, caves or glades. The next morning, these women are turned into jewelry to appease the jealous female Kelelé, or may escape pregnant. When they lay an egg instead of give birth to a human child, it is clear to all what has occurred and the egg must be left at a sacred place to hatch more Kelelé.