Religion in Cascadon
Religion in Cascadon is a little different from other fantasy universes. Deities do not necessarily require people to go through rituals, etc. to perform worship. Since the deities are made of a particular concept or perform a specific function, worship comes from that concept or function. For example, to worship Dalka, the god of building things, civilization, structure, etc., all one would need to do is sit down and build something. Or, to worship Kittik, a small act of chaos will garner you some favor - even if it's not something you do intentionally. There are some who choose to worship in temples and at shrines. Often people will make offerings to the less popular deities like Zubin and Jaros, hoping to keep the gods away with bribes. Other followers, like Aishan priests, often devote themselves to service at a temple or shrine, sacrificing their time and energy as a form of worship.
Note from the Author
All cultures have their own variation on a creation myth. Some say the great question of humankind is, “Why are we here?” But before we can tackle that question, we must ask, “How did all this come to be?”
In games and stories we explore the question, “Why am I here?” To facilitate that question, I’ve drafted a creation myth for Cascadon. By no means is this to be assumed as “true” in the sense of how the game world literally came to be. In fact, Cascadon is just a kingdom on a continent that broke away from a larger continent as tectonic plates shifted. I’ve spent a silly amount of time reasoning out how the shape of Cascadon was formed, and why the southern coast has no viable ports. The reality, however, is unknown to the inhabitants of the world, so they have formed stories to explain things, just as all cultures do. While the story varies from place to place, emphasizing some parts over others, the general idea is the same. Most people in the world of Cascadon were told this story or a version thereof as a child, and it is generally accepted as “truth.” So, without further ado, below is the general story of “How did all this come to be?”
Chapter One - Light
First, there was nothing. This nothing was consciousness, limitless and therefore, inconsequential. To give itself meaning, the consciousness created space, to show of consciousness extends beyond it. But the space was empty, and the consciousness wanted to show how much more full it was, so consciousness created things and sounds. And to show that consciousness was eternal, it made time to wear away all things. When all was done, the consciousness created light, and thus, Viedonna came into being.
As the warden of light, Viedonna became the guardian of all that is light, and as her role expanded through the universe so did her desire to be like the universe. The issue was that light in the midst of nothing was itself, meaningless. To establish the importance of light, she needed to create darkness. But painting in the night sky black around all of the stars would be time consuming, so she took the parts of herself that she desired least, and formed a new entity – Vietomma, and tasked her with being the warden of darkness. But the world itself was still empty and plain, so with the help of Vietomma, Viedonna created Erjon – god of the elements. He filled the world with heat and cold, wetness and dryness, and all sorts of wonderfully exciting things. But, Viedonna was not satisfied with the importance of light still.
Viedonna took to creating things that would require light to live, and made plants, then water to feed them what light could not. But this became tiresome, so she created Taradessa, and tasked her with the creation of life forms to fill the planet. Meanwhile, Viedonna took to building a home for herself in the heavens. She chose the sun and decided to make herself a helper; Maddock, who also served as messenger between her and the other deities.
Chapter Two- Darkness
Vietomma was made to be the goddess of darkness. However, she was also made from undesirable elements, like jealousy, anger, frustration, and greed. After the creation of Erjon, Vietomma saw the power that building allies could grant her, but she had trouble coming up with original ideas for things – creativity had been something Viedonna kept. When Viedonna made Taradessa to create life, Vietomma made Dalka to break it. She also took Dalka to be her consort – the stars get lonely. And so Dalka was set to the earth, tearing trees from the ground faster than Taradessa could plant them. He toppled mountains and made great chasms, ripping life from wherever it was planted. So skilled was he in this task that Taradessa became overcome with sorrow for the ended lives.
When Taradessa sought counsel from Viedonna, the All Mother suggested that Taradessa do as she had done – take the undesirable elements from her and make a new god to govern them. And so it was that Taradessa gathered her sorrow as one would clay, and formed it into Aisha, the Goddess of Sacrifice. Unable to slow Taradessa down through sorrow, Dalka pulled the sand and breeze together with a dash of shadow and cleverness, to build himself an assistant – Kie. In those days, Kie was the god of mischief, who pestered Taradessa and Aisha relentlessly. And though Dalka and Kie were very good at their jobs, Taradessa and Aisha had the advantage of fantastic imaginations.
They met in the clouds to discuss their concerns, and decided that they would come up with a scheme to draw Dalka to their side. The goddesses imagined how wonderful the world could be if Dalka and Kie would stop destroying their work, and by focusing their wills, they made the dream realm. When the gods slept, Taradessa snuck into the chambers of Vietomma and Dalka, and whispered words of magic to Dalka, drawing his consciousness from his body, and taking it to the dream realm. In this dream, Dalka could not destroy things, but was forced to endure their beauty. The result, however, was rather unexpected. In the morning, when Dalka woke, he went to Taradessa, and confessed that he fell in love with her in the dream. While Taradessa admired his honesty and bravery, she knew that as long as he carried his rage and anger there was no way they could be together. Drawing from the examples set before him, Dalka took all of his anger and pulled it from his body, tearing that part of himself out in a great burst of flame. And so, fire was born – as was Lethos.
Lethos, the God of Rage and Fire, came to the earth in a great crash, burning all he touched. His steps were so powerful, that he sent the earth spinning as he walked upon it. In his wake, he left devastation, but not so much that it was irreparable. Angry that Dalka had left her bed, Vietomma went to Kie and took him as her new consort, to spite Dalka. But Dalka and Taradessa found themselves in bliss, rebuilding the world, and making order of the chaos.
Chapter Three - Perfection
Ages passed, and the world took its true form, with great forests and mountains. Erjon, the first creation of Viedonna and Vietomma, was feeling left out, if not forgotten. Since Dalka no longer sought to wreak havoc upon the world and Kie felt little need to pester anyone, Erjon siphoned his disgust into a new deity - Zubin. Erjon sent Zubin to the forests to corrupt the work being done, and so Zubin became the Goddess of Corruption. She turned good to bad, sweet to poison, and generally tried to make the world unpleasant.
Being out of work for the most part, Kie‘s time was then spent with Vietomma, and he came to love her. But, Vietomma had no interest in more than making use of Kie. Kie sought the counsel of Aisha, to see if she could help him alleviate his suffering. Feeling the truth and depth of his emotion, Aisha couldn’t help but fall in love with Kie. And as time passed, Kie found himself growing increasingly fond of Aisha.
The night of the perfect moment began with Aisha confessing her love to Kie, and ended with a tragedy which shook the foundations of creation, threatening to send the gods to war. In the time that Kie sought counsel from Aisha, Vietomma took a new consort, the violent and virile Lethos. But on the fateful night when Aisha guided Kie to her home in the sun, Vietomma was in the throes of passion with Lethos. As Kie and Aisha became one, Vietomma was writhing upon Lethos. But being as powerful as a being as she was, Vietomma heard the whispered promises of love between Kie and Aisha and left Lethos’ bed to put an end to Kie and Aisha‘s happiness. Left alone and unfinished, Lethos was overcome with jealousy, and launched himself to where Kie was in order to kill him. Lethos arrived before Vietomma, and charged into Aisha’s room. Kie was asleep when Lethos arrived, but Aisha was awake, and seeing the incoming attack, she shielded Kie‘s body with her own, and died under Lethos’ mighty blow. Thus ended the perfect moment.
Chapter Four - Vengeance
In the wake of Aisha‘s death, the heavens were in upset, and many changes happened very rapidly. Kie cried the oceans into being, filling the great crevices with his tears, but this created vast deserts across the land where the water had been taken. From the sands, winds and Kie’s despair, Jaros arose, filled with Kie‘s loneliness and sorrow. He became warden of the deserts, both hot and cold. In the waters, where Kie had left his anger and fear, there rose Kaisha, Goddess of the Sea. As an angry child, she governs the oceans, changing violently on a whim. When Aisha was cremated, Maddock took her ashes, on behalf of Viedonna, and made a monument to Aisha – the moon. Maddock knew, however, that it would not be safe if left uninhabited, and there was also the dream world which needed looking after, so he took some of Aisha’s ashes and a bit of sunlight to craft Zekiel, God of Dreams. An unintended side effect which did not become apparent until later was that Zekiel had the ability to see into the future through his dreams, and as such he became god of prophecy also.
During these changes, there was the issue of what to do with Lethos. There was no way to control him, as all of the other gods had things to do, and not enough tact. So Vietomma came to Dalka with a proposition. With Dalka‘s ability to plan, and Vietomma’s cleverness (and willingness to be cruel), they could together produce a child to care for Lethos, without removing any of their own power. But it would mean that Dalka and Vietomma would have to lay together, which Taradessa was not particularly a fan of. But Taradessa could see the importance of a leash bearer for Lethos, and gave Dalka permission. However, she also sought the aid of old uncle Kittik to help her with a task. Taradessa had Kittik pop up to the moon and steal some parts of Aisha’s ashes to make another god (which left the craters in the moon). This new god, Justina, became the Goddess of Nobility and Justice. So when Dalka and Vietomma finished bringing Draven, God of Tactics, into being, he had to try to get to Lethos before Justina. Thus the battle of the gods raged on in Justina and Lethos, with Draven always intervening before either was killed.
Chapter Five - War
As Justina and Lethos battled across the heavens, and occasionally the earth, they caused no end of havoc. This chaos culminated in Justina‘s pregnancy. There is some debate about how her pregnancy came to be. Some believe that she was raped by Lethos, and others believe that she and Lethos fell in love through their fighting. The truth is unknown, but the result was the birth of Hanaleo, God of War. Before Justina’s eyes could fall upon her child, Taradessa whisked it away, knowing that the child would be extremely powerful, and offset the balance between the gods. While Taradessa took the child to the sun for safe keeping, Maddock made his way back to the sun to tell Viedonna the details of what the gods were doing. Horrified at the conflicts, Viedonna stopped building the sun for a moment to gather some of the gods at a meeting to determine the fate of the worlds. These gods came to be known as the great 6: Viedonna, Taradessa, Vietomma, Dalka, Maddock, and Kie.
The six sat and tried to find a way to end the conflicts between the gods that would both satisfy all of the gods, that they not seek retribution, and protect the gods from death. The consensus was that there could be no resolution, but with the powerful Hanaleo, they might be able to put the conflicts to rest without bringing harm to the gods.
Earth. That was the answer. The gods decided to shape mortal beings which would be able to think, feel, and fight. These mortals would then battle with each other and resolve the conflict of the gods for them. Now, none of the gods thought this would take very long at all. The gods worked to create races to fight for their beliefs, formed pacts and alliances to strengthen their sides. Unfortunately, as soon as the pieces were set in place, the races immediately started changing sides. It turned out that anything with the ability to think and feel could also change its mind. As such, the lines became blurred and complicated. Regardless, Hanaleo, and therefore war, was banished to the mortal realm, never to go to the realms of the gods. But Draven became enamored of Hanaleo, and so he used his cunning to craft her a place between the worlds, where she could collect the souls of mortals who had died, so that Hanaleo would never be alone.
Over time, this army of the dead grew, and fearing Hanaleo’s increasing power, the gods started selecting their favorite mortal souls to keep in their homes in the sun. These homes, the heavens, are now the resting places for the souls of the dead. And every now and then a deity will send a soul back to the mortal realm in an effort to give some subtle influence to the shape of the ongoing conflict.
Chapter Six - Mortals
After the birth of mortals, the heavens were very quiet. Each god withdrew and focused on their tasks. Dalka quickly found himself rather enjoying the mortals. He loved to watch them tear things apart and rebuild them, always trying to be better than they had been. It was a quality he held rather highly. But he couldn’t help but think that there was more they could do. When the mortal races were established, Taradessa, Goddess of Nature, laid out a few simple rules – no flight, and no explosions. Dalka thought that was rather unfair. So, Dalka went to his son Draven, and asked for help in circumnavigating those rules. They decided to make magic. While the races would not be able to inherently fly, or cause explosions, magic would allow them to bend the nature of existence just enough to have a bit of fun.
The result was Berengar, the god of wizardry and invention. Berengar was tasked with making sure that the mortals didn’t abuse their magic too badly, but ensure that they found it. Draven, then, knowing how magic worked, went on his own to have some fun. He was in the middle of making a new deity to skew the magic in a way that Draven liked, when Lethos burst in and ended up putting jealousy and rage into the god. There was no end to Draven’s anger, but the result was rather beautiful. A deity, with hair as dark as the night sky, but full of stars. Draven named them Charalina. Though Draven wanted nothing more than to keep the pretty thing to himself, he saw the tactical advantage of allowing them to manipulate the magic of the mortals. So Charalina was sent down, full of magical potential. But, instead of doing what Draven had made them for, Charalina proceeded to have sex with as many mortals as they could. And each time they did, Charalina put a little bit of their essence into the child it produced. These children became sorcerers. A sorcerer did not have to study for years as a wizard did, nor did a sorcerer have to expend any effort into bending the nature of the universe. These little, god-touched things could will fire into being, call lightning from their souls, and even reach into a mortal mind with theirs.
While this was going on, old uncle Kittik found himself alone, and bored. Since all of the other gods were making gods, Kittik decided to make a god to keep him company. He summoned a bit of the sun, and drew inspiration from the warm world around him, to make Aden. Aden awoke, fair and kind, and played with Kittik, until Kittik got bored and left. Being on the earth with mortals, Aden decided to teach them the games and inspire them to compete. And so it was that summer, competition, and youth became governed over by Aden.
Chapter Seven- Uncles
There are two gods no one truly knows the origin of. Kittik and Sesek are as old as Viedonna, at least, so they must have come from the creation of the universe. Most theologians believe that Kittik was a natural reaction to the universe’s bent towards order. Because so much was balanced, the order had to balance itself with something, creating chaos. This is the best theory anyone has come up with, since the god himself is so hard to pin down. Kittik often forgets things, and often does things for no reason, or for a reason he’s forgotten. That being said, he is probably the most powerful deity of them all, if he could just focus long enough to do anything.
Sesek, on the other hand, is a total unknown. Theories range from him being born out of the void created by Aisha’s death, to Sesek being older than the universe itself. Whatever the origin, Sesek is certainly powerful and cunning. Above all other gods, Sesek loves humans. Pain and fear are forms of suffering which humans excel in both causing and enduring, and Sesek is the god of suffering. While mortals were being crafted, Sesek snuck into the places where they were made and added some features. Already mortals had to endure the growth of their teeth, but Sesek made it happen twice. Birth is the most essential part of life, and all things are driven to procreate - so Sesek made birth excruciating. He twisted the minds of mortals to mix pain and pleasure, confusing the purpose of a bite or a slap. Unfortunately a mortal form can only endure so much before is ceases to be, so he has dedicated his power to revitalizing and healing. His ultimate goal is to make humans immortal, that they might suffer forever. See, Sesek loves mortals. Sesek only gives mortals pain because he wants to remind them of his love – his cold, endless, love.