Mists of the Past
Faith of the True Light
The Faith of the True Light is the predominant religion throughout Aetheron. The Faith is based on the notion that the entire multiverse is framed by a constant struggle between light and darkness, life and death, virtue and evil, each fighting for dominance while still maintaining a cosmic balance. It is characterized by the cycle of day and night, with the day being a victory for the forces of light only to be lost again as night falls across the world.
According to the Faith, the forces of good are slowly but surely bringing light to the darkness, and will eventually usher in an era of endless paradise. The champions of light – the saints – are beings of such virtue that upon death they literally banish a piece of the vast darkness, manifesting as lights in the night sky known as stars (thus why the brightest stars are named after saints). Each saint presides over domains relevant to their roles in life, but is also attuned to an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent collective consciousness encompassing all things good, known as the True Light.
The True Light’s constant struggle against the similarly omnipresent darkness of the void prevents it from acting directly on the Material Plane. Instead, it exerts its will via two conduits: clerics and oracles. Clerics are mortals blessed with a strengthened connection to the power of the True Light, manifesting as divine magic and channeling positive energy, and serve to carry out the True Light’s will on earth. Oracles are granted limited access to the True Light’s “bird’s eye view,” providing prophesy to interpret changes in the struggle between good and evil. Unfortunately, since the True Light is a collective consciousness, made up of countless perspectives and interpretations, a single mortal’s attempt to capture its understanding results in cryptic and sometimes misleading prophesies.
The Faith of the True Light is intimately connected with heavens, so celestial portents are central to reading the will of the divine. Falling stars possess a number of possible interpretations – they may be a messenger descending from the True Light itself to bring good tidings or counsel, or a virtuous spirit falling from grace blight the land, or even a fragment of the elemental planes (seen as planets) passing through the void to collide with earth. Prophesies are often necessary to find their meaning, and even oracles can only fully understand their purpose retrospectively. The one universal omen is a Black Streak, a falling star made up of a piece of the void. Theologians believe that when mortals become saints and join the divine as stars, an equivalent force of the divine darkness must become mortal to maintain the cosmic balance. This shard of the void falls to earth as a dark comet, unseen by most eyes, but those who do witness a Black Streak know that a great evil has arisen on earth… perhaps one great enough to empower clerics and oracles of its own.
Local priests are known as lumens, tasked with imparting the wisdom of the True Light unto mortals and fighting evil whenever possible. Lumens tend to follow specific patron saints that embody their ideals and spheres of influence. Higher ranking lumens are known as beacons, charged with overseeing the maintenance of the Faith throughout designated territories (usually the lands of a high lord or monarch). The highest ranking priest in the world is known as the Lumenox, who speaks with the voice of True Light on earth. Noteworthy soldiers who fight for Faith are often honored with Knighthood and commanded by higher ranking priests.
Policy on Shadow
A long-standing debate within the fate is whether or not the use of shadows – through clandestine dealings or magic – is inherently evil, due to it’s tapping into the power of darkness. The Faith holds the position that their is a distinct difference between shadows that are produced by light (and thus agents of good capable of acting where light cannot) and the empty black void that comprises the forces of evil. As an example, shadow magic is not inherently evil, but a nightshade (the antithesis of the True Light) is. Though most believers ascribe to these guidelines, the Faith has seen countless radicals from both sides.