It is said, that the gods once walked among men. It is a common thread that I have discovered, not just among the Tyrantines, Malonese, and the texts we still have from Atherlon. But what surprises me, is that the Woodlanders claim the same. The spirits tell them that the gods walked the forests and the Black Highway, lurked in the seas and flew in the wind. Even the Numbawi claim that the Great Spirits live among them, visible only in the blowing sands.
The heathens are all but gone from the Kingdoms, save for the savages in the Woodlands who prefer worshipping the trees and animals, rather than sensible things. The gods are ghosts scratched on cave walls or overgrown shrines. In the Heartlands, before they fell, the gods dwelled in the mighty halls of Atherlon, before the Scourge and Vark wiped their proud Empire from the face of Illythia.
But then again, Malon also claimed the gods walked among their Autumnal halls, giving them the knowledge of magic and how to bend it with just a flick of a wand. This was the lie that fueled the Malonese as they conquered the Kingdoms of old, supplanting the Thanes and spearing their banner into mounds of the dead, proclaiming themselves the descendents of the gods.
Or do we believe the Tyrantines who worship their dead gods whom they claimed to have lured and tricked into dying or the more benevenant tales of the gods giving up their lives so their cannibal ancestors could eat their flesh and gorge on their blood so that the fire of magic would flow through their desperate veins. After all, the Great Staves of the Eternal Palace are supposedly claimed to have been whittled from the bones of gods they feasted upon. Such hubris to think men could ever kill a true god.
All of it is nonsense, no more worthy of our time than legends of Vark bumpkins in the night stealing sweet treats from the hearth. The gods never existed, at least not in the tales that we are told over and again by the pagans before the flames render their flesh to ash.
The gods, as all Magicians, were nothing more than lies. The gods certainly strode the halls of Atherlon and Malon, Magicians who fooled lesser men into think that they were exalted and more powerful than they truly were. The Tyrantines truly did feast on their gods, but not their flesh, but their minds, stealing the knowledge of magic from their overlords and turning it against them.
The gods never existed and if the stories do have a shred of truth, it is that Magicians are dangerous, that they will use their power to conjure elevated images of themselves and use their cunning against humble men and women.
There are no gods, just men who walk among us.
A Dissertation on Pagan Gods
Bishop Arturo DeGarro of Espera
(Copied from Cardinal Edwardo deManolo’s collection of apologetics)
Stone was always here, strong and silent, keeping its secrets to this day, touching all.
Wind joined Stone, rippling over the world and bringing forth its child.
Water grew across Stone, falling for the silence and strength he had. Together, they fell in love.
Their children, Tree, Grass, Flower, Man, Mouse, and Fish
The Raven was the first Spirit to come to the world, soaring high above the world and gazing upon all that he saw below, marveling at the beauty bestowed upon the world.
Bear came from the caves and began his war with the other spirits.
Wolf met Bear in war and hunted Man, beloved by Tree.
Fox found cunning to his delight and found enjoyment tricking Man and the Spirits.
Eagle took to the sky and fed upon the mice of the field and the fish of the rivers.
Stag dwelled in the fields, eluding men when they came looking for him.
Horse came to the men, teaching them knowledge that they had never known before.
Mole dug deep into the earth, where only Darkness kept him company.
Boar roamed the forest, warring with Man.
Owl lived with Darkness and collected the wisdom of the shadow.
Hare fled them all, elusive and watchful.
Last to come was Ram, who revered the Stone.
This is how the Spirits and the World came to be.
Collected by Professor Alaric Vanmoor of the Scholarium
(Copied from Vanmoor’s Analysis of the Woodlander Pagans at the Scholarium)
What does the Path say about the creation of the world? Nothing. The Path does not explain the rules of the world, but how to live. The world was created beyond our understanding and our means.
The First Humans lived in caves and huts, but as we have grown and developed, we have built great cities and astonishing monuments, but to explain a Fortress to a man who lives in a cave and he will claim it is the construction of the gods. Yet, the man who comes out of the cave or stick hut and builds a house of stone begins to glimpse the truth and marvels, sets to his task, and seeks to know more. Too often the gods and spirits are nothing more than idols of ignorance—a substitute of what is yet to be discovered.
We do not know the world, but the Path believes in discovery and in right living. We do not adhere to tenants laid out by a mythology or a divine revelation given to us through stories of fantastical events. The world is and should a deity exist, it is not interested in our lives any more than it is interested in the Ratarni or the Elethyn.
Simply put, philosophy is a study which is best served with a subject. Without a subject, it is an ass running in a field, bearing its teeth, and braying for no reason. Without the application of the mind on a pragmatic or practical matter worthy of its pursuits in the physical world, there is not benefit to Humanity. This is Theology and not the Path.
Right living is universal and needs no gods or spirits to be dictated. Walk the Path in a way that benefits Humanity and do not fret with the creation of the world or the origins of Humanity.
When you ask me, how did the world come to be, my answer is simple and brief.
The world is.
(Acquired from a hidden cache at Walker Amelia’s home before she was burned at the stake.)
Malon has forgotten the Gods. Where their names once rested, upon mighty statues at their exalted bases, time has washed them away. Now monikers exist—archetypes of a world that no longer cares about them.
The Gods are still out there.
They still walk among us, whispering on the Wind.
I have heard sailors claim they see a man walking on the dead stillness of the sea, far enough away that they cannot see his face, but see him unmistakably strolling to his destination.
I have heard Orphans claim that there are yellow eyed orphans speaking with finches who answer to the Shepherd of Children.
There are travelers who claim they have seen a fortress in the Crown, surrounded by owls carrying parchment, whose long bridge covers a great expanse to gates laid open, calling for them.
They are out there, waiting for Humanity to realize they are still there.
Oracle Heridus the Accuser
(Stolen from Oracle Miderius the Welcoming’s personal dispatches)