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A to Z Challenge 2019: R is for Religion

Welcome to my A to Z Challenge 2019 posts. This year I’ll be writing about the world of Kinyal which is the setting of my epic fantasy novels and short stories. These posts offer insights into the world’s history, locations, and factions, but do not spoil any of the events or secrets from the novel.

You don’t need to read them in order, and as the challenge progresses, I’ll do my best to add links to related topics for each post.

The gods that weren’t

Early in Kinyal’s history, people started to have what they considered visions of powerful beings. In exchange for human worship and devotion, they would grant their followers the ability to perform “miracles” through the energy they channeled for them. Everywhere in Kinyal, new worships started, with people building temples and luring followers. Over time, they started become more and more structured, forming first religions.

But they didn’t last long. People devoted to actually studying the beings everyone called gods discovered quickly that they were nothing more than inhabitants of another world, one full of magic. As that knowledge spread, yalari—or “demons” as some would have it—offered something else: pacts. Through them, the personn’s strength of will would empower the yalari in his or her world, and in return they would be able to channel magic freely. This, the arcane school of magic was founded.

Some people persevered in their “faith”, arguing not all the yalari were the same or that their deity wasn’t one of them. After the Cataclysm, were religion was looked at closely as “demon worshiping”, it became common to slightly alter the name of the yalari thus claiming the religion had nothing to do with “demons”.

Yet, all that slowly pushed such worship into obscurity, with only small local communities following their faith, and nowadays temples and religious rituals are more a curiosity than anything else.

Well… all of them but one.

The four that came together

Early in Tivarashan history, shortly after yalari have been revealed as otherworldly beings rather than gods, four of them approached some of the former priests in the kingdom. They didn’t hide behind deception and made their offer clear: worship in exchange for magic and protection. Soon after that, by a royal decree, the Temple of the Four became the official religion of Tivarashan. All other demon worship was forbidden, and arcanists were obliged to make their pacts with any of the Four, becoming de facto their priests, though not all engaged in the religion-related duties.

At the same time, the decree made the worship voluntary. Tivarashan people could choose not to partake in the worship as long as they didn’t worship any other demon, though most of them do attend events and rituals, offering at least a minimum devotion to the Four. For Tivarashan it’s considered a gesture of gratitude, as the Four indeed keeps their part of the bargain, offering magic freely and protecting the kingdom. In the past, no other force ever tried to lay claim to those lands, and even though the Temple doesn’t have much say in politics, their support for the royal family is unwavering, ensuring inner stability as no one in their right mind would go against the Temple’s wishes.

It is also said that in the yalari world the Four are unmatched when it comes to their power what guarantees that Tivarashan won’t lose their protection any time soon.

If you’d like a taste of the world, my free collection contains two of the stories from my free short story collection are set in Kinyal. The Arcanist and the Mage Killer and Scourges, Spells, and Serenades tell of the early adventures of Kamira and Veelk, the main protagonists of the upcoming novel.

You can get the collection by signing up to my newsletter.

All posts in this year’s challenge (links updated with new posts):

Arcane Magic || Barriers and Circles || The Cataclysm || Devanshari  || Essence || Free City of Kaighal || Gildya Magna || High Magic || Imbued Stones || Juamha || Kamira Altrainne || Languages || Mage Killers || Nightflies & Other Creatures || Origins of the Idea || Politics || Qinyalarethe || Religion || Suzhaul ||

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

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