Age of Ascension
Faith and Religion
There are those who say that the Old Faith is dead, a relic from an earlier, unenlightened time. They say the pantheon of deities, greater and lesser, that personify every aspect of life, make up a faith that invites contradiction. That the Old Faith, as it is now known, is a muddled collection of legends and superstitions. Indeed, the wise now claim to know beyond doubt that the old gods, though they did exist, were nothing more than manifestations of our own belief given spiritual form.
Then there are those who say that the New Faith, the Church of Aeon, also called the Aeonic Order, is a facade surrounding a false god and leading only to excess. These are the families who keep shrines to the varied gods in their homes or meet in run-down temples, monuments of their former glory.
The polytheism of the Old Faith is counter to modern sensibilities, and though it is deeply embedded in Avencian culture, it holds none of the power it did once. Traditionally, worship in Avencia took place in temples either devoted to a specific deity, or to the whole of the pantheon. Nearly 150 years ago, the Aeonic faith, a monotheistic religion, took the Empire by storm, and the sudden conversion of Valcoran officials and powerful families heralded rapid change. Where the Old Faith held that the deities were individuals, with distinct personalities and agendas, the Aeonics believe there is only one true deity; an unfathomable being called Aeon.
According to the New Faith, Aeon is ministered by an angelic host, who carry his word to mortals. The old gods were not the creators of the world, but created by it; beings born of the manifestation of mortal qualities, no more than the sum of mortal belief. Aeon is said to be the true creator of the world and all life. Teachings of the Aeonic church tell that for every being there is a path to follow and a divine plan, and that understanding and fulfilling that plan is the path to health, fortune, and an eternally peaceful afterlife. For the thousands who flock into decadent chapels and cathedrals erected throughout the empire, the path proscribed is a set of codified lessons and laws about behavior… a singularly reverent life of purity, generosity, and fealty to one’s church and sovereign lord.
And the steadfast followers of the Old Faith cry out that for a big enough donation, the church will skip the mystery and tell you that your purpose is to line their pockets with gold and question nothing. For them, the New Faith is an attack on all that is still right with the world. Many believe that the coming of the New Faith is a test from the true gods, and that they will turn from mortals, or against them, if they don’t overcome. Some of them stand in the streets of Valcora with painted signs, warning everyone in sight…