Religions

Throughout Thedas there are several belief systems and religions that have existed throughout it's history. A discriptions of the more important ones shall be listed below.

Andrastian Chantry

The largest religion in all of Thedas, the Chnatry, or the Andrastian Chantry as it is known to some, is a monotheistic deistic faith that venerates the Maker and his prophet/wife Andraste and her teachings. The Chantry began as the teachings of Andraste, an Alamari woman and former slave, who saw the plight of the common people and prayed to every god she could think of. When none answered, Andraste sang a song of mourning for her brothers and sisters under the yolk of Tevinter. However something yet unmentioned in the histories of Thedas answered her, the Maker, creator of both Thedas and the Fade, told her of how he had turned away from the world after humanity forsook him for the Old Gods, known as the First Sin, but that he had been moved by Andraste's song, and offered her a place by his side as his bride. Andraste refused, as she had a mortal husband, instead asking what she could do to show him the beauty in the world. The Maker responded by telling her to spread belief in him throughout Thedas and overthrow the Magisters of Tevinter who had attempted to usurp him. Andraste went before her husband, Maferath, the most powerful Alamari warlord in generations, told him all about the Maker and beseeched him to march on the weakened Tevinter to free slaves and overthrow the Magisters. And so Maferath, along with his wife who became prophet, sailed across the Waking sea and invaded southern Tevinter. Spreading her message to growing numbers of supporters, along with her husbands genius at strategy, made many believe that the Alamari army was protected by the Maker himself, coupled with the largest slave revolt in history, led by Andraste disciple Shartan, the Exalted March on Tevinter nearly destroyed the nation. It was only after after the capture of Nevarra that the rebellion came to an end. Maferath jealous of the attention his wife was getting, or jealous of appearing second in her eyes to the Maker, or even forseeing that there was no way they could battle the might of Tevinter when they attacked Minrathous, it is not known the reason, betrayed his wife to the Tevinter Magisters in return for the lands his forces now occupied. And in front of the whole world, Andraste and her chief disciples and generals were burned at the stake as a warning to those who would dare challenge the might of Tevinter, and it almost worked until Archon Hessarian took his blade and gave the prophet a clean death. at that moment the Maker turned away from the world once more, declaring that only when Andraste's teachings are sung from the four corners of the world will he return, and gathered the faithful inculding Andraste to his side, many in the Chan try believe she is at his side still attempting to coax his return to the world. From the moment of her death Andraste and her legend grew and spread like wild fire, Cults of the Maker sprang up in every nation spreading the Chant of Light. A decade after the prophet's death, Hessarian converted to the Chant and made Tevinter the first nation to fully embrace Andraste's teachings, he revealed that Maferath had betrayed his wife, leading to his three sons to murder him. However it was Kordillius Drakon, fervent Andrastrian and first Emperor of Orlais, who codified all the disparaging views of the various Cults into the Chant of Light and crowned the first Divine in Val Royeaux. Since those days the Chantry has faced a variety of problems, from elven attacks and mage uprisng, to the Imperial Schisim and the Qunari Wars, but in each case the Chantry has survived, and in some cases better for all of it. Although still a traditionalist  and rigid faith, reformers have power in the Chantry, and since the setting up of the Circles mages have had influence within the Chantry and are able to practice their craft safetly. Since it's inception the Chantry has held four core principals: magic is meant to serve man and never rule over him, it was human sin that destroyed the golden city and created the Darkspawn, Andraste was the Bride of the Maker and her teachings must be spread and honored, and that mankind has sinned and must seek penance from the Maker if he is ever to return to us.

Elven Pantheon

The Elven Pantheon or Evanuris, are the gods honoured in the old days of Elvhenan and by the modern Dalish. The Pantheon contained nine individuals: Elga'nan: the God of Vengence and the All-Father, Mythal: the Great Protector and All Mother, Falon'Din: Friend of the Dead, Dirthamen: Keeper of Secrets, Andruil: Goddess of the Hunt, Sylaise: the Hearthkeeper, June: God of the Craft, Ghilan'nain: Mother of the Halla, and Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf. It was believed that the Creators, as the Dalish call them, created all life on Thedas but where themselves created by something else, unlike the mythology of the Old Gods, the Evanuris did not walk among mortal men and existed solely in the Fade refusing to take credit for the Maker's creation, unlike the dragon gods. It is also believed that their were evil gods known as the Forgotten Ones who did battle with the Evanuris, not much is recorded about them, only that they existed in a place called the Void. It is believed by the Dalish that the cause for the destruction of Arlathanthe enslavement of the elves and all other ills that have befallen the People since then, is caused by Fen'Harel, who tricked both sets of gods. As a fellow Evanuris, he could walk among them and convinced his fellow gods that he would negotiate a treaty with the Forgotten Ones as long as the kept to the Beyond. The Dread Wolf then went to the Forgotten Ones, who saw him as a brother because he was a trickster god, and he managed to convince them to remain in the Void with the same lie about a treaty. When both sets of gods were in their respective domains, Fen'Harel locked the doors to both preventing either sets of gods from interfering with the world, and allowing the Dread Wolf free reign of the world, many Dalish still believe that he is hiding in some dark corner of the world laughing his head off. The imprisonment of their gods, plus their loss of immortality when in close contact with humans, known as the Quickening, is believed by many to have helped the Blood Mages of Tevinter destroy the elven empire and cemented human control over Thedas.

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Imperial Chantry

The Imperial Chantry is a break away faction in Tevinter, caused by several religious and social differences between Tevinter and Orlais. The chiefiest among these is the views on magic and Andraste. Headed by a "Black Divine", opposed to the "White Divine" in Val Royeux, the Imperial Chantry does not recognise the Andrastine Divine, and is headquartered in the Argent Spire in Minrathous, the Imperial Divine is also automatically an Enchanter of the Minrathous Circle. The Chantry had always struggled with Tevinter, mainly because they were dealing with Mages not from the lower classes but from the elites and highborn in society, and despite the fact that the Magisters surrendered to the Chantries laws and the Archon became merely a ceremonial position, the Mage Lords still retained much power and influence within Tevinter, however many of the Magisters and mages were loyal Andrastians and fully embraced the teachings of the prophet, Tevinter being the first nation to make the Chant of Light it's state religion. Problems first arose when it was discovered that the Tevinter Chantry allowed men into its ranks, since all men were judged by Maferath's treachery, thus Val Royeaux rebuffered the Imperium's Grand Clerics multiple requests for recognition. Problems continued when, following the Third Blight, the Chantry began to officially preach that it was Magisters of Tevinter who caused the Blight, this mistrust of magic conflicted with Tevinter culture. The greatest source of contention was over the Chantry's Second Comandment: "magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him". The Chantry in Orlais viewed this as meaning that all mages have to be excluded from any political influence as they are too easily corrupted, the Grand Clerics of Tevinter held a different view that magic must serve the greater good but not control anyones minds, to this end, they argued, what other greater good can there be than to take part in government. This view led to severe friction between Tevinter and Orlais when the Clerics refused to revert to the Andrastian view of the commandment, the schism occurred in 3:87 Towers when the Grand Clerics elected the "Black Divine", a mage, and even more brazenly, a man. In 3:98 Towers, the Imperial Divine declared a national day of celebration over the death of the Andrastian Divine, her successor declared the next Age the Black Age and ordered 4 Exalted Marches against Tevinter in retaliation, all failed and only stopped with the start of the Forth Blight. The  Imperial and Andrastine Chantries have been separate ever since, only uniting during Blights and the Qunari Wars. One of the other differences between the two chantries is about Andraste's divinity, the Imperial Chantry holds that Andraste was an ordinary woman, a powerful mage yes, but no more god-like than any other mage, in this vein they focus more on worship of the Maker rather than Andraste herself.

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Qun

The Qun is the philosophical based faith of the Qunary, more of an honor code and cultural guide than a set religion, most Qunari view the Qun as not something believed as something understood. Based on the writings of Ashkaari Koslun, the Qun defines the role of everyone and everything in society, viewing it as a body, the arm does not question what it is, the lungs do not wish to be kidneys, everything knows its proper place and everything works together for the good of the whole. All Qunari are expected to be strong, stoic and disciplined, adhering to the tenants written out in the Qun. Explaining the Qun to outside can be difficult as it covers such a broad range of social and philosophical topics, and mostly because those Qunari asked are not studied in the ways of the Qun, only the part that affects them directly. All aspects of the Qunari's lives are expected to be governened unquestioningly by the Qun, those who do question are often sent to re-education labour camps, seeing it as a moral duty to educate those who do not understand. Most other faiths view the Qun as a threat to their continued existence, thus they view the Qun as something to be overcome and defeated.

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The Stone

The Stone is the belief system of the Dwarves, they believe that they are children of the Stone, born from the earth. The Stone is believed to be a living shifting entity that guides the dwarfs and offers up her gifts to them in the form of jewels and lyrium. When dwarves they are viewed to have "returned to the stone", only casteless and surface dwarves are "rejected by the stone", for their crimes against it. Dwaves however venerate the ancestors who they believe are part of the Stone and speak through her, a tradition among the Dwarves is to name a Paragon, a living ancestor. Paragon's are believed to have been blessed by the Stone, and join her in life, as such they hold great sway in dwarven society and are venerated as any other ancestor. Dwarves do believe that the Stone is impure, and that it is their job to cut away waste and unstable rock in order to clean the Stone from its corruption. Since the Darkspawn incursions began, many Dwarves view it as their moral duty to rid the Deep Roads of the creatures, only then will the Stone be pure again. The Legion of the Dead are believed to be her agents, and since they fight the Darkspawn most readily they are valued for their sacrifice in putting a stop to the corruption.

Religions

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