Religion of Brightmoon

Religion tends not to be a huge factor in the lives of most person in the Al'Inari Empire. Avatars
don't walk the face of their world (or are at least quiet and civil to the mortals); there have been no
wars between the gods or any elder races within the past few thousand years. In all likelihood,
there is probably little that could persuade the gods to manifest themselves besides, perhaps, a
threat to the safety of Brightmoon itself.

The Beginning

In the Beginning, a chord of an ancient primal song, sung by beings alien and unknowable,
coalesced, forming a bright, shining world. That world is our world, Brightmoon. At first, there
was only Brightmoon, until another note, sung later, no one knows how much later, for no one
was here to listen, gave birth to an entity we know simply as the Prime. The Prime looked over
the world, and while it was pleasing, it was also devoid of life. So the Prime sang, as he could immitate
the songs of the Primal forces that created him. His song used the notes that the first Primals
created, not always perfect, but still, he could tap a fragment of the power they possessed, and
so the Prime sang other beings into being. However, these beings, not being of the first Song,
were not perfect. They could not exist in perfect harmony with each other, but the Prime was still
pleased. He had created the first Gods of Brightmoon.

The Gods

At first, the Prime created a shadow of himself. This first God he named Melchior. So, into
Melchior he gave the ability to sing all the notes he had heard, but not as loud. So Melchior was
a quiet, harmonic voice for the Prime. He was favored, for he was first, and Melchior was glad.
Then, The Prime sang into being the other gods, whose voices were louder than Melchior, but did
not know how to sing all the parts. Am'Dro was the second God, and unto him was given the
song of the winds and the air, and the high places that only the birds could reach. Next, came the
lady of the stars, Serenon, and she was above even the heights Am'Dro could reach. Unto her
was given the lights in the sky, the stars. The fourth of the divine chorus was Leuada, the moon
goddess. At first, she was cold and distant, like Serenon is even now. But Am'Dro, looking upon
her, called Leuada to join him, so that they could have each other's company (Serenon was not at
all friendly, and Melchior was beginning to feel jealous that there nothing that was truly his own).
Leuada did, and the moon came close to the sky, and the two have not been far each other ever
since. Next, the Prime looked and saw that which was above the lands was now filled, and
turned his attention to the ground and waters. Thus were born the twin gods of the earth and the
sea, Fynydd and Aig'en.

The Prime looked down and saw that all that was missing now was... life. Am'Dro and Leuada
sang a beautiful song, long, delicate, seeming to almost never end... from their song was born the
birds of the air. Melchior, in his jealousy, hummed softly in the background, which caused a note
of discord, and all manner of vicious beasts of the air did arise, stirges, bats, perytons and more.
Am'Dro and Leuada cut short their song before more damage was done. Next, Fynydd did sing a
deep, slow rumbling song. Plants began to sprout, and the world did turn green. Melchior, vexed
as he was by now, whistled quietly, as he tended to do. This did cause a note discord, and
funguses and mantraps and other dangerous plants began to blossom. Fynydd ceased his song
when he saw the damage being caused. Lastly, Aig'en did sing. His song was bubbly and fluid,
as were most of the words from his mouth. The oceans became alive with fishes and whales.
But Melchior, still not satisfied until he had placed his mark upon everything, did tap his foot,
slightly off tempo, causing the oceans to ripple. The some of the watery denizens began to twist
and form sharks, krakens, and poisoned stinging jellies. Aig'en cut his song short, angered at his
eldest brother. And the Prime was angered at the behavior of his first, favored child. The Prime
did beckon them to sing, while he took Melchior aside and left him alone.

Melchior cursed at his discovery, and from the fiery staccato of Melchior's burning rage, Danio,
master of fire, was formed. Melchior, seeking vengeance, sent Danio to his siblings so that he
could set their precious creations ablaze. Danio did burn the plants and scorch the earth causing
Fynydd much pain, making the lands and mountains shake. Am'Dro tried to blow him out, the
winds made the fires burn hotter. Aig'en was about to extinguish him when the Prime looked at
Danio and saw a use, further down the river of time. The Prime took Danio, god of fire, and
placed him deep within the earth, for now. Fynydd was irate, but the fire in the earth sparked one
in his heart as well... he retreated from his brothers and sisters and began to set about work.

Meanwhile, the other gods began to sing anew, without Melchior's interference. This time, new
creatures were born... from the combined song of the air and the moon, blessed with Aig'en's
waters, did the first elves arise. Fynydd returned to his brothers, and brought his children, formed
of earth, hardened by flame, the dwarves stood, solid as the stone from which their father did
fashion them. They looked on each other's creations and nodded, impressed at what the other
had done. And so, Am'Dro, Fynydd, and Aig'en did sing, for Leuada was busy looking over her
elves, and Serenon was, as usual, too aloof to be bothered by the goings on beneath her gaze.
They did sing, and a third race was created... but it was empty. The spark of life, which came so
easily to the elves and dwarves, was absent. At this time, Danio stirred, and looked up from his
prison within the earth. He sang, in an ungentle voice, and the new race, the humans, stirred.
The gods were amazed at this, but Danio simply said that humans, having a soul of incandescent
bright flame, shall each burn brightly, but briefly, as the flame at the tip of a tindertwig. The other
gods looked on, concerned, but the Prime assured them this was the way this 3rd mortal race
must endure. Without the fire in their soul, they shall be listless and without purpose. But when
the fire in the humans' hearts stirs, they shall be capable of feats the elves and dwarves could
scarcely imagine... and so too shall their lives be short, for the very flame in their heart that
enables them to burn so brightly, also makes them burn quickly. But, what a human can
accomplish in decades would take elves centuries, so fierce is the fire of the human soul. The
Prime looked at the races, and decreed that the humans should sleep for now, for their part in the
song was not yet ready.

As for the elves and the dwarves, The Prime looked over the beings and decided to let the elves
live in the northern parts of the world, and the dwarves in the south. They would meet soon
enough, but first, they should have time to develop as they will.

However, a being was already on the world, a lone, strange beast none of the gods could explain.
She was young, with scales of pale, crystalline lavender and long, graceful wings... Where this
creature, this first dragon had come from, no one was certain... they were sure the Prime had
something to do with it. Fynydd was the first to find her, and did ask for her favor. She looked
the god over and thought for a while before answering. 'What shall you give to my children?' she
asked. Fynydd offered her his fortitude, for he was the sturdiest of the gods. She accepted, and
so the first dragon and the god of the Earth did stay in one another's company for a time before
he grew bored with the dragon. Next came Aig'en, lord of the waters. He too had heard of this
dragon and was curious about her. The dragon did say she would satisfy his curiosities, if he
would give a gift to her children. Aig'en, strongest of the gods, offered to her children the strength
he bore. She accepted, and so the god of the waters and the dragon did plumb many great
mysteries, until Aig'en grew restless and returned to his oceans, leaving her behind. And so, this
did continue, from Danio, her children gained the ability to destroy that around them; Am'Dro
gave them speed and flight beyond what their massive bodies would normally be capable of (and
Leuada gave Am'Dro a beating when he finally returned home, but that is another tale). Melchior
happened upon her, and saw a way to leave his mark. When asked what gift he would give, he
thought... and offered her children his heart and emotions... the Dragon accepted, for none have
offered her any caring or love... but Melchior had neither in his heart, to her children he gave
greed, jealousy, and a most foul temper. And Serenon looked down at the Dragon, and smiled,
blessing her with the gifts the gods had given her children, and blessing them with magic, which
she was sovereign over... at last, something had come along that could give her some
entertainment. That is why, to this day, Dragons are mighty of claw and spell, tough, agile,
destructive and greedy.

Melchior came back now, and looked at the world. Once more, nothing was truly his, and he
grew angered again. It should be noted, there were other divine beings by now, mostly minor...
These were mainly created by the gods to act as servants, for even gods can be busy at times.

One such servant was Brytheth, a minor goddess close to the heart of Aig'en. She aided him
with the weather at sea. Melchior came to the goddess and spoke with her in his soft, musical
voice... he offered to make her powerful, equal to Aig'en... what a worthy wife to the god of sea,
she could make. All she would need to do is stir the seas, and create larger waves. Perhaps a
thunderstorm over the waters would help to grab his notice? She agreed, and storms began to
blanket the seas, and the young elves and dwarves could no longer fish, and their homes near
the sea were washed away.

Aig'en did notice, and begged her to stop, but Melchior's darkness
was upon her and she had brought malice into her heart. Finally, Aig'en and Am'Dro stopped her
rampaging, and she looked at the destruction she had caused, and was horrified... words failed
her, keeping her from revealing Melchior's hand in this act. She saw on the beach an elf, washed
ashore. She tried to help it up, but it could not move. She begged it to speak, but it could not
hear. She had caused the first death of an intelligent being on Brightmoon. She wept until there
no tears left, and she cast off the title of the storm goddess, and renamed herself Addoed, the
Lady of Death. She took the broken body of the elf and held to her, cradling it and taking its
soul to be held and nurtured it was ready to be born anew. Addoed left the company of Aig'en
and set about the creation of her halls, far from the eyes of the living. Am'Dro and Aig'en split the
mantle of storms between them.

Melchior was well pleased. If there was no being in this world that was his, then he would take a
concept just as gladly. He saw that he could bend the wills of those around him by simply speaking
a falsehood here, a half-truth there, some sprinkled innuendo to round out the mix. So it was that
Melchior took the mantle of lies and deceit quietly and without fanfare. And he sought out servants.

The first was the first elf to have died by Addoed's hand. Ysbryd, as he was known, was a restless spirit.
Melchior took advantage of Ysbryd's nature and said that if he would follow his commands, he could
return him to the lands of the living. Ysbryd agreed, and swore an oath of fealty to Melchior, to serve
for as long as his spirit continued to exist. And so, Melchior stole him out of Addoed's cold halls and
returned him to the world. He returned to his family, but they fled from him. His body had long since
been consumed by scavengers, so he was reborn a bodiless spirit. When he reached for his wife and
children, they sickened and died, his touch draining the life denied to him, then they arose, as spirits
like he, but hungry for the souls of others. Ysbryd would have wept have he had the tears to shed.
"Why?" he cried. "Why have you done this to me, Melchior?" And Melchior laughed.

"Because, Ysbryd, you never asked me to return you to the life you have lost. I only said I'd bring you
back to the world of the living, did I not?" Ysbryd trembled in anger at having been the victim of such
a cruel trick. "But Ysbryd," the Lord of Lies whispered, "you DID swear your service to me, for as long as
your spirit did exist? You have probably guessed by now that your spirit shall live forever, bound eternally
to my will. Now, Ysbryd, go out into the the world. Those whom you touch shall be the main host of
my armies, and all who are denied their final reward shall be under your dominion, and by extension,

So Ysbryd, now known as Bygan (The Lord of Spectres), continues to haunt the world, along with the
other undead that, like him, steal life from the living.