The faith of the Firstborn Gods is considered to be one of the oldest and most prominent religions throughout the civilized realms of Altherys. It had begun to gain attention by most during the Second Era; when the vast armies of human refugees made their way to the west coast of the continent after the fall of Tyrenmor, the great and mythical kingdom of mankind. Since then it has spread throughout the continent, particularly with the aid of the empire of Remes who were the first to truly enforce its doctrines and principles. Even after the collapse of the empire, following the closing of the Second Era, the faith is still strong – existing in churches, cathedrals, and chapels from windswept Fryslon to the swamps of the Everbog.
The Church of the Firstborn follows a pantheon of seven deities, and each is claimed to have been involved in the creation of the world. According to legend there had once been nine counted in their number, but two are long gone; one dead, the other imprisoned due to his betrayal to the other seven. While the Church recognizes the power of other deities it refuses to acknowledge them as equals to the Firstborn, and often denounces them as false pretenders or as enemies and heresies. Whether this is the will of the Firstborn or not, none can say, though they have yet to tell their followers otherwise.
No one really completely knows how the Church came about. Some say it followed the scattered refugees of Tyrenmor and were the gods they had served back before the continent sank beneath the waves. Scholars disagree, however, as at least one or two of the deities of the Firstborn have been worshiped independently or as part of the greater pantheons of the other races long before the Tyrenmorians ever arrived on Altherys. The Church claims that its great prophets and oracles were told in revelations and visions about the true nature of their gods and goddesses sometime after the start of the Second Era, though they always had been present in the world. Whatever the truth, however, the Church of the Firstborn continues to present their teachings and preach the good news to the faithful in their great cathedrals and temples throughout the continent.
Each God and Goddess of the Firstborn represents an important aspect of the world and creation. While the Church of the Firstborn encourages equal worship of all seven, they are most often worshiped independently as separate cults and sects within the church, as each has their own holy men and women dedicated to their service.
- Helos the Dawnbringer is the God of Law, Justice, and Peace. His spheres of influence are the Sun and Civilization, and is considered to be the leader of the Firstborn. Considered to be the patron of order and a staunch believer in the righting of wrongs, Helos is commonly approached by the other Firstborn in times of crisis to lead them forward to peace and salvation. He is a lawful deity, a good god but also a just god who will punish and reward accordingly, believing firmly that a good act does not wash out the bad but only evens the scales. As a deity of Law his greatest decree to all leaders and lawmakers is that laws exist to serve the people, not rule over them. He is the patron deity of the Remesian Empire, is commonly worshiped by many city-going Elves, and counts judges, builders, lawyers, aristocrats, and many farmers among his most staunch worshipers.
- Feyra the Lifebearer is the Mother Goddess of Life, Agriculture, and Love. Her spheres of influence include all acts of agriculture, childbirth, and parenting. She is considered by most to be the Queen and Wife of Helos the Dawnbringer and is occasionally worshiped side by side with him, though she often is worshiped separately with her own clergy. She is often nicknamed the Mother of Mercy and is prayed to for a good harvest and by young couples seeking a growing family and prosperous future. As a good deity, she rewards those who give compassion unto others and seeks goodwill in all things, and isn’t above breaking rules if it means saving the weak or the innocent from harm. She is commonly worshiped by farmers, midwives, parents (especially mothers and grandmothers), and nursemaids. Most of her servants are peasant folk, especially those in green pastures and countrysides, though occasionally a well-off lord with a vineyard of his own will give her courtesy.
- Vaulten the Forger is the God of Earth, Metals, and Craftsmanship. He is the god of the deep places of the world and his spheres of influence are mining, smelting, forging, crafting, quarrying, and building. While his brother Helos is the patron of Order and Civilization, Vaulten is the drive that brings both to fruition. Unlike most of his siblings he is considered to be a neutral god, largely due to his pragmatic approach to his work; he does not care if a tool forged is used to bring harm to others, only that its intended purpose be fulfilled. He frowns upon magic users, preferring action by force of limb over the casting of spells, and so his clerics are encouraged to engage in martial prowess over any magical talent they may develop. Dwarves worship him as their creator deity, and he is commonly worshiped by crafters, architects, stonemasons, smiths, miners, and explorers of the Deep Realms, who believe the God of Deep Places can grant them his protection.
- Andala the Windrunner is the Goddess of Freedom, Mists, and Gales. Her spheres of influence are travel, winds, flying creatures, and escape from unlawful authority. Sometimes considered to be Lady Luck, and the Goddess of Wanderlust, Andala is a goddess who celebrates freedom and the ability to do anything one sets their mind to. She is considered a chaotic goddess in the sense that she values freedom over law, which occasionally puts her clergy at odds with those of Helos. Despite this, she is a goddess who appreciates obligation, and she and her clergy frown upon those who let their Wanderlust be an excuse for escaping one’s duties. She is a goddess who hates slavery, and those who break the chains of those who are enslaved are greatly rewarded by her. She is commonly worshiped by travelers, merchants, wanderers, seafarers, explorers, falconers, and rangers, and is particularly admired by many Beastfolk for her emphasis on exploring the beauty of the wilderness.
- Falgrim the Lightwielder is the God of Heroes, Fire, and Warriors. His spheres of influence are that of war, honor, heroism, and courage, and it is said that he is the defender of all soldiers, especially those pressed into service. It is known that he has been worshiped particularly by the Fryss and the Reddmen as their god of war long before the Church of the Firstborn came into power in Altherys. Though worshiped as a god of war, Falgrim is first and foremost a god of bravery, courage, and heroism, and so exalts in battle if it is in defense of the weak, and appreciates honor in all things. He frowns upon war if it serves no purpose other than conquest or vengeance, and considers any form of murder offensive, yet appreciates those who would die defending a just cause. He is sometimes associated with Andala due to his free nature, as well as Vaulten as he appreciates the craftsman’s great works, but has willingly placed himself in service of Helos often. He is commonly worshiped by soldiers, mercenaries, skalds and bards, as well as any who bear arms in order to protect those they hold dear. Most consider him to be the patron god of the Realm of Fryslon due to its association with battle-hardened adventurers, and Goblinfolk in particular appreciate his honesty and lack of persecution, treating all heroes as equals regardless of race or creed.
- Kyntaya the Mistshaper is the Goddess of Water, Beauty, and Change, and is considered the patroness of all seafarers. Her spheres of influence are rivers, lakes, and seas, mists and cloud, and the beauty of all things made and unmade. She is sometimes considered to be the Weeping Goddess due to her image of being a smiling woman perpetually in tears, for even tears are beautiful. She is considered to be the admiration of all artists who seek beauty in all things, and it is from her that written word, painted pictures, and spoken song gets its inspiration and beauty. It is assumed that she is associated with the God Tharawn and this association is why she weeps, though none know for certain. She is commonly worshiped by artists, sailors, fishermen, young folk, aristocrats, and actors.
- Lastly, Tharawn the Lanternkeeper is the god of Night, Cold, and Death. His spheres of influence include highways, stars, lanterns, graveyards, and cold places where light rarely shows. He is considered the Great Guide and the Guardian of the Crossroads, as his lantern leads the souls of the deceased to their place of judgement in the halls of the dead. Without his influence, it is said that the dead would wander the wilderness as restless spirits until the end of the world. He is a staunch opponent to undeath, considering it to be the greatest sin, and charges his paladins and clerics to seek out and destroy the undead wherever they find them. Graverobbing likewise offends him, and he considers pillaging the tombs of the dead to be a sin unless it is done while curtailing the restless dead. He is rarely worshiped save to provide blessings to the dead or the dying, but he is often served by undertakers, coroners, highway patrols (especially those at night), and lantern keepers.