religion

ABCs from EUD

No plot spoilers, just a few names that might not have been mentioned yet. Enjoy! A is for the After - the place all souls must go at the moment of death.

B is for Blood - it's important in more ways than one.

C is for Cade - Kallizar's loyal servant and friend.

D is for D'arrynt - Kallizar's home town.

E is for Enladi - the ocean that separates Fyan and Varaeti from the next closest countries of Fyan and Patal. And E is for Even unto Death, the first book in the trilogy.

F is for Fyan - Kallizar's home country and the setting for most of EUD.

G is for Gharot - the Patalian emissary.

H is for Hirom - son of King Fawlen and Queen Seriah, and the Crown Prince of Fyan.

I is for Itamn - a village in the northernmost region of Fyan.

J is for Jarrin - younger brother of Li'ra and the youngest of Kallizar's servants.

K is for Kallizar - the Honored Sorcerer of Fyan, an eccentric and honorable woman and the star of the Immortal Flames.

L is for Lubek - the huge country to the northeast that is trying to acquire a Sorcerer from Fyan for themselves.

M is for Mahliz - the Court Sorcerer of Fyan and a powerfully loyal man. And M is for Mikael, Commander General of the Fyanish military and Prince of Fyan.

N is for No'om - another of the tiny villages up north in Fyan.

O is for Olimon - a small town about a day's ride from Xuun, with very good house wine.

P is for Pirate - Pirates are common in the Fisian Sea, living in the island cities known collectively as the Free Ports.

Q is for Queen - The rules of Fyan dictate that there must always be a ruler from the royal bloodline, but whether that is the king or queen is irrelevant. Daughters, nieces, and sometimes sisters have been named Crown Princess and have inherited the rights of Queendom upon the old monarch's death.

R is for Rosa - the wife of Mikael and one-time friend of Kallizar. She is the only person to live on the South Wing of the Palace (with the royalty) without being a member of the High Court.

S is for Seriah - current queen of Fyan runs much of the less-glamorous aspects of maintaining a country because she has a good head for the complex paperwork.

T is for Tan'jeht - a poison deadly to Sorcerers because of its magic-destroying attributes.

U is for Uther - a friend of Kallizar's in Varaeti.

V is for Varaeti - the country across the Fisian Sea from Fyan. Once connected as a single island, the now two separate island nations have gone from friends and allies to enemies barely holding on to a dying cease fire.

W is for Worship - Worship is an essential part of life. The Prophets of Ri'hannon and Lillith are well-respected and protected in Fyan, and they can hear the voices of the gods and use boons from the gods to do miraculous things that even magic cannot replicate.

X is for Xuun - the capital of Fyan and the location of the Palace, as well as the national trading headquarters.

Y is for Year - at the beginning of EUD, the year is 1078 A.R. Kallizar is 90 years old.

Z is for Zahn - High Prophet Zahn is the head of a temple in Xuun that is dedicated to both gods. He is a quiet and devout man who will not hesitate to help someone - regardless of that person's worldly affiliations.

25 Years Together

True story.

This post is especially for my mom and dad, but it's a good reminder for us all.

Today (July 17) is my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, God brought the two of them together in love and today they are still holding strong to their vows to each other.

I have always admired my parents and have many times thought that a life even only half as loving and kind as theirs would be amazing. As a kid, I looked up to them for help, answers, protection, and love. When I got married, I looked to my parents for advice and direction as my husband and I began our way down our own road. They were there for me growing up, preparing me for my adult life, and they are here for me now - and today, they celebrate all the love and memories that they've shared while being there for each other.

You've always been the cool parents, Mom and Dad. Partially because you're funny, partially because you're smart and witty (sometimes almost too clever :) ), partially because you're tech-savvy and you can still kick my butt with "today's trends" trivia. But mostly it's because everyone who sees you knows that you're a great couple. You fell in love and you stayed in love and you keep working at it, growing, making your lives stronger and better together. God has blessed you in so many ways and has made you incredible.

Here's to 25 years together, and another lifetime ahead. Stay strong in your faith and know that God is always with you and that each day together is a gift from Him.

With much love and respect,

-Sarah

There's a Lot in a Name...

A while back, when I was first starting the Immortal Flames trilogy, I asked a group of friends for ideas for names for the two gods who would be part of the world. I gave the descriptions for both, saying that there would be a female who would be the God of Wrath, and a male who would be the God of Mercy, and that they were long-time lovers. Neither one was ever meant to be considered "evil" or "good" since there are multiple ways to apply or withhold wrath and mercy. The names I liked the best were the ones I have now: Lillith, God of Wrath, and Ri'hannon, God of Mercy.

As I watch and read more and more stories, I see "Lilith" come up again and again, and she's always evil. And creepy. And demonic. And I decided it might be time for me to change the name of my God of Wrath, because I don't want people to see the name "Lillith" and instantly think "evil and demonic" because that's not the way my character operates. Trouble is, I've been using the name Lillith for a few years now and it feels like a good fit. And also, I'm not sure what I would use instead.

So here's where you all come in. When I introduced Lillith, did you automatically assume she was an evil god because of her name? Do you have any name suggestions that would be suitable for a God of Wrath that doesn't instantly imply something evil? Or maybe you thought the name Lillith was fine and don't see any reason I should change it?

I'm looking for suggestions and opinions, so if you have anything, please share it in a comment! Thanks for taking the time and interest to help make my characters the best they can be! :)

 

(P.S. - You can search for all my previous posts about Lillith and/or Ri'hannon using the tags of their names, or with the Search box at the top of the page.)

Judgment

An ancient text depicts judgment passed down from the gods to a group of people who convinced themselves that magic, a rare and precious gift, made them into gods. Lillith and Ri'hannon responded with this:

Stand and be judged!

You mortals are a wretched race. How often have you pleaded for the blood of another? How often have you struck down your neighbor, your friend? How often have you turned the blame for your own misdeeds upon others?

How rarely you asked for peace! How rarely for forgiveness! How rare to hear you plead for another's life to be spared, for you to take the punishment in another's place!

You consider yourselves loving, intelligent, gifted. I challenge you now: prove it! How are you loving when you strike down your fellow man? How are you intelligent when you constantly are so foolish? How are you gifted when you are so many times in error?

You claimed knowledge, but there were no wise among you. Those who truly possessed wisdom you hunted down and murdered. Those who could have saved you, you put to death.

You should have heeded their words, mortals! You should never have been so quick to dismiss the hand of the gods in everything. You should never have stolen that glory for yourselves.

Because of your arrogance, your foolishness, your stubbornness, your pride, you will suffer. You thought yourselves to be gifted, to be gods. Now, not only will we take that gift from you, but we will leave you to wallow in the remnants of your own destruction. All those with those immortal flames will perish, and never again shall one with that gift be born in your lands. We curse you, here and now, for all time, to be barren of the flames and poisoned with defiance and foolishness.

Your judgment has been passed.

Bow before the gods, you wretched mortal race!

The gods of Wrath and Mercy are in accord, and never shall this judgment be overturned! Tremble in fear like the cowards you are and pray that we, Ri'hannon and Lillith, might forgive you upon your death!

Country Stats: Fyan

Stats and facts about Fyan, Kallizar's birthplace and the main country/setting in EUD. Full Name: Fyan

Flag: foreground - black image of a merchant trade ship accompanied by a large sea serpent (called a Doni'i); background - forest green, solid color

Location: East of Varaeti, separated by the Fisian Sea. An island nation that has the Fisian Sea on its western coastline and the Enladi Ocean on its remaining sides.

Capital: Xuun

Largest City (per capita): Xuun

Official Language: Fyanish

Government: Monarchy

Current Monarch: King Fawlen (son of the previous monarch) and wife Queen Seriah. Heir is Crown Prince Hirom.

Rules for Succession of Throne: Current monarch chooses an heir, typically a son or daughter, although nieces, nephews, or other family members have been named in the past.

Origin: Hundreds of years ago, the island nations of Fyan and Varaeti existed as one larger island nation (name lost). After a magical explosion forced the two sides of the island apart and caused the surrounding Enladi Ocean to come rushing in (creating the Fisian Sea), the now separate islands became the independent nations of Fyan and Varaeti.

Currency: Coin-based  economy. Unit of currency - Jii (singular), Jii'n (plural).

Calendar: Months based on the lunar cycles of the two moons. Years based on the number of years after the Rift (the explosion that rendered Varaeti and Fyan two separate island nations).  Commonly abbreviated AR.

Land Area: Rough approximation puts the square mileage at 306,000.

Total Population: Unknown. No formal census has ever been conducted. Rough estimates put the count at around 4 million.

Religion: Nearly all the population engages in worship of the Moon gods- Lillith, god of Wrath, and Ri'hannon, god of Mercy. Prophets of these gods are given high standing in the country, and people who denounce the gods and worship are often dishonored and outcast from society.

 

Have other questions about Fyan? Post them in the comments and let me know!

Sacred Text from the Book of the Gods

A clipping from the beginning of the Book of the Gods, a book which contains all manner of information, lessons, and scripture from the gods  featured in The Immortal Flames. "And from the Void did come two gods to watch and rule over the world. She of great and terrible beauty holds dominion over all that is wrath and is called Lillith. He of gentle and dangerous mind holds dominion over all that is mercy and is called Ri'hannon. Together they came because of their eternal and powerful love for each other, and together they share in worship and majesty from the people.

"And together they did create the After so as to be their domain from which they can watch the passing of events in the world, and to which they grant rest or bestow punishment upon the mortal souls who arrive at the entrance upon the mortal's death. Those who have pleased the gods may enter the peace of the After, while those souls who have earned the anger of both gods are doomed to suffer in torment until the gods come to an agreement to release that soul from the agonizing pit of the After's darkness.Take heed, mortal man, then, that no one find himself in the anger of the gods, lest his soul be thrown into the After's darkness!

"Thus it is said and thus it is so."

Of Mercy and Wrath

Prophet Aleki nodded. “I understand your skepticism, Sorcerer Ian,” she replied. “But these strangers have not come for your blood, or mine. Their quest is a different path, and Ri’hannon has given me a message for them.” “Then they are here,” Ian said.

“Indeed,” Aleki agreed, “and if you spill their blood inside this temple, you will answer to Ri’hannon for your mistake. And he will not look kindly upon you for it.” The Prophet’s voice had taken on a chilly undertone. “Now go. I swear to the Gods, if you let these strangers be, they will not harm you. Their vengeance is not for you.”

 

Lillith, the God of Wrath, and Ri'hannon, the God of Mercy, share rule over the mortal world. They created the After as a realm of their own, a place where they could safely watch over the mortals and, once those mortals died, where they could interact with the spirits.

The Gods are powerful beings, but their power only reaches the After. To influence the human world, the Gods listen to the prayers of their Prophets and grant them boons - shards of the Gods' powers that the Prophets can then use. Prophets can sometimes hear the words of the Gods, if they are focused and quiet enough, but ultimately they can use the boons for whatever they so choose. Most Prophets feel closer to one God over the other, and Lillith and Ri'hannon agreed from before the beginning that they would not ever attempt to sway one's Prophet to the other's cause. A few Prophets maintain contact with both Gods; this requires a lifetime of dedication and balance and focus, and few are able to achieve the calm necessary to use boons of both Wrath and Mercy. Those who do become known as High Prophets and are held in extremely high regard.

Because of the Prophets' presence and the obvious powers of the Gods' boons, there is no doubt that the Gods exist and are watching the human world. Therefore, finding anyone who staunchly disbelieves the Gods' existence is near impossible... and those few who have been foolish enough to question the Gods soon find themselves in the After, where they come face-to-face with these powerful beings.

The Gods are very much equal in power and knowledge, even though the details certainly differ. For example, if Lillith gave one of her Prophets a boon to strike down a human, but Ri'hannon gave one of his Prophets a boon to protect that human, their power would cancel out and the human would be unaffected. Also, while they are not all-knowing, they are immortal and exist outside the human flow of time, which has given them hundreds of thousands of years to study and watch the human race. Their knowledge of an individual family or person may certainly differ, but their overall wisdom concerning the mortals is equal.

The humans know only what they have learned from the Prophets (and they have learned only what they have heard from the whispering of the Gods). They know that Ri'hannon is male, holds the place of Mercy, and has reserved black as his color (signifying deep love, peace, and rest). They also have attributed the blue moon with Ri'hannon, which has a softer light than its red counterpart. Ri'hannon, upon learning this, was amused and has even been seen walking the After in deep blue tones.

People have also learned about Lillith. They know she is female, holds the place of Wrath, and has reserved white as her color (signifying the purity of fury and pain). They have also associated her with the red moon. Lillith was pleased at the choice and it has since become her tradition to wear red when she is calm. The more angry or excited she becomes, the paler the red gets until it turns a blinding white. This applies to her clothes as well as her hair.

Perhaps the most important thing the humans have learned (beyond the proof that the Gods very much exist) is the meaning of oaths. When a person says they swear to the Gods, Lillith and Ri'hannon hear that oath and will be watching to make sure that oath is upheld... and woe to the one who breaks that oath. Many people made quick oaths to Ri'hannon to bail them out of a tight situation, banking on his mercy to get them out of the oath once the danger had passed - forgetting that the God of Mercy can just as easily withhold his mercy as he can give it. Ri'hannon may have a longer temper than Lillith, but his anger is just as dangerous.

 

Fun Facts (that no humans know!):

Lillith and Ri'hannon are lovers. They have been together since before the creation of the After, and care deeply about the well-being of each other. They have no concept of marriage.

Most of the time, both Gods look human. They have learned that the mortal-souls which find them in the After are much more comfortable speaking to a being with a recognizable build. However, they have been known to don wings and claws on occasion.

Although they exist outside the human flow of time, the Gods do have a basic understanding of it. They mark the passage of time in the human world accurately, and do not bother looking to the human future, since the humans' decisions are constantly shifting it anyway. Since they are immortal, both Gods are essentially of the same "age," although between the two of them, Ri'hannon is slightly "older."

There have been talks between them about the possibility of swapping roles for a single human day, where Ri'hannon would become the God of Wrath and Lillith the God of Mercy. In spite of the entertainment factor, however, they are too concerned as to what the long-term conditions might be to actually try this.

As Gods, Lillith and Ri'hannon have complete control over everything in the After - including the paths of all the mortal-souls in it. Those mortals who have earned anger from both Gods are punished until Ri'hannon and Lillith come to an agreement that they may be let out into the rest of the After (which is a rare occurrence, since by nature Mercy and Wrath tend to disagree). However, they are often extremely frustrated by their inability to directly influence the mortal realm. Such frustration has even branched out into wishes to travel to the mortal realm to get things done... but since their Godly powers were never meant for the human world, they would likely become trapped as a mortal on earth - a thought which keeps them firmly in the After, despite the inconveniences.

Don't Piss Off the Gods

The main religion in the world of Kallizar is that of the Moon Gods: Lillith, God of Wrath and Ri'hannon, God of Mercy. They watch over the human realm from the After - the place where all souls come at the moment of mortal death. Basic facts about the Gods: They are not able to directly influence the human realm. They must instead act through their Prophets, giving them Godly powers and guiding them with whispers and answered prayers toward the Gods' goals. The Gods are not omniscient or omnipotent or omnipresent. However, they have full control over the After (which they created together) and consider their work in the human realm to be something like an eternal game of chess between the two of them.

Below is a sketch I did to bring some insight to how the Gods - in this case, Lillith - react to the actions of the humans.

“Lillith, what are you doing?” Ri’hannon approached her carefully. His caution was necessary; the God of Wrath was staring heatedly at a point some forty feet in front of her. Her hair was pure white, and her long, flowing dress matched perfectly. Her elegant fingers were balled into fists and her eyes were flashing so much Ri’hannon would not have been surprised if there had been actual flames. The God of Mercy had not seen her this upset in several millennia. “Tell me what it is,” he said. His voice was gentle but not condescending. He waited patiently while Lillith’s words returned to her. He could hear her teeth grinding together.

“Someone – several someones – need to die,” she fumed. “Horribly, slowly, and viciously. And they need to be greeted personally by me when they get here.”

Ri’hannon continued to wait.

“I want to rip their hearts out while they’re still beating. I want to split them open so that the dogs eat their entrails while they watch. I want to pluck out their eyes and lead them off a cliff and watch their bodies be shattered on the rocks. I want to poke holes in their lungs and listen to the burbling sounds of their pathetic attempts to breathe. I want to chop them up into little pieces and scatter them at my altars. I want to hear them beg for my forgiveness and then strike them down. I want to strangle them with their own windpipes twisted around their necks. I want to slit their children’s throats and make them drink their children’s blood. I want to remove every good thing from their lives and then smite them with all my power. I want to kill them, and then shred their souls for an eternity here in the After!”

“Tell me what has happened,” Ri’hannon said softly.

“Some people were unhappy with me,” Lillith spat. “They didn’t think I was doing a good job as the God of Wrath, so they decided to get my attention. By killing seven of my Prophets!” She was shrieking.

Holy wrath streamed off her in tangible waves. It was so potent and so full of pure, unhindered rage, that Ri’hannon had to physically brace himself against the onslaught. She could not hurt him, but when her power radiated that much, the feeling was uncomfortable even for him.

She continued. “They were faithful! They didn’t deserve that death! Well, those people certainly got my attention now. As soon as one of my remaining Prophets prays, I will destroy those subhuman scum who dared think themselves better than me!” She focused on Ri’hannon. “And if anyone prays to you to spare those lives, don’t. They murdered my Prophets. They are mine.”

Ri’hannon had only one thing to say. “I will help you. Lend me some of your wrath, my love, and let me help you.”

She held out her hand. Ri’hannon accepted. Power blazed from the God of Wrath to the God of Mercy. Ri’hannon did not flinch. His own anger at seeing Lillith this way anchored him. “Now, show me where they are. And believe me, my Lillith --- they will die.”

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