The theological world of Alyria is a complicated one. The physical plane is not the only one in existence. A good diagram of the universe can be seen as a division from Spiritual unity, to Mental abstractness, to Astral fluidity, to Ethereal certainty, to Physical being.
Planes of ExistenceEdit
There exist many Presences on these alternate planes of existence, which are divided as follows:
On the Spiritual plane, there is a unity, from which everything stems. This unity is neither good, nor bad, for it cannot be defined by those terms. It is simply a state of perfection. Working to further the mysterious goal of the unity are Angels, who cannot be bound or coerced by any means.
On the Mental plane exist Intelligences, beings of thought and perception, who know all that was and all that will be. They can be bound by invoking the power of the unity itself.
On the Astral plane exist the astral beings. Some are harmless, called Little Nasties, formed by stray thoughts from the lower planes. Other spirits inhabit this plane, some good, some bad, some in between. There is a lot of confusion in the astral plane, where the only certainty is that nothing is what it seems to be.
The more evil of these spirits are referred to as Demons, who are as alien to the physical plane as can be. Where the Angels are working towards the furthering of the goal of the unity, the Demons are working towards undoing that goal, and are the personification of the force known as entropy.
On the Ethereal plane exist the nature spirits, the Faeries, and Elementals. The ethereal plane can be considered a shadow of the physical plane in that they closely mimic each other. The nature spirits are very powerful, since they command the forces of the elements themselves, and cannot be bound or coerced by magical means. They have their own agendas and thus are very dangerous individuals to deal with. Divided into two groups, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, they are led by a King and a Queen, respectively.
The Seelie court commands the Sidhe, one of the two most populous of the faerie beings, they are considered good by nature. However, they are not led by morals or ethics, and thus are still quite unstable entities to deal with. The Unseelie court commands the Fey, a less ethical and even more dangerous group of faeries.
It is said that the Faeries were once members of the physical plane, and when the war of the Angels and Demons occurred several millennia ago, they took neither side, and were completely neutral. As a result they were punished, cursed to exist forever on the ethereal plane without permanent shape or form, and therefore long to become flesh and blood again, as is foretold in the future final conflict between the Angels and the Demons.
Faeries can take physical shape for an indefinite period of time – effectively projecting an image of themselves into the physical plane - but if this energy is depleted enough, they will lose control over their forms and be returned to the ethereal plane until they can replenish their strength.
The elementals are much more static in their manner and, as long as they are requested to perform tasks within the range of their specific element, can be quite powerful and useful.
The Physical plane is where the bulk of the action takes place, where the forces flowing through the hierarchy of planes take shape in their final forms. Most magic on the physical plane is etheric energy, which flows directly from the Ethereal plane through invisible conduits. Etheric energy is delicate by nature and, as such, loses power in full sunlight, for the energy streaming from the sun literally washes out etheric waveforms. This is why faeries are harmed by full or partial sunlight, because it takes more energy for them to maintain their physical presence.
Thus, magic is affected by the twin moons, one a brilliant silver, Trigael, and the other a bluish-silver, Marabah. These moons cause the tides of magic on Alyria, their reflective power streaming more etheric energy on the planet when full than when new, the power waxing and waning as the moons themselves wax and wane.
The majority of the denizens of Alyria worship personifications of the forces of the five alchemical elements - earth, water, air, fire, and ether. They are known as the Powers. Sub-classifications of these five Major Powers exist, which vary among the sentient races, defining certain aspects of each greater Power, but the essential forces remain the same. These Powers are named and classified as follows:
Maradas Earth - Masculine, cold and dry in nature. Represented by the color black and the direction north, and linked to the Physical plane. Gnomes are the faerie creatures directly embodying the primal forces of this Power.
Ithrilis Water - Feminine, cold and moist in nature. Represented by the color blue and the direction west, and linked to the Astral plane. Undines are the faerie creatures directly embodying the primal forces of this Power.
Dira Air - Feminine, hot and moist in nature. Represented by the color yellow and the direction east, and linked to the Mental plane. Sylphs are the faerie creatures directly embodying the primal forces of this Power.
Gath Fire - Masculine, hot and dry in nature. Represented by the color red and the direction south, and linked to the Spiritual plane. Salamanders are the faerie creatures directly embodying the primal forces of this Power.
Vandyne Ether - Androgynous and Neutral in nature. There is no faerie creature directly embodying the primal forces of this Power.
The powers are themselves parts of the primal Unity - the point in the universe from which everything stems, simply, the "One". Some races do not believe in this unity, stating that the five Powers are the only forces in the universe, but it is known to the exceedingly wise that the Powers are all extensions of the One.
Priests will usually choose one of the five Powers or, depending on their race, one of the many aspects or combination of aspects of a Power. To tap into the forces of the particular Power they serve, they will use a combination of chanting and gestures to bring about the appropriate mindset.
Druids serve and respect all of the Powers and may call upon their primal forces when needed. A druid will never call upon the One except in a dire emergency, for the One embodies the combined forces of all the Powers and is almost impossible to control without losing oneself in the channeling.