The Midlanders, or the inhabitants of the Middle Lands, believe they are children of the Forefather, known also as the Lord of a Secret Name and the Mountain King. They also worship the numerous Heralds of the Forefather, such as the Giver of Rings - the herald of kings and leaders, the Longbearded Smith, the Silent Maid, the Guardian of the Chambers or the Smiling Chanter.
According to Midlandic belief, the Forefather had sons among mortals. They were demigods - champions and progenitors of many tribes and royal families. The last and most renowned of them is Geliand of Hillead, the hero of many sagas, who accomplished great deeds in the fight against the One-Eyed. Eventually he received a mortal wound, but did not die - he sailed off to the farthest North, to the Forefather's Chambers, from where he will return on the day of the Last Battle. Then he will engage the Destroyer and the One-Eyed in a final fight. He will win, but the blood trickling from his wounds will set the world on fire.
The religious symbols of the Midlanders include a sword stabbing the ground and a Blazing Tree. According to the stone saga, the Tree grows on the border between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. Set ablaze by the Forefather's thunder, it will burn until the end of days. Its light guides the spirits of dead Midlanders through the dark abyss of the One-Eyed, into the Forefather's Chambers.
The main tenets of Azebian religion are set forth in the sacred Scrolls, given to the Azebs by an ancient sage named Vali. According to the Scrolls, before the creation of the world there already existed two powerful, opposing Forces. The stronger of them is the Father of Wisdom. His enemy is the spirit of evil - the One-Eyed Shekhem who continuously strives to defile the Father's creations. Being weaker, he needs to resort to trickery and the help of djifreets. Both Forces engage in an endless struggle for power over the world and its inhabitants. If a man wishes to reach the Father of Wisdom, he needs to follow the Path of Truth - pray, fast and obey the laws dictated by the Scrolls.
The Azebs believe in the journey of souls. After physical death, infidels are transformed into monstrous servants of the One-Eyed and thrown into the abyss while true Wanderers are reborn into new bodies. Men who'd led exemplary, god-fearing lives receive better forms and are thus brought one step closer to the Father of Wisdom. Those who reach the end of the Path are granted eternal life in the Lunar Seraj, where tamed goddesses of the pagan peoples are kept to fulfil their every desire.
The religious symbol of the Azebs is the Curved Horn. The sound of this divine instrument filled the world upon its creation and it will resound once again on the Day of Torment. The Azebs use long horns made of bronze to call the faithful to take arms or sit down to ritual meals.
The Ismirs - the numerous tribes inhabiting Nordheim - hold to an older form of the Forefather cult. In their tales, the King of Men is accompanied by a wife - the Foremother, their numerous offspring and a host of retainers, all dwelling in the King's heavenly hall. Ismirean gods are much like their followers - they are great warriors and sailors, talented craftsmen, merchants and inspired chanters.
The king among gods is Gautyr. His symbols are a spear and two eagles who serve him. He holds the titles of the Forefather and the Mountain King, and has the right to settle every argument. Fearless in battle, he always stands at the front of his army and fights in the vanguard. When the Ismirs go to war, they believe Gautyr walks among them. When they win, part of the loot must be given to his temple as payment for his guidance.
Gautyr's wife is Fricca, the caring goddess of abundance, love and fertility. Her golden hair reaches down to her shoulders. She excels in white magic and can create various useful items. Her symbols are a horn and a ripe ear.
The Mountain King and Fricca have numerous children. The most famed of them are: stern Lothur, who watches over sailors and the laws of battle, brave Njord and swift Vengnir the Archer.
The greatest enemy of the gods is Chortmir, the one-eyed giant ruling the underworld, and his monstrous offspring which keeps pestering mortals. The most dangerous among Chortmir's beasts are great dragons, Haglun - the master of the icy wind, and his wife Unnran, who rules over the depths of the seas and stirs up powerful storms, bringing sailors to their doom.
The Empire of Sangmar was once a vast, powerful country. For many centuries it had been successful in fending off the savage ancestors of the Midlanders and making conquests of its own. Nowadays it is but a shadow of its former glory. And the Sangarians long for nothing more than to bring it back to bloom.
The ancient Sangmar is the capital of an Empire of the same name - a city of fumes and secrets. Through the millennia, Sangarians worshipped many old deities, praying for victories, abundance and bountiful loot. The rulers of the Empire were lenient towards followers of other religions, letting them settle on imperial ground. However, in the recent centuries the fates - or gods themselves - have not been kind to Sangmar. Midland had been attacking its western territories while half-savage Wenedian tribes caused trouble in the North. Southern provinces fell prey to warlike Azebs wielding the Curved Horns of their unforgiving god.
In the recent years, Sangmar saw many sudden, drastic changes. Basileus Agenar Baleazaurus decided to accept the cult of the Forefather and his champion Geliand as the nation's official religion. His decision resulted in a wave of social unrest. The basileus' brother, Ithobaal, took advantage of the situation - with the help of the Azebian army, he banished his brother and captured his throne before the northern kings had time to come to the rescue. As a token of gratitude for the khagan, Ithobaal accepted the symbol of the Curved Horn and submitted his country to the cult of the Father of Wisdom. Since then, the symbol of the Empire is the Sun with the Azebian Curved Horn hanging below it.
The exiled basileus took refuge among Midlanders. His presence provided them with an excuse to keep attacking Sangmar in order to reinstate Baleazaurus the Exile on the throne.
Even though officially Sangmar accepts the cult of the Father of Wisdom, many pagan deities continue to be worshipped by the proud residents of the Empire. One of them is Arch-Molok: imagined as a bull or a horned man carrying an infant, he watches over the city, country and kings, granting them prosperity. The fires burning under his statues are always hungry for sacrificial offerings of newborn babes. In the coastal regions, the cult of Melcart, god of the Underworld, seas and storms, is still widespread. Ashima-Atcharti, the Lady of two names, is another deity, presented as a naked woman holding lotus flowers. She provides her followers with fertility, good harvests and abundance of game. Her temples organise ceremonial orgies with her priestesses. During the equinoctial feast, incense is burnt for her and offerings are made of grains, meat, milk and little children.
Ashima-Atcharti was once the wife of Ekshum. She murdered her husband, cutting off his head, but he was brought back to life. He became the god of death and rebirth, controlling the ever-changing cycle of Nature. His symbol is a pair of entwined snakes glancing upon each other in a motionless balance.
Shahar, once known as the Son of Dawn, is the Lord of Plague. Sacrifices are made in his name in order to drive away disease or - more often - to bring illness upon somebody else.
The imperial city, its kings and its graves are protected by the vulture-bodied goddess Nergena.
Many other pagan gods, whose names the Sangarians do not dare speak aloud, are worshipped in numerous underground temples.