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SEVRIN LORE: The old gods

The old gods are dead, if indeed they ever existed.

This is the position of Sevrin’s alchemists, who celebrate the wonders of science and their own mastery over the natural world.

Most people of Sevrin view magic as part of this natural world, like the tides and the seasons. There is power in the land which the knowledgeable can harness and shape. Whether or not the practice of magic is advisable is another matter, but few people doubt that it exists.

Unlike many of the mainland cultures, particularly in the lands to the south, Sevrin is by and large a secular culture.  No temples, groves, altars, or other such structures exist on the seven main islands. There are, however, a few communities on some of the smaller islands where ancient rituals honor the old gods, particularly Annivan, the goddess of death, childbirth, and mysteries.  Burial rituals frequently invoke her, and amulets with her image or symbol (three curving waves to represent the sea, sometimes accompanied by a drop of water) are clutched by laboring women. Many divination rituals and prayers are addressed to Annivan by those who seek guidance or wish to know what the future brings.  Priestesses of Annivan are whispered to hold powers that would make a wizard tremble, yet no one will admit to knowing such a priestess, much less being one.

For the most part, though, remnants of the old ways take the form of folk customs and superstitions. A persistent belief in ghosts, for example, reveals the lingering appeal of the concept of Afterlife.  Most learned men are quick to point out the existence of other realms and the likelihood that ghosts, mystic experiences, and signs of divine favor have a perfectly logical explanation:  They are the past-times of mischievous and occasionally  malicious fey.  This attitude has given rise to a common Sevrin proverb is, “No god but science, no demons but fey.”

The people who know fairies best do not find this bromide particularly reassuring.