Religion Of The Four Guardians


The Faith of the Guardians was considered lesser to the Faith of the One for much of the early history of Eikeren. It was a peasant's faith, a farmer's faith, something for the sailors to believe in, and something rooted in the natural world. Houses such as Lohstren and Keldane were the few that had nobles who were faithful to the Guardians; it was through a noble marriage between a young Lady Keldane and King Ashelm of Eikeren did the Faith finally start to gain power. The King converted to the religion as a show of devotion to his new wife, and even built the the grand Temples of the Four in the Southern Citadel.

From there, the Faith grew, converting peasants and nobles alike. New temples were constructed, and old sanctuaries were reconsecrated around these "New Ways." The Faith was soon organized into a hierarchy of priests and priestesses, and eventually the Chosen of the Guardians were created as the militant arm of the covenant. While followers of the One became rare, they never actually died out, maintaining a smaller and now humbler faith. There were moments of religious feuding, and it took the will of Kings to cease the threats of full-out war.

The Faith of the Guardians is rooted in the concept of protection and stewardship. Followers of the Faith are encouraged through the scriptures to revere the forces of nature that are beyond their power. There are always levels of religious adherence, with some following each of the testaments of the Four, while others merely believing in the spirit of the religious commandments. There have been fanatically religious Lords and Ladies, and others who merely go through the motions out of duty.

The Guardians

Long ago, before the time of men, the world was looked after by those of a unique lineage. They were not men, for men would come later. They were not animal either, but something that was greater, something beyond, something whose heart beat with the roar of the ocean, whose blood ran with the lava of mountains, whose skin was as soft as heather, and whose eyes were as ever-changing as the skies. They moved through the world, sometimes shapeless but often embodying the shape of long-forgotten creatures. There were certainly some beasts that they felt greater affinity toward than others; these beasts became their kin and were guarded by them throughout their passing generations. Of these entities, the four mightiest were named Bornas of the Mountain Tigers, Altheara of the Winged Horses, Ravas of the Fire Birds, and Stilltha of the Water Dragons. Though they feuded at times, they also found great balance with one another. Ravas, whose temper was as hot as the feathers of the birds themselves, was often soothed by the calm wisdom of Stilltha, and Bornas could be steady and unmoving in the gusts of Altheara when emotions were high.

Amongst them was another, a Guardian who had no sole protectorate, but instead roamed amongst all and sowed chaos and destruction. This Other was named Kharnas. Perhaps wielding powers just as great as the other Four, Kharnas spread Ravas's fires further, sent Stilltha's tides higher, shook Bornas's earth harder, and made Altheara's storms fiercer. Through this Guardian's trickery and lies, the world suffered a terrible cataclysm, turning Guardian on Guardian, and shaping the lands. War was waged — a kind of war that would never been seen again. Lesser Guardians were wiped out entirely, and with them the legendary beasts they protected. It was only when the Four sat down and spoke directly to one another that they could come together as a united front to end the the chaos, causing the Other to slip back into shadow. So much destruction had been done, so much life had been lost. Their own kin — the Mountain Tigers, the Winged Horses, the Fire Birds, and the Water Dragons — had dwindled in numbers so drastically that the Guardians knew they would be forever lost.

It was in this moment of realization that the Guardians decided they would no longer merely guard select beasts, but the whole of the world itself. They would guard it against the Other's attempts to turn it to chaos once more, but they would also guard it from any threats against its survival. In an act to show their unity, the Four came together and created man who would be tasked to be the mortal protectors of the earth. Like the Four, Man could be as passionate as Ravas, as wise as Stilltha, as strong as Bornas, and dynamic as Altheara. But within them, the Other was able to plant a seed that, if allowed to grow, would sow darkness.


The Guardians are still seen as the beasts they called kin before the birth of man. Bornas is still revered as the White Tiger, Ravas the Fire Bird, Stilltha the Water Dragon, and Altheara the Winged Horse. Though, in order to walk amongst their new guardianship — the guardianship of man — they sometimes take on shape of their new kin.

Bornas the Mountain God

They say that the Mountain Tigers were monstrous creatures, some thought to have been twice the size of a horse. It was their strength and cunning that attracted Bornas to become their Guardian so many ages ago. These mythical beasts were somewhat solitary by nature, believed to have lived mostly alone, prowling their snowy hunting grounds. These characteristics are still attributed to Bornas, who is said to reside in solitude in the snow-covered mountains of the far North.

Before the Kingdom of Eikeren split so many centuries ago, warriors took pilgrimages into the mountains to be blessed by the Mountain God. Anyone who considered themselves a true warrior would make this pilgrimage at least once in their life. They would only journey into the treacherous terrain during the festival of Bornas, which is celebrated when the night is at its longest. Once the feud between brothers began, however, it became almost impossible for warriors sworn to the Tanifords to make their pilgrimages. They began to journey instead to the highest peak in Taniford, which is to the southwest of the Summer Citadel — it came to be called Bornas's Peak. This new pilgrimage site is a source of contention between the Rhaedan and Taniford temples as Bornas has always held dominion of the North. With a fragile peace established between the Kingdoms, Southrons have started to cautiously venture North in hopes of returning to old traditions.

Bornas is often prayed to for strength and endurance, particularly by warriors. He is also seen as the harvest god due to his connection to the earth itself, and therefore a prized deity amongst farmers. Finally, he is favored among craftsmen, though metalsmiths often balance him with Ravas. He is depicted as a large Mountain Tiger, or as a powerfully built man with hair grayed by age, but steady and sure as the mountain itself.


Altheara of the Winds

Even the horses bred by the Lohstrens will never compare to the stories of the Winged Horses of the Legend Age. They were said to have nested in the giant Blackwood Forest of the East—forests that still exist today. The monstrous trees were able to support the equally monstrous nests of these winged equine. They were said to be storm riders, catching thermals of great storms and racing amongst the clouds just as the wild plainsrunners race over hill and dale. Altheara often raced amongst them, and it is in the very same clouds that she resides today.

Altheara is the most dynamic of the Guardians, but also the most reactive; they say her mood changes with the weather, or perhaps more precisely, her mood changes the weather. From warm and lazy summer days, to the torrential spring rains, to the blustering winds of a winter's blizzard, all of which reflect on the mood of Altheara. Her honored domain is the great Blackwood Forest to the East, where the onyx trees often reach heights of three-hundred feet and diameters of twenty. There is a select grove of trees that contain impressive engravings in the Old Tongue that tells some of the greatest legends of Altheara.

Archers and scholars are often those who pay homage to Altheara. Her sigil is often engraved or painted on the eastern walls of places of learning and tutelage to promote the swiftness of intellect. Archers will even put her sigil on their quivers or carve it into their bows. Sailors often favor both her and Stilltha for favorable winds and gentle waters. Because she is considered to be a beautiful and free spirit, she is honored by young women. Not only is she depicted as the free-spirited black Winged Mare, but she is also seen as a young and beautiful woman with golden skin and dark hair that falls all the way to her feet.

Ravas the Fire God

Before the great war that marked the end of the Age of Legend, the Fire Birds of the South reigned over Mount Ravannus. The volcanic peak frequently sputtered and flowed with red hot lava, and much of the surrounding region was a desolate waste of ash and soot. To say that life had no hold, though, would be turning a blind eye to the wonderful beings that called that region home. These phoenixes lived, died, and were then reborn in the heat of the volcano. The sun soon became associated with the Fire Birds and their molten nests, being considered to be the egg of Ravas. Should the sun ever return to to the peak of Ravannus, it is said it will mark the beginning of another legendary age.

Because of this, Ravas is primarily associated with the dawn. The now-dormant Mount Ravannus is still honored as his domain, but they say that he flies across the sky to bring light to what would otherwise be a dark world. He is a source of passion and creativity, but also hot-tempered and vengeful. Similar to his brother Bornas, Ravas is considered to be somewhat elusive, but more to represent potential than solitude. Pilgrimages are still taken to Mount Ravannus, particularly by artists and lovers. Just as pilgrims of Bornas to the Northern Mountains were blocked when the Kingdom of Eikeren split, it became nearly impossible for Northerners to travel down to the volcano and bathe in the hot springs. Rhaedan had to create an alternative in the form of the great fire pits in the Temple of Brivey.


Ravas is prayed to by lovers, artists, and those seeking courage. Jousters also pay homage to him, and instead of the typical Black Knight, Red Knights are often the chosen tournament disguise of mystery knights. Young men and women often put bird feathers under their pillows, in hopes that Ravas will bring to them great love and passion, even if they do not know who their true love will be. Ravas is also associated with fiery tempers and emotions. Metalsmiths pray to both Ravas and Bornas to aid them in their craft. He is depicted as both the Fire Bird and a young and handsome man of fiery blonde hair and ash-colored eyes.

Stilltha of the Waters

Lying deep within the waters of the world were the great Dragons. They were calm, patient creatures by nature, but could turn into terrible and fell beasts when provoked. They resided in the rivers, the streams, the tiny brooks, the ponds, the lakes, and oceans wide. Some were small enough to rest in a grown man's hand, while others were said to fill the ocean depths. Living amongst them was old and wise Stilltha. During the Age of Legend, other Guardians would come to the coast of her ocean home to seek guidance. This tradition has continued throughout the ages, as those who need wisdom and aid will come and pray at the ocean's edge.

Stilltha is often considered to be the Wife of Bornas, due to the connection earth has with water. Plants cannot grow without fertile earth and heavy rains. When Stilltha is angry with her husband, she causes droughts. Her domain is wherever water resides, though she is often associated with the Still Sea to the west of Eikeren. She is associated with springtime and motherhood, but also with wisdom and aging. Vials of seawater are often given to expecting parents to protect both mother and unborn child.

Mothers and older women often pray to Stilltha, but so do sailors and farmers. While Altheara is considered to be the Guardian of intellect and knowledge, Stilltha is the Guardian of wisdom — something that cannot be simply learned, but must be gained through experience and years. She is depicted as a blue Water Dragon, often times submerged beneath the sea. She is also seen as an older woman near the end of her childbearing age with graying hair and wise eyes.

Kharnas the Chaotic

The other surviving Guardian has no singular form with which to identify. Kharnas is often identified as a hooded figure, a carrion crow, or even merely the darkest shadows of the night. Sometimes a woman, sometimes a man, it is difficult to know what form the Other takes and that makes him a dangerous unknown. Even in the time of Legends, Kharnas moved amongst the creatures of world and sowed chaos and destruction in her wake. Guardians never knew if the words whispered into their ear belonged to their friend or to Kharnas. It was he who caused the great cataclysm between the Guardians, and led to the extinction of the mythic beasts of old.

While some would say the Other has no domain, others would say she exists everywhere. Even in the temples of the Four, his mark can be seen somewhere. Her sigil is an 'X', and is often found scrawled or engraved haphazardly in dark corners and other places that may go unseen; it is also left as a warning to those who have been marked for death. There are rumors of secret places where those who follow Kharnas gather to pay homage to him, but they are nearly invisible unless you know where to look.

While Kharnas is almost never directly prayed to by the faithful of the Four, she does have those who honor him. Tricksters sometimes pull pranks on her behalf, and unruly children are often said to be the imps of Kharnas. There are also rumors of more violent followers who gather together to cause chaos and death in the greater world. Violent criminals — murderers, torturers, and the like — are often branded with his sigil to indicate that they have allowed the seed that Kharnas planted in man during creation to bloom within them. As Kharnas has no singular form, but instead many, she is often known as the One of Many Faces, as well as the Other.


Wheel of the Year

The calendar of Eikeren is seen as an ever-turning wheel, indicating the continuation of life. Each Guardian is represented on some part of the wheel, and each have their own seasonal festival. Here is a basic description of each holiday and how it is generally celebrated. Individual Houses and areas may have variations of these festivals and feasts, and are described on their individual pages.

Festival Days

All Fools' Day - November 25th

On the first day of Winter, all the fools come out to play. It is a time for last minute adventures and trouble-making before the days begin to shorten and the first snows arrive. Originally, pranksters would dress in disguises and play tricks on unsuspecting victims, but over the centuries this has turned into a full-blown masquerade where nobles and peasants alike dress in costumes and have a good time without worrying about etiquette, protocol, or even consequences.

Though few remember it, this is truly Kharnas's day, and there are still many tricks played in the Other's name.

The Festival of Bornas - December 30th

On the longest night of the year, the Festival of Bornas is hosted across the Kingdoms. It celebrates that the long winter nights are beginning to wane, and is honored by a festival of lights and evergreen trees. Games that appeal to a variety of ages are played in order to help sate the boredom of the winter days. Grown men and women participate in feats of strength and endurance, including caber tossing and marathons through the snowy landscape; children are given handmade toys to occupy themselves with while they wait for spring.

A great feast is had during the midnight hours, and hot spiced wine is often imbibed in great quantities.

The Festival of Stilltha - February 5th

The first day of Spring honors the Festival of Stilltha. It welcomes the coming storms that will saturate the fields, raise the rivers, and generally promote the life-giver that is water. Longevity is honored through the consumption of egg-based dishes. It is often warm enough to host outdoor festivities including obstacle races for the young and old, and families usually come together to picnic. Children customarily put out hats cushioned with grass where sweet buns and decorated eggs are left by Stilltha herself (or at least parents acting on her behalf).

The Festival of Ravas - July 2nd

Midsummer is celebrated by bonfires, passionate interludes, and fiery courage. The festival starts just before sunset, catching the last glorious rays of the sun before the bonfires are lit and the true celebration begins. Dancing, joyous feasting, and the hunt of the great stag are all features of the Festival of Ravas. Young lovers are known to sneak away to steal moments alone. At the Citadel and Rhaedan Castle, a grand tournament is held during the day where at least one Red Knight always makes an appearance.

The Festival of Altheara - August 23rd

The first day of Autumn celebrates the changing seasons, and the winds bringing in the coming Winter. The most telling sign that the Festival of Altheara has begun is when hundreds of beautiful, simple kites are sent high into the air above every town and hamlet. These cloth kites are crafted from lightweight material and reeds, and little prayers for Altheara are strung together to make their tail. They are flown by young and old. In addition to kites, the Festival of Altheara includes archery contests, horse races, and a lovely young woman being crowned 'Queen of Love and Beauty' in honor of Altheara's own glory.

Feast Days

Unlike the large festivals, feast days are smaller and more communal affairs that are based around the agricultural fields. Every region has their own particular day that they celebrate these feasts, and they change from year to year based on the timing of the harvest. There is one around mid-Spring and another in mid-Autumn. While not exactly religious by nature, homage is often paid to the Guardians to bless the seeds to grow, and bless the harvest to be plentiful.

End of Planting

This day, or series of days depending on the region, occurs once the last field of that particular area has been planted. Since this varies from place to place, this particular feast does not happen at the same time across the Kingdoms. The feast is often what is left of the winter stores, but enough recipes have been created for this feast that nothing is boring to the palette. All Four Guardians are honored at the feast, though Bornas and Stilltha are given particular homage for fertile soil and no drought. Traditions and ceremonies for these days are completely up to the region, the House, and even the individual farming communities.

First Day of Harvest

Though much labor is required for the period of Harvest, the first day is a bit more casual compared to the ones to follow. Bread is often baked from the newly harvested grain. The feast is usually a hearty one with roasted turkey, quail, or sometimes a smoked ham hock. Just as the end of planting, all Four Guardians are honored at the time of feast, but particularly Altheara and Ravas to keep the autumn long enough to finish harvest and to keep spirits high during the labor. Traditions and ceremonies for these days are completely up to the region, the House, and even the individual farming communities.

Common Customs


Most marriages in Eikeren are conducted by a Priest or Priestess of the Four Guardians. There are rare ceremonies that are still held by the sages of the One, but they are often seen as backwards and somewhat heretical. Nobles and commoners alike are wed in the town temple, or in the last of the wild sanctuaries (see the Temple section below for more information).

Every ceremony has a similar structure, though they are all given their own flair based on family and region. In general, the groom and bride stand in the center of the temple, and move to all four corners to honor each Guardian, starting with Bornas in the North. Unique offerings are placed before each Guardian, and the soon-to-be-wed couple speak their vows. Once they have completed the circle, they return to the middle where the Priest or Priestess finishes the ceremony with anointing oils.

Here is a sample of vows that can be adjusted to fit a particular couple, region, and House.

Our union is blessed by Bornas. Together, we will be strong and steady, enduring the harshest trials as one.

Our union is blessed by Altheara. Together, we will learn from one another and find joy in simple pleasures.

Our union is blessed by Ravas. Together, we will be courageous, and our loyalty will be as constant as the rising sun.

Our union is blessed by Stilltha. Together, we will be calm and wise, and our marriage will be fruitful.


For those who follow the Four Guardians, there are three possible outcomes for a soul once it has departed the land of the living. Whatever the destination, it is decided by the Four in a moment of judgement. For those of great valor, their afterlife is spent in the great Halls of Heaven amongst other heroes and heroines. On earth, they are immortalized through statues and relics that are looked after by their kin. While not everyone strives to be named a hero, it is often the goal of Knights and Chosen to pass the judgement of the Guardians and be granted access into the sacred Halls. Should it be believed that they succeeded, their bodies are placed on a sacred pyre and their ashes placed in an urn at the feet of their burial statue.

Villains of the world — particularly those who have allowed the Seed of Kharnas to bloom within them — do not easily pass judgement by the Guardians, and are banished into the Chasms of Hell. Few wish to talk about the fate that awaits the souls who are so judged, though some suggest shadows and flame. Those who are assumed to be destined for this fate are buried deep beneath the earth in hopes that their souls will not linger above before meeting their fate far below.

Heroes and villains are not the sole possibilities for a soul, as not everyone is valorous nor villainous. Those who live ordinary, mundane lives stand before the Four Guardians and are deemed neither destined for Heaven nor Hell. Instead, these souls are reincarnated so that they may continue on their journey toward the heroic Halls or the villainous Chasms. Some souls will never achieve either of these fates, merely cycling through countless lives on an unending journey. For individuals judged by their surviving kin as not having achieved great virtue or great vice, their bodies are cremated and scattered into the winds where it is said Altheara will guide them to their next life.

The Temple of the Four

The earliest places of worship of the Four Guardians were merely four roofless walls, erected in forest clearings, empty stretches of plains, mountain valleys, and other natural places in the world. After the marriage between King Ashelm and the Lady of Keldane, and thus the growth of the Faith, more permanent temples were erected; this time, they were built inside settlements, particularly at the center. As the Faith of the One dwindled, its own sanctuaries were converted — just as its followers — to the worship of the Four Guardians. The first of their kind was constructed in the Summer Citadel upon the decree of King Ashelm. Unlike other temples which incorporated all Four Guardians into one single structure, a temple for each Guardian was placed in each of the four quadrants of the city; the Temple of Bornas in the Northern Quarter, the Temple of Altheara in the Eastern, and so on. At the city's center, the Great Temple was built, and it became a place of learning and eventually the barracks for the Chosen. Eventually, this very same configuration was constructed in the royal city of Eikeren, mirroring but never matching the grandeur of the Great Temple.

Other, more conventional temples were diamond-shaped, with a corner dedicated to each Guardian. The architects were meticulous, ensuring that Stilltha's shrine was to the West, Ravas's was to the South, and so on. The older sanctuaries are still looked after, particularly those in the March.

Priests and Priestesses

Temples and the spiritual health of Eikeren are looked after by a sect of Priests and Priestesses known as the Covenant. Smaller temples and settlements may only have one or two assigned to them, while the Great Temples can have an upward of a hundred or more. To be a Priest is a lifelong appointment, and most enter the Covenant as early as fourteen years of age.

Visit the The Covenant page to learn more.

The Chosen of the Temple

Out of the chaos of war there rose an order who's sole task was to protect the Priest and Priestesses of the Temple of the Four Gods. They have but one purpose, and it's a life long purpose, to protect those that come to worship at the Temples and the Covenant themselves. Deeply religious, their loyalty lies with the Temples, their conviction runs deep, and the teaching of the Temples comes first.

While once a person has decided to become a Chosen, they do forgo any noble claims to title and house, there is a decision waiting period where a person may still back out of the decision and not complete the Oath.

Visit the The Chosen page to learn more.

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