The gods in K23, known as deities, are not the remote-unless-evil variety found in most fantasy works. Most of deities interact with the living on an everyday basis because magic is act the of harnessing divine energy to affect the world…but that’s another post entirely.
They are complicated entities of dichotomies. They have forms, yet are formless at the same time. They are infinite and everywhere existing throughout space and time yet can focus and deal with the living on a personal level. They are sentient yet not sentient at the same time. They interact yet are remote at the same time. They are universal in Terrall, but each has their own patron races which they bestow gifts upon.
In creating the deities, I mostly borrowed from Eastern and African religious influences, rather than from the usual Judeo-Christian mold. From eastern religions, i take the concept of divine energy (Taoism). From African religions, I take the personal, everyday interactions (Vodun).
K23 is quite spiritual. Atheism and Agnosticism do not exist in Terrall. Even the more scientifically minded individuals know and respect the deities. Those who practice magic worship their deities just by using it. Certain indivuals, such as shamans and Uthirans (dragons) have especially intimate connections with their deities which I’ll get into shortly. Even those races that don’t have intimate connections still receive gifts and interact with their patron deities in some ways.
There are nine deities:
Elohim, the Holy: By his name, you can guess this is the Judeo-Christian deity stand in. But Elohim isn’t the bearded guy on the throne, not anymore. Elohim now looks like a retro-robot, such as:
Why is this? Simple: Elohim is the patron deity of the humans, who commanded them to build New Delta and divinely ordained the megacorp Order of Elohim: “And Elohim said to the humans, ‘On this spot you shall build a great and glorious city. To build it, you shall form an entity called a corporation.'” With his technological vision for humanity he changed his image to reflect it.
Ulax, the All-Seeing: This is the goblins’ patron deity and the one who gives shamans their divination abilities. He is pictured as an eyeless, earless goblin and is said to hear all, sell all and know all. He pops up in the novels as a character because he literally has a “phone line” right into the shamans’ heads. When either of the two main shaman characters, Eluna and Ebb, divine something, it is only because this deity gives them the information directly.
Alpha, the Creator: This is the remote creator archetype. Alpha is pictured as a disembodied hand and is the deity who brought the universe into existence. It doesn’t have a patron race and aside from summoning magic it doesn’t interact with the living.
Armagda, the Destroyer: Alpha’s counterpart. Armagda’s role is bring about the end of the universe in a few billion years. Trying to access Armagda is forbidden and usually deadly. Those who succeeded become super-powerful chaos mages who seek to destroy the world. But Armagda is not evil, Armagda just exists. It is others who call it evil. Armagda isn’t pictured in Terrall, but I do give it a form at very end of the Impending Darkness.
Harderith, the Dragon Mother: Patron deity to Uthirans and Komodo (lizard-people). The Uthirans are magical creatures, fused with Harderith, because it through her that they are able to manifest their breed-specific abilities, like red Uthirans breathing fire and white Uthirans breathing ice. She has a sizable number of human worshipers through a religion called the J’Harderith who are based in the desert settlement of the City of Sands. They believe that if you get eaten by a Uthiran you’ll be reborn as one. They don’t get eaten out existence as they feed Uthirans criminals instead. Pictured as a Uthiran, naturally.
Breunor, the Undergod: Patron deity to dwarves and gnomes. He’s pictured as a half-gnome, half-dwarf or Gnarf with a pickaxe in one hand and a clockwork watch in the other. His role is to put the minerals in the ground which the dwarves then dig up.
Illwyn, the Life-Bringer: Most known for having the elven forest named after her. She’s the patron deity to both orcs and elves. The Orcs have their own sacred jungle devoted to her on Elemchi. Illwyn intervened when they both tried to destroy each other and told them to stop fighting or she’d smite the both of them. Pictured as either a nude elf female holding a sapling or a pregnant, nude orc. Her functional role is the creation of souls which give life to the living.
Thagnar, the Dead: Patron deity to ogres and trolls. Thagnar breaks down souls upon death so Illwyn can form new souls from that energy. Despite being a deity focused on death, Thagnar actually promotes life: once you are dead, that’s it, there’s no coming back, so live life to the fullest. Thagnar is also praised before battle which makes him a dichotomous figure. Pictured as a hooded figure with no face.
Aquillia, the Water Maiden: Patron Deity to Avians and Mers (fish-people), she can be pictured as a member of either of the two races. She is a fuctional deity, as she is responsible for the weather and ocean currents.
I’m only half-done talking about the deities, as I barely talked about magic. That’s for the next Terrall in Depth.