Ungoverned Heaven

The religion of the region to which Tremontane belonged, for centuries before the time of Kraathen of Ehuren, reflected a belief in the strength of threes, specifically body, mind, and spirit. After Kraathen unified the three tribes of ancient Tremontane, the Tremontanese came to believe in a unified god embodying all three of these characteristics, a god whose name was known only to the high priesthood. But a century after Kraathen’s rule, a minor priestess named Haran, while meditating before a daily ritual, received a vision of the empty, treeless Eidestal. For ten days after this, every meditation produced the same image. Finally, counseled by the high priestess of her community, Haran traveled to the Eidestal to learn what her vision meant.

Throughout her journey, she fasted and meditated and was drawn toward a particular spot in the Eidestal, a hill on which grew a single pine tree. She made camp there and continued to fast and pray, and then her vision changed: she saw the same spot where she now camped, but populated by the spirits of the dead. She recognized some of her own deceased family and other people who were identified to her by her family. They spoke to her of heaven, of being reunited with loved ones, but said nothing of being judged either by one of the old gods or the new god she served.

Over the course of ten more days of meditation, fasting and prayer, she continued to speak with the dead, and eventually realized that there were no gods in heaven. Instead, heaven was a holy place shaped by invisible lines of power which bound it to earth and allowed it to judge the souls of the dead by weighing them against their sins, counterbalanced by their virtues.

Haran returned from the Eidestal and began preaching what she had learned. She sought out men and women whose dead relatives had given her messages for them; these people, convinced of Haran’s word, became her first disciples. Haran, who had previously been a rather quiet, timid priestess, was transformed by her experience into a daring, eloquent speaker. Her first convert was the high priestess who had encouraged her on her quest. As her message spread, more people of the Tremontanese tribes, and then further abroad, came to believe what she preached.

Then the wars began. Those who believe in god, or gods, attacked Haran’s followers, demanding that they recant. However, most of them were so convinced in the power of ungoverned heaven to welcome them home that they refused to fight. This, in turn, caused some of those who attacked them to be moved by their devotion and convert as well. Others of Haran’s followers took up arms in defense of their brothers and sisters and fought so ferociously that they became known as the Lions of Heaven.

For a century, these wars raged, until Kraathen of Ehuren discovered that the lines of power had literal and not figurative existence and forged the first bonds between people and ungoverned heaven. Given this tangible proof of Haran’s claims, the newly unified Tremontanan tribes came together in a shared religious belief that boosted its spread throughout the region. Eventually, the wars ceased, and the religion of ungoverned heaven was adopted everywhere except Ruskald, where the lines of power are scant and therefore give them no evidence that Haran’s assertions are true.

Heaven accepts almost every soul. However, those who believe in ungoverned heaven also believe that evil people are drawn into hell, of which little is known in heaven’s theology. Most Tremontanese are pragmatic about this, saying that heaven judges as it will and there’s nothing they can do except live as good a life as they can. According to some philosophers (ungoverned heaven requires no clergy, and there are no theologians), there are a few souls rejected by both realms, and they are fated to roam the world until the end of days. Most people consider this wild speculation and it doesn’t affect their lives, though a few people like to make guesses about who will end up where.