So, Swords of the Eastsea is also defined by being a setting where our history’s religious stuff took a radically different turn. Here’s a short piece about that.
The God Forgotten
The landscape of Europe is as much defined by the works of the current day as the relics of the past. While Old Empire ruins and buildings define much of continental Europe, nothing else is as ominous and as dominating as the great works of the age before the Great Mortality, the churches and cathedrals of the God Forgotten.
Everyone knows the basic gist of the history of those buildings that dot the landscape and tower over the cities: once upon a time, people worshipped a single God and the servants of that God were lords unto themselves. However, death made everyone equal. While Europe almost died during the years of pestilence, the faith died out entirely.
The Norsemen had never given up their own beliefs and thus weren’t moved by the extinction of the priestly class. The Karelians had always been partial to their own folk beliefs and turned to the old god Loviatar during the pestilence. However, in civilized Europe, the church of the God had been a serious political power but it would be the secular rulers who would survive and thrive. The philosophers wrote and spoke later of what had happened.
The God had not saved mankind from the Great Mortality, and the Great Mortality had killed the servants of God. So, why should mankind worship a God so powerless? They renamed the God the God Forgotten. Still, some ritual still lives on.
While the cities tend to build cemeteries outside city walls, the rural population still uses the old church burial grounds for their dead, mainly because of belief that there still is magic there, magic that keeps the hungry dead and the envious dead from coming back. The urban cathedrals are too big to tear down so they have become in effect landmarks. Very few people enter them any longer, except to pay homage to the lords buried within. Sometimes they are used for public meetings but this is becoming more and more rare over the years. The cathedrals have become the domain of ghosts and dust.