Three primary religions existed in Therani before the destruction of Wyr. The Wyrthereyn Arrach, based in Wyr, worshipped the Four Angels (Arderel, Arcuran, Areness and Arlarin; respectively the Angels of blood and fire, of order and faith, of the terrible blade, and of light and swift vengeance) who defended the City and its people. With the coming of the Shanari and their faith, the Angels deserted the tower for some reason, and the city fell. The Wyrthereyn Arrach are now a dispossesed band of shell-shocked, fanatical pilgrims, given to street-corner raving and self-mortification. Some believe that the invasion of the Tower some years ago by a small band of unidentified mages caused the Angels to believe that their mortal charges had grown lax in their watchfulness against sorcery, and so abandoned them in their hour of need. Other former citizens of Wyr adopted the faith of the Shanari, believing that their gods must be stronger than the Therani gods.
The final religion, Oryban, centered in the eastern cities, has become increasingly popular over the past three years. Oryban teaches that a great Kingdom of Light once ruled over the world of Qaiyore, a kingdom ruled wisely by angelic spirits and populated by the ancestors of the Therani. These angelic spirits were able to enter the bodies and minds of the people, to touch them with glory and the beauty of the Great Light, to heal all their hurts. But one day, a young man in great pain appeared before the spirits. His heart, he claimed, was broken, for his wife had lain with another man, and had left him weeping in the darkness. He asked for the touch of the spirits to soothe his aching heart.
One spirit, with saddened but piercing eyes, agreed. It entered the young man’s body, whereupon that same young man drew a wicked blade and slit his own throat at the moment of spiritual entry. He had been maddened by his grief, and wished to harm the world for the hurts it had dealt to him.
The Angel had touched death, and had fallen. Where one fell, all fell, and the former guardians of the Kingdom of Light allowed the light to go out like a guttering candle, fitful in the night of a storm. Most fled, to establish a new Kingdom elsewhere in a new and untouched world, but some remained, darker but wiser, hungrier but still wishing to uphold their Light.
It is the duty of the Therani Oryban to uphold that Light, in their thoughts, wishes and deeds. The greatest sins are despair, suicide, and murder; the greatest virtues bravery and proselytizing. The Dun Ri has done much to promote the faith among the Armies of the Ther Ri, turning the war of protection against the Shanari into a holy war – for he knows that people will fight for faith longer than they will fight for men.
Therani Oryban also believes in spirits, referred to as Patrons, which oversee specific and limited areas of Authority. These spirits are revered throughout the Upper Valley as the Patrons of (for example) soldiers, archers, writers and farmers.
In rural areas, schooling is mostly the duty of the parents. Most rural Therani remain illiterate, knowing no more than is necessary to complete their tasks on the farm or in the forests or swampes. In the cities of Unnirand and Hadrair, and formerly Wyr, there are actual schools set up to educate those adolescents and adults who have time and inclination to learn. Run in association between church and town, the Therani Universities teach law, theology or political theory to their students. With the coming of the war, the Universities have largely emptied as students join the Shield of Therani.
The Therani are both excellent architects (the Tower of Wyr is held as a shining example) and powerful dramatists. Each village in Therani has at least one building (usually the church) which is a shining example of their architectural ability – tall spires and domed ceilings are popular features thoughout the Confederacy.
Their dramatic style comes in one of two types. The first, known as Tenarim, is highly formal and stylized. Words are arranged in a very particular rhythm and style, depending upon the subject matter and genre of the play (for instance, the historical tragedy The Kingdom of Shade is arranged to be spoken in ‘letter rhyme’, 6 lines in each stanza, lines 1,2,4, and 5 having two accented syllables while line 3 and 6 have between 2-5; but the spiritual history The Kingdom of Light is arranged in iambic pentameter). The second style, Milaryn, is much looser and tends to be racier in theme and subject. It is better suited for open-air performances rather than the elaborate theatre buildings of Hadrair and Unnirand.
Magic in Therani has long had an uphill battle to fight. While the Authority-based magic wielded by Oryban and Winandre is accepted, the number of people willing and able to access it has traditionally been small. Most magically aware Therani drift into Taltheran in early adulthood, a fact the Dun Ri bitterly regrets. With the destruction of Wyr, many Therani who held magic to be a wickedness are confused about what they are meant to believe.