I’ve already mentioned that the religions of Exploration Age don’t have gods who intervene. They exist in the minds and hearts of the people, and perhaps even have a form somewhere beyond the multiverse. Something divine is granting spells to the clerics, so in some ways there is proof of their existence. However, just because these gods do not show their faces, does not mean the people of Canus do not act in their names, which certainly lends to the real world feel of Exploration Age.
There Were Only Drow
Until a little over ten thousand years ago, there were no elves on Canus. The time of the drow goes back more than half a million years. The elves have existed for a fraction of the time drow have been in Canus.
The drow worship two sister goddesses. Meliko is goddess of light, nature, healing, and arts. Fana is the goddess of dark, civilization, science, and war. To drow, light and dark do not have the connotations that they might to us modern-day real world folk. Darkness is good, it provides stealth and protection from their enemies who cannot see through its piercing blackness the way the dark elves can.
The drow believe Meliko and Fana work hand in hand. Meliko provides the spores and Fana provides the darkness so their mushrooms might grow. Fana leads the soldiers to war and Meliko binds their wounds. The drow believe they give both of these goddess equal footing.
Then The Division happened. Aberrants, driven below ground by dragons, regrouped and began multiplying in The Underdark. They overwhelmed the drow, destroying many of their kingdoms. But the drow eventually regrouped and fortified their remaining lands. Some of the drow hatched a plan to take back their lands in what was sure to be a violent and risky struggle. Other drow did not want to further risk the lives of their people and headed to the surface world, where eventually, their skin lightened, their eyes grew accustomed to the sun and they became the elves Canus knows today.
The drow who left for the surface world to become the elves had their reasons for leaving their brethren behind. Many simply wanted to avoid a violent struggle, which is ironic because their struggle with their own kin continues to today. The drow who left begged their kin to follow. The drow who remained claimed that by running, their brethren were not honoring Fana in turning their backs on the war to reclaim their homeland.
The drow who left, upon hearing that argument, claimed that their left-behind kin were not properly worshipping Meliko by staying underground and in the dark, rather than living on the surface world, where the day/night cycle honored both goddess equally. Furious with one another for the accusations of defying The Sister Goddesses’ will, a war between the two camps of drow broke out that continues even today. The elves vehemently believe the drow are wrongfully worshipping The Sister Creators and showing Fana too much favor. They believe Meliko and Fana have given them a mission to bring all their brethren to the surface world and that their elf form is the one they were always intended to have. Meanwhile, the drow, who still have not liberated their stolen kingdoms from the aberrants, believe the elves are cowardly, traitorous, tradition defiers who do The Sister Creators ill and must die for those crimes.
Much like in the real-world, religion in Exploration Age is sometimes the catalyst for an event and sometimes it serves to complicate a problem which already exists. Either way, the goddesses themselves are not directly involved, and two groups with the same religion have a slightly different idea of how one should worship and that has lead to bloodshed and war. This happens all the time in the real world.
Just for fun, here’s a more slightly more fleshed out description of Meliko and Fana I’m working right now.
The Sister Creators
Meliko and Fana are the goddesses worshipped mainly by the elves and drow of Findalay. Though these races share the same goddesses they honor them in slightly different ways, which is part of the reason the two races are in a violent struggle. Other races on Findalay may worship The Sister Creators, particularly the duergar, deep gnomes, and halflings who live amongst the drow and elves.
Clerics of The Sister Creators often dress in a bright color and dark color to show their appreciation of both goddess and carry two holy symbols or create one that is a combination of both sisters’ symbols. Services in honor of The Sister Creators are elaborate in The Underdark, often involving weekly two-hour long prayer sessions and displays of divine magic. On the surface world, The Sister Creators are honored in smaller, less public ways, usually at home shrines where individuals or families will pray twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening for a few minutes.
Meliko is one half of The Sister Creators. She is the goddess of light, nature, healing, and arts. Legend has it that Meliko created Canus. Her favored weapon is a longbow. She is often represented in drow art as a beautiful drow woman carrying a torch, and her holy symbol is a flaming torch wrapped in moss. In elvish depictions, she is an elf holding the sun in her hands and her holy symbol is an arrow who’s head is on fire.
Fana is one half of The Sister Creators. She is the goddess of darkness, civilization, science, and war. Legend has it that Fana created the drow, dragons, and aberrants. Her favored weapon is a long sword. She is often represented in drow art as a hooded drow woman carrying a scroll, and her holy symbol is an Underdark city skyline. In elvish depictions, she is a hooded elf holding a black orb in her hands and her holy symbol is a long sword with a pure black blade.