Religion (Hyrule Supplement)
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In Hyrulean terms, a god or deity generally includes any being that is immortal and wields supernatural power far beyond that of typical humanoids. Most known gods are worshiped, revered, or feared by at least a portion of the Light World's populace. Often this takes the form of pleading for the god's aid or favor, and may include offering sacrifices both material and spiritual, or performing acts in the same of such a great being.
It believed by most knowledgeable sages that Hyruleans know of only a small number of the many gods which exist beyond the scope of the Hyrulean Kingdom.
Greater deities in particular seem capable of having a formless existence, permeating some or perhaps even all of the plane inhabited by mere mortals. They can nonetheless choose to take one or more physical forms to interact with lesser creatures in a more direct fashion.
Before time began, before spirits and life existed, the three Golden Goddesses descended upon chaos, and created the Light World as its current inhabitants know it, as well as the Sacred Realm. After these gods finished their work, they left the world, but not before creating a symbol of their strength, a trio of golden triangles together famously known as the Triforce. A small but powerful portion of the essence of the gods was held in this mighty artifact.
It is unknown if other realms—such as the Twilight Realm—were also created at this time by these goddesses. Regardless, they are believed to be the creators and progenitors of everything Hyruleans know, including the other greater deities Ganon and Hylia. Because of this it is presumed together they are the single most powerful entity of any kind in the known universe. However, there are extremely few known instances of these goddesses interacting with the Light World since its creation.
According to legend, "Din cultivated the land and created the red earth with her strong flaming arms." She is the goddess of Power, and the Triforce of Power is attributed to her; she is represented by the color red.
According to legend, "Nayru poured her wisdom onto the earth and gave the spirit of law to the world." She is the goddess of Wisdom, and the Triforce of Wisdom is attributed to her; she is represented by the color blue.
According to legend, "Farore, with her rich soul, produced all life forms who would uphold the law." She is the goddess of Courage, and the Triforce of Courage is attributed to her; she is represented by the color green.
Farore is believed by most to embody life itself, lively forests, wind, secrets, mischief and playfulness, bravery, fertility, and harvest. Those who most revere her include the likes of farmers, charlatans, parents, and sages of forest and wind.
- See The Imprisoned (5e Creature), Demise (5e Creature), Ganondorf (5e Creature), Ganon (5e Creature), and Calamity Ganon (5e Creature).
The Demon King, the King of Evil, and many other titles have fallen upon the most infamous of creatures in all the Light World. The tale of Ganon is entwined with the history of Hyrule itself.
The earliest widely-believed origin of this entity was said to be the Demon King, Demise. The oldest records of Demise date back thousands of years into Progenitor Era. So great and powerful was this single monstrosity that the very continents of the Light World were reshaped by his sheer destructive power, and remain disfigured to this day. In a decades-long conflict between Demise and his demons versus Hylia and—by some accounts—every denizen of the Light World, Demise was eventually slain, but Hylia herself was vastly weakened. The last words of Demise promised he would reincarnate as a mortal, to plague the world from within, as one final act of spite.
The former king of the gerudo, Ganondorf—or Ganondorf Dragmire by some accounts—was once upheld as a talented, rightful, and praised prince. As years passed, he gradually subjugated his own people to his personal desires, and betrayed the Hyrulean Royal Family, all for the sole purpose of getting his hands on two pieces of the legendary Triforce. Indeed, this betrayer was born with the Triforce of Power; his life, his reign, his betrayal, and virtually everything the vile man did was to seize the whole Triforce for himself to gain virtually unlimited power and utter dominance over all that exists. Historians were quick to draw parallels between this King of Evil, and the former Demon King, who in modern times are frequently believed to be the same soul.
The fate of Ganondorf and the Triforce have been lost to history, and shrouded in secrecy. Some say the Triforce was destroyed; others say Ganondorf successfully seized the entire artifact for himself; more still say the Hyrulean Royal Family and their forces seized the artifact from Ganondorf.
What is known for certain, however, is that Ganondorf used his Triforce of Power to transform into a terrible demon beast—Ganon—and destroyed an entire city before he was slain, or sealed, or otherwise defeated through the combined power of sages, Princess Zelda of Hyrule, and a mysterious youth wielding another artifact, the Master Sword.
Despite the supposed "defeat" of Ganondorf and Ganon once and for all, the soul of Demise has continued to plague Hyrule for centuries. It is unknown if the being ever reincarnated, or even if Ganondorf was ever truly sealed away. In every major plight that has faced Hyrule, it is said Ganon was somehow pulling the strings, either in a physical or supernatural sense. Moblins, bokoblins, and many other monstrous races to this day worship the King of Evil as their patron god. Although perhaps no one can prove or disprove his continued influence, Ganon himself—or the belief in him—has become a subtle but widespread force acting across the entire Light World.
In the eyes of the faithful, Ganon and Hylia are seen as diametrically and eternally opposed forces; good versus evil, and light versus dark, with their mortal champions clashing throughout history.
According to a popularly believed prophecy, it is said that when the world comes to an end, it will be at the hands of the final incarnation of Demise—a cataclysmic evil bestowed with the name Calamity Ganon.
- See Princess Zelda (5e Creature).
The precise origins of the goddess Hylia are lost to time. It is believed she was at one point the patron goddess of the race now known as hylians, but has since gained comparable influence over many races allied with hylians. The earliest definite record of her influence occurred thousands of years ago, in the Progenitor Era. At this time she was instrumental in defeating the destructive and overwhelming force that has since become known as Demise. It is unknown the exact role Hylia played—leader, warrior, or something else entirely—but is often credited as the sole reason Demise was defeated, and the Light World was not utterly destroyed by the Demon King. Although she was victorious, this conflict weakened Hylia immensely, and it is currently believed that her power has never returned to what it was before this war.
It is widely believed that after this battle, a portion of Hylia's weakened spirit incarnated in a young hylian girl, an heir to the Hyrulean Family named Princess Zelda. Consequently every firstborn daughter of the Hyrulean family is believed to carry a portion of this spirit, and is named Princess Zelda in honor of their ancestor. This mirrors the belief that the defeated Demise incarnated as the mortal Ganondorf, also known as Ganon.
It is claimed that another portion of Hylia's spirit has become a formless protector that watches over all of Hyrule. Some have even claimed to hear her voice guiding and protecting them.
Despite the mutual near-destruction of Demise and Hylia thousands of years ago, their mortal incarnations—Ganondorf and Zelda—remain famous and influential across Hyrule. In the eyes of the faithful, Ganon and Hylia are seen as diametrically and eternally opposed forces; good versus evil, and light versus dark, with their mortal champions clashing throughout history.
Regardless of whether or not their power is truly lesser than previously mentioned deities, the influence of these gods is significantly less widespread in the realm of Hyrule. Although they are all effectively immortal and unable to wield the Triforce, each of them lacks anything resembling the omnipresence of greater deities. Indeed, a lesser deity always takes the form of a single creature, with which mortals can directly interact.
Because lesser deities take these solid forms, they usually have a more direct influence on the world around them. They consequently tend to have a plethora of worshipers in their vicinity, but few beyond the reach of their domain.
- See Bellum (5e Creature).
The mysterious pitch-black deity known as Bellum is said to reside somewhere in the depths of the Great Sea, where it is locked in an eternal battle with the Ocean King. It is a representation of pure chaos, said by some to be a remnant of the chaos left from before the Golden Goddesses gave shape and order to the world. The legends say it is trapped in a solid and consistent form by their influence—resembling a colossal, tentacled creature— but retains a spirit of utter chaos. As the legend goes, Bellum battles endlessly and desperately to destroy all of the Light World so that it can return everything to pure chaos. Despite being a relatively weak deity, it never tires, and according to some beliefs the Light World is destined to end when the monstrosity outlasts all the forces of order and good that would seek to oppose it.
Goddess of Time
This mysterious deity is believed to be an orderly and generally benevolent entity, who may or may not be formless. She governs the flow of time, and is responsible for keeping time consistent. What few legends surround manipulating time or traveling through it often invoke her influence, but usually in only a subtle way. It can be interpreted from these legends that she will only bend time slightly and sparingly, and will only do so for the greater good. The Hyrulean mythos only vaguely mentions her, to the point she is only known by this title.
Those who zealously worship the golden goddess Nayru believe this goddess to either be Nayru herself, or a force directly born from Nayru's hand in creating the Light World. If true, this would mark a stark contrast to the Golden Goddesses' tendency not to interact with their creation.
Great Deku Tree
The Great Deku Tree is an especially large, sentient tree that has been found throughout the ages of Hyrule. He appears to have big, bushy eyebrows and a large nose made of wood. Many creatures have taken on this name throughout the ages, and many share similar qualities, but they are not the same. One thing that all Great Deku Trees have in common is that they are the guardians of Kokiri and Koroks, and they are often ancient and wise creatures. They have powerful connections to the forest, some more than others, and the creatures that therein lie. The Great Deku Tree protects those residents from the outside world, and even in death. Though the afterlife of all creatures is unknown water, it is believed that Kokiri and Koroks have a different post-life fate than any other creature due to the Deku Tree's power and protection.
Two Great Deku Trees have never been known to be alive at the same time in the same World. The notion that one Great Deku Tree's death often provides the seed for the next's life is a popular one that is rooted in fact. Many koroks and kokiri hope that they never have to witness the death of the Great Deku Tree but, when the time comes, it is a cause for great ritual and grief among those peoples, often incorporating that Deku Tree's greatest Forest Sage.
Notable about all Great Deku Trees is that they often aid the holder of the Triforce of Courage in some way. Their main purpose, of course, is to guide and protect Kokiri and Koroks, but it cannot be said that one of their greatest achievements wasn't to aid those heroes.
- See Great Fairy (5e Creature).
- See Light Spirit (5e Creature).
- See Valoo (5e Creature).
- See Minish Vaati (5e Creature) and Vaati (5e Creature).
Zephos and Cyclos
- See Wind God (5e Creature).
In Hyrule, death itself is seen as a product of life, and the existence of souls is more akin to scientific theory than religious belief. There are few widespread faiths in one or more divine beings that govern what happens to one's soul after death. (The main exception is that of the Great Deku Tree, who some believe to be capable of protecting the souls of kokiri and koroks in some fashion.)
What happens to a creature's spirit when it dies is an area of much curiosity. If one thing is certain, however, it is that the death of the body is not the death of the soul. The mere existence of poes and ghinis is practically proof of this, as more than a few of them retain personalities and memories from their former lives despite being entirely separate from the bodies they once held. Although most forms of undead are seen as monstrous or evil, more benevolent spirits are said to exist as well, albeit less commonly.
Most Hyruleans believe that reincarnation of one's spirit is possible, but not necessarily assured. Most individuals who revere the Hyrulean Royal Family believe every generation's Princess Zelda (5e Creature) is a reincarnation of the same soul, which itself was once the goddess Hylia. It is a common belief reincarnation is a blessing for living a good life, but what constitutes a "good life" varies from one culture to another.