Religion: Angels and ascension
Kystans place their faith in divine beings known as Angels, which soar through the skies above, and watch over the world, granting boons and aid to the virtuous and smite those who are not. Those who are considered of exceptional worth are granted the blessing of ascension, and may take place amongst the angels. In order to avoid making mistakes, the angels usually wait until the last moment before a person’s death before they make such a judgement.
Three virtues are central to angelic judgement, and therefore Kystan religion: Truth, Justice and Destiny. The first two are relatively simple concepts and demand honesty and fairness. Destiny is a more abstract concept, which is often translated into the virtue of wisdom.
Kystans believe that the angels have a plan for everyone, striving to have everyone lead a live of truth and justice that will eventually lead to ascension. Most people struggle against the path laid out for them: they lack the wisdom to accept angelic guidance. Too often, people greedily strive for more reward than they deserve and seek to elude just punishment for their errors. Such behaviour is seen as opportunistic and not in accordance with the angelic plan.
This angelic plan is safeguarded by the priesthood, known as the Inquisition. The Inquisitions sets itself the task of upholding the three virtues in all of Kyst, and is divided into three orders for that purpose.
Inquisitors of Truth pursue the acquisition of knowledge and the enlightenment of the people, uprooting any lies and falsehoods they encounter. They often serve as judges, councillors and librarians. It is the most politically active of the three orders, settling disputes and offering advice.
Inquisitors of Justice act mostly as a police force. They hunt down criminals and act as executioners. In this, they tend to work closely with Inquisitors of Truth. The inquisitors of Justice are better trained and equipped than the average knight, and well organized. They are a small, but elite, army that is neutral in conflicts among the kingdoms, and will maintain peace, order and stability.
The Order of Destiny is the most introspective. Its task is to see angelic messages and interpret the angelic plan from them, which is then relayed to the other two orders. Inquisitors of Destiny maintain the temples, offer spiritual and moral guidance to visitors and occasionally act as missionaries and diplomats.
Together, they still have a handful, and only few people manage to ascend. This failing is the work of the devil. A maddened angel that has been cast out of the heavens, this vile creature of temptation sways men to stray from the right path with promises of wealth and power, and provides unfair means to acquire them. The hearts of men are weak, and easily tempted, and the devil, unlike the angels, has the advantage of walking the earth. He meddles directly in earthly affairs, seeking the ruin of order and justice out of spite for his former brethren.
Activities such as gambling, deception, betrayal and the use of sorcery are all associated with the devil, and are very strong indications of a person abandoning the right way. Eventually, they might stray too far and the opposite of ascension happens: They become demons, servants of the devil, and equal in madness. Devil and demons directly oppose the three virtues; they relish in confusion and chaos and eagerly lie and cheat, care not for justice and fairness, and promote opportunism and strife. In their madness, their actions are rarely sensible and are impossible to predict, even for the angels themselves.
Aside from the three virtues and the threat caused by demons and devil, Kystan religion takes a very strong stance against magic. The virtue of Truth dictates that there is a rational explanation for everything. Anything that cannot be explained should, in Kystan reasoning, be cause for rigorous inquiry into the matter and is, under no circumstances, an excuse for superstitious beliefs in magic or gods. Failing to seek understanding of unknown matters is failing on the virtue of truth. The belief in, and use of magic is one of the most severe forms of devilry. The devil is the only being that possesses true magic. As a being of madness and the bringer of chaos, the devil can perform actions for which no rational explanation exists.