Religion--The people of Anghar do not know the word "religion" or "god". Faith to them, as in medieval Europe, is synonymous with "truth" and not "belief", as we moderns understand it. Such religion as they have is feudal in nature. They see the world as existing in an unbroken chain of hierarchy with the Overlord (Sometimes call the Lord of the Mountain) at the top and his Seven Servants under him, (paradoxically referred to as the Higher Lords to distinguish them from the human lords). The mortal lords and rulers of Anghar derive their authority and responsibilities from these Higher Lords.
Everyone is born under the authority of one of the Higher Lords who he generally serves all his life. Occasionally one may swear service to another lord temporarily or even on a permanent basis. All Higher Lords are seen as servants of the Overlord whom everyone ultimately serves.
The Sammahran Heresy.
At the end of the Third Age, a man appeared claiming to be the Son of the Mountain of whom it was foretold that he would lead the people back to the mountain. Since the High Mountain was destroyed in the First Age (some skeptics say it was merely lost in the westward march), this Promised One--or Sammahra--taught that the mountain was in their own hearts. The Way of Return, he said, was by taking the Oath of Fealty and placing the Overlord on the throne of their hearts.
This, understandably, upset the Stewards of the houses of the High Lords who first tried to stop the Sammahra from preaching this Oath, then actively sought to kill him. Like many powerful mages, he could not be harmed until his true name was spoken. It wasn't until Sitazh, the accursed, pronounced him as "Overlord and Creator of All" that he was slain with a spear. Needless to say, seven days later, he arose from the dead despite being entombed in solid aureum, confirming his identity. Even so, many of the Stewards and Overseers opposed the Sammahran Heresy until it was noted that the Stewards of the Dragon Lord (who saw to it that all the High Lords were honored) accepted the Sammahrans. The Sammahrans are now largely accepted, though many still fear them and view them with suspicion.
There are seven high lords who directly serve the Overlord of the Seven Spheres. These Seven Servants each oversee one of the seven spheres of magic. They are:
Phylax--The Guardian. He is master over the sphere of Xaris itself and thus often referred to as the Master of Mages.
Arak--Lord of the Elements. He is responsible for keeping the elemental powers in check.
Rutan--Lord of Nature. He is concerned about the plants and animals as well as the raw forces of nature. He is the patron of farmers and herdsmen.
Ashaph--Lord of Enchantment. He is the patron lord of athletes, warriors and laborers.
Malak--Lord of Knowledge and Wisdom. He is the patron of mystics and seers as well as skilled craftsman and artisans.
Lachesh--The Master of Spirits. He is the one turned to when faced with problems of the spirit, whether it is unrequited love or an evil N'phesh.
Theris--(The Reaper) is the lord of the sphere of Hieromancy and Necromancy. He is the patron lord of healers, both revered and feared.
Under the Seven Servants are a host of lesser lords. Most notable among these is the Drakyr or the Dragon Lord. Actually a creation of Phylax, he was granted lordship status and rules all dragon kind under the authority of Phylax. His stewards ensure that a Kyrhar or "Lord's House" is establish in each village that all may fulfill their oaths of service to the High Lords. Others of these lesser Lords include the lords of the four elements and four anti-elements. Serving under Arak they are:
Aishe--Lord of fire and patron lord of the Aishen.
Hrtrah--Lord of Stone and the soil. Patron lord of the Hrtryn.
Riadhn--Lord of the Air and patron lord of the Rahidyn.
Ruak--Lord of the Void, jailor of the N'kroi and patron lord of the Ruakyn.
T'howmin--Lord of the Waters, patron lord of the T'howmin and sailors everywhere.
Tlass--Lord of the deserts and patron lord of the Tlassi.
Tzor--Lord of Frost and patron lord of the Tzorvyn.
Vodash--Lord of shadows and patron lord of the Voshin.
After the great rebellion before the creation of the world, the spirit beings found themselves divided into three groups. Those who served the Overlord faithfully and defended his honor continued to abide in his presence. These are called the N'mati. To this day they stand ready to carry out his word and will to the people who walk upon the face of the world.
The next order of beings are the N'phesh. These are the spirit beings that, though not having rebelled, failed to turn and fight the rebels. These have been cast out of the presence of the Overlord to wait upon his judgement. They wander about under his constant gaze, those who earn his favor may be restored, while those who do not, face immediate expulsion into the Void.
The last order of beings are the N'kroi. These are the spirit beings that rebelled. They are sometimes referred to as the un-living, for they have rejected the very source of life itself. They are imprisoned in the infinite void behind the grid of Xaris that surrounds and supports the world. Though they long to, they cannot break through into the world. Instead, they must be content to whisper their foul thoughts in the minds of the weak or susceptible. Occasionally, they find a foolish mortal willing to trade powers they offer for possession of their bodies. Though they cannot bring their full power to bear, such N'kroi loosed upon the world can be a disastrous thing indeed.
A final note: though the terms do not properly apply to them, mortals are sometimes referred to as being "of the N'mati" or "of the N'kroi". Especially those who either faithfully follow or have rebelled against the Overlord.
The highest mortal Lord is the Archon, the ruler of all the territories of Mann. The Archon of each generation claims a direct descent from Garanth who began the First Age when he established his kingdom. While Garanth was a Hrtryn, the royal line has interbred with each of the other races until it cannot be identified as belonging to any one race. Many believe that the royal line has restored the original blood line of man to what it was before the elemental lords began to interfere and so hold the royal family in great reverence. They believe it is this quality that proves the Overlord's favor and their fitness to rule.
Beneath the Archon are the Seven Heptarchs, of which the Archon is the first and foremost. The other six Heptarchs rule over the six capital cities of Mann and their surrounding territories.
Under the Heptarchs are the Archyrs (ar-KEERS) or high lords. They function like stewards for the Heptarchs, ensuring each area with the Heptarch's territory is well governed and generally carrying out the Heptarch's will.
Under the Archyrs are the Teckyrs (tek-KEERS) or city lords. They rule the large trading cities, and generally answer to the Archyrs. Their authority can extend into the surrounding area which sometimes causes conflicts with the next group.
Under the Teckyrs are the Korikyrs (CORE-i-keers), the rulers over the Korions or large land estates. These usually include at least one market town and the surrounding farmland.
The lowest of the aristocrats are the Harkyrs (har-KEERS) or house lords. They rule a single estate. They are charged with defending it and ensuring it remains productive. The goal of most knights is to be granted a small estate so they can become an Harkyr.