Domainism was a pagan religion practiced mainly in the Siernal and Stern regions of Masson before the age of the prophets
Presumably developed from Vak mysticism, the religion was, with certain differences across cultures dominant in the central regions of Masson, being practiced in the Sternlands, the Siernal kingdoms and partially the regions of the Northern Vroznak.
In Domainism, a multitude of gods were seen as rulers over their domains, essentially regions defined by a natural feature, such as a mountain, a lake, a forest, a series of hills and similar, where the size of such a domain varied greatly depending on the perceived power of the god and the extent to which a region was known in detail. For example, a mountain chain that was inaccessible for the general population might only get a single god, but the land they lived on would be divided into various domains, each corresponding to a distinct feature. The god was considered to be responsible for all ongoings in his domain, every animal in it was said to move at his command, and every natural occurrence was his doing, and the number of gods uncountable. As such, which gods where prayed to, or even known, differed depending on location, where one generally only knew of the gods in a certain radius around one’s homestead, which of course resulted in a universally high degree of worship of the god of the river Bindun, Deyrnwin in all the River Kingdoms. The exceptions to this were the gender ambiguous death god[ess] Ser of the many arms, king/queen of the deep earth, and the sky god Ordan. Ser, as god of the domain one would find metal in, was seen as the true goddess of civilization by the River Kings and seen in a positive light, while the Stern people regarded him/her mainly negative, as seen in the Stern nickname for Ser ‘mother of maggots, father of corpses’. Ordan, king of the sky did not find particular veneration at the time of Emil.
The main virtues in Domainism were self-sustainability, survivalism and the ability to walk freely through your personal gods’ domains, and its rituals reflected this. In the Sternlands, to pray was to find ones limits while traversing the god’s domain, such as going on an extended hike through a forest or swimming till exhaustion in a river, although when this wasn’t possible it was custom to simply pay respect by acknowledging the matter of the god’s domain.
In the River Kingdoms, this survivalist attitude was somewhat subverted, as to survive in a domain for them was to establish a foothold, such as a city or castle, in which one would be safe from the domain’s hazards. This surely was related to the veneration of the Death God[ess] Ser, which was associated with metals and by extension tools and all things artificial, as God of mankind. As such, their rituals differed from those practiced in the Sternlands. To use the marriage rituals as an example; In the Sternlands, an extended hike through the man’s family’s patron god’s domain is undertaken in which the families of both parties take part, with the destination being a holy site within that domain, such as a bolder of symbolic significance or a lockstone (a bolder marking a grave, to which the deceased’s family have a corresponding key stone, to signify ownership). When the group returns home unharmed by whatever hazards the region poses, the god’s blessing is assumed, and the marriage sealed.
In contrast, in the River Kingdoms, the man would have a part of the holy site, in the case of the bolder a pebble removed and then encased in an amulet, bracelet, or similar item of jewellery, and gift it to the bride. If she accepts, the ritual is successful. This aptly illustrates the difference in attitude of the two cultures towards their shared religion.
The holy men of Domainism, known as Readers had the naming of gods as one of their most important duties. If new land was colonized which had no named gods in it yet, or if the ruler of a region simply felt a forest or a lake was deserving of its own god, these priests would be called upon, and they would stay with the domain to experience it for days, communing both with what they perceived to be the divine and among themselves, to ‘find out’ the name of the god that supposedly ruled there.
Readers, denoted by their runestones, flat stones they wore around their necks and that were inscribed with a specific rune, whereby those in the Siernal Riverkingdoms often carried books they filled with spiritual accounts in addition to it.
Reader were designated by the blackened eye rings they painted themselves, a custom which survived on to make the warpaint of Emilian knights.