Within the Metamor Keep universe there are two major faiths: the Lothanasi and the Ecclesia.
The Lothanasi (LÓ-þə-NÄ-sē), or Lightbringers, are an order of priests that represent an ancient polytheistic religion, with the gods of good and evil locked in an eternal struggle. While most Keepers are not actually members of the Lothanasi, they will seek out the priests of this order when they need counsel, advice, or favors from one of the gods.
The Ecclesia (ə-KLĒ-zē-ə) is analogous to the Roman Catholic church during the Middle Ages; its adherents are called Ecclesiasts or the Followers of the Way. Followers are currently only a small percentage of the Keeper population, but their numbers are growing.
There are other religions in the MK universe, but they aren't as popular as the main two.
Disciples of the Pantheon
The Lothanasi devote themselves to service of the Pantheon as a whole. Most lay believers in the "old ways" only pray to the gods when they need something from one of them. But some individuals form strong personal attachments to one of the deities and dedicate their lives to serving him or her to the best of their ability. These people are called disciples by the Lothanasi, and most of them are treated as holy people who are worthy of great respect.
Well-known disciples include the druids of Artela, who organize themselves into small groups practicing their faith in the forests and other wild places; disciples of Akkala, who abstain from sex, drugs and alcohol and travel the countryside healing the sick; the Oracle of Samekkh, who lives on a remote mountaintop and provides prophetic counsel to those who seek her out; and the Maeril (merfolk), whose entire race are considered the chosen people of Wvelkim.
The dark side of the Pantheon has its disciples, as well, though these are more often greeted with fear than respect by the commoners. Vampires and lycanthropes usually bow to Lilith, the Mistress of Dark Life, while many servants of Agemnos can be found in the halls of the wealthy and powerful. Most terrifying of all are the Moranasi, the dark priests of Ba'al who work to destroy the Lothanasi and all that they hold dear. The only servants of the daedra lords who find any welcome in civilized lands are the disciples of Nocturna, who are often sought out to attend funeral services and pray for safe passage to the First Hell for the souls of the deceased.
Not all those who worship Eli are loyal to the Patriarch. With the growing corruption in many parts of the Ecclesia there are movements within the Ecclesia to reform the religion, and movements outside the Ecclesia that wish to rebuild it in a "purer" form. This is the MK equivalent of the Protestant reformation. While they are nowhere near as strong or powerful as they are in the modern real world, they have taken root far sooner than any equivalent movement in RL history.1 Because of this, the Rebuilder movements represent a real threat to the religious dominance of the Ecclesia and the Patriarch. There are several different factions of Rebuilders, few of which have any involvement with each other; all of them have different agendas and motivations for leaving the Ecclesia. Ignored by most Lothanasi and banned in those lands that are loyal to the Ecclesia, they are a majority in only one country - Marigund. In spite of their sometimes conflicting ideals and views all Rebuilder groups do have a loyalty to each other. Various Rebuilder groups do come to the aid of each other in times of emergency. All these groups are united on one thing - they are not a part of the Ecclesia and refuse to recognize the authority of the Patriarch. Because of this changed situation from our world, they have to stick together for mere survival. One growing problem for the Ecclesia is that the Rebuilders are starting to organize and band together in associations for self defense.
How the Rebuilders are treated by the Ecclesia varies but tends to be hostile. Some Patriarchs have launched vicious and blood purges to try and wipe them out. These bloody purges have left thousands dead and ironically actually led to an increase in the number of Rebuilders. Other Patriarchs have simply tried to ignore them or tried for a more peaceful recovering of these people. Lately some Eccelsia are starting to consider a live and let live policy. With the serious threat of the Lightbringers some see the Rebuilders as the least of their problems. For their part some Rebuilders see the only way to survive is by violence. They believe that the Follower faith must be cleansed by fire and sword. Thankfully such violent fanatics usually do not survive long but they tend to leave a wide trail of death and destruction. This of course reinforces the ideas of similar fanatics on the Follower side leading to still more violence.
There are 12 main Rebuilder groups (each with at least 2,000 members in Marigund) and at least 125 other smaller ones which ranging in size from a score of members to several hundred. The groups each differ is some way. Some allow women priests (a fairly common thing) and others allow priests to marry (also common - 1 group differs from the Ecclesia in ONLY that respect). In 1 group all priests MUST marry. Some only do services in Siuelish while others do it in whatever local language there is (Very common!). 1 group has rejected the concept of priests altogether - instead members take turns leading the services. All share a common thread in the belief that the Ecclesia have strayed from the 'Real' faith in some way. Exact numbers are hard to come by as only in Marigund are they accepted and can openly display their ideas and membership. At least another 300 groups are suspected to exist scattered throughout the Midlands, hidden in small groups.
Some of the smaller groups can be VERY strange. Some hold ideas that are far removed from the Ecclesia and Rebuilder ideas. At least 1 group rejects the concept of social classes and its members live in what can best be described as a commune. Another rejects not only social classes but concepts like marriage and just have temporary partners. 1 group believes that a person can transcend their human form by good deeds and enough prayer alone. These groups tend to be small and live in isolated places but are always mentioned by Ecclesia who want to stamp out the Rebuilders.
There are 4 smaller groups that are technically not Rebuilder but are classified as such for lack of any other exact category. When the Ecclesia were formed not all Followers joined. There were a small number of groups that remained separate or who have drifted away over the centuries. With travel and communication being so difficult over long distances this was bound to occur with people far removed from Yesulem.
Notable Organizations: breithan
Misha Brightleaf. Born and raised in Marigund, his family were early converts.
"Drift" Edward Snow. Drift's Great-uncle Weldon created a common translation of the Word (the Canticles) and claimed to have produced over 4000 copies. Before Questioners caught him, Weldon sent his brother (Drift's grandfather) the original copy, who then fled Galador to hide in Metamor with his family and this copy. Drift keeps this family heirloom hidden.
Their real world counterparts are the Jews. Present in most countries, their treatment ranges from acceptance to hatred. They were forcibly ousted from their homeland, Ainador, by the Suielman Empire, and the Ecclesia (which has its headquarters in the holy city of Yesulam) has discouraged their return. While a few hard-line Lightbringer fanatics see no difference between them and Followers, most Lothanasi respect them as quiet, devoted servants of their chosen god.2 The Ecclesia is far less sympathetic to them, and refers to them disparagingly "The Predecessors" (implying that their faith is obselete since the rise of Eli's "true" chosen people).
Unlike many places in the world, the different faiths at Metamor Keep get along fairly well. Though they may not be open and friendly towards each other, they tolerate each other's presence.3