There is rampant speculation about the Gods – the argument about whether they were born of the beliefs of the various peoples of the world or were drawn to them is chief among them. Regardless, the Gods came to the world during its time of early promise and changed how it would grow forever.
The Lord of Morning is master of the weave and the laws that govern reality. His symbols are the sun and the lantern, the cross-hilted sword and the shield, and he is a creature of order, civilization, and judgement. In his most general aspect, he is depicted as an androgynous, tall form from any race, of golden eyes and hair, carrying a spear tipped in light. His domains are Arcana, Tempest, Law, the Forge, and the Grave.
The Lady of Twilight is the mistress of dreams and possibility, the spirit of hope and rebellion, and mistress of both secrets and music. Her symbols are the moon and the torch, the book and the dagger, and the hand that balances the scales. In her most general aspect, she is depicted as a woman of any race, clothed in stars, with eyes of fire – and great wings that stretch across the entirety of the horizon. Her domains are Arcana, Trickery, Knowledge, Nature, and Light.
With them came their.. child, a thing created by an forbidden act in time immemorial – the Beast. A creature of foulest aspect, that longed only for its own death which could only come, chained as he was to existence, with the death of all things. The antithesis of creation, from it is birthed abominations and the undead, the worms that gnaw at the root of the world, the twisted beasts that exist only to destroy. It is the corruption at the heart of glory, the self-destructive impulse, the callousness of unfettered ambition. It is never depicted, but always described as the worst nightmare the teller can imagine. Its domains are Death, War, Trickery, and Darkness.
But.. more on the Gods later.
What is important to note is that with the coming of the Gods came the Ordering of the People, mirroring the ordering of the world by the Dragon in ages past. The Lord brought law, the Lady wisdom, the Beast the vicious ambition that drove change. And so, too, came their children – the Aasimar and the Tieflings, the Genasi and the Harengen, the Changelings, Aarakocra, Kenku, and Lizardfolk. The world became a true mixing pot of ideas and peoples and motivations – the great empires that slowly rose were truly wonders driven by he strengths of the various peoples within them, while ‘pocket kingdoms’ of more isolated racial groups existed where like creatures naturally pooled with like creatures. What is truly wonderous is that wars of race were never truly committed; rather, philosophies of rulership, of society – these went to war. Empires fought for power, kingdoms fought for resources, people fought for their version of the truth. The gods? They simply looked on – lending their power to the devoted and watching.
More gods rose as civilization grew – The Raven Lord, who stood as guardian of the gates of the dead, a faceless barbarian clad in furs and feathers, the ensurings the sanctity of the dead, and the entropy that must exist that defines endings, whether those endings are of lives, kingdoms, or ideas. He is in constant war with the Beast, whom he cannot overcome, but who has corrupted a part of his domain – from which undead are born. His followers treat undead as anathema, and his Hunters are a great order of slayers, rising from the ashes of time past. His domains are the Grave and Knowledge, and he is Neutral, with followers of all alignments.
The Storm Queen, haughty, cold and vicious, for whom the Giants are her favored people – she is said to have come from a distant world, and turned her children loose upon the world in these early days of the gods. Goliaths grew from the union of giantkind and the other races, and she bears them a special love… though that love insists on proving strength and standing tall through cunning, artifice and power. She is the queen of storms and weather, laying claim to all mariners who sail her seas and skies, and she rules the elemental powers of the world. She is selfish and inhuman – capricious and unkind. Her mortal worshippers entreat her for elemental power for their own purposes. Her domains are Nature, Light, War, and Tempest.
The Great Mother – sibling of the beast and child of the Lady of Twilight, said to be born of a special mortal (the race varies by the teller) and the goddess; she is the master of all things living, holding sway over the natural cycle and guardian of the gates of the Feywild. She has hundreds of names – a different one in every culture – but she does not care as all are her children. Commonly worshipped by druids and rangers, physicians, and those drawn to family, childbirth, and farming, she is at constant war with the Beast and tasks her followers to destroy all abberations, which stand against the order of life. Her domains are Life and Nature, and, while she herself is Neutral, she has followers of all alignments.
The gods rested in a sort of uneasy truce with the Great Dragon, who viewed their presence as an intrusion, but not an unwelcome one. His children still truly ruled, and the other races played at their whim, and the circle only grew wider with more pieces on the playing field.
So it went for millennia untold, with the rise and fall of cultures, civilizations, countries, kingdoms, and empires; the varagries of mortals in a flowing tide of life and death – at least until six centuries past.