Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
Talras Guilder is the God of Wealth, Creator of the Lizardlings, Master of Slaves and the Patron of Civilisation.
Talras’ Church is focused on the accumulation of wealth, the development of infrastructure for mutual prosperity, and extols the virtues of inventiveness and entrepreneurship. The Church, as a religious organisation, is forbidden from directly owning and conducting business; in the past there was a civil war (over a thousand years ago, before first contact with the Elves) over the Temples of Trade, Talrasi-owned businesses that used (or most nowadays say, abused) their moral and economic power to maintain a stranglehold over most of the Empire’s (and indeed, the world’s) economy. Such was the power of the Church that many in the bureaucracy and the military saw it as the ‘true’ government of the Empire, and grew to resent its free reign; it is suggested that lucrative trade with Transarbina caused the Church to lobby, successfully, for the Empire to focus on consolidation eastwards, towards the new lands that Talrasi traders and priests owned and controlled and which served as the source for most Imperial wealth. Certainly, the risks of Encyronian piracy cutting key trade routes was significant, until the creation of large oceangoing ships that didn’t need to hug coastlines so closely, and until the Empire crushed the large nation of Encyron entirely some 800 years ago.
The war ended in a stalemate, and mutual compromises were made – the key ones relevant to the newly reformed Church of Talras were that Talras was recognised as a co-founder of the Empire, that the Church had to donate most of its colonial landholdings to the state, that the Church’s monopolies on trade goods (including slaves) were voluntarily surrendered, and that the Church forswore direct business activity in future, leaving its authority purely in the moral arena.
In practice, the Church still controls huge wealth, has as worshippers many of the richest people in existence, invests heavily in business startups and dispenses free (and effective) business consulting to those who adopt and abide by Talrasi principles, and offers a great many other services such as specialist recruitment; all in exchange for ‘any donation that individual worshippers feel to be fair’. In practice, they are paid handsomely for these ‘free’ services, carefully avoiding the appearance of doing business.
Talras himself once lived in Pelargossia in a series of immense mansions built with divine power and nearly inexhaustible wealth; these days he has lowered his ostentation (or at least, visibility) a little, and resides aboard a luxury steam liner that spends much of its time away from land – so as not to be seen as challenging Bartus’ palatial citadel. Talras’ public appearances are sporadic; he has never desired publicity the way the God of Empire does.
Collectivists of the Cyraean Republic utterly despise Talras, deriding him as the god of oppression and ruthless exploitation. The ruthlessly free market values he espouses are entirely anathaema to the Collectivist world-view.