The basis for Denra-Lyr belief stems from two bodies of myth - the Lays and the Sagas. The Lays deal with the formation of the world, and the gods that inhabit it. The Sagas deal with the legendary actions of heroes and heroines.
According to Denra-Lyr cosmology, the universe was formed when the Great Dragon Lyr (or "One") split itself into parts. Its body formed the Earth Dragon, its blood the Sea Dragon and its mind the Celestial Dragon. Each of these parts was in fact one whole made up of opposites - male and female, light and dark.
These aspects of the three elemental dragons form the pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped or propitiated by the Denra-Lyr. There are twelve in all, four from each element, divided up as outlined below. They represent both the physical and the metaphysical aspects of the world. Thus, Gesvan, Lord of the Dark Hunt, is a terrible god who dwells in the darkest depths of the forest, served by wolves and evil tree spirits. He also represents fear, and in Denra-Lyr mythology is a foe to be overcome. The twelve gods also provide role-models and warnings for people to follow or avoid.
- Gorund (M) - Day, bright light, honest, brave, headstrong, guileless.
- Arabaz (M) - Night, shadow, trickery and deceit.
- Tyannah (F) -Summer, warmth, youth, love.
- Verbant (F) -Winter, cold, old age, loveless.
- Kathlar (M) -Hunter, stag, thrill of the chase, provider, the forest.
- Gesvan (M) - Dark woods, wolf, thief and scavenger.
- Isira Alm (F) - Fertility, motherhood, health, harvest, earth as provider.
- Metranna Alm (F) - Disease, barrenness, decay.
- Borogund (M) - Calm sea, calm thoughts, peace, sea as provider, fish, pearls.
- (M) - Storms, sea as destroyer, quick-tempered.
- (F) - Wisdom, hidden depths, keeper of secrets, esoteric knowledge.
- Chandar (F) - Ignorance, dark, cold sea, bottomless, false promises, fear.
To the Denra-Lyr, the twelve gods are immanent. It really is possible to arrive at the Court of Gesvan if one ventures too far into the woods. However, as the Briona and Dioca know, all the gods are but aspects of the Lyr, the One, who is transcendant. Lyr permeates all creation, since creation was made from Its being but for ordinary people to be able to understand and partake of Lyr, It must be broken down into manageable pieces, hence the twelve gods.
Two of the most well known Sagas are the Tale of the Land of Tears and the Tale of Mann. The Tale of the Land of Tears relates how the ten tribes of the Denra-Lyr fought the ten tribes of the Denra-Al (dark counterparts to the Denra-Lyr) under the dual leadership of the king and queen Bran and Lor. Bran was tricked by the sorceress Dalgin into killing Lor in a jealous rage, and when he learned the truth he undertook a quest to the land of the dead to find his wife's shade and atone. His atonement was to return to the land of the living to face the armies of the Denra-Al, and to sacrifice himself in battle to rejuvenate the land.
The Tale of Mann begins soon after the Tale of the Land of Tears. Mann is born from Bran's blood as he lies dying on the battlefield, and is fated to save his people. First he has to save the Denra-Lyr from destruction as Dalgin, seeking revenge for the defeat of the Denra-Al, calls a flood to sink their old homeland. Only five of the original ten tribes of Denra-Lyr survive the deluge. Mann leads his people to the land where they now dwell, fighting the indigenous mist giants for the right to live there. He undertakes many adventures, including helping the Salsham'ai, fighting a monster known as The Durag and establishing many customs before departing to sail to the edge of the world.
The Denra-Lyr perceive a universe where magical powers are never far away. They recognise that "spirit-folk" dwell on the edges of human society and sometimes interfere. It is possible to unknowingly cross the boundaries between the mortal realm and the spirit realm, and if one goes too far it is even possible to meet the twelve gods.
For certain rare individuals (those who are born with especially dark or light skin), crossing over to the spirit realm is easier than for normal folk. They are held to be half-human, half-spirit, although this may not always be the case. These magicians may learn how to communicate with the spirit folk and ask favours from them. They may also learn spells to manipulate reality in the way that the spirit-folk do, but as they are half-human they may never become as powerful as the spirit-folk.
Magicians are a common feature in the Lays and Sagas. As well as the evil sorceress Dalgin, there is the good wizard Sornin (sometimes said to be either the brother or husband of Dalgin) who helps Bran in his quest to the otherworld. He and Belgin are mortal enemies, and represent the moral opposites that a magician can be. Belgin's daughter Arrinan (who may also be Sornin's daughter too) betrays her mother and becomes apprentice to the Sornin. She goes on to become a companion of Mann.
There are no social controls on magicians, and they are both feared and respected in Denralian culture. Whether a magician can be considered "good" or "evil" depends both on the kind of spirit-folk company they keep and how they choose to use their powers.