The Dulama are one of the largest and most important of the cultures in the world. Originating in the highlands around the city of Dula, they were among the first civilizations to domesticate maize, and founded a number of minor city states, and soon had among the most urbanized populations on the planet. A sophisticated religion arose, centered around the sacrifice of humans. Eventually, the king Cairl the Great would unite them into the Dulama Empire, and thus lead them to dominance over the western half of the known world.
Western literature is among the most prolific in the known world at this point in history. Dulama writing ranges from the legendary tales of Ain and Glaide, to the famous poems of the mystical author Deyotl, to some of the first novels. Much of this was kickstarted with the rise of the Imperial Dulama, when enormous sums of wealth allowed the Emperors to patronize various artists living under their rule.
The Dulama were famous for their sacrificial religion, a facet which overshadowed nearly every other in the minds of outsiders. In truth, the theological reasons for human sacrifice were simple.
Of the ancient Dulama gods, the most prominent was the god of death. And, as any child knows, the god of death is evil. He robs us of loved ones, taking them for himself without any consideration of what the impact might be on their relatives. He slaughters babies who have yet to do any wrong, fetuses in the womb who never even get the chance to see the light of day, young lovers whose other halves will bitterly mourn for years, old lovers whose only desire was for a few more years of peace. He is merciless, and he feeds on the deaths of man.
A sacrificial death, in the Dulama faith, was explicitly dedicated to the earth and the sky, and not the gods of death. Carried out in a very ritualised and specific manner, the aim was to deny the god of death another victim. In so doing, over the centuries and millennia, it was believed that the death god would slowly starve, becoming weaker and weaker, until he finally would be unable to influence the world at all. In sum, the aim of sacrifice was to destroy death.
This tradition began in ancient times, over a one and a half thousand years before the present day and lasted until the conquest of the Vithana (who banned it), when, according to legend, the priest Dani declared that he would no longer accept the status quo, and offered himself as the first sacrifice. Subsequent sacrifices required the use of involuntary victims from time to time, but an effort was made to take the sick or the old -- ones who would be in the clutches of the death god soon anyway -- and the total number of victims was relatively low.
Otherwise, the Dulama believed in a whole number of gods: that of the sky and light, that of the water and life, that of the moon, who walks between, and so on. Cosmologically, the city of Dula is considered to be the center of the world, with four quarters radiating out from it in each of the cardinal directions. It is also the center of the world vertically, for the Dulama believe we are in the middlemost plane of 13 that extend up and down from us into the heavens and into the labyrinthine depths of the earth.
In modern times, non-native religions have replaced the old religion and had a significant impact on the life of the Dulama. The most prominent are the beliefs of Machaianism from the southwest, and those of Iralliam from the east. With the former dominating the western half of the former Dulama Empire, where the Tollanaugh Empire once ruled, while Iralliam has wholly replaced the old religion in the west, including in the ancient heartland of the Dulama people.