|Origins||The Great Storm|
|Notable Beliefs||Death of their old gods and the creation of a new one, reverence and guidance of previous souls contained in Almuttaq, lack of central dogma and scripture|
|Notable practices||School of Soul Magic|
The history of the Qadir is a tumultuous one, filled with war and conquest, as well as being conquered. Their religion shares the same fate as the people that worshipped it. It was once a polytheistic faith, with worshippers choosing to worship one, or many of the gods of the pantheon. However, after the fall of the Sariyd Empire, the Qadir thought their gods had abandoned them, preferring instead to create their own god in their place. In more recent times, the Qadir have used their knowledge of technology to begin the creation of their god, gathering soul essence and combining their knowledge deep in the heart of the desert. Each Qadir practices their beliefs separate from one another, but all come together for the pursuit of one goal; creating the perfect god.
Prior to the Great Storm, the Qadir believed in a pantheon of deities numbering upwards of 2,400 gods and goddesses; representing everything from the sand of the desert to the bushes that grew in the jungle. The Sariyd Empire popularized these beliefs and continued to worship their gods until 121 AC, when the Songaskia toppled the once great Empire of the Qadir people. The Qadir prayed to their many gods to help them fend off the Songaskian threat as they emerged out of the Great Storm, enslaving entire cities of people and laying waste to all who opposed them. Despite their desperate cries for help, their gods did not answer their pleas, and as the Qadiriyye Empire fell, so did their religion. In the years following these events the Qadir received no signs from their gods, claiming that they had been forsaken. Overtime, even the most zealous of Qadir had declared their once-beloved gods had turned their backs on their people.
The few remaining priests were looked at as leaders following the catastrophe that fell upon their people. With this power, they created a prophecy that nearly every Qadir follows to this day. They claimed that the gods had died, and the Qadir must use their technological skill to build a new, perfect, all-knowing god. This god would become known as the Esrah Alwattah. The Qadir people looked to the technology that remained through the fall of their empire, mainly the Almuttaq; large cubes that hold the souls of the ‘elders’ that guide the Qadir on the right path. While few Qadir ever have the chance to witness the Almuttaq, the priests operating them convey what is said to the population of Qadir through word-of-mouth.
After they reformed their pursuit of creating the perfect god, the Qadir set upon building out Hadritya, sanctums where the Qadir guards watch over their sacred technology and knowledge. Many of these Hadritya are found in the regions of Al-Alus and Mooriye, where the desert is generally too barren for the Songaskia to bother conquering in the first place. Legends tell of one Hadritya in particular that holds the Esrah Alwattah, located somewhere in the vast, uninhabitable center of the Farah’deen desert. Very few Qadir actually know the location of this sacred city, or even if it exists at all, as finding it requires access to the Almuttaq that are locked away from the public.
Upon the rise of the Regalian Empire, the Qadir found an unsteady alliance with the zealous nation. While the Qadir people were in search of technology, the Regalian Empire wanted to take advantage of the Qadir’s innovations in order to best their foes; being the Elves and Songaskia. From this unsteady alliance spawned a trade agreement; the Qadir receive parts and materials for their clockwork machinery and the building of the Esrah Alwattah, and Regalia receives the technology that ended up aiding in the mass killing of the bone horrors following the Lo invasion. Not only that, but the Hadritya were the only places that could still stand against the bone horrors, only furthering the Qadir in their zeal.
From this victory, the Qadir believe that the Esrah Alwattah and the Almuttaq have chosen them as the people to save Aloria and to create this perfect god. The vigor of those involved in the construction of the Esrah Alwattah and collection of soul essence have exponentially increased with these victories following their centuries of oppression.
Hadritya are known to be forts that the Qadir gather at to spread technological innovation and occasionally an Almuttaq is housed within the deepest caverns within its walls. These cities tend to be thought of as religious hubs, thus not being threatened by local Songaskian warlords as they gain no resources should they attack them. Though from the inside, it can be seen as a regular city. The Qadir that inhabit it generally have normal jobs, and despite being a place where the Qadir come together to share their knowledge, it feels like a normal city once one enters it. At the top-most level of every Hadritya stands a large temple, which is where the priests inhabit and assist the people of the city. Under the temple there are caverns, which tend to be unnavigable unless you are a priest of the temple. These caverns may or may not hold a Almuttaq within its vast lengths, but every Hadritya has them as to confuse anyone should they invade the city, and give the priests time to move the Almuttaq. Each Hadritya has a priest that charges himself with running the city, though most are self sufficient and located in isolated parts of the desert as to deter the Songaskia from defying their holy grounds. These fort-cities were the only places able to deter the Bone Horrors.
Beliefs and Practices
Despite near homogeneously following the religion, the Qadir people do not have a unified set of practices which identify them as followers of Esrah Alwattah. Most Qadir have a small clockwork shrine in their home, sometimes disguised as a clock, but may be as small as a pocket watch. Due to the vast separation of the Qadir people, most often as a result of the slavery imposed on them by the Songaskia, the allure of the Regalian Empire, or the appeal of wandering the deserts as a nomad, Qadir in residence outside of Hadritya have no definite form of worship that they all partake in. This religion is vastly centered around one’s individual need to contribute to the greater cause, which can be likened to the Great Way in Unionism. The most a Qadir can contribute to the religion is partake in the pursuit of technological advancement so they can one day build their clockwork god.
Inside the Hadritya however, things are a tad more organized. The Qadir people tend to go pay their respects to the Almuttaq at a temple before attending school or work in the morning. Priests, known as Kahin to those that follow the religion, go about their day, checking in on the various mechanics that occupy the fortress, and delivering any offerings, from the previous morning to the Almuttaq. These offerings can vary from being a loaf of bread to an invention that a Qadir within the Hadritya had created. If there is any guidance needed, they ask the Almuttaq for it, though this is rather uncommon, as it has been made clear by the machines that the most essential task is the creation of the clockwork god. The Qadir that work within the Hadritya do not have direct access to an Almuttaq, only an altar, leaving the direct handling of the machine to the priests, priestesses and elders. The older the priests are, the more wise they are seen to be. This causes a hierarchy to form, where the older a priest is the more ‘power’ within the temple they have. Generally, males are favored over females for maintaining the Almuttaq, though it is possible for a female to join the clergy. After a certain age a priest will become an elder and be given the honor of joining the Almuttaq when they eventually pass away. Qadir that are visiting from the outside world are considered to be less holy, simply due to the unfamiliarity of them and aren’t even allowed near the vast caverns that protect the Almuttaq in most Hadritya.
The Qadir believe that the Esrah Alwattah is the only path to salvation, for not only their people but the entire Alorian population. Their distinct hate for the Songaskia fuels the passion and belief that their previous gods have turned their backs on them, and that they must create their own. No one knows exactly where the Hadritya that contains the Esrah Alwattah’s clockwork form is located, but all Qadir bow before its potential power and unite under the same banner in order to further its progress and completion.
The Qadir don’t worship the Esrah Alwattah yet, as it isn’t completed or functioning but consider the Almuttaq as a proof of concept, and they do worship them when they are in Hadritya, but otherwise, Qadir perform their prayers to holy symbols, such as clocks or other clockwork machines kept in their home. These clockwork machines are generally seen as symbols to the advancement of technology and eventual progress that the Qadir people hope to make.
The Almuttaq are generally known to be one by one meter cubes that are vastly complicated in nature, they are made out of a metal that is unknown to modern Alorians, and the center of the cube is clear. The clear part of the cube is not made out of glass, but instead another material that is supposedly unbreakable. Despite not having any magical powers, all Qadir, if they look in the clear area of the cube, can see the soul essence glowing within. It requires no external power, the priests that maintain the Almuttaq believe that the souls’ energy powers the machine. Some Qadir believe them to be artifacts from the Seraph, while others hail them as technological feats and believe that the Qadir are capable of replicating them. While there are few Almuttaq in existence, spread throughout the deserts of Farah’deen within the Qadir strongholds known as Hadritya, these complicated machines have determined the entirety of the Qadir’s path following their removal from the Sariyd Empire’s religion.
Death and the Afterlife
The Qadir are quite knowledgeable about what happens when it comes to death and dying, through their use of Soul Magic, which has been said to revive those that have died. While this may be true, the Qadir and their religious heads believe that the souls of all Qadir should be used for the greater good and fuel the Esrah Alwattah. This purpose and instruction causes the Qadir to be rather zealous in their pursuit of technological advancement as the more knowledge they acquire, the more useful they will be in their life after death as a piece of the man-made God. Those that take care of the Almuttaq are generally added to it once they pass away and if not, then their souls are stored in a Qatil for use in a different purpose, usually they are kept to eventually be added to the Esrah Alwattah once it is complete.
Origins of Life
While the religion in its current state does not have an origin story, their previous one told that the gods were bored and as a competition decided to create Aloria. There were several strong gods that created the lands, seas, and air but none was more powerful than Nahat, the god that created the first sentient life in Aloria. This God of Life was by far one of the most influential deities in the old religion of the Sariyd Empire, evident from the massive temple complexes built in order to worship him, as well as the festivals held in his name prior to the empire’s collapse. The religion said that this god attempted to triumph over all the other gods by showing them that he could make sentient life. In His hands, he took the sands from the desert, and the salt waters of the sea and crafted them into the shape of a man and a woman. Next, he took the grass from the meadows and darkened it with fire, attaching it into the heads of his two creations. He took a deep breath of the air in the heavens, and breathed into the two shapes, giving life to the first Qadir. Other gods, in fits of jealousy, tried to create life of their own that came close to the Qadir, but were unable, thus creating the other races of Aloria.
Worship is very personal to each Qadir. They don’t generally have places to ‘worship’ outside of Hadritya, and even in the Hadritya they only have altars where they leave small offerings to the Almuttaq at the beginning of the day, which is then cleared by those that care for the Almuttaq. Since their people are so scattered, it is common to find a Qadir with some sort of small gear or clockwork machine that they hold very dear to them, and could probably even see them paying their respects or bowing their head with this in their hand. Other Qadir disguise their altar as a large clock generally located in places of gathering within the home. This keeps suspicion from other governments, who tend not to understand their religion or respect it at all, to a minimum.
There is no one symbol that the Qadir people follow, as the scattering and different social standing of them cause different symbols to be used to represent who they are and sometimes the Qadir just meld into whatever culture they are living in. Generally speaking, clockwork gears tend to represent and be a big part of their religious symbolism if there are any, pistons and other machinery have also been used.
- Scholars question whether the vast majority of the gods existed or if the origin story of the Qadir is just a bent version of the Elves story.
- Non-Qadir tend to have a hard time understanding Qadir worship, as the very concept of creating one’s own god is foreign, and not to mention incredibly heretical.
- The Qadir prayed to their gods when the Songaskia came from the deserts, but with no answer from their gods, the religion that held the Qadir together was broken with the very kingdom that kept it intact.
- Despite efforts to replicate the Almuttaq and create more, the Qadir have failed every single time.