Muz’havel is a faith unique in Aloria thanks to the people who helped create it and the surroundings that it emerged in. It is a monotheism, rare in Aloria, that believes a golden god known as Eliah blessed the Mevoriim people to herald his will, message and power out to the wider world. He now rests atop a holy mountain, but his faithful flock, the Mevoriim, still retain their faith with great zeal, with some even seeking to spread it abroad. The faith is one of the smaller religions in Aloria though, contained to eastern Sendras, but in the future, the wider world may come closer into contact with this earnest people and get to hear their fervent debates as to what is the true power in Aloria.
Muz’havel is a faith that is intricately tied into the Ailor Cultures that settled in Sendras and began shortly after their ancestors arrived. Threatened by the terrible diseases that cover the hostile continent to this very day, their keeping to coastal sea caves only prolonged the inevitable. But then, a being came to them and blessed the struggling population and their animals with the ability to resist such diseases, allowing them to finally leave their miserable dwellings for proper ground. The being became known as Eliah. and though its form was gender neutral, the slight masculine tinges to these features made him defined as male in all regional writings. The Mevoriim, as they became known, thus reorganized themselves around him, their society keeping tightly knit and expanding on their system of belief as time went on. In the few decades before the Cataclysm, trouble finally came to this devoted people. What caused it is uncertain, both groups claiming different causes for the divide that ultimately saw a sect forced out of the Mevoriim and over southern mountains. These people became the Güneyliler, and adapted their faith of origin into something more fitting to their own beliefs and ideas, especially after an influx of Qadir brought foreign ideas to their land. As for the Mevoriim, their worldview was soon rocked by a great event: Eliah seemed to be leaving them.
This occurred roughly at the same time as the Cataclysm, Wildering, and so many other great magical events in Aloria. But the Mevoriim had no way of being aware of all these magical events and so feared that they had made a mistake in exiling the minority. The new leaders who had taken control in the wake of that event quickly reassured the people that this was not so before pursuing Eliah north and up the now holy Mt. Mechudash. There, Eliah stopped and is said to have uttered his Commands, the first words he’d apparently ever spoken. They numbered seven and were then inscribed onto a tablet for his followers to better understand his wishes. These leaders then brought the tablet down the mountain with them and proclaimed the new guiding principles of their god. In the over three centuries that have since followed, the Mevoriim have proven a very devout people, but insular, focused on their religion’s origins to the point of ignoring the outside world. This came somewhat at their “peril” if one can call it that, as the Güneyliler ultimately came calling. They desired reunification, by gentle force, but the panic that swept the Mevoriim turned the planned swift takeover into a grinding horror. Appeals for peace were ignored by the Mevoriim head of state, who never informed the other major leaders but, when they found out, he was promptly replaced. This younger man immediately made peace, and so the people were reunited after 200 years apart. It has been an amicable arrangement, as both still follow generally the same beliefs, and the Güneyliler want nothing more than taxes, some manpower, and to expand themselves in other areas. Their faith remains a strong binding principle between their people and it is likely going to help keep them together.
Muz’havel has a number of core beliefs, central to them all is the divinity of Eliah. This god came to the Mevoriim in their time of greatest need and rewarded them for all their suffering by seeing to it that they would never feel those great and torturous pains again. He chose them because of their suffering as well, because it was true and deep, hard and wearing, and made them a people with the strength to never break a once unspoken promise of fealty between them and him. Eliah’s divinity and selection of the Mevoriim as a chosen people also sees them believing his infallibility, and role in almost all things. It was his guiding hand that brought the Ailor to Sendras’ shores and his infinite wisdom is beyond virtually all comprehension of mortals. He is also not a “vessel” as the Güneyliler claim, but an immortal, physical and present being that inhabits the mortal world, with power stemming out from him, and not being a creation of a power beyond his grasp.
In contrast to him is the vile Demon Queen Betziyka and her vast horde of Demons, seeking to take the Mevoriim out of the light of Eliah and use their souls to fuel their pain palaces. Betziyka supposedly appeared within ten days of the Mevoriim leaving the sea caves, whereupon she seduced a man known as Udom intro trying to betray his fellows. She failed, with Eliah’s second miracle after the curing of the entire population being her banishment. Despite her banishment, her children and other dark Demons still seek to break down the moral defenses of the Mevoriim people, leaving them open to possession or corruption by Betziyka to help bring down their society. As Demons are described to come from places external to even the vastness of Sendras, the Mevoriim are generally distrusting of outsiders, one of the many reasons that has helped keep them insular. They view the whole world outside as one that has largely been corrupted by these Demons, hating the Nelfin (as the “Demons” of their mythology are extremely Nelfin in appearance, though also more monstrous) but also the Allar, Songaskia, Url, Half Races, and generally anything that isn’t Ailor for the reason that “demonic features” indicate the corruption of this universal evil force. The Mevoriim largely do not believe in killing these Races though, as that would just free up a Demon to go and try and harass a free and pure soul out there in the universe. Muz’havel believers also don’t understand proper curing for magical infections or diseases like Vampirism. This is because, even if someone has been cured of their corruption or infection by the Void or Exist, the Mevoriim believe the Demon remains, just lurking and somewhat dormant nearby, waiting to re-enter someone’s soul.
As a result, the Mevoriim seek to purify and destroy the “Demon” altogether. They do this through rituals of cleansing, which take on a number of different forms. Mevoriim society as a whole is deeply involved with purity, in all its forms, and are mockingly called the “bathing religion” for this obsession. But for the Mevoriim, water is a major part of life, as it brought them to Sendras, it was a constant sound as they sat in the sea caves surviving, and it provides much of the lower class with work as fishermen. The first such rituals is “Sh'kiyah,” when an individual inserts their head or entire body into a clean and blessed water source overseen by a Rabbi. This is done either naked or in very little clothing to allow for direct contact with the skin and as little obscuring the flesh from the cleansing ability of the water. As this occurs, a slow rendition of the Chant of Cleaning is sung, the Chant used to both ritually purity something and to ensure that the purification lasts. Then there is “Geshem Shotef,” where the same thing takes place only in the rain, though it is generally more acceptable to wear some light clothing for this style of ritual. Then, there are the more aggressive “Chiyev,” where purified water is aggressively flicked or even splashed into an individual’s face to help cleanse them. This is the most common method employed by Mevoriim abroad to help cleanse particularly “demonic” groups like Kathar or the Gorr Races. The blessed and cleansing water has no properties, and so it can't actually hurt Aberrants.
The last area of major belief for the Mevoriim is the structure of their society. At the top sits the Shafat, a prophet-king-judge combination who technically commands all Mevoriim in lieu of Eliah. Eliah appoints the Shafats and they enter into his vault in the great temple complex now atop Mt. Mechudash on the first day of their reign to receive a fragment of his Light, known as his Ziyk. With this blessing in their minds, they then go out to the world and rule their people. Beneath the Shafat are the Rabbis, a vast group of teachers, scholars, philosophers, and local leaders who are very well schooled in the Muz’havel faith. They help educate the population, train future Rabbis, lead religious rituals, and assist in running their towns and cities. All of these leaders are men, as the Muz’havel faith, much like the Mevoriim people, is highly patriarchal. Women play no major role in leadership, though the wives of Rabbis are important in the sense that they offer an alternative point of access to their husbands but are also seen as paragons of how women should act in Mevoriim society.
- Eliah is the god of Muz’havel with an origin steeped in that Religion to the degree that most outsiders do not believe he exists. He was apparently found deep within the sea caves of the Sendrassian eastern coastline, waiting to be discovered by the desperate group of healthy Ceardians that did so. He demonstrated his power to them in a look and so they brought him to their people. He then raised a hand and made what is now the society’s most powerful symbol of blessing. With this first miracle, he cured them and all their animals of disease, making them forever resistant, before then traveling with them to the surface. Eliah remained with his people before ascending Mt. Mechudash, speaking his only words to the world, and then sitting himself at the summit. He now lives contained inside a vault whose original chamber was built 300 years ago, where he has remained isolated from the outside world save the once-in-a-lifetime visits of the Shafats. He is physically described as golden and luminous, his body smooth and lacking in wrinkles, creases, or flaws. Older art sometimes gave him large white wings on his back, but that is largely believed to be an artistic choice representing the fact that he supposedly hovers off of the ground. Art also depicts him as masculine, with a white beard and mane of hair in addition to more muscular chest, though descriptions of him in writings now incorporated into the religion’s holy book, the Nevuit, only claim he possessed white hair.
- Tablet of the Seven Commands:
- This tablet of stone carved from a mountain stone and inscribed with the simple, but elegant script of Mevor, the Mevoriim Language, is key to Muz’havel faith. Not only did it firmly set a list of laws and expectations believed to be directly from Eliah down in the mortal world, and not only were they spoken aloud by Eliah as he carved them, but it is a real artifact. The tablet is relatively flat, being about an inch thick rectangular prism at least over a foot in length with a domed top. It is set into the floor of the vast temple compound atop Mt. Mechudash known as the Hall of Eliah, where it is the last thing seen by Shafats entering into the vault that lies directly in front of it that holds Eliah himself. The tablet has been replicated multiple times, and even appears as an iconography in Mevoriim art for law and order, but none of these copies retain the holy power and importance of the original Tablet.
- The Nevuit:
- The Nevuit is not the sort of relic seen in other Religions of Aloria, but to the Mevoriim and even the Güneyliler, its words are holy and to be deeply respected. While not written by the hand of Eliah as the Tablet of the Seven Commands is, the respect remains for words and the art of writing. The Nevuit as a text in which contains twelve M’gilahs (literally translated to “Scrolls” but in essence just chapters), and each is named after one of the Makorgufs, twelve founding figures in Mevoriim society. Each of the Scrolls were once an actual scroll, but has since been combined together into a manuscript for easier use by the public. Synagogues have at least one complete copy of the old text, stored and revered, but many more new versions of The Nevuit in this book form exist for ease of reference. The proper actual scrolls of The Nevuit are taken out though for major events and special calendar days.
Muz’havel faithful practice their faith with relatively simple methods. The most obvious is prayer, three times a day, done facing toward the sun or a source of great light. During these times of prayer, they bow their heads and mutter the appropriate prayer in their native tongue of Mevor. The prayers are drilled into the minds of the Mevoriim when young, so that all can remember them, and the faithful can remember the generally simple chants even if they do not known Mevor, but are devout to Muz’havel. In addition to these prayers, caring for others is a key part of their society. Mevoriim society has a low level of poverty, as they have a vast array of social services provided to those impoverished, abandoned, or physically deformed. Feeding, clothing, and housing them make up important parts of Muz’havel beliefs, as these Communes of the Aided are also important to Mevoriim law as read in the Seven Commands. Eliah commanded that the unfortunate of society should be aided and so 300 years of development to accomplish this has meant they are very successful. Another key part in caring for them is cleaning them, with bathing and water rituals important to Mevoriim society. Actual bathing is ideally done daily, but those special rituals in purity and water done by the whole population take place at least once a month to ensure one’s own purity is maintained. Below can be found the full Chant of Cleansing translated into Common.
- Clean us oh Eliah
- Scrub away at our mortal souls
- Make us fresh with life
- And make us pure
- Clean us oh Eliah
- Rinse our darkness down a drain
- Thunder down like a flood
- And drown any darkness
- Clean us oh Eliah
- Wash us deep and full
- Expel the musk, douse the dark
- And let us emerge radiant
- Clean us oh Lord and Shepard
- Clear our souls of sin
- Let your mortal children forever resist
- And we will be forever grateful
Muz’havel and Mevoriim law are virtually one in the same. But in regard to laws solely Muz’havel in origin, the devoted have the words of the Seven Commandments:
- Eliah has no equal in this world.
- You must obey his words and the words of his prophets.
- You must respect your parents and your family.
- You will hold this day to be a holy time of rest. (The day in question is when Eliah stopped on the mountain peak, identified as a Friday)
- You will not lie before a judge of any kind.
- You will not shun the weak or harmed, but raise them up.
- You will not steal or murder unjustly.
Thus, people who break these rules and are convicted of the act are immediately punished religiously and socially. Most recieve a rather aggressive Cleansing ritual that may leave them half drowned, before digits or hands are removed. Those under the age of 15 are given warnings for their first offense, as well as earnest lessons with the local Rabbi(s) to help make up for their inability to understand the importance of these rules.
- Ibadet religion has a number of differences from Muz’havel, but still ultimately derives a lot of ideas from this parent religion. They do not believe Eliah specifically as a god, instead the deity of Ibadet does not have a formal name. It is formally referred to as the Yaradan, a vast force that works in mysterious ways across the world whose vessel on earth is Eliah. Worship of the Yaradan is simple and involves worship three times a week on special prayer carpets made locally in Güneyliler regions, sometimes even by Mosques themselves (the religious structure of this sect of the faith). As for laws, there are fewer religious laws as there are guiding principles to be followed that generally conform to the same ideals of the Mevoriim. The absorption of Mevoriim lands into the territory of the Güneyliler Empire has gone well because of this fact, as despite their differences, both still generally worship the same principles and have similar rituals. The Mevoriim have learned to respect the Güneyliler while that nation has in turn learned to accept them, and other religions, so long as a special tax is paid at the end of the month. The relative peace between the two ethnic groups is thanks to this shared and developing trust through their shared Religion, and it will hopefully continue to keep them allies.
- For more information on their system of belief, click here
- Unionist preachers are fascinated, if not irritated, that the Mevoriim naturally possess the same capabilities as a devoted member of their society has to earn. For the Mevoriim though, it’s just another sign that their Religion is the proper one, and the most powerful.