|Cult of Order|
Cult of Order|
Unknown but presumed Second Civilization|
The Cult of Order is a polytheistic religion founded around the principles of Order, Structure, Stability and Continuity. The followers of the Cult of Order, Ordax as they are called, believe that the Exist has touched the world to cleanse it of impurity, imperfection or injustice. The Cult of Order is diametrically opposed to the Cult of Evolution and the Faith of the Dark Ancients, while rejecting all other organized religions as political platitudes. Despite these harsh stances on other religions, the Cult of Order is somewhat compatible with the Faith of Estel, and there is a small minority that believes in both the Faith of Estel and the Cult of Order. This is called a Syncretic Belief, where one can believe in two distinct religions, which is made possible by the way the Cult of Order is structured. At its core, the Cult of Order preaches the prophecies of the Exist Colossi, the eight beings portrayed as gods of the Exist. Those that hold both faiths argue that the Exist Colossi are not the Avatars of the Gods, and that the Faith of Estel does not expressly prohibit worship of a secondary set of lesser deities, because both the Faith of Estel and the Cult of Order worship Estel at the very top, as the great being of the Exist. These notions are often rejected by the more devout Ordax however, who believe that because the Cult of Order predates both Talea and the Faith of Estel by probably thousands of years, that the Faith of Estel is merely opiates for the masses, and that the Cult of Order proclaims the true spiritual absolution and perfection that can be found in the world.
The exact source and beginnings of the Cult of Order are immensely unclear; though the tendency towards worship of the Exist is considered a classically Altalar disposition, traces of their beliefs have been found in ruins predating them, with depictions of Exist Colossi found among surviving Meraic ruins. Further still are the pieces of folklore said to be contained within the Meraic Tohn Qarma; a crystalline storage for what have been called the ‘bedtime stories’ of dead civilizations, tales in its repertoire speak at length of the Exist Colossi and their exploits in all but name. The Cult of Order was a largely ignored- if not tacitly condoned- faith in the eras of the Allorn Empire thanks to its relative comfort in interlocking with Altalar Estel worship, as well as the general aversion to religious fanaticism exhibited by Unionist Ailor since the Cataclysm]. Over the thousands of years of its recorded activity, the Cult of Order was persecuted only a handful of times, typically only spurred by acts of eco-terrorists among its ranks; despite this, the Cult of Order was never entirely pacifistic. References exist among records kept by Dread archivists, Altalar historians, and Cielothar word-of-mouth sages towards brutal campaigns against Void Cults in the waning days of the Allorn Empire; so heavily outnumbered by proto-Kathar and Void worshipers and weakened by the disappearance of the Avatars of the Gods and Estel herself, the Ordax took severe losses that led most to believe that the Cult had utterly collapsed before the Cataclysm occurred. This assumption was proven incorrect, however, by the Cielothar. Kept passively alive by Ordax among the ranks of Ciellonnians and by Silver Skinwalkers more actively, the Skinwalkers transferred their beliefs more readily among the Cielothar populations through scant interactions and idols of the Colossi. The faith reached Regalia soon after, having proliferated amongst the Cielothar. The Cult of Order followed Cielothar emigres to Tanaar Llarana, where it found a strong following among disillusioned Altalar who felt abandoned by Estel and the Avatars. . There are even Unionist sympathizers for the Cult of Order, though they largely only see the Cult of Order as a tool to subject the masses to state obedience, as the Cult of Order generally reacts negatively to rioting, rebellions and violations of the law. That being said, the Cult of Order also professes the need for justice on the corrupt and vile, and so Cult of Order fanatics continue to be a problem for the Regalian Guard, as they do not believe in the Regalian legal system, and take matters into their own hands as religiously motivated vigilantes.
- The central belief of the Cult of Order is communal betterment, to make the whole of society more clean, perfect, structured and ordered without outliers and outcasts.
- The Ordax engage in a variety of preaching, theological outreach, and scientific debate, as the Cult of Order is surprisingly compatible with the principles of objective science.
- The Cult of Order seek out the Colossi in hopes of being guided on missions to create a more perfect future. If Colossi cannot be found, Exist Arken are usually resorted to.
- Afflictions that alter the Ordax are very illegal, with the exception of Werebeasts, who the Ordax consider warriors of the faith, and aid whenever they can to avenge Vampire oppression.
- Ordax form smaller cults around their favored deity, and have nominal alliances with cults of the same faith. While there are no official priests, self-styled religious leaders are called Ord-Vaal, and tend to be respected and remain in contact with one another.
- The Cult of Order is cautious with Magic, particularly Magic that falls under the Eight Pillars that are considered ‘negative’, treating Chaos, Darkness, and Elemental Magic with disdain and aversion. Nature Magic is distrusted by most Ordax due to nature’s preference for chaos and unpredictability, though the Cielothar and Yanar among the ranks of the Ordax argue that it can be controlled and manipulated into serving intelligent design over random chance, and as such use it very prolifically to prove their point.
- The Ordax are considered moralistic and restrained by outsiders who regard their values as typical for any society that claims itself moralistic. However, the Ordax are typically incredibly decisive, cold, and unforgiving in their decision making; it is said that mercy is little more than an afterthought when justice has been set upon by the Ordax, and that only divine intervention can sway the paths they set upon.
- Ordax usually keep a statue of their chosen Exist Colossus in their home, with candles for prayer and a bowl for blessings.
- Ordax can worship all Colossi, though the tendency is to choose a single Colossus to dedicate themselves to, either joining an existing sub-cult or founding one of their own. There do, whoever, exist solo-worshipers who reject structured faith called Ord-Alvaan, or “lone swords of order”.
The Cult of Order has a strict 8 member pantheon called the Exist Colossi or the Order Colossi. These Colossi specifically are not the Avatars of the Gods, all scriptures and believers are very strict in this and consider comparisons or misrepresentations of the Colossi to be insults at best and utter sacrilege at worst.
- Do’llah, the Purest Form:
- Do’llah (pronounced doe-lah) represents purity and cleanliness, and ensures the endurance of perfection. Do’llah is depicted as a serene lady in a vibrant colored (any color) marble, unable to move and in a perfect candle-straight posture that is perfectly symmetrical, standing on a perfectly square slab of marble, with perfectly applied gold-paint lines. Do’llah hates racial mixing, Mutations and body modifications, believing in the purity of the born form, and the cleanliness of bloodlines that do not get muddied by the presence of artificial alterations. Do’llah looks favorably upon those that cleanse Mutations in others, as well as perform exorcism and Light Magic, such as Mending Light. Do’llah curses those that create offspring of mixed-race heritage, those that gain Mutations, or engage in body modifications such as tattoos and piercings. Do’llah is usually worshiped by covering one’s body in ritualistic lines of paint (color chosen from the statue of Do’llah), a paint that is usually mixed with the Voluun Flower, which causes the paint to act more like a stick-on putty. After drying, the paint is removed with song, to emphasize that perfection is underneath all covers, and that beauty itself is nature’s given form to the born being. Do’llah’s worshipers have an intense hatred for Slizzar, who they consider subverters and corrupters of society and purity, viewing them as debased degenerates and have historically conflicted heavily with the Altalar Cult of Suel. Worshipers pray to Do’llah to allow them to grow into a more perfect and pure being, and for protection from corruptions of the body.
- Vol, the Gardener of All:
- Vol (pronounced voll) represents structure, obedience, loyalty and the creation of a designed space in which to reside. Vol is depicted as a short-statured old man with a thin wispy beard reaching the floor, walking bare-foot with a cane and a watering can in either hand. His eyebrows are long and pointy, and his facial features make him appear often more rat-like than humanoid. Vol is said to prance through the forests and gardens of cities, bringing order and structure to nature that wishes to grow wildly. Vol hates unstructured nature, where trees fall and die and give rise to new trees with no order to their planting or growing. Vol also hates gardens that are badly neglected and weeds that are allowed to grow freely. Vol has a sub-deity called Seraan, the Weed-maker, which acts as a foil to his enduring struggle to bring structure and order to nature. Seraan comes after Vol, spreading seeds of chaos, and making flowers grow random mutations in random directions, and giving trees root legs by which to walk to a new spot in the garden. The back and forth between Vol and Seraan is often portrayed by the worshipers of Vol who engage in stage or theatre productions re-enacting one of the many encounters between the two, stories where the moral is to show perseverance and endurance, even in the face of unfavorable odds. These productions are usually held in their gardens, where plants are all perfectly potted and arranged, grass is perfectly manicured and the flowers are all perfectly aligned with the natural lines of the terrain. Vol is worshiped by singing the Song of Vol while gardening, and by ripping weeds out of the ground. It is believed that Vol will grant one the blessings of his gardens if they bundle up the weeds that were plucked and leave them under their pillow at night. While Vol certainly has the most wholesome appearance of all Colossi, some of his worshipers are actually the most fanatical, with some corner cases having turned people into compost for refusing to use the proper paths in their gardens and trampling the flora. Some believe that Seraan is another name of Djjwa Ifirti, who happens to frequently appear like a gnarled tree, which is also Seraan’s most common appearance. This comparison has caused another comparison to be made, that Vol doesn’t actually garden nature literally, but that nature represents the chaos of knowledge in the world, and that he brings order by categorizing and structuring its learning, while Seraan, or Djjwa Ifirti, roams chaotically, taking and corrupting what he pleases.
- Conferron, the Elder Spirit:
- Conferron (pronounced Con-fer-ron) is the Colossus of heritage, ancestry, continuity, culture, spiritualism and humanism. Conferron is sometimes considered not a real deity, because Conferron’s concepts of ancestor worship and common core concept of “the secular and the scholar are sacred”, directly lend to him not really being seen as a god by his cultists, but rather as a divine mentor. Conferron appears like an aging scholar with a very tall hat, upon which are inscribed the names of one’s ancestors. Conferron statues are usually carved out of wood and passed down from generation to generation, each pinning a taller hat on the last, to record more and more noteworthy ancestors. Conferron demands obedience to one’s elders, parents and above all also to the state and the rule of law. Conferron believes that the born being will always be inferior to the knowledge and wisdom that has gone before, and encourages any of his followers to find communion with their elders, and in most cases, preserve them after death by whatever means necessary. Many of Conferron’s followers have dabbled in necromancy and attempted to immortalize their parents as a result, with the quest for immortality being a massive theme, not for one’s self, but rather for one’s parents. Most Conferron worshipers live in large, multi-generational houses, some boasting living with their great-grandparents, with a considerable portion of them engaging in soul-bridging- so to say, conjoining their souls with those of their living ancestors- or even begging Soul Mages to transfer the soul of one of their dying elders into their own body, at the cost of their own soul. Even rarer are Conferron’s Chosen, ancient ancestors that have survived at least 5 or more generations of replacing the souls of their offspring’s children, choosing a new host with each generation; these hosts are labelled as Vessels of the Elder, and are typically groomed for their role by their communities until the coming of adulthood, where their souls supplanted by that of one of Conferron’s Chosen. Vessels are one of the rare exceptions to their dogmatic disdain for newer generations, regarded as heroic martyrs for their sacrifice to a cause greater than themselves. These greatly respected Chosen members of Conferron’s flock impart great wisdom and knowledge to the younger generations, and often also act as priests for Conferron. To many of the Cult of Order however, the rampant necromancy and self-sacrifice in Conferron’s cults causes them to regard Conferron with unease and suspicion as the “least ordered of Order”, even if the Elder Colossus’ followers argue that the preservation of elders is the preservation of tradition.
- Itaal, the Maiden of Language:
- Itaal (pronounced ea-tahl) is the maiden of control and belief, but more specifically of the ability to make anyone believe whatever is being said by the state or by figures of power to suit their purposes. To put it simply, Itaal represents propaganda, and propaganda alone. Itaal professes the need to control the masses by showing them only the facts that they want to see from the people they want to hear it, in the context they want to know. Itaal also professes that society should be led by a large technocracy, and that the masses are stupid and need to be controlled by keeping them ignorant only of the facts that leadership chooses to show them. Itaal’s worshipers hate schools and libraries and often attempt to burn them down to prevent the spreading of knowledge. The most successful of Itaal worshipers have a large cauldron in their home in which there is an ever-burning fire, kept alive purely by books that are purchased and then summarily burned for blessings. Itaal’s worshipers believe that by taking knowledge from others, and denying their learning, Itaal will in return bless their tongue and give them greater speech skills. Itaal’s worshipers frequently have their tongues magically tattooed to represent her, or speak only after applying squid ink to their mouth to make everything including their teeth appear blackened. Itaal is usually depicted as a fair and bald maiden, sitting on top of a rock holding chains that span down to a huddled mass, with one hand shushing a finger in front of her mouth, and the other pulling the chains.
- Saalmar, the Burning Freedom:
- Saalmar (pronounnced sahl-mahr) represents freedom, communion, equality, brotherhood, fraternity, maternity, and equal-love for all. Saalmar believes in a communal paradise, but he is not strictly Jacobin as it would be assumed in Regalia. Saalmar does not believe in the complete break-down of state authority and autocracy, but does believe that most autocrats and particularly nobles have lost touch with reality and need to be reminded almost daily of their duty to the people, and that unless they cycle through more than 90% of their wealth back to the people, that they are corrupt nobles. Saalmar as such wants his followers to convince the nobles to do away with their worldly possessions and embrace their institutional responsibility to create equality among their subjects, and lord over them with fairness and justice. Saalmar professes the need to predict the wants and requirements of others, and to supply for them, and to be supplied in return, so that a communist society may remove all unwanted behavior and bring forth peace and an end to chaos. Saalmar believes that the very nature of autocracy and financial institutions bring about corruption of the soul, and that corruption of the soul causes chaos, as a few powerful actors put their own interests above the common good of the people. Saalmar is sometimes also called the Chain-Breaker, as he is also a strong proponent of freeing slaves. In the Allorn Empire, Saalmar’s worshipers were often the worst pests for the Allorn authorities, as they would frequently go out in the middle of the night breaking out slaves and setting them free. Saalmar is particularly popular in Regalia, less so perhaps because of the Jacobin principles, but more-so because of the more recent push for complete abolition, as 50% of the Regalian Empire’s core heartlands have made slavery illegal. Saalmar’s worshipers tend to hide their identity due to their night time activities, usually leaving only a strategically placed chain, hammer and chisel, arranged in such a way to appear like the chisel was just used to break the chain. Saalmar is not worshiped directly, but believed to be pleased by his worshipers breaking the bonds of slavery, or doing kind deeds for others, while growing displeased with his worshipers letting injustice be continued by those in higher office or positions of authority.
- Calaan-Toraan, the Two Faced Liar:
- Calaan-Toraan (pronounced Cal-lahn-toe-rahn) the two faced liar is actually not a liar at all, but a mis-understood siamese twin. Calaan-Toraan has a female body, but both a male and female head, each representing the caring and motherly attitude, as well as the frightened boy in an unknown world, seeking comfort. Calaan-Toraan is believed to thrive off the insecurities and fears of those weaker, almost like a parasite, or even a Vampire in ways. Calaan-Toraan tends to actually be more sympathetic to Vampires than Saalmar who wants them destroyed, because Calaan-Toraan sees the value of various Vampiric traits in making others forget their woes, or speak more openly about them. Calaan-Toraan causes others to speak their inner fears and worries, akin to a client speaking to a therapist, and then consumes these fears so that the person who confesses them can no longer feel them. Toraan, the male head, then digests these fears and goes into bouts of grief and melancholy, while Calaan becomes stronger, as her nurture of the male head provides comfort for both. Worshipers of Calaan-Toraan seek out people in grief and attempt to comfort them, or use Abilities and Powers to take these worries and issues away from others, believing that by providing them comfort, that the world can find more structure and order, as the suffering pay less attention to their anxiety and more to their goals. Worshipers of Calaan-Toraan decorate their homes with the common two-mask trope of stage-plays, one sad looking mask and one happy looking mask side by side, something that the Calaan-Toraan worshipers claim was originally inspired by a depiction of Calaan-Toraan as a statue.
- Lraach (pronounced luh-rach) is a very simple Exist Colossi, in that he simply hates Void Arken. Lraach believes that all problems in the world, all modus of chaos, all disorder and all randomness is caused by the capricious nature of Void Arken and their whimsical ways. Lraach urges his worshipers to hunt down Void Arken and take whatever action they can to annihilate them, or at least imprison them for all eternity if they cannot. Lraach is rarely depicted, but is worshiped by the simple phrase “Lraach be my guide, Arken are my blight, the world once freed, a peace hard fought, by this weapon forward brought” that is issued at the beginning of every fight, even a normal one not involving Arken. Lraach worshipers are often trained warriors or Mages, and it is even rumored that some of the people working on the Arken Vessels developed by the Regalian Empire and capable of capturing Arken against their will, were secret Lraach worshipers who chose a scientific answer to killing the Void Arken. Lraach worshipers also frequently cooperate with Dragon Worshipers and fanatics, who work on the perceived orders of their Draconic deities to cleanse Void Arken from the world, though the two often part ways when the Dragon Worshipers target Exist Arken instead, who Lraach believes are good agents of order and structure and peace to the world. Lraach also has an intense hatred for those who have sought out and acquired Void Arken pacts, or those who use essence from the Void, such as Vampires, to enhance themselves. Lraach followers find whatever reason to engage in combat with these people, sometimes even dragging them off to the Dragon temples to purify them of their Void powers.
- Nehret (pronounced ney-ret) is, just like Lraach, a fairly simple Exist Colossi. Nehret believes that the world and all problems there-in that cause all misery and chaos and injustice, is death. Nehret believes that the impending fear of death causes all creatures to behave erratically, to experience, to own, to have, to abuse, because they fear the impending death that is hurling towards them, fearing they might have experienced enough before they expire. Nehret as such believes that all chaos in the world can be ended, by simply ending all death, believing that with death gone, that all chaos will be gone. In order to end death, Nehret professes the need to make all of the world Undead, rather than outright killing them, because genocide would invite a different kind of chaos. Indeed, Nehret is strictly anti-killing and very pacifist, but at the same time, believes that causing someone to become an Undead is not actually killing them, but giving them the mercy and peace that everlasting after-life can grant. As such, she is sometimes also seen or praised as the Lady of Peace and the Lady of Tranquility. Nehret is depicted as a lion’s body with a bird’s wings, a female neck and head, and the long tail of a paradise bird that is often intertwined with her four feline legs. She is poised on top of a burial mound, or near a tomb, holding open the door for those inside to leave. Nehret, despite tasking her subjects with converting the whole world to Undeath, is actually considered a very kind and peaceful deity. Many of Nehret’s worshipers are themselves undead, having found ways to bring about the peace she extends, and now seeking other ways to extend that onto others. Nehret worshipers usually identify each other by a walking cane they have, the tip of which is usually laced in Lapis Lazuli, with a black and Silver rod, and a silver head. It is believed that Nehret shed tears when the first person in the world died, and these tears became Lapis Lazuli as they hardened in the soil, eventually giving the Nehret followers an answer to their prayers on turning others Undead, as Lapis Lazuli has been known to cause disruptions to the souls of those who passed nearby.
- It is unclear why all Colossi but Nehret have Altalar names, but it is believed to be a consequence of the war between the Dewamenet Empire and the Allorn Empire, and that Nehret was a depiction of the sorrow among the Dewamenet over the mass genocide that they inflicted on the Altalar with their early weapons, making Nehret one of, if not the ‘youngest’ Colossi; however, this still makes her over 3,000 years old.
- Mind alteration is considered extremely vile among the Ordax. It is believed that mind alteration is the tool of a weak will, and that weak wills invite chaos, while the strategies of propaganda, mass control, and subversion to change the beliefs of others on one’s own are true exercises of bringing about order
- The Ordax are typically very fanatical regarding following the Altalar Five Elements Theory, as well as the Eight Pillars. Seeing the world through the Five Elements, they may sometimes become spontaneously upset about, or violent towards something that, to the layman, appears perfectly natural but in some way defies the Five Elements and is thus considered very much unnatural by the Ordax.
HydraLana, TheBioverse, Scribbe||
MonMarty on 03/13/2021.|
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