Unionism (From the first Emperor-saint, Emperor Theomar the first of Ivrae, Saint of Union) is a monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of Emperor Theomar. Unionism is Aloria's third largest religion, following closely after the Qadir faith of Shambala, but eclipsed by the Elven Faith of Estel. Most Unionists believe that the Emperor of Regalia is a divine being equal to godhood, a spirit or power that reincarnates in the next Emperor each time the previous one dies. Unionists believe that Humans have the cosmic right, duty and fate to become the ruler race of Aloria, as the most dominant race to enslave the lesser races into servitude. Consequently, Unionists refer to the seated Emperor as "His Holiness the Emperor" or "The Emperor Saint, the Messiah".
The foundations of Unionism are recorded in the scriptures referred to as the "Ten Faith predictions of Union". These scriptures are a collection of ten books, each with their own main prediction, but with many lesser tenets and promises, written by Emperor Theomar the First. These books generally speak of the divine duty and fate of Humanity as the superior race, and how all Humans should unite under the Regalian Crown to contribute to the fate of Humanity, to earn salvation and to be brought into the afterlife with the spirit of the Emperor. Trough the centuries, Emperors have added to the Ten Faith Predictions, resulting in several books being formed, referred to as "The Divine promises and duties", each dealing with contemporary topics of the time.
Unionism is one of the youngest religions on Aloria, originating from the Regalian Isle at the hand of Emperor Theomar the First. Unionism grew in size rapidly since it's formation, due to it's easy to adopt tenets and Human centrist beliefs, connecting quite well with general Human beliefs and culture. After the death of Theomar the first, Unionism was the main state religion, but it did not have enough followers yet. In time, Human Old Gods worship was slowly phased out by missionaries and sermons, reducing it to a small heretical sect on remote Islands of the Regalian Archipelago.
Unionism suffered 3 major events in it's history, referred to as the "Three Schisms". These three events caused severe fractures in the unity of Unionism, creating sub religions and fractured sects, each with their own interpretation of Unionism. The three largest groups, are the Church of Union, Etosan Unionism and Vultar Unionism. Various smaller sects have developed from these larger streams, resulting in a wide and diverse religious group.
Unionists share a set of laws, duties and rights that are central to their belief. There are many interpretations across many of the sects and religions based on the Ten predictions of Union.
Precise duties and rights of Unionist beliefs are called creeds. Every one of the Ten predictions of Union represents one creed, and additional creeds can be found in the Divine promises and Duties.
- The first Creed of Union is the belief that the Emperor of Regalia is always a divine, from the moment they are crowned, to the moment they die. They have godly powers, and they must always be worshiped as the only true divine being on Aloria. Despite their divine status, the first Creed does mention that Emperors are not immortal, and their lives must be preserved in order for them to fulfill their role in the grand fate of Humanity.
- The second Creed of Union is the belief that all Humans who prove their worth to the Human cause will join the spirit of the Emperor in the divine afterlife, where their spiritual energy will contribute to the divine power of the living Emperor for the cause of Humanity. Failing to live up to Unionist tenets, results in condemnation as a fallen one. Fallen ones are generally referred to as the Demons from void, but can also be reincarnations as one of the lesser races.
- The third Creed of Union is the belief that Humans have a divine fate and that they will one day rule all of Aloria under Regalia, enslaving the other races. The other races are nothing more but fallen Humans who failed their divine cause, but they are redeemable. They can be redeemed by a lifetime of servitude to Humans, after which they will deserve another chance at proving themselves as a Human.
- The fourth Creed of Union is that Regalia is the physical embodiment of the Human cause, and that all Humans should put their lives in devotion to the Regalian state, and in service to it. Should they succeed, they will have earned their passage to the afterlife.
- The fifth Creed of Union speaks about the daily rituals and duties of Unionists. It also speaks of acts and decisions Humans can make to lose favor with Unionism.
- The sixth Creed of Union speaks of the structure of the Church of Union, the priests, the bishops, the reverends, and finally the Supreme Reverend head of Church of Union. Their laws and duties are also recorded within.
- The seventh Creed of Union speaks about other religions, specifically Old Gods and the Faith of Estel. This Creed is the most disputed Creed as it has suffered numerous rewrites and alterations by subsequent Emperors. The seventh Creed is surrounded in much controversy.
- The eight Creed of Union speaks of purity and virtue among Humans. It speaks more specifically about sainthood in Union. This Creed is also controversial as it is no longer an accepted Creed by the Church of Union, but stands central in Etosian Unionism.
- The ninth Creed of Union speaks of Paradise, the state of being that will be accomplished when Humans rule all of Aloria and their destiny is achieved. This Creed consolidates the strength of Union, promising reunification with all those who have given their lives for Union and a world without death or suffering.
- The tenth Creed is shrouded in mystery. Some theorize the tenth book was never written, even though the Saint of Union did state he wrote it, and some sources have even seen the untranslated work. The tenth Creed was written in an ancient Regalian religion that has long died, and the book was lost in the few years after Emperor Theomar's death, following the first Schism.
The Imperial Spirit
The Imperial Spirit in Unionism refers to the soul of the Imperial power. It's an abstract concept that many theologians have theorized about, but the general interpretation is that the Imperial Spirit is a form of spiritual energy of divine power, that fuses with the soul of the Emperor of Regalia as soon as he is crowned. The Imperial spirit, according to the first Creed, only fuses with a male Emperor, meaning male descendants of Theomar must always be the Emperors of Regalia. The identity of the Emperor caused the third schism. The majority of Unionism accepted "The Kade Settlement" which dictated that the childless Emperor Justinian the Second of Ivrae would carry on the throne to his second removed cousin, Alexander Kade. A fraction of Union believers however believed that because he descended from a female Ivrae, that the Imperial line has ended, and the Imperial spirit no longer fuses with anyone. In present times, the latter belief founded Vultar Unionism, a faith generally considered heresy to the Church of Union. The Emperor's duties as the Imperial Spirit are to make the divine decisions for the cause and course of Humanity, with regards to who to subjugate, who to free, and where to divert the attention of the Empire.
The Imperial spirit also abstractly exists in the afterlife, guiding the souls of those who have passed in the Divine flow of energy that empowers the Imperial Spirit, and keeping them safe and close until the day of the divine Fate. The day of the divine fate, refers to the day when Humanity reaches it's fate and the world shall be rid of all death and suffering, and all those who have passed in service to Humanity shall walk Aloria again.
Death and the Afterlife
Death is the final judgement of any Human's life, a weighing moment when the Imperial spirit weights the value of their contribution to Humanity's fate. If the Human is considered valuable to the Human fate, they are allowed into the afterlife. The afterlife is like life as a bird, the souls of those who passed in service to the Human fate abstractly exist around the living, seeing them, hearing them, but not being able to communicate with them, but existing in the loving embrace of the Imperial Spirit.
If the Human is considered a failure, they are condemned to a life of a non Human, usually a Naga or an Elf, and in very bad circumstances, a Void Demon. As a non Human, they have the chance of mercy or absolution, if they put their lives in servitude of Humans. If they succeed, the Creed speaks of a second chance at being a Human. Void Demons condemned Humans have lost all rights to a second chance, as such those who are personally ordered to death by the Emperor are generally considered irredeemable. A death sentence by the Emperor himself is generally seen as the worst that could happen to any Human, and they will be forsaken by their family etc.
The Creeds of Union are written in the Ten predictions of Union. The Ten predictions of Union are ten books written by Emperor Theomar the first of Ivrae, the first Regalian Emperor. He wrote the books in the course of his lifetime, which was long, thus founding Unionism. Originally the books were written in Low Old Regalian, a language that even predates Old Regalian. Low Old Regalian was a language barely spoken by anyone, even around 10 AC, but Theomar choose to write the books in this language as it was his cultural background. The books were translated after his death by the Supreme Reverends that followed, something that caused the first Schism.
Subsequent Emperors and sometimes Supreme Reverends have retranslated, rewritten or altered some of the Creeds. Some Emperors also wrote additional scriptures called the Divine Promises and Duties. They are generally seen as expansions on the main scriptures, and don't cause much conflict within the church as they are all written in common, which became the standard around 150 AC. Traditionally however, the Ten predictions of Union are only to be read and written in Alt Regalian, the median language between Low Old Regalian and Common. Translating the scriptures to common is seen as heresy, despite the fact that the added scriptures are written in common.