The (Relative) Importance of Religion
Religion is important to many people of Eparra … but not equally important.
The Way of Nature makes few demands on its adherents, other than that they accept that they are part of a grand telluric cycle, the cycle of the seasons. The people of the Five Free Cities celebrate their religion through offerings and festivals, and many people choose a patron goddess or god, but religious reasons are rarely the main motive for their decisions.
Image credit Diego Cunha: https://goo.gl/nOVyM1
The Church of the Sun and Moon is insistent and demanding on its followers’ time and attention. In Malthireon, the nobility find it fruitful to feign absolute allegiance to the gods, and the priesthood cooperate, realizing that the nobles fund their grand endeavors like their largest temples. A few Pontifices have even, in the past, swayed the political course of the kingdom, but they did so at great cost to themselves. Followers are expected to tithe, attend weekly services, celebrate festivals, and follow at least the letter of the scriptures.
The Eternal Spirit Journey is somewhere between, depending on the sect, as varied as the sects are, one from another. Some sects infuse themselves into their followers’ very lives, while others embrace the individuality of the many, encouraging the people to live their lives and in these lives, find their way to enlightenment.
About Alignments (When Applicable)
The religion of the Way of Nature tends to be Neutral. Both the Church of Sun and Moon, and the Eternal Spirit Journey, are Lawful in Nature. Individual practitioners (and gods) may vary from their pantheon’s alignment, but priests must adhere to the religion’s belief system if they wish to ever perform miracles in the name of their gods and beliefs.
The Way of Nature started out when human slaves, escaping from their Viskani overlords, were taken in by nature-loving Elves and adapted many Elvish beliefs to their own traditions. The Way of Nature seeks harmony of the soul with the seasons and the elements. There are no true “gods” per se, but by becoming one with the natural cycle, a great hero can become immortal, and gain godlike power. The hero-gods are said to aid mortal followers of the Way of Nature, directly and indirectly, but only those that prove themselves worthy. Heroes will always ask a follower to solve their own problems before seeking supernatural assistance.
Image credit GaudiBendia: https://goo.gl/ardLeP
The Way of Nature is the unofficially official religion of the Five Free Cities. Druids of the Way can be found in every city, even though the Way has no rigid hierarchy. The only widely accepted holy book is the Scroll of the Seasons, which contains theological poetry and a smattering of epics about the hero-gods.
Devotees of the Hero-Gods
The heroes of the Way of Nature are not “gods” per se, but rather ascended sages and glorious adventurers who epitomize cosmic forces. They can help, and they may be appealed to, but they need not, and they may be offended and bring ill luck as well. Most people have a few favorites among the hero-gods, even the priests. Although a priest may prefer and specialize in the words of a specific hero-god, they may perform rites to propitiate and draw attention from any, and there is only one Way of Nature.
Ultimately, though, the Hero-Gods are not as important as Nature itself. One becomes a Hero-God by exemplifying the powers of Nature by their actions: the power and heart of Summer, the expansiveness and flightiness of the Wind, and so on. The Way of Nature never denies that there may be a hidden tradition of mystical techniques that each Hero-God is initiated into also, once they prove themselves as an exceptional and exemplary individual.
The Way of Nature recognizes four elements: wind, stars, sea, and tree, roughly corresponding to air, fire, water, and earth. There are eight major hero-gods, a male and female, one for each element. That’s not to say there aren’t more hero-gods recognized by the religion, there are lots of them, but these eight are the ones most widely recognized. Eight is a nice round number, and has a certain cosmological resonance, so that’s the number the druids settled on over time.
Devotees of A Hero-God
When many devotees of a particular hero-god gather in one place, the local worshipers develop their own practices and traditions.
The Far Walkers
These “rangers” focus on Kardamin Walks-by-Night and Valkmir Iron-Eyed, travelling the wooded places and there dispensing justice and mercy as they see necessary. They consider themselves a necessary adjunct to the Compact, but they have no official standing, and some like the Voice of the High Mothers and the Lord-Elect of Jenseen see them as self-important vigilantes and potential rebels.
These priests of Bhairsin and other seaside villages follow Nyvender Sea-Born, a strange figure that’s sometimes accorded status as a minor hero-god. The Sea-Born walked out of the sea one day and into a village south of Thenalem, a green-skinned man who spoke no local tongue at first. Assumed to have been washed in by the Gloom-Tides, Gracchus (so he was named) eventually learned to speak, and gave teachings about respecting the ocean, shepherding its bounty, and making sacrifices to appease the tide-spirits. Eventually he walked back into the sea with no warning, but it’s said that he, or one like him, will return again to lead ships to a new and shining land beyond the waves.
The Sisterhood of the Seventh Sight
Technically the Sisterhood of the Seventh Sight practices the same religion as the Way of Nature, but they learn arcane as well as divine magics, and they focus almost exclusively on the goddesses of the pantheon (Ajandri, Ambella, Deondra, and Seolsha). They believe in balance in the same way as the other priests of the Way of Nature do, but they believe that after an era of domination by males, it is time for the pendulum to swing the other way and for the female principle of the universe to take precedence.
Temple prostitutes who follow Seolsha Silkenstep, and who see sex as a sacrament and as life’s greatest pleasure. The members of this order may be male or female, but are often female. The Silkenrobes have a complicated, and not always cooperative, relationship, with the Sisterhood, but more than a few priestesses in Thenalem are members in good standing of both groups. The Silkenrobes’ greatest temples are in Bhairsin and Jenseen.
The Sacrifices of the Seasons
The greatest and most important ritual in the Way of Nature is the Sacrifice of the Seasons. In each season, worshipers must sacrifice something meaningful to them to the elements.
- Summer Sacrifice (Star): The followers of the Way of Nature know the stars are sparks of white fire that burn far, far away. In summer, followers set a beloved possession on fire, or they must suffer a burn in a fire.
- Fall Sacrifice (Tree): In the fall, the beloved is buried, only to rise again like a tree from a seed. People and animals may be buried partially, for a short time, to symbolize death and rebirth.
- Winter Sacrifice (Wind): In winter, beloved things are thrown off a cliff (“to the winds”), or left on an open-air stand outside the city, ideally on a mountain. This need not be for longer than four hours, “half a watch”, and then may be recovered, if thieves haven’t taken them in the meantime.
- Spring Sacrifice (Sea): In the spring, devotees toss things into the river or the ocean, or a stream deep in a cave.
- Of course, this is an outgrowth of ancient human sacrifice customs from before the Ogre Wars, but that practice was outlawed 180 years ago. Crazed, traditionalist followers of the Way of Nature still follow the Old Ways at times, though.
- These feasts aren’t on the calendar, because each city holds its sacrifice festivals at a different time, depending on when the local Way of Nature druids see fit. Usually it’s the solstices and equinoxes, but sometimes it’s the birth or death days of one of the hero-gods, or the anniversary of some other major event (like the Fall of Viskan).
The Scholar All-Finding, the Patron of Fools, Mages, Seers, Lady of the Wind.
Ajandri is a goddess of wisdom and cleverness. In life, she was a rogue scholar and tomb-raider who traveled from one tribe to another, stealing rune lore from Dwarves, flattering old grey-beards for magic rings and young champions for their magic bows. No secret was safe from Ajandri Deft-Wit, and she was an apt companion for the even-more-roguish Ambella. Ajandri resembles Hermes as both the trickster and keeper of occult wisdom, as well as crazy-wise teachers such as Merlin and Castaneda’s Don Juan.
Elves who live among humans are often happy to pay homage to Ajandri.
Image credit unknown.
- Gain wisdom in any way possible, through study, through experience, through making mistakes.
- Magic is a part of the universe, for all to use.
- Devotees of Ajandri Deft-Wit propitiate her by making risky decisions based on intuition and gut feelings, and then sticking with those initial guesses no matter what.
The Thief of Days, Patron of Thieves and Tricksters, Lady of the Stars.
If Ajandri stole for curiosity, Ambella stole for fun. Ambella despises those whose ego isn’t matched by their skills and achievements, and she traveled the lands, taking from anyone who refused to share in times of famine or disease. She could be sinister, too; once, in a time of plague, when the people had been unjust and negligent, Ambella left empty medicine cabinets and exsanguinated corpses in her wake. Nothing is sacred, and nothing is safe. Ambella is the trickster-as-chaos-god, in the mold of Mercury but also Loki, and “Jack” from fairy tales.
Image credit OmeN2501: https://goo.gl/4A0mdW
In legends Ambella tricked an Ogre King by throwing all of his beer into her bottomless sack, and later on emptying it out and finding a beehive within full of drunken bees. Ambella’s Bag of Ridiculous Bees can provide a great distraction, and the bees themselves, the size of large cats, can fight or be given simple directions, although in their drunken stupor they rarely follow orders well.
Ambella is a popular hero-goddess with Elves living among humans.
- Never meekly submit to authority. If a law is bad, question it. If a ruler’s heart is vile, disobey!
- Share and share alike. By stealth or force, if necessary.
- Devotees of Ambella the Unruly propitiate her by sharing all they have, and stealing what is badly needed from someone who refuses to sell or share.
The Champion Unceasing, Patron of Warriors, Lord of the Forest.
Beolgran was the greatest warrior of the Ogre Wars, and he single-handedly won years of peace with the defeat of the Ogre Prince, Charred Azzakur. Beolgran was never renowned as an intellectual powerhouse, and indeed some stories paint him as a bit of a dullard, but Beolgran’s pure heart and unflinching determination always carry the day in the end. Beolgran is a loud champion war-god in the mold of Heracles and Thor.
Image credit: Art for the game “Warriors: Legends of Troy”: https://goo.gl/M72zRB
The legends of Beolgran say he was so valorous, once he collapsed into joyous exhaustion on the battlefield and his sword, anxious not to disappoint him, fought on while he napped, and to this day it will fight when its owner has been knocked unconscious.
Beolgran is popular with the few Dwarves who live among humans, mostly in Jenseen and Urraim, and with the extremely rare half-orcs also.
- Fight wisely but without fear.
- See into the hearts of your enemies. Do this for two reasons: To be sure that they deserve to die, and to see their fears to best make that happen.
- Beolgran is propitiated through courageous battle, with a light heart and a willing spirit.
The Mother All-Wise, Patron of Mothers and Shield-maidens, Lady of the Waters.
Deondra Hearthkeeper is the patron of lady warriors and mothers. Deondra is portrayed as unflinchingly compassionate and sincere, and in it’s said that the souls of dead children, and mothers who die in childbirth, are ushered to their next lives by Deondra herself, instead of by her fellow-god Kardamin. However, those that threaten hearth and home find her an unflinching opponent, and more deadly than Beolgran himself, who fights for the joy of it rather than for any selfless ideal. Deondra is similar to certain Earth mother-goddesses, like Hera and Vesta, and also warrior goddesses like Pallas Athena.
Dwarves in Jenseen are particularly devoted to Deondra Hearthkeeper.
Image credit: Art for card “Lovisa Coldeyes” for MtG by Brian Snoddy: https://goo.gl/xzAmkG
- Protect those you love. Destroy those who threaten them utterly.
- Water gives life to all. Do not deny hospitality to the worthy; all are worthy until they prove themselves otherwise.
- Deondra is propitiated by giving selflessly to children and mothers of infants, whatever they need most.
The Bringer of Weal and Woe, Patron of Archers, Health, and Sickness, Lord of the Wind.
Garth the Fickle is patron of guards and healers, those who protect through sharp eyes and vigilance. Health is fickle, it can come and go like the wind, and it is Garth who grants, takes away, and can grant again when propitiated. Ambella may be the goddess of gamblers, but Garth is the god of the dice themselves; he neither loves nor hates, but is never unaware; he watches all, watches and waits. Speaking suddenly, extemporaneously, and “from the heart” brings favor with Garth, as does music played not from memory but spontaneously, with thoughtless expertise. He resembles Apollo of Earth myth in certain ways, though Garth is far less attractive and far more paranoid.
Image credit Choi Keun Hoon https://goo.gl/PvXW3o
Garth’s holy weapon is a strange arrow with arrowheads at both ends. Those who discover the trick find the arrow always flies true, but those that fail will do so only after cutting themselves on the razor-sharp arrowheads over and over again.
- Like the wind, let your gaze pass over all, this way and that. Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- The wind is the breath that brings life. Through vigilance and through keen eyes, keep your health and remain alert for signs of illness.
- Garth the Fickle is propitiated through vigilance; standing guard with the city watch overnight, or keeping vigil over an ailing man.
Inscrutable Psychopomp, Patron of Travellers and Explorers, Lord of the Stars.
Kardamin is the patron of itinerant merchants, explorers, and gravediggers. Kardamin may appear as a cloaked man with no visible face, or an empty suit of armor, or some other mysterious, absent-but-present figure. In stories, he’s said to suddenly appear, and suddenly disappear; never remaining for long, he never appears when expected, but is never far when needed. Those who see Kardamin’s true face, in dreams or visions, are said to be about to meet Kardamin for their long, final journey. Kardamin is similar to many psychopomp deities of Earth, such as Hermes.
Image credit: Concept art from Guild Wars 2: https://goo.gl/qFbHZB
- Honor the dead in your thoughts, but accept that their journey has taken them farther along the path. Your paths will cross again soon enough.
- All men have the right to their journey. The taking of slaves shall be a sin. A man may be indentured, by choice or by contract, but one day, their sojourn must continue.
- Kardamin is propitiated through travel to faraway places, for the sheer pleasure of the journey. He also sends his followers vivid dreams, and taking their advice, no matter how strange, is a way to win his favor.
The Bringer of Sighs, Heart’s Sweet Pain, Patron of Youth, Beauty, and Music, Lady of the Forest.
Seolsha is the goddess of young maidens and romantic love. The followers of the Church of Sun and Moon often equate her with Thressa. Music, celebrations, love, sex, and wine, Seolsha loves all those “unnecessary” sensual pleasures that are what make life most worth living. Seolsha’s most dedicated adherents are known to operate brothels and vineyards, host orgies, and patronize musicians. Seolsha is also the lady of the forest, and of all the Hero-Gods of mankind, Seolsha is the one that is always, unquestionably, and instinctively paid veneration by Elves. A visitor from Earth would instantly recognize her as coterminous with Aphrodite.
Image credit janaschi: https://goo.gl/GChQmq
Seolsha once enchanted the rags of a humble peasant girl so they will instantly transform to look like any garb. The peasant girl was discovered and killed, and so Seolsha’s Tricksome Rags, still grieving, instantly revert when they taste blood, but they are still invaluable to spies, thieves, and stealthy lovers.
Seolsha is popular with everyone, but particularly with the tiny handful of Elves living in the Five Free Cities.
- Life is an orchard, in which there are many delicious fruit. Do not deny yourself love, for it is the reason for, or at least the deepest expression of, life.
- Is a song more beautiful than a man or woman, is a tree more beautiful than a grand sculpture or the feel of Tesh Paran silk? Take part in the joy in all things, for there are many joys, and all are different.
- Seolsha is propitiated through sensual pleasure. Seeking out new and strange pleasures, and giving selflessly of one’s body (such as through anonymous encounters on festival nights at the Shrine of Nature) is a sure-fire way to win her favor.
The Stern and Cold Lord, Patron of Judges and Justice, Lord of the Waters.
Valkmir is the father-god and ruler of the pantheon. The lord of Winter Ice, he is stern, cold, commanding, judging, capable of forgiveness but not indefinitely. Dwarves hold him in high esteem, and ignore most other human Hero-Gods as wholly unworthy of notice. A visitor from Earth might equate him with Odin.
Image credit unknown.
- Rule your house, your lands, and your life wisely and impartially. Let your heart be cold and unbending as iron as you measure fates.
- Be stern but compassionate in all your dealings. Rule your passions and focus on the job at hand. Do not use religious excuses or rituals to seek your own ends, for this will bring the sternest punishment to bear.
- Valkmir is propitiated by serving the community as judge or jury, serving fairly and granting special treatment to none.
The Church of the Sun and Moon
The Church of the Sun and Moon worships the visible celestial bodies, as stand-ins for the sun god Alsian, and the moon goddess Duola. In its early days it was called “the Sect of Three”, because it worshipped Alsian, Duola, and the earth-goddess Thressa equally, but since it has divorced itself from the latter.
The Church holds immense power in Malthireon, but is slowly spreading through the Five Free Cities also. About half of the inhabitants of the mountain pass trade city Urraim, and the coastal village Nine Fires, worship Alsian and Duola. Most of the other Free Cities have far fewer followers of the Church, around 10-20%.
Customs and Tenets of the Church of the Sun and Moon
At puberty, men and women receive a “holy name”, which is tattooed on their pubic area. This custom evolved as a way to ensure a girl’s virginity; if a man other than the girl’s parents learn the girl’s holy name, well then, they can claim the girl as a wife. It’s a very imperfect system that made sense to some ancient judge or prefect once upon a time, but causes all kinds of societal difficulties now.
High-class courtesans in Malthireon insist on working in the dark, and lower-class courtesans use resinous body paint to cover over the tattoo.
It’s considered prestigious for a family to offer up a child to the priesthood, and many orphans, particularly war orphans, are raised in the Church of Sun and Moon. Before receiving confirmation as a priest, after studying theology long and hard, one must undertake a vision quest into the desert, and come back with an inspired word from Alsian (and typically with severe sunburns, too, “blessed suffering” for their hard-won wisdom).
The holy book is the Holy Writ of the Sun and Moon, which is officially approved by the Church of the Sun and Moon. Official copies of the holy book are copied, blessed, and given away by the Church.
The Crusading Order of the Golden Aura
One of the Crusading Order’s most sacred tasks is to drive away nomads and slavers from around Malthireon so the priests can enter the desert without being captured and dragged away in chains. They are also the military elite of the armies of Malthireon, and the greatest of noble families contribute to the Crusading Order’s membership and funds.
The Destroyer of Evil, Lord of Day
The sun-god Alsian, the Impaled Serpent, destroys evil with the venom that drips from his golden fangs, while he replenishes the world with the blood that drips from his open wounds. His symbol is the fiery spiral. Alsian teaches discipline, virtue, courage, orderliness, tenacity, and surrender to superiors and to fate.
Image credit unknown.
- Two things cleanse the world: The light of wisdom, and the fires of destruction. The enemies of the faith shall see the light, or they must burn.
- The sun rises each day, for that is the law. The law rules all, even the gods.
- All things transform, as the serpent sheds its skin, but its heart does not change. Do not be fooled by the skin, and do not let your eyes be dazzled by appearances.
- That which brings warmth, light, and life must stand above all, leading and protecting. That which nurtures with cold light by darkness must support and nurture. That is why men must rule the land, with the able assistance of their women.
The Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares, Lady of the Night
Alsian’s bride is the moon-goddess Duola, the Owl (sometimes the albino serpent). Lip service is paid to Duola, but Alsian is the focus of worship in the patriarchal Sun and Moon religion. Duola’s virtues are love, motherhood, and gentleness, although she is fickle and changeable like the moon itself.
Image credit Andrew Gonzalez: https://goo.gl/QAicP6
- The moon’s glory is the reflection of the sun. It is given to some to follow, and others to lead; this doesn’t diminish the glory that the moon deserves.
- Law is the greatest power, law which rules passion. But it is passion which gives meaning to the law; without passion, the law has no meaning.
- The moon brings the tides, and madness, and dreams, and insight. Hidden, subtle powers lie in the moonlight, powers forgotten by light of day.
- The sun rules by day, it is true. The sun would quickly come to nothing if it could not rest, and know the moon would shine by night. Support your superiors, silently and efficiently, but not mindlessly.
The Nurturer of All, She Who Grants And Withholds, Lady of the Earth, the Forsaken and Forgotten
Duola’s sister is the earth-goddess Thressa, the cat (or a black serpent). Thressa is the dark goddess, not evil, and according to the Church, the inadvertent source of the woes of mankind.
The first wife of Alsian, she betrayed him and took Insiphes as her lover, and ever since, the world has been polluted with corruption. This leads, of course, to a certain definite misogyny in the Malthiri nobility, although more than a few proud noblewomen claim Thressa as their patron, claiming she was unrightly cast aside for doing what she wanted, and she is queen of the world below no less than Alsian is king of the heavens above. This is a position tantamount to blasphemy, yet the priests aren’t willing to refute this theology for political reasons.
Image credit Bastien Lecouffe Deharme: https://goo.gl/R1u5Ob
Of course, the suppression of Thressa may have just as much to do with the desert tribal folks’ rejection of Elven influence, and most Elvish societies are matriarchies from of old.
- The sun’s rays would come to nothing without the Mother Earth to receive its warmth. Women are at least the equal of men. Women give life, while men simply spur it into motion.
- The Mother Earth is home to forests, mountains, deserts, jungles, tundra, grasslands, and seas. All are welcome, all are home to some. It is up to each person to decide their destiny, and where they should find their home.
- Pleasure is not a crime; rather, it is the greatest virtue of life. There are many pleasures, the body and the mind, romance and family, scholarship and sport.
The Prophet, Bringer of the Word, Lord of the Blind Who Yet See
Saint Yshial was the first prophet of the Sun and Moon. Born a slave to the Viskani, he was left to die in the desert because he was born blind. He had a vision whereby for the first time he saw the heavens and the earth, and he made his way to the renegade slave camp that would become Malthireon and began teaching the basis of the Holy Writ. He is said to have ascended to the heavens to become the Pole Star, and is now known as Archangel Gloriant, the Next-Most-High. He is commonly called the Poet-Prophet, although the “poetry” of the Holy Writ is almost certainly due to embellishment by his faithful servant and later the First Pontifex, Ismere I the Just. Yshial is the only approved supernatural patron for mages of the Astromancers’ College, although the Astromancers are sneaky and curious enough to bind other patrons all the time.
Image credit unknown.
- All of time has already happened, and the Prophet has seen all that shall come to pass, according to Alsian’s will. His it is to announce the glories of Alsian’s will.
- Read and know and understand and proclaim the Holy Writ, for in it is the plan and key for all our lives.
- It is for the faithful to make war on the unbelievers and the unjust, for that is the inevitable end of the world.
The Demon Son of Shadows, Bringer of Plague, Taker of Baby’s Breaths
The Church of the Sun and Moon reviles many demons and dark gods. The Viskani gods are all demons in the eyes of the Church. Insiphes is the younger brother of Alsian, and is hated as the Rat God, the bringer of darkness, pestilence, and ruin. Scholars believe (but are smart enough not to speak about in Malthireon) that the serpent, the owl, and the cat are all creatures domesticated in Malthireon to catch rats and protect granaries, important roles when humans were charged with growing grain for their Viskani overlords. The leader of the Ratwalker’s Guild in the Five Free Cities claims to be the son of the Rat God.
To the Church of the Sun and Moon, fate determines all, as laid out by the gods. Worshipers are encouraged to pay attention to how events unfold, because that will show them what is fated to be. Upward social mobility is blasphemous, and nobles are the gods’ chosen rulers.
Image credit unknown.
- Live in the shadows, and take what you must. You have no place in the society of the Day, under the sun-lord’s flames, but to the children of Alsian’s brother, the moon’s rays are just as warm.
- Accept outsiders and bring them into the fold. The crippled, the mad, the old and young who have no homes, we will find gainful employment for them, taking from the rich and mighty.
The religion of southerly Tesh Para, the Eternal Spirit Journey infuses a strong belief in balanced cosmic forces with a deep reverence for all nature spirits. It also emphasizes communing with and placating one’s ancestors, in a way that resembles Viskani beliefs. Reincarnation is unique to the religion of the Eternal Spirit Journey. It bears similarities to the pantheism of the Way of Nature, but it has the deeply ritualistic bent of the Church of the Sun and Moon.
Image credit unknown.
The barefoot, red-robed Crimson Adherents are the priesthood of the Eternal Spirit Journey, who practice martial arts, meditation, and self-discipline (sometimes self-torture) as paths to enlightenment. The Journey has a destination, which leads to total oneness with the universe, though Those Who Arrive sometimes leave behind echoes, signposts along the road.
The souls on the Eternal Spirit Journey may take a detour on their way to eternal, perfect enlightenment and become gods, saints, or oracles, called Those Who Approach. The Eternal Spirit Journey believes that the same immanent spirit energy exists in all beings, even the plants, rocks, animals, birds, trees, the air and earth, and they pay homage to all of those spirits as well, particularly in bucolic temples where farmers pray for rain, healthy children, and good harvests.
As much a cultural as religious belief, the Eternal Spirit Journey believes in the rebirth and reappearance of certain classes of heroes throughout history. The Tiger Souls are gifted from birth with incredible physical acumen and skill in martial arts, while the Dragon Souls are similarly gifted with wisdom and magic. Other Beast-God-Souls are spoken of also, but these two are by far the most common. The Beast-God-Souls are born in times of great need to become great champions of the people and defenders of the peasantry.
Only a few Tiger and Dragon Souls are born every generation, but they suffer a curse that they may never take power or rule over others. A child of two Beast-God-Souls, though, is doubly blessed by the gods and might found a dynasty to last a thousand years, which means that the Beast-God-Souls are often hunted by those in power, further encouragement for them to become heroes of the oppressed.
There is no single holy text for the Eternal Spirit Journey, but instead a massive sprawling literature containing elements of history, theology, alchemy, yoga, martial arts, family and social advice, and even political and martial advice, all linked together by cosmic meditation.
The Eternal Spirit Journey is mostly unknown outside of Tesh Para, but a few tribes of the Onyx Desert, and a small community of Tesh Parans in the port city of Bhairsin, adhere to the Journey’s teachings.