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Pre-Imperial Elosian Polytheism
Few details remain, because of such effective propaganda in later times, in favor of the official religions. Assumed to have at least the gods of later systems, with many more that were later lost.
The state religion of the Elosian Empire.
The empire promoted and demoted some in status, and eliminated others. It is also assumed that the names of some gods were changed.
Parckep ("first god") was the god who created the universe, the sun, the moon, and stars. He may have also created the land and seas, but he did not populate them with living things.
He was not particularly active in human affairs, having been more important in former times.
In what is probably a surviving tale from the pre-Imperial myth, he was blinded in one eye by Namckon with a hot poker. The sun was his good eye, the moon his bad eye. By imperial times the gods were not thought of as being humanoid in form, so this was interpreted symbolically even then.
Some later stories have Parckep assuming human form and going about anonymously as a beggar, rewarding those who showed him kindness. These were not widely taken as religious doctrine, however.
Yerckon ("our father", "our parent", "our lord"), is the god who created animals, plants, and human beings. In some versions of the creations story he made the land and sea rather than Parckep.
The name Yerckon is assumed to be an epithet added when he was adopted as the main god invoked in the Imperial rites. His original name is lost. He was the patron god of the city-state of Elos in pre-imperial times, and he became the protector of the Empire.
With Parckep de-emphasized, and all other gods demoted in status, Yerckon was worshipped in an almost monotheistic (or at least henotheistic) manner.
The "father of troubles" or "father of evil" is another god whose original name is lost.
He attempted to overthrow Parckep as king of the gods, attacking him with a red hot poker. He succeeded in blinding one eye, but was overpowered by the other gods and thrown "outside" the dome of the sky. The dome is transparent, however, and two stars in the night sky are said to be the eyes of Namckon, watching and hating the world when Parckep's one good eye is hidden. (One of these stars is actually Sol!)
He is a near-Satanic sower of dischord in the world, whispering evil into the ears of men and encouraging death and chaos in every way possible.
Namckon was originally the god of fire. He initially brought the secret of fire with him into the outer darkness, but eventually Sor travelled outside the walls of the universe and brought the fire back.
Worship of Namckon was a capital offense.
Sor was probably originally a war god. With the rise of Ristkon vs. Namckon dualism, he was demoted to the status of a semi-human, semi-divine hero. As noted above, he stole the secret of fire from Namckon. In additon to being a great warrior, he was also the inventor of sword-making and father of all smiths.
Most of his temples and ceremonies were open only to adult males. Initiation into the rites of Sor was the coming-of-age ceremony for men.
Zifia was originally the wife of either Parckep or Yerckon, but once the gods came to be thought of as lacking material bodies, she was was recast as the goddess of concepts such as home and motherhood. She was mainly worshiped in ceremonies open only to women, playing a somewhat similar role.
The goddess of sexuality and fertility. With the rise of Ristkon, she was actually demoted to the status of being one of the Ataniuckt. She continued to be worshipped in ceremonies in which a man claiming to be possessed by the spirit of Sor had sex with a woman supposedly possessed by Tifia.
In extremely late days of the Empire, she was identified with Andria of Elos.
It is thought by some that she was also invoked in the women's rituals, but that this fact was kept secret.
The "great people" or "good people", were a race of untold numbers of lesser spirits, to whom people could turn for aid. They had all been gods before the Empire.
Creation of Human Beings
Humans were originally created as animals. They had no intelligence above that of an animal, no speech, no souls.
Some of the Ataniuckt grew bored of life as incorporeal, immortal, beings, and began to envy the humanoids. Possibly following the bad advice of Namckon, they made humanlike bodies for themselves and came down to earth and had sex with the humans. For this, Parckep was extremely angry, and declared that these spirits actually became human, permanently, and were no longer immortal.
Some stories held that there were exactly two such transgressors, one male and one female, known as Partan and Parta. Others hold that there were larger numbers of them, and that they made contact with humans in multiple places.
The descendants of the mixing of the animal-humans and the Ataniuckt, were the intelligent race we know today.
Certain persons, namely rulers and other famous people, were said to have a higher percentage of Ataniuckt blood in their veins than others.
Several Elosian gods have obvious cognates:
- Parckep => Parkep
- Sor => Zor
- Zifia => Sefa
- Tifia => Tifi
There are no gods exactly corresponding to either Yerckon or Namckon, or at least no gods with those names. Parkep was a much more active and less distant god than in the Imperial religion. The story of his blinding does not seem to have occurred among the Stofonians until they heard it from the Elosians. Sor was not a human hero who stole the secret of fire, but the god who voluntarily gave fire to mankind.
There were many other gods besides these. Some were worshiped in limited areas or only by specific groups of people. The Elosian concept of mens' and womens' mystery rituals had their counterpart in the practices of the Masters and Mistresses. In addition to the gods listed above, many of these guilds had their own special protector gods.
No equivalent of the Ataniuckt appears in this stage. Or, rather, their equivalents were full fledged gods and goddesses and not a lower class of beings like the Ataniuckt.
The Elosial religion was imported wholesale by Ijermesil I of the Kingdom of Stofonia. This was a deliberate attempt to duplicate the Elosians' success at uniting their empire under a single religion.
Ijermeshielism is essentially the Elosian religion but with rituals conducted in Stofonian rather than Elosian.
The names of the gods were translated thusly into Stofonian:
- Parckep => Parkep
- Yerckon => Ristkon
- Namckon => Namckon
- Sor => Zor
- Zifia => Sefa
- Tifia => Tifi
- Ataniuckt => Yustanst
In addition to his other exploits, Sor was said to have forged the Sword of the Stofs.
This modification of Ijermeshielism began with Rostof I declaring the deification of his slain wife Kime Bethrist an Angstof. Rostof himself was in turn deified. As the founder of the Elikaln, Rostof was said to be divinely inspired to conquer the entire world, and the blood descendants of his union with Kime were the rightful monarchs over all humanity, forever.
Rostofialism was the official state religion of the Stofonian Empire while Rostof's descendents were on the throne, but in 1509 power fell out of their hands, and Ijermeshialism was restored by Umultan. The Rostofialists remained, however, and constantly plotted for the throne. In 1782, Festof I, a blood descendant of Rostof (though not through an all-male line), came to power, and Rostofialism returned. Ijermeshielists were persecuted as heretics.
Since the Fracture, many Stofonians reverted to Ijermeshielism, Parshielism, or other religions completely outside the Elosian-Stofonian continuum. A minority of Rostofialists remains, however, constantly agitating to restore the monarchy and rebuild the empire.
Some Rostofialists note that the current president of the Republic of Stofonia Minotan Alst, in fact has the holy blood in his vein, and so they support him even though they may disagree with him on nearly all other matters.
Another variant of Elosialism, this time refined by Knarrknoxx. The familiar cast of gods was preserved, but the dogmas and liturgies were purged of anything that could be seen as supporting Elosian or Stofonian imperial rule over Knarr.
This was, however, an imperfect fit, as Wah and Wu were neither personal deities nor exact poles of good and evil. Rather, they had represented "life" and "death", order and chaos, peace and violence, in a philosophy that saw both of these as necessary and worthy of respect. The intent was probably to dissuade any Knarrians from adopting the Ben-Cin religion, by smearing Wu with the name of Namckon.
Some Knarrians specifically left their homes to fight in both the Last War and Fracture, on the side of any available power other the Stofonians. They saw the dismantlement of the hated Stofonian Empire as just as much of a religious duty as the Rostofialists saw its preservation.
The unintended side effect of the Knarrian identification of Namckon with Wu, was to actually rehabilitate Namckon in the eyes of some.
Noting the Ben-Cin word "Namon" (the meaning of which is obscure) and its similarity Namckon but without the problem of literally meaning "father of evil", they renamed Namckon as Namon Wu and claimed him as their own god. He was a god of ruthless but neccessary action, the god of strong passions as opposed to cold rational thought, of justifiable anger, and righteous slaughter.
Namonists believed that their lord had been unjustly cast out of the world, and attributed many good things to him that had been previously attributed to Yerckon. In Namonism, Sor did not steal the secret of fire, but was in fact an early Namonist who journeyed to learn what Namon Wu had to teach.
Namonism was the official religion of the short-lived kingdown of Skarnak, before the re-unification of Knarr by Galthrid III. After that, its followers were persecuted, but never exterminated, until being granted religious freedom circa 1940.
Namonists participated in anti-Stofonian activities even more vigorously than the Knarrknoxxians. Many who joined the Stofonian Revolutionary Army appear to have actually been insane. This was especially the case with the group Namonists who summarily executed Dostof III and smashed the Sword of the Stofs in 1908, against the direct orders of Yothor Stanstan.