Cult of Namine
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The Cult of Namine was an ancient, long-lost system of beliefs practiced by Keilicaela across Namine after the death of the Helminth and until the rise of the Empire of Namine. The Cult had no official name, and its doctrines and dogma are now all but forgotten. Though the overwhelming majority of Namine's Keilicaela once subscribed to the religion in some form or another, only the most knowledgeable of modern-day Keilicaela scholars are aware of even the most basic of its beliefs. The Cult once was the largest aspect of Keilicaela culture, but the formation of the Empire of Namine and its dogmatic Imperial Cult saw tribes converted and subsumed, their ancestral faith annihilated--never to return. As such, there is little influence to be found of the Cult's ideas within the Empire of Namine as of the Post-Reformation Epoch, and, save for the Sootshrouded and the savage Ret-Keilicaela of the Great Sharazdi Desert, there are no known living practitioners of the religion.
Cult of Namine cosmology stated that Namine, the matron, once existed not as a planet, but as a goddess. At the start of the universe, Namine collected light from the stars into her womb. The light gestated for some time, and eventually, she gave birth to twin suns. Namine was joyous at the sight of her star-children, and gave her body for them to shine their light upon--forming the planet Namine. Matron Namine's tears of joy would become the planet's ocean and rivers; her thoughts and psyche would give rise to the skies, clouds, and moon and its shards; her strength formed the land; her soul and aspirations populated the planet with life such as the Keilicaela, Reptiett, Tallicren, the Naolius, etc. Of these creatures, the Keilicaela were her chosen; designated to tend the world, honor her sacrifice, and create where she no longer could.
Firstborn, Descended, and Ancestral Reverence
The Cult's tradition designated the first generation of Keilicaela as the "Firstborn," and acknowledged the distinct subspecies of the Keilicaela, strongly suggesting that, despite geographic location and differences in lifestyle, there was some cultural unity amongst the different Keilicaela subspecies after the Helminth's era and prior to the Empire of Namine. This raises questions and implications about the Keilicaela as a species that are yet shrouded in mystery. Regardless, it was the Cult's belief that Namine made the Keilicaela distinct in their bloodlines; that she created "one to rule the lush forests; another to bask in the sunlight of the plains; yet another to abide the sands; a strain to dwell in the murks; and a final to walk within the fiery ashlands."
Descended and Ancestor Worship
The Firstborn, each within their own distinct geographic region, would go on to sire in the next generation of Keilicaela, called the "Descended." All future generations within the Cult would also adopt the moniker, and all of the Descended revered the Firstborn. In fact, the Descended revered the Firstborn for their efforts to honor Namine and their contributions to their kin so much, that the Descended built temples and monuments in their honor--though, only devastated ruins now stand in their stead where any are left standing at all. At these temples and monuments, the Descended would pray to the spirits of deceased Firstborn, asking for guidance, protection, blessings, and curses.
Cycle of Mortality
The "Cycle of Mortality" was one of the Cult's most important fixtures. Instead of believing in an afterlife, adherents of the doctrine held that, upon death, one's spirit would join with the planet in much the same vein that a corpse does when it decomposes. Death meant that one was returning his body back to that which Namine sacrificed herself for. The deceased's spirit would be left to peacefully wander the planet, completing the Cycle of Mortality. To the Cult, death was among the greatest of honors; to die was to rejoin Namine and be revered as an ancestor, guiding the Descended from beyond.
Tenets and Runes
Throughout the centuries, the Firstborn learned much of Namine and her gift. They would resolve to scribe the three sacred Tenets.
- Honor the ancestors; they have endured the Cycle of Mortality.
- Honor the world; it is Namine.
- Accept death; it is the end of the Cycle and the key to revered ancestry.
Adherents of the religion lived and died by the Tenets. In the temples of the Cult, the Descended would inscribe the Tenets and their interpretations of them onto monuments, tablets, and obelisks as runes, memorialized by all who could read them. It can be inferred that much of the Cult's descent into obsolescence came from future generations sired in under Imperial rule not being taught how to read the runes. Furthermore, as most Cult doctrine was recorded in these runes, and as most of these runes were inscribed in Cult temples, it is an obvious conclusion to make that most Cult doctrine was lost when the temples were destroyed by both the Empire of Namine and the passage of time. This is largely the crux of why the Cult simply did not persist with the genesis of the Empire.
Fall of the Cult
Ages went on, and many of the Cult's adherents had grown disenfranchised with the Tenets and the Cult itself. They would stray from the temples, forming larger settlements--some of which would grow into the planet's more iconic city-states, such as Thutria. The Cult's ways grew distant in the minds of the more cosmopolitan and irreverent Keilicaela, planting the seeds for the cultural usurping that was to come with the Empire of Namine. The Empire would go about destroying temples and monuments, propagandizing the city-dwellers and converting them to the Imperial Cult, expanding Imperial presence on the planet and in the lives of fellow Keilicaela, and driving the Cult-faithful heretics further into the fringes of the planet. At this time, the Empire's conversions and conquests created a new culture among the Keilicaela at large, favoring city-building, war-mongering, and industrialization over the more naturalistic tendencies of the Cult, playing much more into the original design the Helminth intended for the Keilicaela: living machines of war. As Imperial and non-Imperial city-states grew, warred, traded, interacted, and changed the face of the planet, the Cult dwindled in Namine's most remote and uninhabitable regions--notably, the Zarine Ashfield, where the primitive Sootshrouded tribe of Tvi-Keilicaela dwell in obscurity, and the Great Sharazdi Desert, where the inhospitable landscape paired with the wholly uncivilized and primal nature of the Ret-Keilicaela barbarians soured the Empire's ambitions for the region and its inhabitants. By the time Ferkanid Trinalak attained total Imperial control over Namine in 573 RE, the Cult was all but extinct. Keilicaela of the time--as their descendants would go on to do--could only marvel in wonder and bemusement at what little of the ruined and disrepaired temples, monuments, and obelisks survived to that point.
As previously outlined, the Cult of Namine was once the largest religion on Namine, holding sway over the majority of the Keilicaela population. However, the Empire of Namine flushed the religion from mainstream Keilicaela culture during their conquest of the planet. This would lead to future incarnations of Keilicaela culture and society having only minuscule traces of the Cult's trappings present within civilization. For example, it is a common occurrence for Keilicaela to invoke their ancestors in idioms such as "by the ancestors," "on the blood of my ancestors," and "for ancestors' sake;" frequent though such idioms are, nigh-all Keilicaela who employ them do not worship their ancestors as members of the Cult once did, as most Keilicaela belong to the Imperial Cult. A much more apparent, impactful, and obvious example would be the simple fact that the Keilicaela homeworld is named after the Cult's matron-deity, Namine.
(To be expanded upon.)