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Amaroth • View topic - The Faith
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 Post subject: The Faith
PostPosted: Sat 05 May 2012, 23:41 
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This topic is where I'll put everything about the religion of Avaren. The Salan, the Baruch, the Inquisition, mythology, symbolism, practices, and other stuff I've forgotten right now.


Introduction
The dominant religion in Avaren is known as the Faith. The Faith has 2 gods: Daul is the god of light, the sun, wisdom, justice and preservation. Mork is the god of darkness and shadow, the moon, cunning, science and progress.
Although at first glance it seems that this division is between a good god and an evil god (a common misconception among laymen and outsiders) this is not the case: both are equal according to the Doctrine, the Faith’s holy scripture. Yet Daul is the god with by far the biggest group supporters. Whereas Mork just get worshiped by people who themselves relate to his aspects (these are mainly scientists, thieves and swindlers) Daul is worshiped by practically the entire religious population. Mork is often neglected and even by some even seen as an evil god.

The Clergy
The Clergy of the Faith consists of 2 parts, both dedicated to one of the 2 gods. The servants of Daul call themselves the Salan. The Salan is by far the largest clergy of the Faith and is present everywhere in the country. This branch is mainly involved in directing and advising believers, administration, and interpretation of the Doctrine and the will of Daul. The Salan consists purely out of men.
The servants of Mork are named the Baruch. The Baruch is much more enigmatic than the Salan, like Mork is more mysterious than Daul. The work they do is controversial: in contrast to the servants of the Salan, who are holy men, the servants of Mork have an "the end justifies the means' mentality: they do everything to protect the Faith and don’t fear putting spying, torture , and murder to use. The Inquisition, which officially led by the Salan, is in fact entirely dependent on the activities of the Baruch. It could be argued that the Baruch is the secret service of the Faith. In contrast to the Salan, the Baruch allows both men and women to be in the order.
There is resentment between the groups caused by the large contrast between the two. However, it is never to open conflict: both recognize that the other branch is necessary for the stability of the Faith. This doesn’t stop rivalry and petty mockery, however.

Ranks among the Salan:
Santak (1, equivalent of Pope)
- High Prelan (5, equivalent of Archbishop)
- Prelan (equivalent of bishop)
- Mauras (equivalent Abbot)
- Venue-Mauras (Mauras on a smaller scale, often works alone)
- Acolyte
Grades under the Baruch are irrelevant at the moment.

Architecture
In every city and every village, you can find a building dedicated to Daul. The most sacred buildings are called salants. These are without exception round, and the size is dependent of the influence of the leader of the salant.
A salant has the shape of a cylinder with a dome-shaped roof. The wall contains only 1 window. The window’s framework follows the path of the sun, and is so bricked that the sun can always shine inside. The entrance is perpendicular to the window, so people who come in always dazzled and blinded by the sun shining through the window.
In order to put the window to good use, the salant needs a good view of the sun. In smaller towns and cities without high walls it is done by placing the salant at the edge of town, so that no buildings can hinder the sun from shining through the window. In bigger cities, like Konigsberg, salants are placed on tops of hills (natural or artificial ones). Its most practical effect is that the sun is no longer blocked by buildings, but servants of the Salan often argue that it is also to be physically closer to Daul, as well as to show that the Faith is above mortal struggles and politics. The fact that the hill of the king’s palace is higher than the one of the Santak’s salant therefore is a very delicate issue, for it would imply that the king stands above the Faith and is closer to Daul than the most holy man in all of Avaren.
Salants have only two rooms: the main chamber, which is always open for public. It is where people come to pray and where smaller ceremonies like marriage are performed. The smaller room is a restroom for personnel. It is where the leader of the salant prepares for ceremonies, and where the vault is kept.

The Faith and society
The Salan has got quite a great deal of influence on the common people, who pray in the salants on a daily basis. This influence is mostly moral, for the Salan has no political interests.
The Faith is what has united Avaren in the first place. It was not the kings who rallied the counterattack, but the servants of the Faith who wanted to preserve their religion. However, after a failed coup by the Santak, the Salan no longer pursues political power. Instead, they preach the Reconquista of the Avarian kingdoms that had fallen to the Empire. So far, it has met quite a bit of success, as Avaren has reconquered the land between the rivers.
In daily life, the servants of the Salan closely work together with the rulers. They work as scribes when needed, and are moral advisors who help the ruler with rendering judgement and morally challenging decisions. Meanwhile, they preach compassion towards the lower classes whenever possible. For the common people, Maurasses and Venue-Maurasses are father-figures and shepherds, guiding them to the right path, lending financial aid to the poorest with money granted to them by nobility and wealthy people, and offering advice to whoever asks for it.
As such, the Salan, and therefore Daul, is very popular with the common people.

History of the Faith
The Faith was originally practiced by the Old Race, who brought it with them when they migrated to the mainland. As a result, its influences are by far the biggest in Avaren. It is also noticeable in the Empire, but it never managed to get a firm grip there and got integrated into the pantheon of gods that is the prime religion in the Empire.
The Faith in its original form worshipped three gods. Hoewever, the pagan religions practiced by the natives of Avaren weren’t able to acknowledge this third god like they were able to acknowledge Daul and Mork, for they could not relate to His affinities.
In its early days as the dualism it has become, the Faith was just as scattered as the kingdoms, practices and views divided. However, unlike the rulers, the religious main figures had a desire for unity. In a series of councils across the land that featured religious leaders from every country and region, a book containing a set of rules, mythology, virtues and practices was written: the Doctrine of the Faith. In this book, the “true” Faith became a fact. It took time before every Avarian practiced the Faith in this form, but eventually the Salan and the Baruch were as solid as they are nowadays, while Avaren itself was still a patchwork of kingdoms.
When the Empire started to annex Avarian kingdoms, it was the Faith that pulled the divided land together in the name of the two gods. They saw the upcoming Empire and its blasphemous polytheistic beliefs as a threat to their own religion, and with great effort managed to form an army that stopped the Empire in its tracks.
After this, there was great uncertainty about the future of Avaren. The Salan, who played a great role in the unification, claimed that they should rule the land. They believed that kings could not keep the peace like the hand of Daul could, but the kings claimed that the gods relied on man to rule for them, and at the end of the day, the most powerful of the small kings became the King of Avaren, the others becoming dukes and counts who formed the Council of Illumination, mocking the clergy in doing so. This set bitterness with the Salan, who started preaching that the peace would not last if the Faith wouldn’t step in.
A few generations later, after a King died and left only a young son as his heir, the Santak took his chance and attempted a coup on the throne. The rabble cheered in the streets of Konigsberg, for the Salan and this Santak were very popular, but the nobility was enraged and denied the authority of the Santak-King. In reaction, the Santak compelled the High Prelans and Prelans to take over power as the rulers of the counties and duchies. This, however, turned out as an utter failure. Prelans failed or even refused to take over, and the Santak had to accept that outside Konigsberg, his power was far too flimsy to keep Avaren together. And so, he stepped down and allowed the son of the old king to take the throne. Ever since, the Faith knows that it is unable to seize power of Avaren and the Salan has given up all political power and interest, taking up the role it has nowadays.

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep 2012, 18:38 
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This is now on the wiki:

http://www.amaroth.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_Faith

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep 2012, 19:05 
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Please let me design the uniforms of the ranks of the Salan monks!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep 2012, 19:08 
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Granted xD

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 Post subject: Re: Artwork
PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov 2012, 17:27 
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I'm working on the Santak right now, but while working on the design a question came to me: What happens when the Santak dies? Does he have an heir or something? Or is the new Santak democratical chosen by the High-Prelans?

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 Post subject: Re: Artwork
PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov 2012, 20:11 
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I'll try to write something down.

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 Post subject: Re: Artwork
PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov 2012, 01:22 
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Ah yes, the choosing of the Santak.
It is not completely unlike the choosing of the Pope, but there's a twist. Each High Prelan has a certain area of Avaren as his protectorate. They are the religious dukes, so to say. If a Santak dies, every High Prelan will pick one candidate from his protectorate and put them forth as potential Santak. There are two rules: the candidate has to be a servant of the Salan and the High Prelan who picked him must genuinly believe the candidate to be fit for the role. Then every High Prelan votes for the candidate he finds to be the most worthy person for the position. The candidate with the largest amount of votes in his favor is crowned Santak.

That sounds very fair and pious. But in truth nearly every High Prelan nominates himself as a candidate. Who wins is decided by backdoor politics and overly pious acts to convince the others.

As for the texts on the sashes.
For the Prelan: to stand above man is to serve Daul. "Zero luven eman, Daul servan estanat."
For the High Prelan: the fate of the faithful is to bring Daul's word. "Aila fa tianshinar kaiyan elin fa Daul estanat."
Don't have one for the Santak yet, kind of a tough nut to crack.

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 Post subject: Re: Artwork
PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov 2012, 10:01 
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That sounds as a pure political game. Must say that I like this twist you gave it very much. However I like to know more about the backdoor politics, of course not in detail. Because, if they nominated them self. Why would they surrender, why wonᷰt they keep on fighting to be the santak??

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov 2012, 01:18 
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You see, just like Dukes and Counts, High Prelans have a varying amount of power depending on the size of their territory. Sufficive to say, a High Prelan with a bigger protectorate has a bigger pull (only within the Salan, mind you. The Faith doesn't do politics since the failure of the Santak-King) and can be seen as more powerful. They can lean on their pull to gain the approval of the other High Prelans. Because here's the catch: you can't vote for yourself or the candidate you put forth. So each Prelan has to convince the others to give him their vote. And the more resources you have, the more you can use for your campaign.

As such, the High Prelans of smaller protectorates (I'm going to have to mark those on a map one of these days) practically have less chance to make it to the highest office. They seldom campaign themselves and as such can be seen as voters, while the more powerful Prelans (usually 2 or 3) are to be viewed as the candidates who want to persuade the voters.

In short, the choosing of the Santak is a very unfair and rather corrrupt pocess.

I know the information I just gave is not completely in order with the previous info, but as it's all still in the making I sometimes have to change this or that.

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov 2012, 22:00 
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Could you merge this info in the article above? Or just write a part about it, which I can insert in the article on the wiki?

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov 2012, 12:38 
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How is it going with the new part about the faith?

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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Tue 04 Dec 2012, 17:31 
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 Post subject: Re: The Faith
PostPosted: Sun 30 Dec 2012, 17:28 
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I thought it would be nice to have some religious stories about Daul and Mork. Like the bible.. So if you got information, please write it down :D

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