Lankani Religion

"... these, the Untold, whom the Fallen would call the Lords of Orhan, stole from the Bringer his Lifeforce ..."


Below I present a religion for the Lankani that not only justifies their actions and makes them righteous in their own view, but which also makes Klysus, the dark god of death, a good and caring god whose only wish is restoration of the natural order. This may seem fantastic - but I will give the following warning; You, the GM, have not fully understood the Lankani and their religion until you realise that it is, in fact, the truth. I will leave you to work that one out for yourself.

Genesis

The Lankani believe firmly that their god, whom they call the Bringer, created life as we know it out of his own life force. The Bringer gave of his own immense power to create the lesser beings, humans, dwarves, lugroki, etc (but not elves, see below). Why the Bringer did this is not certain - he may have been lonely, he may have felt creative, it may have been an accident, of this, the wise have frequent debates. The Bringer himself is notoriously silent about the matter, and nobody really blames him for that.
"Before all, there was naught.
Then there was the Bringer. The Bringer crafted man and animal, dwarf and bird. He took from His own life to bestow the gift to others, and to reclaim it when its time in the world was up. Thus is it that all life is the Bringer and the Bringer is all life. In these early times, all life was in harmony and in balance with the world. No life was spilled, for upon its death it came back to the Bringer and He could fashion new lives from it to populate the world once again."

Cataclysm

"Then came the Cataclysm. Inspired by evil thoughts and the machinations of powerful beings fallen from the Balance, life began to dwindle. Men chose to worship vile beings and bestow their own life forces upon these monstrosities when they died, unspeakable horrors that would keep the life force for their own and use it to become more powerful even. These, the Untold, envied the Bringer for His power and for the devotion He inspired from the loyal peoples."
According to Lankani religion, powerful beings created by the Bringer fell from grace and started plotting against the Bringer. They began to steal his Lifeforce and increase their own power. At first, all but imperceptibly, but eventually, these beings, whom the Lankani refer to as the Untold, grew immensely powerful and began acting as gods for the peoples of the world. The peoples were subverted and turned to these new gods for aid, for the new gods offered much power to their disciples. In return, the lifeforce of these people would go to the Untold when one's life was terminated.

With their newfound power, the Untold were too strong for the Bringer to destroy, and he was losing lifeforce with every passing year. Every time there was a death, its lifeforce would pass to the Untold rather than back to the Bringer. New life always came from the Bringer, and this was a process he could not stop, even if he wanted to, so he grew weaker while the Untold grew stronger. To this day, the Untold seek the destruction of the Bringer and to bring all lifeforce unto themselves. Once the Bringer has been destroyed, new life will not be born, and all lifeforce will be gathered among the Untold. This is their intention.
"The Untold used their life force, unrightfully though it was taken from corrupted beings, to undo the power of the Bringer. As more and more life no longer returned to the Bringer, His powers weakened and those of the Untold grew, seemingly without bound. The Untold created wicked plots and beings wickeder still. In this time, the abomination that was later to be known as elfkin was bred by the Untold. This mockery of a race, these men of Void, live eternally and thus the life force invested in one of their kin is lost forever, lest he be slain by violence."

The Plot Thickens

"Such was the evil of the Untold that they created those of the Void as fair beings, learned in all arts and surpassing in skills of the Power. Short time passed before they had led most mankind into the fold of the Untold. Those loyal to the Bringer became few and scattered, ever hunted by the minions of the Untold. Only the Lankanok remained faithful."
Many are the insidious plots of the Untold to speed up the progress to total domination. They created elvenkind as vessels of Lifeforce to mock the Bringer, and their religions slowly spread. They see living beings only as a conduit through which Lifeforce is syphoned off of the Bringer into their own reservoirs. But they are not impatient - and they have instigated religions that call the Bringer evil for asking sacrifices. Sacrifices of life that by all rights belong to him in the first place!
However, long ago, in an age where records are few even in the Lankani Empire, the great hero of the Lankani, Habkunda, led a small army of loyal Lankani against the oppressors. He established the Lankani capital, and with the aid of the greatly weakened Bringer, created defenses mundane and magical to shield the area from the dominance of the Untold. From here, the Lankani have campaigned ever since to regain the world and all life for the Bringer so that Balance may be restored and the Untold vanquished.

"In the moment of greatest peril, Habkunda emerged from the ranks of the Loyal and led our people with an inspiration and fervor that struck terror into the hearts of the Untold. Within years, Habkunda, first Honakh, had conquered the Heartlands and together with the Bringer, the land was shielded from the assaults of the Untold. This, our strongest fortress against evil, shall stand for all eternity as a testament to our struggle and as a rallying point for the righteous."

Foreign Politics

"Ever since, the hold of the Untold has diminished, though slowly indeed. Our armies have righteously smote the abominable and mercifully accepted those precious few who choose to return to the fold of the Bringer. Our realm is growing, and shall eventually encompass the World. Only then have the Untold been vanquished and the balance of the Bringer been reestablished."
A strange heading in the religion section, perhaps, but Lankani foreign policy is strongly influenced by their religion. The Lankani see all other races as fallen from the Balance. There may be only two alternatives for such a being - either he must convert to the only true faith, thus ensuring that his lifeforce returns to the Bringer upon his death, or he must be ritually sacrificed, to return his lifeforce to the Bringer immediately.

The Shay (who are referred to as the Unredeemable) are seen as a race that cannot and will not convert and so the latter alternative must be chosen. However, there tends to be a lot of Shay around Lankanok and sacrificing them all is rather impractical. For this reason, these people are brought into the Empire to work there (as slaves) until they die of natural causes. Upon their death, a priest must rush to the site within minutes and perform the last rites, ensuring the dead slave's soul's passage back to the Bringer. Therefore, there is always a priest in attendance around a Shay work gang, and all slaves are always closely monitored, lest they go and die in secrecy. Some slave communities are aware of what is going on, and, not wanting their souls to end up with Klysus, go to great lenghts to die out-of-sight or at a time when a priest is not close at hand. It is amazing how many people can die at night by falling out of their beds, really.

"Know this, that the Bringer gives from his own life to every life that is born, be it Lankanok or Void man, the Untold or the tiniest bird. But life will return to Him only from the Lankanok, upon the death of a faithful or the ceremonial sacrifice of a Fallen by a faithful. It is for this reason that the Fallen must, above all else, be captured in combat and not slain, for his death must be proper or it is forfeit and his life goes to the Untold.

Know also this, that a Fallen people may find redemption through voluntary conversion. This failing, their land must be taken by force and one of every dozen be sacrificed to the Bringer for their people to be cleansed of their wrongs. The people that has not yet taken to the Bringer by their own choice must be brought to the Lankanok so that upon their death, the ritual of ascension may be properly performed."

"In these times, glory is upon us, for the hold of the Untold on the Fallen is slipping, and many may be easily brought into the fold. These shall be received with joy and celebration. But many are the spies of the Untold, and more numerous still are the Pretenders, those who wish to use your trust to further their own ends. Beware."
The elves were created by the Untold as a mockery of life. Immortal, these terrible beings hold the Bringer's life for all eternity, never to be reclaimed by him. The Lankani call these the 'Void people'. It is therefore an important task for any Lankan to kill elves upon sight, so their lifeforce may return to its true source. Of course, the fact that most are attuned to the Untold, and so give their souls to them in stead of the Bringer, does complicate matters slightly.

Personal sacrifice

Sacrifice of followers of other religions is sufficiently explained above. But why do Lankani sacrifice of themselves?

"Many in the world are not aware of the Bringer and the crimes of the Untold, and must be educated. More can be achieved by speech than by force when the Untold have lost their iron grip on a people. Of the Unredeemable, only sacrifice may cleanse their souls and ensure their rebirth by the hand of the Bringer. Of the Void peoples, they must be sacrificed to a man.

Know that every day, every heartbeat, the Bringer still grows weaker and He needs our support as we need Him. By giving Him of your life's blood you can give Him a small but important bit of your life to help His struggle against the Untold, the struggle that has kept the abominables from reaffirming their hold on the world. Every little sacrifice, every little drop, strengthens Him now, and now is when He needs the strength. At the day of your death, it may be too late, He may already have lost. Yet this is not enough. At this very moment, He wrestles with the Untold and to give Him the strength He needs now and not tomorrow, we must sacrifice of our own to maintain the balance and help Him restore it.

And know, finally, this, if the Bringer perishes, so do we, and all life is forfeit. Death will be final and but for the Untold, the world returns to the void that it was before all."

The Lankani believe that the Bringer is growing weaker with every passing moment. Although the lifeforce of a Lankan will be brought back to the Bringer in due time, it may be too late. Any Lankan who so decides, may give his life back to the Bringer prematurely to momentarily strengthen him in his ongoing struggle against the Untold. Needless to say, Lankani birth rates are high (which is also seen as a blessing from the Bringer). Although this is a very temporary solution, it is one that is considered important by the Lankani. Even sacrifices short of death will help, but not very much. The sacrifice of one's own blood is widespread.

It is important to note that sacrifices will only ever be carried out by priests licensed to do so. To reach this level of priesthood takes very long and involves many studies and not a little hardship. On the other hand, saying last rites can be performed by just about anyone. Note that the restriction is a cultural thing (mostly to prevent harmful slaughtering of the Lankani population), while the last rites, which is what actually brings a soul to Klysus, is a religious/channeling thing. This explains why Shay are used as slaves until they die a natural death - there simply aren't enough sacrificers to sacrifice them all, while any country priest can do the last rites.

Sacrificing of one's own blood must happen in the presence of a priest, and gatherings are arranged for this purpose. As a result, the Lankani have very detailed knowledge on how much blood loss a person can handle, how long it takes to regenerate, how disabled one is in the mean time, etc.


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Last modified: Mon Oct 6 22:04:59 DST 1997