Sekolah the Dominar
Life is divided into two parts: the prey, and the predator. Every living thing consumes something lower than itself for sustenance. It is this predacious cycle that elevates the lowest wretch to higher standing. Sekolah is the apex predator, and his chosen are His school, destined to hunt the horizon-less oceans for eternity. Eat or be eaten; but be sure you’re the former.
To say Sekolah does not care about his followers is to misunderstand the religion’s dogma. It isn’t that He does not care for them; instead He insists they take care of themselves. Sekolah personifies the belief of “only the fittest shall survive”, and His greatest desire is nothing less than all His congregation should survive. It is His greatest commandment, and it cannot be accomplished by mollycoddling they young fry. If a sahaguin cannot survive on its own skill, it does not deserve to live.
Sekolah, the Dominar, the Great Predator, Devourer of All
Alignment: Lawful evil
Symbol: A shark
Domains: Destruction, Evil, Law, Strength, War.
Preferred unguis (weapon): Jaws
Clerical Weapon of Choice: Jaws. claws, cestus
Cleric Alignment: Chaotic evil, lawful evil, neutral, neutral evil.
To the devoted, Sekolah appears as a massive dire helicoprion shark. With a hulking frame and a look of cruel clarity in His eyes, Sekolah has a colossal Regious Oyster shell (a bivalve shell with long protruding spikes) clenched in His radially toothed jaws. It is from that shell that early sahaguin myths tell of the origin of their species.
The Church of Sekolah
Sekolahite clergy is comprised solely of females. Much like how the religion lacks an over-reaching hierarchy like that of Olyhydraism, the Sekolahite church does not enforce a strong chain of command. The majority of the church’s duties are handled by the senior females of a settlement, and are normally referred to as Elder. They are overseen by a single Priestess, who is the most ruthless, intelligent, and savage from among the Elders. The only other rank in the worship of Sekolah is that of Aspirant, which only applies when there is no current Priestess, and is given to the pool of applicants that wish to head the congregation.
Shrines and Ceremonies
The most infamous of Sekolahite ceremonies is the Calving of the Shoal. It is a proving tradition that all sahaguin, male or female, must surpass to be accepted as a true member of the group. The process begins soon after birth, when all newly hatched fry are inspected by local clergy in order to weed out the weak or malformed. Those that fail this stage are either killed outright or abandoned to nature. The rest, judged worthy enough to be allowed to live, continued along Sekolah’s path.
The second stage of the Calving is harsh training in hunting and combat. Here the fry are taught to depend on themselves above all other things. By making the children forage for their own supplies and food, Sekolah’s message of overcoming absolute adversity is learned.
The final stage is the most iconic. This is the agoge given to each sahaguin of age wherein they must survive by themselves in the wilderness and prove they are worthy of being a predator. The burgeoning adult is hooded suddenly in the night and taken to an undisclosed location, and left there. It is the sahaguin’s task to free themselves, survive the harsh terrain, and return to the settlement. Usually there is a significant battle with wildlife involved in the return, and the location the aspirant is dumped is typically chosen to facilitate this.
The Trial of Carcharodon is a similar tradition, but this time upheld by the clergy of Sekolah. Those wishing to become the settlement’s new priestess go out into the blue by themselves and stays there until they have encountered an avatar of their god. With the ceremonial terminology stripped away, the aspirant must face and slaughter a shark. It is considered a good omen to be confronted with a megalodon instead, as tales have told of the “blessing of Sekolah”, which is infection of wereshark lycanthropy.
Sekolahites have little reverence for the dead. Once the animus vitae is gone, a corpse is just so much detritus to a sahaguin. While other religions will have grandiose ceremonies to mourn the passing of their brethren, sahaguin treat the bodies as an obstacle to be rid of quickly. Some of the more extremist believers see the casting away of cadavers as wasteful, and reportedly resort to cannibalism in order for nothing to go to waste.
While Sekolah has no qualms with His faithful making deals with other divinities, rarely do those faithful do so. The self-sufficiency ingrained by Sekolah’s teachings directs the faithful to manage by themselves. This is not an active form of isolationism, such as with the Kouton, but instead more of a disinterest.
The Resurrectionists, operating under the guise of the College of Doctors, ply a heavy trade with the sahaguin for cadavers, both their own and of those they’ve predated. Not really a trade agreement, per se, but since the sahaguin place little importance on the body of the deceased, they find little problem in exchanging what they essentially see as trash to interested parties.
The Narwahl have a strained relationship with the sahaguin, and Sekolah strains that relationship even further. The basic tenet that sahaguin are the superior predator will sometimes bring conflict between the two, especially the more extreme Sekolahites that view hunting of sentient pisceans — namely the Narwahl themselves — as a religious dictate.
Relations with other Religions
In many ways, the Pantheon is the biggest opposition to Sekolah’s religion. The Pantheon is based on a balance of deities, each of essentially equal sway. Within the Pantheon, Sekolah is often at odds with the other gods, as is his nature. But it is the concentration of Sekolahism in the Sahaguin Lagoons sets Sekolah above the other gods in the Pantheon, and that unbalances Pantheonic dogma.
Ira of the Wrath: Sekolah is also one of the eight deities that comprise the Pantheon. As Ira, Sekolah has taken on a more cognizant, interactive persona. He interacts with the other seven of the Pantheon if not as equals, then at least contemporaries. Ira is a more interactive deity, and shows a greater degree of interest in his worshipers. This idealization of Sekolah is more prevalent in the Yaun-Teel Bights (where the interactions of the eight gods plays more of a philosophical guidance than a moral compass), but has found acceptance in centers of commerce and industry. In the Pantheon, Ira has more of a piscean appearance than his Sekolah incarnation, as if permanently locked in a hybrid were-shark form.
This schism has be exacerbated recently with the spread of Olyhydranism from the north. Sahaguin have been slowly abandoning the other deities of the Pantheon as Olyhydran missionaries encroach in the Sahaguin Lagoons. Essentially, they are digging in against the invading ideology by focusing solely on reverence of the Devourer of All.
“You exist to hunger; you hunger to drive you to eat.
Everything else exists to sate your hungers.”
— a lesson by Sekolah the Dominar