Ahto, the Indifferent Sophist
It is easier to go along with the flow of the tide than to swim against it. Too much worry and pain stems from trying to alter that which is not alterable, to react out of emotion instead of contemplation. Whatever will happen, will happen, and you will survive it if you do not struggle against it.
Ahto was once a god of creation, credited with the complexities of Elqua’s coral reefs and the lattice-work of ley lines. As His concern spread across all the globe more and more, the minutia of every tiny plankton and protozoa has consumed all of His attention. Slowly, the god’s attention has dwindled away from His faithful.
Now a withdrawn god, Ahto is more intent on contemplating the larger issues of Elqua’s existence; the course of her currents, the health of her biomes. With each passing moment He is drawn deeper into a megalithic abyss of contemplation, and He sighs.
As Ahto has become more withdrawn, He communicates less frequently and more abstractly with his congregation, as His attention is focused elsewhere. Instead, he depends on established dogma to guide his flock’s travels. His lessons teach that focusing attention on an obstacle and forcing it aside is foolhardy. Now that the Creator of Coral has given the gift of Xanthellae to His faithful, it is their responsibility to carry on His work. His attention lies elsewhere…
Ahto, the Indifferent, the Sophist, the Reclusive Sage, Creator of Coral, Xanthellaette, Acedia of the Despair
Alignment: Neutral Good
Symbol: Wave of water
Domains: Animal, Good, Luck, Magic, Protection.
Preferred unguis (weapon): None
Clerical Weapon of Choice: Any
Cleric Alignment: Chaotic good, lawful good, neutral good, neutral.
Ahto is depicted as a swelling wave of water, scintillating with blue and green streaks and veined with ley lines. His eyes are two glowing nexus points that flicker as if in dream, below a crown of vibrant, living coral.
The Church of Ahto
Byzantine and tsaristic in demeanor, bhuddist and taoist in behavior, Ahtoism is charactarized by the right to privilege. Ahto dogma concentrates on the aristocracy of the Chelon. The Chelon Emperor rules by right of decendence from Ahto. To try and change this is folly. It is easier to cure favor with the aristocracy. It is futile to work against the establishment, so instead let it work for you. Forcing change is disruptive; let change happen as it will.
The Church of Ahto is controlled through the Chelonite government. It is their right, as decedents of Ahto’s spawn. The head of the Ahtoan Church is called the Minister of Theology, and below him are the boyar (head called Daedal Boyar). The duties of these priests are more political in nature. Below the boyar are the counts, lead by the Baroque Count. These clerics are responsible for the Church’s bureaucracy. Then there are the barons, with the Rococo Baron as their head. They are assigned domains across the Chelon Sea and are in charge of the sacerdotal operations of their area. Priests of local parishes do not have a claim to Ahtoan lineage. These clerics, called viceroys, have a bestowed nobility backed up by the Church hierarchy. There is no leader figure for the viceroys, all of whom must pay respects to the Church’s “true” nobility.
Priesthood for Ahto is served by specific family lines. These line claim relation to one of the many spawn of Ahto, and thus claim divine right. As death comes to the Ahto lineage, the soul is reincarnated in the next generation. Should a successor line ever be killed off, the Count Baroque and his court must research the closest genetic tie to the bloodline to inherit the mantel of divine leadership. As the centuries have past, the number of “researched” heirs has increased, and this has led to an elitistism among the faithful for the “old religion”, a time when those that should have been in charge held power.
Shrines and Ceremonies
All Ahtoan churches maintain coral gardens near their buildings, which are always located on the nexus points of ley lines. These three-dimensional paths through the colorful environment form mazes that are beautiful to behold. The reef thrives on the energies from the ley lines, and will maintain their splendor long after the natural surroundings are in decline.
Critics have posited that the building of the Chelon Spires are in many ways a plea for the errant god’s attention. The Vastness above the waves is seen as hell, and with each spire being built coming closer and closer to breaking the surface of the waters, the Chelon are metaphysically challenging Ahto step in and protect them from their own folly. And since no Ahtoan miracle has happened, His followers despair.
Ahtoan diviners have recently discovered their abilities of precognition have been hampered. Where once they could cast their minds into all the future of Elqua, now they can see no further than a few years forward. Previous prophecies told that the current Cerulean Epoch was to be a grand era in history, lasting for centuries. Now, is seems that promising future has been cut short by an indigo darkness, featureless and endless. Some claim this is more evidence of Ahto’s indifference to his congregation.
With the seeming diminution in ability of faithful Ahtoan diviners, some reached out to the Synesthete Synod, only to discover they too have had their powers dimished. An unofficial pact has formed under the name of Second Sight, in order to discover a cause and to bypass the apparent barrier that obscures further divination.
The Order of Anthozoa believes that Ahto’s gift of coral shaping has been leeching the animus vitae from Elqua’s coral reefs, and thus contributing to the death of the water world. They take it upon themselves to rend the ley line connections that Xanthellaettes use to power their shaping. Ahtoan priests, as representatives of the Chelon Sea government, have been given carte blanche when dealing with criminals of the Anthozoa Order.
The Church of Ahto has further persecuted a sect of ascetics known as the Kappa Eremite. These eremites have denounced the Ahtoan dogma of passive resistance, and instead espouse a philosophy of active determination in one’s life. Only through effort can anything withstand the strength of time and nature. Without effort, both will wash you away with the currents. While the Kappa Eremite believe in action, they shy away from violence. Instead, they focus on verbal sophistry and chicanery to sow dissent among the populace.
Relations with other Religions
Sashelas has stepped in and taken up the responsibility that Ahto seems to have abdicated. Proclaiming Himself the new protector of Elqua has made things difficult between the two organized religions. Ahtoans feel their domain is being usurped, while Sashelites feel they are the only ones that can restore the balance of the Endless Blue.
Acedia of the Despair: As a member of the Pantheon, Ahto represents not just the sloth of not acting, but the acedia of not believing, not wanting. As Acedia, Ahto takes on even more of a dissuaded, uncaring light. Passivity and disinterest keep Acedia from His duties, making the god into a parasite among his other deities. Acedia’s moral lessons mostly hinge upon the lesson of sharing information or acting to avoid problems.
“Only once the silt has settled and the sea is clear
can the truth be seen by the patient learner.”
— an Ahtoan axiom