Endless Blue – Week 103 – The Source   Leave a comment

Theology

The Source

The ancient Elquans could not help but look up from the safe confines of the world’s oceans.  Though mostly in fear of the aberrations above, a few pisceans focused passed the blinding terror to see a refracted view of the Vastness.  Warped through the refractive waters of the Shore, the Vastness appeared to curve in around them, mirroring the slopes of the sea floor as they reached the Shelf.  Trying to make sense of what they saw, those piscean could only liken existence in terms of what they already knew — in this case, a common egg.

Eggs are plentiful in the ocean, with the majority of life on Elqua being oviparitous — giving birth to embryos encased in a protective membrane.  The parallels between what the inquisitive pisceans saw above their homeseas and what they saw with every new generation were blatant:  Embryo, albumen, and yolk.

The waters that surrounded those primitive observers pooled in craters and crevasses of the planets subaquatic surface.  The curvature of the ocean floor as it reaches upward toward the Vastness formed a basin, just as the embryo nestles at the bottom of an egg, with its curved spine along the outer edge.  It is not coincidence that the mountain range known as the Spine of the World wraps around the borders the Known World.

Above the water, the pale sky of the Vastness blankets the world.  This is the albumen, the unbreathable gap between life and the nurturing yolk.  A massively wide swath of suffocating vacuum, only ended at the horizon by the blue of the water, the sky loomed over the waters teeming with embryonic life.

Amidst this alien expanse smoldered the sun.  A great sphere of amber heat and brightness, the sun illuminates the Vastness.  Its light seeping down into the cool waters, spreading out and dissolving into the ecosystem.  Like a yolk, feeding, nourishing the life waters.  That flickering, radiant spot arced across the Vastness as far back as piscean memory extended, always glaring down at the cool depths accusingly, red-eyed and unrelenting.

That simplistic model of existence is what became the ancient belief of the Source.  The Source is the egg.  The Source is all life.  The Source is birth, growth, and death.  Dive deeper into the water, you become one with the Source.  Break the waves into the Vastness above, only death prevails.

The Source, the Beginning, Life Mother, Élan, Birth of All.

Alignment: Neutral.
Symbol: A off-white sphere with a blue crescent along the bottom and a golden sphere off center to the right.
Domains: Animal, Healing, Plant, Protection, Water.
Preferred Unguis (weapon): None.
Clerical Unguis of Choice: Natural Unguis.
Cleric Alignment: Chaotic neutral, lawful neutral, neutral evil, neutral good, true neutral.

Symbol of the Source

Symbol of the Source

Divine Visage

The Source has no physical form, and thus no specific shape.  Instead, the Source is seen as ever-present, part of the natural order of life.  The Source is as vital a part of the birth of a new fry as she is the inevitability of death.  Divinity is found in every moment of life, the actions performed in the mundane process of survival.

Worship of the Source

Worshipers of the Source revere nature and the progression of life.  As such, druids, rangers, and other environmentally aligned classes are drawn to the Life Mother’s school.  The religion has a strong presence in the Locanth Gulf, where the culture is strongly tide to the cyclical migration of ocean fauna.  Professions such as packbreeders and culinists honor the Source at least in passing for Her blessings.

Shrines and Ceremonies

Wherever wilderness grows is a shrine to the Source.  Coral reefs, kelp forests, schooling fish — all of these and more are holy sites where the Source can be revered.  Any place where life ekes out existence is fit for veneration of the Birth of All.

Ceremonies, in contrast, are far more likely where pisceans interact with the environment.  Source traditions in the past gave birth celebrations to honor most every step of the modern life cycle: the spawning seasons of fish, the time for harvesting kelp, birthing of new livestock and the slaughter of fauna to serve as food.  Even more “nature hostile” activities like mining granite and building shelter have resulted in prayers urging the Élan of the world to bless the endeavor.

Allied Organizations

As Source worship is a non-codified religion, it is hard to form allied relationship with other organizations without being an organization itself.  Despite this, there are some groups that have links to Source devotion.  The Order of the Anthozoa challenges the use of Xanthellaette magic because of the alleged damage it causes to the world’s corals, and often invokes the name of the Life Mother as justification for their actions.  Then there are the Cruor Druids, also known as the Bloom Druids.  They often use their power to produce red tide as a terror weapon on the unprotected.  Otherwise, any alliance would be more with the individual that exalts the Source than any official church.

Opposed Organizations

There is little overt opposition to Source worship.  It is hard to argue  with the intrinsic message that life should be honored for its complexity and diversity.  Despite this, there are still some organizations that speak against the reverence of nature.  Olyhydra, for example, teaches that the waters and all it contains were put there for Her faithful to harvest and exploit in Her name.  The culture of the Chelon also share this philosophy, treating most of the natural resources of Elqua as unlimited in supply and exist expressly for exploitation.  Without the cohesion of a church infrastructure, believers in the Source have little collective power to work against those opposed organizations.  Thus they are forced to react in small ways around localized events.

Relations with other Religions

Belief in the Source is looked down upon by the Pantheon/Idolatry as a backwards practice.  Without an avatar that can be comprehended as an individual, Pantheonists treat it as little better than backwards superstition.  Yet, there is a kernel of understanding with the Ictharans.  Icthara, in Her voracious hunger, espouses the respect of life given for the sake of food.  And the clergy of Sekolah find it difficult to promote rising to the top of the food chain without giving  due to the competition faced along the way.

Schisms

Cystomite Cults — Posited with the question, “What rests outside the shell of the Source”, most pisceans would respond flatly with “nothing”.  However, there are some that claim outside the known is the Elsewhere, and there the first aberrations scurry along the shell like lice.  These Cystomites scuttle across the outer surface of the Source, seeking tiny cracks in its protective shell through which to pierce their proboscis and drink the source of animus vitae.  Cultists of Cystomites believe they will be granted boons for enabling the alien aberrations in their feeding upon the Source.

“All of piscean history is a nightmare of Élan…”
— the consensus of the Cruor Druids.

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