Monday, April 16, 2018

Faith and Devotion in Umberwell

Religion in Umberwell, the City of Shivs

Previous posts in this series:
Blackened Be Thy Name
Crime and Punishment
Industry and Technology

  • The People's Covenant is the state religion of the Empire. The current head of the Covenant is High Augur Yan Kai.
  • The Covenant does not preach the gospel of a god or a pantheon of deities. The Covenant believes in the perfectibility of mortal agents through a life of correct behavior, and that puritanical adherence to the Covenant's tenets leads to a peaceful nonexistence after death. A sinful life leads to eternal punishment in the Emptiness.
  • The priests of the Covenant tap into abstract cosmic principles for their divine powers. These principles are symbolized by astrological signs, constellations of stars, and other celestial bodies.
  • The People's Covenant believes that the gods worshiped by “primitive cultures” and heretics are simply misunderstandings of impersonal cosmological truths.
  • The Covenant's priesthood is divided into two orders based on gender: the masculine Priory of Augurs and the feminine Sibylline Sisterhood.
  • The rites of both the Augurs and the Sibyllines include officiating marriage ceremonies, regulating the Imperial Calendar, and sanctifying elaborate feasts on holy days.
  • Clerics of the Covenant wear ritual masks when attending to matters of faith. The holy symbol of the faith is simply the letters PC written in an ornate blackletter script.
  • The Adversary is the antithesis of the Covenant's vision of constrained behavior and spiritual purity, and therefore must be actively fought against and resisted.
  • Arcane magic is outlawed throughout the Empire. The Bellari are a militarized branch of the Covenant assigned to combat the trade in enchanted objects and the use of wizardry.
  • The Bellari are authorized to publicly burn or otherwise execute arcane magic-users.
  • The only exceptions allowed by the Covenant to its Empire-wide ban on sorcery are the members of the Bellari and the Corpse Takers. They are allowed to fight fire with fire, despite the risk of spiritual contamination.

The Breviary of the Chalk Scar, supposedly written by Frederick Tyr, the First Augur of the Covenant, is the holy book of the People's Covenant. The Breviary's many confusing passages elaborate on the following seven tenets:
  • The Parable of the Mirror. Look not upon gold; turn your eyes inward and attend to the state of your soul.
  • The Parable of the Inferno. A dishonest tongue is the serpent within; speak only truth and abjure falsehood.
  • The Parable of the Harvest. Honest labor purges sins of the body; be ever industrious and hard-working.
  • The Parable of the Tempest. Grasp not the treasures of others; find happiness in what you have.
  • The Parable of the Locust. Devour nothing; eat simply and purely to strengthen body and mind.
  • The Parable of the Concubine. The call of the flesh is a call to damnation; resist bodily lust and carnality.
  • The Parable of the Shepherd. The Emptiness whispers to all; reject heresy and the temptations of arcane ways.