Twinned Goddess

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The curious soul is drawn to the unanswerable questions in life. It is better to accept that some answers must wait - Këlüna hyRyla, Kythan Priest

About

As the primary religion for about one third of the populated world, the church of Peolu and Ryla has access to the hearts and minds of all faithful regardless of their position in the social strata. While not directly involved in government outside of the nation of Quzonia, the church can influence the policy of most monarchs, and even field small military forces on behalf of pious leaders aligned with the church.
Economically the church has a network of internal production and distribution, allowing the church to generate income in addition to any tithes collected from worshippers.
While the secular power of the church varies by nation, from Quzonia where the church is the government, to various tribal peoples still being converted to Goddess worship from their old ways by missionaries. On average, where worship is widespread, the church holds some immunities from law and have a role officiating at coronations and such making the church an important player in the political arena. The church as such is the single most powerful organization on Entorais, and is only held in check by its own policies and internal divisions between factions and sects within the clergy.
Smaller tribal nations may practice their own personal religions, but goddess worship is slowly making in-roads into these faiths, shifting them to a more compatible form. The biggest opposition to Goddess worship is the Empire of Waejir and their firm belief in a pantheon of deities, reinforced by the presence of their royal line of 'demi-gods', the High Nobles.

First Appearance

It is believed that the goddess herself appeared before the prophet Jodem Pelan, a simple herder of Teica. According to most recountings - written accounts were made many years after the religion became more widespread - the young boy was nearly falling asleep when a beautiful woman with red and silver hair appeared before him. She spoke at length about the Treahni and her desire to see them guided to greatness. She tasked the lad with sharing her message with others, and said that she would be there for anyone who renounced their old ways and followed her teachings. Jodem then brought word of his encounter to his clan who further spread the miraculous story and eventually a united Quzonia formed from scattered tribes and clans, who came together in worship and adoration of their new deity.

The Twin Sisters

The Twinned Goddess is a deity worshipped by a large portion of Treahni. She is seen as the twin sisters Peolu the Maiden and Ryla the Matron. Referred to in the singular - "The Goddess" or "The Twinned Goddess", or by either aspects name - Peolu or Ryla as appropriate, depending on which aspect one wishes to invoke. These sisters divide all the various mortal concerns between them.

Peolu

Other Names
Peolu (Aralia / Quzonian / Tabras), Pëölü (Kythus / Layor)
An aspect of The Goddess and twin sister to Ryla. Peolu is the benevolent goddess of healing, rebirth and agriculture. Her colours vary with the season, but are always natural hues. Often depicted as a maiden or young mother, Peolu is seen as manifesting the youthful aspects of womanhood.

Saynoh

Saynoh is associated with the goddess aspect Peolu as she is responsible for agriculture and the silver moon has a more direct fit to the farmer's planting/harvest cycle.
Masses are held on the new moon (first of the month) and full moon (15th of the month). High mass is held four times per year on the nights of the solstices and equinoxes.

Key Dates

9th of Atre-graz
- High Mass celebrating
9th of Tar-Vass
- High Mass celebrating
9th of Tu'od Sohmer
- High Mass celebrating the life and death of Saint Klastyne.
9th of Tar-Nule
Veil of Rok'n - High Mass celebrating the life and death of Saint Rok'n.


Church Hierarchy

Holy Seat

Pianira, Tabras

The Peoluan church is divided into regional controls, which each subdivide further into parishes, and every village within a parish will have some form of chapel to Peolu. Every seven years a different regional control is supposed to be ultimately responsible for the church, and the primate of that region considered the voice of Peolu. Since the geopolitical climate of Entorais has not changed much in recent decades, the system of deciding which region is chosen each term has become a slightly political debate, usually ending with no change in the primacy.
Pontiff
Duties of the pontiff include anointing high ranking church members, coronations of kings and queens, officiating specific high masses throughout the year.
The position is elected, from senior clergy within the church by a panel of high ranking members. The term of office is seven years, but one may serve several terms sequentially or otherwise.
Cardinals
Regional directors of church affairs, who directly answer to the Pontiff. A number of retired Cardinals remain active in the church and reside in the holy seat, as advisors to the pontiff.
Archbishops
The senior Cleric of any city or sub-region. Answers to the regional cardinal, and administers a number of bishoprics.
Bishops
The senior cleric responsible for the running of a bishopric, which will contain a number of parishes.
Priest
Every parish has one or more priests responsible for the daily running of church affairs within their parish. A priest may have several acolytes assigned to them as fitting the size of their congregation.
Acolytes
Priests in training, usually serving at the parish level assisting the local priest in ceremonial and mundane duties.
Laity
Non-clerical devotees of the church. Generally considered separately from the greater congregation. These can include servants sharing roles normally occupied by acolytes.

Clerical Orders

Rose of Succor
The Rose of Succor is a monastic order who travel about providing care and aid to those stricken by famine, plagues and war. These clerics have forsworn church politics in the interest of serving Peolu through more direct action. These mendicant physicians dress in plain brown woollen robes, bearing the badge of a yellow rose.
White Canons
The White Canons are a semi-mythical group of wandering Peoluan clerics. These men and women are rumoured to move about solo and in disguise, granting blessings upon those whom prove to be pure of heart.

Ryla

Other Names:
An aspect of The Goddess and twin sister to Peolu. Her colours being red, silver and white. Ryla is known as the mother of all, as well as the collector of the dead. She is said to give many gifts, but none without their price. As symbols of wisdom, owls are considered sacred birds of Ryla. Often depicted as a mature mother figure or crone, Ryla is attributed with the stern and wise aspects of womanhood.

Kodah

Kodah is associated with the goddess aspect Ryla as she is responsible for motherhood, law and justice. The red moon has traditionally been associated with blood - menses, shed in warfare, and from criminals being punished.
Masses are held on the new moon (first of the month) and full moon (18th of the month). Every 3 months, the celebration on the new moon is considered a high mass (every 111 days).

Church Hierarchy

Holy Seat
Lisan-Penar, Tabras
The Church of Ryla is organized similar to the Peoluan church, with the two sects sharing the village chapels, usually left to the peoluan priest to manage. Where feudalism is the norm, the nobility often have a dedicated chapel to Ryla within their estate, and keep a priest of Ryla on retainer to tend to the household's spiritual needs. In larger more populated areas, the churches have separated into two distinct sects. The Rylan church has less fluid politics, with the seat of the pontiff being static. The church of Ryla maintains its own standing military forces and a system of caravans with which it transports goods and materials between the regional churches.
Pontiff
Nypir Tevo
Duties of the pontiff include anointing high ranking church members, coronations of kings and queens, officiating specific high masses throughout the year.
The position is elected, from senior clergy within the church by a panel of high ranking members. The term of office is for life.
Cardinals
Regional directors of church affairs, who directly answer to the Pontiff. A number of retired Cardinals remain active in the church and reside in the holy seat, as advisors to the pontiff.
Archbishops
The senior Cleric of any city or sub-region. Answers to the regional cardinal, and administers a number of bishoprics.
Bishops
The senior cleric responsible for the running of a bishopric, which will contain a number of parishes.
Priest
Every parish has one or more priests responsible for the daily running of church affairs within their parish. A priest may have several acolytes assigned to them as fitting the size of their congregation.
Acolytes
Priests in training, usually serving at the parish level assisting the local priest in ceremonial and mundane duties.
Laity
Non-clerical devotees of the church. Generally considered separately from the greater congregation. These can include servants sharing roles normally occupied by acolytes.

Clerical Orders

Seven Sorrows
According to the teachings of the church of Ryla, the Goddess was stricken with seven sorrows for the evils of the Treahni: Deceit, Excess, Jealousy, Murder, Rape, Theft, and Vanity. All sins according to the church fall under one of these seven. The only behaviour that might qualify as unforgivable is heresy or atheism. As denying the existence of a known goddess is unfathomable to the followers of The Goddess. Believing in other gods is less wrong compared to godlessness, but still sinful in the eyes of the church.
The clerical order of the Seven Sorrows operates out of Ködah Castle, a hold granted by Sköharna III of Kythus in 728 YG. This holy order, whose symbol is seven crystal tears falling from the sky, sponsors the Spear of Shattered Sorrow fighting order. This group is the closest thing to an 'Inquisition' within the cultures and nations whom worship The Twin Goddess.

Fighting Orders

Company of the Red Shield
The Company of the Red Shield is a church sponsored mercenary group based in Aralia. The shields of these warriors are painted with a scarlet field on which rests the upright sword symbolic of Ryla's justice.
Spear of Shattered Sorrow
The Spear of Shattered Sorrow is a knightly order based out of Ködah Castle who act to defend the church from heresy from within or without. The shields of the order have an upright spear with a broken shaft between a divided field of red and silver.
White Owl
The White Owl knightly order based out of the Tabrani keep of Olani, whose mandate is to be a shield protecting church interests from external threats. The shields of the order have a white owl standing on a slate grey field.

Tenets of the Faith

Mortals were not made by the gods who now watch over them, as such, Treahni are inherently sinful. Without guidance they would be little more than beasts. One only needs to look at places without the Goddess' guidance to see their unwholesome and sinful nature.
If treahni were always in a natural state of goodness, it would be ignorant bliss, as animals live. Since they are aware of good and evil, virtue and sin, the good life is more rewarding for the sake of that knowledge.
The Goddess has promised to protect those who keep faith with her; some of that iinvolves protecting worshippers from themselves. The Goddess only revealed herself to mortal kind some eight centuries ago. The other gods worshipped before her took a protective role over the tre-ahni after the god wars.

Heresies

Sectarianism occurs in both branches of the church, and is to be expected given the vast geographic spread and multiple cultures of those worshipping the Twinned Goddess.
Small heresies have come and gone over the 800+ years since the Goddess made herself known. A few of the more notable heretical views are:
  • The Goddess is actually the Waejiran Goddess Silat.
  • Ryla and Peolu are mother and daughter respectively and not the same deity in twinned form.
  • Peolu represents goodness, purity, and virtue while Ryla represents evilness, corruption, and sin as two sides of the human spirit personified.

The Celestial Realm

Other Names
B'payd (Aralia), Dätö (Kythus), Kuxos (Quzonia), Boe-Hogi (Tabras)
The promised paradise awaiting the faithful in the afterlife is referred to by many names in cultures where goddess worship is the norm. It is believed to be a peaceful place, free from all conflict, all pain and all suffering.

Divine Servitors

Other Names
Iihe (Aralia), Krübu (Kythus), Saobsa (Quzonia), Efoa (Tabras)
Creatures of spirit-form which exists solely to serve the will of The Goddess, as messengers or agents of divine will made manifest. It is through these servitors that the goddess takes action in the mortal plane.

Saints

Exemplary persons of the faith are upheld as ideal role-models by the church. These persons are declared saints after their death, each associated with some aspect of the faith associated to their life, and are believed to be capable of assisting those who pray to them specifically.
The Prophet Jodem Pelan
A teicaherd who claimed to have been visited by a goddess who was not worshipped at the time. His story, and a few miraculous events which followed in his life, lead to a small group worshipping this goddess. Jodem himself was declared a saint within his religion long after his death, when the monarch of Quozonia was baptized in the faith. He is the patron of missionaries and truth-seekers.
Saint Klastyne - The Martyr of Soland
The priest Klastyne was declared a martyr and a saint for his sacrifice during the war with Waejir at the siege of Soland which lead to a Quzonian victory. He is the patron saint of peacemakers and negotiators.
Saint Rok'n - Candle of the Faith
Rok'n was a mendicant priest and missionary from Aralia. Saint Rok'n travelled amongst the various tribal peoples adjacent to Aralia spreading knowledge of the Goddess and bringing unbelievers into the fold of the faith. Saint Rok'n is the patron saint of missionaries and those who spread the word of the Goddess to the unbelievers.

Persons

Gaddrick (witch hunter / knight of Ryla)
Jodam (missionary priest of Peolu)
Këlüna hyRylava (parish priest of Ryla)
Klastyne (martyr / saint)
Noqog Soony (lay scholar of Church of Peolu)
Nypir Tevo (Pontiff of Church of Ryla)
Qaa Oliva (parish priestess of Peolu)
Rok'n (missionary priest / saint)
Shelmak (parish priest of Ryla)
Siys Viko (parish priest of Peolu)
Yhypüna hyPëölüva (priest of Peolu)
Y'ur Pryse (Aralian High Councillor / priestess of Ryla)
Zelan (witch hunter / priest of Ryla)

Stories

See Also