The Mists of Paoru
The Temple of the Three
In the beginning, there was the Void and the All-Consuming-Maelstrom and they existed for uncounted eons. Then out of the Maelstrom, came Dem-Po the Lord of Night and Shadows and the Nightlord existed ever changing and changeable for many eons reveling in his divinity.
As time moved on, the All-Consuming Maelstrom slowed and at it’s center there arose a bright shining light that filled the Void and blinded Dem-Po with it’s power. Out of the light, came Sha-Za the Lord of Day and Light. Dempo and Shaza gazed at each other across the Void and each God’s power stretched out to consume the other but they were equals. Thus began their long and personal war, striving for dominance over the Void.
As they fought, their struggles began to temper the Void and shatter the Maelstrom as it slowed even more. The concussive force of their power spun out stars and nebula, leaving debris floating. For eons they fought for dominance, Sha-Za striving to maintain what was and Dem-Po forcing it to change. Their constant struggle soon became love for each other and in that moment a spark ignited and out of the Maelstrom came a scintillating, many hued light that coalesced into Kaz-Zi the Lady of the Dawn and Twilight.
Dem-Po and Sha-za stopped and began to commune with the new god as she began to commune with them, bridging the gap between them. Over time, they became a family as any gods can be. They reveled in each other’s forms and power. Kaz-Zi loved Dem-Po’s malleability and chaos and strived to model herself after Sha-Za’s order and rigidity but in never quite reached either level. She was the middle ground between the two, capable of changing when it required and capable of order as well.
Kaz-Zi began to play with the detritus of the Void that was left behind from Dem-Po and Sha-za’s struggles. She began to form more stars while her family looked on unable to comprehend how she was accomplishing it. She taught them how and Sha-Za created Time and Gravity and set the stately order of the heavens to spinning, while Dem-Po created Entropy and Chance and would often playfully knock one of Sha-Za’s stars out of path setting off a chain reaction. Kaz-Zi began to focus more on each creation as she molded worlds and struck with inspiration breathed life into them, creating plants and trees. She took up stuff of the world and molded them into the Maora, breathing life into them for the first time. Several times she did this and each time she destroyed them after for she embodied both Life and Death, until Sha-Za saw what she had wrought.
He asked her not to totally destroy her children but allow them to watch as well. She continued her task and gave them short lives and created the Roads and the Hall for them when they died. She taught them insight and wisdom, love and hate, and compassion.
Far out at the edge of the once empty Void, the Maelstrom slowed and began to grow heavy as it collapsed upon itself. It became dark and compact, a small maw in the fabric of the Void as it began to draw all things into itself, destroying them. The Three took notice and joined their strength to stop it but were not strong enough. As it began to consume their essence, the Maelstrom exploded a little and collapsed upon itself once more leaving the ethereal form of Kai-Da, He Who Watches. Kai-Da saw the Three struggling with the now growing Maw and grabbed the fabric of it’s edge and sat it spinning, faster and faster he spun it as it threw back out everything it had consumed as it grew and grew and became the Maelstrom once more.
The Three watched in wonder as Kai-Da silently loved them and remained standing watching the lazily spinning Maelstrom, always waiting for it collapse once more. ~ Sophister Yueng Hui-Zhen of the Eto Orrery, a religious accounting from the High Places of Go-Shen, which is no more.
The Great Three as written being Bright Shaza, Dempo the Nightlord, and Kazzi the Grey Lady are the remaining gods worshiped in the Four Nations of Eoda today. Kaida the Betrayer has been stricken from all the Temples, his statues and book destroyed. It is heresy to speak his name or portray his likeness.
When they were Four, Kazzi made all things and is considered to be the Mother of All. Shaza and Dempo gifted her children with certain gifts and curses while Kaida abided.
The Yokai are truly Kazzi’s first children, beings of the ether made from her breath and tears. As the Yokai grew, Shaza and Dempo chose certain among their number for themselves creating the Tianshi or Spirit Yokai empowered with positive energy and the Oni or Void Yokai empowered with negative energy. all that remained embraced Kazzi as they became the Yokai of the Five elements (Wood, Earth, Fire, Water, Stone).
After the First Holy War in Go-Shen, which is no more, the Three left the world in the care of the Yokai empowering them to watch over Kazzi’s other children and Kaida’s bastard children that she embraced after his demise.
It is written that every action we take in life is recorded in the Hall of a Thousand Doors against. For every good action, a mark in the columns of the Tianshi and for every evil action, a mark in the columns of the Oni. It is possible for a living person to lose their Shen or Spirit and become a living Oni, lost forever. The Monks who follow the tenets of the Three seek to become living Tianshi.
The scale of the elements proceeds as follows: Tianshi, Wood, Fire, Stone, Metal, Water, Oni
Before the Gods left the world following the First Holy War, they were known to dally not only with mortals but with each other from time to time. The issue from these unions came in two distinct types of children. The Ban Xien were born of two gods, while the Shen Xien were born of a God and a mortal. Either way, the children had distinct characteristics.
The Ban Xien were powerful and their births always caused upheaval in the world. Some were born fully grown and aware while others had to be raised like mortal children. While they never attained the level of power of their parents, they were certainly stronger than any of the Yokai. Each of them became attuned to a specific facet of nature or mortality, becoming to embody that facet fully. After they discovered the center of their existence, they were able to tap into it as a source of power and nutrition. They learned to take followers that would give them a source of power. Over time, this led to some with a more malevolent bent to their natures taking advantage of and even killing their followers. The Gods That Were refused to destroy their children and mortals finally found the solution. A magical method of binding them came to be known and over time the more violent ones were locked away. The others disappeared with the Gods when they left.
These children were lesser known and usually kept a secret since they were considered abominations by the devout. The children born of a mortal parent and a divine one were born and raised like any mortal child, though their divine streak would start showing around puberty. They were able to channel their parent’s talent into magic and other supernatural gifts that caused them to stand out. It was in the last days of the First Holy War that their true potential was discovered when the blood of one was fed to one of the Ban Xien. The blood of a Shen Xien is able to undo the immortality of the divine and make them mortal forever. This revelation led to a mass slaughter of the Shen Xien at the hands of the Ban followers and it is assumed the bloodlines died out during that war.
When you die, your Shen is delivered to the Hall of a Thousand Doors by the Menjian, the keepers of the dead. There, your Shen undergoes an accounting in the great books where all your actions are written.
If you have more tallies in the columns of the Tianshi, then your Shen is ushered through one of the Doors for placement by the Celestial Bureacracy in the Afterlife, the Jingshen Huayuan.
If you have more tallies in the columns of the Oni, then your Shen is chased from the Hall by the Mogui Gou, the Oni Hounds, into the realm of the Thousand Roads where it must find it’s way back to the world to be reborn. The Roads are home to the most despicable children of the Oni and Shen rarely survive.
If the accounting is even on both tallies, then the Shen is returned to the World to be reborn.
This is a divine gift of healing given by Kazzi to a select few before she left the world. It is written that the auspices must be just correct for a child to be marked as a Zhurdana. A most holy gift and often seen as a blessing. A Zhurdana’s gift must never be taken advantage of or it may be lost. They are never able to take payment for using their gift, for every exploitation is marked by the Oni. Some Zhurdana are able to survive death by being reborn immediately, some retain their memories and some do not.
Those that choose to devote their lives to the faith are known as the Anointed and are placed within the temple hierarchy according to their strengths. The Temple itself is headed by a seat of autocratic power entitled the Archimandrite, addressed as Sijon.
Temple Hierarchy from Highest to Lowest
- Archimandrite – Titular and Spiritual Head of the Great and Glorious Temple (honorific – sijon)
- Aemandrite – Council of Advisors to the Archimandrite (37 seats)(honorific – jathi)
- Koremor – Appointed head of a geographical region (51 seats)(honorific – lathari)
- Paemor – Appointed head of a temple (honorific – kenthi)
- Daedor – Anointed member of the temple (honorific – sarathi)
- Lappra – promised member of the temple (no honorific)
Becoming promised requires taking the Five Vows of Obeisance.
- “I vow to refrain from killing any living thing, unless survival demands it”
- “I vow to refrain from taking that which is not given freely”
- “I vow to refrain from intimate misconduct”
- “I vow to refrain from false speech”
- “I vow to refrain from ingesting any food or drink that causes unmindfulness”
Becoming anointed requires renewing the Five Vows and taking the Sixth Vow of Obeisance.
- “I vow that my words and actions will only be used to further spiritual enlightenment”
Attaining the rank of Paemor requires renewing the Six Vows and taking the Seventh Vow
- “I vow that my life shall be lived as a servant to my children, both promised and unpromised and that my actions and words shall serve only to further their enlightenment”
As an anointed achieves ranks within the temple, they must renew the Seven Vows. When the rank of Archimandrite is reached, an Eighth Vow of Obeisance is taken.
- “I vow that my life is no longer my own but I am now a servant of the Gods That Be, my actions and my words will only be a reflection of their will in the Waking World and I will endeavour to be their voice in the Dreaming World”