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The Blessed Light (Also known as the Dew' Alembarekh or Dew' Aleshems) is the main religion for the human tribes of Tanaris, similar and maybe even related to the Holy Light of the Eastern Kingdoms. Unlike the organized churches of the east, followers of the Blessed Light often fall into different sects within the philosophy, with differing views and opinions to worship, traditions, and philosophy. Each sect is often governed by a Vizier whom is in turn appointed by a Sheikh.

The Blessed Light is considered to be polytheistic, with the Light serving as an omnipresent, omnipotent force creating various demigods to hold domain over certain matters like warfare, law, and wisdom.

Origins and History

Most of the origins on the Blessed Light are based on old stories passed down through seers and priests, though they are often as such: stories. The real historical origins are often debated, with some even saying that the religion is based off a once Holy Light from the East, though how the religion traveled between oceans has yet to be explain.

The most accepted and practical theory states that precursors to the Blessed Light worshiped the sun, and that they soon began to associate certain objects and materials to animals, whom grew to be demigods over time. Seeing that the Sun was start point for all creation, the people deemed its given rays to be blessed, and that everything else was secondary.

Rule of Patriarchs

Thousands of years ago, before the raise of the major tribes of Tanaris, the Blessed Light was considered to be an organized, single religion without sects or internal splits. The faithful followed a small council of patriarchs, whom were elected "by the gods themselves and no other". The duty of the council was merely to enforce the doctrine set forth from generations past, as well as to prevent and snuff out heretic teachings and religions.

The council of patriarchs and their associated power began to wane with the raise of the Old Kingdom of Tanaris nearly four thousand years ago, kings of which deciding to personally elect and appoint the patriarchs. This practice continued until the death of King Fahaad Al-Harthi of the Sands in 412 K.C., in which the great tribes formed.

Splintering and Sects

With the fall of the Kingdom of Tanaris, the Seven Great Tribes of Tanaris rose and continued to elect the patriarchs. Though with these appointments often came disagreements, and the dissenting tribes elected their own patriarchs to their own liking. As this practice continued, Chiefs of these tribes often appointed themselves to be patriarchs, to cut out the process and increase their authority over their own people.

Light and Gods

The Light and various gods are often worshiped within the religion.

The Light

The all powerful and ever present force of the universe, it is was where life originates and ends.

Rahj

Rahj (or Ra'jesh) is the lord of radiance, war, and the Sun, considered to be the patron of warriors and fighters. He holds domain over the bright day and war, and is often depicted severing the heads off his challengers. His temporal animal is considered to be the desert falcon, a rare creature in the Tanari Desert.

Setesh

Setesh is the lord of darkness and the moons, considered to be the patron of assassins and dark magic users. He holds domain over the night and the shadows, as well as the feeling of cruelty. He is often depicted as torturing and maiming his victims. Believers often pray to his if they wish death for themselves or others. His temporal animal is considered to be a black cat, as well as a rabid dog.

Isiset

Isiset (or Isiast) is the lady of Motherhood, magic, and family. She is considered to be the patron for mothers, nurses, and magi.  She holds domain over the households of families, and the children's relative safety when playing outside, regardless of the time of day. She is depicted to be a woman, often holding a child in her arms with a magic shield about her. Her temporal animal is the desert mouse.

Ammunae

Ammunae is the lord of life and fertility, considered to be the patron for all living things and nomadic seers. He holds domain over sex and living things. He is often depicted as resurrecting animals or giving sexual acts. His temporal animal is a hyena.

Anu'ment

Anu'ment is the lord of death and warden of the Underworld. He is a patron to the dead and holds domain over graveyards and the Underworld. He is often depicted as a mighty basilisk guarding graveyards. His temporal creature being a basilisk. Death is not looked unfavorably upon by the Tanari, instead it is welcomed. When the dead die and given proper burial they are sent to the Underworld. There they live under Anu'ment's protection and feast forever as long as they were respectful to the gods. If one was disrespectful to the gods and in some cases a heretic, it is believed that Anu'ment sends them deeper into the Underworld where they sit miserably to pay for their poor choices.

Ma'at

Ma'at is the lord of Commerce and Honest Labor. A patron to merchants, craftsmen and anyone who makes an honest living through hard work. He holds domain over harvests, markets, and other places of work or trade. He is often depicted counting currency or watching over workers. His temporal animal is a camel.

Sha'hab

Sha'ab is the lord of Law and Justice and is the patron of law keepers and prisoners, promising to give them a fair punishment. He holds dominion over Tanari Law and punishments. He is often depicted as a hulking man, golden in complexion with a blade wear his right hand would be and a guiding hand on his left which represent the different sides of punishment. If one was to deeply study this field, they could theorize that Sha'hab is actually Tyr.

Rituals and Common Traditions

While traditions do vary between sects in details, the general items do tend to stay the same with time.

Marriage

Marriage in the Blessed Light context refers to a bonding of families and the making of domestic peace between two groups. Although marriages done in love are uncommon, most marriage account for betrothals with the bride's father choosing out a proper groom in their social status. When a marriage is completed, the promise of children is also made to ensure the continuing bloodline of the groom's family. An alliance, if between two tribes, is also made if a marriage is performed.

A man can marry more than one woman, but the vice versa does not apply. Extramarital sex annuls the marriage the man or woman is engaged in, and the person often has their private parts defiled.

Homosexual Marriage

While not expressly forbidden in the Blessed Light philosophy and general Tanari society, it is often looked down upon as the union itself cannot bless any children. As such, they are often avoided, and only given as a last resort if the intention is secure an alliance. Marriage to animals and objects is, however, completely forbidden.

Holy Wars

Believers within positons of authority are expected to spread the religion of the Blessed Light, by peace or otherwise. If another group is considered to be of threat by the nature of their faith, or refuses to convert, a Holy War can be waged in the name of the Blessed Light. Recently, this has been used by different sects to wage war over another group or sect within the same basic philosophy, often citing that their way to the faith is the only corrent one.

Alliances

Alliances are held as sacred and holy pacts between groups of people, or tribes, that entail both parties to mutual respect, cooperation, and military assistance if need be. Alliance are most often secured by marriage, though the simple oath to Rahj is not unheard of as well. Those who break the promises or terms of an Alliances are considered to be honorless, and forever given a black stain on their honor.

Prayer

Prayer is practiced differently by each Sect. One thing that remains constant throughout all Sects is that they do not require a temple, although temples do exist, prayer is possible anywhere.

Aleta'efh Sect

Aleta'efh Sect members have no requirements for dress and usually pray either individually or in groups. Prayer is supposed to be done twice a week. Aleta'efh Sect prayer does not have a leader who guides the prayer. Members are to form a circle by sitting down and joining hands, their eyes are to be closed. They begin with a moment of silence, and then the group names each of the gods in unity. They then all go around the circle, the eldest going first and going to their right. Each person is to state what they are thankful for and something they would ask. After this is completed, another moment of silence is carried out and the prayer ends when each member of the group wishes each member well after the circle is broken.

Selmey Sect

Selmey Sect members are usually expected to dress in plain robes during prayer sessions. Prayer occurs twice a day for Selmey Sect, once in the morning and once at night and is always done in groups. The prayer is led by a priest and the two daily sessions operate similar but are opposite in practice. The group is expected to kneel while the priest stands before them. The priest announces each transition throughout the prayer. In the morning, the group begins with asking all that they would of Rahj although demands are meant to be simple. The priest will then have a moment to speak to the group freely, and will typically touch on old tales passed down from priests before him. Once the priest finishes the brief speech, the group is to in unison chant praises to Rahj for some time and then, sometimes, chant punishment for heretics. Afterwards, the priest is to call upon the Light of Rahj, similarly how priests call the Holy Light. They are to bless the group by having the Light wash over them and then dismisses them. The group may then rise and the prayer is complete. For prayer in the evening, largely the same events happen, though with a focus on calling for protection from Rahj.

Gewy Sect

Gewy Sect members, when prayer is done in groups are usually expected to wear some decent robes. The prayer is semi-lead by a priest when available, but it is not necessary. Prayer occurs every five days for Gewy Sect. Who in the beginning helps the group get seated facing the same direction, if done in a group setting. Throughout the group large bowls are evenly dispersed, divided up into six sections. Within each section there lies in most cases a colored dust. Each dust representing a god, in except Rahj's case in which a mixture of ash and animal blood lies. The blood and ash represent Rahj, a black dust used for Setesh, grey for Anu'ment, brown for Ma'at, green for Ammunae, pink for Isiset and golden for Sha'hab. The prayer begins with the group thanking the gods together. After this, the priests role in the prayer is dismissed and not needed until the end. The group then goes in the afore mentioned order either thanking the gods for acts or requesting something simple of them. Before "speaking" to each god, they are to take the dust and design their temporal animal into a specific spot of their body. A desert falcon for Rahj is placed in the middle of the forehead, a black cat or rabid dog placed on the left side of the forehead and a basilisk scale on the right side of the forehead. On the back of the left hand a camel is formed for Ma'at and on the back of the right a hyena for Ammunae. On the heart a desert mouse is designed for Isiset. Finally, on the back of the neck a man with a blade for a right hand is designed. Afterwards, a moment of silence follows and the priest rises. He blesses the group and the prayer is over. Walking out, each member washes themselves with a damp rag. When prayer is done individually, after going through each god the person whom is praying has a moment of silence and then washes themselves.

Sects and Demigods

With the full of the Kingdom of Tanaris, the afore mentioned council of patriarchs were still elected. However conflict regarding religion caused this council to be absolved. Three main beliefs rose out of this time. They all worship the Blessed Light, but have differences in certain areas.

Aleta'efh Sect

The Aleta'efh Sect is the least strict of sects and worships all the gods, but not the demigods. They only believe those who have greatly offended the gods are punished upon their arrival in the underworld. Mostly found in Tafi Tribe, the Aleta'efh Sect's teachings are the most simple to explain to foreigners. Although they do not worship, demigods. They still recognize them as Blessed and see them similarly as the Church of the Holy Light views saints. They may not be worshipped, but they are respected.

Selmey Sect

The Selmey sect is the most zealous of the sects. They only view Rahj as a god and view the other gods as demigods, and those that the other sects consider demigods are not worshipped at all. The Selmey Sect is mainly only found in Tribe Ra'Haas. They also believe that heretics along with those who are disrespectful to Rahj are punished in the Underworld.

Gewy Sect

The Gewy Sect is the most peaceful of the sects. They worship all the gods and demigods and do not believe that heretics are punished in the Underworld. Commonly found throughout the Seven Great Tribes of Tanaris, except in Tribe Ra'Haas and Tafi Tribe. This sect views demigods as less powerful, more tangible and mortal gods. They believe that the immense skeletons that dot the Tanari Desert are the ancient bones of demigods. Followers of this Sect often go out and maintain these skeletons and pray nearby.

Demigods

Regardless of how or whether or not they are viewed, demigods are generally considered to be creatures sent by the gods to serve as more physical representatives. Living demigods are often given offerings to and pampered. They are often large animals and sometimes elementals. How such a thing is determined a demigod, it often is seen committing or being around certain acts or domains of gods. If it has peculiar markings or something that makes it stand out, then it may be considered a demigod.

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