S'rendarr and Messa

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S'rand'marr Worship

"By day and light of S'rendarr, we live and bask in his warmth, happy and content. By the warmth and light of Messa, we cease breath and fall to death. Only by the love and harmony of both the Twin Gods and Sibling Suns do we live happily, and die the same. By the Twin Gods and Sibling Suns, S'rendarr and Messa, the faithful ask for your blessing, and to please extend it to the non-faithful who do no wrong, and cast no sin." - The "First Prayer" of S'rand'marr Worship

The worship of the twin Adhomai suns, S'rendarr and Messa has a long-standing tradition among the Tajara people and has archaeologically been regarded, with the exclusion of other minor sects, as one of the oldest known religion along with the worship of Ma’ta’ke. The religion itself created by Njarir’Akhran, it has changed hands and forms, eventually transforming into what it is today. The religion holds onto very traditional values, promoting collectivism, sharing, helping those in need.

Dichotomy of S'rand'marr

The idea of S'rendarr and Messa being the literal suns have long been abandoned, instead, the two gods became a universe-spanning concept with the holiest reflection of their visage being Adhomai and its twin suns. However, Tajara aren't afraid of the two suns going out, for it has been prophetized that no Tajara shall live on Adhomai before the suns seize shining.

S'rand'marr was described by human scientists as a slave-master morality religion, even though the oldest nobilities had a close relation to the priest caste. Nowadays peasantry keeps to it the strongest, it has come to take selfishness, restraint, chastity, and charity as good and moral. On the other hand the selfish, greedy, unrestrained, liberal and quite debacheours way of life was considered disgusting and sinful. Hiding one's feelings, restraining oneself to private and keeping reserved is expected of every Tajara, young or old, which has created a very conservative and reserved idea of what a family is supposed to look like. With clearly set gender roles of a female caretaker and male provider there is little space for such things as homosexuality, fetishism, subversion of roles or gender spectrum. However unlike the goverment, the Parivara had never hunted down anyone or officially endorsed such practices.

The official religious body is reffered to as "Parivara" or roughly translated "Family". This branch is further split into the female Sun Sisters and male Priest's of S'rendarr. Currently their main role is to act as mediator and to remain out of political matters, there is however a certain unspoken agitation about the religion of Mata'ke and S'rendarr position within that pantheon. Further the Parivara has called multiple summits over the courses of war, which usually result in temporary cease-fires from all sides.

The Parivara

The Father – Currently Walid Al’qat, can only be one, must be at least 54 years old, can only be selected from S'rendarr’s Closest

The Mother – Currently Zuzana Il-Rranha, can only be one, must be at least 55 years old, can only be selected from Sun Sisters, keeps her vow of silence

S'rendarr’s Closest – Selected from Priests of S'rendarr, have to be at least 44 years of age, administer regional churches, cannot hold a political office

Sun Sister – Swear a vow of silence, amazing and adept healers that accompany the dead on their final journey, selected from Mistlings that come of age. Only female.

Sun Daughters - A Sun Sister may be allowed to break her vow of silence and begin preaching in the stead of a Priest of S'rendarr, such occurrence is somewhat uncommon and usually once a Priest arrives it is expected that the Sun Daughter is fully subservient to his authority.

Priest of S'rendarr – Main body of the faith, are tasked with preaching, blessing of children, reading and copying of holy scriptures and other priestly duties. Only male. Selected from Saplings.

Saplings/Mistlings – The rank of acolyte, students usually learning and studying how to reach priesthood. Both male(Saplings) and female(Mistlings), have to reach the age of 16.

Seedlings – Youngest children who are either given to the church by their parents, taken as orphans or given as “bad seeds” to be re-educated. No gender differentiation or separation at this time.

Sana Sahira

Sana Sahira, a holy city on the tallest mountain on Adhomai which roughly translates into "The City of the Suns", is the current residence of both Walid Al'qat and Zuzana Il-Rranha. Being located in the Southern mountains of Adhomai, Sana Sahira has remained in the hands of the Parivara without dispute ever since it had been built and its modification and improvement has never stopped, this temple-fortress is now considered the capital of the S'rand'marr faith. The venerated age of this temple is well known and respected, however that never prevented the various Parivara Fathers from improving or attempting to improve the original construction with the additions of towers, temples or walls to shield from winds, bandits or invading wannabee kings who have all seen Messa's wrath on the narrow paths leading to this temple.

As of now the temple is attempting its greatest project, properly archiving its great horde of scrolls. This "horde of scrolls" are venerated and holy texts that were hidden within the temple, however the issue is that no previous Father bothered with giving any outlines or guides on what classifies as a Holy Text and thus everything from hymns, poems, holy interpretations to even simple and menial works of fiction, diaries and even some shopping lists have made it into these "holy texts". The current priesthood of the temple is almost fully occupied with the task of proper sorting and plenty of debates are often held over what is and isn't truly holy.

S'rendarr

(The Golden One, Bringer of Seeds, Father of Daylight, All-father, Joy-Bringer)

The most common portrayal is a simple golden sun, if color is not available a simple filled out circle will suffice. Usually drawn above cribs, farm doors or even directly on livestock to increase fertility.

S'rendarr is the deity of life, fertility, sunlight, youthful energy and everything associated with the time of summer and daylight. He is considered the patron of pregnant women, children and youth and thus abortion or distruption of the family dynamic is either frowned upon or regarded as sin. However contrary to popular belief Srrendar is not associated with just the positive; fire, impatience, brashness, weeds and drugs also belong in the domain of S'rendarr. In multiple ballads he is described as overexcited and overzealous sometimes leading his more unrestrained followers into their doom from which they are often rescued by Messa.

S'rendarr is the god Tajara call upon during their marriage rituals, with the birth of newborns, when giving praise or compliments to physical attributes. "He has Srrendars eyes", the father would say to his newborn. "S'rendarr give you both long lives", one would wish upon the newly wed. "S'rendarr did not spare on this one", one would say at the display of strength of agility.

“Holy Srrendar, bless this ravaged body!” - Post-battle prayer when one has sustained many wounds during their fight, 25th page, third verse of The Brightest Sunlight Tome.

Kahara S'rendarr Mai (Walk of S'rendarr On Earth)

This national holiday is heavily celebrated by Tajara of all cycles, young or old. On this day a Sage of S'rendarr is chosen (usually an important or popular figure) per-city and blessed by the priest. He is given a jug and seed and tasked with putting at least one seed and one drop of water upon every doorstep. While the tradition is still followed accurately in rural areas, in the more urbanized centers of Adhomai this has taken a more liberal approach as instead men of all ages run into the streets, visiting door to door asking for Ruined Water(Alcohol) and Rotten Seeds(eggs) while singing carols. The woman of the house is tasked with providing such things, if the carol is sung well the carolers are rewarded, if their singing however is slanted and drunken they're instead doused in cold water and forced to return home.

S'rendarr Kal Shaan ta Rrakarr (S'rendarr let this tree grow)

A blessing given by a priest of S'rendarr to pregnant women, the priest washes the mothers face with water from his local church. This water is collected into a small, ceremonial bowl usually provided by the husband. The pregnant mother is then given S'rendarr's leaf to chew on and instructed to spit the juices into the bowl of water. The bowl is then put under the bed of the mother and kept there until the child is born. If all water has dissipated in that time it is considered that Srrendar will watch over the child. However if the water still remains it means that one of the children will bring misfortune to the family. It is considered proper to then give the trouble child into the church for re-education and teaching as a priest of S'rendarr.

Marriage

(S'rendal'Mati, The life of S'rendarr)

One of the joyous and perhaps the most important matters of the clergy is marriage, unlike the religion of Ma'ta'ke the church of S'rendarr recognizes the importance of a wedding and the preparations for such celebration can take days. The day of the wedding begins early in the morning with the preparation of seating and decoration of the local church or other equally important building, be it spiritually or administratively. Once those preparations are finished, usually two to three hours before noon, the food is brought in, consisting of rich meats and fruits however due to recent trying times the diet usually consists of eggs or meat with additives however the food is usually considered "high-quality". About an hour before the wedding ceremony occurs the bride and groom are woken up and dressed, the groom in bright yellow and white wedding suit with a tall, frilly hat while the bride takes on much darker, fully encompassing dress but she is not restricted regarding colors. This has been changed recently with the arrival of human fashion, with the male dress often being exchanged for a reserved suit.

Precisely at noon the bride and groom meet at the main altar of the church, a present priest recites the holy vows and with the wedding wrist wraps, one blue for the bride and one golden for the groom, ties their hands together ending the ceremony. From then on celebration begins, feats of strength, endurance and agility are a common sight and many use wedding days to secure their own future brides and grooms, the bride and groom are required to stay tied together by these wrist wraps until the suns set and celebrations end, solidifying their marriage. The next morning the wedded couple untie these wraps but keep them on their respective wrists to showcase that they are already taken, furthermore the couple is required to visit the local office and register in the marriage registry to be a certified wedded pair.

The wrist wraps are not a requirement but it is required that the two items which are suppposed to signify a bond must "connect" or be capable of intertwining together for the day of celebrations. Further one must be darker than the other one. Jewelry, silk or even rope has been used in the past instead of wrist wraps.

Messa

(The Last Mother, The Sister, The White Goddess, Soldiers Wife, The Weeping One)

Messa, the somber, colder and blue goddess of Adhomai. However contrary to initial human belief, Messa is not an evil deity, she is however tasked with taking care of things her more cheery and lively brother could not. Bringing them to a balance of forces. She is the deity of death, old age, somberness but also of guidance, wisdom and patience. It is she who guides all dead Tajara to their final resting place in Messas Forever, it is she who protects souls and the dead and it is she who permits the end of suffering. She is usually depicted as a blue sun, if color is not available an empty circle will suffice, her symbol is drawn at the feet of crypts, graveyards and the beds of sick or dying Tajara. The symbol of Messa also serves as a protective seal, used to chase out bad spirits out of Tajara considered insane and accursed households.

Messa is the god Tajara call upon when they wish for a peaceful resolution, have met with someone unpleasant or when describing a Tajaras mental attributes. “Messa guide him,” a father would say to his son who is joining the army. “Messa! Look what you did!” a mother would say to her child who has broken a vase, hoping for Messa to give her patience and bring the child wisdom. “He has Messas patience,” one would Tajara would say to the other.

Messa represents inevitability and in a sense, war. But like war peace is also eventually inevitable, either due to exhaustion, death or victory. However Messa frowns on conflicts which could have been easily avoided.

Shi-rr’ata (Eclipse)

Due to the rotation and elipse of Adhomai, there comes a time every year where Messa the blue sun completely eclipses S'rendarr the yellow sun, this results in a dimness of the atmosphere, complete change of the Adhomai color pallet colder temperatures. For most Tajara however this means that they’ll partake in the ancient rituals of Shi-rr’ata or Eclipse as translated to Tau Ceti basic. Preparations for these rituals usually take up entire weeks, candles, insence, burial of all that is dead, purchase of talismans from the local Sun Sisters and gathering of dirt from cemeteries and burial grounds. Some Tajara seek the advice of ancestors during these times. Others wish to make peace with the dead or those wronged while many others wish to simply live this moment in peace and thus they spend hours in prayer and meditation. During these times the sick and dying face their greatest peril but not due to Messa swooping down and tearing their soul out. But due to neglect as people believe that to die during the Eclipse is to travel straight to Messa’s forever, this has been preached as false by the Parivara but that does not stop many from neglecting or even killing their dying loved ones, hoping to give them a quick release and easy transfer to the other side. This somber holiday has however a few positives, for example the Sun Sisters celebrate during these times as it is the only day of the year they are allowed to speak. Often they spend their hours together talking and talking until their throats tire out and they can talk no more. Some even dare to go out into the unnatural sunlight to show off and prove that they are not afraid of anything, especially popular among young males and opportunistic muggers.

Virr Henhati (Last Ritual)

This ritual is conducted upon death, be it in battle or due to sickness and the steps are thus. Make the body face the sky and the twin suns, tuck the tail underneath them, reinforce their grip upon the last thing they held in it, close their eyes if they are open and straighten their feet. After that one must wait until the body becomes completely stiff, during this time the family is encouraged to pray as the body is tense due to the soul leaving. When rigor mortis ends the Tajara can be burned, not buried as the cold ground preserves the corpses which animals come to dig out during the summer.

Recently the PRA government has been pushing for their own version of the burial, wherein one simply rolls the deceased to face the sky and then they strip him of all his possessions as they would only burden his soul. Then one donates them to the state. This version is not very popular and the Parivara refuses to address its legitimacy.

Death

The nature of Messa’s forever has been disputed ever since the two gods existed. Some argue it is a quiet and peaceful place where one enjoys their final rest. Others say it’s a great hall within which Tajara dine at gigantic golden tables at the head of which sits Ma’ta’ke, mead and meat aplenty. Even more say that Messa’s forever is akin to the life Tajara live today, however malleable to suit the wishes and needs of every Tajara. In general it is agreed that Messa's forever is a very pleasant place and that the fact none of them can agree what it truly looks like means they cannot even imagine the beauty prepared for them. Messa's forever initialy confused human and Skrell scientists who at first interpreted Messa as the bad and negative god due to its somber nature and the amount of respect Tajara hold for it.

The power of Messa over the souls of the dead is unquestionable and while Tajara do believe in ghosts, spirits and other such things, they are often understood as Messa giving someone a lesson before their rest or on the other hand, giving someone extra time to finish their deeds on the earth. But those who willingly chose to sin, those who would reject and openly defy the lessons of the gods. For those nothing good awaits as they willingly give themselves to the powers of the only named, malevolent deiety in the S'rendarr and Messa religion.

Raskara

(The Strange One, Whisperer, Black Mirror, Stranger, Door and Key, Maggot Fathermother)

Raskara is an anomaly, not only theologically and historically but also astrologically as the moon appears to be older than Adhomai. This would suggest that it is an asteroid snatched by Adhomai’s gravity. But a few annals writen by an ancient archivist state that the moon wasn't visible until Tajara started to inhabit the surface. This has been confirmed as myth however as the texts that describe Raskara as such have long since been declared as fake by the Parivara and the weird appearance of the moon is easily explained scientifically when one realizes Adhomai has two suns. Leading to a bizarre pattern, until the moon settled later in Adhomai’s existance.

Raskara is only described in a few scriptures and seems to somehow link to the evil deity present in the Ma’ta’ke religion. In fact they seem to be nearly one and the same, but taking on less of an active role in the S'rand'marr pantheon. It is a deity of evil, representing everything that S'rendarr and Messa are against, debauchery, treachery, avoidance of faith and unnatural cycles if anything bad were to happen it is usually marked as the fault of Raskara. Yet it is also accredited with powers, mainly those of fate reading, temptation and sorcery. The worship of Raskara is forbidden by clergy however not by law and thus still holds onto Adhomai with a strong grip. In the more secluded locations, Tajara have been known to "Get rid" of these unwanted elements without coming into question with law.

Raskara is also accredited with the creation of “Children of the Moon”, mythical creatures with the powers of seduction who turn to dust in the suns glare, drink the blood of virgins and eat bad children, historians believe this is an old jab at royalty who have often appeared with paler fur than usual and could be rarely seen outside of their castles.

Using Raskara in an insult is on the level of an extremely inappropriate slur.

Shi-rra Arr’Kahata (Darkest Eclipse)

There is a time where Raskara eclipses both S'rendarr and Messa. These are sad and bad times, Tajara do not leave their homes, clergy spend their day praying and hoping for tomorrow, complete darkness envelopes Adhomai even during the usual day. Not much is known about the event itself as there are no actual official rites outside of a government mandated holiday. Most tajara spend their day at home, praying, scrawling protective seals and trying to keep their loved ones alive for as long as possible for if they died during this time, their souls would go straight into Raskara’s maw. Even life brought to the world on this day is not celebrated, newborns are unceremoniously disposed of most of the time, but it is said that children born on this day are born with special powers which they traded for their souls.

The Chaniska Reports