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.

The two gods of the S'rand'marr religion.

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 prophesied that no Tajara shall live on Adhomai before the suns cease shining.

S'rand'marr was described by human scientists as a slave-master morality religion, even though the oldest nobility had a close relation to the priest caste. Nowadays peasantry keeps to it the strongest, it has come to take selfless, restraint, chastity, and charity as good and moral. On the other hand, the selfish, greedy, unrestrained, liberal and quite a debaucherous 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 government, the Parivara had never engaged in violently hunting down such people.

The official religious body is referred 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 mediators and to remain out of political matters, there is however a certain silent agitation about the religion of Ma'ta'ke and S'rendarr's position within their pantheon. Lastly, the Parivara has called multiple summits over the courses of war, which usually result in temporary cease-fires from all sides.

The Parivara

Children of the Parivara

Saplings/Mistlings – The rank for those raised in the church, students usually learning and studying how to reach priesthood. Both male(Saplings) and female(Mistlings), have to reach the age of 18 before becoming priests.

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.

Acolytes of the Parivara

Sun Daughters - A Sun Daughter is the acolyte role of the Messa sisterhood. They can be outsiders of any age, as long as they pass a complex series of tests and interviews to see if they're qualified for the role. Their education is focused on theology, physical care and mental care. In the past, in order to climb further, they would take the Vow of Silence and uphold it without break for two years. However, due to recent developments, a new Vow of Whispers has been implemented and the vetting process was replaced by an interview similar to the S'rendarr one.

Son's of Dawn - A Son of Dawn is the acolyte role of the S'rendarr priesthood. They can be outsiders of any age, as long as they pass a complex series of tests and interviews to see if they're qualified for the role. Their education is focused on theology, oratory skills and tradition. In order to ascend to Priesthood, two senior priests must approve of their progress.

Clergy of the Parivara

Sun Sister – Used to swear a Vow of Silence which had been replaced by a Vow of Whispers. Their role is to heal, advise and accompany those dying on their final voyages. They're a frequent sight in hospitals all across Adhomai and many physicians were raised as Mistlings themselves or attempted to enter the sisterhood. Mistlings become Sun Sister's upon being of age, however, outsiders must first become Sun Daughter's. Due to their inability to preach effectively, they're subservient to Priests of S'rendarr, often taking a more secondary role in all church dealings, financially, socially, and politically.

Priest of S'rendarr – Main body of the faith, are tasked with preaching, the blessing of children, reading and copying of holy scriptures and other priestly duties. They often have access to advanced education, making many of them de facto scientists, physicists and philosophers before such terms existed. Saplings become Priest's of S'rendarr as they have been raised for such a task. Outsiders must first become Son's of Dawn.

Head's of the Parivara

S'rendarr’s Closest – Selected from Priests of S'rendarr by other S'rendarr's Closest. The application is purely based on reputation and a successful applicant will attain dark red and orange robes, to signify sunset and administer a region of Adhomai. He will be responsible for all churches in that region, financially, morally and in the actual physical upkeep of the buildings. Recent controversies have started to appear as this antiquated system doesn't function outside of Adhomai, technically making all churches outside of Adhomai illegitimate. The applicant must be male, 44 years of age, and a Tajara born on Adhomai.

The Father – Currently Valyan K'rrirran, can only be one, must be at least 54 years old, can only be selected from S'rendarr’s Closest. While usually leaving administration to the S'rendarr's Closest, The Father has ultimate power in decision. At any time he can order, recall or veto any statement made by any previous Father or member of the S'rendarr faith. This power is rarely exercised and the position of The Father has been relatively free of controversy in recent history.

The Mother – Currently Zuzana Il-Rranha, can only be one, must be at least 55 years old, can only be selected from Sun Sisters. While in the past a Vow of Silence has been upheld, with her permission it had been replaced with a new Vow of Whispers. Despite this, Zuzana opted to keep her Vow of Silence to full effect until her death.

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 close to Nazira, Sana Sahira has remained in the hands of the Parivara without dispute ever since it had been built and its modification and improvement have 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.

Vow of Whispers

In the past, Sun Sisters used to swear a Vow of Silence. Forever forbidding themselves from speaking, with the exception of the Shi-rr’ata (Eclipse) holiday. This Vow had been in effect for hundreds of years, until 18th of August, 2462 Central Galactic Time. After the Armistice of Shastar was signed, translators from the PRA were invited to the Sana Sahira in hopes of helping with certain translations. There, they had made a grand discovery, the sacred Vow of Silence was mistranslated in the past. With this knowledge, the newly elected Father Valyan K'rrirran, with The Mother's permission made an important announcement. The Vow of Silence is no longer a required vow and instead, it will be replaced with the Vow of Whispers.

Not as restrictive as the previous vow, the Vow of Whispers allows a Sun Sister to speak. However, her words must be heard only by the intended recipients and only when it serves a purpose. If she wishes to preach, she must do so through an intermediary who will hear her words and shout them out to the audience. If the sister chatters, spreads rumors, and babbles idly, it is to be reported to the nearest Sun Priest, who will administer her punishment. If no brother is present, she is to administer her own punishment.

Answering a question, sharing a diagnosis, explaining holy teachings, and talking others through their issues are now all on the list of responsibilities. Some disagree with this decision, mostly from the brotherhood. Some feel that this is infringing on the duties of the priests, while others believe that it distracts the sister's from their maintaining and healing duties. Still, for the most part, it is a welcome change and while many sisters still choose to keep their Vow of Silence, many more welcome being able to help through other means than physical.

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 for him, abortion or disruption of the family dynamic is either frowned upon or regarded as a sin. However contrary to popular belief S'rendarr is not associated with just the positive; fire, impatience, brashness, weeds, and drugs also belong in the domain of S'rendarr. In many 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 S'rendarr's eyes", the father would say to his newborn. "S'rendarr give you both long lives", one would wish upon the newlywed. "S'rendarr did not spare on this one", one would say at the display of strength of agility.

“Holy S'rendarr, bless this ravaged body!” - Post-battle prayer when one has sustained many wounds during their fight, 25th page, the 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 is given by a priest of S'rendarr to a pregnant woman, the priest washes the mother's face with water from his local temple. 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 S'rendarr 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 troubled 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 of gold 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 supposed 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 Messa's 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 Tajara's 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 Messa's 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 that could have been easily avoided.

Shi-rr’ata (Eclipse)

Due to the rotation and eclipse 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, a complete change of the Adhomai color pallet and colder temperatures. For most Tajara 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, incense, the 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. Others 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 initially 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 deity 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 written 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 existence.

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