Atarkhul, Lord of Passions
Love. Hate. Lust. Pride. Greed. Many are the emotions that can inflame the human heart, and of the brightest and strongest of all of these is born, Atarkhul Prince of Passion.
Many are the facets of the human soul, and many are the emotions that broil between heart and soul within. Of these, a small handful are known to drive man, far beyond the limits of reason, driving him to deny the limits of both himself, and from time to time, reality itself. Within them dwells the Great God Atarkhul, King of Passion, Queen of the Heart. Many are His aspects, but single is He, and single is Her church, despite appearances.
Atarkhul is one of the first of the Gods of Men, the great spirits that are born from the need and worship of all the intelligent species. She is the concentrated power of their want and need, and He is the fruit of their obsessions and desires, in all the forms that they take. He bears faces without number, and She is the face that looks out of the mirror, and back into the brightest and darkest corners of the soul. The greatest sacrifice one can make to Atarkhul, the most powerful sacrament of the Master is to discard reason in the name of desire, to pursue one's obsessions without restraint, and to hold that obsession, that need is the only prayer that the Goddess asks. Atarkhul's holy symbol is the mirror, the window into the self.
No seminaries or cathedrals are dedicated to Atarkhul, and in truth, they would largely be wasted upon Her, for He draws no strength from ritual. Rather, to dedicate oneself to Him is to master one's inner most being, to learn to understand, control, and need the gifts of emotion that She has bestowed upon mankind, and to pray to Her is to indulge and share with others the depths of His gifts. It is frequent that knowledge will pass in the fashion of master to acolyte, finding each other not by formal application, but by the shock of felt recognition when master and acolyte meet, the parings chosen not by themselves, but by the Great God.
In general, the followers of Passion divide themselves into six major branches, divided by the form that their great passion has taken, and the control that they have gained over it. Three of them have become known as His public face, while three more walk more silently among the people, for the great misunderstanding and fear of their abilities endangers them; for they hold sway over the most primal drives of man, and many would call the shadowed branches of the Church 'evil'.
The first, and the most public face of Atarkhul in most cities are the Devoted. These men and women are those who have devoted their lives to spreading philia, the simple joys of love of family and devotion to a cause or skill. Quiet and unassuming, they move among the people, preaching peace and devotion to works, and as such, are often welcomed by the lords of the land. In turn for sparking and spreading this passion, and thus feeding him, Atarkhul grants unto them power to heal and to calm, to steady others and 'right the ship'. Only rarely, and only in defense of others, do they call upon his retributive aspects. Warm and welcoming bronze, the strength of the mingled family is their mirror.
Second, and rarest among the priests of Atarkhul are the Beloved, those few who are truly capable of agape, the devoted love that expects nothing in return. Purely do they walk among man to heal and to comfort, entering into the worst disasters without care for themselves. Among the Devotees of the Lord of Passions, only they may reach into the netherworlds and recall the souls of the dead, and for this gift, they cannot reach into his destructive passions whatsoever. Crisp and clear silver, free of distortion is their mirror.
Third, and at the edge of public and shadow are the Desired, those who have devoted their lives to eros, the spark of lust that leads two to desire each other's companies... and bodies. These priests, too, walk among the people, and in their wake pass passionate affairs, both licit and elsewise. They are those who perform weddings, who bless the womb, who provide potions and philters of lust and desire. There are rumors, too, of darker ceremonies, of rape and orgies. Some may even be true. Red copper, polished to pulse like the blood of the body is their mirror.
Fourth, and the first of those who dwell in shadow are the Hungry, those who have been consumed by greed of all sorts, be it hunger for gold, or food, or land. In their wake passes want, inflicting the hunger for more of anything, and all of the attending jealousies of those who have. They are given the power to send the masses hungering for some need, some thing, and where just one walks, economies profit... and revolutions may explode. Gold, the most wanted of all metals, is their mirror.
Fifth are the Horrors, walkers among the deepest of shadows and darkness. Given over to understanding and control of fear in all its forms, they have learned power over it, having the ability to drive others to cower, to flee, to obsess over a fear until it consumes them. None can cause a city to empty itself with more alacrity. Jade, holding the unknown within its polished smoke, is their mirror.
Sixth, and final among those who dwell in shadow are the Wrathful, those who know rage in all its forms. The secret warriors of Atarkhul, they desire and are granted the power to destroy bodies and minds, to flood the soul with anger, driving the focus of their allies to new heights and blinding the foe, and to steal away anger, leaving nothing but apathy. They are the masters of hatred, of the driven, unending focus that permits one to pursue the enemy across all the world, and beyond the grave itself. As the Beloved may resurrect the faithful, the Wrathful may animate the dead and defeated in the cause of vengance, releasing dark revenants upon their enemies. Black Obsidian, into which light sinks and dies, is their mirror.
Peculiarly, Master and Apprentice are only occasionally of the same Passion - a Priest of Desire may well learn his trade from a Devoted Priestess, or even a Priest of Horror. This leads to each of the children of Atarkhul having a highly individualized understanding of their gifts - as each human's emotional spectrum is slightly different, so are the gifts bestowed upon them.
They will work together in loose collaboration, sharing the gifts of their God's followers among themselves, so as to better bring about the passions that feed their Goddess, understanding well how one's sphere would segue into the next's. The priests and priestesses of Atarkhul are all able to recognize one another by sight, able to feel the deep obsessions that run beneath the skin. They do not use their holy symbol as identifiers, but solely as focus to enhance their prayers. Goods and lodging are shared as needed, so long as doing so does not badly interfere with feeding one's own obsessions.
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? Responses (6)-5
Update: Well, this needs something more, possibly ideas for usage attached to it, but I'm going to push this live anyway. Begone, oh hand of Mathom!
Both a good and evil side to this priesthood.
I HATE this! Get it? :p
The name looked familiar, then I remembered Brin!
A truly primal deity with a very visceral vibe. Could be difficult to pull off for a PC, but fun to try. It does need something else as you mention, but I can't come up with anything off the top of my head. Good work.
Yes. This is Brin's God. I know what this needs now. It needs Examples.
Logically, this is a bit of a confusing read to me but I like the overall execution of this piece so doesn't care much of the fact that I don't completely get it.
This is fantastic. It is filled with desirous and vibrant story telling and roleplaying opportunities abound. I also adore the material aspects of the piece, the little sacred mirror thing, excellent touch. Makes me want to write fan-fiction about one of these guys.
I think the voice works. But if I were to step from this a bit, I wonder academically how another voice would have played. When did fantasy writing get wedded to this this gothic, passive and almost vedic style of writing? It works here because I think we expect this sort of long sentence passive voice style of writing for this type of work.