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Immortals of Ochaleaby Kit Navarro
The Ochaleans, as a society, are very highly educated, philosophical and highly evolved in their religious and spiritual beliefs. They are not a theocracy, unlike the Nithians and Thothians, where religion (and the religious hierarchy!) interferes with every breath and movement of the people. But in Ochalea, religion and spiritual belief does permeate in all aspects of their lives.
The Ochaleans proudly claim that there is the proper understanding and perspective with regards to Immortals. As evidence of this, Ochaleans will be quick to show you their long history of peace and prosperity, free from any Immortal interference and machinations, even during the recent Wrath of the Immortals.
Ancestor Worship and Immortals
One crucial concept in Ochalean mysticism and religion is Ancestor Worship. Culturally, the Ochaleans put great import on honouring their parents and elders. Ochaleans view them as those who are wiser, more experienced in life, who have gone before, and in turn, become guides for the future generations. Understandably, this respect and honour extends even to deceased Ancestors, many of whom were local heroes, famous personages of the past, or distinguished predecessors of their family and clan. In their mortal lifetime, these Ancestors accomplished many deeds of glory, and their descendants should not only be grateful for them, but should emulate and strive to be like them. This forms the basis of Ancestor Worship.
On a grander scale, this is also how Ochaleans view Immortals. Ochaleans believe that Immortals were once mortals too, and therefore the greatest and most ancient of their Ancestors (Uh-oh! Mystara meets Birthright!). Most Ochaleans understand that this concept is more philosophical than factual, though it is not unheard of for some unscrupulous self-important fool to claim to be a direct descendant of Lan Yi-Xiong or Hua Fei-Xiang, complete with (forged) genealogical charts!
Thus, Ochaleans hold a reverential affinity to the Immortals, and the idea of a scheming, megalomaniac Immortal, manipulating mortal pawns in a cosmic chess game is totally unacceptable, even incomprehensible, for the Ochalean mind. (But then again, Ochaleans are also known to have an attitude of playing blind to unpleasant circumstances...)
The Ochalean Pantheon
The Ochaleans do not have a fixed pantheon that they worship, like the Tarsian Twelve of the Traldar or the Pantheon of the Church of Darokin. Instead, they have a constantly rotating cast of Immortals that gain or lose prominence, depending on the seasons of the year, the alignment of the stars, the amount of harvest, the necessity of the Immortal's blessing, the popularity of the Immortal in the locality, the amount of gold donated by the patrons in the name of that Immortal, and so forth. To add chaos to confusion, the Ochaleans also sometimes include their Ancestors among the number of Immortals that they worship.
It would be safe to say that all Immortals are known and worshipped, in some form, in Ochalea- and then some.
The Ochaleans have many classical texts, religious or otherwise, about the Immortals, but none give a definite listing or a prescribed pantheon. Depending on the source, the number of Immortals ranges from 1 (The Creation of the Immortals) to 8 (The Eight Immortals) to 100 (The History of the Kingdom of Pan-Du) to ten thousand (Essays on Immortals, Ancestors and Other Celestial Beings). This is because most of these Ochalean texts are more a mixture of religious legend, mythological literature, philosophical commentary and fanciful conjecture than actual historical records.
Complex as it may be, the Ochaleans do believe in a divine order among the Immortals. In fact, they believe that the Celestial Court of Pan-Du (Pandius), is not unlike their own mortal Kingdom of Ochalea. They pride themselves that their society most closely reflects that of the Immortals, and claim that this system pleases the Immortals (read: not incurred any Immortal's wrath...).
The following are the major Immortals worshipped in Ochalea (although this list is not exhaustive, by far!):
Koru Yi-Si, The Great Patron of Peace and Prosperity. (Koryis) He is the Patron of Ochalea and his is the major faith in the Kingdom. Outwardly, all other Immortal beings of the Celestial Court of Pan-Du (Pandius) bow to his will, when it comes to dealings with the Ochaleans. He is lawful and benevolent, and only promotes goodwill for his strongest group of worshippers.
Nü Yue-Wang, The Empress of the Shadowed Moon. (Nyx) This shadowy Immortal controls the powers of the night and the undead in Ochalea. Traditionally, she is Koru Yi-Si's major foe in Ochalea, although her machinations are never overt, always shrouded in mystery and secrecy, as her powers over shadow and darkness are. Ochaleans grant her nearly equal reverence as fear, if only to sway her to stay her malicious wrath.
Hua Fei-Xiang, The Heavenly Artisan. (Alphatia) Her worship comes from Alphatia, brought to non-spellcasting Alphatian emigrants of long ago, but her teachings on art and beauty, peace and serenity, have had a long-standing impact in Ochalean culture and history. She is pacifist Immortal who avoids the intrigues and conflicts of other Immortals. Ochaleans credit the distinct style of their artwork and architecture to her (although this may be historically anachronistic). Her main opposition in Ochalea is Hua Fan-Liang, who advocates destruction, often of her artworks, claiming it to be "a natural state of change to make way for new creations."
Hua Fan-Liang, The Jewelled Mandarin. (Alphaks) This Immortal's worship also came from Alphatian dissidents long ago, as is often identified as Hua Fei-Xiang's equal, if darker, more sinister, partner. On the surface, his teachings speak of Ochalean pride as a nation separate from Alphatian imperialist wizards, but his worship also has a dark side that appeals to Ochaleans as well. He offers his followers "healthy occasions" of wildness and rage, to balance off the reserved and restrained nature of the Ochaleans. Very few Ochaleans are foolish enough not to detect the destructive nature of his doctrines, but even fewer will openly admit that they actually follow his philosophies and practices.
Chang Dang-Su, The Revered Physician. (Chardastes) This Immortal patron of health and healing has appeared to the Ochaleans fairly late in their history. But his benevolent ways has found strong following in the Kingdom, and his worship is now only second largest to Koru Yi-Si's in Ochalea.
Tang Da-Si, The Guardian of Death. (Thanatos) Ochalean philosophy accepts death as a natural part of life, and thus Ochaleans revere this dark Patron of Death more than they fear him. By the same token, this Immortal is less sinister, and less involved in Ochalean affairs, than he is in other nations in Mystara.
Long Wang, The Dragon King. (The Great One) Dragons have always been a symbol of power and mysticism in Ochalea, and it is no wonder that Long Wang is one of their most revered Immortals. Ochaleans believe that the Dragon King rules alongside with the Three Dragon Rulers: Yue Long, The Moon Dragon (Pearl), Ruler of Chaotic Dragons; Ri Long, The Sun Dragon (Opal), Ruler of Neutral Dragons; and Xing Long, The Star Dragon (Diamond), Ruler of Lawful Dragons.
Lan Yi-Xiong, The Prince of the Sun. (Ixion) According to the Ochalean classic entitled Legends of The Eight Immortals, the radiant Lan Yi-Xiong, handsome Prince of the Sun, is the foremost among the Immortals in brilliance and power, and master of the sun's life-giving force. Ochaleans honour him with symbols of the sun in bright golden-yellow colours during harvest festivals.
Kong Ru, The High Prefect of Time. (Khoronus) The oldest among The Eight Immortals is the Patron of Time and History. Kong Ru is depicted as an ancient sage with infinite wrinkles on his wise face, and never-ending grey-white beard, who teaches the Ochaleans the lessons of history and time.
Rong Han, The Fiery Duke. (Rathanos) Chaotic and hot-tempered, this red-faced Immortal is the master of flames, fiery energy, and masculine superiority. He is most popular among soldiers and defenders against Alphatian imperialism. With a recent rise anti-Alphatian and magophobic sentiment, an alarming number of his worshippers are now turning to Hua Fan-Liang. They find the Fiery Duke's teachings to be too "slow, inactive and institutionalist," compared to Hua Fan-Liang call for total annihilation of their enemies!
Tao Ru-Jia, The Immortal Judge. (Tarastia) The Patroness of Justice and Equality is usually portrayed in judicial robes, stern and regal, holding scrolls of law and legislation. Because of the Ochalean's disparaging views on women, she is usually depicted as androgynous, or even as a man. Her teachings of equality for women are all but neglected, and only her rival, Rong Han, finds the sweet irony in this, and fully takes advantage of the situation.
Zhu Cheng-Wei, The Lord of Ten-Thousand Beasts. (Zirchev) Zhu Cheng-Wei of The Eight Immortals is the protector of forest creatures and patron of hunters and rangers. He often appears in the shape of animals to help his followers, or to punish those who defile his forests and its creatures.
Lao Pang-Tiu, The Old Master of the Sea. (Protius) The Immortal Lao Pang-Tiu is often depicted as a bearded old fisherman with a fishing pole, a net and a straw basket brimming with fish. Ochaleans worship him not only for the bounties of the seas and for safety in seafaring, but also for the protection of the oceans around Ochalea from foreign invaders.
Hua Mei-Liang, The Lady of the Scarlet Lotus. (Valerias) This beautiful Immortal is charged with dealings of love and romance. In the Legends of The Eight Immortals, she is the consort of Lan Yi-Xiong, and their affair in the Celestial Court of Pan-Du (Pandius) is the Ochalean ideal of true love. She is often depicted as the perfect Ochalean woman, holding a magical scarlet lotus flower that invokes love in any creature. She is the most popular female Immortal worshipped by both men and women in Ochalea.
Ting Lei-Xian, The Flute-Playing Prophet. (Tiresias) Ochaleans view this Immortal as a gentle youth with a whimsical expression, dancing gaily and playing the flute free from cares. Although his playfulness is not strongly advocated, his musical talent, as his wise insight and prophecies, is most appreciated by the subdued Ochaleans.
Shi Su-Ma, The All-Knowing Sage of Heaven and Earth. (Ssu-Ma) Literacy and scholarship are of utmost importance to the Ochaleans, and Shi Su-Ma is one of the most revered of the Immortals. According to the Ochalean religious text, The Creation of the Immortals, Shi Su-Ma invented calligraphy and taught the first mortals how to read. He is said to be the Keeper of All Secrets in the realms of Immortals and mortals alike (although according to The History of the Kingdom of Pan-Du, it is Kong Ru, the Prefect of Time, who holds this office among the Immortals).
Mao Si-Wu, The Master of Four Evils. (Masauwu) Mao Si-Wu earned his epithet for being the Patron of Vices and Temptations. Ochaleans worship him, hoping that he will hold the Four Evils (drinking, gambling, violence and lechery) away from them. According to some legends, he purposely appears to mortals during times of difficult decisions, offering them five choices, four of which are wrong. The History of the Kingdom of Pan-Du calls him the Favoured Minister of the Dark Empress, Nü Yue-Wang, as his methods are not overtly evil, but often leading to disaster and ruin.
Koru Ti-Kong, The Spider Trickster. (Korotiku) This rakish ebony-skinned Immortal comes from the Pearl Islands, and is first introduced in the religious classic Journey from the West. He is called "The Spider" because he has eight nimble limbs (sometimes with four arms and four legs, sometimes six arms and two legs). According to the story, irreverent trickster that he is, he appeared before the Great Koru Yi-Su and showed him his due respect, thus gaining him acceptance on Ochalean shores. Traditionalists frown upon the frivolity he espouses, but most people enjoy the humour in the legends about him.
Diu Nan-Liang, The Heroine of the South. (Diulanna) This Immortal comes from the Hinterlands and promotes women achieving their fullest potentials, whether as scholars, philosophers, or even as warriors and adventurers. As expected, her worshippers are mostly women. But strangely, her chief rival in Ochalea is Tao Ru-Jia, who finds that this Immortal's new worship is becoming more successful than her long-standing one.
Hua Niang, The Conqueress from the West. (Vanya) With the success of Diu Nan-Liang's worship, this Immortal has made her presence felt to the rare and few Ochalean women-warriors, in ways that are a lot less subtle. Most Ochaleans cannot tell the difference between the two female Immortals, and merely view the two as twin sister warriors, or the self-same Immortal! Most male Ochaleans view their teachings with equal contempt.
Shi'Er Xian-Gong, The Twelve Immortal Craftsmen. (Twelve Watchers) Not mentioned in any of the religious Ochalean texts, this Immortal has nonetheless established worship in Ochalea. His worship is fairly new, but it is very similar to that in any other Mystaran country, except for the variations in local Ochalean crafts.
Tai Qi, Madam Good Fortune. (Tyche) This minor Immortal is depicted as a happy, chubby matron with a smiling, child-like face, capriciously strewing coins and gold ingots to anyone who happens upon her way. She is frivolous and happy-go-lucky, caring only in bringing some amount of happiness to mortals, no matter how small or fleeting. Some scholars do not count her as a true Immortal, but consider her as just a fairy spirit, or an Ancestor who has gained immense popularity in the Celestial Court.
Ochalean Name Common Name Alignment Area of Concern Koru Yi-Si Koryis LG Ochalea, Peace and Prosperity Nü Yue-Wang Nyx N Night and Undead Hua Fei-Xiang Alphatia LG Art, Beauty, Pacifism, Serenity Hua Fan-Liang Alphaks CE Ochalean Pride, Separation from Alphatia Chang Dang-Su Chardastes NG Health, Healing, Medicine Tang Da-Si Thanatos LE Death, the Afterlife Long Wang The Great One N All Dragonkind Yue Long Pearl CN Chaotic Dragons Ri Long Opal N Neutral Dragons Xing Long Diamond LN Lawful Dragons Lan Yi-Xiong Ixion CG The Sun, Light and Brightness Kong Ru Khoronus N History, Time and Long Life Rong Han Rathanos CN Fire, Energy, Male Superiority Tao Ru-Jia Tarastia LN Justice and Equality (for Women) Zhu Cheng-Wei Zirchev NG Forest Creatures, Hunters and Rangers Lao Pang-Tiu Protius CN The Seas, its Bounties and Dangers Hua Mei-Liang Valerias CN Love and Romance Ting Lei-Xian Tiresias NG Music, Poetry and Prophecy Shi Su-Ma Ssu-Ma LN Writing, Literacy, Scholarship Mao Si-Wu Masauwu LE Temptation, Vices Koru Ti-Kong Korotiku CN Trickery and Pranks Diu Nan-Liang Diulanna NG Will, Achievements for Women Hua Niang Vanya LN Women Warriors Shi'Er Zhi-Gong Twelve Watchers N Craftsmen, Artisans Tai Qi Tyche CN Fortune, Good Luck