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Temple of Yavby Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies
Worshipped in: Yavdlom (Serpent Peninsula)
Yav - Yavdlom, plants, prophecy, protect the temporal flow
The Temple of Yav is the official church of the Most Serene Divinarchy of Yavdlom and firmly holds the reins of both the political and religious power of the nation. It was founded by followers of Yav after his first passing (500 BC), and later the same prophet contributed to reform it and to transform it therefore important giving to his disciples the Annals of Yav, a mystic canon in which he supposes is contained predictions that they regard history future of all the Serpent Peninsula and maybe also of the entire planet. The clergymen of Yav (called ramla) blindly believe that all the events mentioned in the Annals will come true as they are written, and they protect the sacred book in the most Holy place of the nation, the Azizi Berungi, the Palace of the Great Prophet, an immense structure of 60 meters from an only mastodontic shell to spiral in mother-of-pearl that erected to the centre of the capital of Tanakumba (renamed Thanopolis by the merchants of the Known World).
The fatalist philosophy of the Temple is based on the so-called the Laws of Yav, which is a series of rules written personally by the First Prophet and handed on his disciples in order to avoid repeating in the future the injustice and strife that had nearly destroyed his people. The first and most important law espoused by Yav is just that one of non-interference (in full respect of the beliefs of the Sphere of the Time to which he belongs): the members of the clergy cannot interfere in any way with the course of the events. That also means that they cannot completely reveal the object of their visions, and the more important is the prediction, less particular could be reported in order not to alter the course of events. If however a ramla receives a clear sign from the Immortals, he can help certain individuals, considered particularly important, to have an idea of what waits for them, but always with obscure hints and riddles pertaining to the future forecast. The ramla are taught to accept whatever will happen in the future with seraphic resignation, however catastrophic it may be, since they know that if they try to change the events planned by the Immortals, they risk altering the universal balance and triggering still greater disasters. Also for this the second law that the ramla observe is to always remain free from the passions, since they cloud the mind and distort the ability to see the truth. They, therefore, daily complete long rituals of meditation in order to repress their own emotions, and for this the majority of the prophets usually have a very composed air, calm, passive and almost apathetic.
Society and Caste
The Yavi society clearly separates those who have divine powers (the ramla, recognisable by the symbol of Yav, a shell, who always carry tied to the right wrist) from those who instead don’t manifest any (the so-called laymen). Also among the laymen there exists then a fundamental division: the ogwambe are those who don’t leave any significant step in the life of the community, and so are relegated to a lower step on the social scale. The tukufu (literally "those who count") are instead people destined to influence the surrounding truth with their actions, and therefore are considered to the equally of noble until that their destiny has not been completed. Once/when event this, they pardon the title noble and became swetanga, or rather men of honour respected as they have made their own contributions to history, also without being able to aspire to offices/responsibilities of being certain that their cycle is considered concluded.
In effect, the Divinarchy is a confederation of states administered by a Supreme Leader, the Mokubu (that is the tukufu who has the most responsibility based on his own destiny), and the governmental officials are all tukufu that obtained their own position on role of the ramla, that recruits the candidates based on the impact that each of them will have on the history of the nation and to the affinity with the various institutional offices. In practice, refusing to cover an internal role of the state is a grave offence, since it means opposing his destiny. The nobles are responsible to make respect the laws, manage the economy of the country and defend the territory while the ramla are occupy of legislate, collect the taxes, administer justice (a fairly easy thing, inasmuch as the petty criminals occasionally become exposed quickly by the divinatory powers of the prophets) and advise the governmental officials about the best decisions to take, without revealing too much of how much they already know of the future.
All those who manifest divinatory powers are obligated by law to join the clergy becoming one of the ramla, especially those that since children manifested visions and prophetic dreams. The discovery of this gift is usually made in the ceremony of kupiga ramli, which takes place during the passage to puberty. In this occasion, the parents carry the son in front of an assembly of jajis (ramla with office of justice) who determines the destiny of the subject based on their visions. In fact based on their judgment, the boy will know if he will belong to the nobles’ caste or to that of the common person, or he will be fortunate enough to become a ramla, if shown of possessing the gift of divination. In this last case is celebrated a festive ceremony, and the chosen one is taken from his family and enters the order of the ramla. The clergymen directly control his education and development, so that he has very clear as to what are the principles and the obligations of a ramla, and to avoid using his gift in an egotistic or destructive manner.
Many Yavi have latent or extremely weak divine powers, and even after training do not succeed that to perceive minor events pertaining to a potential future. For this they remain confined to the lower ranks of the clergy, and since their visions are considered unimportant, are allowed they to share them with the population. In effect, the task of dealing with the commoners, understanding their spiritual requirements, responding to their requests of divination and other tasks of an everyday nature falls entirely on the shoulders of these ramla, who carry out an important function of sticking between the commoners and the prophets. The ramla of higher rank instead usually manage to offer predictions about events or important people, and are much more reluctant to make known to others their own visions, following verbatim the Laws of Yav, despite their allowed intervention if the vision indicated or in order to correct any interference that risks of changing the expected outcome (even if this type of intervention is always first discussed with higher ramlas).
At the top of the hierarchy of the Temple is the Bwana Ramla (Great Prophet) of Yavdlom, is able to discern events that occur even tens of years in the future with great precision. However, there are also things that the Great Prophet cannot see, events concerning the Immortals and the mortals destined for eternity: the result of their events remain constantly obscured for any prophet, even if becoming clearly seen as “people who matter” in the history.
The Temple is tolerant towards small cults dedicated to other, older Immortals that have helped or protected the population of the peninsula before the arrival of Yav. For this there isn’t any friction between followers of Yav and those of other Immortals, also because the Yavi recognise the superiority of the First Prophet over all the other Immortals, even respecting and remembering other Immortals as well.
Instead what the ramla cannot tolerate are prophets who do not belong to priestly orders. In fact people exist who also having innate divination powers do not make part of the ramla: a few simply ignore having a gift, it is because it not has ever manifested itself or because they have had so few prophetic dreams that they’re put down as bizarre coincidences; these become called “dormants” and don’t present a problem for the ecclesial hierarchy. They are instead muasis (wandering prophets) the true thorn in the side for the ramla, or rather those soothsayers who, knowing their own power, are not subject to the Laws of Yav or to the judgement of the ramla but wander freely with the precise intent of using the visions that they receive to interfere with history or for personal profit. The muasis are hunted as criminals, and more powerful the gift, the more ruthlessly they will be hunted as renegades, in order to prevent their interventions altering the temporal balance. Usually the muasis don’t have any other choice than to emigrate from the Divinarchy or remain in the wild zones or in the slums of Yavi cities trying to not attract too much attention.