Thursday, May 24, 2012

[Sixth Age] Anunnaki Temple

#8: ANUNNAKI TEMPLE. The Anunnaki Temple is the State Religion of the Kingdom of Stockton and the duchies of Merced, Fresno, and Vizaylia. It is also found in the Ten Towns, Bispo, and of course, among the enslaved and oppressed populace of the territories of the Sanwakeen occupied by the Outlaw Orcs. It is a primarily Lawful Neutral faith, focusing on societal order and continuation of tradition above all other things. The Temple has its origins in the Dark Age, when Modesto farmer Sahmyool Badahl, since known as the Holy Prophet Gilmar, first heard the whispers of Bel-Marduk, the Lord of 50 Names. The Holy Prophet was descended from an ancient line of Assyrians who had settled in the region generations ago. Due to their unified cultural heritage and survival traits learned in the generation before the Change, the Assyrians of Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, and neighboring towns had thrived, and were one of the few cultures not completely assimilated and/or dominated by the Anglos.

Following their return to Earth upon the advent of the Change, Marduk, as King of Heaven and Earth of the Anunnaki (Mesopotamian Gods), sought to expand his pantheon’s influence beyond the Middle East. Preferring to seek out descendents of his old peoples, he found a willing prophet and needful people in the Sanwakeen Valley. As the Anglo peoples of the valley were hard pressed at that time by the advancing Aztlán Empire (see 30, below), the words of the new prophet fell on eager ears, while the application of his and his disciples mystical powers buoyed hungry souls.

From Modesto the Word of Marduk spread, and within a generation pretty much the entire Anglo population of the valley had been converted to the way of Marduk. It was fairly easy for most to make the jump from the fractured remnants of the Christian faiths that remained to the theology of Marduk; after all, they had much in common, both originating in the same Middle Eastern theological stew. Marduk and his fellow gods took advantage of this in adapting their own theologies to the beliefs already in place. The cultural anomie that existed at the time, which the Prophet rightfully compared to “undirected waters of Tiamat,” were reigned in by “old time religion,” complete with tent revivals.

Marduk, a stern warrior god, appealed to those whose ancestors had mostly followed the stern, conservative form of Old Testament Christianity that dominated the Anglo culture of the Sanwakeen. Many of the forms of the former faith were adopted, including the basic hierarchy, complete with names and trappings (adjusted to the favored colors and forms of the Anunnaki, with variations based on the old Orthodox faith of the Assyrians). At first the priesthood was kept only within the families of Assyrian descent, though as the faith spread this became impossible, and the only remnant of this today is the naming traditions of the priesthood (taking a traditional Assyrian name) and the use of Old Assyrian as a liturgical tongue, written in an artificial script developed from the old Cuneiform (taught only to the priests).

These are the Seven Commandments of the faith:
1)         Thou shalt honor thy Gods in word and in deed and keep holy the House of the Gods and their Idols;
2)         Thou shalt keep holy the Seventh Day;
3)         Thou shalt honor thy parents, thy elders, and thy ancestors;
4)         Thou shalt not murder;
5)         Thou shalt not commit adultery;
6)         Thou shalt not steal; and
7)         Thou shalt not lie.

In the new temple there were Seven Great Gods:
1)         Marduk, King of Heaven and Earth, Son of Enki and Ninhursag, Husband of Zarpanit, Father of Nabu [LN];
2)         Ishtar, Lady of Love and War, Granddaughter of Enlil, Daughter of Sin and Ningal, Sister of Irkalla and Shamash [N];
3)         Enki, Lord of Wisdom, Crafts, and Magic, Father of Marduk, Husband of Ninhursag [LN];
4)         Ninhursag, Lady of Milk, Honey, and Earth, Wife of Enki [N]
5)         Shamash, Lord of the Sun and Law, Son of Sin and Ningal, Brother of Irkalla and Ishtar [LN];
6)         Irkalla, Lady of Death and the Underworld, Daughter of Sin and Ningal, Sister of Ishtar and Shamash [N];
7)         Enlil, Lord of Wind, Waters, and Grains, Husband of Ninlil, Father of Sin and Nergal, Grandfather  of Irkalla, Ishtar, and Shamash [LN]

The god Nergal [NE], King of Hell, Lord of the Damned, son of Enlil and former husband/uncle of Irkalla, is the Great Enemy of the faith. He is served by Druaga the King of Devils. Where exactly the two fall in the ranks of the Nine Hells is unknown, but it is known that there is no love lost between Asmodeus and Nergal.

There is also especial enmity with the gods of the Aztlán, though with Nergal’s resurgence in Bakersfiel that more recent enmity has taken a back seat to all other considerations.

Others of the old Babylonian/Sumerian/Chaldean/Assyrian pantheon are revered through the Temple; the oldest powers have mostly faded into the background, but there are still small shrines to placate the old ones. Hundreds of other, Lesser Gods are revered in the Temple; each possible craft, occupation, and activity has a patron deity. Each hamlet, village, town, and city has its own patron god or deities. Often major locations have a patron deity. Sometimes these patrons are also counted among the Great Gods; for example, Enlil is also a patron god of the city of Stockton, while Marduk is a patron of the city of Modesto, and Shamash and Ninhursag are counted as patrons of Fresno. Ancestor worship also features strongly in the faith.

Girru is a prominent minor deity of the pantheon. He is the patron of fire and metallurgy, a protector against sorcery, and also functions as the messenger of the gods, as he is not tied to any one place or even many places; he is and can be anywhere. He has become the special patron of the Order of the Burning Blade, a fraternity of paladins dedicated to rooting out chaos and evil. While the paladins of the order themselves are required by their faith to wander, each serves for a time upon the Great Northern Wall that guards against the things from the Hell Pit of Sacrament.

The clergy of the temple is divided into three groups: Priests/Priestesses, Monks/Nuns, and Presbyters. Priests are attached to a temple, monks are attached to a monastery, and presbyters are wandering preachers and protectors. Most PC clerics are of the presbyter branch. Each member of the clergy must choose one of the seven Great Gods as a patron god; only women may choose Ishtar, Ninhursag, and Irkalla as their patrons, while only men may choose Marduk, Enki, Shamash, or Enlil as their patrons.

There are seven Archpriests per diocese, one for each of the Great Gods, while there is a single Bishop ruling the diocese. A Hegumenos (Abbot) is the leader of a monastery; all the hegumons in a diocese answer to the Archimandrite, who himself answers to the bishop. There is also a Prelate in each diocese, a settled presbyter who acts on behalf of any presbyters who happen to be in the diocese at the time; the prelates also answer to the bishop of their diocese. Above all is the Patriarch, who resides in Modesto and is the Bishop of Modesto. The seven dioceses of the Temple, in descending order of precedence, are Modesto, Stockton, Mersed, Fresno, Vizaylia, Montray (in exile), and Bakersfiel (empty). All the major temples in the kingdom are served by all three branches of the clergy.

Clergy within the kingdom can only be tried by the hierarchy; any crimes committed by a member of the clergy are tried by the seven Archpriests of the diocese in which the crime was supposed to have been committed. The archpriest of the accused must recuse him or herself from the proceedings, with the bishop taking the place of the archpriest in the jury. The prelate must act as the prosecutor, while the archimandrite must act as the defender; both may turn these duties over to trusted subordinates with the approval of a majority of the jury.

Outside of the seven dioceses the various temples of the Anunnaki Temple are considered autocephalous, with each Archpriest managing the affairs of his or her own temple, answerable only to the Patriarch in matters theological and temporal. Often these temples are founded by a presbyter who, after converting a new group of the faithful, sends letters to the Prelate of Modesto asking to have priest and monks sent to tend to the daily needs of the new flock. The presbyter is then promoted to the rank of Protopresbyter, and is expected to remain with his new temple until such time as the gods call him to again begin his wanderings, at which point the foremost of the archpriests of the temple becomes the High Priest.

Clergy may use the following weapons based on their patron deity:

Marduk: Mace, short bow, net, dagger.
Ishtar: Mace, staff, sling.
Enki: Mace, staff, sling.
Ninhursag: Mace, short bow.
Shamash: Mace, staff, dagger, sling.
Irkalla: Scythe, chakram.
Enlil: Mace, footman’s pick, sling.

Animal, symbol, colors, and gems of the Great Gods are:

Marduk: Wingless gold dragon, five-pointed star, gold, diamond.
Ishtar: Lion, eight-pointed star, blue, sapphire.
Enki: Ibex, seven-pointed star, green, emerald.
Ninhursag: Cow, omega, brown, amber.
Shamash: Falcon, four-pointed star, red, ruby.
Irkalla: Owl, eclipsed sun, black, jet.
Enlil: Seagull, mattock (footman’s pick), white, pearl.

Clergy normally wear a long white wraparound kilt, the hem line covered in prayers written in cuneiform in the color of their patron deity; the kilt is cinched with a girdle, also of the color of their patron deity. Presbyters usually wear a white tabard over their armor, the hem covered as above.

The actually physical temples of the Anunnaki Temple are great ziggurats, where the public temple is found atop the ziggurat, the inner sanctums and treasuries of the temple are found within and below the ziggurat, and the living and working spaces of the clergy are found in the compound around the ziggurat. Many temple complexes are built as solidly as castles, and have been used as such in the past.

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