Today I decided to focus on the religions I built for Tindiere because wow, there’s so much history behind them that I just never get into the story. Maybe someday I’ll be able to write it but not now, sadly. So you get some today. :D
Tindiere has multiple religions, all of them different in focus and deity. If you read City of the Dead you’ll see that there’s references there to the Mother and Father gods. A thousand years later in Artifacts of Awareness, those gods now have names, Inina and Haraldr. But Inina and Haraldr were rulers during City of the Dead so what happened?
First off, a thousand plus years passed. It was actually somewhere around 1200 years between the start of the Immortals efforts to become rulers of the world and the start of Running From The Immortals and Artifacts of Awareness. That’s a long time. If you look a the history of Christianity, for example, there are major differences in how the religion was conceptualized a thousand years ago versus now. Core concepts have for the most part remained, yes, but a great many things changed. So the worship of the Mother and Father Gods changed over time as it spread across the world. There was something very like the Reformation and that’s a large part of why Rantore is at war with the Vorenic Empire in Running From The Immortals.
But the Immortals had a lot to do with it, too. Early on, Inina and Haraldr were heroes for the people resisting the Immortals’ rule. One of them, not saying which or how or why at this point, pointed out that making them into ‘Gods’ would make people less likely to use them as rallying cries for resistance. They influenced society specifically to make Inina and Haraldr more saintly and perfect and less the real people they were.
That isn’t the only religion where that happened. Pensri was a real person, too, an Artificer Mage who fought the Immortals to a very deadly stalemate where Edge City now stands. But unlike Inina and Haraldr who (spoiler!) didn’t survive, Pensri did. And when Pensri realized exactly what the Immortals were doing, how they were taking over the world, they created a religion that blocked the Immortals in quiet, discrete, implacable ways.
Which I seriously had much too much fun spelling out as I edited Running From the Immortals. Have a sample!
“Yuji, Hideo,” Jun said.
He didn’t get the chance to bow or smile or even say another word. Yuji gasped and launched himself off the bench and into Jun’s arms as if they were all toddlers instead of grown men. Hideo’s tired frown turned into a tired smile that Takeo nodded to.
“You’re here, you’re here, you’re here!” Yuji sobbed while clinging to Jun who awkwardly patted his back and attempted to make soothing sounds despite being hugged so hard that he probably lacked sufficient air.
“Let him breathe,” Takeo told Yuji. “You’re not three, Yuji.”
He tugged Yuji away by his collar, smiling at the way Yuji clung and then let go with sad little whine that made Jun laugh like his old self. Jun brushed his hand over his hair, gave Yuji a little bob of a bow that was almost all laughter and very little thanks and respect. The movement apparently caught Hideo’s eyes because he stood and came over to stare at the Free Night token.
“You’re free for the night,” Hideo breathed.
“Yes,” Jun said, smiling shyly as Hideo’s supervisor, his great-aunt, peeked out the door and then smiled at him. “I had thought to visit my sisters but Takeo suggested it might not be a wise choice.”
Hideo sighed and shook his head. “You are too forgiving by half.”
“More than half!” Yuji agreed. His glare was fierce enough that you might have thought he was about to go into battle for Jun. “They didn’t protest when you were sold, Jun. They said I was being silly for being upset that you were gone. It was like they barely even remembered you until I yelled at them and then they yelled at me and Hideo had to drag me away or I would have fought with Miyoko and she’s mean so I probably would have lost.”
Jun nodded along with Takeo through Yuji’s tumble of words, one hand flying to his mouth as he tried not to grin up at Takeo. Takeo didn’t bother hiding his grin. Miyoko would have beaten Yuji easily. She was bigger, stronger and had a longer reach that she would certainly have used to great affect against Yuji. Truthfully, Yuji was as much use in a fight as a newborn kitten despite his quick temper.
“We should go up to the Street of Desperate Pleasures,” Hideo said with a small jerk of his chin towards Yuji who did tend to become somewhat unbearable when he wasn’t tired out from proper amounts of bondage and beatings. “We’re done for the day if the two of you are ready.”
“Quite ready,” Takeo said. “Jun has all night. He doesn’t need to be back until dawn.”
“Cardinal Pleasures?” Jun suggested and then laughed as Yuji danced around cheering and Hideo nodded his grave approval.
They returned to the lifts, Yuji chattering so quickly over so many subjects that they garnered glares from the old women riding with them. Takeo and Hideo took positions that protected the others from too much of the disapproval. Jun, of course, kept a firm grip on Yuji’s belt to ensure that he would not pitch off the side of the lift every time he saw something of interest on the buildings and streets they passed.
The Street of Desperate Pleasures was quiet at this time of the afternoon. Most of its patrons wouldn’t arrive until later in the evening. Takeo raised an eyebrow at the crowd filling Cardinal Sins. Nearly all of them were foreigners wielding their whips with too heavy a hand on slaves who did not look pleased to be there.
“I think not,” Takeo said as one of the foreigners advanced on Jun, Yuji and Hideo.
“That’s what they’re here for, isn’t?” the man said with a derisive little snort.
“No,” Takeo replied and drew himself to his full height so that he could glare down at the man. “It is not. You are a fool to think that you can demand what must be freely given. You defile Pensri’s temple.”
“It’s a sex club,” the man said, anger in his eyes.
“It is a temple to Pensri,” Jun countered, one hand resting on Takeo’s elbow. “And we will not worship with you.”
He turned and left, Yuji at his elbow and Hideo behind them. When Takeo turned to follow the man tried to grab Takeo, not just his sleeve but with both hands as though Takeo was nothing but a child to be maneuvered as the parent willed. Takeo snarled and swung his fist against the man’s face.
Longer arms were a blessing sometimes. The man went down, hands gleaming with the oil he must have applied to his shaking slave before beating the poor boy. Takeo jerked his chin to the attendant who smiled with grim satisfaction as he took an iron-tipped staff from the wall.
The door shut on the sounds of iron striking flesh and the screams of rage and dismay of the foreigners. Takeo hurried after Jun, Yuji and Takeo, gladly following them into Delicate Petals. It would be a pity not to indulge Yuji with a solid beating but perhaps they could return to Cardinal Sins once their first round was over.
Thankfully, Delicate Petals was nearly empty, only an older couple playing quietly together with heated oil, candles and feathers on one of the lounging beds. Jun let out a breath of relief that Takeo nearly duplicated. There were entirely too many demanding foreigners in town of late. If he could have he would have thrown them all out, they of the rude speech, grasping hands and blasphemous understanding of the worship of Pensri.
Spoiler: Pensri built a culture where touching was forbidden, where sex was worship that was only to be shared with the most beloved people, specifically because it blocked the Immortals’ efforts to control people. Their spells required touch and the worship of Pensri ensured that touch was rationed and controlled and made into a sacred thing that was done only in sacred, spelled and blessed, places.
It worked pretty well to protect Pensri’s people, right up to Takeo and Jun’s day.
If you’d like a review copy of the novel, please contact me! I would be delighted to give you a PDF or ebook version of it in the hopes of getting reviews for the book.
Hope you all have a great week!