“Why is it holy to give to the poor? Because in doing so, we become One with them, and the One is Holy. It is as it is. Meditate on this.” —An Acolyte of the One, heard preaching in the streets of Zanj

Dunya hosts an enormous number of deities, religions, philosophies, and sacred mysteries. Only a very few of these are listed here. Please feel free to create your own and add it to the list.

Monism: Also called the Church of One, this is the faith most prevalent among the citizens of Zanj and is the state religion. Believed to have been revealed through a series of epistles delivered to the world by prophet-angels, this Church believes in a single deity, God (sometimes called ‘The Absolute’), from which all that is beautiful and whole emerges and unto which all things return. Central to the doctrine of the faith is the principle of aseity; the concept that God exists in and of itself and proceeds from Itself, without predecessor or external justification. In turn, all things proceed from God. The faith is fairly syncretic, willing to accept various local customs as imperfect reflections of the Holiness of the One. The holy symbol of Monism is a circle within a pentagon.

Tamar: Known as the Mistress of the Tides, this goddess is worshiped by sailors and fishermen the world over as a patron of seafarers. Her cult is an important minority religion in Zanj, and is known to possess many sacred mysteries, called ‘phases’, into which her acolytes are inducted in secret. She protects her faithful from the predations of the Hungry Abyss, a sea-demon figure who is held to be responsible for storms and shipwrecks. Her symbol is a full moon.

Artaxerxes: The Lord of War, Artaxerxes is a hero-god who established the Despotate of Nikea in the Time of Legends. He is a demanding deity who requires discipline, martial fervor, and animal sacrifice. He is the patron god of the Despotate, and the Despot himself is considered to be an avatar of this god. In some parts of the Despotate, his cult has taken on human-suprematist overtones. His holy symbol is a pair of crossed swords.

Kachina-Kachina: A deity of the elves of Manitou, Kachina-Kachina is also called the Grinning Wolf or the Cicada Who Does Not Sing. Not so much a single godhead as a collection of trickster archetypes, Kachina-Kachina is worshiped outside the demesne of the Pine-Barren Queen by rogues, troublemakers, jesters, and outcasts around the southern realms. He/She is known for changing its sex and form in its dealings with mortals, and is considered to be neither Male nor Female. His/Her holy symbol is the cicada.

The Borovoi: A spirit of the Northern Forests, the Borovoi is a forest deity who demands obedience through bloody pacts. A protector figure, the Borovoi is known for stealing away children and replacing them with changelings, fae-touched humans who are often destined for great importance. His worshipers gather in stone circles and dress in the costumes of wild animals to curry favor with this savage god. His symbol is a pine tree scarred with three slashes. He is not widely known, much less worshiped, in the South.


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