The Divinities of Onisah

By Abbott-Supreme Letani Retrusi

At the request of the Academy's Department of Xenotheology, I have laid bare the High Monastery's collection of religious scripture and folklore from the known world. While Onisah is and has been dominated by the faith of the Triune, our creed is by no means contradictory with that of the rest of the world. As a cosmopolitan trading port, sailors have brought with them knowledge of the Triune to the farthest corners of the known world and beyond. As such, the Academy saw fit to commission this study so that merchants could better understand the culture of our trading partners and visitors. Such a view is impossible, however, without first looking inwards.

-The History of the Triune: The exact origins of the Triune faith are unknown, but certain sources [1,2] trace its first direct mention to translated accounts of our Polarian forebears. It was somewhat similar to its current incarnation, although the Polarian religion at the Time of Exploration centered around an inventive and benign deity with a title alternatively translated as "the Sage" [3], "the Artificer" [4], or "the Thinker" [5]. The specifics of this deity are largely lost, but certain elements clearly manifest in both the Liberator and Observer of the Triune [3,4,5]. Some accounts hypothesize the Sage is a combination of two earlier deities, the Artificer and the Thinker, but gaps in the records prevent this from being explicitly confirmed [4,5].

-Triune Lore: The Polarians brought their own faith with them, but the Triune dominated the new Onisahian republic shortly after its foundation. It is conceivable that the Polarian "Sage" and Triune emerged from the same wellspring or even a common root sect, given their cultural confluence and overlap [1,3]. For example, the origin story of both sects is identical. Humans were mere animals blundering through a universe initialized by an unknowable creator, until they invented souls for themselves. The strongest-willed of them rose (or called) to realms in the heavens, enduring several cycles of civilizations (whose ruins now our landscape), but taking indirect roles across history [4]. Similar elements also appear in the southron faith, a type of ancestor worship centering on the "Lost" (or Honored Ancestors, depending upon translation) that lived and died before the existence of souls [2,5]. Also of note are a pantheon of imported gods, the Seven Travelers, which included at least the "Sage" amongst their ranks. The other sects were obscure, even in Polarian times [5].

-The Modern Triune: The Triune comprises of three deities reigning in cyclical periods, each often reflective of Onisahian politics [6]. The Tyrant and the Liberator bring stagnant control and vibrant innovation in alternating phases with each other, as the neutral Observer tallies up the actions of each individual in the cycle. The Observer fills in the periods between the two deities, and additionally awards or punishes individuals based upon their virtuous or vicious actions [7].

The history of Onisah is unique in that it has endured (relatively) bloodless transitions between periods of autocracy and democracy in the five centuries of its existence. The association of reigning deities coinciding with the terms of particular Consuls is an innately political act [6], one often done out of habit or custom. While there are exceptions, the standard practice is to wait at least a quarter-century before apportioning to a deity's reign to a former Consul and their actions in the Commemoration of Named Attributes.

As such, the High Monastery retains an (often contested) list of the title given to each Consul by their Named Attributes. Particularly infamous names associated with the Tyrant include Ilari, the Lady of Chains, and Shanei, the Torturer. Examples of praised names associated with the Liberator are Ongid, the Cleaner, and Tosev, the True Marksman. Consuls associated the Observer, such as Wayl the Mediocre and Nida the Incoherent Rambler, are often done so insultingly, although sometimes they are simply given a veneer of neutrality after an otherwise controversial Consul [8]. Other times, the association has little to do with politics and more to do with tradition [8], hence the typical two and half decades of delay before the Commemoration. Famous Onisahians and historical figures are also granted Named Attributes. The petty warlord that routed the week Onisahian army of the prior century was called Aglio the Conqueror, which was intended as irony due to his assassination by an underling over a petty amount of plunder on the night of his victory [7].

-The High Monastery: In the public eye, The High Monastery unquestionably remains the principle institution responsible for the Triune faith. Established by Consul Karklas the Pious Carpenter [8], the structure was converted from a disused Polarian fortress to a theological center. Before the formal establishment of the Academy, the Monastery formed the basis of much academic learning based upon preserved Polarian records. After Aglio the Conqueror's traitorous necromancer underlings burnt part of the Academy, the Monastery donated its own collection to replace the losses [9,10]. The High-Abbott is traditionally elected from the men and women of the faith, and held for a position no longer than a decade. The only restriction on the High Abbott is the individual cannot hold public office while assuming their monastic responsibilities [10,11]. To this day, the Monastery retains a large archive of Polarian artifacts, such as the iconic muzzle-loading pistol used on the official seal of Onisah itself.