Chains of Silver and Blood
Religions, Myth and Legends
The Immaculate Lotus
The Immaculate Lotus is the local iteration of the Immaculate Order. Even though a lot of its tenets remain the same, long isolation from the Realm has seen the Lotus drift to the point where it would be recognized as heretical to anyone familiar with the Order. Though the Lotus still preaches the enlightened nature of the Dragon-Blooded, and that Anathemas must be opposed in any possible way, two major differences are immediately apparent.
First, the Lotus is incredibly lenient on idolatry, allowing artistic representation of animals, humans and gods as long as lip service is paid to the Immaculate Dragons.
Second, the Lotus has a very peculiar view of godblooded and other half-mystical offspring, saying that they carry the sins of their parents and must atone for them. They are viewed as holding a debt towards society, and their special powers (if any) are a gift from the dragons, reminding them of the good they can do to be free of their burden. As such, godbloods in the region often become heroes, or spent their life serving until finally freed of their debt by immaculate monks. Some then elect to get special tattoos to celebrate and flaunt their newfound freedom.
Cult of the Venerated Ancestors
The cult of the ancestors is the second most common religion of the Kingdom of the Isles. Followers of the Venerated Ancestors occasionnally pay their respect to the gods, but most fall short of outright worship. Instead, they dedicate their religious observances towards their dead ancestors.
When a member of the cult dies, he is buried if possible next to a small shadowland. The ceremony can take days, as the life of the deceased is celebrated and recounted to her descendants in poetry and song. Artists are commissionned by the family to depict the greatest moments of her life, and an elaborate funeral mask is crafted and sealed on her face.
Copies of that mask are then distributed to her closest relatives : ranging from simple painted wood icons to massive sculptures of precious stone and metals, these masks are stored in the homes of one’s descendants for generation. Followers maintain elaborate shrines in their homes to store the masks and pay their respects to their ancestors. In some cases, entire rooms are filled with the funeral masks, and slaves-priests anoint them with alcohol and precious oils before burning incense and myrrh to nourish the deceased. Particularly devout ancestor worshipers commission smaller version of the masks, in order to wear them like jewelry.
Members of the cult medidate and live under the gaze of their ancestors, sometimes praying for counsel or good fortune in front of the severe carven faces. In exchange for the worship and sacrifices of their descendants, powerful ghosts do occasionnally (if rarely) help their families in times of crisis. The cult has an armed sect called the Children of the Spear, who try and emulate the great warriors of old and seek to protect the faithful both inside and out of the Twelve.
Lee the Blind is the city god of Dir-Jal, an androgynous spirit with peach-colored hair, often seen quietly walking the streets of the city, wearing manacles and a collar of iron. The priests of the city also affect the same look. Lee almost never talks, but is famous for going into silent furious rampages when somebody upsets the safety of the Inashi’s bindings.
The Pure Way of Prasad, worshipng the Dragon-Blooded as gods, is a syncretic religion born from the Immaculate Order’s influence over ancient Kamthahari traditions. Adherents believe in a natural place and order for all, judged and controlled by the Elemental Dragons, but they do not limit the natural hierarchy as Immaculate canon demands. Gods and elementals have their place in the cycle of reincarnation, and greed and hubris can drag them down to mere humanity. Inversely, mortals can become gods or reincarnate as spiritually-advanced humans, such as God-Blooded or Dragon-Blooded. Enclave of Pure Way adepts exist all over the Dreaming Seay, and in the south of the Twelve Kingdoms, follower of the Immaculate Lotus and the Pure Way have mingled their philosophy so much that the two religions are now nigh-undistinguisable.
Some of the fishermen of the coast make offerings to Canalo, the Fish Who Breathes The Tides. He is said to be an immortal beast, born of the moon herself, sleeping far under the sea, making the tide go in and out with every breath. While this is considered heresy by the Immaculate Lotus, a lot of them still worship in secret, when out at sea, afraid that Canalo could wake up in anger if not receiving enough homage, giving birth to monstrous tsunamis that would ravage the coast.
Other religions on in the area include the Way of Inspiration, the cult of the Chained God in Dir-Jal, and the cult of Bara-Bara and the Copse Mother, a god of the hunt and a powerful wood elemental, practiced by the Hazan. While Bara-bara enjoys the worship he gains through the nomadic tribes, the Copse Mother has taken a particular liking to the Hazan, protecting their holy city and seeing that oaths sworn in Hazan-lo are respected.
Occasionally, cults adoring demons or fair folk appear on the coast. Most are quicky stamped out, while others learn to hide, either in plain sight or in the shadows of other, more legitimate forms of worship. Twenty years ago, the armies of Ansibah laid waste to a frontier town in order to stamp out one of those, creating (and gaining control of) a new shadowland.
Myth and Legends
Tales of the Wyld
The power of the Wyld is strong on the shore of the Dreaming Sea, and many Wyld Manifestation are said to exist in the area. A few are undoubtedly real, others may be born of the deranged minds of sleep-deprived explorators… and some are probably both.
Tales from the Sea
The sea is central to many myth of the area, and sailors and fishermen will happily go on for hours about a great sunken city resting at the bottom of the Sea of Gold, a dead god decaying next to the shores of the Rust Isles, or the ever-popular stories of fae-like people living under the waves, ever-ready to seduce and drown those not prepared to face their charms.