Sinai Religion - The Old Gods of the Elohim and the Usurper Ain

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The Sinai religion of the Elohim originates in Fallien, though few there still worship their totality as their ancestors did. Rather, the Sinai largely fled the island just prior to the Vhadya, or following its destruction of their ancestral home. The Elohim are a pantheon of gods, focused largely around the needs of farming communities near the sea, though a few warrior gods exist amongst them.

[top]History of Sinai Worship


The Covenant of Bull El

Once, long ago, when the deserts of Fallien were lush and vibrant river valleys, before the fertile grasslands turned to glass and sand, tribes of humans thrived. Among these tribes, many worshipped the moon goddess, Suravani, and gathered in great cities to worship in the temples. Others built hidden altars to the sun god, Mitra, and sought to tear down the great temples. Finally, there were those few who denied these as false gods, practicing rituals of fertility, and tending their herds far from the conflicts of the Sun and Moon worshipers. These were the Sinai, taking their name from the great lone mountain that marked the center of their ancestral territory.

The Elohim saw the hard work of these people, and admired them for it. Elyon, the father of the gods, visited upon them in the form of a great bull, granting the tribes his blessing. He asked only a covenant, that they would follow the Ways and Laws of the Elohim, and their herds would grow strong and sure, and their children be blessed. A sacrifice of crop and livestock was promised to the lord of the gods, named by the Sinai as "Bull El," and the covenant struck. In exchange for their faith and devotions, the Elohim brought great fortune to the lands, herds, and people of the Sinai. Hadad, the Storm Lord, brought great rains to water the crops. Nikkal, the Orchard Walker, nourished the trees and the earth with fruit, alongside her husband Yarikh, the Moon, who brought the morning dew and guarded against the creatures of the night. Anat watched over the warriors, and Asclepius tended their wounds. Resheph, though capricious, was often entreated to stave off the very sickness over which he holds sway, and to stay the hungry locusts from the fields.

To each of the tribes, a messenger was given, one of the "seventy sons and daughters" of Bull El, to give the Ways and Laws to each generation, and to watch over the tribes personally. The greatest tribes were given his five eldest daughters, the Kotharat, and their husbands as messengers and guardians. From these divine powers, the families took their names, as Asher, Nikkali, Yerikho, and many others.

The Rise of Ain

Among these household gods, however, a seed was sown that would spoil the lot. One southern tribe took as their god the Warlord, Ain. Ain, as son of the one-time heir to Elyon, Yaw of the Untamed Sea, urged his peoples to make war with those who worshiped "lesser" gods, and those who maintained faith in the covenant with the Elohim. As his priests won followers, and his warriors slay the heretics, Ain grew strong. Many tribes of the Sinai fled Fallien in this time of war and genocide. Others took refuge behind the walls built by the followers of Suravani, and were cursed by the armies of Ain.

Whether the myths of the Suravani church are right, or if the forsaken bond between the Sinai and their gods caused the catastrophe, the Vhadya swept across Fallien. Ain's high priests blamed those "heretics" who remained hidden amongst Suravani's faithful, and shunned the unbelievers. Slowly, the armies of Ain dwindled in strength and numbers, and Suravani's peoples spread across the land once more as the Sinai of Ain, now claiming themselves as Aminim, or "the faithful," rewrote their histories to forget the Old Gods. Ain was the one and only true god, and a merciful one, as the priests and priestesses taught their suffering tribes, wandering the desert and barely surviving year after year.

Current Day

Since the Vhadya of Fallien, the Sinai worship of the Elohim falls into three major traditions. The Aminim of Fallien hold faithful to Ain and worship him throughout the deserts that were once their fertile farmlands. These hardy souls follow a matriarchal lineage of priestesses, many of whom exhibit psychic prowess, though little of their duties involve magic. Instead, the priestesses of Ain lead their people through diplomacy and carry out many rituals essential to daily life.

The Naurim, or the Sinai beyond Fallien's shores, make up the majority of the Sinai population, and either keep to Ain or the Old Gods of the Elohim. Those who follow Ain outside of Fallien know him instead as Ain Soph, a merciful god of knowledge and magic, and have completely forgotten the old gods. Those who still worship the Old Gods either spurn Ain as a usurper, or have forgotten him entirely. Modern worship of the Elohim rarely focuses on individual patron deities as the ancient tribes did, because the tribes have so thoroughly mixed and interbred now that distinguishing them is a fruitless and meaningless endeavor. Instead, modern worship of the Elohim is directed at the pantheon as a whole, offering individual prayers to individual gods as the situation warrants. However, the Kotharat, the five daughters of Bull El, remain in a place of importance in daily life, and often will receive offerings at home shrines and altars.


[top]The Elohim

[top]Elyon (El)

God Most High

The Father of the gods, El is often referred to as Bull El, and is worshipped as the creator of man and beast, and the patriarch of the Elohim. According to ancient Sinai lore, the Tap itself once flowed from Bull El, and even as it is now shattered, he holds dominion over its magicks.

[top]Asherah

Walker On The Seas, Wife to El

The Mother of the gods, and consort to Bull El, Asherah gave birth to two sons and five daughters. Among all the Elohim, only Asherah can calm the destructive rage of her son, Yaw. Ancient Sinai tradition holds that Asherah blessed the faithful with the gifts of the elements and the spirits, that they may be protected from Yam's violence and Mot's hunger. Asherah holds dominion over fertility and often receives prayer for protection.

[top]Yaw

Sea Untamed, Son of El

Firstborn Son of Bull El and Asherah, Yaw believes himself the only deserving heir to the throne of the Elohim. He once held that position, but was cruel and unpredictable in his rule. He was challenged to a duel by the storm god Hadad, and by the work of the Kotharat, Hadad took the upper hand and defeated Yaw, banishing him to the sea. Yaw has raged and plotted against the other Elohim ever since.

[top]Mot

Swallower Of Souls, Son of El, Not Worshipped

The second Son of Bull El and Asherah, Mot is the all-devouring Swallower of Souls, and though he is most often associated with death, he has no dominion over mortality. His only duty, and only desire, is to gather the souls of the departed and consume them. According to ancient Sinai tradition, without Mot, the spirits of the dead would forever haunt the living, and would wage a war of corpses on the living.

According to myth, following his battle with Yaw, Hadad invited Mot to dine with him, hoping to prove himself once more. Mot, however, simply swallowed the storm god for his impetuousness. In her grief, Anat, the Kotharat of warriors, struck down Mot and sliced him into thousands of pieces, rescuing Hadad. Though divided, Mot continues his work, but Sinai scholars blame this event for the existence of ghosts and undead among the living.

Astute scholars also note the similarities with stories of the shattering of the Tap, and some theorize that the Tap itself is what remains of souls after being consumed by Mot.

[top]Dagon

The Reaper, Brother to El

The god of Death, in a sense, Dagon is the Reaper. He holds dominion over harvests, and cleaves the soul from the body upon a mortal's passing. He is often depicted as the farmer, scythe or sickle in hand, tending the crop. His son, Hadad, whom he tasked with bringing the rain, now holds a place of honor as the heir to the Elohim.

[top]Ba'al Hadad

Storm Lord, Son of Dagon, Adoptive Son of El

Though the Son of Dagon, Hadad was adopted as the son and heir of Bull El following his victory over Yaw in a duel. As he celebrated that triumph, he invited Mot to dine with him, intending to strike him down as well. Instead, Mot simply swallowed Hadad. When Anat learned of this, she sliced up the Swallower, and freed Hadad. Hadad is now, under Bull El, the ruler of the Elohim, and bear's the title Ba'al Hadad.

[top]Anat

Slayer Of The Flame, Daughter of El, Wife of Hadad, One of the Kotharat

One of five daughters born to El and Asherah, Anat is the warrior of the Kotharat. The virgin wife of Ba'al Hadad, she holds a position of great importance among the Elohim as their protector. As the Fire Goddess, Ishat, threatened to burn the world, Anat bathed her spear in the goddess' boiling blood, earning the title "Slayer of the Flame," and forever limning her spearhead in unquenchable fire. A member of the Kotharat, she holds great importance in daily life for the Sinai.

[top]Nikkal

Orchard Walker, Daughter of El, Wife of Yarikh, One of the Kotharat

One of five daughters born to El and Asherah, Nikkal is the Goddess in the Green, and the Orchard Walker. She tends the forests and the growing crop. Her husband, Yarikh, leaves her gifts of water like pearls each morning over every tree leaf and blade of grass to show his love. She also holds significance as the goddess of romantic love and marriage. A member of the Kotharat, she holds great importance in daily life for the Sinai.

[top]Shapash

Sun Goddess, Daughter of El, One of the Kotharat

One of five daughters born to El and Asherah, Shapash is the Goddess of the Sun, bringing light each day and watching over the cattle and other livestock. Her daily trek across the sky sheds light on deception, and she is often invoked in oaths amongst the Sinai. A member of the Kotharat, she holds great importance in daily life for the Sinai.

[top]Qadeshtu

Sacred Prostitute, Daughter of El, One of the Kotharat

One of five daughters born to El and Asherah, Qadeshtu is known to many as the Sacred Prostitute, as she represents indulgence in sensual love, though her scope is much larger than that. She is the diplomat of the Kotharat, overseeing agreements and oaths alongside her sister Shapash. She is the enchantress, whose glamours allure or averse at a whim. She is the dancer and the silent blade, and beside her sister Anat, they are the deadliest of the Elohim. A member of the Kotharat, she holds great importance in daily life for the Sinai.

[top]Asclepius

Goddess of Healing, Daughter of El, One of the Kotharat

One of five daughters born to El and Asherah, Asclepius is the Goddess of Healing, overseeing the wounded among the faithful. Her devoted are among the finest healers of the Sinai, whether by balm or spell, prayer or splint. Alongside her mother, Asherah, she watches over pregnancy and childbirth. A member of the Kotharat, she holds great importance in daily life for the Sinai.

[top]Astarte

The First Witch, Adoptive Daughter of the Kotharat, Not Worshipped

Not truly a member of the Elohim, Astarte was once a mortal in particular service to the Kotharat, devoting herself to their mysteries so completely that the sisters adopted her as their daughter. From the legends of Astarte comes the tradition of witchcraft among the Sinai, marrying the aspects of all the daughters of Bull El. For her devotion, it is said she was granted immortality and mastery of m'Quor (lit. "wellspring"), or the Eternal Tap. Legends vary among the tribes of the Sinai, and some say that she settled in some hidden corner of the world to wait out existence until her adoptive mothers call upon her. Others claim that she walks the world with a thousand faces. Still others believe that she turned away from the Kotharat long ago, and succumbed to the temptation of the power of the Tap, becoming the Red Witch Pode herself and turning her witchcraft to dark and selfish purposes.

[top]Yarikh

The Moon, Son of Dagon, Husband of Nikkal

The Son of Dagon, Yarikh is the Moon itself, shining in the night sky. He watches over the beasts of the night, and livestock owners often make sacrifices to him in order to safeguard their herds. The loving husband of Nikkal, he gifts her each morning with watery pearls over her trees, flowers, and grasses to show his devotion. As the Moon God, he commands the tides, much to the annoyance of Yaw.

[top]Resheph

The Plague, Son of Yaw

The first son of Yaw, Resheph's nature is dual. He is the plaguebringer, causing pox and festering wounds, and he is also the balm against infection. He brings the locusts to destroy the harvest, but also the bees to make the orchards fruitful. The devoted of Asclepius often make devotions to Resheph as well, if only to stave off infection. Resheph remembers the time before his father's disgrace at the hand of Hadad and the Kotharat, but recognizes the new order of things.

[top]Lotan

The Serpent, Son of Yaw, Not Worshipped

Lotan is the second son of Yaw, born of the blood he spilled in battle with Hadad. He is known as the Leviathan, the Kraken, and all manner of other sea beasts reported by sailors around the world. Not a god, but a monster of divine blood, Lotan is rage personified.

[top]Ain

War God, Son of Yaw, Usurper of the Elohim

The final son of Yaw, born of his hatred and rage, Ain's early worshippers embodied the destructive nature of total war, striking down tribe after tribe of the Sinai in raids. He directed his faithful to destroy temples and shrines to the other gods, and kill or convert all who worshipped any god but Ain. Following the Sundering of Fallien, the faithful of Ain, the Aminim, shunned the other tribes, determined to wander the deserts that were once their lush homelands. Those who still follow the god Ain beyond Fallien's shores no longer know him as such, instead calling him Ain Soph, and worshipping him as a god of knowledge and magic, finally usurping Bull El Elyon. Those Sinai who still worship the old gods, however, have forsaken Ain as a usurper, or have forgotten him altogether.



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