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Technology and Theology
TECHNOLOGY AND TIME PERIOD
Though the world of Ayr can be thought of as steam-punk in its blending of mystical and industrial technologies, steam is never used in their industry due to the channeling of Breath. Scientific students of the flow, TINKERS as they’re known, learned long ago that an electrical charge could be formed by directing a fragment of Breath through filaments and stored in small containers called SPARK BOXES. As such, a free form of endless energy exists on Ayr, steering their technological advancement away from combustion as a whole.
That is not to say that fire and its results don’t exist: Flame is used to cook food, and rudimentary guns exist in muskets, pistols, scatterguns and cannons; all ignited by their spark boxes. But these weapons are primitive and slow-loading, swords therefore the weapons of choice.
The technological level of Ayr can be considered equivalent to the American Civil War, many analogous technologies existing such as trains and factories. But instead of being fueled by combustion, these wonders are powered by funneling the flow of ley. Many means of expressing this technology are wondrous though, the trains in question floating a few feet off the lines of ley, using them as roads without the need of physical train tracks.
Communication is handled by the Dobra tribes in their coded messages via the lines of ley. As such, radio and telegraphs are a long way off.
Glass does exist in Ayr in the same quantity and general use as in the American Civil War, but since it can contain a fragment of Breath, it is treated differently. For instance, instead of lighting a candle at night, a citizen of Ayr instead goes out with a glass orb known as a LUZ JAR to capture a fragment from a line, the captured glow providing the light they need for the night, releasing the fragment in the morning to again join the flow.
As to gender roles, they too fit with the time period of the American Civil War, the caveat being that women already have the right to vote as equal citizens. Though the women in the general populous are usually considered beneath men, the abilities of the female Blessed are on par with their male compatriots, making them begrudging equals in society. Though this equality is established in theory by law, in practice it is not the case, men (both in the general populous and among the Blessed) relegating women to the secondary role.
While other religions exist on other continents, even on Soltera in the Mynan nations, the people of Newfield predominately follow the same basic theology. Though the many nations have many different words for Sol, the theologians of the Auld Lands and Soltera all agree that Sol created the world by sacrificing himself to cause the ley and the Blessed, as well as a belief in reincarnation through the recycling of their Breath. Since their god is within them at every moment yet absent in the form of a direct consciousness, the people of Ayr believe in a system similar to karma: The more they follow their better impulses from the “will of Sol,” the better their lives will be. As such, they believe those who are successful in life have been doing well morally.
And while their core beliefs remain the same, the means in which they fulfill Sol’s will depending upon if they adhere to the Render or Weaver school of thought. Weavers are generally more laid back in their interpretations, believing Sol’s will is accomplished no matter what they do and therefore want to take part in all sorts of new experiences. As such, Weavers can be considered more hedonistic, believing the world to be their playground. Renders, on the other hand, strictly believe in self-denial, accepting it as their duty to serve the planet of Ayr by keeping the flow of Breath unhindered by emets.
The Origin of the Blessed and the Curse of Dobradab
Most of the people of the Auld Lands and Soltera believe they came from one man, ABET. Living thousands of years ago, Abet let the will of Sol guide him in everything and was therefore exalted with great wealth and six children including his youngest son DOBRADAB. Living beside a huge Nodus, one night the entire family was awoken when it flared up and engulfed them. After the unnatural light finally dissipated, all the children except Dobradab discovered they were the first Blessed on the planet, Abet’s eldest children becoming the first Weaver and Render, the twins a Listener and Whisperer, and his youngest daughter the first Shaper. Only Dobradab and his parents remained unblessed.
Hearing about this, the devilish Waer soon arrived to do battle with Abet’s children. But their newfound abilities were more than a match for the emet, driving her away into the night. Seeing the great good his children were capable of, Abet sent them out to spread their teachings. Only Dobradab remained, and though Abet insisted it was because he loved him the most, Dobradab believed it was because he was now the weakest.
Though Dobradab was meant to inherit his father’s wealth and lands, Dobradab coveted his siblings’ powers. So one night he called out to Waer, begging to be empowered and she answered his request, giving him a fourth Breath in the Mind. Reveling in his newfound abilities, Dobradab demonstrated them for his father. But when he learned from where the powers came, Abet cast him out. Enraged by this, Dobradab killed his father, but not before Abet laid a curse upon him that no good would ever befall him so long as he and his children lived.
Hearing of their father’s death by their own brother’s hand, the rest of Abet’s children returned to punish Dobradab. Despite his murder, they could not find it within themselves to slay their own sibling, instead exiling him to wander Ayr without a family for all eternity.
Many believe this story to be origin of both the Blessed and the Dobra tribes, this myth alone the cause of all the prejudice against them.
The Daci and Sancts
The religion of Ayr can be thought of as similar to the Christian tradition with more of a focus on the Old Testament being as there was no Jesus to create the New. Their teachings are derived mostly from ancient texts in the form of the BIBA SACARA that tell the story of the sacrifice of Sol to create life, something that all sects agree upon. To worship Sol in this tradition is simply to do good works, to be guided by the “will of Sol” that all humans believe they have within them due to containing a fragment of Sol residing within them in the form of Breath. Unfortunately for all involved, what the “will of Sol” entails is up to debate.
The DACI can be thought of as similar to the Pope, laying down religious edicts that span all nations. The Daci’s basic tenant is the peaceful coexistence between Renders and Weavers as each are equally Blessed by Sol. SANCTS, in turn, are considered holy men and women who did great deeds in the past and have been officially acknowledged by the Daci.
But while the Daci heads the vast majority of the religious community, he is not ubiquitous. So while he and his followers can be thought of as the Catholic Church, the vast majority of residents of Soltera, the continent on which our story takes place, are more like Protestants, reading the same scriptures but deciding for themselves how to act upon it. And though the Daci preaches coexistence between the Renders and Weavers, the residents of Soltera strongly believe in the superiority of the Renders.
The Stained and Sol’s Harvest
As all life on Ayr simply the recycling of Sol’s Breath into new beings each lifetime, no one believes in an afterlife. Instead they believe in a form of reincarnation, pieces of their existence living on in new bodies, never a waste of life-essence.
But some believe that one can perform a sin so terrible it STAINS the Breath within them, tainting the next lives of those containing these Breaths and compelling the new individual containing them to perform the same sin over and over again in the new lifelines. Though this idea is not officially sanctioned by the Daci, it pervades in the nation of Newfield, often used as an excuse for mental health issues like obsessive-compulsiveness.
All agree that Sol will one day return to judge the planet in the HARVEST. This is the closest the people of Ayr have to an afterlife, believing that if Sol finds them worthy in their current lives he will take that incarnation with him to a new planet to live forever in joy and ease. As such it is everyone’s duty to remain as moral as possible lest Sol return and leave them on Ayr as he departs.