Followers of Drakon's Philosophical Path
Commutum Drakon'mipthum (Dracid: Followers of Drakon's [philopsophical] Path; Also Drakon's path) Is the official state religion of the Draconis species and to a lesser extent their empire. The Drakon's Path is a monastic order that claims the draconis were hand-crafted by their patron god and are his personal children. Outside of the draconid colonies the cult is more easily remembered by the Grand Inquisition - considered the military arm working to maintain a religious status quo in the imperium.
The earliest instances of the Following date back to some 320,000 years ago on Alcanti. According to legends and scripture, a scholar of Dagonris by the name of "Orlonis the Elder" held a delegation on the banks of Lake Drak that lasted several months discussing matters of society, culture and the merits of what constituted a good life and a stable society. Although it was not part of the original tale, subsequent retelling claim that the figures Orlonis engaged in discourse with was in fact a single avatar of Drakon.
The modern philosophical faith did not appear as a majority idea until some time in 276,820 BCE. Before then, the matters Orionis had considered with the other figure were mainly a point of discussion among scholars and intellectuals while the majority of Draconis kept to their beliefs in the old gods. Because many of these scholars still accepted the old pantheons, there was only a small degree of friction between the philosophy's followers and the majority of the population. It was not until 289,920 BCE that things changed. Following the power vacuum that permeated the retreat of the ancient Minosian Empire, clerics of Dagonris developed a cult that put their capital at the heart of a divine empire with the desire to replace the fading power of. Scholars understand it was the formation of the diocese of Dagonris that led to the propagation of the Following of Drakon's Path among a wider collection of the population.
This new following however was radically different from the intellectual doctrines that began with Orlonis the Elder. It was in this time Drakon was ascended from a pagan entity into a patron creator deity, and where the stories that it was Drakon and not a collection of philosophers that inspired Orlonis to write his teachings began. Although the old ideas of self-improvement and rational discourse were still discussed among the educated population and in academies managed by the Following, the majority were offered a different ethos. That their ability to perform hard work and become masters of a craft was a celebration of the gift Drakon gave to the Draocnis as thinking beings. Although the influence of Minosis lingered, politics and ethics in Miminas and partly within Annekhas - the two continents considered the centre of the civilised world - were eventually dominated by the philosophies of Drakon's Following.
The Following grew into a powerful entity on the continent of Miminas, acting as a a mediator between the provinces that gained independence from the waning power of the Minosian Empire, their monopoly over the reproduction of what was titled The Book of Divine Teachings spread Alcanwas further, beyond the former borders of the Minosian Empire and preserving the language. Dagonris' Autarch was made into a figure ordained to rule by Drakon himself, an idea that spread to many states as a means for kings to secure the legitimacy of their authority, establishing a system of divine right among the various nations.
What transformed the Following fro ma theocratic principle into the modern philosophical ideology it is today was the development of the printing press. Even by c. 276,820 BCE he old ideas that Orlonis had written about and tried to spread still lingered in university communities and among the nobility. With access to a way to reproduce books without the authority of the clergy in Dagonris, scholars across Miminas were able to spread their own ideas, and made an attempt to revive the old philosophies. For two centuries, and lingering for much longer, the diocese of Dagonris waged a war of suppression as industrialisation and increasing access to public education eroded their old philosophies.
It was archcleric Ticonivus X that ultimately ended the worst parts of the division. Calling a meeting known as the assembly of Vormothis, Ticonvius discussed with two hundred and fifty scholars from across the two continents on a solution they could both agree on. Ticonvius did not want to see the power of the Diocese of Dagonris destroyed, nor did he believe the scholars' writings were heresy. Instead, the two parties agreed on merging the philosophies. The philosophies the scholars suggested would become a more prominent part of the Following's ethos while the spiritual aspects such as the divinity of Drakon and the spiritual significance of festivals and ceremonies remained the authority of the diocese of Dagonris. Not all problems were fixed however, even after the assembly many intellectuals continued to push for a dissolution of the divine right. At the same time however, contact was being made by the inhabitants of Ossilas. The later exchange of ideals, including the Ossilans' own philosophical take on the pursuit of knowledge further reinforced the claims made my Miminan intellectuals. Through a number of revolutions converted many states to secular republics, a few nations still held on to a divine right even though much of the power was actually in the more secular governments.
One of the more major reforms of the teachings' philosophy came during the advent of physical augmentation either form genetic engineering or the addition of synthetic components. In the early years there were arguments that they diminished the purity of the Draconid from and the pursuit of mastery while more moderate spokesmen saw the technology as more an ability to enhance what nature had provided. Debates on the matter lasted long, and the issue maintained itself for centuries, even when the moderate or even the radical opronants for enhancement ended u playing the groundwork for the later paradigm shift in what being called a "Draconis" would mean, particularly prominent after the passing of the first era of the Imperium where the progenitor draocnis species was supplanted by alien 'successors' that took on the original species' name as a mantle.
The formation of the Draconid Imperium saw an enormous shift in the way religion played into politics. When the Alcanti Solar Confederacy was reformed into a hegemonic federation, divine right was over time granted to the paragavatus, the head of state. Subsequent revolutions and philosophical discussions bestowed the paragavatus with the image of an exemplar; that the paragon was a physical pinnacle of what a Draocnis to aspire to: Physically fit, mentally cunning and a master of his or her interests. This idolisation gave birth to the Paragavatus Divinum - the cult of the divine paragons - that went further and proclaimed the paragon as either a representative of Drakon in the material universe, or a minor god in their own right.
At the very top is the archcleric, typically seen as one of the wisest figures in the Imperium and has rarely been under 400 years old. The archcleric is chosen by the council of cardinals for their devotion and study of the Book of Divine Teachings: an ancient tome said to be written by the founder and is considered a holy book. The archcleric's position, along with other ranks, is considered for life. Each cardinal is in charge of proceedings within an entire sector and are rarely seen in public. Below them are the master clerics who number in the hundreds of thousands (a colossal inflation since there are less than 100 cardinals in the entire Imperium) and are the chief religious figures of each draconid world.
Senior clerics are the heads of each temple on a single planet and are the ones who generally host mass. There is frequently more than one senior cleric found on each world who cooperate during mass and spiritual guidance. They are attended by countless clerics who often go out into the community to give guidance and support.
At the lowest rung of the cult's hierarchy are the apprentices. They study under the clerics, often doing so in a temple's library, and attend to a cleric under a master-student principle. Officialy they are still training and are often young aspirants seeking to help people and gain a deepr understanding of the faith.
Teachings and PracticesEdit
Practitioners promote the values explained in the book of divine teachings. These values center around the desire for self-improvement and mastery as well as educating a degree of respect for society. Many draconis keep a printed copy of these teachings somewhere in their home to examine at any time and would reserve a time in the tenday to read from them. Rather than direct worship or prayer to a supreme being, practitioners honour Drakon by studying the Book of Divine Teachings or expressing themselves and bettering their skills. Unlike other holy tomes, those who study the Book of Divine Teachings Practitioners are actively encouraged to think on the lessons and most established monasteries hold discussion groups both for visitors and fmor the attending clerics where the lessons of the tome are discussed. Although rare, the possibility exists that with enough consensus in these groups, ideas passed about within discussion groups can later become teachings in future editions of the tome. The philosophical focus on self-improvement and rational discourse mean that sacrifices and fundamentalism and are discouraged by the clergy. Teachings are frequently passed down from broodmothers and therefore - due to the impressionable nature of their hatchlings - most have some basic belief in Drakon and his teachings.
Practitioners believe their afterlife is exclusive to them. In their interperetation it is the divine garden of their god Drakon and all of them are reborn there as their younger, more innocent selves. Teachings state that only draconis who do not shun Drakon as their patron or do not dedicate their life to causing suffering and malice against their own kind are allowed entry. Most believe that those who do not gain entry to the garden spend eternity in the Void. It is not stated as to whether or not this is another plane of reality, deep space, or interuniversal space. The only indication of it's nature is that the soul is said to drift in eternal emptiness, forever devoid of contact.
Because clerics only talks about the garden of Drakon most, if not all, accept it as just where the rest go. Since practicioners are taught to be erspective respective of other religions the void can be interpereted as the respective culture's version of hell and threatening to "send X to the void" is reserved for anyone the user thinks does not deserve to be in the accused's religion's good afterlife.
Meaning "the Song" in an ancient Alcanwas dialect, Echa is thought to be a life-force, the concept of which predates the teachings of Drakon. Both in contemporary and pre-Following philosophy, Eche was said to be an energy of which memory comes and goes. A person's Echa resonance would be expelled from the body and would carry an individual's deeds and reputation outwards. A person's Eche resonance was thought to be an aura that carried that person's accomplishments though the air to anything that could pick it up. The strength of Eche from any point correlated with the strength of the memory. It was thought that the stronger an individual's resonance, the more the emissions would persist after the individual's passing.
Echa was also thought to be absorbed within objects of significance to the person that owned them, created them or the person resembled. Paintings and sculptures took on a spiritual significance as they were said to hold a fragment of the resonance of the artist that created it and the subject. Later ancient varieties of the philosophy held that every object carried a resonance, while places that held many rasonance fragments were thought to draw in eche from the outside. Under the repository philopophy, museums, cathedrals, art galleries and mausoleums were said to be focal points for the gathering of Eche as they were often the sites of depictions and portrayals of individuals in life. In ancient times a Songseer was said to perceive the resonance many individuals possess, and many claiming to be Songseers claimed they could tell of a persons' greatness and how long their memory would last by sight alone.
Because it is thought that the residual Eche carrying a person's memories can persist in an area can last for decades or centuries if the resonance was strong enough, a strong enough Eche resonance was seen as a means of spiritual immortality. Some superstitions suggest that if the Eche resonance in an area was particularly disturbed, the area could be haunted by the phantoms of those who had passed. Some clerics of monasteries and cathedrals meanwhile, practicing differently to Songseers, were thought to be able to commune with the dead whose resonances congregated in the places of honour and worship they claimed as a focal point. Mausoleum guards, sometimes nicknamed Song-wardens or grave-talkers, were expected to not only protect the grounds, but also to protect and commune with the deceased occupants that they watched over, to comfort them from loneliness and console them about the world of the living.
Over the millennia numerous subgroups of the following have emerged with varying ideals and opinions on what constitutes to a correct lifestyle. Due to the risks posed by such deviation the Grand Inquisition holds the right to put pressure on sects that the elders deem detrimantal to the well-being and spiritual advancement of its members. Several sects interrelate to each other and although some may conflict, most of them have some logical take on the cult's ideals. Some of the larger sects include:
Ascendists believe that one method of self-improvement is meditation and self-realisation. Ascendists believe that Drakon gains his power from meditation and becoming one of mind-and-body through meditation and spiritual enlightenment. While the goal of each ascendist is ambitious, it has nonetheless created a pool of essence-users that has garnered interest from both the Royal Academy and the Grand Inquisition. Numerous inquisitors partake in practices associated with the Ascendist doctrine and a byproduct is that this is a rapidly-growing sect favoured by the Inquisition.
Echevitarists believe that Drakon is an energy being, an entity formed purely of memory energy. While Ascendists believe that Drakon was a mortal being empowered by spiritual enlightenment, Echevitarists eblieve he is empowered by the currents of memory energy that permeate the universe. While other sects are largely cohesive, Echevitarists are divided into two cults: Echegenesists, who believe that Drkaon is either an entity born from the raw currents of Eche or a manifestation and the source of all Eche in reality, and the Echascendists who ebelive him to have been a Songseer who was able tap into the raw currents of memory energy and become one with it. Both cults believe that as an entity of memory energy, Drakon is omniscient, the only being in existence that can remember as far back as the beginning of reality and holds the power to direct the currents of memory energy across the cosmos.
Cyclerists believe that Drakon is an entity created by a closed timelike curve. They believe that he is in fact a hyperadvanced Draconis that has used clarke-grade technology to create a causality loop. Cyclerists themselves believe that, among Draconis, "We came from Drakon and we will become Drakon" and believe that the Imperium is guaranteed to be eternal and will develop to match the first civilisations of the universe. Upon reaching this level, one of the population (or all of them) will take on the mantle of Drakon and one day create their own Draconis. Spiritual Cyclerists believe that Drakon is a Draconis who ascended spiritually to start the cycle again and that there are signs of "proto-Draconis" scattered across the universe. There is debate as to how the entity begins each cycle and if the same method is used each time.
Encomasppsists believe that the Book of Divine Teachings has wisdom to impart on everyone, not just the Draconis. They are one of a small number of sects that permit aliens to join and host the largest numbers of non-Draconis practioners within the Following of Drakon's Path.
Equalitists believe that Drakon values all species on equal standing and that no species is "above" the others. Equalitists often lobby against the need to restrict the right of travel for alien powers. More vocal members express that the provincial system and Pax Draconica is a reminder the Draocnis are above others, a philosophy the group despises. Along with the Encompassists, their growing numbers and the growing presence of alien followers adds to their curiosity.
Growing considerably since the Draconis published their equivilent ot Darwinian evolution, the doctrine of the Evolutarians states that Drakon only influenced the Draconis rather than created them from raw material. Evolutarians believe that being created by a highly advanced being would make the Draconis lesser beings compared to autonomously-evoloved lifeforms, which would be a severe moral blow to draconid culture.
Shadowcrowners beieve that drakon has been subtly influencing Imperial (or pherhaps all of Draconid) history through the numerous royal lines. there is debate amongst them on whether the Era of Imposters was engineered by Drakon to test the Imeperium with a 'false' ruler, or if House Khaxvis rebelled against him in a bid (whether with good intentions or not) to prove they were not his puppets. House Ultanos is often cited as being his most recent puppet group. The Shadowcrowns mostly beleive that Drakon is secretly imparting his wisdom on the Ultanos in order for them to develop the Imperium in the best way possible. The Inquistion is questionable of this sect with concern that their doctrine is an attemtp to impose a form of divine right on the Paragon Lines.
In the mid AD 2790s a divergant sect of Shadowcrwoners emerged who believed Tyraz to be the Imperium's latest puppetmaster. With debate as to whether or not he is a puppet himself, or an incarnation of Drakon.
Emerging more recntly, Solinamists believe that the Capricyránae of the Cyrannus Galaxy (called Solinami Fretma in High Dracid) are spiritual twins of the Draconis. The cultural similarities that exist between the two calls for Solinamists to consider whether or not the Draconis are in some way linked to Cyrannus. This is bolstered by many opinions across the Gigaquadrant that Capricyránae and Draconis share numerous cultural (and in some cases biological) similarities. Solinamists believe that at some point in the past of both races there was a connection. Many Solinamists have spent the last few years working out what this connection could be.
Xenosilists believe that Drakon, instead of being a supreme being, is in fact a hyper-advanced alien from some unknown (perhaps even collapsed) civilization. Xenosilists challenge the view that Drakon is a divnine but aknowledge that he has influenced the Draconis in some fashion. They are known to treat the shores of Lake Drak as a sacred location where Drakon landed and consider that, as expected, he has the ability to chnge his form at will though technology or cultural perceptions. Xenosilists still debate as to whether or not Drakon still created the Draconis (in a manner similar to numerous biotech firms) or if he merely influenced them at soem point in their development.
Originally Commutum Drakon'Mipthum was cenntred around collectives of Draconis believers. As time passed and as the Imperium grew, more and more aliens were drawn to the utilitarian philosophies that the faith offered. It was this growing follower base that led to the formation of the Equalitist sect as well as the increasing popularity of the Encomassist sect, with some believing Drakon's teachings are valuable to all sapients who embrace them.
It is possible that the gradual acclimatisation of other societies to the Draconid Imperium has promoted the spread of Commutum Drakon'Mipthum into alien societies such as the Kicath Empire and Remnant and the Mardvaeli Republic. However in most of these alien societies it primarily exists as a minor belief compared to other more prevalent faiths in non-draconid societies.
(Dracid: Divine Paragons) is a cult of personality dedicated to the Paragons, treating them as divine beings. Although it's true origins are unknown, it is one of the few cults of personality that are safe from the inquisition. Most often honouring the paragons is a private affair although some more parochial cultures have been known to set up community temples in honouration. The Inquisition has so far kept its distance on the basis that the cult appears to act as a body for die-hard imperial loyalists and as a group that fervantly opposes the Khaxvis Resurgence
Most followers are non-draconis, and are species who come from provinces and protectorates within the Imperium. It is a trend that the less advanced the province was before being absorbed, or the more backwards a culture is compared to the Draconis, the more extremely the divinity is perceived.
Because the Paragon may or may not actively support the cult, it is highly decentralised and uses the reigning Pragon as an idol rather than an active religious leader. What organisation there is groups believers into communal sects based on location, each sect is headed by a "senior" who organises community gatherings and readings. Community gatherings are often small, congregating at the senior's house or a community hall. Each and every member has the chance ot know each other and he senior.
Teachings and PracticesEdit
Despite the existence of communal sects, it is popular to onour or worship the paragon within one's own home. Private shrines and autobiographies of past and present paragons are popular material for followers. Depending on the believer, the paragon's words and beliefs are followed as mandate or guidance. One unifying aspect, conducted by sects and private worshippers alike, is the demonification of House Khaxvis, who many believe became imposters masquerading as gods and never gaining the position legitamately.
What also varies is the idol in question. Some prefer to follow a single paragon (commonly the present one as with some species he or she lives for generations), others beleive that the position of pragon is innately divine and that becoming paragon or being related by blood to one gives you "divine blood". The divine blood theory, due to the extensive ties each Grand House has with each other and to House Ultanos, implies that most nobles are considered at least partially divine.
It is disputed what it takes to be considered an official follower of Pragavatus Divinum as what makes a follower varies drastically. Some loyalists dispute that followers such can revere the paragons as lightly as a form of celebrity adoration but like everything about the cult's workings this is often up for discussion. While the more typical form of the cult has hardly expanded outside the confines of the imperium (perhaps due to agnostic or atheistic social pressures), the spread of idolisation of one or more the paragons is more widespread outside the imperiums' borders. The latest example being Uriel Ultanos, who gained recognition within the galactic community for achieving feats beyond the capacity of any normal man.
Quotes from other empiresEdit
“Gah. Why do we have to work with these unbelievers anyway?”
- - Exarch Laurinn Ma'fest
“Akin to the path of Masaari in many ways, indeed”
- - Clericarch Iovera
“This is the kind of religion we in UNO would support. It teaches morales and values, and helps strengthen the soldiers' willpower on the battlefield.”
- - Valzo
“There many ways a mind can interpret how important the spirits of universe are like. There also many ways a mind can become in tune with spirits, and have help from them. The Drakon religion is fine example.”
- - Tuolog
“sik relijon. jus maek dem worship roz'tah'flok insted of dat drakon dumbo an its da best”
“DIS RELIJONS DUM MAN ZR'AN'KARS DA ONLY REEL GOD”
“Using religion to fuel their strength? Good tactics...but watch as it's used against them.”
“This religion must be terminated, their protectorates are trying to convert us!”
- - Eko Angarg of the Tahar Empire
“More illogical, dogmatic fools whom have devised the same old excuse to exercise power over other empires without their complaint. We will not tolerate their activity within our borders.”