A Beginners Guide to Theology
By Wuhao of Dark Ages
I should begin this writing by saying that I am not a writer. I have been told that I am a good speaker, and I have been told that when I give mass, my sermons are insightful. However, the extent of my writing experience has been in writing small bits on various boards. And so, please try and bear with my attempts at writing.
The topic of this writing is theology. How one can get their answers to the nature of the gods, how those answers can be multiple, and how they can differ. As an example, we will be exploring Fiosachd.
Someone taught me long ago that one should be careful in the study of their god. Do your best only to work with the facts that are before you. Any guesses or assumptions you make you must prepare to toss aside as quickly as garbage. If you treat your theory as fact, or disregard fact as theory, you will not be truly following your god. You will only be following the god you invented.
Let us now establish the facts that are before us. Firstly, we will deal with Fiosachd's allies.
One of these allies is Ceannlaidir, god of War, Honor, and Strength. Where there is war and strife, there is Ceannlaidir. In every line of every army on every battlefield, his essence echoes through the very air. Perhaps as you are hunting, you may find that in the midst of a terrific battle, there is a powerful force amplifying you, making you stronger and faster. Listen to your heartbeat. It could be said that the fast beating of hearts make up the drums of Ceannlaidir's anthem, the battle cries and wails the chorus, and the clanging of weapon against weapon against armor the instruments.
But Ceannlaidir does not encourage random killing. He is, after all, the god of honor. A war is not senseless killing. Certainly many wars can be avoided. But there is a reason for the death of every soldier, even the innocent villagers, in the wars. A war is not waged on a whim. A war needs purpose. Ceannlaidir's bloodthirst can only be satiated with the blood of an honorable death.
The other ally is Gramail, god of Law and Order, both natural and artificial. Where Ceannlaidir is there when sword meets sword on the battlefield, Gramail is there when word meets word in the city halls. Gramail brings impartiality and fairness, and embodies quite possibly the most key element in a successful civilization. Just as Ceannlaidir does not encourage dishonorable, random killings, Gramail does not condone useless, overly restrictive, or opressive laws.
Many times, you may see a crime committed or a useless law passed, and you cry out "Gramail, where are you" at the top of your lungs. Gramail is there, but he is silent. It may be that Gramail's impartiality is so supreme he cannot compromise it by making himself visible and attacking one aisling or another, but that is mere speculation on my part.
We have now established the identities of Gramail and Ceannlaidir. Let's move on to his enemies.
Deoch, god of Rapture, Creativity, and Inspiration is Fiosachd's enemy. Deoch was originally a dubbhaimd god of Debauchery, but mended his ways after falling in love with Danaan. He brings us the Aisling spark, and all of us owe a debt to him. For him we name our calender, and despite being the enemy of the god I serve, I take his inspirations often. When quill meets parchment, when bards write their songs and tales, when poets assemble their beautiful words, Deoch is there in our hearts and minds. A life without Deoch would be a difficult one indeed.
Deoch is surely a god of the heart. When you are overwhelmed with inspiration, and feel almost on fire, that is the fire of Deoch, burning away distracting thoughts and heating the target idea of his inspiration to the point where it glows within you.
Cail, god of Nature and Balance, and the patron god of monks. Born from a deceitfully induced union of Glioca and Ceannlaidir, Cail is both strong and peaceful. Ceannlaidir saw Cail to be stronger than himself, and forbade him the art of weaponry in an attempt to keep Cail from replacing and surpassing him.
Cail's balance exists between all things. Nothing exists in this world that cannot be countered by another. The corollary to that is that nothing exists in this world that cannot overcome it's counter in sufficient quantity. Cail might be seen to take after his mother in that he does not hate. However, he does not necessarily love. We may be comfortable outdoors taking a hike when the sun shines nicely down on us, but we aren't so eager to take a leisurely stroll when the rain beats down upon us like so many icy spikes. I believe his impartiality is not like Gramail's in that where Gramail is impartial for the greater strength of the group, Cail's impartiality is for the sake of balance. A subtle, yet very important and key difference.
Now we know who Fiosachd's allies and enemies are. This will assist us in determining who Fiosachd is.
Fiosachd is the god of Stealth, Wealth, and Luck. He is the patron god of rogues. Cast out of Aosda under uncertain circumstances, Fiosachd roamed the lands. The master rogue, he has accumulated a vast wealth that he shares with his followers, and he brings the blessings of dexterity. He does not favor a direct approach, preferring a quiet, less obvious way of doing things.
His alliance with Gramail suggests that he is not a thief. This is supported by the fact that rogues, to whom he gives his blessings, begin their careers with an oath to Fiosachd to avoid the path of theft. His alliance with Ceannlaidir shows that he is not opposed to bloodshed and war, suggesting that assassination is not beneath him.
It can be said that he is not greedy, and is in fact generous. He gives freely of his vast, incomprehensible wealth, and has done so for as long as any can recall.
Let's explore some of the mysteries of this shadowy god. He was cast out of Aosda. Why? His nature suggests that he may have been a thief, cast out of Aosda in shame. Perhaps this forced him to mend his ways, causing him to become the honorable rogue now. As he changed, he might've gone completely the other direction and become extremely lawful, explaining his alignment with Gramail.
Another is that he was cast out in fear. Humans are imperfect. Nothing has been demonstrated to prove the gods are any different. It would destroy the gods to have their secrets and plans revealed, and who better than a master rogue such as Fiosachd to perform such a task? Once defused by being removed from the land of the Gods, Gramail and Ceannlaidir could safely align themselves with him. As he wandered out of Aosda, Ceannlaidir could certainly appreciate having Fiosachd to explore lands and find new potential wars to incite, and Gramail might appreciate his tales of the laws of far off land, or maybe use Fiosachd as a spy on the dark criminal undergrounds of each city.
Let's play with another part of our god's story. Deoch. Why would the god of Rogues shun the god of Creativity? Perhaps Fiosachd does not appreciate Deoch's inspirations and raptures luring rogues to become thieves. But another possibility comes from Fiosachd's choice of friends -- Ceannlaidir and Gramail. One follows a code of honor, the other a code of law. Deoch encourages the following of one's heart, no matter what it says. If Gramail and Ceannlaidir are any indication, Fiosachd might not believe in following such freedoms. Fiosachd is certainly a very loose, free person, but he condemns theft. Restrictions on one's actions would certainly oppose Deoch's teachings.
And Gramail. Certainly Fiosachd's loose beliefs and attracted crowd would go against every shred of Gramail's teachings! An idea I am quite fond of is that Fiosachd does not break the laws. Bend? Yes. Interpret based on his interests? No doubt. Stretch? Absolutely. But not break. This would make for an interesting life for Fiosachd. If Fiosachd disregarded the law, he would be Gramail's worst nightmare. Fiosachd's rogues are powerful enough on their own, but with Fiosachd's guidance and blessings, they could break any law, commit any crime, and never be caught. And if Fiosachd weren't a god, he could certainly spend his life like that. But he's not. Certainly after a few centuries of no-challenge disruptions of the law, Fiosachd would tire of his game. Which would tie into the "Fiosachd-exile-for-theft-from-Aosda" theory that I mentioned above as a reason for his reform.
A game of simply exploiting the law would bring considerably more long-lasting entertainment for Fiosachd, considering that laws change frequently. And Gramail might appreciate it, since to streamline laws, one must have their laws tested. Fiosachd's alliance with Gramail would bring a very detailed knowledge of the law to Fiosachd, and would allow Gramail to test potential laws he might inspire by running them by Fiosachd, the master rogue.
Another possibility is that for a society to survive, one must have laws. And what is wealth without a society to place value on it? What good is gold if it cannot be spent somewhere? What good is a mansion if it is going to be burned tomorrow by looters? Which would explain Fiosachd's placing of importance on abstaining from theft -- If one does not follow laws, they contribute to the death of society. And with the death of society comes the death of wealth.
And Cail. What does a peaceful, natural god like Cail dislike about one like Fiosachd? It seems they exist in two completely seperate worlds, which may be the root of the problem. Cail represents the natural setting of things. Fiosachd's followers thrive in more urban environments. One does not swindle a snake out of it's fortune. One does not barter with a wolf. Fiosachd's world opposes Cail's. One might think that this explanation would be a reason for apathy, not animosity. But ask a farmer who comes to the city what troubles him most. "The swinders, the merchants, all of it!" Cail could quite possibly be disturbed by this as well.
Another possibility is that Cail dislikes Fiosachd's habit of exploitation. Surely that spirit was in action when trees were cut down to erect houses, and ecosystems disrupted so mundanes and aislings could live in their place.
We have now explored a few theological questions about Fiosachd. Let us now conclude.
It is said to be a characteristic of theology that one can ask a single question and get a dozen answers. And if I can impress one idea on you with this document, it's that if you start thinking about a theological question and only arrive at one answer, you are most likely doing something terribly wrong. The gods don't seem to like publicizing themselves, leaving us to guess at the huge, gaping blanks they leave us. There are many things that can fit those blanks.
Never, ever assume yourself to be the absolute word. Never, ever lock yourself to a single theory and not learn from there. Never, ever forget that "theory" and "theology" share the same root.
Wuhao Iosef Mythrin
Former high priest of Fiosachd