Khimal and the Khime - Polytheistic
- Parent: Religion
A young religion in many parts of Korinth, yet as old as the Breaking itself, the Khimal and the Khime teaches that each person is judged by their actions and their own personal honor. Those found worthy sail the Seas of Life into the heavenly realm, while the unworthy travel to the Master of Demons on the River of Torment.
The Khimal and the Khime takes it's name from two two great stone monoliths located in Irus. The first of these, the Khimal*, is located on the Hill of Temptations, in the country of Rinuboz. The second, the Khime**, is located on the Hill of Guidance, in the country of Tulguma. The Khimal lists temptations for which mortals must always be alert, the Khime lists guidelines that a must followed to be judged worthy by the Judge of the Dead.
The words of the Khimal are:
- Great seems the reward of ill-gotten gains, but when the Judge of the Dead looks upon you sorry shall you be.
- The preservation of self tempts many, but it is better to enter the Seas of the Dead than to sully your life with cowardice.
- When upon you comes the beggar, the path of ease is to ignore and reject, but those that reject the helpless shall be rejected by the Judge of the Dead.
- Beware the path to power through the blood, for in that road lies only destruction.
- The enemy who has fallen is easily forgotten, but any who fail to cast even those they despise into the maws of the Ia shall find only torment in the afterlife.
- The words of the Narame are oft' difficult to follow, but they speak with the authority of the Emerald God.
- When you are starving, turn not to the ways of the narakgal, for to eat the flesh of your own kind, though it may save your life, will damn your soul.
- Look to those forsaken that wander the steps of the Great Ziggurat and cast off sloth.
The words of the Khime are:
- Take not that which belongs to the Narame, nor keep not back the portion of what is yours that should be theirs.
- Seek not to harm the Narame, nor any holy man, even the unenlightened.
- In all things give way to the Emerald God but forget not the Whispers of the Desert.
- Redemption can be had through the adamin, but use it not to draw the blood of others for at the end of that route lies damnation beyond measure.
- Take not the easy path when the difficult leads to righteousness.
- Give to your king that which is his own, to your neighbor that which is his and to the beggar that which is yours.
- The wisdom of the Emerald God is bound in the hearts of mothers, heed well their words.
* "khimal" literally means "temptations" in the ancient tongue of Irus.
** "khime" literally means "guidance" in the ancient tongue of Irus.
Gateways to the Afterlife
The Ia are servants of the gods who serve as the gateway to the afterlife. Anyone who perishes without entering the maw of an Ia is damned to spend eternity wandering the land a lost spirit. There are three Ia in Irus, and long processions of narame travel to them regularly, bringing the dead to their rest. Each of the deltas that opens into the Azirag sea serves as home to one of these creatures.
Each Ia appears similar. They stand almost 60 feet tall but are rarely seen outside the water. Most of the time, only their gaping maw is exposed. Ia appear similar in some respects to a huge frog-like creature with four large tentacles in place of front legs, a 20-foot long tongue, and a retractable eyestalk on top of their head. Their underbelly's are yellow, their bodies green, and their tentacles and upper legs mottled green.
Every dead body must eventually find its way into the mouth of an Ia, whether by being tossed in, or by burning the corpse so that the dust of their bodies may be carried up into the air and drawn into the creatures maw.
Life and Death
According to the histories of the Khimal and the Khime, it was given to the Emerald God to determine the fate of a mortals afterlife. Those teachings, as presented in the Scrolls of the Emerald God read as follows.
This thing that has come to be called life is but a twinkling, a moment in the great journey that a man begins when he is birthed. After his death he must enter into his afterlife, but first he must pass through the mouth of the Ia, for the Ia are the Gateway's to the Afterlife.
So it shall be that the narame shall bring a man to the Ia upon his death. Let no man, good or evil, friend or foe, lie without being brought to the Ia for it is not given unto man to determine the fate of man, but unto the Judge of the Dead to determine such fate.
If a body cannot be brought to the Ia then let that body be burned that the winds of the air may gather up the dust of the body and deliver the dust to the Ia for the Ia are the Gateways to the Afterlife and only through their maw may the journey begin.
The first, and greatest, trial of the afterlife is the Climb. Here it is that a man must ascend the nine levels of the Great Ziggurat. Turn neither to the left nor to the right for to do so is to bring about calamity upon your household. Yea, the Judge of the Dead is a jealous god and wishes not that those that are given to him should turn to the left or the right.
Ascend only the steps of the Great Ziggurat for atop it lies your destiny. Here it is that you shall meet the Judge of the Dead and have your judgment proclaimed by the Speaker of Fate.
When the Judge asks of you this, say not that which is untrue for the Keeper of Records knows all and sees all and when the Judge asks you that, say not that which is untrue for Watcher in Death knows all and sees all.
And when the book of your life is opened, and the day is drawn to a close the Speaker of Fate will proclaim unto you that which is to be.
So then begins your journey on the Seas of Life. There shall you be carried by the Ferrymen of the Waters to your destiny, be that for good or for evil.
Those who have been judged worthy of the afterlife will be taken into the open arms of Akhal where you shall find a place in the heavens and look down upon your ancestors for all times.
But woe unto those who find themselves in the River of Torments. You have been judged unworthy, that find yourselves here, and only pain and suffering awaits you in the pits of Nirus.
The narame have expounded on the above passage in parts, offering clarification to the masses who may find the words of the Emerald God difficult to understand.
When preaching of this passage to the next life, as is done every 5th day at the Ceremony of Remembrance, they remind all that the time spent in this life are but a tiny fragment of eternity, but how one spends that eternity is decided by the path lived during life.
Before anyone may enter the Seas of Life to begin the long journey to the afterlife they must first enter into the mouth of Ia, the gateways to the afterlife. Even as the body is consumed in the bellies of the Ia the spirit is freed to begin the journey on the Seas of Life, and find its way to the afterlife. After passing through the Ia and freeing the spirit a climb begins, for the soul must climb to the very top of the Emerald Gods true ziggurat, a towering structure that begins the journey to the afterlife and is so large that the climb takes years. Many fall aside during this climb and find themselves tempted into rest in small villages that have sprung up on the steps of the ziggurat but those whose spirit is strong press onward until they reach the summit, where waits the Judge of the Dead.
Those who turn from the path as they climb the great ziggurat bring horrid calamity to their families for the Judge of the Dead is displeased with any who refuse to stand before him and sends forth his legions to call the wayward one's relatives to the afterlife so that they may encourage their brothers.
In time all will stand before the Judge of the Dead. Although none can describe him, for none see him in life, it is known far and wide that he is blind so that he may judge passing souls not on appearance but rather on deed and word. None may speak a lie in his presence as well, so that all his judgments may be just.
Once the judgment is passed each spirit moves on to the Ferrymen of the Waters. These creatures take the judged to their fate upon the Seas of Life. Those judged worthy of an afterlife are ferried upwards into the heavens where they are delivered to Akhal, the Guardian of Life, who gives them a spot in the sky from which they look down on their ancestors. Each star in the night sky is said to be a spirit judged worthy of the afterlife. Those judged unworthy however find their ferryman soon turns off the Seas of Life and guides his small craft down the River of Torments.
Any spirit unfortunate enough to fall from his craft into the River of Torments knows no end to pain and suffering as he is punished for all eternity. Even the fortunate find little reprieve however, for they are sent to Nirus, the Master of Demons, for keeping.
The afterlife begins not when a person dies, but rather when they are fed to the Ia. Thus is is that anyone killed in the lands of Irus must be fed to the Ia. Even a mans most hated enemy must so be fed. As the Ia are few and scattered it is often necessary to send an enemy to their maw through burning for it is believed that in time the dust of their body will be drawn to the Ia and at last the journey beyond begins.
Death is the great equalizer. It comes to the noble, the commoner, the brave, the cowardly, the strong, the weak, and the faithful. Yet, for those who believe in the Khimal and the Khime, if they should commit an act certain to lead to their damnation on the day they stand before the Judge of the Dead, there remains a hope of redemption, and the tool of that hope: the adamin.
An adamin is a knife, typically worn on a cord around the neck. A faithful servant will never be parted from their adamin and, though it is a knife, it is not a weapon. No blood, save their own, can be spilled with it, lest they find their final rest in the Pit of Forgotten Souls where the suffering is greater than any other. This same fate awaits those few who steal, or force another, to give up their adamin.
The adamin serves one purpose: redemption. If ever a faithful should do something so horrible that it is certain to bring about their damnation, they can commit ritual suicide, using their adamin, and pray that Dulin, who reads the book of their life to the Judge of the Dead, will see a repentant heart and blot that from the book. Once blotted out, it will never be read to the Judge of the Dead and the faithful will never be called to account for it.
Unlike many religions, the Khimal and the Khime specifically states in its core principles to respect all holy men and women, of all religions, even the "unenlightened." The words of the Khime exactly read, "Seek not to harm the Narame, nor any holy man, even the unenlightened."
This has become a very important aspect of the society that formed around the Khimal and the Khime. Other religions (such as the Way of the Creator and Benevolence) are obviously included in this command, but the narame of Irus have also dubbed the Shan'Del and Necromancers as holy. The druly devout of the Khimal and the Khime even accept that horrific "holy" priests, such as those that cling to the Traditions of Morguul'Thelkanis or Neckros Klanar, are not to be harmed.