Image by Ariel Perez
In the clefts, gulches, and withered heights of Vaarn, ancient beings have sequestered certain small chapels and shrines. What was once hidden by the builders has been uncovered by Idris Ida-Null, an honoured hegemony cartographer. He reasons that the shrines are sheltered from the world so that both pilgrims and acolytes could worship in peace. Respecting their sacrosanctity, Idris concealed them in cryptograms amongst his many maps, some ciphers so esoteric that they require archaic religious knowledge.
Regardless of which Vaarnish deity they commune, many of these shrines have a common construction. This lends creedence to the theory that they were built by a singular culture of omnitheists, who included humble saints alongside elder daemons, and artificed Titans alongside incarnate divinities. It is up to the reader to decide whether they wanted to hedge their bets for the afterlife or whether they truly regarded all extrogeomic and caelocosmic deities as eminating from a central source.
The shrines themselves are called “god windows” or “holy lintels,” due to their minimal structure: some sort of flat floor for devotees to make prayers or sacrifice and, at the edge of the floor, a door-shaped stone structure, with two upright, chiseled stone posts and a well-crafted lintel across the top. Within the post-and-lintel was the most transfixing aspect of the shrine: a solid, invisible barrier of kinomodes which functions for the “screen” on which the effigy of the god, titan, or saint appears. The reader should note that, most often, shrines are not shared between two or more entities, but the reality of a shared god window is a rarity not an impossibility.
Travellers might be apt to point out that the screen-bound representations themselves might be dubious fascimilies, but experienced Vaarnish pilgrims would disagree.
While each window has many tales that could be told here, one would be better suited to decypher Idris’ cryptograms and make the pilgrimage oneself.
|ENTITY||DISPOSITION||WILL GIVE||BUT WANTS|
|1||Kronos – Fountainhead Titan||Calm||Wealth||A Promise|
|2||Mnemosym – Titan of Memory||Perplexed||Healing||Noble Blood|
|3||Metis – The Oracle Titan||Attentive||Foresight||A Soul|
|4||Hyperion – Titan of Orbits||Distracted||Weapon||Public Worship|
|5||Gaea – Titan Mother of Urth||Sorrowful||Secret||Ritual Tithe|
|6||Coeus – Titan of the Labyrinth||Exasperated||Companion||Vow of Abstinence|
|7||Themis – Titan of Justice||Mercurial||Mystic Gift||Virgin Blood|
|8||Iapetus – Titan of the Auto-Forge||Angry||Clothing||LogLang Enigma|
|9||Mimir – Titan of Secrets||Melancholic||Jewelry||Vow of Luxury|
|10||Venkarthim – Doom of Ants||Mischievous||Protection||Evangelism|
|11||Void Saint Lazar||Redemptive||Cybernetic||Agonizing Death|
|12||Void Saint Ekklesia||Deceptive||Map||Shelter of an Innocent|
|13||Void Saint Khawja||Vindictive||Key||Animal Blood|
|14||Void Saint Zhao Rong||Ambitious||Exotica||Vow of Poverty|
|15||Mana-Yood-Sushai – Primordial God||Lost||Water||Peaceful Death|
|16||Kib – God of Life||Tense||Passage||Divine Blood|
|17||Inzana – Goddess of the Dawn||Disgusted||Elixir||Vow of Pacifism|
|18||Mung – God of Death||Bitter||Passcode||A Ceremony|
|19||Azathoth – Daemon of Entropy||Embarrassed||Land||Revival of a Myth|
|20||The Outsider||Amused||Sourcery||Vow of Brutality|
Note: The idea of a screen which displays the effigy of a divinity, for both adulation and consultation, is a shameless plunder from Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Long Sun.