VAARN . table: god window

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.

Passage by David Fedeli

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.

Image by Robert Watson

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.

1Kronos – Fountainhead TitanCalmWealthA Promise
2Mnemosym – Titan of MemoryPerplexedHealingNoble Blood
3Metis – The Oracle TitanAttentiveForesightA Soul
4Hyperion – Titan of OrbitsDistractedWeaponPublic Worship
5Gaea – Titan Mother of UrthSorrowfulSecretRitual Tithe
6Coeus – Titan of the LabyrinthExasperatedCompanionVow of Abstinence
7Themis – Titan of JusticeMercurialMystic GiftVirgin Blood
8Iapetus – Titan of the Auto-ForgeAngryClothingLogLang Enigma
9Mimir – Titan of SecretsMelancholicJewelryVow of Luxury
10Venkarthim – Doom of AntsMischievousProtectionEvangelism
11Void Saint LazarRedemptiveCyberneticAgonizing Death
12Void Saint EkklesiaDeceptiveMapShelter of an Innocent
13Void Saint KhawjaVindictiveKeyAnimal Blood
14Void Saint Zhao RongAmbitiousExoticaVow of Poverty
15Mana-Yood-Sushai – Primordial GodLostWaterPeaceful Death
16Kib – God of LifeTensePassageDivine Blood
17Inzana – Goddess of the DawnDisgustedElixirVow of Pacifism
18Mung – God of DeathBitterPasscodeA Ceremony
19Azathoth – Daemon of EntropyEmbarrassedLandRevival of a Myth
20The OutsiderAmusedSourceryVow of Brutality
Image by Robert Watson

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.

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