Mazan Culture

Once one of the weakest nations of Feila, ruled and predominately populated by the Rodents. Recently, it has recovered from a famine and Civil War, leaving it governed by a duumvirate of King and Tribune. While still economically disadvantaged, its technology is surprisingly advanced, and it is primed to take a larger place on the world stage. Similar to Earth's medieval Spain.
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Mazan Culture

Post by Madame »

READ THIS FIRST: The following is an extensive article detailing the many different aspects of Mazan culture. This article is NOT necessary information. Even if you are creating a Mazan character, you do NOT need to read this article. This article is only for those of who are interested.

Religion

Three Gods for the Price of One
About 60% of the Mazan population has membership in the Trinidian Church, a monotheistic religion that recognizes Dios as the Creator. Dios is a single god with three ‘god heads’, hence the Holy Triad. This is Mixcoatl, the Father, Quetzalcoatl, the Son and Tonatiuh, the Holy Spirit. In artwork, Mixcoatl comes in a variety of species, colorations and sizes, but the officially recognized representation (immortalized in a grand mosaic in the Central Hall of Santo Ve) is that of a tall, white, aged mouse with a long beard reaching to his abdomen, dressed in traditional Abbot robes -- entirely white robes, decorated with holy designs in silver thread and a small white skullcap -- with the white staff of the Paladins in one paw to represent that side of the Order and an olive branch in the other to represent the Monks and Sisters. Quetzalcoatl is also a mouse, though his fur is a rich mahogany color and his own beard is short, shown to wear either the garb of the Paladin or the habit of the Monks depending on the painter. The Holy Spirit is most often depicted as a pillar of flame by the Paladin artists and a beast-dove by the Monks.

Check Out the Digs
The main monastery of the Church is located on the largest of the Mazatlan Isles and is called Santo Ve. It is home to the Paladin and Monk/Sister training schools, the head of the Church -- the Abbot -- as well as the second largest library in Feila after the Azalus Library in Yamaha. It also holds sculptures, paintings, mosaics and frescos from some of the most famous artisans of the past 200 years. Santo Ve, though it is not a city in and of itself is the most prosperous and wealthy area in all of Maze outside, perhaps some of the largest ports. Followers of the Trinidian Church are encouraged to donate gold and other material goods in order to receive favor from the Abbot who will in turn speak directly to Dios on behalf of the donator.

So This Mouse Walks into a Temple…
The Trinidian Church started some 300 years ago with the immaculate conception of Quetzalcoatl to a plain mouse female who claimed to be a virgin. She raised the child with the husband she married after the birth and the child grew up under the Old Faith. It too was monotheistic, but it only recognized Mixcoatl as the lord who created the heavens and the world. Quetzalcoatl was a prodigy with magic, displaying talents in all the elements at the young age of 10, as well as with the physical sciences, though they were underdeveloped during the time period. He was also remarkable for his devotion to Mixcoatl and was named a prophet by many at the age of 15, spreading the word of peace and brotherhood to all furs in Maze.

He gathered a small following and as it began to grow, there were rumors that he was actually the mortal incarnation of Mixcoatl. Though he did not say it himself, others began to refer to Quetzalcoatl as the Son of Mixcoatl and turned from the Old Faith that was rooted more in the belief of a wrathful god to that of the new mouse’s forgiving and loving lord. Traveling around Maze, it was said that Quetzalcoatl performed miracles in the name of his god: curing the incurable, restoring buildings that had been demolished to their original forms and many other fantastic things.

After gathering much of the population behind him, one of his trusted disciples sold him to the ruling dictator, Alfonse Nuevo, who was becoming nervous with the power the movement was gathering. Many deserted or turned against Quetzalcoatl and he was tortured, then beheaded in a public for all to see. One week later, it is claimed by his disciples, Quetzalcoatl rose from his tomb. He met his mother and most faithful apostle, Juan Consico, outside. They rushed off to tell the others and the apostles all met and cried before Quetzalcoatl and he blessed them before ascending to Cielo.

His teachings lived on in his faithful followers who took his writings, the Libro de la Vida, as the holy word of Mixcoatl, claiming Tonatiuh was within all of them and told them how to act. The disciples fled to the Mazatlan Isles and set up Santo Ve, calling themselves Trinidians after the triad of Dios, a haven for all believers. Over time, the area grew to what it is today and the peaceful teachings of Quetzalcoatl were warped by the various furs who came to be the Abbots and Abbesses of the Church.

Order Up!
There are two branches of the Trinidian Church, the Paladin Order and the Monk/Sister Order. The Paladins are the military side of the operation while the Monks and Sisters are more pacifists and simple scholars/healers. There is a rigorous test one must pass to become a Paladin and it is largely a ‘boys-only club’, though there are a few female Paladins who are often picked on by their male counterparts. The Paladins and Monks/Sisters are often at odds with one another over conversion methods. Paladins obviously prefer a more heavy-handed approach while the Monks and Sisters refuse to use violence except in extreme cases.

Take Me to Your Leader
The Church hierarchy is quite structured. There is the Abbot or Abbess at the top -- the current Abbot is a rat named David Amancio -- who is advised by 12 Bishops -- these furs are chosen by the Abbess/Abbot when s/he takes her/his place as the head of the Church. The Bishops are always equally chosen, six former Paladins and six former Monks or Sisters. The Bishops are the keepers of their respective Orders and are reported to by the heads of each Order -- for the Paladins, there are three heads called “Knights” and for the Monks and Sisters, there are four heads called “Rooks”.

The Paladins are organized with the three Knights at the top followed by the 10 Nobles who are responsible for separate regions in Maze. Under these come the rank and file of Priests and Priestesses. The Monks and Sisters are set up similarly with the Rooks at the top who are reported to by 10 Cardinals, followed by the regular Monks and Sisters.

El Diablo’s Out There
Good Trinidian boys go to Cielo, the equivalent of Edwin’s Golden Land, but with the Holy Triad (Mixcoatl, Quetzalcoatl and Tonatiuh) present. Heretics and infidels go to Infierno where they’ll be tormented by El Diablo, the fallen one. It is said that El Diablo was created when furs began dying and going to Cielo. He reached the Puertas del Juicio (the Judgment Gates) and was turned away from Cielo because of his evil ways. He fell to a place of unimaginable torment and became its ruler to punish other wayward souls through endless torture.

History

The Great King and the Lizards
King Durango was the first of the mouse royal line in Maze and lived around 200 years ago. He is touted as the greatest of all the heroes of Maze and the Mazan Festival is held in his honor every year. It is said that the King, with only a ragtag army, was able to take out the invading reptilian hordes from Kahun and keep the continent ‘free’.

Division
With only 60% of the population belonging to the Trinidian Church and the Church having strong views on ‘infidels’, there is quite a bit of religious unrest in the country. Other groups include those who still follow the Old Faith and believe Quetzalcoatl to be a great prophet, but not the son of Mixcoatl, those who follow the ancient nature and element-based beliefs, such as the Romani and still others who believe in multiple gods.

Tampico
Occurring just seven years ago in a medium-sized town in north-west Maze, Tampico and almost every living soul in it, was destroyed by a regiment of Paladins. Led by the ambitious Noble Marco Lorenz, 50 priests and priestesses (many young and inexperienced) were sent to deal with what was supposed to be a small army of Romani in the town who were supposedly stirring up disbelief and unrest among the faithful. Upon arrival, the Paladins were greeted by a group of no more than twelve Romani who seemed peaceful enough. Noble Lorenz met with them in the streets, but before talks could begin, a bright light lit the sky and when everyone could see again, a priest was dead from what looked to be a Romani Earth binding spell. Infierno broke forth and what was only supposed to involve the infidel Romani turned into a bloody massacre as the fleeing furs hid within the houses of the regular population.

At the end of it all, only four priests were dead while the Romani and what was thought to be the entire population of Tampico were wiped out. Everything was hushed up, but rumors spread from a few who did manage to escape and many traumatized priests and priestesses who could not keep their mouths shut. Tampico became known as the Bloody Friday, though Lorenz was honored as a hero along with every Paladin that had been there that day.

Mythology

The Curse Stones
The curse stones are a carry over from pagan traditions that are used in some Trinidian monasteries. Generally located in the graveyards around the monasteries on raised rectangular slabs of rocks, several spherical stones may be turned counter clockwise to curse ones enemies.

Lake Esperanza
The largest lake in Maze, located almost in the exact center of the continent, is ripe with legend. The story goes that hundreds of years ago, Princess Esperanza was walking about the jungle in a valley when she met two warrior companions eating near their fire. Seeing her wondrous beauty, each fur did his best to impress her until they fell to arguing with one another about who should court her. Their quarrel became physical and they killed each other. Thinking it was her fault, Esperanza began to cry and cry and cry until her tears filled the valley and she drowned in the waters that held such bitter regret.

Luna’s Island
Luna Peron was said to have lived on an insignificant island in Lake Esperanza near Quito where the River Azul fed into it. She was a hermit porcupine who would row into Quito every Friday to collect a small amount of gold from a mysterious hedgehog who only appeared for that day every week, before buying supplies. One Friday she did not show up, nor did the hedgehog and a few interested furs rowed out to make sure the old crazy was alright. They found her hut burnt down, though no body could be found in the rubble and everyone assumed the worst. As the furs were leaving, so the tale goes, one felt a tug on his sleeve and looked round to find no one there. The lad continued to his boat and once again felt the tug. This time he turned full around and was greeted by a bristling lady porcupine, her cooking apron still on. His companions didn’t seem to notice her and the fur fled, gibbering nonsense, when the manically grinning figment began to reach for his sleeve again. To this day, the residents of Quito and those furs inhabiting the area around Lake Esperanza have stayed clear of Luna’s Island, for it’s said that if one steps foot on it, he’ll go mad from the touch of the old spirit that still lurks there.
"It's hard to argue against cynics - they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."
~Molly Ivins (R.I.P.)

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