The Children of Kina (CoK) view all other religions as containing some portion of the greater truth of the universe.
The CoK accept the Great Ancestor, in concept. They believe in reincarnation for the purposes of reducing evil in the world and doing good works. Much of their disagreement with Radurja lies in the elevation of the Great Ancestor to greater than all other gods and goddesses. Eldest Child Elemi Scoria and Jonas Grant discussed this at length, shortly before the shahidi's death in Tzalteclan. This was recorded below:
”May I join you, Shahidi Grant?”
Jonas looked up. The Quill standing before him seemed unremarkable, except for the eyepatch. Still, he knew the Eldest Child of Kina by description. His reply was a grudging, “Go ahead.”
”Thank you. This is an unexpected opportunity.”
"To do what? I’m old, boy, and my patience passed on years ago.”
Elemi got to the point, ”I want to discuss reincarnation.”
“I’m not dead yet.” Jonas replied wryly.
”I meant theologically. Both Radjura and the Children believe in it, but our views are different.”
Jonas paused. This was not expected. His personal distaste for the Children of Kina went back to the founder of their religion. The man who killed his parents. He stared at the man for a moment. He was too young, probably born decades after the events he could recall as easily as what he had for breakfast. Shvedrishti cautioned him against the passions that ran in the Grant family blood. She was ever in his thoughts, a quiet voice of council. He chose to speak neutrally, ”Your point?”
Elemi took this as an invitation and sat. ”We believe that all souls come from Kina, and go back to her. I understand that Radurja believe something similar, in the Great Ancestor.”
“Similar, but not the same. The great ancestor is the source of all. Your Khaditna is merely a conduit for his will.”
Elemi ignored the subtle barb of using the Great Deceiver’s name. ”Kina contains a small portion of each god. It was their gift that allowed her consume the demons. In her is contained all of them.”
”Yet the great ancestor precedes all gods and demons. He is the source.”
”But do you not also believe that all gods and demons destroyed each other? The Revelation of Mosi states, ’The infinite body of the Great Ancestor coalesced into stars, Then planets, and beings. The strongest of these beings were as gods. They fought and destroyed each other. From their shattered bodies came life.'”
“Impressive, boy, you have studied.
”Truth can be found in many places.”
”So Radurja is the truth, then?” Jonas said with a grin.
”Hardly. You say the gods killed each other. Yet Kina lives. The Lord of Fire lives. You are wrong. But truth comes out of mistakes as well as triumph.” Elemi answered back. "But cosmology is not my interest.”
”Then what does grasp your mind today?” Jonas was starting to like the forthright man, despite his cult’s past.
”Why. What is the purpose of the endless cycle of death and birth? Amusement for the old man?”
This time Jonas ignored the barb ”It is to gain knowledge and to do good works. Sureley you know the quote from the Book of Mosi ’ The cycle must continue, but you must not forget. From each life, experience is gained. From each life, lessons are learned. With each life, good is done. These things must be remembered.’”
"Yet most are born and have no memory. Your god has failed.”
”But those that have succeeded are great leaders.” Jonas seemed wistful. “The fault lies with mortals, not the Great Ancestor. Kina preaches introspection and review of action, is it not the same calling?”
Now Elemi smiled ”Kina demands you understand why you are doing things. Are you being motivated by the gods or the demons of your character. The Great Ancestor merely desires good works, even if the reasons for them are tainted. We are nothing but grain spinning in his grist mill. To what end? To what end is the endless cycle?”
”Let me counter that with this question to you. We live only a short time, why the obsession with eternity?”
Jonas smirked. ”The Year of the Skulls?” Elemi was startled. The cult of the Deceivers who believed that particular prophecy had been hounded to extinction. ”Little of your religion is unknown to me. The death of my parents at the hands of your founder” he choked down more anger than he expected. “focused my attention.”
”Yes. The Year of the Skulls. The prophecy that Kina will awaken and destroy Telluris, rebuilding it to remove the taint of evil from the demonic impulses.”
”A small squall on the vast ocean that is the Great Ancestor.”
”So you don’t deny that possibility?”
”Radjura does not affirm nor deny the other gods. It is merely uninteresting.”
”Uninteresting?” This was unexpected.
”Look at our recorded history, child. Less than five hundred years. Do you truly believe that Kina is the first, or last, being calling itself a god to affect the world?
”We have no record of any others.” It sounded lame, even to Elemi.
”Yet here we are, about to witness a human sacrifice to appease the sun. How foolish. Limited beings facing the eternal abyss and grasping for straws. Your Kina is no better. Pretending your actions are somehow affecting the balance of the cosmos.” He snorted derisively.
”And the great ancestor shows only an endless struggle with no ending. It would seem being born forgetting would be a blessing. Remembering the endless past would wear you down irrecovably.”
Jonas sighed, and shrugged. ”Perhaps there is some truth in your words, boy. I am old, and there are regrets I long to leave behind.” He sounded tired.
”Regret comes from a lack of understanding and accepting why you act. It is a deception of Khaditna.”
”No, I understand perfectly well the choice I made, and why I made it.”
”Then set regret aside, Shahidi. Take comfort in doing right for the right reasons. If Kina is true, then you will find her embrace. If the great ancestor is true, than you have learned a lesson to carry into the next life. Either way, embrace it.”
Jonas smiled, a weak smile. “Perhaps you are right, Eldest Child of Kina.” For the first time, he used the man’s proper title. ”But I am a tired old man, and have ruminated enough for one afternoon. I need to rest.”
Elemi stood, and bowed. Then he reached out and took the old man’s hand. ”Thank you, Shahidi Grant. It has been an honor talking to you.”
While Panshen sees itself as fundamentally incompatible with CoK, the Children do not see it that way. Elemeni Scoria, the Eldest Child of Kina, made the following observations at the Ecumenical Council of Salcaster:
Panshen Creation Myth Edit
The Children of Kina recognize that all myths are divinely inspired. But they are subject to the filter of the speaker. It is not the fault of the deity, but in our inability to encompass divine reality with our limited thoughts.
There is much upon which the Children of Kina and Panshen agree. There was a time when stone and sky was unformed and gods walked amongst the formlessness. We both recognize the Lord of Fire as the primary being who brought forth substance and order. The Children do not believe the material world has divinity, as expressed in the form of the Wyrm Below. The world merely is. However, Panshen and the Children seem to agree that there was a conflict in the early forming of the material world, and that conflict drove imperfection into a perfect system.
We agree also that it was the Lord of Fire that created mortals. We speak little of this, accepting that other gods and goddesses were involved in the creation of the living world. Aggregating that together as the Wyrm Below seems a simplification; but the Children have little interest in the mythology of such things.
In some respects, She of Silver may be seen by the Children as a stand-in for Kina. Yet we reject that Kina was mortal- even paragon and progenitor of mortals. Kina stands as the first creation of the Gods, divine as they are divine. She is the start and end point of souls on their journey to and from the material world. She of Silver was the progenitor of all sentient species; Kina makes no such claims.
There exists equivalence between Kina’s aspect Khaditna and the Wyrm Below. Both see sentient souls as imperfect and strive to provide opportunities to move closer to perfection. Yet Khaditna is not a force of opposition to be overcome, as the Wyrm Below seems to be. Khaditna tempts, she deceives, she allows the unwary to fall to their own imperfections. She provides opportunities to resist the temptations that lie in one’s soul. Defects which lead to corruption. The Wyrm Below seems to exist to dispense justice in the material world. Khadi judges the soul’s actions after death.
In some striking respects, the mission of the Children and Panshen is very similar. Both encourage the pursuit of enlightenment and self-fulfillment through action, reflection, and conscious self-improvement.
There is something wonderfully elegant in the embodiment of these ideals in She of Silver. A Paragon of balance is appealing. But the Children are concerned that striving to reach a paragon places artificial restrictions on self-reflection. How can someone understand and fix the failings within themselves when they are striving towards an unattainable standard? The struggle for perfection and self-improvement is what defines and makes life a worthy pursuit. Yet perfection is unachievable in imperfect, time constrained beings. This is why Khadi judges intent of action, not merely results.
In teachings, the Wyrm Below functions in a similar way to the great Deceiver, Khaditna, in that it provides obstacles to overcome and improve. Yet Khaditna does not claim to influence the natural world in ways of disease and famine. Instead, she seeks to find opportunities to grow or fail within the greater world. She does not seek punishment nor to inflict pain upon those that transgress, though often her lessons require pain and privation to learn. Panshen and the Children have similar views on the Lord of Fire. He is the ultimate progenitor of thinking beings. He stands remote to the material world, and should be honored more than worshipped. He interferes little in the material world, so entreaty is pointless.
The Children do not agree that the divine right to rule exists. Such a rule implies that parents pass purity from generation to generation. Somehow, the most pure is the first pass, as if having multiple children is somehow unenlightened and unfulfilling. Why would the eldest child be closer to divine than the others? Is this, perhaps, more driven by the parents and their own hopes and failings towards their children? Admittedly, the Children have much debate upon how Kina chooses the correct soul for each new birth. Perhaps she does find the souls most in need of being rulers for the first-born of kings.
Other Comments Edit
Panshen does not seem to place any particular importance on death. Nor does it discuss the potential afterlife in reward or punishment for the actions of one’s life. The just and upright pass a portion of that to their children. No mention is made after that of how an entire lineage can become more like She of Silver. Does this imply that after the kids are born, the parents can become depraved and degenerate? They have done their job to their progeny by starting them with a pure soul? Or is there something after death to aspire to? Kina stands as the first and last. Birth and death. She is Mother to us all. She allows us to grow and learn at our own pace. Yet we fear her displeasure and wrath as a young child fears her mother’s displeasure. Across generations and time, she seeks to help our souls become more perfect by placing us where we need to be and judging how well sought to improve ourselves. The Children worry that Panshen has no such cross-generational influence.
The Eldest Linden Flint penned a missive to Empress Nyllana Earthguard which summarized their views on Ahsmarism:
A Letter to Nyllana Earthguard,
Word has reached me that your sages are seeking information. They do so with great care and tact. It honors them. They ask how the Children of Kina view the followers of Ashmar. They ask our feelings upon Prowess. They seek knowledge, a most noble quest. My honor compels an honest response.
I confess I know only the basic tenets of Ashmarism. You believe in a being called Ashmar. Ashmar contains two additional aspects, the Guardian of Fire and the Guardian of Earth. Ashmar grants Prowess, the skills that change the world. The Guardians grant the means and opportunity to do so.
The Tellurian Pantheon is vast. I make no attempt to rank Ashmar nor our Goddess of the Night. I see concord between Kina as the repository of souls and Ashmar as the giver of Prowess. This is my belief- that all souls are born into this world with the capability to accomplish great and wonderful deeds. I surmise that on this we agree.
This is my belief- that each person is responsible for their actions. Actions can be good. Actions can be evil. Actions can be grand. Actions can be mediocre. But all actions find their source in each person. I do not know if Ashmar is the source of action, or enabling action. My own ignorance is troubling. I greatly desire clarification.
The Children of Kina believe that the Goddess judges our intent, not our results. We are limited beings, slaved to a finite time and space. We cannot see what the outcome of our actions might be. All we can know is what we wanted them to be. This seems to be at odds with Prowess. Prowess appears unconcerned with outcome. To gain martial Prowess is to defeat opponents. Does the defeat of the less skilled build Prowess? To gain technical Prowess is to invent? But if the inventions bring misery to many, is it Prowess? This ambiguity concerns me.
I am concerned that achieving Prowess will lead to arrogance and hubris. This is my belief- that Khaditna tempts us. She seeks to Deceive. Deception leads to adversity. From adversity comes insight. Insight destroys arrogance. Insight foils hubris. As the martyr Petrichor spoke, ”Children call upon their mother, comprehending not the difference between need and desire. The Great Deceiver will deny you your earthly delights, despoil your pleasures. What you need is found only in in the darkness beyond adversity.”
Does seeking Prowess become an end unto itself? Or does it instruct? Is it a need, or desire? There is much about Ashmarism I do not know.
Khadi is the Destroyer. She who judges souls and consumes the wicked. She is also Kina, the Mother of the Night. From her come all souls. Each soul bears the burdens and rewards of its past lives, for better or ill. I know not Ashmarian’s fate upon death. Your holy texts speak little of it. Is Prowess eternal? Does it carry on with the soul, or lie with the body?
I rejoice that Ashmarism embraces all thinking beings in the pursuit of Prowess. The Children believe all beings who are capable of thought are our cousins in spirit. We seek to treat each other so that we would willingly trade paths. With Prowess as a guide, Ashmaraffords all fair opportunity.
I thank you for reading this missive. I hope you find it instructive.
Eldest Child of Kina.
Lord of Fire- Brother Uta's reformation Edit
☀Brothers and sisters in faith and spirit, news has reached me of the acts that occurred in the Temple of the Lord of Fire. Indeed, it is nigh impossible to avoid the deluge of story, rumor, and speculation. As the Eldest, I have refrained from speaking on such events until now. I have listened, questioned, meditated, and prayed upon the news. Only now, with the confidence found through Mother’s guidance, shall I speak upon it.
Brothers and sisters, I am afraid. Afraid those that follow the Lord of Fire are being deceived. Afraid those leading their congregations are guided by politics, not faith. Afraid for those that once supported the followers should they not bend to the will of the dragon of the east. Afraid for all who once saw the Lord of Fire as a beacon and are consumed in the inferno it has become.
We Children have always sought out the traps laid before us. Brothers and sisters, who among us has not fallen prey to Khaditna wiles? She tempts us, teases us, and then despoils our poor choices. It is how we learn and grow, by facing adversity and moving beyond. For those of us with power, can we not see the trap that has befallen our cousins of the Doctrine?
I have read First Brother Ramzi Uta’s speech. In several languages. The meaning of his words are clear. He speaks of chosen bloodlines and their right to rule the common man. He claims the Lord of Fire and the Dragon can do what they wish. To quote him,[i]“The Lord consumes the lives of this world not for anger or for vengeance but for they are His to consume. The Dragon emerges not from the blood of the vicious and unholy but the devout and chosen.”[/i] Is this not hubris? The Lord of Fire may do as he pleases? Why? Because he is the Lord of Fire. The Dragon comes from the Chosen? How? Well, the Chosen have the power within. This, brothers and sisters, is the basest fallacy; the rankest syllogism. Orators everywhere would be chased from the stage for such empty words and poorly constructed arguments.
He continues along the same theme, [i]”The Lord names and elevates the kings of this world, not for petty acts or for cruel disparity but because they are the worthy to lead. The Dragon passes His blood not to the plain and meek but to the strong and virtuous. This is the purpose of His power.”[/i] Brothers and sisters, cousins in spirit, do we not know, deep in our hearts, that this is an outright lie? Has our experience not taught us that into each and every one of us, rich and poor, noble and common, is given the great and terrible power to shape the world? Has experience not shown, time and again, that worth comes from our deeds, our prowess, our relentless search for self-awareness and self-improvement?
Is there no thought or consideration towards intent or effort? Kina teaches that we must make the best decisions we can given what we possess. Our reward or failures are are own. Those that truly believe they bear the divine right to rule must accept the responsibilities and perils that it brings; trusting in a unclouded insight into their character to make the right choices. The Mother calls upon us to live our choices, and accept the consequences, for good or ill.
But what consequence does Brother Uta espouse? [i]”The Lord burns heretics and summoners who would cruelly use Him, not out of fear but to punish them for their crimes in this realm and beyond. The Dragon consumes the meek and unworthy, not because they stand opposed but to cleanse the world of their presence. This is the strength of His power."[/i] It is convenient, is it not my cousins, that the heretics and unworthy are so clearly defined by bloodline alone? That the Lord of Fire elevates kings and the blood of the dragon makes them proud and worthy, building an unassailable shield to a select few? That such blessed by the Lord of Fire and the Dragon are free from fault and relieved of the fears of being wrong? Does not Kina teach that it is our very trials, our failures to achieve our desires, that strengthens us? Brother Uta would make regents into lotus eaters.
And who is Brother Uta’s first target of vengeance ? What being is so heinous that it cost the lives of a hundred devout souls? He enumerates the man’s crimes himself, [i]“A common blooded doctor from a common ruled land slaying the Lord's chosen in the lands so recently ruled by the misguided hand of common rule.".[/i] No word of the Doctor’s heinous experiments upon the masses, no condemnation of the decades of ruin and despair he has caused. No, the crime punishable by divine intervention is being a common person who dared raise a hand against a chosen one. All other actions, for good or ill, are irrelevant.
Can you not hear the whispering of dragon wings in his words? The firm belief that all who would seek to act above their station should be struck down? You need not struggle to hear it, for the First Brother makes it clear, [i]"It is his death that steels my resolve. It is his death that prompts this revelation. The Lord lives, in this Temple and in the East. His great wings and burning presence will end the hubris of this world that would oppose him. Form united the Lord Dragon will cleanse this world of sin and sinners, and first and greatest of these sinners shall fall before the might of the Lord."[/i].
The Lord of Fire commands that all who oppose him die? That is not the Lord of Fire speaking. We Children know the Lord of Fire. He who is Father to us all. He who sacrificed himself, assuming the form of a child, to bring Khadi to rest. He who calmed the Destroyer, bringing forth the Mother once again. Not through anger, nor threat, nor violence, but through understanding the nature of the Mother and fulfilling her maternal need. This is not the Lord of Fire as manifest by the revelations of Panshen- the all-powerful, unknowable creator who stands remote from our struggles betwixt She of Silver and the Wyrm Below. The one who calls upon us to reflect and consider our deeds in the struggle for self-improvement.
This is not the Doctrine of Fire. This is the aberrant teachings of Tzalteclan made manifest. What does the dragon teach? Might makes right, divine blood rules, the exist only to be ruled? This is not the Doctrine of Fire. It is the Doctrine of Despair, enforced by harsh conditioning by slavemasters upon their human cattle. This is the doctrine of the timid, shielding rulers from the fear of poor decisions through the illusion of infallability.
And that, brothers and sisters in spirit, is my greatest fear. That the concept of division by blood alone has taken root within the Doctrine of Fire. That by preaching the infallibility of nobility and bloodline on one hand and the dehumanization of the common person upon the other, it will fester and rot the very soul of the faith. That it will spread like blood poisoning’s black tendrils, killing those it finds weak, unworthy, or who stand in opposition.
So I call to all of you, fellow Children of the Mother. Do what you can. Aid those that the Abomination of Fire will persecute. Preach reflection and responsibility to those that will listen. Resist conversion and assimilation by the dragon in disguise. But in all things, temper your actions with understanding of your motivations. Do not cloak vengeance in the guise of charity. Do not coat contempt in a veneer of compassion. The Mother calls on us to understand our intentions, and act upon them. Go then, and do as your soul dictates.