Danne

Table of contents


The Danove Church

Following the teachings of Duschiel, the prophet of True Power who wrote the Book of Danos, the Danove Church has turned itself into a monolithic religious authority aboard the Turritella, and they make constant evangelical efforts to the surface.

The churches are all built in a long, triangular shape, with a pointed roof near the narrow end, which is where a pastor will stand to give his sermons. The congregation gathers in rows of pews that start at the wide end, when attending services or ceremonies, during which they will listen to the pastor and occasionally join together in hymns or prayers. It is common for a church to have some kind of musical instrument in its care, usually one of high quality, and some churches are known for the instrument they house.

History of the Cosmos

The book of Danos teaches that true power, and the source of all magic, comes from a being of pure good and light named Danjove. In the beginning, Danjove reigned all-powerful over the entire cosmos. He had a brother who was his diametric opposite, Hectove, a being of weakness and shadow, who could only enter his brother's presence by standing on the far side of objects and casting darkness, to shield himself from his brother's light.

Danjove built the stars and planets, and he set them spinning around each other, breathing warmth and gently allowing life to grow in his many worlds. But these automaton-like lifeforms made him feel lonesome. Deciding that the world would be even more perfect and good if other beings such as himself existed, he divided his own power into many facets, and infused the lifeforms with intelligence and souls, creating his first sons. But by divinding his power, he sacrificed his own omnipotence, in order to empower his own children.

For a time, all was good, but as Danjove's power waned, and his children grew more powerful and intelligent, Hectove saw an opportunity to gain power of his own. Hectove began to expand his shadows, quietly and secretly, to create a vast underworld out of the sight of the stars, in the ether of the cosmos to stop far-away stars from casting light even at night, and in the minds of men. By misleading them, and tricking them into doing evil, he was able to slowly turn many of Danjove's gifts of power into his own, releasing his own all-evil thoughts into the world. This evil grew stronger over time, until finally, so much of it existed in some places, that the very stars would twinkle and sputter, and Newgulf was stricken with the Blight.

Teachings of the Dannes

There are several core precepts of the Danjove Church. They are as follows, in no significant order:
  • Evil is caused by the influence of Hectove's shadows. Men must purify their minds and bodies, through regular prayer and moral uprightness in order to purge these shadows from their minds. Spending too much time in the total absence of light can cause sickness and perversion. Sufficient purification of one's mind and soul will allow a person to enter the realm and body of Danjove on death, and enjoy paradise. Sufficient perversion will send a person into the realm of Hectove, where they will eternally suffer. Most people remain morally gray, and it takes many lifetimes to arrive in one realm or another.
  • Void Magic is not a True Power. It is a perversion of the True Powers Danjove gave to men, and dirties the soul in its simple discussion, or presence. Using Void Magic causes damnation of the soul and sickness of the body. Sometimes, this is treated as the same as the first precept listed; Void Magic is a form of shadows appearing on magic itself.
  • It is possible to enlighten the minds of men through evangelical efforts. Spreading the faith is a powerful method of purifying one's own soul, and an extremely high calling in life.
  • Paganism is a misguided and foolish belief. Magical powers do not come from a plethora of gods, as the pagans suggest, nor from a philosophical world-soul, as the Followers of Anvari seem to believe, nor can it be explained as a scientific, natural phenomenon. Believing it comes from a source other than Danjove is heretical.
  • Some men are the direct spiritual descendent's of the men originally given power by Danjove, and thus are a level of good and strength above others. These men, in death, remain attentive as they return to a part of Danjove, and can be prayed to as Saints.
  • Certain acts are sins that sully the body and soul with shadow. Several acts, in particular, are sinful. All but the first can be forgiven, if the person repents or acted in the just name of Danjove. Repentance can be a range of self-punishments, ranging from forced prayer for minor offenses to surrendering one's life to the Church, for heinous crimes. Surrendering one's life either entails execution or (more commonly) joining the clergy as a monk or servant. These sins are as follows:
    1. Worship of a false god
    2. The eyes of the haughty eagle
    3. The tongue of a lying snake
    4. The claws of the innocent-killing bear
    5. The heart of the wicked rat
    6. The feet of a mischievous fox
In general, Church ceremonies are fairly loose and organic. A pastor has a great deal of freedom in what texts he may read and what lessons he may try to teach, so long as he does not fall into impiety or neglect any of these teachings above. The higher governing bodies of the Church are known to set priorities for the year or month, though.

Appearance of a typical Danne Authority

A typical Danne pastor wears an obsidian-black suit adorned with an intricate embroidery of pure white and bright yellow. Their collars, hems, and cuffs all carry a bright white stripe. They have to either buy expensive Spiracle and Actin fabrics to produce these colors or wash their ceremonial robes frequently, else the bright embroideries dull in color and thus dishonor their god of light. A Danne pastor must keep himself washed and clean shaven, so that no soot or shadow of stubble appears on his face.

A Danne missionary must wear, along with the above suit, a large, wide-brimmed hat wherever he goes, with the same white stripe around its brim. The shade it casts for the missionary, while quite practical in the traditionally hot Newgulf climates, is symbolic of the shadows and darkness that surround all the places that the teachings of Duschiel have not yet reached. The ability to stay healthy and pure in constant shade and away from consecrated grounds is seen, inside the church, as a calling of the soul, which shows that the missionary is likely to enter the realm of Danjove soon, and it is why missionaries are able to live so close to the darkness.

Leadership

The Danne Church is ruled by a Council of Deacons who are elected by a committee including themselves and the officers of the Greater Synod of churches. These officers were self-elected by the Greater Synod, which consists of three Presbyteries of pastors and elders. The first Presbytery is for the geographical area of Kaipalu, and is the largest, by population. The second Presbytery consists of the rest of the churches in the Countryside, and is smaller by population, but is given an equal voice by the constitution of the church. The final Presbytery is made up of the missionaries of Danne, who always send a chief executive who takes on the title "Duschiel" and speaks on behalf of all the missionaries. The methods for selecting the Duschiel of the missionaries are not public knowledge.

Although ostensibly a democratic congregation, the fact that the the Council and the Synod both elect their own members turns the church into a decidedly oligarchical organization, at the highest levels. Individual congregations, called sessions, are allowed a great deal of self-governance, but the Council decides on which creeds and teachings are most important, and declare the church's stance on controversial issues of the age, if it is deciding to take one. It also gets to decide what it means to be impious. The Synod meets once a month and can appoint new pastors, and the Council once a year, unless a special conference is called.

The central Church of Danne is located near the middle of Kaipalu, in fairly large Chitin building called the Church of the Pipes, famous for it's small, pre-Blight steam organ.