From Dragon Eye Atlas
This page is about the religion. For the culture, see Kiswaili
About 5 mio people believe in the Kiswaili Faith.
There are four gods, but only three of them are the allies of man.
Daara is the goddess of air, responsible for all things temporary and current. Without air, man dies within minutes, and so Daara guides the fate of the now. Todays good fortune, luck of all kinds, success in a single act or short encounter, but also the fate of the battle and the hunt.
Umis governs water, without which man dies within days. His domain is the long-term plans and acts, those things that last, but not forever. Health and harvest, good family and true love, the affairs of states and kings.
Kimdar rules the domain of earth, the eternal and all things that belong to it.
Finally, he-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken is the god of fire and destruction. Man can live without him, but the temptations of the power that fire brings are always present. The Kiswaili people understand that small, controlled fires can be useful, but large and uncontrolled fires are indiscriminate killers and destroyers. In most Kiswaili lands, the use of fire magic is forbidden, and the penalties are often harsh. Fires that can not be put out with a few buckets of water are avoided wherever possible. Temples often eschew fire altogether and use magical lights instead, if they can afford it.
All the gods appear to humans either in their elemental form - Daara is in the winds, etc. - or as animals representative of their domain (birds, fish and amphibians or land animals).
In larger towns, every god has his or her own temple and priests. In smaller places, there is one temple but three seperate rooms, often with seperate entrances. In villages or farmsteads, there is often only a hut or even just one room, in which case the gods will each have a seperate side or wall, with the entrance being in an empty wall with absolutely no decoration or even paint in order to make sure that he-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken will not occupy the empty space.
Kiswaili temples are fairly simple matters, with extensive architectural decorations shunned. There are commonly statues and wherever the local people can afford it, colourful glass windows including skylights in the larger temples. Colour, in any case, is popular in Kiswaili temples and the walls are often painted in bright colours, most often in abstract shapes but sometimes there are pictures as well.
The most distinguishing feature of Kiswaili temples, however, is that they always have a floor that clearly sets them apart from the common grounds outside. Often in beautiful wood carvings or colorful stone mosaics, even the most simple village temple will have at least wood panels or some other covering. Wealthier temples also have carpets. The floor might be the reason that it is customary to take of your shoes when entering a temple, or it might be the other way around.
If a temple has multiple rooms, every room will be consecrated to one of the three gods, with colours and symbols indicating his or her presence.
Kiswaili has no concept of a heaven or hell, but instead believes in a cycle of life and death and rebirth. The rebirth in the Kiswaili Faith is not a personal one, however. I will be reborn, but I will not be me anymore, but a new being. Life is change and to change one must leave the past behind.
This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.
Kiswaili priests are expected to dedicate their lives to the faith and follow no other trade or dedication. That includes marriage and family, though in actuality it is not uncommon for a priest to have a child or two, as the pleasures of the flesh - the domain of Daara - are not forbidden to them. The priest-wives, as the mothers are known, are often employed at the temples to support them and their children. If a larger temple is nearby, they are often sent there to ensure that they do not live in a quasi-marriage with the father of their child.
The priests also act as the local counselor, arbiter and often record-keeper of the village or smaller towns, keeping track of births, marriages, deaths and important events.
The Order of the Shield and Order of the Sword are the two military arms of the faith, one tasked with defending and protecting its temples and holy places and the other with enacting vengeance and justice. All of the faith's paladins are members of one or the other of these.
The Order of the Book and Order of Mercy are the two priestly special branches, though most priests belong to neither. The Order of the Book keeps the records and history as well as conducting any research especially into other faiths. The Order of Mercy is a society of healers and is often found in the baggage trains of armies or dispatched to areas with plague outbreaks.