Lilism

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Lilism
Information
Type: Nontheistic
Regional Origins: Western Vallaria
Regions Where Prevalent: Griffon's Aerie, Leturia, Secca


The Lil is the sacred text of the ancient Vallarians, although it contains no explicit references to anything of a divine nature and is strictly a set of prescriptions for how society should function. Today, the precepts of the Lil are followed in Griffon's Aerie, Leturia, and Secca. Due to the exodus of humans and dwarves from the region after the Griffon conquest, there are also Lilist communities beyond the boundaries of the former Vallarian territories. In Arangoth, many Vallarian refugees settled in Arania and intermarried with Arangothians, and blended their religious practices with the native Menxism. Some of the dwarves settled in the Key Peaks on the Isles of Myst, while others landed in Arangoth and joined the dwarven community in Ruthmarna.

History

Its first two books were put into writing around the year 1140 BT in one of several warring Vallarian principalities. The first book relates a number of adages and precepts by which society was to be governed; the second relates the history of the warring principalities, drawing morals from the failures and successes of the petty rulers of the day. The third book was written during the reign of Adrovos (1090-1038? BT), who united Vallaria into a single kingdom. It purports to have been written by Adrovos himself, and it describes how this king benefited from the wisdom of the first two books and how this was the reason for his successful unification of the country. Although additional chronicles were added to the end of the Lil until the year 790 BT, these books are considered apocryphal and only the first three books are deemed authentic, sacred, and immutable.

The Lil was translated into the Griffon language around 355 BT, and the translation included a number of distortions which were later used to great advantage by the Griffons. For example, the original version of the Lil had included the line, "The enlightened shall rule over the unenlightened." The translation altered the meaning to, "The winged shall rule over the unwinged." This was not a deliberate distortion, since the same word means both "winged" and "enlightened" in Griffon; however, the line was used to justify the Griffon seizure of power in 312 BT. (Similarly, the same passage in the Leturian translation of the Lil says, "The tailish shall rule over the un-tailed.") Virtually all copies of the older version of the Lil had been burned by 110 BT.

Belief System

The Lil is thus used as a basis for both moral guidance and secular administration of justice, and an enormous secondary body of literature has grown up around its proper analysis. Libraries of these meticulous studies exist in all the major Lilist cities in buildings known as the Halls of Justice, which function both as courts of law and as places where citizens may ask trained Lilists for advice on personal problems. The Lil has therefore a total sort of power over its adherents: its authority extends from punishing high treason to encouraging young griffonettes to eat their peas, from hearing murder cases to advising those with marital or financial problems. The king is the highest authority regarding interpretation of the Lil but rarely exercises this power.

Cults

Lilism in and of itself promotes no specific religious cult; however, it does urge each citizen to adhere to a religious cult. This aspect of religious observation has no moral content -- that is reserved to the Lil -- but is limited to the observance of certain rituals in honor of a spirit or an ancestor. These rituals are considered necessary to avert terrible catastrophes from occurring, and the Lilist state organization considers it imperative to make certain that none of the existing cults be neglected. Ancestral cults are generally limited to extremely ancient families, usually Griffon families. Other objects of worship can be related to one's occupation, to one's ethnic background, to a particular illness or injury one has survived, to one's military service, or to one's economic status. However, each citizen is registered with a single cult (at the age of twenty, before which one follows one's parents' cult) and after that point it is very difficult to switch cults. The cults often serve as networks for providing their members with charity in hard times or with jobs. Each cult ritual is kept a secret insofar as is possible, and they are believed to be very diverse in nature. Cults have temples as well, which vary tremendously in size and ostentation.

Other Information

The leading center of Lil interpretation is the University of Randegow, in Griffon's Aerie founded in 376. This establishment resembles a cross between a law school and a theological seminary.

A Brief Passage from the Lil

"When I was young, my heart was ruled by my own whims. When I was somewhat older, my heart was ruled by the whims of another. When I became an adult, my heart was henceforth ruled by the State. This is the noblest of loves. And when I was young, I would have laid down my life only for myself. When I was somewhat older, I would have laid down my life only for another. Now I would lay down my life for the health and prosperity of the State. This is the noblest of deaths. He who serves but himself is the most selfish. He who serves but his lover is selfish also, though differently so. He who serves the State is truly worthy of praise. The State is more personal than myself, and the State is more beautiful than my lover even in my own eyes. Without the State, I have no personhood and no identity; and without the State, my lover is torn from my arms. A person serves himself by doing what will make himself the happiest and the most prosperous. A person serves another by protecting that person from evildoers, and showering affection upon that person, and by seeking to make that person the happiest and most prosperous. It is similar with the service of the State. Likewise there is no difference between spending many nights apart from one's lover, or spending many days away from the State: one's heart grows sick within one, and one longs for speedy death."