Urakan

Urakan is the Overdeity of the Uruk pantheon, and most Uruk in Taan worship him either directly or indirectly.

According to scriptures, Taan (or rather, the universe) was created by a deity called Varkin; Varkin allowed other gods in the plane of Elysium, or Heaven, to add to his creation. It is said that other deities created life and peoples who could worship them; and Varkin loathed this abuse of his gift – so he created a perfect race, a master race of warriors, whose sole purpose was to destroy all else that lived, and purify creation itself. Where other deities had created life, Varkin now created war and death to fill his creation with.

Other gods refused to fight Varkin directly, and thus inevitably had to surrender their creations to his whim, as the master creator on whose canvas they painted; war amongst gods would be a serious thing indeed. Hence they retreated to heaven, and were forgotten as their followers were slaughtered. The oceans of the world formed from the blood of Varkin’s opponents, purified by the aeons into water and mud; and their bodies formed the dust of land.

But one deity did not accept this; and that deity was Urakan. He set out to end the war, by challenging Varkin for control of Creation itself; and thus the first conflict occurred amongst Gods. Urakan seized control of the Perfect Army from Varkin, and turned it against him; all bar a tiny handful were slain, but with that advantage Urakan slew Varkin’s avatar and banished him forever to Elysium, leaving Urakan alone to fix the devastated world.

From the detritus of war he formed a shell at the edge of the universe, and on it he set the Perfect Army’s remnants free, gave them their free will, and gave them Creation. The Perfect Army, an army no longer, took his name as their own to honour him: the Uruk.

It is Urukanite doctrine that Urukan does not manifest in this realm even though he makes his presence felt indirectly; that the Sun is the funeral pyre Urakan built for Varkin’s avatar; that Varkin’s essence and ‘desire’ for wickedness and destruction still lingers in the world waiting to corrupt the unwary and impure; and that Magic and Symbols are the ‘’leaked’ essence of Varkin’s divinity.

There are many sects of Urakanites, all of whom have different emphases. The single largest is the Imperial church, also called the Church of Urakan Invictus, which celebrates his victory over the enemy and stresses the militaristic side of Uruk nature, and in doing so claims legitimacy for the military effort to unite all Uruk under one Imperial banner in Urakan’s name.

There are Urakanite sects (including of Urakan Invictus) that preach that the First Empire was sacred and devoted to Urakan, and that its destruction was proof of Varkin’s power to destroy even now he is dead or banished. Most of these say either that the Wastes of Arbina are cursed, tainted by manifest darkness, and most such sects lay blame on the mad and final emperor Kazad III, who is said to have been corrupted and used magic to bring down his own Empire (most stories do at least say it was accidental, though a few claim he was corrupted and warped by magic into a demon of some kind who then followed Varkin’s will).. This belief that the great desert of Arbina is cursed and wicked, has severely hindered exploration throughout history; the ever-changing sands make travel there difficult, and people vanished sufficiently often to maintain the mystique – though many of the world’s oldest and wealthiest families began as merchants plying trade routes across it, and laying claim to the most predictable seasonal oases there.

Some Urakanite sects go further than that, saying all magic is intrinsically evil and abhoring its practioners. This sect was empowered somewhat after the discovery of Elvenkind, highly magical creatures who then put prohibitions on Uruk expansion and mastery over Taan (in violation of Urakan’s commandments!). These days it is not widely followed, though it has blended worryingly into extremist nationalism and xenophobia.

Urakanites, in the days of the Empire’s founding, held that Uruk were the last living sentient race in existence, all others having been destroyed in Varkin’s war. The discovery of Elves was a nasty shock to the faith, and there were several schisms and a century of religious persecution and upheaval as the various sects ‘reinterpreted’ scriptures to allow for the existence of others – in mutually contradictory ways, with some viewing Elves as simply inferior, while others suggested that Urukan must have meant “all mortals” rather than “all Uruk” were the rulers of creation, and thus all races are equal. (Extremist offshoots of this sect even support the abolition of Dragonborn slavery!).

The revelation of Dragonborn was a minor shock to the religion; the deity Talras claimed to have created them, and thus this was only a problem to those sects who denied his divinity – a fact which certainly helped his integration into the Urakan Invictus pantheon go smoothly.

Urakanites firmly believe that ‘true’ gods are those who dwell in Elysium; but Urakan allows proxies and ascended mortals to serve him in Taan. Deities like Bartus and Kitantha are widely acknowledged as such – though sects differ on whether they deserve to be worshipped, or even respected (Imperial doctrine holds that Kitantha fell from Urakan’s grace, hence her removal from the Pantheon; and Kitantha herself no longer puts emphasis on Urakan in her tales of the world, though she has never rescinded her support for the Urakanite creation mythos). Conversely, much as the church of Urakan Invictus also worships Bartus, many other Urakanite sects have venerated other alleged deities. Few of these sects still exist.

Finally, true Urakanite sects say that Urakan does not manifest in Taan (though throughout history heretical movements have claimed their leaders are Urakan’s incarnations – none have ever been widely accepted, and have generally been brutally repressed). The reasons for this vary, though; some say he was banished from this Creation by the other gods for daring to strike out and kill Varkin; others say he’s here but that true deities cannot manifest in a way mortals could truly percieve; others say he is always manifest and is the world and the air and other such ephemeral and essential things; some have even said he is incarnate as other deities such as Bartus, but this is denied by the major deities of the world.

Urakan

Fireborn: Dark Phoenix JtheC