Overtly they claim that every person is a piece of a One True god, and that worship of their own mind and soul allows one to commune with the “Greater Self”. Children are encouraged to have imaginary friends and to be strong-willed, because these imaginary friends are “manifestations of the sleeping true god”. The Sleeping True God has many names depending on the local band of Warlocks, but all know him as the Sleeping God or the True God- in the open.
Warlocks believe that the Sleeping God exists in all of us, and that rooting ourselves deep in the inner mind and the deep voice that is our conscience we can communicate with the True God’s will. There is debate as to the True God’s gender – most assume it to be male but all agree that it is pointless and not important anyway.
The Sleeping God dictates order, willpower, strength, and fortitude. A tribe of warlocks often appoint elders who are most in tune with the Sleeping God to serve as their judges and peacekeepers and are usually called Zeni. The Zeni are neither considered wise nor the final authority in a tribe – however their opinions must be considered carefully – for they may be speaking with the knowledge of absolutes and of what is the will of the True God.
Their religion is simply referred to as Lockism.
Secretly, the Warlocks are members of a vast and sprawling cult that few Warlocks are even aware of. Most elders and certainly all Zeni are aware that the entity they communicate with is in fact quite real, has a name, and it is the name of a powerful and old god that has been banished. They keep this a fervent secret, slowly manipulating the Warlock tribes, people, and hopefully the world itself to serve the will of their great old god, Gorimirog.
Additionally, Warlocks recognize the spirits and domains of other things. There is a realm of forest spirits, animal spirits, water spirits, and earth spirits, with their own distinct and separate hierarchies. Humans, being those parts of the sleeping god interacting with his world, have domain over some of these spirits. Warlocks do believe that some spirits can be quite powerful, such as the Wolf Spirit, the Water Spirit, and The Nightmares. It’s not unheard of for some tribes to revere animal spirits as well as the Sleeping God.
WARLOCK CREATION MYTH
In the beginning there was The One True God. The One True God was born of an enormous growing crystal in the void of nothingness. The One True God was quiet and thoughtful and he spent all his time building squares and spheres out of the leftover crystals. As they drifted away from him, they became what we call stars.
He did this for many years until one drifted back to him and bumped against his back. He turned around and saw that it had become very dirty. Perplexed that something had made his perfect gem dirty, he cleaned it off and set it sailing through the void again.
A few hundred years later another sphere came to him, covered in dew. Though he liked the dew more than the dirt, it was no longer perfect and he brushed off the dew and sent it through the void again.
A few hundred years after this another sphere came to him, covered in moss. Now he was angry. The dirt was one thing. The water was another thing. But moss was water and dirt. In his anger he smashed the sphere, crushed it to fine dust and flung it into the void.
The True God went back to his creating of perfect shining crystal spheres and did this for many thousands of years.
But one day, one of his spheres came back to him again. It was no longer a sphere. It was covered in the remains of the crushed sphere he threw out. It had spires of rock, craters, puddles of water, stretches of dirt, and clumps of moss all over it. He had never seen something that was such a perfect clockwork of chaos. The moss breaking down the crystal into soil, the water bringing the soil to the moss, the moss growing more and more.
He studied it for another hundred years until he knew the sphere by heart and then he built the biggest sphere yet as a perfectly scaled up model. The tiny spires of rock became mountains, the craters became valleys, the puddles became oceans and lakes, and the moss became forests.
In his exhaustion, the True God laid down and basked in the amazing clockwork of life that had been created out of his anger and countless years of life. He slowly began to slumber in the shade of the world, and his dreams lifted from his mind and became deer, and rabbits, and birds, and humans.
After many years the Sleeping God began to stir and have nightmares. These Nightmares had strange masters and they threatened to turn the True God’s greatest work of art into a pile of dust and rubble and devour the people of his world. But the Sleeping God had chosen a single human named Jolaka to spread the warning and save his creation. Jolaka’s people became known as the Warlo-Kai, and Jolaka became the first Ardo-Nustai – the protector and avatar of the Sleeping God itself. Jolaka’s people defeated the Nightmares and their masters and saved the sphere – at great cost to themselves.
RITUALS OF WARLOCKS:
There are so many rituals in Warlock society, it could be said that their entire life is one enormous ritual. A few of note are:
Worship: Warlocks usually meditate, often in a quiet place where they can communicate with their inner soul. As time has gone on, some of this has changed and it can vary widely from quiet solitude, to imbibing on as many intoxicating plants as possible.
Distilled, Warlock Worship is one of dreaming, self-discovery, restraint, and flirting with insanity.
The Coming Of Age: is often an enormous celebration involving lots of drinking and exchanging of gifts. It is probably the closest to Christmas that they have. It is a time when the youth of the tribe “graduate” into adulthood and are allowed to marry. At this point many families take the chance to bribe and exchange dowries and mend any ill will toward their neighbors. At the end of the celebration boys receive their first ear piercing (and likely their first piercing ever) and graduate into men. Girls receive a nose piercing (and sometimes their first piercing ever) and graduate into women. At the end of the celebration, the new adults partake in their first Dark Luminite ceremony.
Moriveil: Typically held mid-spring, or the end of the first week without snow or frost. It is a celebration of the end of winter and of fertility. Dishes of fish are common, as well as vibrant colors. Especially pinks, reds, and yellows. There is often a dance held, where the women are encouraged to invite a male partner. During the evening a bonfire is built and the warlocks cast flowers, perfumes, incense, and candles in it. It is believed that the fragrant smoke from these fires will make everyone around the world particularly more… bountiful for that year. From the people to the animals.
Note: Nearby towns usually don’t like this Warlock holiday, the bonfires tend to be quite strong and leave the area smelling strongly floral and sweet for weeks.
Ascension of Tribe/Clan Members: Curiously, the democratic process is important among the Warlock Clans. Tribal Chiefs and the Chief King are voted on by all members of a tribe, and can be anyone who has passed into adulthood. Chief King are only eligible if they are already a Tribal Chief. The votes for these are held during the Clan-Meet every 10 winters. If a Clan King or Tribal Chief dies before the Clan-Meet their eldest child(if an adult) rules in his place. If his son is not an adult, their spouse rules. If there is no successor, the Zeni serves until the Clan-Meet. At the Clan-Meet a proper election is held (along with Chief King elections)
Zeni and Clan Zeni are likewise voted upon, but are only voted on by the elders of the clan/tribe. An Elder is anyone with a grandchild.
If ever there is a tie between two chiefs, the two chiefs decide upon a method of choosing the ruler. It is custom in Wolfhand Clan for it to be a duel, sometimes to the death. Other clans may choose debates, re-elections, or let the Zeni choose.
Ardo-Nustai are usually only declared so post-partum by all the Zeni, but it is assumed the Spirit of the Ardo-Nustai walks among all clans.
Candle Lighting: Warlocks place a lot of importance on lighting candles of different colors to ward off different spirits. From 1 through 9 depending on the intensity. 1 if you just want a small ward, 9 candles meaning you’re desperate. It’s encouraged to be very specific with your numbers because if you use too many for a smaller issue, the spirits may find a way to “make up the difference” with you later.
Bathing and Hygiene: Warlocks only bathe once a week. They believe that water spirits will get a taste for them if they bathe too much and will be drowned by them. They also believe that smelling like a wild animal hides them from lingering Nightmares. This doesn’t mean that they do not like nice smelling things however. They merely have a preference toward natural things. Rubbing wildflowers on themselves when they finally reach the offensive smelling point isn’t unheard of, and the Moriveil celebration usually results in the best smelling Warlocks you’ll meet all year.
There is rarely any hair-cutting or shaving at all in Warlock society. Men often end up with long scraggly beards that blend into their hair, and women keep their hair long and often braided. The one time when a Warlock will shave is if they are appointed as a Zeni in which case they will shave themselves completely hairless in a ritual to set themselves aside from the rest of the tribe.
Piercings and Bodypaint: These are very important in Warlock society. The moment you reach adulthood you are expected to be pierced for the first time. After that, just about every important lifestep has a piercing involved. Marriage, the first slaughter of an enemy, the first child, and many other steps along life. By old age a Warlock often has dozens of piercings on their face.
Body paint and tattoos are similar, though paint may be for more specific times. A Warlock in mourning paints a skull over their face. A warlock charging into battle may paint themselves to look like demons. During a wedding ceremony, the bride paints herself white and the groom paints himself red.
Tattoos are often applied to ward off certain things. One warlock can take a glance at another warlock and know that they have had trouble with water spirits, knee gremlins, diseases, etc. Their tattoos are a history of the troubles they have had to overcome.
Food: Warlocks prefer hand food, bite sized food, and avoid using utensils at all costs. They claim that requiring utensils to spear food is unnatural and unhealthy. Perhaps due to their animalistic preferences.
Dark Luminite Use: upon reaching adulthood, Warlocks are expected to consume Dark Luminite at a nightly ritual to prepare their minds for communing with the Sleeping God within them. Typically once a week or month these rituals can become loud and rambunctious. With bonfires, body painting, and consumption of other drugs. On other nights it may be as plain as gathering around the fire to drink some Luminite “tea”.
Other Drug Usage: Among warlocks there is no concept of substance abuse. They drink, smoke, eat, whatever in the belief that altered states of mind bring them closer to their inner godliness.
Clothes: Warlocks are perhaps the most relaxed about clothing. Though they love to decorate themselves with colorful bits of cloth, bones, horns, claws, furs, etc, they have no problem with nudity. This is something that often shocks other human settlements.
Warfare and Death: One thing is very obvious in Warlock society. Beheadings. When a loved one or a member of the tribe dies, the body is usually left out for carrion to devour, or sometimes burned. When only the bones remain, the skulls are collected and carried with the tribe wherever they go. Skulls are considered a treasure and the vessel of the soul.
There is also some light belief in reincarnation among the Warlocks. They believe the skull is the vessel of the soul, and one remains alive in spirit as long as one’s soul is intact. Great achievements (whether by Warlocks or their enemies) can earn a spirit the opportunity to accompany their loved ones after death, and their descendents and may even be reborn. The Ardo-Nustai is one such spirit that they believe lives among all Clans, awaiting a time when it may be needed again. Occasionally if a tribe is led by a chief and their descendents for several generations it is assumed that it is the same soul.
If a skull is utterly destroyed, the soul is destroyed as well, and cannot ever be reborn. The only way to escape this is if the remains are placed under a tree, where the spirit may enter the realm of the Forest Spirits instead. The realm of the forest spirits is a way of being reborn into another cycle of the dream entirely.
When there are too many skulls for a tribe to carry, the oldest skulls are gathered and strung up high in trees.
For the enemy however, the head is something to be utterly destroyed. During a violent fight or even warfare, a Warlock will target his enemy’s head specifically. Even if it means missing the torso with an arrow. When an enemy is downed or the battle is over, the heads are chopped off and the bodies left to rot. Then the skulls are placed into holes and pits where they can be pounded and smashed with rocks. This mutilation of the head destroys the soul, and prevents their enemy from ever returning.
Instead of Prophets, the Warlocks revere very powerful warlocks in their legends. They are known as the Ardo-Nustai, and they believe them to be the reincarnated soul of the first ever Zeni who spoke to the Sleeping God. The Warlo-Kai believe that whenever there is a time of great need for their people, the Ardo-Nustai will be reborn to save them.
The first Ardo-Nustai. He taught the tribes of warfare and battle and he raised up a great kingdom against the Nightmare. He is portrayed as a muscular man with a spear in one hand and a bone in the other, often with a very elaborate head-dress. He is the embodiment of justice and war.
The second Ardo-Nustai was Zemya. She was the first to use magic against the Nightmare and taught the united tribes how to use the Nightmare against itself. She preached that the Nightmare was part of The Sleeping God itself, and needed to be tamed and transformed. She was considered a great teacher and a very strong willed woman. She is often portrayed as holding a pile of dust in an outstretched hand, and a scale in the other. She is sometimes portrayed as naked, though usually only in ancient statues. Modern statues portray her in modern clothing. She is the embodiment of mental fortitude and strength.
This Ardo-Nustai came during the plague that nearly ended the Warlo-Kai civilization. He was a medicine man and became enlightened to the deeper secrets of the Sleeping God’s herbs. He taught the tribes the important of rituals of protection and medicine and while many tribes suffered, were it not for his efforts they may have died off entirely. He is portrayed as a bald man holding flowers in one hand, and a sickle in the other, usually with modest clothes. He is the embodiment of humbleness and wisdom.
Nuranis was the grandson of Vennis, and shared his passion for medicine. But more than that he was and early leader of the united tribe, and a passionate explorer. As the New People invaded, it was his idea to travel to the far southern reaches where their ancient ancestors once lived. He is not considered as highly revered as the first three Ardo-Nustai’s, but it is thanks to him that the Warlocks flourished in the south. He is often portrayed with an eagle on his shoulder.
Liensi was the priestess who orchestrated the Gathering many years after Nuranis and the division of the tribes. She was a mother of many children, and a passionate and emotional woman. She did not command much magic, but she commanded the respect of the tribes with her fierce speeches and passionate beliefs. She is portrayed as holding fire in each hand with children clinging to her legs. She is the embodiment of passion and fertility.
The Six Warlords:
The Six Warlords are subjects of much bedtime discussion. Their genders are unknown, but they are the cause of the once unified tribe fracturing into six smaller ones. They often have names after their clans like Blackfoot, Nightdreamer, etc. Many Warlock fables surround the adventures of these six figures. The Six Zeni who grew up together in one clan, and somehow shattered the nation into many.
The Water Spirit Warriors
Legend says that at one time the Warlo-Kai Kingdom tried to conquer the domain of the water spirits. They tried many weapons against the water spirits, but all failed. One day a man thought to cross into their realm and become one of them. First he tried to travel on a log, but he could not stay on top of it. He carved a hole in it and started to paddle but the water spirits attacked.
He was frustrated and sat at the water’s edge wondering how to overcome them, stacking rocks upon each other he suddenly realized that the Water Spirits avoid the Earth. He hired a shaman and a zeni to craft him a boat from stone which he could use to cross the sea.
As he left the shore he cheered back at the powerful zeni who kept his boat floating above the water. But slowly as he lost sight of the Zeni, the boat began to sink. He struggled to paddle and keep it afloat but it eventually sank. When he tried to swim back to shore, the Water Spirits devoured him.