To adequately understand modern Thannism, one must look at all the factors that contributed to its current state. Of these, there are four extremely prominent ones that have given the majority of its tenets and outlook. In chronological order, they are: the prophet Thane, Thane’s wife and religious partner, Balseetha, Pontifex Tannar, and the Sadiri Empire.
Thane (last name unknown) 1 ¥ 465 - 2 ¥ 24, Prophet
Born in Yurash shortly before the Second Convergence out of a tryst between a young servant woman (name unknown) and a young Sadiri noble, Thane had a great deal of difficulty coping with the hedonism of Sadiri life. Growing up in one of the few palaces of House Urra, he was exposed constantly to the base and empty existence of Kuri addiction; and, before long, became addicted himself. Then, during the Convergence, when Kuri became so expensive that many addicts died of withdrawal, Thane managed, just barely, the maintain his sanity. Through constant meditation and strict austerity, he finally overcame his habit, gaining a whole new outlook while doing so. From then on, he saw the Sadiri Empire as a collection of driveless, soulless cogs in an equally soulless machine. When the snows finally thawed, and the populace were themselves thrown into spiritual upheaval, Thane began his ministration.
He traveled northward, performing miracles to all in need; causing barren fields to blossom into life, the sick to be healed, empty souls to become filled. Although he believed in the natural origin of the Convergences, he was convinced that, through more equal relations between the rulers and their people, that essentially all the societal strifes of Sadir could be eliminated. This philosophy greatly caught the attention of the tired peoples, and, along with the miracles he performed (which were not present in the Empire before his time) quickly won them over. Soon, he amassed a great following which numbered 10% of the entire decimated Sadiri populace at the time (which grew to 30% over his time in the north) and brought them, along with all their worldly possessions, north, where there was a great deal of unclaimed land. Within the next twenty-one years of his life a fledgling civilization was born, supported by his iron will, his miracles, and the unwavering faith of his adherents.
Towards the end of his life he met the beautiful Balseetha Ramiri (in the guise of a peasant), daughter of the Lord of South Sadir, and fell in love. Her beliefs coincided so perfectly with his that they began sharing the guidance of his people with her, although her ability to perform miracles was lacking. Eventually, two years before his death, they were married. Shortly after, he fell dubiously ill, whereupon his responsibilities to his people were conferred upon Balseetha.
Equality – Thane believed that all people, male or female, rich or poor, faithful or faithless, were equal.
Asceticism – Hedonism and worldly excess were dangerous and this to be avoided.
Charity – People were improved by improving others. Sacrificing of one’s own assets in the aid of others bettered both parties.
Perspective – To know the best way of acting, one must expand their perspective beyond their individual self, looking to see how they will effect all before making their move.
Balseetha Ramiri, 1 ¥ 479 - 2 ¥ 48
Daughter of the second most powerful person in Sadir, Balseetha was greatly annoyed by the Convergence. All around her, in the architecture, the people, the style, she saw the greatness of the Empire she had been born into just a little too late to enjoy. Her capacity to advance in power and prestige extremely limited, at least until a far later date upon the Empire’s recovery, she was desperate from her adolescence to secure some sort of foothold in the power structure. However, her father still being quite young and in good health and her peers in House Arishnea being unsuited for marriage, she had found she had no opportunity for advancement. At least not without a great deal of hard work, hard work she was unwilling to put herself through.
When Thane’s newborn nation had reached enough significance to be of interest to the Empire, she saw her chance. Her father, as well as the current emperor had both agreed on that by establishing trade, while the new kingdom was still young, they would have a better chance of ensuring it’s stability, an act that would allow them to regain some measure of face. Until that time, not a single rival nation had reached the size or stability that would allow trade, and Thane’s new kingdom appeared in all aspects to be achieving those necessities and more. And so Balseetha made her bid to become the first envoy, a decision that was relatively uncontested by the change-hesitant nobility. No one else wanted the position and so she received it. That was the last contact any aligned-Sadiri had with her. The guards that accompanied Balseetha were found dead, throats slit, near the edge of West Sadir just before entering into the disputed lands.
Soon, she entered the newly designated boundaries of the Kingship and made her way for Barentry, the heart of the new land. Her trip was easy enough, even though she posed as a peasant, people still treated her with every possible courtesy. Upon her arrival, she began attending Thane’s ministrations, every he spoke, she was there. An extremely intelligent woman, Balseetha quickly extrapolated on what he said and was able to predict his entire philosophy from a few sermons. She made her way closer to him and he soon fell completely in love. Until that time, Thane’s other disciples, although faithful and wanting to learn, did not intuitively ‘know’ what his overall idea was all about. In Balseetha, he saw an equal, someone to exchange ideas with, someone to love. Their marriage brought Thane to a more understandable, less aloof, level, one more relatable to the common people.
Their marriage, a simple ceremony in front of the people to affirm the bond, took place in the summer of 2 ¥ 22. Everyone loved Balseetha from the start, a radiant, seemingly-pious beauty who was similar to Thane in every belief. That is why, when Thane suddenly grew ill, no one was suspected of bad will towards him, least of all Balseetha. His miracles, although they had many times cured others of like ailments, could do nothing to save him. He died in the winter of 2 ¥ 24 after degenerating into a quivering mound of flesh, leaving no heir, no family but Balseetha.
The populace, still learning the tenets of Thane, knowing he had words that had been left unsaid, turned to Balseetha for guidance. Guidance she was more than inclined to give. Over the next twenty-four years, she molded the Kingship into the nation she thought it should be, ensuring her power and legacy.
A few years after Thane’s death, Balseetha remarried to a much younger man. Little is known of him as he also died a few years after marriage, but not before siring several sons. Through these sons, and the rigid religious hierarchy she created, she established the second most powerful kingdom in the known-world.
Gender Roles – To establish her comfort, and that of all women to come, Balseetha instituted defined roles for gender. This was taken to a further extreme by Pontifex Tannar.
Class Division – Similar to the Sadiri Empire, a strict class division was created, not during Balseetha’s lifetime but shortly after by one of her sons.
Tannar Thane - 2 ¥ 328 - 2 ¥ 392, Prophet
A direct descendant of Thane, Tannar rose to the seat of Pontifex by the age of thirty (very young for the spiritual leader of the Kingship) through underhanded tactics and politics. A harsh, unfeeling, zealot, Tannar, with his xenophobic practices, is the father of modern Thannism. The ethical laws he imposed spoke to the corrupt priests and nobles (which was nearly all of them) and the peasantry had little choice but to go along with it. By taking the beliefs of Thane, the practices of Balseetha, and the natural antipathy towards the Sadiri, Tannar warped them to his will.
Power hungry, chauvinistic and xenophobic, Tannar was the template for nearly every ruler, priest and noble after 2 ¥ 292. His institutions, which suited the attitude of most gentry, formed everything.
However, despite all his political cunning and motivations, Tannar Thane was a prophet. A few years before his coronation as Pontifex, he received a vision of the world as it ‘actually’ was. In his vision, he saw the world as a battleground between inherently dualistic forces. This concept, due to its importance in the religion of Thannism, will be covered in a separate section. One should note that these forces and beliefs, although described as literal, are actually perceived as personifications of the duality and conflict.
In the beginning, there was nothing except stars (they believe in the Sadiri conception of the physical nature of the universe), an unholy planet and two spirits. The spirits, great and powerful, decided they were lonely and thus decided to conceive children to bring joy and purpose to their lives. They united and bore a multitude of children to populate the world.
Once the children were conceived, the female spirit betrayed the male and locked Him beyond the stars. She then proceeded to raise the children in Her wicked ways, erasing all memory of their holy Father. However, the male spirit was not thwarted so easily and maintained some grasp on the universe. He agreed not to return and smite Her (which He could of done but She would have murdered the children in doing so) if She made a deal with Him. They agreed that He would remain locked behind the stars until the end of time whereupon He would return and the universe would be that of His and His children alone.
When the time came for His return (the year of the Second Convergence) She would not relinquish Her power and refused to let Him return. He was angry, but by that time the children had forgotten of Him and so did not desire His return. Thus She remained and He was held back from returning. Only one man in the sin-steeped world of the mother chose to give Him His due. This man did not know his course but brought about the Father’s will nonetheless.
With the Father’s return delayed, but with the prophet Thane beginning his work, the war was started. Although the Father and Mother are both present in everyone, by behaving in certain ways one can improve their chances of earning the favor of the Father.
The Signum Sanguine:
A predominantly black ellipse with a small circle of white at the top, divided and surrounded by red. This symbol depicts the human condition and the nature of the world. The black is the predominant evil of the Mother. The white is the overwhelmed yet pure good of the Father. And the red is blood (essence?) of the human race and the individual soul.
Tenets and Institutions (original and altered):
The Aegis - Known by other peoples as the Order of the Blade and Order of the Scroll, the Aegis were each created to protect the ways of Thannism and its people.
Gender Roles – What Balseetha had laid down, a system to ensure the support and respect for women, Tannar reworded to suit the desires of the male rulers and priests. By subverting he intent, but staying true to the letter of what she said, Tannar was able to make it seem as though it stayed within her meaning. Her intent was that men were supposed to protect and
Class Division – Similar to what he had done with the role of women, Tannar increased the rift between the rich and the poor.
Cosmology – Until Tannar, Thannism had been more of an ethical system, a way of living. He changed all that through his stunning vision of the true nature of the world.