If you remember, last Tuesday I discussed the practices of those Kovathi who worship Wernak-Voar and Husa’mird. Today, I want to talk a little bit about the Kovathi who worship Zelkur-Van and Korduan. I’ll admit that this is an area of Avnul that I’m still working on so this post is going to be a shorter one.
As I’ve mentioned before, Zelkur-Van is considered to be the brother of Wernak-Voar by many Kovathi, and he is the jealous brother. Much of the worship of Zelkur-Van runs directly contrary to the worship of Wernak-Voar. Where Wernak-Voar is worshipped through asceticism, pacifism, and flaggelation; Zelkur-Van is worshipped through greed, violence, and hedonism. There are very few holds that worship Zelkur-Van, but those that do tend to be very dangerous. Most Kovathi are very peaceful, only going to war when absolutely necessary, but for worshippers of Zelkur-Van war is often considered an act of worship. The sacking of an opposing city or hold, a religious sacrifice.
Even when not at war, holds that worship Zelkur-Van tend to be bloody places. Slaves are forced to fight warriors in their religious ceremonies, women are annually kidnapped from other holds and sometimes the villages and cities of other races so that Zelkur-Van’s failed pursuit of Husa’mird can be reenacted with a more…appropriate outcome. Unlike holds devoted to Wernak-Voar, in holds devoted to Zelkur-Van there is a defined warrior class that rules the hold. This warrior class tends to be both ruthless and jealous of their power, but advancement into that class does not come through parentage, position, or wealth (though wealth is very important in these holds). Instead twice a year the Kovathi of these holds prepare a ritual trial. In this trial young fighters that wish to join the ranks of the warrior class fight one another to the death, and only a certain number (determined by the ruler of the hold) are allowed to join. The obvious danger of these trials causes many of the Kovathi to refrain from attempting to join the warriors.
As I mentioned earlier, there are no holds primarily devoted to Korduan, but he is also the only god worshipped in every hold. Korduan is the only truly neutral party in the religious struggles between the various Kovathi holds, and his worshippers strictly maintain that neutrality. Korduan has only two religious festivals – initiation and graduation. These are celebrated by his priests annually in order to initiate new students into the order, and move students up to their next rank. The priests of Korduan are generally referred to as teachers, and they pursue education, progress, and intellectual growth above everything else. These particular priorities are often at odds with both of the other parties. The worshippers of Zelkur-Van are often disgusted with the lack of concern that followers of Korduan show towards wealth and violence, while followers of Wernak-Voar generally find the progressive attitudes of Korduan’s teachers threatening. One of their primary purposes is to create new technologies, which is generally encouraged by followers of Zelkur-Van, and discouraged by followers of Wernak-Voar.
While teachers are almost always respected, this tenuous political position causes many of them grief, and it is not unusual to find them bemoaning the lack of intellectual concern among other Kovathi, even as other Kovathi bemoan their lack of practicality, or lack of concern for virtue. However, teachers generally keep to themselves and focus on research and the worship of Korduan, which puts them beneath the notice of many priests from the other religious orders. This humility, though it is often confused for apathy, is what keeps many of the priests of Korduan both safe, and useful.