Greetings and welcome to Sword of the Nation’s ninth lore preview. For this one, I wanna delve a little into the mother deity of the Nasivern, Sollente.
Disclaimer: these previews aren’t 100% final and may be subject to change before the book is published, in addition to that, certain information will be withheld for spoiler purposes. Any and all graphics and imagery are to be considered placeholder until further notice. This is still a learning experience for me, so please excuse the bumps and turbulence.
Without further ado, let us begin.
SOLLENTE, THE SHROUDED MOTHER
Unlike the Humans of Orbis and their different religions, the Nasivern race’s fervent faith and devotion is centered around a deity never before heard in Orbis: Sollente, the Shrouded and Merciful Mother.
According to the Nasivern’s own tattered history, if you were to chart a comparison timeline between the tale of the Nasivern and that of the Humans of Orbis, the worship of Sollente as a deity is over three millennia old.
If you distill the core tenets of this faith, the worship of Sollente and her teachings are centered around simple concepts, such as mercy, redemption, hope, and the preservation of all life. Mentions of the Nasivern being heritors of a great sin and an Eternal Mandate also serve as fundamental pillars of this faith.
The teachings of Sollente and her Eternal Mandate dictated the pace for much of the evolution of Nasivern’s culture and achievements. The origins of the Absolute Doctrine, the Nasivern’s ultimate fighting principle, are inexorably intertwined with the devotion of Mother Sollente.
All historical depictions of Sollente portray her as a tall woman with long hair, wearing a dress that covers most of her body, aside from her bare feet, arms, and hands. The upper half of her face is concealed by a shroud, the rest of her face is visible from the nose down. Her mouth is shown with a stern yet serene expression — never smiling.
Sollente’s right hand is always shown raised above, with her index finger pointing straight towards the heavens, a gesture often seen in the practitioners of the Absolute Doctrine. Her left hand, however, is portrayed lowered and with her palm extended wide open, as if she was inviting her children to grab her hand so that she can pull them from darkness.
The tale of Sollente and the pillars of her faith owe their origins to the Nasivern’s creation myth, through hypothetical events that took place during a lost era known as the Primal Age. The song of the Primal Nasivern not only narrates the origins of the Nasivern race as a whole, but also explains the origins of Sollente’s faith and their self imposed title of “Heirs of Sin.”
THE PRIMAL SIN
The Nasivern firmly believe that the gift of life was spread long ago, in a timeless time, by a group of Gods that rose from their thrones to shape creation across the stars. Sollente herself is not credited with the creation and birth of the Primal Nasivern — instead, their creation is attributed to another deity, whose name has been erased by time.
This forgotten deity molded and shaped the Primal Nasivern to act as the antithesis of his peers’ grand design, to stop and unmake their hard work, and reset all to what it should be: a cold, empty void.
The Soulless Primal Nasivern, bolstered by their creator’s rage, rose up in defiance of all life, committing the most abhorrent attrocities across the cosmos, wiping nascent civilizations, razing entire worlds — and committing their greatest transgression: the murder of one of the Gods.
This great sin committed by the Primal Nasivern was a point of no return that that gave forth to the Ancient War of the Gods, the greatest war that ever was or ever will be, where an incalculable loss of life and destruction allegedly took place, changing the course of the galaxy forever.
Following a long conflict that almost saw their life-giving work undone, the Gods and their armies eventually defeated the Primal Nasivern and their sinister maker was brought to divine justice.
Having dealt with their traitorous brother, it was time for the remaining Gods to pass judgement to the remaining Primal Nasivern. The sins they committed against all of creation were so numerous and so loathsome that all of the Gods clamored for their complete eradication.
And that was to be the ultimate fate of creation’s worst sinners — that is, until the final voice swayed the required unanimous decision. The voice was none other but Sollente, the young Goddess. Instead of extinction, she proposed something else: penance, redemption, and mercy.
THE MOTHER’S MERCY
The verses state that Sollente’s proposal was met with fierce contention by some of her divine peers. Ultimately, she was granted the consensus required to carry out her sentence, with one condition: that she’d do it on her own, without the support of the remaining Gods.
And so, the then childless and youngest of all the Gods carried out her plan to redeem the Primal Nasivern.
Spending most of her divine power, Sollente reshaped the Primal Nasivern, breathing souls into their soulless bodies. Her breath of life granted life everlasting to the reborn Nasivern — but this was not to be seen as a gift, but rather, as an instrumental part of their redemption.
Sollente imposed the Eternal Mandate on her new children. The souls she gave to the Nasivern gave them life everlasting, yes, but this seemingly eternal life was a penance — both gift and curse. The descendants of these reborn Nasivern would have an eternity at their disposal to absolve themselves for the sins they inherited.
The Eternal Mandate also stipulated that the Nasivern were to rise from their ashes with a newfound purpose: to act as protectors of all life. They would restart from nothing, and rise up, tall and proud. One day, they would stare at the stars above, sail across them, and defend creation until the end of time itself.
In death, the Nasivern and their souls, eternally bound to Sollente, were to return to their Mother, where they would be measured for their acts. If the Mandate was followed to their best of their ability then they would be granted passage and peaceful respite, shrouded by Sollente’s warm embrace for all eternity — failure to do so would result in their souls stripped away, and the sinners casted into the cold and lifeless void, the same cold void that the Nasivern’s original maker wanted to cover all of creation with.
Once Sollente finished her redemption of the Nasivern, she joined her peers, who proceeded to wipe all traces of the Ancient War. The Gods departed the galaxy to let life’s creation heal and flourish on its own. Sollente now patiently waits for the return of each and every of her children, judging them one by one.
THE PROMISE OF HER EMBRACE
Now reborn and with souls, the Nasivern started a new life. The new Nasivern civilization flourished over the next millennia guided by the Mercy of Sollente and her Eternal Mandate. They knew that their predecessors had committed a great sin, they just didn’t know the full extent of their transgressions.
As the Nasivern societies evolved through time, so did the need for an institution that carried out Sollente’s faith — and so, in the old Kingdom of Isfahan, did the Church of Sollente rise. Led by an Exarch, the High Archons, Archons, Priests, and other lower ranks. They sought to maintain and uphold the teachings of Sollente, and guide the faith of all Nasivern through the songs and verses that told the tale of the Shrouded Mother and her Mercy.
The Absolute Doctrine, while intrinsically linked to the faith of Sollente, does not owe its origins to the church; its exact origin will perhaps never be known, as it was lost in time. While the Doctrine follows the guidelines of the Eternal Mandate’s preservation of all life, at times, it did so through a more dualistic approach, knowing that sometimes, to protect life and the greater good, a warrior must embrace sin and become a sinner so that others may live — a compromise of sinning for the greater good, even if it comes with the ultimate cost of being denied of Sollente’s Eternal Embrace.
This interpretation was never deemed official, nevertheless, that did not stopped it from influencing the Doctrine as a whole — after all, the Doctrine stipulates that each one has their own truth to seek and uphold, no matter how righteous or wicked their cause might seem to others, as long as it’s genuine and comes from within. It is left open to interpretation as to what path each wielder of the Doctrine chose to take.
Sollente’s faith remained strong all throughout the Nasivern’s Age of Mercy, but it found itself at risk of being erased by the rise of the Arghest Empire.
THE EXCISION OF HER FAITH
When the Arghest Confederacy refunded itself into the Arghest Empire and went onto conquering the Nasivern Old World it found itself at odds with the faith of Sollente. There was no room for Sollente’s devotion in the Empire’s new vision for the Nasivern, who proclaimed that the Nasivern populace was to be united by might and steel — leaving no room for ‘myths of the past.’
The church of Sollente was destroyed when the Kingdom of Isfahan was decimated by the onslaught of the Empire, leaving the ruins of Isfahan as an eternal testament of the might of the Arghest.
The Empire outlawed the worship of Sollente all across the four corners of the Nasivern Old World, and proclaimed that devotion to Sollente was akin to shackles that hindered the unbound might and true potential of the Nasivern.
Devotion of Sollente, much like the Absolute Doctrine, survived in clandestineness throughout the entirety of the Empire’s rule. During the cruel and gruesome years of the war against Arghest that encompassed the Nasivern Age of Devastation, Sollente’s faith began to flourish once more. The abhorrent conflicts and massive loss of life of those days led forth to abject terror and despair, and it was during those dark days that the Nasivern once again prayed to their Mother and found a new tenet of her faith: hope.
THE REBIRTH OF HER FAITH
What was left of the Nasivern following the defeat of the Arghest Empire set sail towards the uninhabited lands of what would then be known as the “New World.”
Hope reignited the flames of their civilization, and so did the devotion of the Shrouded Mother. The newly founded city of Nineveh was not just the cradle of their rebirth as a race, but also of her faith.
With time, the Nasivern rose up again and for the first time, gazed upon the stars, and began to carry out the Eternal Mandate for the first time in their history. They established contact with the humans of Orbis, and even aiding the Nation of Vaifen reach an armistice in their war against the much more powerful Republic of Svarzfal.
The Nasivern, still severely reduced in population following the aftermath of the Age of Devastation, was nonetheless determined to continue carrying out the Mandate — until the untimely fall of the Nasivern race at the hands of the Estremoz.
Even at their final hour the Heirs of Sin upheld the Eternal Mandate. Their world was beyond saving, but the last Nasivern heroes were able to destroy the Estremoz before they could set course against humanity.
THE EXTINCTION OF HER FAITH
Two decades have passed since the fall of the Nasivern race. Be it genetically or culturally, the Nasivern race is, for all intents and purposes, set on an inevitable path towards extinction, with an estimated 75,000 remaining Nasivern living in Orbis.
The church of Sollente is no more, and only its ruins remain in the now inhabitable Nasivern home world. Archon Dextrias, who resides in the city of Ternion, remains as the sole living representative of the church of Sollente — the Last Archon of the Shrouded Mother’s Grace and Mercy.
With no High Archons to elevate him, and no Exarch to guide the church, the responsibility of keeping what little remains of her faith rests on his shoulders. The teachings of Sollente, the songs, and the verses live on the last Archon and the last 75,000 Nasivern.
Regrettably, it falls onto Dextrias, in his capacity as the Last Archon of the Shrouded Mother’s Grace and Mercy, to officially declare the Age of Exile as the last chapter of the Nasivern’s story and thus, closing the pages of the book of the Nasivern — but he finds himself unable to do so.
He continues to uphold the religious traditions of the Nasivern and their culture, even if less of his brethren show up every year, he will continue to do so until it’s time for his soul to return to his Mother’s embrace, and not a moment sooner.
The Eternal Mandate will never be achieved, at least not on its intended grandiose scale.
Sollente now awaits for the last of her children to return to her.
I must confess that the name Sollente comes from a song that was very influential to me in my early adult years, back when I was less worn and tired. It’s a beautiful song that I hope you get to listen to at your earliest convenience.
The religion of the Nasivern is something that will only be tangentially touched upon every now and then throughout Sword, Sins, and Soul. That doesn’t mean it’s something that will never be explored, and I intend to properly do so through the Heirs of Sin (working title) prequels, but we’re still years away from that.
If you want to know more about this upcoming book series please check out Sword’s hub page. Please stay tuned for more previews and info as I chart and walk the path towards publishing this dream of mine.
Until next time,