SOLLENTE, THE SHROUDED MOTHER
Unlike the humans of Orbis and their different religions, the fervent faith and devotion that the Nasivern race professes is centered around a deity not mentioned in any of Orbis’s religious beliefs: Sollente, the Shrouded and Merciful Mother.
According to the Nasivern’s own tattered history, 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 the imposition of an Eternal Mandate are also fundamental pillars of this faith.
The teachings of Sollente and her Eternal Mandate dictated much of the pace of the evolution of the Nasivern’s culture and achievements — even 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, while the rest of her face is visible from the nose down. Her mouth is shown with a stern yet serene expression.
Sollente’s right hand is always shown raised above, with her index finger pointing straight towards the heavens, a gesture often carried out by practitioners of the Absolute Doctrine. Her left hand, however, is portrayed lowered and with her palm extended wide open, inviting her children to hold her hand so that she can pull them from sin.
The devotion of Sollente and the pillars of her faith owes its origins to the Nasivern’s own creation myths, events that allegedly 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 the circumstances that let the Nasivern to adopt the title of “Heirs of Sin.”
THE PRIMAL SIN
The Nasivern firmly believe that the gift of life was spread long ago 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 designs, to 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 atrocities 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 judgment 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 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, but somehow she was ultimately successful in obtaining 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 the Nasivern now had 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, until one day, they’d stare at the stars above, sail across them, and defend creation until the end of time itself.
In death, the Nasivern souls, eternally bound to Sollente, were to return to their Mother, where they would be measured for their acts. If the Mandate was upheld 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 of their own, 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 maintained 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, the newly established church 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, and its exact origin 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 all that is good, a warrior must embrace sin and become a sinner so that others may live — even if this compromise of sinning for the greater good may come 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. Thus, it is left open to one’s own interpretation as to what path each wielder of the Doctrine choses 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 the so-called “myths of the past.”
The church of Sollente was destroyed when the Empire decimated the Kingdom of Isfahan, who left the ruins of Isfahan as an eternal testament of the might of Arghest.
The Empire outlawed the worship of Sollente all across the four corners of the Old Nasivern 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 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 race 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 the devotion of the Shrouded Mother. The newly founded city of Nineveh was not just the cradle of Nasivern’s rebirth, but also the rebirth of Her faith.
With time, the Nasivern rose up again and for the first time, gazed upon the stars, and began steps to carry out the Eternal Mandate for the first time in their history. They established contact with the humans of Orbis, and even aided the Nation of Vaifen reach an armistice in their conflict against the Republic of Svarzfal.
The Nasivern, still severely reduced in population following the aftermath of the Age of Devastation, were nonetheless determined to continue carrying out the Mandate — until the untimely fall of the Nasivern race came at the hands of the extraterrestrial force known as the Estremoz.
Even at their final hour did 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 survivors still living in Orbis.
The church of Sollente is no more, and only its ruins remain in the now uninhabitable 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’s hard labor and in the last 75,000 remaining 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 fewer 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 patiently awaits for the last of her children’s souls to return to her. Only time will tell what will happen when the last Nasivern returns to Sollente.
Sword of Vaifen is a work in progress. Things are not set in stone and can be subject to change.
Every image, logo, and any other graphics that you see here are placeholders, none of them are final.
2023, by Christian Kaleb Caruzo.