Cult of the River | E. Christopher Clark

Cult of the River


The Cult of the River is a religious sect centered on the worship of the goddess Mira and the celestial body believed to be her domain: The River Without End. Founded by Munchkin and Gillikin halflings, the sect splintered from the duotheistic Old Faith when it renounced the goddess Phina and devoted itself entirely to the worship of one sister-goddess over the other.


The Cult is seen by most Edenians as extreme and in dire need of regulation, particularly with regard to their practice of ritualistic drowning, but they were recognized as an official religion by the Council of Five during the Second Age—and thereby granted all of the protections offered to such organizations. And though the five representatives who signed that proclamation are often derogatorily called the “Council of Corruption,” their ruling on the matter is recognized to this day.



As former Dhoshmorans themselves, River Cultists hold sacred the canonical tales “The Myth of Mother’s Rock” and “The Sisters and the Simulation.” Where they part ways with traditionalists, however, is in their belief that the goddess of chaos (Phina) has forsaken the land which bears her name, and that the only path to salvation is through Phina’s sister and opposing force: Mira.


As such, River Cultists live orderly lives where structure and discipline are valued above all else—to the point of fetishization. Everything in a River Cultist’s life is done on a schedule. Every part of their homes must be just so. And the development of relationships must adhere to a prescribed timeline.


Aside from their belief in the benefits of ritualistic drowning (about which see more below), River Cultists’ adoption of distorted versions of chivalry and courtly love are the characteristics for which they are best known.


Ritualistic Drowning

As the popularity of “Riverism” grew, with refugees from the latest failed reality believing they might never get to go home again, the hardest objection for Cultist recruiters to overcome was “the whole drowning thing.”


Though many interested parties came from places where immersion in water was seen as a purifying act, none could quite get over the act of watching a person struggling for life as their head was held under water by a priest for minutes on end—not at first, at least.


And yet, Cultists had stories—stories of communing with the goddess Mira herself if one could hold one’s self still for long enough, if one could learn not to fight the river’s embrace—and these stories were intoxicating for people who felt as if all hope was lost in the purgatorial paradise they found themselves in. And so, like the waters of a river after a storm, the ranks of the Cult swelled and swelled.

Founding Date
Religious, Cult
River Cultists


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Dec 25, 2022 01:26 by Chris L

The "drowning thing"! Lol, sounds creepier when you describe it like that!

For your consideration, my submissions for the WorldAnvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024. (I've also included some of my favorites other worldbuilders.)

Dec 25, 2022 02:47 by E. Christopher Clark

LOL, right?! I love how the right words in the right order can totally change the way we perceive something.

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