|The Light of Lights
The Church of Deku
“All at once I felt within myself a resolve harder than diamond. As I gripped my blade and charged the horde, I knew I would see tomorrow… and tomorrow would see me.”
- The Journal of General Harvesh, Seventh Prime General of Bestia
The histories are vague on much, but what little details have been pulled from the oral traditions all seem to agree that the world before Deku’s creation was fraught with peril. The Dragon Kings and their wrath are the stuff of legend, and dark were those days without a light to shine in the hearts of man. The Primodials saw this need and fashioned a being of boundless hope – a paragon of never-ending insistence on the betterment of all things.
Appearing differently in every depiction, Deku is always associated with the sunrise, and is usually depicted as an uplifting and steadfast figure. In their war-like poses, they are represented often with a glaive, and the Church of Deku takes that weapon to be sacred. Deku’s entire focus is on the concept of hope in all its forms, and they directly oppose Saveus
with fervent and blinding revulsion.
While priests of Deku will entertain and entreat with caution nearly any worshiper of any god, they see nothing but husks in those that give themselves to Saveus' despair and therefore seek only to swiftly end the lives of those that worship them. While the church of Deku is seldom regarded as militant aside from the occasional insurgency, warbands of Dekinite paladins and warpriests are known to regularly attack and sabotage cabals of Saveus' cult wherever and however possible, often with savage force.
Worship and Hierarchy
Deku’s worship is universal, but is especially prevalent around those communities harboring the downtrodden and destitute. Every major Enosian urban center has at least one shrine to Deku, provided said city’s government allows the worship of this god. Even in such places, it is said that the truest temple to the god of hope is within one’s soul.
Followers of Deku are as varied in race as they come, but they all strive to adhere to the central tenant of the church: “be the light.” It is said by Deku’s adherents that the light is the hope embodied by those that know tomorrow’s sunrise will be brighter than the last. It is believed that this light purges evil from the dark hearts of those who seek to crush hope, that it gives needed order to unwanted chaos and brings necessary chaos to restrictive order.
The hierarchy among the clergy is loose and scattered by design, as a figurehead’s death tends to crush hope quickly. As such, priests and priestesses of Deku are often on their own or in small enclaves, and their teachings can vary wildly. This stands to reason, as one group’s idea of a better tomorrow can vary wildly from another’s.
Understanding that hope is an idea and therefore immutable, the church of Deku prefers to communicate such ideas through a non-spoken unwritten language called Dreamer’s Cant. This language, since adopted by Celestine
’s followers to aid in their abolitionist movements, is designed to covey information pictorially in a surprisingly succinct manner. It appears on all shrines to Deku, but can show up on jewelry, masonry, marblework, or any other form of artistry, sometimes without a large part of the general public even realizing its presence. Still yet, the images and symbols are made in such a way that they always evoke a feeling.
The Rite of Spring:
The first day of spring (15 Tertia) is sacred to a faith centered around the concept of hope and rebirth, and is often marked with a public celebration and feast.
This day (18 Septa) in the late of summer is when worshippers of Deku solemnly reflect on the sacrifice made by those in the Apotheothetical Wars, but specifically remembers the tale of the sacrament that sealed away those monsters. It is marked with a full day’s feasting and prayer, followed by the recanting of a particular poem comprised for the day.
Held the first full day of the first Mortalic Wake each year, followers of Deku stay up through the night while feasting, reading and writing poetry, and socializing with friends and family.
The priesthood of Deku dress as light as the weather allows them, often in brightly colored sheer silks or body paints. Iconography-emblazoned amulets or tattoos in Dreamer’s Cant are also common, and whites and purples are considered holy colors for ritual days.
Be the Light:
An oath to Deku and a reminder of providing hope to those who need it, this phrase is a common farewell among those faithful.
Hands are Best Filled with Those of Others:
This is a reminder that helping those less well-off is central to the provision of hope worldwide.
Hope is Darkest Among the Mirthful:
Those with no sorrow have no need to hope. It is only through the struggles of life that the good moments can shine.
Great is the Weight, Heavy is the Soul:
A way the devout remind themselves of their own imperfections is to remember that even the most hopeful among them have days when hope seems lost, and that it will be found again.
Misery Loves Company: Far from the usual meaning of this phrase, when spoken by a Dekinite the ‘company’ is a warband of glaive-wielding warpriests intent on culling the ‘misery’ that is a cult of Saveus, the god of despair and Deku’s immortal enemy.