Mythology & Lore
At the birth of each man, animal, and anything else that has a spirit, Sote bestows a Shai, often depicted as an orb of light. This is sometimes considered the spirit or soul itself, other times it is simply considered a guiding force in the life of that creature. It can be merciful, sadistic, or even lazy, and if a person has generally good or bad luck, it is almost always credited to their Shai. Sote determines the length of life of that creature via their Shai, snuffing it out when he deems their life complete. It is said by Baqists that Sote knows when each creature will die, and Kaika determines how. Treists generally do not agree with this, saying that a creature's Shai only determines their fortune in life, and Kaika determines both when and how they die, as well as causing it to happen.
Baqism is a very old faith, having been one of the first along with Treoism to strike up significant followings and establish lasting territories. Yajemir has been loyally Baqist since the Second Era, having been Baqist from the moment worshipers were divided among the gods. Unlike Treoism, however, Baqism has changed very little over the centuries, only spread.
Tenets of Faith
Return to Sote some of what he bestows upon you Care well for your Shai Do not harm another's Shai Do not harm another's wife, children, servants, or livestock Do not damage another's ship, home, or property Do not steal Do not lie Remember Sote and your Shai
There are many ways Baqists believe someone can harm another's Shai, including spells, potions, incantations, and with certain types of plants. Harming another's Shai is seen to be as bad as assault or battery. Possession of materials to make these potions or certain types of plants is grounds to imprison. Whole areas of Baqist nations are left uninhabited because these plants grow there. The importance of one's Shai to Baqists cannot be overstated. Theft is another severe crime to Baqists, as riches and fortune are seen as gifts from from one's Shai. This is punished in various ways, but almost always seems harsh to those who are not Baqist.
Periodically, it is expected of Baqist worshipers to have their Shai examined and cared for by Shai-hiit, or Shepherds of the Shai, which are present at most Baqist temples. Shai-hiit employ various methods of aromatherapy, acupressure, incense, and acupuncture to soothe one's Shai, align it with the person's wishes, and cleanse any ill will the Shai may have toward their person. This is often quite expensive, and those who cannot afford these sessions are often ostracized. Another major aspect of Baqist worship is sacrifice. This takes many forms depending on what is available but common examples are throwing riches into a large pit, a lake, or the ocean. In Qanin, food, water, gold, and other riches are thrown down a well to the lair of a Dragon called Cilzryn. Again, those who cannot sacrifice much are often looked down upon by other Baqists.
During their first session with a Shai-hiit, infants with particularly good Shai are sometimes chosen by the Shai-hiit to study at the temple. They receive their sessions with a Shai-hiit often and free of charge until either the Shai-hiit determines they are not as well connected with their Shai as initially thought, or until the age of four. At this point, if the child and their Shai are still well connected, they will leave their parents and begin their studies at a Baqist temple. In most cases, it is seen as an honor to have a child chosen by a Shai-hiit, and most parents do not object to their children leaving to study at a temple. While many are chosen to study at the temple, only a select few who are said to be especially connected with their Shai continue their studies into adulthood to become a priest. Each temple is overseen by eight high priests. If not enough qualified priests are present, one will be found at another temple and sent for.
Granted Divine Powers
It is said that Sote granted his worshipers Enchantment magic, which allows the user to bestow special effects onto objects using their Shai. In some cultures, it is believed you can also Enchantment certain kinds of animals using the same magic, though this technique relies heavily on outside influences such as potions and other tricks.