Our ancestors are smiling upon us, brothers and sisters. So long as we hold fast to the ways and traditions they have shown us, we can keep their blessings and find our way home once more.Zytex is the primary— and officially recognized— faith of the Kyteux and the nation of Ponouli. Zytex focuses on family and ancestry rather than a pantheon of gods.
There are no deities within the Zytex faith, only ancestors. As such, the faithful pray to their deceased family for aid, advice, and blessings. The family is crucial in the faith, and all milestones in ones life will be surrounded by family members— both close and extended. Each family will have a long-used pool called a Euchyt— either on their own property, or communal— to which newborn babies and the bodies of the dead are taken, and placed on a wooden raft softened with willow leaves called a eucheun.
No Gods, Only Family
Similarly, the recently departed would be unable to pass into the afterlife without the proper rituals— they will become terrible spectres known as Pinoul.
Unwritten scriptureAs most of the faithful cannot read, Zytex scripture is not written, carved, or otherwise taken down in written form. No, instead it is passed from generation to generation, taught and recited through dances called coulep. Entire books, stories, tenets, etc.— are all passed on and preserved in this manner. To aid the commoners in understanding lesser known choreographies, an elder or other experienced person may accompany the show with oral narration.
The first and foremost tenet is the most crucial;
-Respect your family— living or dead.
-Stay the path, honor your traditions, and you shall be blessed.
-Your elders know better, do not question them.
-We are born of the willows, to fell one without a warning and a farewell is a sin.
-Abstain from trickery, push forward always with honesty and you will be granted strength for this.
Practice & worship
PrayerPrayer cannot be done without water. A shallow carved willow bowl called a tino will be held by the one speaking. One must close their eyes, bow their heads, and lift the bowl with their arms outstretched above their heads before they begin.
The faithful start and end their days with prayers to their ancestors. Prayers are also common during ceremonies, such as births or funerals, during times of distress, before battle, or when one wishes to pass on a message to the deceased.
OutychIn the middle of each month, families will get together for a massive feast called an outych. This could be at a member's particularly large home, everyone could try to fit within the largest available, or an outside venue may be chosen.
Representatives from each household are expected to prepare and present food— as about a quarter of the food will be left to their ancestors.
The organization of Zytex is a loose one, with the grand majority of the faith left to be passed down through family lines. There is a central governing force, however, though they merely handle things such as funding and construction of public Euchyts, eucheun, designating crematory areas, and providing other support such as teaching newfound faithful the coulep of the faith— as well as providing food for smaller families' outychs.
This central force— known simply as the Chon, or Aid— is led by the matriarchs and patriarchs of four long-standing influential families who have carried a long standing tradition of aiding others in the faith.
SectsAs beliefs are passed on from generation to generation without writing— they can become warped and change over time, some even have purposefully taught new or radically altered tenets and myths.
NeutounNeutoun belief follows that their ancestors are not singular entities within the afterlife— believing that when one dies they are collected and stitched into the mass of a great singular being.
EunThe Eun believe Auroul to be a deity, rather than an ancestor.
As such, they pray to her and their own ancestry, and place greater emphasis on willow trees and birth.
HokThose within the Hok sect believe that their ancestors are gods— and upon death they, too, can become such. Ritual sacrifices and short lifespans run rampant through believers in this sect— some going as far as to sacrifice others outside their families, believing it to be a great service. It has been condemned by the Chon, and those who openly worship in this manner are avoided by the public.
It is believed that the faithful's ancestors have existed since time immemorial, and over many millennia, they built the world through blood, sweat, and tears.
The Kyteux believe that they were born within the Cipou River delta, created from willow leaves by the first woman— Auroul. As the myth goes, Auroul was lonely— she had her family, sure, but wished for more— she wished to teach and raise others as she had learned much in her aeons of life.
She then plucked the leaves from a nearby willow and began braiding them into the form of the first Kyteux.
When one dies, and the proper rituals performed, their souls are believed to be sent into a great home in the sky with windows along the floor— from which they watch and judge their descendants.
Religious, Organised Religion
The hok uprisingAbout fifty years ago, the hok sect was brought the the forefront of public knowledge— as a standing member of the Choun was unwillingly sacrificed.
They claimed that they were refused aid— despite being faithful just like any other Zytexics. For months, public sacrifices continued, until they were driven underground again by Ponouli military forces.
I pray that their ancestors can rescind their blessings— curse the murderous zealots from beyond.