Zabû'kùzek (za-boo-KUH-ek | /zabuˈkʊz ek/)
Orcish priests of the Void, who live a life apart
As seen in
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The sailor marched up a ladder to the bridge, tapped on the edge of the hatchway and waited. Eventually someone popped open the hatch. Their guide saluted and Shaundar followed suit with only a moment’s hesitation. “Skipper wants the local charts again, sir,” he informed the face in the hatchway. Shaundar noticed that the face had only a single eye. The other was an empty socket. He wore no eye-patch. He glared at Shaundar balefully and then disappeared into the Pilothouse without a word. Just as Shaundar gave up and assumed that he was not coming back, he reappeared and handed Shaundar a map case. Then he slammed the metal hatch back down. The starhand with them twitched. “Fucking Star-Pilots,” he grumbled. “Give me the creeps.” “You and me both,” confessed Shaundar.The Zabû'kùzek, individually known as a zabû'kùzà are a religious order of Orc Star-Pilots who serve in the Fomorian Navy. Regardless of which orc deity they specifically serve, they separate themselves from the regular rhythms of Fomorian or Balorian society to break an ancient orcish taboo -- they are men who study magic.
The Zabû'kùzà is a loosely-structured brotherhood, which is, in theory, led by the highest-ranked War-Priests of the different churches involved in it -- usually the cults of Balor One-Eye, Cichol, the Death-Bringer, and Conand, the War Bringer. In practice, seniority and rank in the priesthood has little to do with how the order interacts with one another, other than in the case of acolytes versus ordained priests. Naturally, the former are expected to obey and listen to the latter. Far more likely to divide the order are class and cult politics. Clan loyalties, and the interests of the various priesthoods, often clash with the needs of the order as a whole. Still, the brotherhood of the Zabû'kùzek can sometimes find paths to diplomacy through their unified perspective, even when others cannot.
Zabû'kùzek are regarded as strange and somewhat disturbing to the general Fomorian population. It is more "proper" for men to be warriors. Magic has traditionally been the providence of women, so men who practice the Art are considered more than a little odd. Even in places that are more respectful than fearful, the Zabû'kùzek often live a life apart. The War-Priests are aware of this perception. Some exploit it; others resent it. The Pilothouse of Fomorian ships is, therefore, the private domain of the Zabû'kùzek. What transpires in there remains a mystery, even to most of their shipmates. According to some reports, they usually turn the space into a temple to their gods. Certainly, they would not be the only Star-Pilots to relate the experience of Piloting a starfaring ship to a kind of divine communion.
The Zabû'kùzek serve as the Star-Pilots of the Fomorian Navy, as well as the ship's primary healers. They are absolutely essential to the functioning of the Navy, who are completely dependent upon them for safe transportation. Since most other orc men cannot use arcane or divine powers, and thus, cannot see or navigate the Airts, the only other option would be to use Death Engines to Pilot their ships, at great risk to their lives and health. This is still sometimes practiced when Zabû'kùzek are in short supply, but usually only in emergencies. Despite their individual clan and religious differences, the War-Priests soon realized that it would be of mutual benefit to share resources along with their experiences. They formed the order of the Zabû'kùzek both for this purpose, and also, to provide protection for each other within their own clans and faiths.
When the orcs made it into the stars, they were faced with a challenge that threatened their culture. By ancient tradition, men were warriors, and women were witches. Also by ancient tradition, women did not go to war. Yet, only arcane knowledge led to awareness of the Airt-currents that make space travel possible -- and the history of orcs in the stars has been a long history of spacefaring wars. However, there were always some who didn't quite fit in as warriors. They were too frail of body, or perhaps simply not inclined. Like many do who lack power, they sought alternative methods of gaining power, and magic was one of those methods. Thus, the Zabû'kùzek were established. Over time, the order became a haven for those who did not fit elsewhere; in particular, those who do not, for whatever reason, choose to marry. It is also a place that embraces widowers, and gives them a community to belong to.
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Félkótâ llûga chign góthàff
ᚠᛖᛚᚲᚪᛏᚫ ᚻᚢᚷᚨ ᚴᛁᚿ ᚷᚪᛐᚪᛕ
"Seek (the) wisdom of (the) Void"
Religious, Monastic Order