Cult of the Dreaming God
The Zithraeli view themselves as the only true Gods living in the world of Veska. There is no true faith known before their own kind, and thus, they see it as their right to remain the rightful 'Gods' that lord over men. In exchange for being subservient and loyal to Zithraeliach, those that serve the Dreaming Cult are given the freedom to view and live within their idealized reality. All they need do is serve, and they are taken away from the world to live their idealized reality.
AND THEN THREE SHE-WITCHES GATHERED UPON THE LORD OF ZITH. FROM THREE LEGS THEY BROKE THEY FASHIONED UPON HIM THREE WRITHING CHAINS. FROM THE MUD BELOW HIM, THREE CUNNING SEALS THEY DID MAKE TO BIND HIM. MAY HIS FLESH BE FOREVER BOUND. MAY THE ONLY SOUND AND REMEMBRANCE BE DROWNED. SEEN ONLY AS MERE BUBBLES BENEATH THE FOLDS OF MIDNIGHT. SO TOO WILL HIS BROOD NOT SEE DAY. SO TOO HIS THREE BROTHERS WILL THE WITCHES FIND TO SLAY.
AND SO TOO SHALL THEIR NAMES REMAIN FOREVER LOST.
Ancient after-war Sahali text.
Those that are found within the Cult of the Dreaming are all serving beneath Zithraeli masters. Whether a brood found somewhere nestled far within an ocean, or a single member of the race trapped within the waters of a deep lake, the Cult of the Dreaming's primary purpose is to serve the Zithraeli. Thus, structure is rather simple.
Zithraeliach: The Lord, sometimes called 'Zith' for short, is the God of the cult. He is also the master of all Zithraeli, and has lived upon the world of Veska since time immemorial. Very, very little is known outsiders about Zithraeliach, with even occult scholars having minimal information to offer about him. Those that worship his cult know him as a benevolent deity that sends his divine messengers from the oceans to guide and bring to the Great Dreaming; a state of bliss that is simply described as their idealized reality. Zithraeliach is bound by chains and seals that lock him in the deepest depths of the ocean, making him impossible to reach outside of the Zithraeli, or those that have been warped enough to live in such horrendous conditions.
Zithraeli: The Zithraeli are his divine messengers. They're a species of ancient, eel-like creatures with incredible intelligence, and are capable of projecting their minds and thoughts into reality. They are also capable of absorbing and detecting the thoughts of others. With this, they shape and grant willing servitors 'blessings' in the form of idealized dream-states that give them whatever they may desire. So long as the Zithraeli are obeyed, they will bestow their worshipers with the perfect world.
Deacon: the Deacons are the scions of the Zithraeli. Much like the Zithraeli are to their lord, the Deacons serve as divine messengers that carry the Zithraeli's will upon land. Because the Zithraeli are unable to effectively move upon the earth without severe alterations to the body, the Deacons are what serve as essential 'hands' to the Dreaming Cult.
Those below Deacon are simply seen as members of the flock that serve the cause.
Cults dedicated to the Drowned God are generally built entirely around a single member of the Zithraeli race. When a Zithraeli rises to the surface, they begin to propagate and gather worshipers willing to serve them. None are capable of denying a Zithraeli's whims; for they promise purity in both body and mind. Those that willingly accept their recruitment will find that their minds are granted brief euphoric illusions of their idealized reality. Whether that reality is depraved or pure matters very little to the Zithraeli, for minds are just as malleable as flesh to the creatures. The cult promises its worshipers an idealized reality, and grants them that perfect reality whenever the coven accomplishes their tasks.
This is called the Great Dreaming. The Great Dreaming is when a Zithraeli implants powerful illusions into the mind of a victim, allowing them to escape the reality they're left in to indulge in whatever they may desire. Reality fades, and the cultist is left to experience everything they may desire before joining the cult; all they must do to achieve this bliss is to serve the cause of the Zithraeli.
The Zithraeli cult seeks to bring forth a cataclysmic event they refer to as the rapture; wherein the world will be left flooded by the ocean, burying all lands in Zithraeliach's domain. When this happens, nothing will ever be capable of resisting the Zithraeli's influence. They may swim and surface to anywhere they may desire, and subsequently, conquer all who once opposed their expansion. The cult itself believes that during this event, the 'scum' and 'impurity' left within the inner self will drown beneath the waves, rising to the surface as their minds are left to be altered into forever indulging in their perfect, ideal world. A permanent state, trapped within the Great Dreaming.
The Cult of the Dreaming God formed shortly after the binding of Zithraeliach, the deity and leader of the Zithraeli. While the Zithraeli have always sought to expand their influence from their underwater homes, the event that lead to their God's shackling has long lead to the Zithraeli being left bound to the depths below. Their expansion cannot continue without their God's freedom. Thus, the Cult was formed in hopes of further expanding their across the world. When a Renegade faction of servants rebelled against the Zithraeli, they were only further sent into obscurity.
In short, the Cult of the Dreaming God formed shortly after the Zithraeli saw the first few faiths begin to come into existence. For centuries before the first sign of worship, the Zithraeli were ever-present, and in essence, seen as literal gods, capable of shaping and molding both body and mind at a whim. When they faded into obscurity and the first sign of faith began showing on the surface world, however, the Zithraeli saw this as not just a blasphemy, but an insult. They were not just eschewed or thrown away in favor of another God; but they were forgotten. Lost in time, with no memory or recollection remaining of them save for the scant tales spoken by the Rana.
Mythology & Lore
The Cult of the Dreaming God believe that their deity, Zithraeliach, was bound and chained by Three Witches They believe that their lord slumbers in the depths in an unfair confinement, and promises to bestow paradise upon those that serve or carry out his will. This paradise is in the form of what they call 'The Great Drowning'; a catastrophic event where the world is flooded over by the ocean's waters and everything is buried beneath the waves. While Veska is drowned beneath the waves, the chains binding Zithraeliach will snap, freeing him from his confines.
To those who denied the faith of the Dreaming Cult, they will not be harmed. Instead; they will undergo a process that the cult refers to as 'cleansing'. While the ocean drowns everyone beneath its waves, their God will allow all sin and evil to seep out from everyone's mortal shells, where they float to the top of the world as useless dregs.
Dregs are an important part to the Dreaming Cult's mythos. They believe that all of man's sins are carried in a concentrated darkness, which are called dregs. This darkness, taint, or 'impurity' within one's body is often likened to pollution flowing throught the water. The primary teaching of the Dreaming Cult is to expel these dregs from one's mortal shell, where they are left to languish without a host to latch upon.
Furthermore, the Zithraeli are likened to Gods by the cult. They are seen as second only to Zithraeliach himself. They provide what is called awakening to those that follow the cult's teachings; periods of bliss brought forth by implanted memories and cathartic comatose states that allow anyone caught by it to experience whatever it is they most desire. Such a gift is greatly valued, and often the true reason why people join the cult. They are promised what they desire most, and should they continue to follow it, they will be given a reality that follows their own very ideals and personal preference.
The Dreaming Cult comes solely from Zithraeli influence. When their great empire crumbled and the Rana chose to rebel, the Zithraeli had crawled to hiding and were left with nobody to influence the surface world. In an effort regain control, cults have slowly began to continue rising. Under the promise of performing the cult's whims, their followers are bestowed countless boons and pleasures matching whatever they may desire the most. Due to this enticing prospect, the cult has grown exponentially across time.
Tenets of Faith
"To Drown is to live unburdened." -- To relieve oneself beneath the waters is to give one's life to the Drowning God, and thus, relieve yourself of all sin and pain, so that you may be reshaped in his image.
"Peel away the dregs."-- Purge oneself of impurities. Find everything wrong with oneself, and remove the sin from yourself while you can.
"Hopes and ambitions are all just grand dreams." -- Refers to the fact that said ambitions and dreams may be too lofty to achieve. However, all may be obtainde through faith in Zithraeliach.