The Spirit Kings: A Primer in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

The Spirit Kings: A Primer

The six Prime Dieties of Zheng-Kitar, and main objects of worship on the continent


The Spirit Kings serve as the prime deities for Zheng-Kitar, and as the last living conduits to The Old Gods, of whom only the Great Rakmou-Dahmu remains. While many people and ancient texts recall these "Old Gods" who held sway in the days of yore before The Advent of Recorded History, such beings are things of ancient myth and as all but one are deceased, no longer capable of responding to faithful.   Largely, the Spirit Kings are seen as the "Guardian Deities" of the continent, and are believed to actively oppose the influence of the "Yema", AKA "The Betrayers/Betrayer Gods" who were long ago driven away so as to protect the people of the land from their corrupting influence. The Yema are mostly absent from the continent thanks to the Spirit Kings, with few even holding influence across the land. Those that do mostly do so in small secular communities, hidden temples, and other out of the way churches and gatherings where their faith might go unnoticed or uncared for.   The Spirit Kings are seen as aspects of Rakmou-Dahmu, the last living survivor of the Old Gods, whom the people of Zheng-Kitar worship through faith to the Spirit Kings and the collective balance that comes from upholding all of their tenets and ideals, literally spoken as "Protecting/Following/Serving/Upholding the Rakmou-Dahmu(Balance/Harmony)".  


From the Spirit Kings, the continent was said to be born anew from the wastes of old, and it is from them that a vast majority of all life on the continent came from, having either created them from scratch or preserved them from the earlier era so they could flourish in the new and vibrant land. As being that spawned from the Old Gods before the dawn of Recorded History, the Spirit Kings did not exist in corporeal form for the longest of times, instead existing as the fundamental concepts of reality such as Fire, Water, Wind, and so on.   It was not until the end of the Age of Desolation, when the last six heroes on Zheng-Kitar, faced with impending extinction at the hands of the Yema who wished to eradicate all life on Zheng-Kitar to destroy the last bastion of the Old Gods' faith, gave their lives and became the Six Great Ancestors, sacrificing themselves to give the Spirit Kings corporeal form and allowing them to manifest on this plane of reality for the first time in recorded history.   With their new corporeal forms, the Six Spirit Kings ended the Age of Desolation by driving off the Yema and their followers, saving the surviving people of Zheng-Kitar and ushering in the new era. Ever since, they have been viewed as the saviors of the land, who went on to restore the land to life after it was reduced to a wasteland in the Age of Desolation, gave the people there new life and purpose, and protected the ways and teachings of The Old Gods, their creators. It is through them, and by worshipping them, that the people of Zheng-Kitar believe they can commune with the Old Gods and continue their way of life, protected from the evil influence of the Yema, who constantly scheme and plot to destroy Zheng-Kitar as the last bastion for the Old Gods and their faith in all of reality.  

The Old Gods and The Yema

The people of Zheng-Kitar venerate The Old Gods, the survivors from the world before who formed all things and gave birth to all of reality even before Atlas, who they view as but another mighty creation of these mighty, ineffable beings. They see "The Yema", who spawned from Atlas's corpse, as but pale imitiations and children of The Old Gods, who betrayed their parents and killed them for the sin of granting their creations freedom and sentience.   Throughout history, the Yema had schemed dozens of times to ruin Zheng-Kitar and its people, to spread their own corrupt influences and wipe out the faith of the Old Gods and Spirit Kings, and as such the people of Zheng-Kitar have become very suspicious of outside faiths, distrusting them all as avenues for the Yema to corrupt and destroy them, only the Spirit Kings, agents of the Old Gods, are deities to be trusted, as only they truly have their best interests at heart...and unlike many gods of the rest of the world, the Spirit Kings are seen as united siblings, trusting of each other and often working together(Though they sometimes bicker and scheme), and none are truly viewed as mainly "Good" or "Evil", instead often viewed as a mixture of both, though some such as Guanyong and Xu-Jie might lean towards one side or another because of what they represent.   The Yema are seen as controlling and selfish, unable to let their followers have the freedom or ability to hold belief in other gods, and who cannot unite or work together unless in times of great distress. These "Yema" are the Gods commonly worshipped outside of Zheng-Kitar, such as the Major, Minor, and Risen Gods of the Continent of Corexus and beyond...however, on Zheng-Kitar they are not distinguished from and are merely lumped together under the title of "Yema", and viewed with equal disdain.   Their worshippers are not hunted actively, but shunned and disdained, and viewed with pity as followers of beings so selfish that they simply use their followers in their own schemes. Often, people of Zheng-Kitar will try to convert or "fix" these followers of the Yema, or at the very least not let them near themselves or their community. However, some orders do exist to hunt down these Yema-worshippers and prevent their influence from spreading.  


Unlike elsewhere on Ea, it is highly uncommon for the people of Zheng-Kitar to truly focus on and worship a single god, or only one of the Spirit Kings. Instead, polytheism is common, as people see all the Spirit Kings as holy beings worth emulating...they strive to follow all their tenets to some degree no matter how minor, though they are only human and of course are not 100% perfect in this endeavor, they try nonetheless. Instead, it is common for creatures to favor one spirit king more heavily than the others, generally in relation to one's affinity and which element they are closest to in personality or otherwise. This "Patron" is whom they try to emulate the most, following the closest, and who they try to spread the faith of. So while they believe in all gods, it is common to have one a creature "favors" more than the rest.  

Distant and Decentralized

  Unlike the normal gods of the rest of Ea, the Spirit Kings have no central "form", and exist mostly as unfathomable, distant beings who do not directly interact with the material world. They are ephemeral and ancient beings who are older than even the Yema, and as such unlike the Yema who can manifest directly to their followers, the Spirit Kings are either unwilling or unable to manifest directly to those who worship them, speak to them, and grant them power directly. Instead, to venerate a Spirit King beyond the common norm to receive divine power from them one must delve deeper into the Spirit King's faith and follow the teachings of the Elemental Lords and Elemental Saints.  

The Elemental Lords

  To combat their distant and ephemeral nature, the Spirit Kings, while they might not directly talk to those who would worship them and do not commonly give out divine power directly, do maintain ways of communicating with their followers. For this reason, and to make up for their normal lack of physical or even solid divine form as their existences are usually spread out through their entire elemental home plane and elsewhere rather than in one central "body", the Spirit Kings have maintained twin Lieutenants ever since the dawn of time: The Elemental Lords.   Each Spirit Kings can only ever have two Lords at any given time: One to represent all that is good or positive they stand for, and one to represent all that is bad or negative...these twin Lords hold tangible semi-divine forms, and though they may bicker and even fight between each other they are united in their service to their master, the Spirit King. The Twin Lords serve as the direct and chiefmost servants and voices of the Spirit Kings, and as a physical and more solid object of worship and manifestation of the Spirit King's power to their followers - beings to follow and emulate in a more real sense, as well as conduits to better wield the awesome power of the Spirit King and ensure it is not stolen, misused, or otherwise. They are guardians and leaders of the faith in the broadest of senses, and serve as "real" lines of worship through which mortals and other beings might pay homage to and recieve power to the spirit kings.   However, it is not incredibly common to worship the Lords directly - not for mortals, anyway. Instead, mortals channel and represent their faith to their patron Spirit King through more relatable conduits - ones that were once mortal themselves...the Elemental Saints.  

The Elemental Saints

  At the bottom of the heirarchy of the Spirit King's faith and most closely related to the material world, the Elemental Saints are the conduits through which creatures on the material plane and dedicated followers of the Spirit Kings recieve divine power from their Spirit King. As creatures who were once mortal champions of a Spirit King whether having been a rare being spoken to directly by them or having been a follower of another saint or a Lord who distinguished themselves in their lifetime, the Saints were elevated after their death into the court of their associated Elemental Lord whether they better embodied the "Positive" or "Negative" aspects of their Spirit King, becoming Divine beings themselves who speak to the faithful and bestow divine power on behalf of the Spirit King they serve.   These Saints are the most relatable to their fellow material creatures, and live on long after their death as "Elemental Saints" of their Spirit King around whose teachings mortals build churches and recieve divine power from. Most all faith on Zheng-Kitar is done in churches to the Elemental Saints - at least, by those who look to receivine divine power from a given Spirit King. For the majority of Zheng-Kitarans, passive faith in the Spirit Kings not their patron simply means following the broad lifestyle beliefs of a given Spirit King - and for the particularly devout, perhaps settling on an Elemental Lord to emulate the aspects of, but no more. Only those who seek a Spirit King as a patron to receive some divine power or to commune more deeply with them seek out the churches of the saints.   The Saints serve as a foci for mortal faith, leaving behind teachings and transcibable tenets to form a more concrete religion when combined with the Elemental Lord they serve under. It is considered strange and sometimes outright crazy to worship a Spirit King directly with the intention of recieving divine power or with the intent of forming a deep and lasting faith - for their patron, it is a commonly accepted fact to seek out a Saint's church and swear oneself to it's values...or at the very least, to an Elemental Lord.  

Divine Oaths

Like other Gods, the Spirit Kings have tenets which serve as key beliefs their followers seek to emulate and live their lives by...but since almost all beings on Zheng-Kitar are beings of faith and venerate all Spirit Kings in some capacity no matter how minor, while Paladins, Clerics, and other divine Servants are held to these Tenets much more closesly and strictly than other followers, it is commonplace for each Paladin, Cleric, or directly empowered divine servant of the Spirit Kings to take a Divine Oath, which symbolizes their personal pact with their Spirit King and embodies their vow to serve them in exchange for divine power.   While some of the Divine Oaths listed as examples for each of the Spirit Kings are common enough to be taken by many creatures(Such as the Oath of the Destroyer for Huofeng), and many oaths, once they become popular enough, tend to have entire monastaries and/or groups formed around them(Which is where Divine Orders such as Paladin Orders, Cleric Temples, and such come from generally), all Divine Oaths begin or have begun as singular things; highly personal vows between a single being and a given Spirit King as proof of their concord.   For mechanical purposes, these Divine Oaths should ideally be tailored personally to the character who takes them in accordance with their backstory and what makes sense for that character to swear and abide their lives by. These Divine Oaths are just as binding as the tenets of the spirit kings, and to break it is to break one's Paladin or Cleric vow and lose one's power as usual. These Oaths, then, should ideally be created in communion between the GM and the player seeking to play such a divine servant...though example oaths are given and can be used under each of the Spirit Kings.   For example, a character who grew up in poverty with next to nothing to their name and no one to rely on, no home of their own and having grown up being pushed around might swear the Oath of the Greedy King, swearing themselves to Xu-Jie.

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