Against The Koarites (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Against The Koarites

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere

The dire shortage of logic across Elanith has left the perfect vacuum for the cultivation of the Koarite faith. I have made this point clear in my essay on the atheistic tradition of the Faendryl, "What gods are these? Just as infinite regress points back toward a greater reality than these Arkati, common sense reveals that myopia warrants meager admiration."

It is possible to launch a successful critique of Arkati devotion using only the tools of formal logic. I suspect, however, that you want something more from me. Why be content with mere abstractions when there is immediate need to identify and uproot the pernicious effects of Arkati worship? And why settle for your customary dry toast when I offer honeyed words?

To this end, let us consider the dominance the Church of Koar enjoys in the human empire. In the capital city of Tamzyrr, the architecture of its imposing and aptly named Temple of the Steps ensures pilgrims are weary and supplicant before reaching the seat of the Koarite Patriarch. Note carefully that Koar himself is not cooped up within the temple in the manner of a pet lizard. The pilgrims dragging themselves ever upward encounter the so-called "king of the gods" only in their imagination while in the actual world they fall at the feet of Church authority. This is unfortunate for the Koarite laity but it is in the nature of humans to seek subjugation so that their short lives will have the illusion of greater meaning. It is often those who know poverty and sickness most intimately who fall prey to cheats and tricksters. What poverty is more desperate than a short human life? What sickness can be worse than their always impending death? At least when humans worked the Elven fields they had the good fortune to look up and actually see their gods in the flesh. Aside from the injustice of the relationship between the Church and its adherents, two other problems present themselves in the person of the Koarite Patriarch.

The author of "Worship in the Empire" takes a special interest in the interior decorating of the Koarite leader, "His humble chair is seated at the end of the Whispers Hall, and at the other, a great circular window that views upon the home of our emperors and empresses." Here we have a clear sign of an unhealthy division that slices down into the marrow of human society. Think for a moment on your own internal organs. Would it make sense for the heart to be governed by a separate intelligence from the mind? And if they were to come to cross-purposes, would that be to your benefit? And let us carry the fantasy further, would it be best to have your heart evacuate your chest and inhabitant a distant tower from which it could voyeuristically gaze upon the rest of you? To tear apart the temporal and spiritual authorities in a society is like tearing out your heart and setting it to its own devices. It is obvious that there can be only one supreme authority in a society, one assent among subjects, and one promise of ascent to a race. One cannot serve two masters or accept the promise of two salvations. A clever apologist may try to massage the contradiction by arguing that the human emperors are "chosen by Koar himself" but this only demonstrates the competing claims destined to rip Tamzyrr apart. Human society is accidental society and its chaotic foundation is preserved in the unnatural schism of spiritual and temporal power.

The fickleness of the Arkati, perhaps best exemplified by their so-called king, is not in any way abated by the intercession of the Koarite Church. All mortal races are condemned to live in an increasingly cruel and chaotic world. The only sure remedy for our predicament is found in the capacity to create rightly ordered societies set against the madness of the wilds. Historically, the Arkati are said to have aided in this process when it has amused them to do so, but there is as much if not more historical evidence for their indiscriminate violence. In "The Hymn of Sacred Blood" I write, "The embrace of the Arkati is like the arms of a lover with ever-wandering eyes; it can bring only pain and enhanced insecurity." This remains true. The hierarchy and rites of the Koarite Church provide a false sense of mortal control over Arkati whims but what appears in the guise of covenant is more akin to the empty remorse of an abusive lover. Amongst the Faendryl, by comparison, a people are risen up toward the pinnacle of existence in their Patriarch. Under the Patriarch of Koar, the laity are fed false hope and then crushed beneath the iron weight of a silken slipper.

Koarites, if I could pray, I would pray for you. Instead it is my lot to provide you with reasoned argument and passionate plea with the hope, a true and grounded hope, that you might find a better path.

- Lord Silvean Rashere