The Holy Natassian Church
- Adherents: 3,200,000
- State Church: Nivaria, Nicae
- Head of Faith: _Blessed Mother Aphaelia, Emperor _
The Church of Natassia was born in –24 as something of a Western adaptation of the Sacred Notagan Church. Combining Emperor worship with that of their indigenous faith of Kafiona, the Natassian branch was quickly imbued with vitality and fervent believers flocked to the Church. Membership and devotion toward the Goddess continued to increase up to the Sundering.
At this point many gave up their faith, feeling as though their Goddess had abandoned them. Others remained resolute, and when the city defeated the Horde of the Sundering several years later rumor quickly spread that the Goddess descended in person to protect the city and banish the hordes back to the far North.
From that day forth the Church was revitalized. Natassia was restyled as the Mother Goddess and protector of Nivaria, and the vast majority of Nivarians returned to the faith. The church grew so large in fact that most other faiths within Nivaria became extinct, most due to voluntary conversion, but threats and coercion were not unknown factors for some to change faiths.
The defeat in the First Oceanic War shattered the myth of Nivarian indomitability. Once more dissent could be found within the ranks of the church, and in the following decades church unity dissolved amongst an ever growing debate over how the spirit and the doctrine of the church should be. Though these splinter sects were originally hostile, the Second and Third Oceanic wars caused them to put aside their differences to focus on strengthening the church and the state as a whole.
Branches of the Faith
Central Doctrine (preferred alignments: any good)- Core church doctrine revolves around the reverance of Natassia, Goddess and Mother of Nivaria, and the West. Two separate moral codes for conduct exist- a rather strict code for dealings with fellow Nivarians and a rather loose one for dealing with other peoples. This lenient code does however demand basic morality- don’t kill without justification, don’t steal, etc etc.
Core church doctrine also holds the sea as sacred. The Gold Sea has always provided the people of Kafiona much of their sustenance; bountiful catches are said to be a direct boon from Natassia. Emphasis is also placed on the dusk, Natassia being known as the Maiden of Dusk. This also represents her role in the afterlife, as the ending of each day is paralleled to the ending of life. Rather than praying to see the dawn, Nivarians usually pray thanks for living until dusk, showing an element of the faith- one does not ask for more but rather is thankful for what one has.
An equal amount of reverence is paid to the Emperor and his Bride, the Divine Incarnate. Both are viewed to be as touched by the divine, though the Emperor is considered a spirit unto himself, whereas the Incarnate is a manifestation of Natassia. The Emperor’s word is absolute spiritual and secular law; the only being capable of usurping this authority being the Incarnate, who in other cases exerts little influence. Splinter Sects
The Emperor’s Faithful (pref LG): These individuals have placed their allegiance spiritually in the hands of the Emperor before that of the Incarnate or of Natassia. They view the emperor as the perfect human, transcendent of mortality through his sheer virtue and infallibility. They view him as a living god. They do respect and revere the other aspects of the Church, but will always support the Emperor above all else.
The sect has a military arm, The Emperor’s Knights, who serve as arbiters of law as well as an elite military branch of the Nivarian Army in addition to functioning as the Imperial Bodyguard. A force some 5,000 members strong, they reside at all times with the Emperor.
Natassia’s Children (pref NG): A more peaceful sect, Natassia’s children advocate first and foremost the worship of the Mother Goddess herself through reverence to the Incarnate. They revere the peaceful aspects of life- the family, a day’s work, peace and material plenty. They are exceedingly popular with pacifists, merchants, common laborers, and a motley crew of others. Priests of this sect are not allowed to use lethal force preemptively.