Nebuchadnezzar, god of Artifice, Knowledge, Nobility and Travel
Stories of salesmen fulfilling people’s wishes in exchange for their soul dates as far back as before the Elven war, but it wasn’t until a few hundred years after the war the name Nebuchadnezzar started getting thrown around. In Agoran nobility, a rumour had spread about some of the nobility having contact with an evil deity, but despite some investigation on the subject nothing of fruition came of it. It wasn’t until a few hundred years after that it was brought up again, when a raid on a prominent judge uncovered several documents and items related to occultism, human sacrifice and the trade of souls. Through further investigation the current king uncovered a lot more people being involved with everything tracing back to an ancient god called “Nebuchadnezzar”. The king immediately ordered the banishment of anyone involved in occult activities as well as a permanent ban of occult worship. This sparked a civil war, which ended up severely damaging the country. In the end, Nebuchadnezzar’s worshippers were forced to retreat to Karai which had been the centre of occult worship. They guarded the city and managed to defend it against the king’s forces, but afterwards they were locked in the city, as their practices were banned in both Agora, Arconia and Venaria.
It wasn’t until the early 18th century and the massive food shortage that Nebuchadnezzar’s followers started resurfacing, using the shortage as a trading opportunity. Because it provided food at a fair price without trying anything shady to the neighbouring countries, Karai were able to form other countries opinion of it into a more positive one eventually leading both Arconia and Venaria into dropping the ban on it’s religion.
Nowadays, Nebuchadnezzarian temples can be found in human settlements worldwide, except in Arconia, Westfold, Shikari, Venaria and Rashmiran who have all either outlawed the construction of temples (Westfold, Shikari and Rashmiran) or the entire religion (Arconia and Venaria). They are seen as trading posts in conjunction of being a place of worship, and while they have a tendency to be expensive, they are still relatively popular due to their safety even if some people view them as shady.
Characteristics, relations and current whereabouts:
Nebuchadnezzar is seen as a background figure that acts deliberately. He is known for being fair but tough in trade as well as an uncaring attitude towards morality. He and his religion is defined by practicality rather than a set moral code.
Nebuchadnezzar is somewhat of a lone wolf for a deity and keeps to himself and his followers rather than interacting with other gods who he seems mostly apathetic towards. Because of this not much is known about his opinions and relations with other gods, but most other gods does not have a positive opinion of him. Kyrie has repeatedly called him a coward attempting to manipulate mankind and other gods seem to share a similar testament, leading to Nebuchadnezzarian followers being looked down on by other religious people except Miasma’s followers since Miasma has referred to Nebuchadnezzar as her little brother on multiple occasions. Most Nebuchadnezzarian followers seems to be unbothered by how lowly they are viewed, and are more concerned with keeping up appearance with the masses.
Nebuchadnezzar is rumored to currently be in close contact with the leadership of his church.
The Church of Nebuchadnezzar works as a mixture between a religious organization and a trade organization. The members of a church experience a lot of freedom, but in order to receive the benefits from the church they have to abide by all it’s rules and expectations.
You become a member of the clergy by applying in the church headquarters in Karai. After applying, they will make a background check to ensure you meet the criteria to join the clergy. The criteria is as following:
In order to work for the church, you must either
Have been a follower of Nebuchadnezzar for over five years, as well as have received formal training in a martial or magical field. If you lack formal training but are highly skilled in a field, you may go through testing to see if you are fit for joining the clergy.
Have been a follower of Nebuchadnezzar for at least a year, but lack formal training. If you do, you may sell your soul to the church who will then train you in a field of your choice.
Be a Dhaki
After fulfilling either of the requirements, you sign a contract promising to abide by the commandments of the church. The commandments are as following:
As a member of the church, you must pay a fifth of your income in tax to the church. If you have sold your soul to the church, this amount is lowered to a tenth of your income. You must also bookkeep all your income truthfully and report to the church annually if your income is higher than 1000 gold yearly. If your income is equal or lower, you still need to bookkeep but only need to report upon request.
If you are a member of the clergy, you are expected to provide at least 1000 gold annually in taxes. Failure to do so can possibly make your membership be reconsidered. Providing a soul offsets this requirement for the rest of the year.
Breaking any of the commandments result in a fine of at least 2000 gold and possibly imprisonment and dismission from the clergy. Repeat offenses will increase your penalty as well as including the possibility of the death penalty. Your third offense automatically results in the death penalty. If you receive the death penalty, your soul will be sacrificed to Nebuchadnezzar.
You are not allowed to be caught in any of the following (unless done to a slave, servant or employee):
Scamming someone in trade, either lawfully or unlawfully
Fail to uphold your end of a bargain or a contract
Theft (includes looting of public property)
Acts of violence that results in lasting injury in the victim, unless done in self-defense
Other undefined acts causing lasting injury in the victim, unless done in self-defense
The clergy consists mostly of three parts, divided into colours:
Purple (Agents working directly under the church. Does anything from assassinations to diplomacy. Almost exclusively clerics and/or Dhaki).
Red (Free agents. Count as working under the church, but does not operate on orders from it. Still required to obey the commandments and pay taxes).
White (Church employees. Anything from gardeners to traders to the royal guard. Is stationed in a temple, city, or other location under the church)
Soul Selling and hierarchy: When someone sells their soul to Nebuchadnezzar (through the church), they aren’t trading it in immediately. They instead receive a magical implant that signals their location and vitality that allows Karai’s agents to gather the soul after you die. The only way of getting back your soul is by becoming a highly ranked member of the church in which case Nebuchadnezzar hires you to work for him even in the afterlife. Since most agents for the church strive for this, soul selling is very common with the exception of Dhaki. When selling your soul you generally trade it in for some sort of material reward or something else you’d be willing to give up your afterlife for.
Dhaki: Someone with a dormant bloodline of mysterious origins that can see souls, even as people are alive.