Shinaket and His Entourage
Shinaket: The most powerful of all the Greater Daimons, Shinaket is also known as the Serpent Father or the Demon of the Lake. He is Lord of the Rhythms of the Universe and thus a master of life and death. Shinaket is most often depicted as a man with a bestial head and serpents for horns.
Ahrashadee: The Queen of the Krishari Heaven, her daughters are the succubi. She also mated with Shinaket and begat the ancient Zulin goddess Hegeto.
Layashan: The monstrous offspring of Shinaket. It is said to dwell in the deepest parts of the Tirian Sea, where it regularly begets all manner of sea monsters.
The Greater Daimons
The most powerful of the gods worshipped by the Krishari are the Greater Daimons. These beings are the offspring of the abstract god Voramax and the Sundramorn. Although occasionally attributed with gender, the greater daimons are most often hideous, sexless beings. They are even older than the Elder Gods, but due to their aloofness, tend to have more limited influence. The Krishari fear them, but know their power. The following are the most popular of the Greater Daimons, who are many.
Fûshan: Lord of Corruption and Filth. His idols are small, rotund men with smiling faces. They are supposed to bring good luck. Fûshan is appeased to ensure the purity of things that are new, and his name is oft heard at birthings, appointments, foundings, and christenings.
Ishathri: The Sweeping Hand of Plague. Ishathri is depicted as an asexual being wrapped in a shroud. Appellants call upon this creature to ward off disease, sickness, and infestations. Alternatively, Ishathri plague-breeders may sometimes be hired to work black magic upon an enemy.
Kartek: Lady on the Melancholy Throne, Mistress of Doom. Her symbol is a black triangle inscribed with the written form of her name. She is not usually depicted in images but is usually thought of as an expressionless, stately woman dressed in blue or grey.
Kurayir: Master of Treachery and Discord. Kurayir is depicted as a multi-headed adonis with four arms. In each hand is an intricate, deadly weapon.
Sinayl the Poisoner: Master of Lies. Sinayl's symbol is a golden spoon in the shape of a tongue, but he is depicted as a humanoid holding a golden bowl of some liquid. Traditionally, when a criminal is interrogated, he is fed a liquid selected at random from wine, water, or poison. The resulting effects supposedly prove or disprove the veracity of the victim's statements.
Sûdar: The Inner Rage, Lord of Terror. Various masks showing fearsome creatures or men are used to symbolize Sûdar. Warriors wear these in combat to terrorize the enemy, and raise the morale of allies.
Sitak: The Blade of Sterility, the Mask of Madness. Sitak's symbol is a beetle. It is considered a servant of Ahrashadee, but is occasionally worshipped as a deity in its own right. Sitak is called upon to punish those who have committed grievous wrongs upon the appellant. A typical story is of a woman scorned by her lover. She calls upon Sitak and the former lover is visited in the night by giant beetles. He is then castrated and driven to insanity.
Tayzet: The Grip of Pain, the Spike in the Skull. In early times, a common punishment for criminals was driving a spike into the head, ``giving the victim to Tayzet.'' His symbol is a crude iron spike.
Opiren: King of the Tani and a Lord of Chance. The Tani are large, intelligent birds that prefer the dry, rocky crags of the Estirian region. Whan a Tani appears, it foretells a change in fortunes, for better or worse.
Yanushan: King of the Yanta, or Kruthad elephants.
The cultists of Shinaket pray to avoid their god's displeasure, but also to be awarded influence and power in return for good service. Commoners huddle together in their homes and pray toward their hearths. A typical prayer often includes an appeal for safety or deliverance.
An individual is not considered to be a true member of the cult until undergoing the rite of initiation. The prospective member is accompanied by a cult member who takes the role of Nakarnakal. The initiate is submerged in a source of natural water, such as a river or lake, then the representative speaks the words of the spell that freed Shinaket. The initiate is required to rise from the water without assistance. Thus, like Shinaket, he rises from the depths into a new life. Anyone may be initiated who is capable of performing the ritual (ruling out babes, invalids, and hydrophobiacs).
Shinakari Temple Organization
Hundreds of deities are worshipped on the Kruthad Peninsula, and no unifying pantheon exists. The priesthood of Shinaket is the most powerful organization, but they are a minority of the population. Their cult is similar to the moon culture of the Andalors, which is no surprise, sice they are derived from the same source: namely the Cromirling cultures encountered by the earliest human settlers in the aftermath of the Garn-Madorian.
When the Shinakari took control of Kruthedani government, they established trusted overseers over the existing government. A special militia called the Sarhim enforces temple law in urban centers. Another branch called the Bakrinhari (Sons of Bakrin) is a small elite secret police force that keeps the Sarhim in line.
The Shinakari have three circles of trust in their hierarchy, each circle has three ranks:
Members of the Inner Circle of the Shinaket organization are required to make a trip to Mekkara every few years. The number of years between each trip depends on a complex formula derived from the date and hour of one's birth, and the date and hour of one's appointment to one's current rank.