This is going to get long because I went all out creating factions, no joke even had hubby design the symbols. Let me know if you want to join!
All residents of the Mourning Cell belong to a faction called “Moirai”.
The Moirai deal with death and the afterlife. Whenever a sentient dies they appear to recover the body. On the first day they clean and restore the body to its prime state. On the second day they collect the memories of the deceased into a single crystal shard. On the third day they separate the soul from the body. Once the separation is complete an individual psychopomp guides the soul through a large, ancient, and unremarkable mirror at the center of their temple. On arrival to the other side they give the deceased three options.
The first option is to be reborn into a new life with no memory of their previous existence.
The second option is the chance to rewrite some element of their past. Occasionally the rewriting takes many years and once rewritten it can change history including the memories of those presently alive. Once the rewrite is finished (for better or worse) the deceased is again faced with death. If their goal was outstanding enough (and what constitutes outstanding has nothing to do with good or evil and is up the individual psychopomp) they are given two options. One they can receive a favorable rebirth. Two they can choose an individual from their previous life with whom they wish to be reunited in the next. If their rewrite is not considered outstanding their next life will be filled with challenges (or as the Moirai say opportunities to evolve).
The third option is to agree to a test. During the test the soul must recognize and reintegrate all projections of itself. If the soul succeeds they have the option of Nirvana (which is to say returning to the Universe) or becoming a God. If the soul fails they are simply reborn.
If the living should wish to have a funeral the bodies can be returned but only after the Afterlife Ceremony is complete. Most often the Moirai conduct the funeral services but occasionally loved ones wish to have a private ceremony. The necklace allows loved ones to view precious memories.
The Moirai have very few codes of conduct. The main one is respect for the dead. It is considered an offense worthy of banishment to desecrate, in any way, a corpse. Some believe the Moirai are necrophiliacs but this is not true and any such behavior is forbidden. In fact, Moirai who engage in such acts often take ill and die shortly afterwards. They call this illness “The Defiling”.
The Moirai wear black robes. Females wear black veils and males wear a black mask over their eyes. They spend many hours a day in secret training to ensure that their soul and consciousness will remain intact when entering the Great Beyond. As crossing the dead over is extremely taxing the psychopomp is always given three days of rest afterwards. On the first day they bathe in Marrow Brine which is near their settlement and drink a nutritious broth (they do not eat solid food on the first day). On the second day they sleep a full 29 hours. They are allowed to spend the third day, however, they wish.
Many assume that the Moirai are a morbid death-obsessed lot but actually they are a content and happy faction by and large. Knowing what happens after death takes a lot of the fear and worry out of life. Despite their dress, which they wear as a matter of respect, they are quite a lively bunch. They produce a good deal of art and literature. Individuals will often take long vacations to explore the other universes. They are not expected to be celibate and they are not ascetic in nature. They are not allowed to consume drugs during the Afterlife Ceremony or during funeral services but are otherwise free to partake if they so choose. They are also free to leave the faction at any time.
The Moirai do not proselytize as such but if they recognize the potential to become a psychopomp in another being they will mention it, usually in the form of a dream. Whether the individual joins or not is entirely up to them and they will only be informed once. Generally Void are the only ones who join the Moirai as the Void are born with the ability to open portals. That said they do accept other races into their faction. If an individual is unable to conduct the Afterlife Ceremony they help out with the funeral services.
The services of the Moirai are generally appreciated as their rapid corpse collection keeps disease from spreading and takes away all the confusion and hassle of handling dead bodies.
The Dread-Bringers resent the beautification of their deceased as it goes against their philosophical beliefs.
Faction Leader: Kasedan
The Dread-bringers are a disparate group in Dire Cell that worship/protect the Demented Eremite. They perform sky burials. They hold festivals in the creature’s honor. They spend countless hours listening to the bird’s haunting melody (it is said that if one listens to the song long enough that the soul will temporarily leave the body). They wear the vulture’s bones in their jewelry.
To the Dread-bringers decay is the highest form of beauty, because decay represents the one irrevocable truth that we are all in transit. They believe this world is an illusion, an illusion that they mean shatter by whatever means necessary. Some believe violence is the only way to break free of the illusion. Some believe its psychosis (a psychosis they achieve by ingesting poisons/mind-altering substances). Some believe you must surrender yourself completely to the chaos and avoid habitual behaviors. Some believe that solving puzzles and complex problems allows one to see beyond the mundane into the abyss. Some believe in taking the body to the brink of death again and again (the out of body experience is thought to offer a glimpse into the abyss). Some believe in an Uncarved Block, return to innocence philosophy. Whatever the method they are typically a self-destructive lot. There is a sect within the group that is more outwardly violent but for the most part they seek only to shatter their own psyches by whatever means necessary.
Dread-bringers are fond of games and toys and are a notoriously curious bunch. They make the most fantastic and intricate puzzle boxes, taking threads from the various universes they have visited and weaving them into complex new realities.
While they have no specific dress code they tend to have a lot tattoos and piercings and also practice scarification. Unlike others of their race they do not wear blindfolds. It is rumored that the Dread-Bringers may be of mixed heritage (many of them are, others are of uncertain heritage) and therefore susceptible to the madness of looking into the void.
They don’t really have any allies per se, they are tolerated and there are some who are attracted to their self-destructive tendencies.
They claim many enemies but they rarely actually do anything to their so-called enemies. In fact, they spend quite a lot of time hanging out with their enemies at Empty Cell.
Faction Leader: Savant (but the leader changes quite regularly as they tend to be a disorganized group)
The 13th Dimension make their home in Whisper Cell. Little is known about the faction as they tend to be standoffish around outsiders and rarely travel beyond the boundaries of their settlement. The faction spends a substantial amount of time inside the cave that bares their name. They believe that the cave is home to a collective consciousness. According to their beliefs this consciousness existed even before the necessity of a god concept. They call this collective consciousness OM.
Others outside of the faction occasionally venture into the cave and while they all claim an experience of mind-expanding euphoria none have ever sensed a sentient presence. Members of the 13th Dimension drink a special concoction made of diluted razor-tongue venom which they call “Animus” and enter a meditative trance and it is this specific practice that allows them to convene with the OM. They refer to the experience as “esoteric orgasma”. The pleasure of the experience is said to exceed all pleasures of the soma. That said members of the faction are not prohibited orgasms of the traditional variety.
When they are not expanding their consciousness in the 13th Dimension they work in Fallow Farce’s largest (and only) library “Athenaeum”. The library is strait out of an Escher drawing with no regard for gravity or utility and yet visitors always leave with the book they came for whether they know it or not.
Spoken word is expressly forbidden in the library but members of the 13th Dimension are telepathic (a gift allegedly bestowed by the OM) so this does little to deter them from conversation. It is said that they can kill just by whispering the word “die”inside someone’s head. Luckily the 13th Dimension are not a particularly murderous lot. They are known occasionally to exercise their abilities of persuasion, the current factol however, disapproves of manipulation and members caught in the act of persuasion are subject to a psychic flogging.
The library is a public service and is very popular amongst scholars. Moirai donates many of the books housed in the library.
Their telepathic abilities have created a general feeling of mistrust for the faction.
Factol Leader: Vex
The Bodhi make their home in Ghost Cell, the largest of the Void’s settlements.
The Bodhi believe that we are all asleep and that our dreams are a window into the true reality, the reality that is our awakened selves. Our awakened or dreaming selves possess vast reserves of imagination and power, they are the essence of possibility. Within our dreams we are gods. Our bodies are anchors tying us to an artificial reality. Our senses deceive us and prevent us from “true sight”.
Our bodies are fragile, our souls on the other hand are the very essence of the divine. If we had true sight we’d know that the greatest deception is that of our separate identities. According to the Bodhi we are one, we are everyone. The second greatest deception is the concept of time. We exist everywhere simultaneously. The body is a border, a divider, a veil but it is not veil that we can shed at will. The deceptions are themselves essential to our individuality. In order to be “I” we must assume an ego.
Unlike the Dread-Bringers who wish to shatter this illusion by whatever means necessary the Bodhi believe that we, as the universe, chose to divide. Finding the reason for division is the meaning of life. Some members of the faction theorize that ego-development is the universes’ version of an imaginary friend. Some believe we must learn all we can and evolve for its only through evolution that we may find our way back to our original state of one. Still others posit that just as animals know by instinct what they must do so too must we discover our specialty and pursue it until the very end of this life-cycle.
The Bodhi believe that once you understand the concept of connectedness you will lose your desire to harm.
The Bodhi wear masks and light grey linen robes.
The Bodhi are generally well-liked and are one of the largest factions.
Though their philosophy is in some ways similar to the Dread-Bringers they do not seek to shatter the illusion but rather to make the illusion as meaningful as possible.
Factol Leader: Artisan
Cadence make their home in Blood Cull. Cadence is the only faction in which the number of Void and Chaos are even.
There is no absolute truth. There is no anthropomorphic father figure. No one can save us from ourselves. We don’t need to be rescued. Forgiven. Resolved. We assign meaning to life. We have a purpose. Destiny is not preordained, life is governed by choices, coincidences, and causation. Life is miraculous and absurd.
Morality is a social construct and no society has created a system of ethics that is more humane than nature. Only nature is capable of impartiality. Nature seeks balance. We judge because we possess ego and it is in the preservation of this identity that we lose our sense of connection. Our mistake is believing that identity is fixed. We are fluid. We are intermittent. We evolve. Because we can. Because we must. Because we are alive. Perfection is an illusion. Perfection is stagnation. We don’t choose our emotions. We can, however, choose to be constructive force as opposed to a destructive force. We are not born flawed. We do not sour with age. Innocence cannot be lost.
Self-improvement is a form of self-abuse. We are as intended. Our flaws are the source of our strengths/talents. Belligerence becomes determination. Anger becomes passion. Sorrow becomes compassion. Self-improvement results in repression, repression results in explosive hostility. We are not inherently evil, we simply lack awareness. The soul cannot be lost. The soul does not blacken or decay. The soul is pure. The soul is light. The soul is eternal. We are the soul. We exceed the boundaries of ego. We are the universe.
Social codes of conduct work through a system of guilt and intimidation. This only instills fear and it is fear that leads to violence and intolerance. These systems create the illusion of freedom, security, and balance. Underlying all these affectations is true wisdom, the wisdom of nature, the cadence.
Allies and Enemies
While the Cadence embrace the other factions their interest in balance is off-putting to the more extreme factions. Cadence is a branch of Bodhi but unlike the Bodhi the Cadence are more concerned with life than dreams.
Factol Leader: Rhazien
Kalunrest make their home in Harlequin’s Mirror.
“God has many faces and many names but by any definition God is a contradiction. To become God I must become that contradiction.” -Draex of Kalunrest
Resistance is essential to growth, comfort is the enemy. Comfort stagnates. Comfort leads to habituation. Habit leads to tradition, to stagnation, to rigidity, to small-mindedness. Through opposition we advance. Sacrifices must be made for the sake of progress. “If faced with a challenge see it as a gift, an opportunity to expand the boundaries of reality itself.” -Draex of the Kalunrest
“At our very essence we are instinct. Society is a leash. I am no one’s slave. I live and die by chance. The only rule I recognize is the fourth rule, there is always an exception, a deviation that turns everything on its head. Expectations suffocate. Whatever you do don’t try and make sense of things, just take it as it comes. Confrontation without circumvention. The only thing thats certain is change. You can’t predict when or how things are going to change but they will or maybe they won’t you can just never tell.” – Kokiri of the Kalunrest
“Forget everything you think you know for a minute. Follow the chaos. Be the beast in the belly.“ – Aesoanahr of the Kalunrest
The Kalunrest feel that complacency dulls the senses and extinguishes one’s passion for life. Why would one knowingly strive for mediocrity? For the status quo? For normalcy? Convenience is a foreign concept to the Kalunrest. In embracing the aberrations they are able to connect with the universe.
As a people the Kalunrest are mostly friendly, even if outsiders find their behavior incomprehensible and frightening. Instability increases with age. Caution is advised. Crimes according to their own laws are rare. The ultimate goal is to evolve their species as a whole. It’s not about some petty competition between individuals or theologies. It’s about the greater good. Pure anarchy is nonsense as there is no way to really evolve without a larger context. The laws of the Kalunrest are difficult to relate, but are largely based on the personal growth.
The name “Kalunrest” translates into beautiful unrest. The symbol is that of a broken circle. The broken circle represents the breaking of cycles and is never depicted the same way.
I have one more faction over here as well as the prompt that this post relates to