Religion and Culture
he official religion of Marn is a monotheistic sect that worships the Greco-Roman changer named Theogios (known as Teodinus in Marn) who call themselves puradynes. The puradynic religion abhors magic and equates it with spiritual and physical corruption. Magic is the essence of evil and untruth leaking into the world to pollute the minds and bodies of innocent people. They believe that the world was in a state of utopia prior to the introduction of magic, and that another cataclysmic event like the Changers' War is coming as a result of the prevalence of magic on Pal Tahrenor. Puradynes seek to prevent or minimize the effect of the coming apocalypse by purging the world of magic. In Marn, puradynes have resigned themselves to only minimize magic within Thar Shaddin because the rest of the world is already hopelessly lost and corrupt.
Purity of the body and the soul is attainable only without magic of any form. The physical world represents strength, honesty, courage, and righteousness. The world can be restored to a Utopian state by strengthening The Seal (the barrier between the physical and astral planes) and thus removing all magic from Pal Tahrenor. Humans are the purest of the races because they were the only race present before magic was introduced. As such humans have the noble status of 'the first race' and are entitled to inherit the earth.
Sacrifice is an important concept to Marnians. Puradynes believe that Theogios sacrificed himself to create The Seal and put an end to the Changers' War. Resisting the temptation to use magic is a sacrifice that most people must make. It is also a sacrifice to enforce the abolishment of magic even if it means killing those who use magic but believe they are doing good. Because magic is a deceptive, corrupting force, people who use magic are unable to see that what they are doing is wrong and evil. Most puradynes would never even contemplate using magic for any reason, and some hardliners believe in killing anyone and everyone who has ever used it. Such extremist positions are rare in Thar Shaddin, where strictly controlled magic use is allowed as a matter of survival. Marnians allow minimal, practical use of magic under the strict guidance of the government. It would be impossible to defend Marn against magical attack without magic of their own, so the city also keeps a retinue of powerful Battlemages to deal with enemies. Many Marnians believe the Battlemages have sacrificed their souls in service of the city.
The puradynic religion also contains tenets common to other religions such as generosity, kindness, truth, honor and a desire for peace. Most puradynes convey these ideas by describing the actions of Theogios, and seeking to emulate him. Marnians, however, have a series of texts known as the Tomes of the First Settlers which outline everything from their duties as citizens to the law to how they should treat other races.
arn was founded by a group of humans and elves known as the First Settlers. Two centuries ago these settlers, drawn to the promise of a new life on a thriving trade route, founded the city, established the government, and wrote down the laws and religious edicts that form the core of Marnian culture. Many of the first settlers were from Caelteth Eyrop, but some were from the Middle and Far-East. Many of the common names in Marn (Merynir, Ofriyu, even the name Thar Shaddin) are not Eyropan in origin, but from the South and East.
Citizens who bear the last name of one of the First Settlers are known as Descendants. The majority of government officials, particularly the Judges, are Descendants. Because Descendants have lived in Marn their whole lives, and because they carry the blood of the founders of the city, they are held in high regard and have an almost religious significance. Those who came to Marn following the First Settlers, but who lived at the same time as the First Settlers, are known as Synevives. The descendants of the Synevives are also held in high esteem, just below that of the true Descendants. Beyond Descendants and the descendants of the Synevives come those who were born in Marn. All others will always be inferior, and will always be treated as second class citizens in many respects, both socially and legally. It is possible, after living for several years in Marn and with the pardon (yes, it's called a pardon) of a high ranking city official, for someone who was not born in Marn to become an official citizen. It is not an easy process, and it will never equal the blood of a true Marnian.
As might be guessed from the description above, Marn is a xenophobic society. Strangers are not trusted because strangers have been in contact with the outside world, where perversion and magic run rampant. There is not much traffic through Marn these days, so while Marn was founded as a politically moderate settlement, the trend has been toward more extreme isolationism over time. Elves born in Marn know very little about their origins or their homeland which is said to be heavily twisted by magic. Anyone who acts too suspiciously and makes too many contacts outside of Marn may be seen as a threat to the stability of the city and will have to answer to explain this activity the Judges.
The Tomes of the First Settlers
hen the First Settlers created the town of Marn, they also created six weighty books which are now known as the Tomes of the First Settlers. These books cover every aspect of knowledge that they believed every Marnian should know. Every citizen has studied the Tomes in school and knows several passages by heart. The books in order are:
- Knowledge - The thickest of the books. Covers all things regarded as general knowledge, from the history of Pal Tahrenor to logic and mathematics.
- Wisdom - The sister to the book of Knowledge. Contains a series of stories and anecdotes of more philosophical importance.
- Law - The second thickest of the books and the most commonly revised. Outlines the laws of Marn as well as governmental structure.
- Magic - Explains the puradynic view of magic as the worst form of corruption.
- War - Especially important the city guard. Outlines military tactics, weaponry, and the art of warfare.
- Truth - The most convoluted of the books. Explains the social, cultural, and religious views of the first settlers.
he language spoken in Marn is not English, but it is a Latin based language that is a variation on ancient Greek that has given in to the tide of influences from the various people who have settled there. One of the heaviest influences on the language in Marn is Elven. A number of the common words spoken have the light, euphonious sound of the elven language.
t should come as no surprise that there are those in Marn who oppose the government and their restrictions on the use of Magic or contact with the outside world. These people are more secretive than the government itself - their lives depend on it - but speculations regarding the existence of movements such as the underground mages guild have been around since the anti-magic laws were enacted. Each year several dozen people are executed (executions in Marn are not public) because of such treasonous activities.