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The Celestial Emperor, Guide of Heaven.
In Imperial mythology, all of creation is governed wisely and fairly by the Celestial Emperor, Guide of Heaven. Long ago, so the legends say, the Guide of Heaven was one of four brothers, suns who ruled the sky in turn. Through trickery and deceit, the jealous Lord Three Smoke of the Underworld set the brothers fighting against one another. Only after one of them was slain did the remaining three brothers realise that they had been tricked. The youngest brother, Eastern Sun, was given accoutrements and powers by the others whilst they went to defeat Three Smoke. Eastern Sun was made Emperor and Guide of Heaven.

The Guide of Heaven is responsible for imparting the laws of civilisation to the mortal realm. He sent a portion of his fiery being down to the mortal realms as test. Whoever could enter the flame and survive would become Emperor of the Mortal Realm, and from this stems the custom of the Imperial Flame.

The Ten Thousand Immortals
The Immortal Realm is arranged like the mortal realm. Below the Guide of Heaven are the Ten Thousand Immortals - gods, demi-gods and spirits of varying levels of power. Several well-known works describe many of these immortals --the Classic of the Four Corners, the Roll of Heaven and The Commentaries. Because the Imperial Religion absorbs foreign deities, many more gods have been added to the Imperial Pantheon over the centuries. A handful of Imperial gods are described in the side-bar.

Some immortals are Ministers, overseeing the sea, or earthquakes, or animals, for example. Less powerful immortals act as clerks and underlings for these ministers. Some are minions of the Divine Ministers, serving their masters in specialised capacities like creating tidal waves, adding colour to fish's scales, making the wind blow etc.

The role of the mortal Emperor, Bearer of the Flame of Heaven, is to intercede on behalf of his mortal subjects with the Immortals. Many have holy places where they may be found, guarded by powerful spirits.

The Sages
As well as the Immortals, the people of the Empire revere certain wise and holy men and women - the sages. Foremost amongst the sages are Teshnuvar and Manrupashnar. Teshnuvar lived about five hundred years ago and was a natural philosopher who wrote a thirty seven scroll treatise on the workings of the universe. His more metaphysical concepts have been worked into a magical system known as the Path of Water and Mountains, based upon Imperial Geomancy.

Manrupashnar lived about four hundred years ago, and her teachings were based more on the ways of correct and decent living. She wrote nothing herself, but some of her followers later published collections of her sayings. Over the years, some of these versions have become diluted with apocrypha. Amongst her followers are those who believe in Manrupashnar Most Radiant - that she became one of the immortals after her death.

The mix of cultures in the Empire means there is a variety of funerary rituals, but the predominant belief is that the soul reincarnates, just as the sun is reborn every morning. A common folk belief is that a person must live seven lives as a beggar, then seven times seven lives as a farmer, then seven times seven times seven lives as a landlord and so on. Only the soul of the Emperor is allowed to ascend to the immortal realm, to sit at the right hand of the Guide of Heaven. Back

Imperial Government
Way of Life
Imperial Flame
Imperial Geomancy
Festival of Seven Angry Stree
Some Immortals

Tenora-Mishu, Moon Jasmine Woman
Moon Jasmine is a night-flowering plant that brings dreams and visions. Tenora-Mishu is sister to the moon, and it is she that brings these dreams. Poets and other artists call to her as a patron deity, and she is credited with the creation of the Butterfly School of fighting.

Three Mountain Sisters
The Three Mountain Sisters is a name commonly given to the chain of mountains west of the Anhui basin. The chain is split into three by two passes - one a low valley through which the Anhui flows and the other a high U-shaped valley. The term is also used to describe the three highest peaks of this chain (one for each section). Individually the Sisters are called Arasheng, Genusheng and Juiza.

The Three Mountain Sisters are the children of Lady East (an Immortal with powers over beginnings, birth and fertility). Their father varies according to source. The Commentaries list him as Jade Gibbon, the Roll of Heaven lists him as the Minister of EarthQuakes.

At the very beginning of the Empire, the land of Utushar was attacked by a great army known as the Unwashed Horde (by Imperial record keepers if not by themselves). The Three Mountain Sisters held the borders against the monsters of the Unwashed Horde until Genusheng had her head bitten off by the most ferocious of all the attacking monsters - Black Dragon. Luckily, however, Black Dragon absorbed the knowledge and peace of Genusheng and realised that he fought for the wrong side. There and then he became Wise Dragon, and chased the Unwashed Hordes away. Arasheng and Juiza, filled with grief at the loss of their sister, laid her body down and then placed themselves at her head and feet, using their bodies to forever guard the Empire.

The Minister of Earthquakes
This Immortal doesn't make the earthquakes himself, any more than a Magister in charge of road-building goes out and gets his hands dirty. Instead he has five underlings (variously referred to as his sons, pets or servants) called Tremor, Shake, Stone-Breaker, Falls-Mountain and The One Who Makes Buildings Collapse.

Cult of the Morning Star
This is a mystery cult growing in the troubled province of Dronistor. As with all mystery cults, it has secret initiation rites, secret signs and its followers claim to know great Truths but refuse to share them. Although it seems harmless at present, the rather fragile Imperial presence in Dronistor has officially banned it as subversive. What is known is that the Cult worships the morning star (seen as Glass Frog in the orthodox religion) as the "Sun to Come". They see themselves as pathbeaters for a new age, ushered in by the Sun to Come. What worries officials is that they may decide to give the "new age" a bit of a helping hand in getting rid of the old order.