“My folks, my fellows, we have been punished. We have been weighed. We have been measured. And we have been found wanting; and justice has reigned from on high against our unholy action. We forgot to whom we owe life and so life was taken. But my friends, we have been given a second chance. The Sun and Sky all their infinite wisdom sent their children to us; the water to purify our deeds and the earth to creep in vines into our ears and through our brains while we slept, taking the memory of our deeds so that we might be made innocent and once more return to righteous worship!”
-The Shepherd of the Sons, Daughters, and Children.
The Sons, Daughters, and Children are people who believe that the apocalypse was brought on by our disrespect of nature. They believe that the only way to avoid the wrath of nature once more is to repent the use of technology and to return to worship of the gods of the Sun, the Sky, the Water, and the Earth.
Two months ago, the now proclaimed Shepherd of the Sons, Daughters, and Children, Silas Adams, found a book; The Life and Times of Fleur Mercier. It was fragmented, with pages torn out, burnt, or missing, but on its cover was the face of a woman of whom he professed such a sense of familiarity. This may, of course, be due to the fact that amongst the ruins were found what appear to have been billboards with the same face on them.
The prose of the book were disjointed and came in two parts. One appeared to be the story of the life of Fleur Mercier. It told of her life in a streaming metropolis of a city; how she learnt she had been chosen to play the role of a saviour. The second part appeared to detail rains of fire, great floods, and earthquakes that decimated the world. It was hard to tell whether these were prophecies or actual accounts but through them, she journeyed throughout the world, destroying technology and learning to understand and respect nature.
Within days Silas began to preach the word and it spread like wildfire among survivors. Believers now number approximately a hundred and many gather once a week to hear Silas speak. Of course, which such an influx, comes controversy. Debates over the meanings of passages are frequent, with some believing that technology should only be shunned when it is harmful to nature in some way, and some believing that all instances of it are disrespectful to nature. There is also disagreement over the relative importance of each aspect of Nature, with most worshipping all but favouring one over the others. Many worship as individuals in their own way.
With so little evidence to go on, the belief system of the Sons, Daughters, and Children is loosely constructed. But Silas is a convincing speaker and has spun a story of his own. Whether it is allegorical or literal is debated, but it is roughly this:
In the beginning, there was the Sun and the Sky. They were not the just the children of Nature, but at first the only two aspects of it. Then Nature divided further as her children multiplied, and the Earth and the Water were born between them. The four aspects now existed. But being so far from their children, the Sun and the Sky, sent emissaries, vestiges of themselves, to keep watch over them; the Fire and the Wind. Once they were worshipped but then the false idols of technology arose and they were forgotten. The pollution and degradation of the environment to elevate these idols angered Nature and each of her aspects brought their wrath down on the ungrateful inhabitants of the world.
Fleur guided the people through this period of turbulence, leading the way, destroying the technology. Once the destruction was complete, the Earth sent vines into the ears of all inhabitants and stole their memories in order to provide the people with a second chance. With all memory of how to create such feats of technology taken from us and with our old follies of mind wiped clean, we can begin to live faithfully to the old ways once more. As for Fleur, she disappeared, but there is a strong belief she will return to guide the rebuilding.
Now in order to show repentance, offerings are made to each of the aspects. In particular, a popular offering is to burn pieces of technology, gifting them to the Sun's emissary, Fire. Each aspect is prayed to through different rites and rituals and offers different blessings. Each of these are debated by those with different interpretations of 'The Life and Times' and those with different patron aspects.
The Sons, Daughters, and Children are loosely organised. Whilst Silas preaches at a gathering once a week, not all members attend such services. Many, including Kali Acharya, choose to worship in small groups through private ritual and only attend services to debate the readings made there.
Though there is no formal division of the group at present, some favour different aspects as their patrons and devote their worship to those. 'The Cult of the Sun' (as they are referred to by others) are a particular group who believe the Sun to be the greatest of the aspects and hold celebrations of their own. Arguments over what domains the different Aspects hold are frequent, but it is generally held that the Sun is the giver of life, the protector and the destroyer; the Sky is the wisest and both tempers the Sun's volatility and acts as gate keeper of the Water; the Earth may grant growth and stability; and the Water may be prayed to for both purification and change. It is understandable, therefore, that whilst people may pray to all at different times, certain Aspects are favoured more depending on what the individual perceives they need and how they may relate to the personalities of the Aspects. Devotees use different rituals - some individual, some in groups - to pray to different aspects. These are, however, only known to members.
The cults of the Aspects generally coexist peacefully, but it is not unheard of for bitter rivalries to spring up over disagreements on the faith.