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Cardiniality, also referred to as Cardinialism and the Cardinial Faiths are a group of bitheistic religions and cults centred around the divine entities of Pæf and Læs. It originated in Northern Borea around the mid 2nd Century BCE alongside the first Cardinial Compass - a tool originally used for geomancy in order to receive messages from the two deities - a practice which gave the faiths their name, with the earliest confirmed markers of the belief being in modern day Kæra'zna in 262 BCE, and was generally adopted by the elves who resided there.
Due to the generally isolated nature of the early Kæra and the disempowerment of the faith by those within the Orthodox branches of the Ritual Nihilist movement which began during the Nylic Revolution of 1853 and continues to this day under the Fundamental Doctrinaires, Cardiniality has a relatively small amount of followers. The 2021 Kæra Census noted a follower count of 754,681 based on those who identify as Cardinial, though the amount of those regularly practicing the faiths within the country expected to be lower. Cardinial Religions include Soynulf and the polarized sects of Pæfism and Læsism, with the latter two having produced a number of sects that could be considered Cults.
The Cardinial Faiths, as well as sharing the same bitheistic model of the world, also share many core tenants and beliefs which each Religion takes a different perspective upon. These beliefs primarily come from the texts referred to as "The Compass", formally entitled "The Encompassing of all History and Prophecy," acting as both a written history of the Kæra and a set of Theological Texts that act as the basis for the modern Faiths. However, over time many parts of the original texts have been lost, leading to varying interpretations on aspects that act as separators between the Cardinial Religions, in addition to deviations in the interpretations of the original text written in the Ancient Kær'at script.
The Spectators, also known as the Gods or simply Ulu, meaning "Plurality" are the two higher beings venerated in the Cardinial Religions, having been responsible for the creation of Urth and the Universe around it.
Aspects of Pæf
Aspects of Læs
Soynulf, meaning the All-Seeing Faith, is the religion believed to be closest to the Cardiniality worshipped in Antiquity, and the only one of the three main Cardinial Religions to maintain worship of both Pæf and Læs, believing that the world exists in balance between the wills and desires of the two, and both must be respected in order to maintain the fragile balance of Urth. In viewing The Compass, Soynulfists believe in viewing it through the lens of religious literalism, interpreting both the possible endings of the universe at the hands of the Spectators as an event which shall leave only the victorious Spectator, destroying all else in the process. In this, Soynulfists believe that religious ceremony to both Spectators is required in order to keep the other in check, creating a stalemate in which the sapients may continue to exist.
Pæfism (Kæzhyn: Pæfulf) is a Cardinial Religion that focuses on the worship of the Spectator Pæf and his ideals, standing in opposition to Læs and her followers.