An idea that's been messing with me...

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An idea that's been messing with me...

Post by IamLEAM1983 »

I've been trying to play Blasphemous for the past few days (yay, extended quarantine benefits!) and it's led me to research late-Medieval and Inquisition-era Spanish Catholicism. As you'd expect, being a Catholic under Torquemada - and even for a few generations previous to him - wasn't an especially jolly affair. Most modern religions espouse the idea that the central deity is loving and compassionate and just. While there's a few modern currents in Catholicism that double down on the concept of sin, most of them tend to project sin onto others. It's never about your own penance if you ogle the more zealous stretches in the Baptist congregations, for instance. Others are sinful, and you, yourself never are, seeing as you're one of the Chosen Few or whatever.

As you could expect, Spanish Catholicism dropped all pretenses for a while. Everyone is born of sin, everyone carries guilt and everyone is in need of some hardcore, sometimes even abusive, forms of penance. In some Spanish counties, Easter was less about conflating Jesus and Oestre together in one big, springtime jam, and more about taking to the first few warm days in the year as an excuse to crucify yourself to expiate your sins. Yep. If you couldn't manage that, you wore a capirote (essentially the ancestor to the KKK's hood, which the racist gits more or less appropriated from the South's Spanish contingent as a symbol of rebellion) and paraded around, either chanting hymns that declared you a sinner while people called you names or tossed stuff at you. The capirote was usually color-coded for the major sin in need of expiation, and some brotherhoods and sisterhoods coded their capirotes to denote their respective order in the group.

Dig a little, and you'll find that as far as expressing the need for punishment goes, some Spaniards weren't shy about veering into lyrical Torture Porn. All of that got me thinking about the way some Squids would've tried to internalize their sense of guilt towards Dalarath. Some took charge and attempted to change things for the good of all (e.g. Meris, Nereus, the Gentlemen), while I'm sure a few broke free from the Prelacy's bounds with the sense that their crimes were unavowable. Not only had they sinned, but they'd sinned towards a weak and frail god who'd sacrificed much to bring them to life, and left them in the care of a younger Creator that couldn't always successfully redeem their brethren.

Considering, I wouldn't blame a few for thinking their situation was hopeless, and to refocus themselves entirely on expiating either the Loyalists' sins or their own. I don't have a name for them yet, but I figure they would've kept to the shadows for the most part, maybe going so far as to go undercover in the Gentlemen. I wouldn't call them antagonistic, but if they believe that all Void Weavers carry a burden of guilt, they'd most likely want to kill or maim as many Squids as possible. Considering the Others' reach, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for them to see sins similar to theirs in the world's other species over time.

They wouldn't see themselves as evil, even if they absolutely do want to visit suffering onto as many people as possible, out of the belief that Heaven reached down to help us and Hell tried to consume us only because of our inherently sullied nature.

Aesthetically, I figure they would've remained formless until making contact with Spanish penitents, at which point they would've worked on a Latinized Black Speech they both use against their enemies and themselves. Seeing as penance matters to them and you can't repent for much of anything if you're insane, they would've done something akin to the Gentlemen's work or would've even copied it, while holding onto structures related to kinetic force. Basically anything to have immaterial knives, cat-o'nine-tails or other ritual whips and chains at the ready with a few words. Having been at it for a few centuries, they would've broken off from worshipping the Others, while erecting their very Catholic-derived cult. They probably see Meris' ancestor as having been the first to pay for their sins, so they have a flowery name for Merath. Something like Our Dolorous Lady of Guilt.

While they technically mean well, I assume it might result in some interesting frictions, down the line. The lifelong spies in their ranks haven't had to use more than spiked rings or the occasional dull whip at home and see more use in sparing their allies, but that group's bishops and cardinals are filled with former prelates who would rather expiation were something you took to in all the most zealous ways possible. Cutting their own tentacles off and letting them regrow might be a common avenue of torture.

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Re: An idea that's been messing with me...

Post by TennyoCeres84 »

Interesting indeed! That should be fun to play with down the line.

That makes me recall the Catholic selkies who took Meris in after she escaped Dalarath. They escaped the later Dissolution of the Monasteries and settled in crannog style monasteries that they magically cloaked.

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