“Illustrious is the One who encompasses the cosmos. Umbral is the One who is everywhere and nowhere. Wise is the One who observes its creation incessantly and judges us all, who weighs our thought and deed at the scales of its Justice. All lights dim, all flames extinguished, mortal life ends, and the Supreme One remains eternal, and We are eternal in It.”
- - Testament of Alkhear, 4:20
“Only Spode has the answers. Follow the Law of Spode, and all shall be clear.”
- - Scrolls of Faith 2:1
The various synonymous terms such as Esha'Nar, the Fourfold Supreme, the Supreme One, Netha-ae Teiphan, the Soul of the Cosmos and the most common name of all, Spode, all refer to the same entity: the panentheistic deity of the Faith of the Highermost Path, usually referred to as Spodism. Revered as the creator of the universe - the ultimate cause of all things - the worshippers of Spode believe all facets of reality from galaxies and stars to life and Essence themselves to be extensions of its all-encompassing being. Only through understanding this can the faithful find salvation: by submitting to the divine absolute and making their peace with their place in its grand design, they will receive solace in their mortal lives and eternal rest in the afterlife. Other gods revered in different religions are seen as mere aspects of Spode, benevolent or malevolent, weak or powerful, but ultimately nothing but shadows of its glory, falsely equated with true divinity.
As Spodism is one of the most widespread religions in the First Gigaquadrant, and thus has many denominations and branches with wildly different readings of holy scripture, the interpretations of Spode vary greatly, from that of a personified creator god, to some impersonal force not sentient in the mortal sence of this word, to the metaphorical representation of the "order of things" in general - the laws of reality to which the universe adheres and the laws of morality according to which the faithful must act. Further contributing to the diversity of views is the influence of foreign religions: monotheistic deities such as the Cyrannian One God have often been syncretised or even conflated with Spode and lesser gods of polytheistic faiths reinterpreted as Messengers and Divines. Meanwhile, the idea of Spode itself has found way into religions all over the Gigaquadrant, sometimes introduced in polytheistic pantheons.
Although Spode has sometimes been compared to the human monotheistic God, the two concepts are as different from each other as Earth and Vendespode themselves. The reason for this is the history of the Radeon race itself. Even before Spodism, the deities Radeons revered were not anthropomorphic: entire places were deified instead. They ascribed supernatural properties to forests, mountains and lakes, but believed it was the land itself that possessed divine spirit, rather than there being separate spirits that ruled over it. For ancient Radeons, everything that was, was divine.
The concept of Spode, thus, was merely an extrapolation of that principle over all existence: the genius loci of the universe. All creation is part of its mechanism: just as our legs and feet serve to drive us towards our destination, so too do all living and unliving things serve to further Spode's design. What this design, and what is its purpose, none can comprehend. Spode does not think or act anything like a mortal; it is a being infinitely greater in scope, and while one can, through faith and prayer, have some glimpse of its will, none can ever understand its reasons. Spode works in mysterious ways.
As a pantheistic deity, Spode is not personified: to give it any characteristics of mortal beings, such as a physical body, emotions or limitations, is heresy. Even usage of gendered pronouns is discouraged when referring to it, and any artistic depictions of Spode are made in a very stylised manner, to convey the idea that they are mere symbolic representations of an entity that has no physical form. Spode is also understood not to intervene directly in the affairs of mortals, relying instead on its divine Messengers.
“And so beheld the AZURE KINGS the garden of FOUR blooms
One flower wilted, returning to the earth
Another decomposed, becoming earth
Another grew and grew, seeking strength in the earth
And the last flower bloomed, given life by the earth.
And saw the AZURE KINGS that four is one, four parts of the CYCLE
And the CYCLE was NAR, the garden of four blooms.”
- - Scroll of Faith 2:3:1:9
The concept of the Four Aspects refers to the four ways that Spode interacts with its creation. Though sometimes misinterpreted as several individuals, the Four Aspects are better described as forces that enforce the will of Spode: scholars compare it to the spinal cord, which commands thoughts to the body and drives it to action. Much like opposite movements - one leg moving forwards while another moves backwards - are required for a person to walk, so too do the Four Aspects oppose each other at times: but in totality, these oppositions also further the Grand Design.
The doctrine of Four is as ancient as Spodism itself, found in the earliest Scrolls of Faith and further explained in the Testaments of Alkhear, and is accepted by virtually all Spodist sects. However, different sects may have different interpretations of the Four Aspects. Arguments abound about which Aspect is the underlying cause behind some universal phenomena: whether Essence is born of creative Dei or permutative Eola, or whether black holes are the destructive Raala or the stabilising Espotha. Much ink (and, at times, blood) has been spilled over these disputes.
Dei'Nar (Radessic: Supreme Creator) stands above all aspects. It is the creative force that shapes the laws of nature and sets the universe into motion, the impetus behind all order in existence: its will can be felt in the Big Bang, the abiogenetic birth of life, and the transformation of disparate tribes into unified empires. It is perhaps the one Aspect of Spode that is the most similar to the human idea of a creator God - although, in a rather deist fashion, Dei'Nar only creates, and does not intervene in what was already created. Dei'Nar is invoked in prayer when the Clericarch is crowned, when construction is due to begin, or when one starts a new enterprise: situations when order and creative impulse are desired.
Espotha'Nar (Radessic: Supreme Heaven) is the aspect of stability. It is the force that maintains harmony in the universe, that stills chaos and change and softens the hearts of mortals: it can be manifested in the soothing calm of the sea, or the purity of clear near sky. All consciousness is derived from Espotha: souls are constantly torn from its streams, manifesting into the bodies of mortals, and into its peace they return upon death, dissolving into it permanently if their owners achieved harmony in their lives. Espotha'Nar is prayed to in funerary ceremonies, or when one is looking for peace in their life: as one of the most commonly invoked aspects of the Supreme, it is the origin of the very word Spode.
Eola'Nar (Radessic: Supreme Judge) is the aspect of change: the force through which Spode intervenes in reality and guides it towards its design. It is perhaps one of the most controversial concepts in Spodism, and each sect has its own interpretation of it. The traditional approach is that it represents the supernatural aspects of the universe. Essence defies the laws set by Spode: ergo, it has to have divine origin itself, and must be the force that Spode itself uses to set things right, to "micromanage" its universe.
Others, like Theorationalists, have opposed such views on the grounds that Spode could not allow breaches in its laws: Essence was just another scientific phenomenon created by Spode, not its will made manifest. Instead, they argued, the faithful themselves are Eola, for they consciously intervene in Spode's universe to bring it closer to its design. Miracles (viewed as incarnations of Eola) described in the Scrolls of Faith were dismissed as metaphors, or attributed to ancient enlightened races, who more fully understood their role in the design and thus became supreme Eola - Eola'Nar.
Finally, there is the Raala'Nar (Radessic: Supreme Chaos), which, somewhat paradoxically, is the aspect of the god of order that represents chaos. It is the force of entropy that gradually destroys all things, manifesting cosmologically in the second law of thermodynamics, socially in moral and cultural degradation, biologically in aging and death. It is the Spodist view that this, too, is a natural part of the universe. Entropy gives mortals purpose, as they fight on against their own mortality: it serves as the judge, separating the faithful from the heathen, and, most importantly, it begets new beginnings. Plants grow from the earth that houses the dead, heroism is only possible in times of ruin - and the death of this universe from cosmic chaos will usher in the birth of a new, greater one.
In various denominationsEdit
Clasical Spodism has the most conservative view of Spode. It is imagined as an incomprehensible, but nonetheless all-loving force that protects life in the universe and wishes it to flourish under its Grand Design, in which all would live in peace and have a place in the great order of things. It continuously intervenes in reality through the power of Essence, especially elemental energy, and the interjections of its Divines, aiding the faithful in all their endeavours.
The Ferric Doctrine generally follows Classical teachings, although modified to account for their militant doctrine. The main thing Ferrics disagree on with Classical Spodists is the all-loving nature of Spode. Spode cannot love the corrupt universe that has fallen to the moral degradation of modernity: Spode hates everything in it, with the sole exception of the true faithful. For that reason, the Ferrics emphasise the Raala aspect of Spode, believing that the end of the world is nigh: Spode no longer intervenes to aid Spodists, only to punish them and speed their demise. The final victory of the Ferrics, as Jaharan supposedly prophesised in his final days, will usher in the apocalypse: the universe will be reborn in Chaos, becoming purer and stronger in the process.
Theorationalism has its own term for the Supreme: Aentara'Nar, the universal machine. That basically sums up their view of Spode: a perfect clockwork mechanism in which all things are cogs and all movements are, given proper methods, predictable. The machine does not bother with the plight of its parts, and does not break its own laws: there is nothing supernatural in the universe, only reason not yet deciphered by mortal minds. Yet the machine has its rules, and in following these rules, salvation is to be found. Above all aspects, the Theorationalists revere Dei'Nar, which they reverentially call the Clockmaker: it was Dei'Nar who set the great universal order into motion, and its example is to be followed when creating order around themselves.
Harmonite Ecumenism somewhat strays from the pantheistic doctrine of Spodism, probably because of heavy Cyrannian influences, and follows an interpretation of Spode that is closer to monotheism. Harmonites allow the idea that Spode is partially separate from its creation and transcends it: mortals are Spode's children, not cogs in some divine machine. The doctrine of all is one is explained differently as well: Spode does not permeate the universe but rather manifests in it, taking form of lesser gods or blessing mortals with its spirit, so that they would serve as mouthpieces for its will. The One God, Drakon and Zaraturai are all such manifestations, guises which Spode took to enlighten different races, while Prophet Mudrix is as valid a messenger of Spode as Alkhear.
The beliefs of Spodist mysticism are the most diverse. Some brotherhoods, especially the more militant ones, follow a more monotheistic view of Spode akin to the Harmonites, and believe that not everything is part of Spode's design. While Spode is the soul of the universe, the body is polluted with foreign influences, most of them benign, others malignant. It is thus the duty of the Mystics to purge these demonic influences from one's soul, as well as to destroy them in the physical world. This doctrine is exemplified in the motto of the Missionistus: In Spode there is peace, elsewhere, there is only death. To an ordinary Spodist, such a creed would make no sense, as there is no "elsewhere", but for Missionistus adepts, it carries a deep and intimate meaning.
Other mystics, on the other hand, go to the other extreme, and take the pantheistic beliefs of traditional Spodism to its logical extreme. Not only there is nothing in this world that is not part of Spode, there is nothing real in this world outside of Spode. The universe is a dream imagined by the One that is All, a story that it writes, incessantly, in some celestial library, and nothing in the universe matters, except than to partake in that story. Spodist Mystics that adhere to this nihilistic doctrines travel around the Gigaquadrant, half-naked and poor, giving away all they have to others and meditating constantly to understand their part in the Great Play. Some, apparently, have learned the truth, and subsequently gone mad as they realised their entire existence was an afterthought of Spode meant to make Spodism more interesting.
Spode has been represented by various symbols and icons throughout history, but the most common and universally recognized symbol is that of an eye. The eye symbol has its origins in the Testament of Alkhear, where reference is repeatedly made to "the Eye of Spode gazing, unblinking", and is now often depicted on pendants and tattoos, as well as the flags and emblems of Spodist nations. The eye is generally understood to represent Spode's omniscence over his followers and his power over the universe. Different sects depict the Eye of Spode in different forms, from the ornate eyes used by Classical Spodists and Ferrics, to the stylised, cog-like eyes of Theorationalists.
As a representation of universal order, Spode is also often symbolised with geometric shapes, especially those which somehow incorporate the sacred number, four: squares and lozenges, crosses and saltires, and four-pointed stars. All these symbols are commonly incorporated in Spodist temple architecture, in traditional ornaments and the dress of Spodist clerics. Especially honoured is the lozenge, which is frequently used in conjunction with the Eye of Spode - as, for example, on the Jaharan's Iron Gaze emblem. Geometric shapes based on the numbers 8, 16 and 64 are also revered, like on the flag of the Divinarium.
The image of the galaxy - in particularily, the Milky Way Galaxy as it is seen from Vendespode - is also considered to be symbolic of Spode. The galaxy is a good example of order arising from chaos - a single black hole pulling billions of stars to itself, organised in several defined arms. As such, stylised, swastika-like depictions of spiral galaxies (with four arms) are commonly found in Spodist art. Sometimes, the galactic core is depicted as a giant, purple eye, which has led many new converted to interpret the whole image as a "one-eyed octopus". Though such interpretation of holy images was considered sacrilege at first, in time it too became accepted, and the octopus is now considered to be the sacred animal of Spodism, representing wisdom and cautious action.
Theoretically, anthropomorphisation is frowned upon greatly in Spodism. To think of Spode as a limited entity, comparable in any way to a weak mortal, is blasphemy, and anyone who will say that Spode possesses an actual eye, rather than a metaphorical one, is deemed a heretic. However, Spodist artists have always understood that, to inspire the hearts of believers, symbolic images are not enough: it is easier to convey reverence through an anthropomorphic figure than through lozenges, eyes and spirals. As such, there is a long-standing tradition of creating metaphorical images of Spode as a mortal being.
The oldest depiction of Spode, known as Spode the Judge of Souls, dates back to the days of Prophet Alkhear, and still persists to this day in Classical Spodism. There, Spode is depicted as old, emaciated Radeon female, wearing a blindfold but with a third eye on her brow. She is draped in a majestic robe of dark colours, a hood placed on her head: she is slouched, holding a merchant's scale in her right hand and a sword in her left hand. This is Spode as the bringer of order. Those who are worthy shall ascend into Espotha'Nar, while those are not shall fall by her blade and return to the Cycle.
This iconic image has spread alongside Church missionaries all over the Gigaquadrant, but not without changes: different cultures have adopted it with their own minor modifications. For instance, the human population of Sanctuarium, not used to the idea of a female monotheistic deity, have changed the old Radeon woman to an old human man with a long beard. Their version of Spode the Judge has no hood but instead a holy halo, and, while also one-eyed, only has a single eyepatch instead of a blindfold and a third eye. The Imperion idea of Spode the Judge is even more different: he is young and full of energy, and raises his sword high in the sky, ready to crush the enemies of faith.
Still yet, other Spodist sects have invented even stranger depictions of Spode, often mixed with their own traditions. For instance, the Ankoran statues of Spode bear a strong resemblance to their own creators: an Ankoran with black skin, tentacles on his back and eyes glowing radiant azure.
Relations & SyncretismEdit
The term narthuni pheria, or Universal Truth, is found in the Scrolls of Faith, where it is used to refer to the perfect understanding of the will of Spode by the ancient Messengers, who shaped the world in accordance to it. A similar term, amanaerthunisaaphehaariyya, has been found in the ancient religious texts of the Rades, the Radeons's creators, and is ascribed great importance, as an ideal to strive towards. Iovera's government has found this evidence enough to proclaim that the Rades were the first Spodists (which fits neatly into her Nunciary Theorationalist beliefs), and promptly ended all discussion in scientific circles.
Yet for many, this simple explanation is not enough. Many non-Theorationalist scholars have lain doubt that the Universal Truth of the Rades as the Universal Truth of the Radeons. Evidence points to the fact that the Rades followed a more technocratic belief system: they revered the universe only as a thing to dissect, and their search for the original cause of all things - which is what the Universal Truth really is in Rades philosophy - was motivated by scientific curiosity, not religious reverence. It has thus been theorised that it was Spode that was inspired somehow by the Universal Truth, not the other way around.
The official Divinarian scientific community opposes the "Rades theory" as intolerant conjecture, and goes out of its way to discredit any researchers working in that field. There have even been rumours that the Divinarium dispatches archaeologist teams to hide or destroy Rades artifacts, precisely so that the truth could never be found, even going as far as to send Nel'phanar assassins to eliminate particularily bold Radesologists.
Very little is known about the belief system of the Isio'Nar, but that it has, one way or another, influenced Spodism is impossible to deny. The Isio'Nar religion, if such a term is even applicable for ascended beings like them, seems to be centered around preserving some kind of universal order - quite in line with the Spodist conception of Dei'Nar. It has been proposed by some heretical scholars that "Spode" is merely a simplified understanding of that idea of order, given by the ascended to mortals so that they would serve their purposes.
On the other hand, it is also theorised by occultists, based on deciphered Anointed scripture, that the Isio'Nar see themselves not as independent actors in the game of existence, but as agents of some greater force in the universe, which is seen as diametrically opposed to the chaos that engulfs it. Anointed scrolls describe it as "the equal and opposite reaction - the natural drive of universal order against the Primordial Force, the force of creation". Whether this "force" is Spode, or something else altogether, is unknown.
Much in Spodism seems to be derived, or at least influenced by the old religions of Vendespode, and the idea of Spode is no exception. It has been theorised by many that it came as an opposition to the worship of the Ley'har, psychic sapient plants that dominated the forests of ancient Vendespode, by Radeon nomads from steppes. Religious scholars postulate that the concept of Spode may have emerged out of a desire of these nomads to have a patron that would be as powerful as the Ley'har, to resist the advances of forest-dwelling Radeons and their gods' psychic might.
Meanwhile, some depictions of Spode, particularly Spode the Judge, may have been influenced by the old Radeon cult of death goddess Shai, that existed long before the Ley'har and was among the only religions to survive them. Shai was seen as the incarnation of the underworld and the chthonic earth, whose power was greater than that of any other deity, and who judged mortals in the afterlife with her sword and scale. It is believed by some that Shai gradually developed into Spode as her cult grew more and more influential, or that Spodism at least adopted some trappings and doctrines of the Shai cults.
Perhaps the most parallels are made between Spode and the One God, a monotheistic deity worshipped in the Cyrandia Cluster. Unlike with the Rades or Isio'Nar beliefs, there is no clear evidence that the two religions somehow interacted in the past, but the amount of similarities between them is staggering. Both Spode and One God are seen as all-powerful yet impersonal and without any mortal characteristics, both are believed to be connected to Essence, and both are described to have Messengers.
Of course, while there are similarities, the difference between Spode and One God also exist. While the One is seen as a force beyond good and evil, Spode, despite its negative aspects, is overall seen as a positive force that brings order (which, in Spodism, is the ultimate good). While the Pure Essence theory postulates that the One God and Essence are one and the same, in Spodism Essence is seen as merely one aspect of Spode, and in some sects is not even given any religious importance at all. Also, the One God is traditionally seen in a more monotheistic light, separate from the universe it created, while Spode is, in most sects, purely pantheistic, dispersed in all creation and inseparable from it.
While Spodists and followers of the One God have often engaged in interfaith dialogue, it rarely led to productive results: while the former theorised that the worship of One God in Cyrannus originated from ancient Spodist missionaries, or maybe from the Rades, the latter were adamant that it was the other way around, and that One God came first and Spode second. Some, such as the Iereis some'thingia sect, the Harmonites, and the Qiranit Radeons, have compromised, believing that Spode and the One were two equally valid interpretations of the same deity: however, most Spodists remain sceptical about that notion.
The War of Ages, and the appearance of the Xhodocto in the First Gigaquadrant, have created a great philosophical conundrum for Spodist scholars to ponder on for many years. The Xhodocto and their followers were the most evil thing the faithful have ever faced, their genocidal crusades having taken the lives of countless faithful and destroyed the Church of Spode. Yet, at the same time, in terms of their power, the strange demon gods came disturbingly close to Spode. All creation bent to their will: they were omnipotent and omniscient, destroying and creating universes at their whim. The Xhodocto were like the problem of evil given a material form.
The most common answer to the question was proposed by Tadjamad in his work On the Nature of Chaos. There, he proposed that the Xhodocto were merely an incarnation of Raala'Nar, having appeared as a reaction to the illustrious work of Spodists towards greater order. They were a challenge, a foe to be resisted, but not unbeatable - Spode would not let its children fall. This explanation sufficed for most, and is now the official stance of the Uniate League.
Yet many remained dissatisfied with such an answer. If the Xhodocto appeared as a reaction to the Church's victories, then why had they come at their weakest moment, when they had just emerged from the shameful Jaharani Crusades and were hated by all? During these dark times, many came to a different conclusion altogether: the Xhodocto were Spode, having come to punish the faithful for their sins. Indeed, those who dared study the grimoires of demon worshippers found many parallels between the One that is All and their God of Order, and between their pantheistic doctrines and the concept of Chaos. If so, perhaps the only choice was to submit, to hasten the destruction of the universe so that it would be reborn once again.
Driven nigh-mad with despair, these Spodists - mostly Ferrics - had forsaken all that they once stood for, and sided with the enemy. Today, they and their descendants are part of the Dominion of the Xhodocto, still performing the same rites as they did in service of the Church, but with a new, darker meaning given to them. Though some have more closely integrated into the Dominion - many have syncretised their beliefs with Therusism, for example - many still maintain their Spodist faith. If all is one, then all shall die as one - lest the universe will never be purified.
While the idea of Spode itself may have been influenced by several outside sources, it should also be noted that some Spodist theology was also adopted by foreign religions. Many cultures that neighboured Spodist worlds have adopted either Spode itself (as a separate deity, or as a title for their own supreme god, which may have acquired pantheist traits), or some Spodist beliefs (such as reincarnation). They did not consider themselves Spodists, nor did Spodists acknowledge them as such, for these heathens would often appropriate Spode without understanding, giving it anthropomorphic traits or denying its pantheist nature.
Particularily notorious in that regard is the religion of the Rambo Nation. While polytheistic, the Rambo describe their gods, known as the Atlantica, as born of "Spode" (Old Serindia Spodâe), which is described as a paradise realm reflecting the universe in its most perfect state. While this is obviously a variation on Spode in its aspect of Espotha'Nar, how this belief found its way into the Quadrants is unclear, as the Rambo Nation is about as old as the Old Church. Whether Spodâe was introduced into the Rambo religion through ancient missionaries somehow travelling through time as well as space, or whether it was a later addition to its mythology, is unclear (some have even theorised about the connection between the Atlantica and Spode).
The Mendel mainly worship the Sun Goddess - Zaraturai, Queen of the Sun, Sister of Night, Great Spirit and incarnation of their homelands. She and her fellow Gods are worshipped extensively by the Mendel, but multiple other deities, even those of their enemies, find their way into the Mendel pantheon. This is due to the Mendel idea that every god or divine figure, for good or ill, is real and should be treated with some respect, even if not worshipped. Due to their cultural connections and trade routes with the worshippers of Spode, several Mendel have added Spode or Spodist ideals into their belief systems, while maintaining their faith in the Mother Goddess. Although similarities exist, many sharp differences also come up when one studies the ideas of their beliefs.
The Mendel pantheon of those gods that are seen as positive, the Tantha de Anii, are regarded as separate individuals, with Zaraturai being dominant amongst them. In their ideals, Zaraturai is the source of all life and wisdom in the universe, and creator of what exists. Spode is seen as an aspect of this that exists within the universe, but is merely a part of the Mother Goddess that represents wisdom, farsight and prophecy, similar to the god Artohorka, and some circles, it was Spode that granted the creator God with visions of the future and prophecy. Most however maintain Spode has an almost eldritch deity, unknowable and mysterious even to the other Gods in the Tantha De Anii. She or he is beseeched for wisdom and clarity in a matter, but the questions and puzzles the All-Knowing Eye give are often difficult to unlock, and make her wisdom hard to understand for others. Spode is generally neutral in the struggle between Zaraturai and her brother, Terikadax, God of Shadows and the Moon.
As many Mendel work as mercenaries in the Gardeili nation states and across the Mirusian Theocratic Congregation as warriors, laborers and merchants, there is much intersection and inter-faith dialogue between the two, and while originally disdainful of Spode, the Mendel have nevertheless softened their stance. The influence has caused certain Zaratuarist ideals to creep into the worship of Spode within the MTC, mostly his focus on sunlight and unity, and opposition to darkness and disunity, even though Spode is everything and nothing at the same time to them. However, Mendel remain adamant that Zaraturai is the Chief Goddess, and that Spode is a mere aspect of her, while Spodists maintain the reverse. This is mostly a compromise, as the Mendel will argue for days straight, up and down on the issue, if they are challenged to it.
As with Radeons and the like, due to their matriarchal roots and beliefs in equality of the genders and the mother goddess, Spode is often times referred to as female, or in feminine style of speech. This has bleed into Gardeili and MTC ideals, with some portraying Spode as feminine as well.
“Do you see these false plant gods now, thrashing in pain as they burn? They are no gods. Every Old Thing is but a forest, a jungle, but there are other forests, and other jungles. They all are part of the land that we walk on, and below the land is the realm of Shai, and above the land is the starlit sky. They all - the land, the earth, the sky - are one. They are Spode.”
- - Testament of Prophet Alkhear
“Do you see the sky? Do you see stars moving each on their own accord, without reason, without order? No! There is order in all things. Rivers cannot flow upwards, mountains cannot fly, deserts cannot bloom. Because Spode wills it so. We can feel her law in every breath we take, in every step we make. All I pray for is that my law be as final, and my order as perfect.”
- - Testament of Prophet Seranai
“Is it not a noble lot, to be a cog in the universal machine? I say it is better to be a faithful cog, who knows that it spins to create a great work, than to be an ignorant cog, that spins and spins out of its own accord, never understanding why. And the worst of all is to be a useless cog, that does not spin, that does not work to create. That, I say, is the most ignoble fate of all, which is why we shall not be these useless cogs.”
- - Testament of Divine Daevloth
“In the beginning of time, when Spode reforged itself from the ashes of its previous existence, it spoke the words of the Grand Design. These words will never change, no matter how much the unbelievers bark and howl. These words are the words that inspire us in war and peace. These words now ring in our ears, and these words we now follow! My Ferrics, be afraid of pride! Everything we do, we do because Spode wills it, and we succeed only because Spode wills it! This is Spode's victory, and Spode! Shall! Prevail!”
- - Jaharan ae-Zamarros before the Taking of Vendespode
“Breathe. This is the first thing a Dei'Ar should learn. Breathe, and control your body - with the control of the body, comes control of the mind. Focus now on your mind. Purge it of its fear, its false desires. Remove the temptations of lust, anger and sloth. Once that is done, open your inner eye and peer at what has remained. What remained is your will, your true will. Now, do what you will - and that will be the will of Spode, because you are Spode. Just as we all are.”
“I have seen the depths of Chaos, I have seen the peaks of Paradise, I have travelled time and dreamed the dreams. Yet throughout it all, I have remained steadfast in my faith. Spode is above it all. Spode is in us all. Without its shadow, we have no purpose. I have no purpose.”
“Spode must exist. After all we've come through, all the hell we've seen, I'm sure of it. The universe must reward the good guys somehow.”
“Faith is the pillar upon which civilisation stands. We must preserve our faith in the celestial order that is Spode, lest our worldly order here falls to sin and disorder. We devote our lives to something greater, to dissolve in that greatness, and become great ourselves.”
- - Generalissimus Venoriel
“Just like the Rades of old, I find myself immersed in the search for the Truth. And did the Rades really find truth in Spode, like Her Holiness tells us? So much stands in support of such a theory and so much stands against it. The only way to learn the truth for certain is through finding more evidence - but shall we ever find out?”
“So typical of Radeons, to believe in their arrogance that the whole universe is somehow on their side. Reality is not a happy octopus in the sky that will lead you to the river of happiness. It is an arena. There are no saints and no sinners on the battlefield: only victory defines righteousness. Unlike you, we believe only in ourselves, and that is why we shall prevail.”
- - Warchief Thar'nyan of the Coalition during the First War of Twilight
“If Spode exists, I bet it is an atheist. And it would really like what I am doing, too.”
“I have known of a thousand gods, a thousand faiths and a million ways of explaining the nature of life and reality. Few ideas permeate as much of known space as the idea of espotha. My position was said to be ordained by the Lifefather, but what if even he is another guise of this universal entity?”
- - Paragon Uriel Ultanos XVI
- In most languages, Spode has no common name per se (it is for this reason that Spode, which is actually an incorrect exonym, is used so often: there is simply no universal native equivalent to substitute). In liturgy and prayer, usually one of the aspects is named, or the four are listed one after the other; when all four are needed to be treated as one, then one of Spode's many titles are used, which include, but are not limited, to:
- Esha'Nar, "the Fourfold Supreme", or "the Four Supremes".
- Nar'ma, "the One Supreme".
- Netha-ae Teiphan, "the Soul of the Cosmos", referring to its pantheistic nature.
- Teiphanathaim, "Cosmos Encompassing".
- Ma'ahim, "the One that is All", a play on the main Spodist mantra.
- Nar, "the Supreme", the most simple term for Spode, somewhat comparable to God in English. Rarely used, despite its simplicity, as it is seen as not reverent enough.
- Tria'ri, a species of dog-like tripedal species of unclear origin, are sometimes called "Spode's companions". The origin of this term seems to be an apocryphal story from the Testament of Alkhear, where Spode is described to have taken a Radeon form to transport Alkhear's soul into Espotha'Nar. A Tria'ri would follow her (in that story, it was a her) throughout this journey, guiding both Spode and the prophet through the eddies of souls into his rightful place in the paradise (of course, right before he was yanked out of it to reincarnate into Prophet Seranai, but that was a later addition).
Out of universeEdit
- Unlike many other deities in the universe, Spode is meant to be ambiguous. It may be understood as an alternative interpretation of the One God, a particularily strange whitewashed view of Krathazhrukhal or Chaos as a whole, an entity that is separate from both, a lie perpetrated by the Isio'Nar, or as a tragic misunderstanding of Rades philosophy. Perhaps it is all of these things. Perhaps it is none of them. That is for users to decide just as much as it is for the inhabitants of the Gigaquadrant themselves.
- Much like Spodism itself, Spode has existed for as long as the Fiction Universe itself, though its original concept was much different. The early Fictionverse was much softer than it is now, and was rooted more in science fantasy: gods intervened openly into the affairs of mortals, and almost every major empire had some kind of ascended being on its side. Spode was no exception: he was a very concrete entity, representing balance, that bestowed ascension upon worshippers often. He also had a Satan analogue, called (in a shocking show of humility) Imperios.
- The transformation of Spode into its current state began with the (currently non-canonical) Eola'Nar (a concept that later evolved into the Isio'Nar). The Eola'Nar were originally direct followers of Spode and his "godrace", but were eventually turned into separate players, with "Spode" being one of the many guises they took to control mortal races. Later on, this become one of the theories behind the origins of Spodism, and Spode became the current vague pantheist deity he is now.
- The current version of Spode was influenced somewhat by the pantheistic beliefs of the asari from Effect Mass Effect, and was fully formed upon Impy reading Baruch Spinoza's Ethics.
- Before theImperios started overtaking the concept of Spode to the point where he could be considered its "creator", other used made their own interpretations of Spode - usually negative, as most players other than theImperios played non-Zealot empires and were attacked by Zealots often. This is one of such concepts, made by Liquid Ink.
- Spode was changed from male into genderless (occasionally even referred to as female) to reflect the ancient matriarchal structure of Radeon society. Much like the Abrahamic God is theoretically beyond gender but is nevertheless conventionally referred to as male, as the ancient Middle East was in general a rather patriarchal society, so too is Spode genderless, but sometimes conventionally called female. Feminism, bitch.
- While now very different from its in-game self, certain aspects of Spode from the main game, such as its tentacles and its companion, were preserved.