“I have spent centuries contemplating the highest forms of being. My people are content in sitting idle, and few of us have elected to travel the stars. There was only one and true constant, among all forms of being - conflict. I deny not the existence of other paths of thought, though only He embodies the universal constant. If I must engage in the perpetuation of death and destruction; if I must allow worlds to burn in their millions, then I will do so without compunction.”
Therusism is the name given to a series of similar religious doctrines that relate to the worship of Angazhar, directly or indirectly. Having existed in the First Gigaquadrant since time immemorial, Therusism is largely described as a theistic practice of war and conflict. Therusism has little unification across the Gigaquadrant and thus exists in multiple degrees of severity, though many non-practitioners of Therusism view it as a religious cult with practices of great violence and moral deficiency. The Tuuros Galaxy has the largest volume of therusists, although amassed civilisations such as the Argent Dominion and a significant portion of the Dominion of the Xhodocto profess Therusism as their sole religion. There are no singular heads of Therusism as a religion, although many significant therusists rank among the Gigaquadrant's most feared and terrible individuals.
As therusists practice almost entirely through war, the religion of Therusism is often imposed on other cultures by force. Many of the Gigaquadrant's largest therusist followings comprise innumerable assimilated civilisations, stripped of their cultural identity and reconstituted to become a violent militaristic hegemony.
Fatalism and Predeterminism
The theological concerns behind Angazhar entail that, according to therusists, all actions throughout the universe have been predetermined. To therusists, conflict and violence are inevitable, and so is the notion of death. Therusists typically resign to the idea of a lack of free will, though revel in the fact they knowingly partake in Angazhar's plan. Thus, many tenets of therusist religions imply that turning back on Angazhar's plan or upon the practices of therusism in general are either an impossibility or are punishable by death. Therusists believe that all civilisations they assimilate have the potential to be swayed to their doctrine, or will be removed from existence otherwise.
Asceticism, though not practiced universally, is often a significant element among therusists. Devout therusists often forbid themselves of all luxuries and non-essential possessions, believing the abandon of pleasure and hedonistic lifestyles in favour of permanent resistance strengthens their resolve. The most devout of therusists may even inflict pain upon themselves, through self-flagellation or wearing armour specifically designed to be uncomfortable. Some may go as far to imbue themselves with demonic energies to render themselves immortal and in a constant state of agony. Asceticism is sometimes viewed as law among therusists; to indulge oneself in pleasures is a sign of weakness, and thus many civilisations that have been viewed as decadent by therusists have been destroyed as an example.
Asceticism as a popular practice is relatively recent; Hez'Kalka's doctrines, inspired from ancient Mahanayan practices of asceticism are largely thought to have influenced it. Much of the former remnants of The Congregation were rapidly assimilated under Hez'Kalka's doctrines. Hez'Kalka's asceticism was a shift towards more extreme practices of therusism than under that of Lord Zhuleshxi, professing a more transparent belief in Angazhar. However, more ancient unrelated practices such as those from the Vranntan Order exhibit traits of asceticism, though have since abandoned it. The Argent Dominion, under Sethzak practice similarly extreme ascetic practices.
The subject of death among therusists is complex; many view that death in itself is the ultimate goal. Therusists view a violent death as desirable, though the subject of what is considered an honourable death differs between individuals. Death in combat is often viewed as the most desirable of deaths, while death by execution or other violent means are sometimes seen as dishonourable. Many therusists will reject the notions of death by natural causes as acceptable, and often the elderly of conquered civilisations are put to death. Those that support the idea of immortality often view that eternal life is acceptable only to therusists; death as a final goal can be considered as counter-intuitive to the perpetuity of conflict.