The only religion practiced in Khmet is the same polytheistic one that has be practiced, largely unchanged, for its entire history. For almost all triskelians, religion is still a vastly important force in their lives. The pervasive nature of the Temples, with the political and economic power they wield, not to mention the distinct advantages of belonging to a Temple, means religion plays a vital role in Khmet. Other religions are not banned, per se, but struggle to compete against the institutions and power of the established Temples. Most minor religions that occur find themselves absorbed into the existing belief structure and taken over by an existing Temple.
The primary belief in Khmet is that the phenomena of nature are divine forces in and of themselves. These deified forces include the elements, animal characteristics, or abstract forces. There is a pantheon of deities, which are involved in all aspects of nature and society. Religious practices are efforts to sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to triskelian advantage. Aside from the priests and temple guards of a temple, most triskelian pray and attend rituals for a variety of deities, dependant on the events occuring in their lives. Complete devotion to one deity, whilst not being associated with a Temple is considered unwise, and risking the disapproval of the other deities.
Khmetian conception of the universe centers on Ma'at, a word that encompasses several concepts, including "truth," "justice," and "order." It is the fixed, eternal order of the universe, both in the cosmos and in Khmetian society. It has existed since the creation of the world, and without it the world would lose its cohesion. In Khmetian belief, Ma'at is constantly under threat from the forces of disorder, so all of society was required to maintain it. On the smaller level this meant that all members of society should cooperate and coexist; on the cosmic level it meant that all of the forces of nature — the deities — should continue to function in balance. This latter goal is central to Khmetian religion. The Khmetians seek to maintain Ma'at in the cosmos by sustaining the deities through offerings and by performing rituals which stave off disorder and perpetuate the cycles of nature.
The Khmetians have elaborate beliefs about death and the afterlife. They believe that triskelian possess a ka, or life-force, which leaves the body at the point of death. In life, the ka received its sustenance from food and drink, so it is believed that, to endure after death, the ka must continue to receive offerings of food, whose spiritual essence it could still consume. Each triskelian also has a ba, the set of spiritual characteristics unique to each individual. Unlike the ka, the ba remained attached to the body after death. Khmetian funeral rituals are intended to release the ba from the body so that it can move freely, and to rejoin it with the ka so that it could live on as an akh. This akh then travels through the underworld before being judged by weighing the subject's heart. If the individual had lived according to the principles of Ma'at, its heart would be pure and light and would be released to spend eternity in the paradise of Hapu's golden fields. If failed, then it was thrown into the Abyss to be consumed by Apep.
Each deity has an dedicated Temple, an organisation that looks after the interests and focus of that god. Temples for the major gods are powerful institutions, with wealth and influence rivalling the Pharaoh and, like the Guilds, having their own rules, security forces and entire sections of major cities that are exempt from most secular laws. Like the Guilds, entry into a Temple is considered a sure-fire path to success and, for those deemed unskilled enough to be in a Guild, the Temples are easy to join. All that is required is a devotion to the faith and a willingness to obey.
It is widely considered by historians that the origins of current Khmetian religion can be sourced to the early expansion of Khmet before the unification of the kingdom. Adventurous traders ranged far and wide, encountering other proto-civilisations. Eventually, existing Khmetian beliefs syncretised with other, wider, Iteru beliefs. The exact timing of the current format of belief cannot be definitively established, but the rise of the Temples solidified it.
The temples insist that the Temples were founded by the gods themselves as a way of ensuring Khmetian success. They point to ancient artworks depicting large beings of light instructing what looks like primitive Khmetians to build large structures. The temples claim that once Khmet was on a solid footing, the gods left for their home dimension to watch over the lands and guide it when necessary. Some of the more future-focused Temples insist that the deities will return one day and judge Khmet for its fidelity.
The major Temples
The Sun Deity and ruler and Lord of all the other deities. Often depicted with a crowning sun. The largest and most powerful of all the Temples; its headquarters in Raqote is a ten kilometre high spire topped with a ever-burning bright fire. Seb is considered the primordial creator of all the universe, including the other deities, but also its ultimate fate, as he will finally defeat his nemesis Apep and consume the world in fire. Rituals of Seb include the burning of offerings and the singing of hymns and giving of prayers to help Seb in his daily task of moving the sun across the sky. Each morning, the priests of Seb in Raqote celebrate the banishment of the night and each evening mourn the loss of the sun.
Seb Temple Guards are widely considered some of Khmet's most elite drop-troops; descending from heaven to suppress the unworthy is seen as the best way to court Seb's favour and ensure success in battle.
The Giver of Life, deity of the floods and guardian and sustainer of the Afterlife. Hapu is credited with life and renewal, new growth and the beginning of anything. Is also the curator of the Underworld and final protector of the dead, his endless fields are considered the final resting place for all worthy souls. The Temple of Hapu is second only to Seb in influence but is far less showy, the Priests of Hapu quietly confident that their patron sustains the entire world through the seasonal floods.
Hapu Temple Guards are rarely seen away from the Re delta when not being called upon, their amphibious tactics of past now translated into superlative boarding tactics. The Temple of Hapu is oft reluctant to allow their use outside of official Temple business but does contribute when the need arises, the only exception being the guarding of the Temple of Khata, Hapu's partner.
The Parent Deity, partner to Hapu, deity of nature and younglings and widely venerated for his caring side. Acknowledgement to Khata is an important part in the ceremony to appoint a new Pharaoh, as it widely considered that Khata's blessing ensures good rule. His temple in Raqote is next to Hapu's and is the site of Khmet's most important and advanced medical research centre. Priests of Khata are all trained in medical skills to one degree or another.
Khata has no Temple Guards, relying on the protection of Hapu. Instead, the Temple of Khata provides auxiliary support for Khmet's soldiers in the form of medical personnel, provisions and cooking, and chaplaincy.
The deity of the desert, storms, violence and foreigners. Nehara is not an outsider god like Apep, but is mistrusted by a lot of the other deities. Despite this, he is central to Seb's battles with Apep, being considered only second to Seb in martial ability. His rivalry with Hapu is well known, stemming from jealousy over the choice of Khata to choose Hapu over Nehara. Whilst Hapu is content to ignore this rivalry, his offspring Ptah is more than willing to continue the feud, and the two temples have never reconciled. The Temple of Nehara in Raqote is a large pyramid with massive underground facilities mostly unknown to all but his priests.
Nehara Temple Guards are masters of extreme environmental combat, using specially designed suits to spend long periods of time in dangerous areas with very little support. Their signature ochre suits and full face masks make them stand out wherever they are deployed.
The deity of music, dance, and fertility, Mafuane is one of the more popular deities of the Khmetian pantheon, mainly due to the activities that take place in his temples during the many rituals he demands. His temple in Raqote is the location of choice for the wealthy to leave their eggs and his priests are in demand all over Khmet for their skills in egg care, but also their role as prostitutes and escorts. The Temple of Mafuane controls the sex trade in Khmet tightly, to the benefit of any who work in that field.
Despite appearance, Mafuane has Temple Guards; those in the organisation are widely regarded as doubly-dangerous. Not only do they have enviable martial skills and excellent training, but their secondard role as courtesans and spies allow them to hide behind a veneer of glamour.
The deity of war, hunting, and the sky, Ptah is responsible for the upkeep and success of Khmet's armed forces. All soldiers will wear some form of amulet depicting him and will offer up prayers before battle. Even Temple Guards of other deities, with the exception of Nehara, acknowledge Ptah in this way. The offspring of Hapu and Khata, Ptah carries his father's feud against Nehara with gusto. Open conflict between the two is rare, but political machinations, espionage and low level gang warfare is common. Headquarters of the Khmet Military are in the Temple of Ptah, a large building in central Raqote.
Ptah Temple Guards are striking in their white and gold armour, carrying long staff-like energy weapons whose exact construction is a carefully guarded secret. More numerous than other Temple Guards, they are often seconded into regular units as support troops and morale boosters.
Scribe, mediator and deity of wisdom and knowledge, Thoth is seen as fount of all knowledge and even the Guilds, at least in theory, grant his Temple their accumulated knowledge. Steadfastly neutral, the Temple of Thoth historically has even acted as mediator between Khmet and opposing forces, much to the ire of the ruling Pharaohs. However, maintenance of neutrality is considered vital to the well-being of the universe, so no actions have ever been taken. The Great Library of Thoth in Raqote was once the world's foremost repository of knowledge. Its significance in the digital age is lessened somewhat, but it still holds large amounts of ancient books and scrolls.
Thoth Temple Guards have a dual role as guardians of knowledge but, because of their wide ranging role, as gatherers too. Thoth Temple Guards can be found traversing the Nexus, collecting data, helping with logistics, planning and resourcing.
Bahiti is is the guardian of the Pharaohs and the recently deceased, his sacred animal is revered throughout Khmet as being a physical embodiment of the deity himself. The Temple of Bahiti is right next to the vast Royal Palace, in keeping with his nature. Rituals of Bahiti are second only to Mafuane in popularity, mainly due to their infrequency and that the priests of Bahiti are more extreme than their Mafuane colleagues.
Despite his role as a warrior deity, Temple Guards of Bahiti are not often found with the military. Instead they have the role of bodyguard to the Pharaohs and other important dignitaries. As such they are found in a lot of governmental institutions.
Deity of the afterlife, the one who ushers the dead to the weighing of their soul. Chenzira is also the protector of tombs and the intermediator between the living and the dead. Alone amongst the deities, Chenzira has no central temple in Raqote, instead the huge Necropolis complex, where the dead are processed and prepared for the afterlife, is used as his base.
Chenzira Temple Guards take their role as protector of tombs very seriously and extend this attitude when partaking in more regular operations. Famous for their cloaking technology, Chenzira guards become almost invisible, using their stealth to quietly despatch the enemy.
The deity of healing, but also of destruction, it is Kek who created the deserts of Khmet. Rituals to Kek are performed punctually and with great care, as the priests of Kek believe that without them, he would sweep out of the deserts to destroy everything in his path. The offspring of Seb, he is both revered and feared for his dual role. The Temple of Kek in Raqote is given a wide berth by all but his supplicants as it is widely rumoured that triskelian sacrifice takes place, although this is denied by the priests.
Kek Temple Guards are fanatical devotees of their deity and are rarely deployed outside of Kek's temples. Considered martially skilled, but also unpredictable, Kek Temple Guard have, in the past, turned on their own side if they feel the battle is not going sufficiently fast enough. The few times they have been used successfully is after deployment behind enemy lines, to cause havoc to supply routes and such like.
The Bringer of Chaos, the opponent of Seb and the embodiment of everything that goes against Ma'at. Apep is not worshipped, as such, but more worshipped against. Rituals and rites designed to hurt or slow him down are performed in all the Temples in Khmet. Even more destructive deities such as Nehara and Kek acknowledge that creation follows destruction, whereas Apep would bring nothing but chaos. Whilst having no Temple and no temple guards, Apep is central to Khmetian beliefs, and there are a large number of monuments and statues depicting him, almost always subservient to Seb and Nehara.