Shinthai is the Dreamlands Kingdom Goddess of Lust, Procreation, Fertillity, the Bountiful harvest, Self-indulgence, Freedom and Health. She is a young Goddess, less than 1500 years old, which makes her a spring chicken compared to most other religious denominations. Her relationship with the other religions is difficult and antagonistic, and only the considerable power she projects makes it possible for many temples and followers of The Goddess to persist. Shinthai remains nevertheless unseen on Noble lands – few Dukes consider her cult acceptable and in particular Alalvarites regard her worship pretty much akin to “witchcraft”. While any Priestess of the Red Goddess is allowed to legally found a temple of Her anywhere, in practice this is pretty much impossible. Shinthai is found only near Legionairy cities or large fortesses, on or near King’s roads, or only in the bigger and more metropolitan cities.
Shinthai is a religion for its own followers first and foremost. It treats outsiders with guarded courtesy at best and contempt more often. The communities are closeknit and matriarchal and deeply resentful of conservative society in the Kingdom. It is said that Shinthai was a child of “The” Goddess, many thousands of years ago, who preferred the companionship and love of men, but she inherited her mothers superiority complex, and thus took men as a man might take a wife. There is no “creative” story told of Shinthai – the world simply exists and is eternal to her followers and when a person dies, that person sleeps until reborn. For her followers there is no afterlife – only a great sleep.
Shinthai signifies a pervasive and subtle political force in the Kingdom. She offers healing magics for money exclusively, in her many temples. In other words, if a person needs curative magic, anyone making payments her temple is welcome. The larger temples can cure very complex afflictions and scar tissue through prolonged ritual, but even a shrine can clear a minor disease or heal a broken bone in a matter of hours. The problem is that such curative rites always seem to involve priestesses mostly naked and temple attendants in sexual acts, for which anyone not part of the religion is generally also expected to pay. To state the faith as facilitating “prostitution” is incorrect – only in Rissen are there prostitutes who work in the name of Shinthai (and are expected to pay a hefty percentage to the temple) but this practice is very rare outside the capital. In fact Shinthai frowns on the practice of prostitution, and especially involvement of “pimps”. Clearly Shinthai is all about feminism, in the maternal sense. Of the early days of The Fiery Haired little is known except she travelled the lands far and wide and worked miracles and taught women. There is a large body of knowledge native to nonmagical crones that allows these women to shield from pregnancy, or abort unwanted babies, which completely freaks out the conservative elements of the Kingdom. Alalvarites label this “murder” and the protests of Alalvarite fanatics outside Shinthai communes and temples is a pretty cliche sight. Red communities are complex, somewhat isolated and clannish.
They have very elaborate rituals on anything, from childbirth to burial to growing crops. Lands managed by these communities have the highest yields of healthy food in the entire Kingdom, yet another aspect of the religion that causes envy and rivalry. This is not merely magic at work – in some cases the communities of the Red have taken sensible ideas from whatever source they could find and exproprieted these – the agricultural habits are merely extensions of whatever approaches most tested by for instance elves.Shinthai communes are notoriously incestuous, with a range of multiple partner marriages, servile arrangements where elder men submissively court younger girls, where multiple men gang up on a single fertile (and eager!) woman to ritually beget the strongest male offspring (basicly by means of a gang bang).
The procreative rate of the religion is not all that high, or at least not as unsustainably high as with the Alalvarites, but the followers tend to be richer and considerably healthier. The Red Goddess appears as a perfectly shaped, semi-naked and volluptuous woman in her 30s, with dark olive skin and hair unnaturally red as roses, streaked with violets and pinks. She is described as being surrounded by golden-eyed eternal children that venerate and serve her. Upon death te spirit simply sleeps a dreamless sleep. This is to most people in the Kingdom an unappealing notion, and this simple belief detracts from the religion being more influential. Also the burial practices (the deceased are bried naked in to dark soil, bound by vines upside down, head down) are regarded as a taboo.