Even a brief exploration of articles shared on the Hyperspace Tachyon Transmission Protocol show that Cephal is described in radically different ways by the various sides of Aquatilium’s culture war. To some he is a sell out to an interplanetary order dominated by terrain species, to others he is a brave but dynamic soldier of tradition.
Clash of culture
Terrain species made colonies on Aquatilium’s few land masses prior to The Dark Times and for over a thousand years these colonies were completely unaware of the massive underwater civilization that flourished beneath the waves. For much of that time the Levithiam Empire, beneath the waves, was also ignorant that the dry “wastelands” had settlers. Indeed the language of the Levithiam Empire’s word for “land” had the same root as the word for “worthless.”
When the first Levithiam King discovered the presence of the colonies, the decision was made to stay hidden. Eventually though contact was made. What happened next is told radically differently by who is telling it. The youth during the age of the aquatic / terrain discovery embraced the inventions of the terrain species eagerly finding ways to adapt them for under water use. Some even built mechs that would allow aquatic species to walk the dry land. Even spiritual beliefs came to be imported from the terrain species. Over time more and more of the Levithiams’ lifestyle came to resemble a facsimile of the culture of terrain species. For some this is told as a time of discovery and by others it is seen as a time of cultural and moral decay.
Several things caused a traditionalist counter-resurgence. Several joint terrain/aquatic companies spilt crystal-shard waste into the sea, resulting in the deaths of many in the Levithiam Capitol. Furthermore a growing chorus of young persons felt that the Temples of Levithiam had, in the words of one restorationist, “lost their distinctive beauty, abandoned their history and lead the people to a consumerist sterile culture, dominated by filthy land-based imports.”
A few more shard-spills later, tensions between Restorationist advocates of tradition and pro-terrain Levithiams exploded into a short but bloody (and inky) war and for 10 years after this cultural “restoration” all imports from terrain-owned companies were banned.
Recently tensions have been growing again as more and more Levithiam’s desire increased freedom to interact with terrain species. And as such the pendulum has swung to the other extreme with people calling for traditional liturgies to be banned or at the very leased highly regulated in hopes of promoting a “forward thinking” culture.
Cephal is a unique voice in the debates – if perhaps due to his lack of openly vocal voice. He was raised by Joxtum and Avrina a famous traditionalist Priest and Prophetess couple revered by the Restorationists. As such he is an inheritor of Joxtum’s priesthood, a office he exercises and performs according to the Traditional Levium Rite. However he is also a well known tinkerer who has built underwater-capable versions of many terrain inventions. Priests in favor of abolishing the Levium Rite hate him for his Liturgical Traditionalism and many Restorationists were outraged when he performed he oversaw the creation of a traditional Temple using Terrain-imported materials.
He preaches to his growing flock of temple attendees but refuses all media requests for comment. A growing youth movement, finding spiritual solace in his tradition, but also a hope for a dynamic future in his openness, have become ardent advocates of Cephal’s blending of the old and the new, often to the chagrin of their parents many of whom seem content either to reject the Old Rite or reject all things that even vaguely smell of terrain influence.
Cephal declined our request for an interview, and to date the Muckraker has found few public comments by Cephal who seems to be content to let his quiet holding of a middle ground -er middle wave(?), speak for itself on a planet that has become notorious in recent years for lacking voices in the middle.