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Kif'ish Religion

See also:
Religion and Beliefs in C.J. Cherryh's Compact and Union/Alliance books

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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin@maths.tcd.ie>
>Subject: Cherryhlist: A missionary letter to the Kif, part I
>Date: Tue, 11 May 93 9:38:14 BST
Someone's comment about sending missionaries to the Kif got my mind turning. Do the Kif have religion? What would it be like. Anyway, having thought and discussed it I'm presented my ideas in the form of a letter from a mythical missionary to our favourite Kif from Chanur's Legacy. Part I covers Kiffish religion and Part II (Wednsday?) is the apostolic bit, i.e. trying to make Christianity appealing to a kiffish mindset. Comments encouraged and welcomed...

Honor to you Vikktakkht an Nikkatu, Hakkikt Hakkiktun, Ambassador to the Compact. Two years ago I came to you to be your skkukuk and you have shown me great honour in that time. You have directed your skku to answer my questions and listened carefully to what I have said about the human compact. This time I write to you of what I have learned of the kiffish religion and to say more on the human religion and how, if the hakkikt considers it wise enough, the hakkit may prosper through it.
In the early time of Kiffish society, when they were still worldbound, the Kif were, similar as they are now, a scoeity lead by strong hakts gathering skku and skkukuk beneath them. Gaining sfik through eating their enemies hearts and becoming hakkikts. A hakkits sfik was measured by his power to destroy. Sfik was gained through destroying a powerful enemy. Sfik was gained by sacrificing a treasured item or valuable ally, thus showing the hakkikt has enough sfik to stand on his own without the sfik gained from these.
Yet these hakkikts were not all powerful. Plagues, floods, and other natural disasters could wipe out vast amounts that no hakkikt could ever aspire to. Thus they reasoned the hakkikts that had the ability to use these for their own purposes must be great indeed. They considered them supernatural to the world and named them mekt-hakkikt.
A hakkikt who was vassal to a mekt-hakkikt share in the sfik of that mekt-hakkikt. If a natural disaster struk an enemy then it was the mekt-hakkikt showing its power against the rival. If a natural disaster struck at a vassal of a mekt-hakkikt then the deity was showing that it had enough sfik to stand alone without the aid of that vassal.
Before this time the largest unit of social organisation was a hakkikt and what they could control through threat of destruction. As there was only so much a Kif of the time could do with the weapons available the maximum area of transient stability was small, leaving little time to improve their weapons. With the advent of mekt-hakkikts, hakkikts who were vassal to the same mekt-hakkikt had a social convention whereby they could cooperate with another hakkikt without losing sfik. Now, of course, this was not always the case and frequently one hakkikt might disagree with another as to just what the mekt-hakkikt intended. In this instance one groups split off from the other proclaiming their mekt-hakkikt supreme and starting a war between rival mekt-hakkikts through their hakkikts. Thus the deities of the Kif rise and fall according to their sfik the same as their vassals. However, in the interrum times the areas under control of a single mekt-hakkikt were larger and lasted longer than under just hakkikts. The greater the transient stability the more free time there is for the hakkikts to develop their weapons and other advances.
Eventually their weapons developed to the point where they rivaled the power of natrual disasters at devestation. Hakkikts arose proclaiming that they had killed their mekt-hakkikts and now wielded powers greater than that. Indeed, as the Kif moved out into space they moved into an environment where there were no natural disasters, only Kif-made ones. In space a hakkikt could only fall through the actions of another kif. The mekt-hakkikts all died or were supplanted. It is only in recent times that there have arisen Kif powerful enough to claim the title of Mekt-hakkikt.
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