Mannism: A Fictional Faith for a Fictional World

Early on in the development of what would eventually become “Noble: A Faerie Tale,” I had decided I wished to place the events of my story in a real historical context. I had recently seen “Ever After: A Cinderella Story,” and was fascinated by the idea of putting a faerie tale in the backdrop of a real historical event. As I had found out after seeing the movie, there really was a King Francis, and he really did, at one point, invite Leonardo DaVinci to court. Unfortunately, given the direction I wanted to take the story in, I realized this would be impossible. So I then decided my tale would have to take place in a fictional world, but I wanted it modeled very much on the real world. My first step, then, would be to do a lot of research. I need to learn as much as possible about medieval Europe.

As I began my research, one of the first things I learned was that the church (as in the Roman Catholic Church) was the center of medieval life. In those days, everyone in the town went to mass on Sunday. In fact, the History series, Vikings, made use of this fact in the first season when Ragnor Lothbrok stayed his men until he heard the church bells before attacking. When they got to the town, everyone was in the church, and, conveniently, unarmed.

So I knew I would need to invent an alternate version of Christianity to fit into my fictional world. Hence, Mannism. So I took the basic Jesus story, blended it with the stories of several other dying-resurrecting Godmen, and came up with something that could stand in for the church, something that I hope is familiar enough that we all know what it represents, but different enough that fits in with the world of the story.

Here, then, is the story of Manna:

Manna was born of a virgin on December 25th, a birth that was heralded by prophecy. His parents were Katherine and Josephus. His birth was a threat to the established order, so he had to be hidden away in a distant land.

When he grew to manhood, Manna began preaching, and soon upset the sensibilities of the local authorities, who urged his execution. Manna was hung from a tree, like Dionysius. After his death, Manna was dismembered (chopped into 12 pieces, to be exact), and then placed into a coffin, which was unceremoniously dumped into a river (Osirus). Three days later, the coffin washed ashore, and out popped Manna, all in one piece and very much alive. Manna then went to tell his followers (a woman first) that he had been resurrected. He then physically ascended into heaven, with a promise to return one day.

People in Albion, and the other eleven kingdoms, wear noose-pendants and make the sign-of-the-noose, since there was no cross involved in the Manna story. There is also a very strong cultural taboo against hanging, which is also written into the law. No one may ever be executed by hanging. That is why the chopping block is the preferred method. Also, anyone who dares commit suicide by hanging goes instantly to Hades, for to do so is saying that you are equal to Manna.

Obviously, Hades is Hell, the Horned One is the Devil, and during the prayer, I replaced “Holy Ghost” with “Holy Soul.” Everything else is more or less the same as with Christianity, pre-Reformation.

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