Troglonauts of Cibola
|Origin||Troglonauts commune, Goetia, 1975|
The Order of the Troglonauts of Cibola is an association of demon-worshippers living in New Goetia. It was one of the autocephalous communes of the Community of Goëtia, being located on the Inner Cibola Sea at present-day Grottenhafen. It is now considered a sect of demon worship known as Troglism. It is one of the newer Goetic families, and was a founding member of the Northern Coordinating Council. It is now a member of the Conference of Cycle Families after the Reconciliation merged the two family conferences. The name of the family means "cave sailors" in Athlonic, a reference to the caves they first settled in on the northern coast of Cibola.
The Troglonauts serve as the Community's de facto flotilla. The recently ruined cities of the Inner Cibolan Sea are frequently targeted by Troglonaut resource recovery teams. The Troglonauts practice and embrace nudism in their worship of demons. Although while out at sea, the Troglonaut sailors where protective clothing, when on land in their commune, wearing clothing is considered taboo. Sometimes when recovering resources from a coastal city, they will disrobe before disembarking their vessels to intimidate the defenseless denizens of the ruined cities.
The Troglonauts mostly believe in "personal demonism" which is why they celebrate their own nudity. They believe in the absolute perfection of their bodies as demonic vessels, and do not groom themselves or engage in bodily piercing or tattooing. They place a great value on physical fitness. Each person is capable of becoming their own demon, worthy of worship. During demonic rituals, they work themselves up into a frenzy, inhaling nitrates to induce a demonic, gibberish, speech and contort their faces and bodies into ghoulish visages. This allows them to "become demons" and worship each other and themselves. While in this state, some Troglonauts utter phrases over and over and over, and if other Troglonauts repeat these phrases, they comes standard worship phrases, or trueisms. The majority of Troglonauts believe that personal demonhood is attained after years of self-adoration, self-improvement, and enough objectification by others. It is a personal decision when one becomes a "demon" in this sense, but Troglonauts believe that those who have attained demonhood can identify others who have and enter into a secret Demonic Brotherhood. It is therefore a great honor when one "Mentor" first calls an aspirant demon to be a Brother or Sister, thus entering them into the Brother- and Sisterhood of Demons.
A small sect of Troglonauts have taken personal demonism to an extreme by invoking and worshipping Yral'tesh, the Trickster. Yral'tesh was the demon who possessed, manipulated, and corrupted beyond redemption the Queen of Demons herself, Kizzy Drakland. As he was a possessor demon, the name of Yral'tesh was invoked during deaths at sea by Troglonaut sailors who wished their departed comrades would just become reanimated to fulfilled their duties. However, as Yral'tesh is a minor demon it is sometimes believed that his powers are only active in Demonsfall and he cannot possess a dead body unless on sacred Benacian soil. This small sect want Yral'tesh to posses them so they can become demons immediately, without the years of devotion to enter the Demonic Brotherhood. Although tolerated in the commune, they are often derided by the Brothers and Sisters, who publicly say that the followers of Yral'tesh will never enter the Brotherhood.
The Troglonauts enjoy a great deal of personal autonomy. After the Goetics relocated to Caplona and the Families could no longer operate their own communes, the Troglonauts adapted their personal demonism to living among the diverse array of other demonists in Gathering Place. The foundational organization unit of Troglism is the Mentor/novice dyad in which a Mentor recognizes the demonic soul of a novice, speaks out the novice's true demonic name, and then acts as a mentor for the novice for a number of years until the novice recognizes the demonic soul residing within another Troglonaut. Mentors are also responsible for making sure their novices maintain Troglist practices. Troglonauts meet together once or twice a week to conduct their own worship services. These small gatherings are called dens and happen in Troglonauts' homes. As Troglonauts believe themselves to be ascended demons, they worship each other or themselves. The mentor-novice relationship is deeply personal and affects only those two people. All Troglonauts great each other as Brother or Sister, and the Order is essentially egalitarian as opposed to the more hierarchical structures of other Families. A Brother- or Sister-General is agreed upon by affirmation to serve as the Family's representative in the Conference of Cycle Families, ensure that Troglonauts maintain their bodies as pure and intact, serve as a judge for the Westwoods contest, collect the trueisms uttered by Troglonauts during worship into a sacred text, and assist in any organizational necessities.
Mx/Ms/Mr Westwoods Contest
Kris Pfiszter won the Mx Westwoods Contest in 1684. They went on to compete in the International Master Demonist Contest. Their title will end in 1696 when they will preside over the 1696 title contest and help select their title successor. The contest is named after the Westwoods, a thick forest where the Troglonauts resettled after the Reconciliation had them move from the north coast of Cibola. The thick foliage of the Westwoods allows for all-day nudity without sunburning, which has promoted the Troglonaut's affinity for nudity. Unlike the original Goetic families, which were single-gender associations to prevent unwanted pregnancies, as a newer family the Troglonauts members are split evenly among genders. As a sign of respect for their family members, the contest title and awards all include three honorifics "Mx", "Ms", and "Mr", and the titleholder choose their preferred honorific.
In 1684, the contest was held at SIRenity Campground, one of the Troglonauts' larger clothing-discouraged campgrounds deep in the Westwoods. During the title contest, Pfiszter distinguished themselves by hitting all the right talking points to appease the judges, where were mostly radical members of the New Guard. They didn't wear the customary full leather uniform, they advocated for Goetics to live in the Community who were not demon-worshippers, and wanted a systemic overhaul and centralization of demonic rituals to root out all traces of the Old Ways. They won against 3 other competitors.
Kris went on to compete in the 1684 International Master Demonist Contest. During the contest, Pfiszter performed poorly to mediocre. They caused a minor controversy by appearing in denim shirts and sneakers instead of full leather, which they said was a compromise and tribute to the Troglonauts' preference for nudism without actually appearing on stage naked. They ended the contest in 6th out of seven places. They distinguished themselves in the charismatic theological debate segment by proposing a "Middle Guard" of demonism, a proposal that was met with little interest at the time, but has gained more traction in the years after the contest.
Jamie Goode won the 1696 Westwoods contest but refused to compete in the Second International Master Demonist Contest due to the inclusion of Sir Sky, the notorious titleholder from Navigators CF who was promoting the Old Ways of absusive demonism. The controversy around the 2nd IMD Contest eventually lead to the collapse of the Community and riots that all but eliminated the Navigators as a family. Jamie continued to use his Westwoods title to promote Troglism in Gathering Place during the brief Civic Dominion era of Goetia. Jamie fled Goetia like so many others during the Crusade of Saint Lazaros and died on the Goëtic Trail at the Massacre at the Ruins of Dbiyyah.
The Troglonauts did not conduct a Westwoods contest in 1708.