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by Viktor Fetsch
Shu-Dereth is a religion practiced on the Selish continent known as Opelon (Aonic term) or Sycla (Fjordell term). During the events of Elantris, it is the official religion of all nations east of the Dathreki mountains; Arelon and Teod are the only nations within the “known world” that remain holdouts. 
The Derethi worship an unforgiving god known as Jaddeth, who rules from a throne beneath the earth. The central tenet of the faith is the achievement of unity of all mankind under the rule of one nation.
- Jaddeth’s Return
- The Derethi believe that when all men are unified under the rule of one nation, Jaddeth will rise from his slumber and return to the earth. Wyrn Wulfden the Fourth, in a letter attributed to Jaddeth, calls this event the “Day of Empire.”
- The Derethi believe the Elantrians to be vile, blasphemous, and altogether unholy. Dilaf, gradget of the Dakhor monastery, believes them to be Svrakiss.
- The Derethi believe that the souls of men who hated Jaddeth during life become Svrakiss. The Svrakiss are considered to be evil entities barred from entrance into heaven and are said to have the power to take over the bodies of living men and control their actions.
- Seons, as a result of their association with Elantris, are considered to be heathen magic. As such, only select Derethi who have the most faith and self-control are allowed to use seons.
- Additional Teachings
- Jaddeth rewards ambition.
- Jaddeth is intolerant of ignorance.
- The only difference between man and animal is mankind’s ability to worship Jaddeth; beasts are only capable of serving their lusts, whereas mankind is capable of devotion to a higher purpose.
- Service to Jaddeth is rewarded during life as well as in the afterlife.
- Fjordell is Jaddeth's chosen tongue, and therefore is holy, and all others are tantamount to profanity.
- Only one man – the Wyrn – serves Jaddeth directly. All others serve through a chain of command (see Organization & Hierarchy for more information).
Organization & Hierarchy
The religion of Shu-Dereth is very regimented, and its structure has been compared to that of a feudal government system. Followers are expected to obey the commands of their superiors, and priests are expected to give orders rather than shepherd others on the path to faith.
A formal example of this type of relationship is that of the odivs, krondets, and hrodens. Members of the Derethi priesthood can elect to become a hroden, or master, taking on one or more odivs and/or krondets. Krondet is the less restrictive form of servitude, where the krondet listens to the counsel of his hroden but is not bound to do as told. Odivs, however, must follow the orders of their hroden, essentially serving as a slave. Many choose the role of odiv in order to gain power through their connection to their hroden.
Chain to Jaddeth
The Derethi believe that only one man – the Wyrn, or ruler, of Fjorden – can serve Jaddeth directly. All others serve only those in the position directly above them in the chain that links all people to Lord Jaddeth. This prevents those in the lower ranks from having to worry about commands of Jaddeth that are beyond their capacity to understand.
- The Wyrn of Fjorden is the only member of the church who serves Jaddeth directly. The Wyrn commands all followers of Shu-Dereth, and is able to consent to using what are considered "heathen magics" to further the empire, and give certain followers permission to use them as well.
- A gradget, the leader of a monastery, is generally considered to be outside of the chain because gradgets generally don’t involve themselves in matters outside of their monastery. However, gradgets of the most powerful monasteries (Rathbore, Dakhor, and Fjeldor) rank above gyorn.
- Gyorn is the highest level of the Derethi priesthood except in cases where the gradget of a powerful monastery elects to become active in the affairs of the church at large. The twenty gyorns of the Fjordell Empire are amongst the most noble in standing; kings bow to gyorns in nations where Shu-Dereth is practiced. They are known to serve as ambassadors to foreign nations, such as Arelon and the Rose Empire. They customarily wear red ornamental armor with billowing crimson cloaks. They are typically old, with even Hrathen, a man in his forties, being considered young for a gyorn. As they are deeply devoted and trusted, they are trusted by the Wyrn to use seons for the purposes of communication with the Wyrn when on missions in other countries.
- Ragnat is the rank directly below gyorn; they usually oversee a region of Derethi worshippers. A priest must be of at least this level to command Rathbore-trained priests without the Wyrn’s permission.
- Grador is the rank below ragnat; they generally lead chapels in large cities.
- An arteth is a full Derethi priest. This is the lowest rank of priest that can lead a chapel on his own. Many arteths can be assigned to one chapel with a “head arteth” leading them.
- Dorven is the lowest level of Derethi priest; though arteths may have some authority over the dorven, they officially serve the gradors.
- Common people reside at the bottom of the chain and serve the arteths and the dorven, becoming a part of the chain of command by swearing themselves as odiv or krondet to one of said arteths or dorven.
”For centuries, the Derethi priesthood had been training its monks in war, assassination, and…other arts.—Hrathen, reflecting on the impact Derethi monks could have on Arelon
Entering Derethi priests are required to join a monastery for training related to both religion and combat. Most monasteries, like Ghajan, the monastery Hrathen attended after leaving Dakhor, train simple soldiers. Others, however, provide more specialized training:
- The Fjeldor Monastery trains spies.
- The Rathbore Monastery trains assassins. 
- The Dakhor Monastery, also referred to as “The Order of Bone,” trains vicious warriors that Hrathen refers to as “demons.” Dakhor monks gain enhanced abilities, such as an increase in speed or strength, as a result of the bony patterns that grow under their skin.
Origins & History
Split from Shu-Keseg
Shu-Dereth developed when one of Keseg’s students, Dereth, set out from JinDo to spread Shu-Keseg’s central tenet of unity of all mankind, teaching that it should be achieved by uniting all mankind under one nation. These teachings were later used as the basis for a new faction of Shu-Keseg, named Shu-Dereth after its founder.
Establishment in Fjorden
Dereth’s ideas were originally rejected in his native JinDo; however, they were embraced by the Fjordell. Shu-Dereth has been the official religion of Fjorden since the reported conversion of Wyrn Wulfden the First and has spread to all of the eastern nations. Since that time, the leader of Shu-Dereth takes the title Wyrn upon his ascension, which serves as both a political and a religious title.
- Fjorden Interpretation of Dereth’s Teachings
- Upon adoption of Shu-Dereth, the Fjordell people appropriated Dereth’s teachings and twisted them to their own ends. The prime example of this is the transformation of Shu-Dereth into a militaristic organization; however, other examples include:
- All are welcome within Jaddeth’s empire, but the Fjordell are most welcome.
- Fjordell is Jaddeth’s chosen language; it is holy while others are profane.
”Like two plants competing for the same ground, Shu-Dereth would strangle Shu-Korath.—Hrathen
- Holy War
- Fjorden’s militaristic society adopted Shu-Dereth as a vehicle for dominion, conquering all countries east of the Dathreki mountains an attempt to bring about the Day of Empire. The Derethi accomplished this through both the military might of their priests and through political sabotage.
- To this end, Wyrn sent Hrathen to convert Arelon and then Teod to Shu-Dereth; if he failed to convert the countries, Fjorden planned a genocidal slaughter of all people of Aonic descent. This culminated in Wyrn sending Dakhor monks to Arelon and Teod for the Invasion of Arelon and the Battle of Teoras. Both these attacks failed, however, and Arelon and Teod remain independent
- In the planned sequel to Elantris, Wyrn decides to reinterpret scripture to suggest that only the nations to the east of the Atad Mountains needed to be Derethi for Jaddeth to return, so it is possible that the Day of Empire will occur during the Elantris sequel.
- Elantris chapter 3#
- Elantris (book) glossary section O
- Elantris (book) glossary section S
- Elantris chapter 9#
- Elantris chapter 42#
- Elantris chapter 8#
- Elantris chapter 6#
- Elantris chapter 12#
- Elantris chapter 19#
- Elantris chapter 21#
- Elantris chapter 58#
- Elantris (book) glossary section G
- Elantris chapter 5#
- Elantris chapter 14#
- Elantris chapter 48#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 98#
- Elantris (book) glossary section R
- Elantris chapter 36#
- Elantris (book) glossary section A
- Elantris chapter 15#
- Elantris chapter 17#
- Elantris chapter 62#
- Elantris (book) glossary section W
- Elantris Annotations
— Arcanum - 2005-10-17#
- Elantris chapter 53#
- Elantris chapter 63#
- Elantris Reading Group Questions
— Brandon's website - Sep 27, 2006#
|Characters||Raoden · Sarene · Hrathen · Dilaf · Galladon · Eventeo · Kiin · Iadon · Roial|
|Places||Opelon · Arelon · City of Elantris · Duladel · Fjorden · Teod · JinDo · Svorden|
|Magic||AonDor · Aons · Dakhor · ChayShan · Seons · Skaze · The Shaod · Forgery · The Pool|
|Mythology and Lore||Devotion · Dominion · The Dor · The Reod · Shu-Korath · Shu-Dereth · Shu-Keseg|