The phrase Sani Sabik (ancient Amarr for "Blood Seed") is the collective term for several different heretical offshoots of the mainstream Amarr religion. The sects are all descended from a common outlawed branch and are united primarily in their use of blood in their religious rituals. Though once a notable, if grim, branch off the mainstream faith in the Empire, the sect was suppressed by religious authorities for thousands of years. The expansion of the Empire and contact with other races has caused the religion to spread and splinter into numerous factions.
The original Sani Sabik cult arose thousands of years ago on Amarr Prime during the early days of the Reclaiming. Based on excerpts from the Scriptures that had been used to justify the Reclaiming, the Emperor, and the rise of the Holder class, the Sani Sabik faith embraced two central dogmas. The first was that certain people were born destined for greatness, with all others existing solely to serve and breed these savants. The second was that immortality was attainable by these savants.
The cult began innocuously, being little more than an offshoot of the orthodoxy. As the religion grew and mutated, however, it gathered more followers. Commoners viewed the concept of savants as something that transcended traditional caste divisions, while Holders eagerly promoted themselves as savants and sought to extend their own lives through rituals.
Eventually, the sect began using blood in their rituals and turned to grisly practices to acquire it. Criminals, slaves, and even commoners were sacrificed in the name of purification and immortality. The cult had gained such notoriety that its existence began to threaten the orthodoxy and the religiously based power of the Emperor himself, who ordered the cult exterminated.
Though many, the cult was no match for the Church's inquisitors and was soon shattered. The few adherents who escaped were forced into hiding, carrying on their practices in isolated cells. Every few decades, the Church would uncover a growing colony of Sani Sabik adherents and cleanse them.
The cult remained suppressed for thousands of years, until the Amarr first reached the stars and spread beyond their home world. Suddenly presented with the opportunity to grow away from the watchful eye of the Church, small groups of Sani Sabik departed for parts unknown, to settle new colonies and build their strength.
One such group departed soon after spaceflight was developed, using primitive cryo-ships to settle far from the Amarr homeworld in the Araz constellation. These early settlers founded the Takmahl empire, which grew to great technological heights within a few hundred years. The empire, however, floundered and eventually collapsed under its own religion, leaving behind only scattered relics.
Other groups departed later, spreading to isolated colonies where the law could not easily find them. Separated from each other, these cults each developed in their own ways. Some reverted to primitive, savage societies that caricatured the Amarr hierarchy, with divinely-viewed priests using the blood of their followers in extensive, sometimes medically-related rituals.Others flourished and began prowling the space lanes as pirates. Some sects even found their way to the other races of New Eden, founding offshoot sects in places such as the Gallente Federation.
Today, there exist numerous separate cults throughout New Eden. The most prominent group is the Blood Raiders, who have provided the most public knowledge of the Sani Sabik. While the Blood Raiders have given the cult a gruesome image, other cults remain passive and exist legally outside the Empire. Still others remain in hiding inside the Empire, where they are constantly at risk of detection and detainment.
Rituals and beliefs
Individual Sani Sabik cults may differ from each other in wildly divergent ways, but all have three things in common.
The most notable commonality is the usage of blood in the majority of their rituals. Originally, blood was only used as part of an initiation ritual, but it soon became the focal point of Sani Sabik rituals in a process known as blooding. Followers view blood as the essence of life and spirituality and believe that it has mystical powers. The exact nature of these powers and how blood is used differs widely between sects.
Among some of the more gruesome cults, blood is drained from outsiders and the unwilling and consumed as a form of sacrament. The Blood Raiders perform massive raids and kidnap individuals to form "blood farms." They formerly blooded children as they supposedly had "purer" blood, though under Omir Sarikusa, they turned to the blood of clones for similar reasons. A sect gaining traction in the Gallente Federation exchanges blood between members willingly.
The second commonality is the belief in savants, individuals who are greater than their fellow man and capable of great achievements. The nature of these savants varies from sect to sect, with some following closely to the Amarr tradition of the chosen being born that way. The Blood Raiders view the practice more liberally, considering anyone strong enough to embrace the Blood Raider lifestyle worthy of being called one of the chosen. Such a belief is found in many of the other sects scattered across New Eden and is especially appealing to Amarr commoners, who seek to rise above their restrictive stations.
The third commonality is that immortality is attainable, either spiritually or physically, through adherence to the Sani Sabik rituals. While tied closely to the belief in savants, it is considered separate. A belief in physical immortality was long in decline, though the propagation of life-extending implants and cloning techniques has brought its resurgence. Far more common is a belief in spiritual immortality, that through partaking in blooding and other Sani Sabik rituals, a person can become exempt from judgment and achieve eternal life and happiness after death.