The Caelimane Temple originated two thousand years earlier as a rural sun-worshipping sect, for whom the goddess Dione represented the sun. As Southwatch started to grow vertically, so too did the Temple’s power and prestige. The temple is now a political power in Southwatch, and much of its wealth and power stems primarily from the fact that they hold the alchemical secret of how to create bessem, a lightweight chemical alloy of glass and steel that can be blown or molded into any shape while heated in a fire, and tinted any color while it cools. Bessem is the most highly sought-after substance in the entire Dalraidan Empire, and the market is cornered by the Temple of Southwatch. If someone wants bessem, they will pay dearly for it—both in money and in secrets. As a result, the Temple halls echo not only with the worship of the goddess Dione, but with the whispers and secrets of political barter.
The Southwatch Caelimane Temple is now the headquarters for Dione’s worship throughout the kingdom, which brings pilgrims and traders and devotees from all over the world to the immense golden airship that houses the Temple. However, thanks to the Dark Cloud, Dione has evolved into a goddess who smiles upon the wealthy—the only inhabitants of Southwatch who can easily feel her touch upon their skin are those who live or work in the Aerie. Worshipers in the lower sections of the city associate Dione more with money than the sun, and their devotion to her has slowly vanished.
There are two major festivals in Southwatch. The festival of the Temple, Ainé, is a five-day-long celebration to honor Dione and her four daughters. The entire city throws itself into the celebration. People exchange gifts with each other, and the factories give the workers a holiday throughout the festival, leaving mechanicals to keep the inner workings of the city going. The owners of the factories throw open their doors, offering free food and ale and music to any or all that walk by. These five days are really the only reason for inhabitants of the upper levels of the city to mingle with the lower-level citizens.
The other major festival is Pertcha, which marks the day where, every year, there is a partial eclipse of the sun that can be seen by the entire kingdom. On Pertcha, a procession of six priests, hooded, masked, and cloaked in black, emerges from the nearly freezing waters of the harbor at the height of the eclipse and proceeds slowly and in silence through the streets of the city and up to the Temple itself. Some years, however, and without warning, the eclipse is total instead of partial. On those years, the procession does not occur on the day of Pertcha—but at any point in the next 180 days. The procession might occur without warning, always presaging some terrible event—like it did for the creation of the Dark Cloud in 2868. A full eclipse is always a cause for dread.
Other smaller religious movements thrive in Southwatch as well. The Yoderites are a relatively small sect of workers who believe in and worship a nameless, omnipresent god. They are technophobic and morally strict—almost the complete opposite of the opulent Caelimane Temple. Another cult follows Viator, a foreign god. His cult is very secretive and is whispered to be particularly prevalent among the Angels of Steel. There is another group, a small sub-clergy hidden within the Caelimane Orders about which very little is known, who is devoted to Achlys, a primitive diety who represents chaos and negation. Since Pertcha is sacred to Achlys, there are many questions surrounding the purpose of the sect, and how they manage to always know when the expected partial eclipse is supplanted by a full one.