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Aeolian Church

(This still under Construction A LOT)

In the beginning was Makan, the foundation of reality, the mind-which-creates, and Chaos, the sea of endless change. We cannot know and need not care how long Makan dwelt upon his thoughts before making the world. All we know is this. He gazed upon the Chaos; it defied him and he set out to be the master of it. In the First Action, he defined Truth, the First Rune. He applied Truth and banished the lies of Chaos, creating land and sea and sky by forcing endless change into the stability of a single truth. This is the First Action. Then he defined other things and strengthened the basic frame of the world by creation of the Runes, further differentiating everything and laying down the laws by which everything acts. In the Third Action, he breathed into some of his creations, awakening their minds. Some he especially blessed, the Saints, who would guide the others. The Saints gathered all who would follow them and created Danmalstan, the land most blessed of the Creator. The rest remained, creating other kingdoms and tinkering with the power of the runes; some transformed themselves into Elves, Trolls, Dragonnewts and so on.

For a time, there was a golden age, and the Saints ascended to dwell with Makan. But without their guidance, the people fell into sin, especially those who followed the foolish Vadel. In other lands, demons entered, calling themselves spirits or gods and swayed others and those who had abandoned their humanity plotted deep plans to make their Rune dominant. Thus the Fourth Action became known as Decline. And then Chaos itself broke into the world, the way opened by foolish men and krjalki.

In the Fifth Action, Malkion came, inspired by the Creator, trying to turn the tide of disaster. In their fear, the people called this Destruction but we know its true name. Sacrifice. Malkion let himself be slain to save the world by opening the way to Solace, shaming the gods and spirits and Chaos itself into retreating and giving men hope. Even his slayer, the atheist sorceror Zzabur was so moved, he spent much of his strength returning the Sun to the sky. Even as this happened, Malkion's son Hrestol returned from the Underworld with the Secret of Joy of the Heart, aided by the Lightbringers.

But now Zzabur tried to assert that everyone must follow *his* rules. He slew Hrestol who tried to stop him, but not before Hrestol taught many disciples the secret of Joy of the Heart. Some disciples gathered his teachings into the Book of Hrestol, and our founder, Aeolus, added his own Meditations to it. He taught us the art by which we bond to a Patron Saint to protect our souls from the Lies of Vadel and to wield the power of the Invisible God. Now began the Sixth Movement, the Age of Joy of the Heart.

Unfortunately, in time, many Malkioni became the corrupt God-Learners, who delved too deeply into the mysteries of Chaos, failing to understand that the author of their 'Abiding Book' was Vadel himself, and so they destroyed themselves and freed the sea to rage against the land again, destroying much of Seshnela and closing the seas to us until Saint Dormal manifested himself and ended the Closing.

It is to be noted that Rokar the Prophet was another mask of Vadel, spreading lies and corrupting Seshnela to wickedness. We know this because of his ties to the 'Sharp Abiding Book'. Anything drawn from the Abiding Book is clearly evil. Their efforts to subjugate us bear further witness to this. Further, the Red Emperor now sits in the throne of the Wicked Emperor in the North and seeks to enslave us all. Many fear that the Seventh and final Movement, Apocalypse, is about to begin.

Castes

In Danmalstan, there was a rigid caste system, but we have found it no longer works. Yet, adherence to certain laws grants the blessing of the creator. Everyone is born into a caste system, but those who dislike their birth rank, or who aspire to become men-of-all may undergo a holy test at age 14 and every 7 years thereafter. Those who pass it may change caste; those who spend at least 7 years of adulthood in every caste may try the test to become men-of-all, our greatest heroes and leaders. They are rare. Perhaps one in 100,000 or less manage to do this and few even try. About one in five hundred who try to change caste die; most fail the test. But you can keep trying if you don't die.

The Castes:

Magic

Every believer must attend weekly church services on RestDay? (day seven). During the service, the faithful pray and read from the Book of Hrestol and the Meditations of Aeolus, experiencing the stories told from it, culminating in the Joy of the Heart, for half the day. The rest of the day is spent in rest and prayer.

Part of the service is a divine blessing which augments his or her ability to perform common magic. Anyone who has attended weekly church can also benefit from the blessing radiated by the local Church. This typically focuses around a single rune and is most commonly the Water, Plant, or Earth Runes.

At age 14, you undergo a holy rite in which you live out stories of the holy texts and choose a Patron Saint, who will guide you henceforth. You gain a blessing from your Saint and now can learn Common Magic appropriate to your Caste.

Everyone learns Common Magic appropriate to their Caste; some join Fraternities and Sororities which teach spell magic appropriate to their caste. The Holy Society of Saint Barnabas, for example, teaches agricultural spell magic to its members. These societies require 30% of your time; their leaders gain even greater power, but 70% of their time is spent on holy activities. Priests have the broadest magical power of the four castes.

In the other castes, many never progress beyond Common Magic, but in the Priestly Caste, most do so, for obvious reasons. One who can only do Common Magic is an Acolyte, who assists the Priests and studies the mysteries. After passing a Heroquest, they can move up to Priest status, devoting 30% of their time to devotionals and beginning study of Grimoires, from which they learn spells. Eventually, they can become a Saint-Caller, devoting 70% of their time to holy work and learning to call upon their patron Saint to duplicate their great deeds.

The Church

The Clergy: Every village has a Shrine to the Invisible God and the Saints. Every village's Shrine is basically independent, though some have more influence than others and they hold Synods periodically where delegates meet and discuss issues of mutual interest. Every village has at least a Priest and a few Acolytes. Most have a Saint-Caller, a Priest, and a few Acolytes. Only the bigger communities have more than one Saint-Caller.

Gender: Both men and women can rise to the top in the Church, but it's rare to be a different gender than your chosen Saint.

The Saints

During the Third Action, the Invisible God especially blessed certain of the new Men with his power, the Saints. They watch over all of us even now; every person has a special bond to one of the Saints. A handful of later people have also been blessed by the Creator with Sainthood. Perhaps even you, one day, if you pray and obey the Creator's laws.

Wizards

There are no schools of wizardry outside the church, but the Church practices wizardry through the orders.

Notable Stories / Heroquests

What is Sinful?

Vadel introduced the ten corruptions:

  1. Disobedience to the Laws of Malkion: Only Makan deserves your worship, but if you have to fake worshiping other gods to avoid being slaughtered, he will understand. Devotion is more important than specific laws. Survival trumps clinging to past ideas, for the dead have no ideas.
  2. Deceit: Never lie to fellow believers; never violate a contract or cheat on a mercantile deal. Anyone who threatens your survival does not deserve honesty; tell them what they want to hear.
  3. Greed: The accumulation of wealth is fine as long as it is done honestly. Wealth by theft, fraud, violence, and the like is greed and condemned. You must give generously to those in need.
  4. Gluttony: Avoid gluttony, so that in rich times you can save up for the lean times. Holy feasts, however, honor the Saints and Invisible God, but should be open to all believers.
  5. Theft: Do not steal from any believer or any non-believer who is not at war with you; taking the property of those trying to kill you is only your due.
  6. Arrogance: Never hesitate to stoop in order to conquer. Pride only gets you in trouble.
  7. Hatred: You have a right of vengeance, yet those who are consumed by anger become monsters. Think carefully and avoid letting it consume your life. In some circumstances, the Officials may authorize you to carry out vengeance and then you should show them the wrath of the Invisible God.
  8. Incest: Sex with anyone more closely related to you than second cousin is absolutely forbidden. Those who are married are forbidden to have sex without anyone who is not their spouse; you must be at least sixteen to marry. Unmarried adults are not forbidden to have sex, but must take responsibility for all children produced.
  9. Murder: Violence is always an option, but not necessarily the best one. As Esmerelda teaches, If you surrender to your impulses and anger, you will not find the best solution. Murder of members of the community is a deadly sin; killing outsiders is not necessarily a sin, but it's often unwise and shouldn't be the first choice. Especially if it brings trouble on the community.
  10. Service to the Devil, Wakboth, who is also known as Nysalor or Gbaji: Pagans claim they dropped a rock on Wakboth, trapping him. You can't pin Wakboth under a rock any more than you could trap a wind or sunlight under a rock. He is an Essence; flesh is a mere garment. He returned as Nysalor, known also as Gbaji, to try to destroy the world in the First Age. In the second age, he tempted the wizards with power and nearly destroyed the world. In the third age, he has come as Shepelkirt the Red Goddess to lead the Pelorians to their doom. Because of him, no mysticism can EVER be trusted.

The archetypes of all sin are Wakboth the Devil and his son, Vadel the Fool Who Gazed Into the Abyss. Wakboth is the inner voice of sin within all, the desire to rebel and the lust for power. Vadel is the master of the ways we turn desire into action. Chaos is sin and sin is Chaos; they are one and they have the same fruit: Destruction.

By joining the Church and persevering in your faith, you experience the Joy of the Heart which will lead you to Solace on your death. If you stray, you should go to a holy person who will guide you back to the light, assigning you a penance to make up for it. Any sin can be forgiven if you are sincere and do penance (or die in the process of atoning; the Creator knows if you would have finished it in life.)

Krjalki (Non-Humans):

Anyone can be brought to the light of Malkion and should be! But it is rather hard. That being said, do not needlessly provoke them, for they are powerful and you owe it to your community to not get everyone else killed because you saw a chance to get some silver or some Elf killed your grandfather.

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