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The Rokari Church

In the beginning was Makan, the foundation of reality, the mind-which-creates. 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 Chaos, hated it, and sought to remake it into a pleasing form. In the First Action, he planned out the world, the act of Creation. In the Second Action, Manifestation, he branded Chaos with the Runes, forcing it to become Order and take shapes. Then he peopled it with living beings that it might become more than a mere sculpture. In the Third Action, he made some of his creatures to have minds like his own that they might know the world and use the rules he laid down for them to live happy, content, eternal lives. They went out and named everything, creating language. This known as the Identification. They founded Danmalstan, the perfect land of logic where all followed the rules and lived in Harmony.

But in the end, his creations could not be as great as himself, for they were not pure mind but made of Chaos, made of weak flesh.

The Runes became proud, coming to believe they created themselves and that the Creator need not be obeyed. During the Fourth Action, they led many folk astray and chaos and death began to spread across the world. These lying rune beings became the gods and spirits who fools worship. Vadel sought a solution but only brought back yet more gods and spirits and demons and the Vadeli sought to destroy us all with ice and horror. Thus it was that the Fourth Action became known as Decline.

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.

But now Zzabur tried to assert that everyone must follow *his* rules. He slew Hrestol who tried to stop him; many fools have distorted Hrestol's teachings, which merely reaffirmed Malkion's wisdom. The so-called 'Book of Hrestol' was distorted by false disciples.

It was their weakness and disunity which lead to the rise of the filthy demon known as Gbaji, who took on two forms: Arkat and Nysalor. He sought to destroy the world by dividing it into two opposing armies which would, between them, destroy everything. Arkat lied and stole everyone's secrets and Nysalor pretended to be the Creator incarnate. But his plan went so well, he could not stop himself and in the end, 'Arkat' overthrew 'Nysalor', then founded the filthy darkness-worshipping Stygian empire, a land ruled by men who interbred with filthy monsters.

Some of the good folk of Seshnela fled to the now destroyed Isles of Jrustela and founded colonies; there the Creator revealed the Holy Abiding Book to them. This settled the internal disputes and led to a quick reuniting of all Malkioni lands by the Return to Righteousness Crusade. Thus began the holy Middle Sea Empire.

Unfortunately, it fell into corruption and sin because some men changed the words of the Abiding Book and others, the God-Learners, began wallowing in filth with gods and spirits and demons to steal their powers. They fell into the sin of Zzabur: thinking that the world has no creator and that men can be whole and powerful without him. The creator punished them with hubris, letting them destroy themselves; half of Seshnela and all of Jrustela sank and the oceans were Closed to traffic.

The fall of the Middle Sea Empire opened the way for a revival of the true faith of Malkion through the words of Rokar the Prophet, who the Creator called during the start of the Third Age. He purged the Abiding Book of the corruptions of the God-Learners and added new revelations, creating the Sharp Abiding Book. It is 'Sharp' because it is the Sword of Truth.

While filthy heretics slew him, in time, more and more flocked to the truth and the Holy Kingdom of Seshnela now does the Creator's will, spreading the one true faith across the world. The Church serves the one true King of the World, King Guilmarn the Imposing of Seshnela.

Castes

Everyone is born into a Caste and stays in it until they die. The one exception is that since filthy wizards can't be allowed to breed or they get arrogant and seek power and priests must remain pure in the Creator's service, the Creator meets our need for them by letting them be born into other castes; at age 7, the priests identify them and send them off to school.

Magic

Every believer must attend weekly church services on RestDay? (day seven). During the service, the faithful pray and read from the Sharp Abiding Book, experiencing the stories told from it and giving honor and glory to the Creator 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 do the duties of his or her caste. Anyone who has attended weekly church can also benefit from the blessing radiated by the local Church or Cathedral. In Azusances, for example, the Cathedral radiates magic which blesses activities connected to Plants, causing its land to flourish with agricultural bounty.

Wizards and Priests study Grimoires and Holy Scripture in order to gain codified spells and Great Magics. This is male only unless a woman joins the Orders of Menara or Elleish.

All Animist and Theistic magics are 100% BANNED forever. And ever. A few orders follow codified and carefully monitored mysticism practices.

The Church

The Clergy: Every village has a Lector and as many as possible have a Priest. Towns are divided into Districts, which have a central church everyone attends with a Priest and several Lectors. Large towns have a Cathedral with a Bishop who oversees many Districts. Several Archbishops oversee groups of Bishops. The head of the national church is the Ecclesiarch.

Women: Women may join the Orders of Menara (Saint of Mothers and Feminine Domesticity) or Elleish (Saint of Female Warriors) if called by the Creator to the Wise caste. Menara's supporters study magics of Harmony, Fertility, and Domesticity (Mastery). Elleish's supporters study Combat (Mastery), Harmony and Water. They favor the flail as a weapon.

Wizards

Wizards are keenly monitored yet highly necessary. They have normal schools of wizardry; they're just highly monitored by the Church for heresy. Everyone fears they'll smash up the world again but they're also needed. This tends to make them a bit of a psychological mess at best.

Religious Ceremonies (Heroquests)

What is Sinful?

Vadel introduced the ten corruptions:

  1. Disobedience to the Laws of Malkion and Rokar: Service to other gods and spirits and essences constitutes disobedience to these laws. So does giving your allegiance to anyone not of the Rokari faith. Violation of Caste is also covered by this sin.
  2. Deceit: In war, lying to your enemies is acceptable for they are heretics *at best* and monsters at worst. Lying to anyone who is not an enemy is a grave sin.
  3. Greed: Wanting more wealth than is licit for your caste is greed, as is violation of sumptuary laws. It is fine for nobles to be wealthy; it is not fine for them to start wars just to get richer. The Abiding Book clearly lays out how much you may licitly possess. Excess wealth must be given to the poor or the church or even to your local ruling noble.
  4. Gluttony: Wanting to consume more than is licit for your caste is sinful. The Abiding Book clearly lays out how much you may licitly consume.
  5. Theft: Do not steal from believers; the possessions of non-believers are stolen anyway so if you take them, you merely return them to the control of Makan's faithful.
  6. Arrogance: Those who act higher than their caste are arrogant and will burn in the fires of envy for eternity. Those who envy the rights of higher caste people also commit this sin.
  7. Hatred: Pagans, heretics, demons, etc, may be freely hated but you must not hate fellow believers; indeed, you are commanded to be charitable and kind to those in need even if they hate you. We must love each other and hate those who reject the truth.
  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. The unmarried must remain celibate. Marriage is sacred and should not be ended without grave cause. The Creator ensures no one will have more children than the nation needs and they can support. He decides when people get pregnant.
  9. Murder: War declared by the Nobles is not murder; killing other believers who are not in rebellion is murder and all castes will be punished for murder by hanging until dead and having their corpse fed to wild animals if possible or burned if not. Killing in self-defense and defense of others is not murder. Killing unbelievers is only murder if they are under safe conduct granted by church or state.
  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 came first as Siglat to lead the Loksalmi astray, and now as Shepelkirt the Red Goddess to lead the Pagans to their doom. We can expect he is busy leading the shamans astray but who can track all their crazy ideas? Anyone who swears to him is damned. Because of him, all non-Order-based mysticism must be banned or he will trick you.

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.

Humans must obey Makan's laws to be saved from their sins and have Solace after death. If you sin, you must confess to a priest so he can purge you of sin and ensure you will go to the Creator on your death. There is no exception to Makan's laws, but if you err, you may do penance and be forgiven. 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):

Only Hsunchen and humans can be saved by the Church; the rest must be destroyed as the filthy monsters they are. If the Creator wishes them to be saved, he will return them to the human form their ancestors abandoned when they sold themselves to the Rebel Rune Lords for power.

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