Monday, May 18, 2009

The Imperial Church

The High Church, which teaches a doctrine based upon reincarnation and karma, extends across the Realms, although its northern, eastern, and western branches each espouse a slightly different variation of the core faith, and there are countless minor sects and heresies.

The Church does not have any of its own Dragons, but its leaders communicate directly with the Trinity. In this way their ultimate loyalty is not diluted by the creation of ties to lesser Dragons.

The Church has three major Orders, each associated with one of the primary elements that makes up the visible world: Air, Water, and Earth. Each Order has priests, monastics, and lay followers. [Each Order may be thought of somewhat like the orders of the Catholic Church: Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans, each following the same faith but with an different emphasis on how to interpret it.]

The Order of the Eternal Sky (Bluesashes) promotes logic, observation, and rational behavior as the best ways to comprehend the world and live within it while pursuing the correct path toward enlightenment. Its primary missions include education, exploration, and the reforming of corruption.

The Order of the Endless Sea (Greencaps) emphasizes intuition, empathy, egalitarianism, adaptability to unexpected circumstances, and surrendering to fate as the keys to success and spiritual growth. In some ways it is similar to strains of Taoist thought, with an added emphasis on social justice.

The Order of Unbreakable Stone (Graycloaks) teaches stoicism, patience, endurance, obedience, and force of will as the pillars of right behavior and thought. It is strongly focused on stamping out heresy

In broad terms, the Order of Stone is strongest in Cortado, the Order of the Sky is strongest in
Tilan, and the Order of the Sea is strongest in Samar, but each Order can be found in every Realm. Gormundero is associated with the Order of the Sea, Fahfenihr with the Order of Stone, and Tiamata with the Order of the Sky.

The Order of the Flame is a small and secretive group. They are used whenever the Trinity feels that a region is in need of purification through religious fervor or when the Trinity secretly wants to foment revolution for reasons that mere mortals cannot fathom.

The various Guilds have their own confraternities associated with various elemental principles. The Noble Houses are noted for having their own secret Mystery cults that have arcane rituals and multiple levels of initiation.

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