Church Militant of the Trinity
|Continent / Island||Colonies|
|Capital Temple||Alowca, Alowca|
|Founding Prophet||Cathal Dubhaine|
|Realms of the Faithful||
- 1 History
- 2 The Gods of the Trinity
- 3 Doctrines
- 3.1 On Salvation
- 3.2 On Damnation
- 3.3 The Organisation of the Faithful
- 3.4 The Nature of the World
- 4 Revelations
- 5 Heresies
- 6 The Hierarchy of the Faith
- 7 The Knights Templar of the Holy Sanctum
- 8 View of Other Faiths
Historically the people of Alowca have always been devout followers of the Church of the Trinity, but a time of troubles fell upon the Church when the established clergy broke faith with both the people and The Gods. This lead to deep mistrust amongst the faithful and the corrupt clergy were expelled from the realm en masse, leaving many to pray in their own homes or else to embrace the misguided teachings of the Kamido faith.
These events were not without purpose, for the will of Khagistar is ever active in the world of men, and thus it was that in the weeks preceding the crisis in the Church of the Trinity a prophet was chosen to receive his new revelation.
Sir Cathal Dubhaine was a young Knight from a noble Cagilian family who had travelled to Alowca in search of adventure. At first he was undistinguished amongst his peers until his capture by the armies of Oritolon and imprisonment in their dark and murderous dungeons. There he experienced a series of vivid dreams in which the Gods of the Trinity spoke to him and revealed the destiny of the Colonies, firing him with the conviction that only the truth of the Trinity could turn oppression and hatred to the peace desired by Khagistar. Thus was born the doctrine of The Faith Militant of the Church of the Trinity.
The full import of these dreams is still obscure but in rapid succession Sir Cathal was elevated to Duke of Alowca and elected Denariel's Fury in the Holy Cabinet of Alowca, marking the destiny which had been lain upon him. Prior to this he had already discussed his desire to join the priesthood with his peers and having had time to reflect upon the duties involved he committed his will to that of the Gods and reformed the Church.
The Gods of the Trinity
The Priests of the Trinity recognise three Gods who command all of creation.
In ancient Alowcan the name Khagistar means "The Creator". Khagistar created this world out of the remnants of a previous one of which little is known and is thus known as The Worldshaper. One line of teaching supposes that the previous world was destroyed because the people there somehow failed the will of the Gods whilst another holds that there have been a succession of worlds and that each world is replaced with a new one for purposes only known to the Gods.
Khagistar is understood to be an eternal being, but his nature is beyond the knowledge of man and his will is often obscure even to those who are most dedicated to his cause.
Alluran is the god who sits in judgement of those who pass away, and hence is the God of Perfection and the Merciful Judge. The ancient Alowcan word actually means "The Beginning" which has caused confusion amongst many scholars studying the religious beliefs of the Colonies, but the mystery of this name is well understood amongst the faithful: a favorable judgement by Alluran results in the spirit being allowed to pass on to the next world (spiritually speaking), whereas an unfavourable one condemns the person to return to this world in the form of the Undead. Thus it is that Alluran is rightly seen as the God of Beginnings, the God of Intentions and Inescapable Doom, for from his Dooms come the world that is to come. As Inescapable Doom he wields the power of The Unfettered Void.
The origins of Alluran are obscured and it is unknown if he was created by Khagistar, or is in fact of similar nature to the Worldshaper. Some scholars contend that Alluran was the first living being and the perfect embodiment of Khagistar's will, whilst others believe him to be the sole worthy inhabitant of a previous world which was destroyed in a catastrophe. There is even speculation that he may be seeking a mortal worthy to replace him, allowing him to lay down the heavy burden of judgement to follow the Worldshaper's example and create a new world over which he would rule in just perfection.
Denariel's name translates from the ancient Alowcan tongue as The Way. The Church of the Trinity has always held Denariel in special esteem even though she is regarded as of lesser rank than Khagistar, for Denariel was the first person born into this world to earn Alluran's favour and pass on to the Life Incorruptible which awaits the righteous. Denariel was thus raised to Godhood as the Commander of the Heavenly Hosts who guard the throne of Khagistar.
As The Way her example guides the faithful in the pursuit of courage and duty, showing them the path to sainthood, whilst as the Commander of the Heavenly Hosts she is the Goddess of Just Battle, the Goddess of Staunch Resistance and the Watchful Guardian.
The Church Militant is a complex religion with many teachings, but those of most relevance to the laity are described below.
The Life Incorruptible
The reward for all who follow The Way or who are otherwise judged by Alluran to be worthy of ascension in the life beyond. The Church Militant of the Trinity does not claim exclusive right to salvation, for Alluran judges all according to their merit, and so there are many who pass beyond the veil of death without ascending to the Heavenly Hosts however all who begin their new life in the court of Khagistar are blessed with the life incorruptible, free from hurt and disease.
The Heavenly Hosts
Upon their death all who follow the example of Denariel ascend to join the ranks of the Heavenly Hosts where they guard the throne of Khagister. The Heavenly Hosts also oversee the spiritual safety of the faithful and at times Denariel may even send some amongst their number in the guise of corruptible flesh to aid her chosen.
The Eternally Blessed
Many who die without hearing the teachings of the Trinity, or even having heard them find faith elusive, may still be judged to have lead good lives when they face Alluran's judgement. The Merciful Judge accords these souls a place of healing and contemplation in his mansions, although what becomes of them there is unknown to the faithful.
The Curse of Undeath
Before the ascension of Denariel death was final, for none had attained the Life Incorruptible and Alluran is the most Merciful of all Judges. However following the establishment of the Heavenly Hosts the corruption of the wicked could not go overlooked, and so those who in life sinned greatly against their fellow men were cursed to walk the earth in search of the True Death. A curse to the wicked, this is a blessing to the faithful who through their steadfastness and courage in facing the undead can attain salvation.
Scholarly debate surrounds the true nature of Undeath, but a consensus is forming that attributes the Infernal Powers recognised by other faiths to a misunderstanding of the power attainable by those amongst the Undead who yet retain the drives and hunger of their former lives. Luckily the majority of Undead are of a lesser character and their hunger is usually limited to the flesh of the living, but those rare few who in their wickedness sought this path can become dreadful creatures of cruel intellect and unbounded malice.
It is a sacred duty of all who follow The Way to destroy the Undead wherever they find them.
The Monstrous Hordes
When Khagistar created the world he populated it with all manner of beings, connected in a complex web of interdependency. To each he gave power and insight according to their stature and at the heart of this web he placed the race of Man, in whom he invested his hopes and dreams. But there were other creatures, alike to man and yet different, who hungered to displace him from his favoured position and from these come the Monstrous Hordes who dwell in the wilderness. Not all of these creatures are inimical to man, for many were gifted with the same freedom of will as that possessed by mankind, but it is in the nature of those who crave a thing to hate those who possess it.
It is a sacred duty of all who follow The Way to root out those monsters which prey on mankind and destroy them.
The Organisation of the Faithful
Exemplified by the life and sacrifice of Denariel, who died in battle fighting the forces of evil. The Way is the core principle of the Church of the Trinity and a guide by which the faithful can attain salvation.
The Faith Militant
Following a dreadful battle in Windaria during which the men under his command were massacred, Sir Cathal walked the long leagues through the wilderness and badlands back to Alowca. It was in the solitude of those wild places that The Faith Militant was born, a revelation that the strength of Alowca lay not only in the teachings of the Church, nor in the Valour and Arms of her Knights, but in a marriage of the two. Only by uniting Church, Realm and Army could all three be tempered to the purpose for which the Trinity had created them.
Whilst all are welcome to worship at the Temples of the Church Militant and are given full instruction in The Way should they desire it, there are those for whom the example of Denariel is so powerful that they choose to take the Vow of the Templar and dedicate themselves to the defence of the faithful and of The Holy Places.
The Communion of Saints
All who dedicate themselves to The Way and seek to perfect the virtues of Denariel in their own lives are accorded the honorific Saint to distinguish them from the many lay followers who believe but lack the necessary commitment. Upon their death these Saints are honoured as worthy examples, and other faiths (such as Kamido) often mistakenly identify them with Sacred Spirits or lesser Gods. The Church Militant of the Trinity does not recognise these usages and frowns upon them as a distraction from the path of righteous salvation.
The Church is organised along military lines with worship centred on monastic redoubts known as Commandaries, each providing a small hospital for the sick and alms for the needy. Alongside these are the lay Parishes, tended by a single chapel and providing pastoral care.
The Just War
War is not an end in itself, nor should it ever be a means to an end. This is not the way that The Worldshaper wishes mankind to live, forever killing and despoiling the blessings with which he has been impartially gifted. Therefore the Church Militant holds to a doctrine of Just War, which differentiates between war in defence of the weak and war for personal gain.
The Nature of the World
The Role of Mankind
As the greatest of those whom Khagistar created it is the duty of mankind to tend to the bounty with which he has been blessed and to treat all life with respect. In practical terms the faithful should seek to increase that with which they have been blessed through honest toil, to share it freely with their fellows, and oppose those who would despoil or destroy.
The Unfettered Void
The Worldshaper created all that is seen and unseen, and the mystery of this is beyond mortal understanding. However what is known is that all matter and energy are woven from the formless primordial void and that chaos is a part of all things, sometimes held in check and at others unleashed to wreak terrible havoc on the world of men.
Communion with the void is also the source of power for magic and those who are mighty amongst the Unliving wrap themselves in its folds to attain incredible powers over the world around them, a prime example being the Lich King of Arak. Even the faint echo of such power, rippling across the endless aeons, can taint a place and those who dwell there.
The Plague of Unknowing
At times the world of men becomes wicked and corrupt beyond the measure of individual judgement and Khagistar removes his protection, commanding Alluran to unleash the Void and cast all into confusion. The minds of lesser men are wiped clean and all that has been achieved hangs on the brink of ruin. Not all are affected and the effects are not always universal, but it is considered a blessing by the faithful to live through such times and be tested.
The Great War
Events in the Colonies move inexorably towards a Great War between two powerful factions which will end the current age.
|The Dreams of Cathal||A young noble receives visions of hope at a time when the Temples of the Faithful are falling into disrepair.||These are the founding visions of the Church Militant of the Trinity.|
|The Ascension of Denariel||The story of Denariel's Ascension as told by her companion Jeniston.||This is a key historical document from the earliest days of the Church of the Trinity before it fell into corruption.|
|Sotirod's Dream||A Priest of the Trinity dreams of the coming of an unbeliever who will yet lead the armies of Alowca.||The Church Militant recognises that many may come to the mansions of Khagistar who yet live in ignorance of his majesty. It is the duty of the faithful to judge all by their deeds and not just their professed faith.|
These documents, hagiographies and visions are not core parts of Church Doctrine and have been the cause of much discussion amongst religious scholars. The clergy of the Church of the Trinity often gave them greater weight in its internal factionalism.
|Rhysten's Vision||Pontifex Rhysten writes of the defeat of Lukon and Oritolon at the hands of Denariel, seeing this as a call to arms.|
|Always' Visions||A collection of visions sent by Denariel to the apostate Always.|
|Xerxes Visions||Many years on, the Trinity send the same message to the newest Leader of the Faithful priesthood.|
The Ascendance of the Avatars
Pontifex Xerxes, the last Pontifex of Alowca prior to hold that title exclusively under the pre-Reformation Church, introduced this doctrine to reflect the glory and majesty of Alowca's Theocratic Government. This heresy played its part in turning the people of Alowca away from the Church and brought great sorrow upon the realm.
Following the formation of the Church Militant tensions grew between the ruling council and the Blessed Prophet Cathal, whose revelation came direct from the Trinity themselves and the doctrine was declared heretical.
Three of the great offices of state were held to mirror in position and degree the Gods of the Trinity, pronouncing their decrees with the weight of holy writ. Theologians struggled to find justifications for this doctrine in the teachings of the Church with little success.
|Khagistar's Instrument||stands above the day-to-day concerns of the realm||"in my heart burns the fire of creation and in my words lives the wisdom of ages"|
|Alluran's Will||sits in merciful judgement, meting justice on all who transgress the laws of the realm||"be Just and be Merciful that all men shall know the writ of Heaven and abide by its commands"|
|Denariel's Fury||stands at the head of Alowca's armies, guiding them in their eternal battle against the forces of evil||"and clothed in flesh incorruptible she stands as guarantor of our salvation"|
|Fiduciary||the faithful seneschal stands as proxy for The Church in furthering the work of the government||"the one who guards the hearth is truly the protector of all"|
The Heir of Alluran
Squeaks Beyoku, latterly Denarien Beyoku, long hungered for the mantle of Alluran and published a false vision describing his adoption by Alluran as heir to the seat of judgement.
Lord Alluran, God of Judgement tires of his duties and will step down in favour of Denarien upon the latter's death. No theological support for this doctrine has ever been presented and the vision is entirely self-serving.
The Hierarchy of the Faith
The Living Saints
These ranks are reserved for those who have proven their faith through service to the Church.
|Blessed Prophet||Cathal Dubhaine is the chosen Prophet of the Trinity and the founder of the Church Militant of the Trinity. His role is to guide the faithful back towards righteousness and spread the teachings of the Faith Militant to all mankind.|
|Grand Marshal of the Temple||The current Marshal of The Templars. The Grand Marshal is responsible for the protection of the Holy Places.|
|Lord High Chaplain||The Priest who officiates at high ceremonials and manages the affairs of the clergy.|
|Deacon of the Holy Sanctum||These Priests are exemplars of The Way.|
|Lord Templar||These members of the laity are exemplars of The Way.|
These ranks are open to those who aspire to sainthood.
|Deacon||Senior clergy and knights.|
|Chaplain||Senior clergy and knights.|
|Mendicant Preacher||The parochial clergy.|
|Templar||Knights and Commoners who have taken the Vow.|
|Believer||The general laity.|
The Knights Templar of the Holy Sanctum
Once accounted amongst the Armies of Alowca, The Knights Templar are sworn to the defence of the Holy Places and the faithful.
View of Other Faiths
In general the Church Militant of the Trinity seeks peaceful coexistence with other faiths, converting through force of argument rather than the force of the sword. We do however teach the Doctrine of Just War which allows military action to be taken in defence of the faithful, and aggressively against the agents of evil - clearly identified as those forces which seek to condemn the souls of the living to eternal undeath or place their conscience in the thrall of earthly powers.
|Apostles of the Abyss||Outer Tilog||Evil||By worshipping the Infernal Powers they sanctify the Undead.|
|Church of the Trinity||Alowca||Misguided||The pre-reformation form of the worship of the Trinity, the Church became a corrupt and fell from The Way.|
|Horde of Honor||Lukon||Evil||There is little love lost between Lukon and Alowca, the birthplaces of these two faiths and yet the core teachings of the Horde appear on the surface compatible with the actions required of those committed to The Way. However the willingness of the Horde to ally with the accursed Apostles of the Abyss and their acceptance of human sacrifice both clearly demonstrate the evil which lurks beneath this facade.|
|Kamido||Alebad||Misguided||It is difficult to understand why they pray to the Saints as if they were Gods, however we respect the reverence in which they hold our Lord Khagistar.|
|The Path of Chivalry||Oritolon||Misguided||They turn their hearts from the Gods and for this we feel sorrow, and yet honour and virtue are not alien to them. There is yet hope that one day our two faiths may be reconciled.|
|Ryou Gu Tykou||Rollsovar||Ignored|
|Shadowism||Assassins||Misguided||Though strange in form the mysticism of the Bakker Woods contains wisdom gifted by our Lord Khagistar to men in the years unnumbered before history began.|
|Via of Filiolus||Hulaferd||Ignored||A primitive faith with echoes of Kamido.|
- The Variant worship the Trinity but differ in specific points of doctrine.
- The Misguided are faiths which either share our devotion to one or more of the Trinity Gods, or else espouse virtues which appear wholly compatible with The Way and will allow a true devotee to attain salvation so long as they eschew acts of evil.
- The Evil oppose the core principles of The Way and are anathema. It is the holy duty of Priests to preach against their evil and of Knights to oppose their earthly dominion.
- The Ignored profess faith which makes little sense to followers of the Trinity but are not clearly identifiable as Evil.