The Order of the Elders
The Order of the Elders
The Order of the Elders is devoted to the enlightenment of all men, ensuring the salvation of their souls and granting them access to Asgard; the heavenly city in which Odin, the Father of All, resides. Referred to as the Order, it is the oldest established faith on the Far East Island, and is tied deeply to the former realm of Nighthelm, a realm to which many of the most faithful regions once belonged. The Order’s established goals are to spread the Path of Enlightenment, their version of salvation, to all the heretics and pagans within the Far East.
The Elder Gods
The worship and knowledge of the Elders is open to all. It is proclaimed in the entrance of every temple of the Elders, whether it be large or small that none should be turned away from the Path, yet it is of their own choosing and will to follow the teachings of the Gods and walk the Path that leads to Asgard.
The five Elder Gods of the Ancient Texts are as follows:
Odin - Known as the All-Knowing, or Father of All, he is greatest of the Gods and reknown for his wisdom and knowledge of the World. He is often depicted as having one eye and the priests and warriors of his sect often wield Mauls.
Thor – He is the Lord of the Skies, and patron God of Journeys. He is responsible for the safety of travels and revered for his guiding presence along the Path of Enlightenment, which is depicted as both a spiritual and physical journey for those of the Order. The Battle Hammer is his weapon – many priests and merchants follow Thor in order to grace their journeys.
Hildr – She is the Mistress of Battle who inspires the best and worst upon the battlefield, Hildr is the goddess to which warriors pray to when blade meets blade. When the warriors courage is shaken and their sword arm grows heavy from swinging, it is the name of Hildr that springs to their lips to renew themselves. Generals, Marshals, and Cavaliers are drawn to the service of Hildr as it is she who recognizes and rewards valour, virture, and honour upon the battlefield.
Loki – The Trickster, or Dark Prince as he is known by some is the god of charm, trickery, and deceit. He is the patron of thieves and assassins, though anyone doing black business might whisper his name. What he offers should not be trusted however, for he is the one who tests all faithful by offering them what they desire with ease. Loki teaches patience and understanding, whilst bringing failure and misery to those who are tempted easily to err.
Hel – This is the Guardian of the Underworld and Judge of the Damned. Hel ensures the souls within do not escape the enternal darkness that awaits betrayers and heretics. She judges those who have died and determines their fate. Often she is seen as an old blind hag, or alternately a beautiful woman whose body is partially skeletal as well. Regardless Hel advocates for justice, understanding, and truth which makes her a patron of many Lords and Nobles who seek to be Just.
||Eye of Odin
||Deciet, Puzzles, Trickery
||Justice, Understanding, Death
||Halberd or Axe
||Voice of the Underworld
History of the Order
The Order was founded by twice King-elect of Nighthelm, the glorious prophet Thraymn. He was closest to Odin, and wisest amongst the High Clergy. Upon his passing the title of Seer was granted to the highest member of the Clergy, and it is the Seer who now guides the Order.
The History of the Elders is availible here: History of the Elders
Please be aware that while we are translating the ancient texts, such work is strenuous and time consuming. Few texts are availible at this time and it may take some time to translate a comprehensive background.
Religious Texts of the Order
The Ancient texts of the Elders have been painstakingly translated by the Monks and members of the Order so that the words of Wisdom and Truth may be spread to the common man and enlighten him.
Currently the Library contains all the translated texts on the Elder Gods.
The Faith of the Elders
The Path to Enlightenment
The Order of the Elders has many interpretations of its faith, even amongst its own faithful, however this is encouraged and such debates are a source of much joy and discussion. The Order at it's core believes in improving the Self; the mind, body, and soul of an individual. To do this one must challenge themselves in life, find ones strength and more importantly -- weaknesses and overcome them; attain to levels of self-enlightenment through recognition of failures and inabilities and to seek within yourself and the gods the resources to defeat ones own weaknesses.
To do this one follows the Path of Enlightenment, known as the Path, though many refer to this process as following the light. For one follows the Gods and seeks their help to engage in enlightenment. The Path of Enlightenment is also referred to as the Path of Thor, for Thor is the patron God of Travelers and it is seen that those who walk the Path travel within themselves and through the world. Thus they may seek out Thor to aid them in this journey, for the roads we walk in life are watched over by Thor, and thus we should seek his blessings and aid if we find ourselves unsure of which path to travel down.
Many followers seek the blessings of Father Odin, for he aids people who pray and seek for guidance. Those who seek wisdom, knowledge, understanding of the world; they all aspire to the tenants of Odin. Indeed Patience and Wisdom are the most often sought virtues, but many find themselves praying for long hours, or studying the ancient texts for days to achieve the insights he grants. It is those who are confused, confounded, or lost in their journeys who tend to seek out Odin's wisdom when they find their own resources to be stretched. His guiding hand is felt by all of the faithful, for what he teaches is the key to Enlightenment.
As we seek Enlightenment we shall encounter great difficulties in our lives -- this is a test of resolve and strength. These are the challenges that Hildr teaches us to embrace. Her strength, resilience, and endurance on the battlefield are not only for those who fight another man or beast -- but are lessons, virtues even that aid one in overcoming the struggles in life. Thus those who encounter difficulties and troubles in their lives often seek Hildr out for strength and aid in defeating their adversary, whether that is an armed combatant or the endurance to continue on despite great loss or ill fortune.
In our lives we encounter those who have done us wrong knowingly or unwittingly. To find it within ourselves to forgive those who have wronged us, to seek out an understanding of other peoples. Indeed to aid those who are lost and hopeless in life or to seek Justice in the world; those who seek to preform these tasks look to Hel in times of need. She endorses truth seeking, to examines ones soul or those of others for that which inhibits us from Enlightenment. Those who ask for her aid often are seeking Justice in an unbiased fashion. A Justice that embraces mercy and compassion, the salvation of the soul.
In all of us there lies hidden parts of our being which aid in our downfall. Arrogance, short-tempers, lack of foresight. Indeed these are of use to Loki for he shows us our follies and enjoys our failures. It is he who confounds us with multiple choices on the Path, he does so to make us seek the truth. He revels in our failures, in our personal flaws and will exploit them to our downfall. However this is a two-edged sword, through such actions he reveals to us the cause of our failures and thus those who understand Loki's teachings can improve themselves by embracing his teachings, that of our own personal weaknesses. Thus Loki is the most powerful God when it comes to self-enlightenment, for he shows us what we have left to achieve, not what we have accomplished, and thus reminds us that Enlightenment is not a destination, but instead is a journey along the Path.
The Order and other Religions
The Order recognizes that there are many faiths in existence. However, much like languages, the Gods are known by many names. Sometimes the Gods are seen as being a single or multiple beings, these distinctions are but minor ideological differences. It is the view of the Order that the intent and goals of the religion -- their interpretations of the Gods teachings, as opposed to the names they call the gods -- that is important in determining whether or not another Religion teaches the ways of the Elders in a unique fashion or if they teach Heresy and Blasphemy, leading the Common folk and Nobles into Damnation.
Faiths such as The Way of the Dragon have shown that they teach enlightenment, embrace wisdom and truth, and seek to better their followers and nobles. Thus their teachings, while done not in the name of the Elders, are seen as synonymous with those of the Order, that they teach the path to Enlightenment is what matters, those of their faith shall find Asgard. Thus it is believed that many of the Pagan Gods and religions have many of their followers enter Asgard, for they teach the Path, they teach of that which makes a people strong. And despite the various names and views of the Gods, that which follows the Path, leads to Asgard.
However there are such heretical Faiths that not only refuse to accept the path to Enlightenment, but instead fall into Loki's trap of deceit and arrogance. Such faiths have been known to revoke the Gods, claiming they do not exist and even have gone so far as to imply that the Gods are vengeful spirits. Furthermore we have been told of some religions trapping spirits here on the Mortal Plane of existence, using them to commune with and demand answers from the Dead. Such teachings are so far removed from the Path that there is little doubt that either Loki has deceived them wholly, or worse, that some vile creature of evil has fooled these misguided individuals into believing such Heresy.
The Order's Views on Treatment of the People and of War
The People of the Faith are the strength and foundation of the Elders. It is recognized by the faith that all men, commoners and Nobles alike are equal before the Gods. Thus we are to be treated equally before the mortal Laws, that no follower of the Faith shall brutalize or murder the innocent or the commoner. Raping, Burning, Murdering... All such brutish acts are a violation of the Elders Faith. For how can one respect the people if one slaughters them like a butcher? One cannot -- The Orders members are forbidden from such destructive acts, though you will not find it in the tenets as such -- the respect, the wisdom and enlightenment one seeks from following the Path reveals that such horrendous violations of the individuals rights, of the death and brutal murder is an offense to the Gods.
As such the following acts are not endorse by the Elders, indeed members of the Order should advise their Realm-mates and other Nobles to avoid the follow heinous acts, as they are Crimes against the Gods and People. No member of the Order should participate or endorse such brutality against the people -- especially against regions where the Faith holds sway for that is the greatest affront to the Gods, slaughtering the innocent faithful of the Order:
Brutal Take Overs, Raping, Murdering, etc. Any act which deliberately injuries or kills the people of the Order are not acceptable tactics. In War Time the Order recognizes that some acts of hostility are required and thus Looting Tax Collectors and Administrative Executions may be done. However we encourage that instead of Hanging Rebels or using such brutal methods to slaughter innocents who may feel hostile towards ones Realm that you encourage the Priests of the Order from your Realm to maintain the Peace, Calming the population and helping them understand that your Realm does not seek to injure them. Thus Priests of the Order should be used to increase Loyalty and Morale of the People, instead of the Brutal and ignorant tactics of Murder that false "Liberators" or however such barbarians would see themselves as they slaughter the Faithful, claiming to be "freeing" them.
Holy Sites of the Order
First and foremost among the Order's holy sites is the city of Masahakon, where the Prophet founded the faith. The Holy City stayed under the sway of faithful Lords for many a year, until the wretched Empire of Soliferum took the city from Holy Nighthelm. The City was eventually retaken in the First Crusade, lead by then Warlord Thain Himoura. The City was then ruled for a time by the once friendly faith of Sartanism, and the two faiths lived in harmony, until the High Priest of Sartanism threatened to murder every man, woman and child of the Order in response to a declaration of secular war. The Sartanians were declared heretical nad driven out. The City was taken by Kindara, and soon the faithful regained it, and rebuilt the Glorious First Temple.
Naturally, Hatdhes, the smaller Sister City to Masahakon is the second holy site of the Order. Many famous battles against heathen and heretic were fought here, and it is the site of many famous last stands. Hatdhes is the City of Saint Senoske of the Order, and his ashes are interred in the city's temple.
Haul is the third Holy Site of the Order of the Elders. Given the Order's devotion to a martial lifestyle, and the sacred position mountains hold in the faith, it is only natural that the Stronghold of Haul would become a holy site. Located high in the Mountains, so as to be close to Asgard, the holy Stronghold of Haul has always been a destination of pilgrims.
Fourth is Edairn. The mighty woods of Edairn have always been ripe with game, and a great place for the troubled soul to meditate and seek the guidance of the Elders. The last of the Dire Wolves, Neferentine and Vagral dwelled here for ages, until Vagral was slain by Seer Caldean Garalos, and later Neferentine was slain by Seer Thain the Martyr.
Fifth is Nocaneb. The only Stronghold in the North, the walls are thick and grand, and the Citadel of the Stronghold is actually the Temple of the Order of the Elders. Seer Thain the Martyr was lord of Nocaneb, and when Kindaran forces threatened the region, Velax the Heathen threatened the Seer and eventually had him executed for the terrible crime of not having a high enough income to compensate for the failures of the Imperial army.