- 1 The Venerable Order of the Citadel
- 2 Organization of the Church
- 3 Letters to the Venerated and Venerating Saints
The Venerable Order of the Citadel
Respect the past. Seize the present. Prepare for the future.
The Story of Creation
In the time before time, there was the gods. As men, in our modern times, we know little to nothing of the gods, only that they are divine, that they are almighty and that their will is in our best interest. The gods, however, are complex beings who became bored with only each other’s company; together they created the world with all of its flora and fauna.
After centuries of flourishing life on this world, one god emerged who became jealous and greedy. This god wanted to rule the world himself, to be the sole master of the world and all its creation. This god, known to us as the Dark One, went down to the world and created a superior creature on earth: man. Man was a creature whose mind was far more advanced than anything on else on the world. Into this creature, man, the Dark One sewed his seed of malice, of discourse and of hate for all things save the Dark One himself; forever these men and their offspring would be doomed to the service of this malignant god. The Dark One scattered these men across the world, directing them to found kingdoms in his name and to lay dominion over the world.
In response to this, the gods of divinity retaliated. They realized that an untainted bloodline would be needed to combat the evils of the Dark One and the race of men he had created. It was at this time that gods came together for the final time and created the Noble Line of men. These men, free from the slavery of the Dark One , and granted their own free will, soon became, to the gods’ surprise, their most beloved creation. They tasked this Noble Line of men with the governing of the world, and the eradication of the men of the Dark One.
Many years after these events, the Men of the Noble Line and the Men of the Dark One had been at war for many years, when finally their fight culminated in one last, great battle. In the midst of this great battle, when all seemed lost for the Men of the Dark One, the Dark One himself descended from the heavens to strike a blow upon the Men of the Noble Line which would finish them forever. Seeing this, the gods themselves came down to the world to defend their creations. At this time, when the gods and the Dark One became engaged in battle to decide the fate of the world itself, something went wrong. A great explosion of light and dark and power swept the field of battle. When the chaos had settled, many were slain, and few remained. The two sides, not seeing their respective gods, fled fearing they had lost. It later came to be known that a great metaphysical chasm had been created, something neither the gods nor the Dark One had expected. This chasm made it impossible for the gods to directly communicate to the Men of the Noble Line, and respectively for the Dark One to his creations.
After decades of direct communication between the gods and their creations, it was all gone in the blink of an eye. The gods mourned at this loss, they loved men, and they felt empty without their creations; they feared for Man’s future without their divine guidance and protection. But all hope was not lost, it was soon discovered that when the men of the Noble line passed from their world to the spiritual world of the gods, they were still able to traverse the chasm and contact the living. It was then that the Ancestors became the prominent medium of communication between the gods and Men. The Dark One, however, was not to be left out. He too was afraid; that his creations would, after years of no communication, slowly forget about him and fail to conquer the world for him. So the Dark One summoned all of his remaining power to empower one last creation: the Great Dragon. The Great Dragon would serve as the Dark One’s servant and messenger between himself and his men of evil.
After this, now that the gods could no longer direct men themselves, men were forced to form their own nations. Men of noble lineage settled near the silver lake and sought to combat the evil men of the world. They elected kings to lead them and, ideally, listen to the wisdom of his Ancestors, who brought guidance from the gods themselves. Similarly, the evil men of the world formed various realms, no longer united by the iron fist of the Dark One, they squabbled amongst themselves and many forgot Dark One, and created false religions. Those still loyal to the Dark One’s message and task, worship the Dark One’s servant, the Serpent.
Organization of the Church
The Earthly Head of the Church of Venerism.
There will, in time, be one high priest for each geographic region of the church: perhaps this will be by duchy or perhaps it will be by nation. Only a priest can be high priest.
Keeper of the Temple:
This is either the person who is responsible for the day to day running of a City Temple in the Church, or any person who built a temple and sponsor's it.
Speaker for the Dead:
This is the chief mystic in the church. This must be a person who has had multiple visions from the dead and speaks with them regularily. His duty is to study the heavens for signs, and to seek guidence from the departed of Eston. This person must be a priest who has served Eston well.
Defender of the Church:
This rank must be held by a person who has been called by the departed of Eston to serve the church either miltarily or financially. (By sponsoring the army, or by donating at least 250 gold to the Venerist Paladin's War Chest.)
Venerable Father/Venerable Mother
The Rank held by any Priest who has served long and will be honored in perpetuity by the church.
This rank will be granted to any person who is a priest in the Order.
The Rank of Paladin Primus will be granted to the current Marshall of the Venerist Paladin's. Knights will be promoted to and demoted from this rank frequently.
The Rank of Paladin will be granted to any Knight who choses to serve the Venerist Paladin's of Eston.
The Rank of Cleric will be granted to any member who has expressed a desire to serve the causes of Venerism while continuing in their present service to their realm.
Letters to the Venerated and Venerating Saints
As writ by Marsyas Ariston
Life as an unbroken chain
We who Venerate recognize chiefly that life is an unbroken chain from Grandparent, to parent, to child. All that we have today was built by those who come before us, and all that we do will echo through the ages unto our children. For this reason we must respect the will of those who came before us, and not set aside their designs except through prayerfull consideration. Also we must do all with the knowledge that our children will bear the benefit or harm of our actions and must always consider them when we choose to act. In this way all our designs are a partnership between the past, present, and future.
On the stages of existance:
We who Venerate understand that just as life is an unbroken chain, so the spirit is also immutable. It exists first as it is woven together by the gods when need for a new spirit is seen. Then it is born into earth, and it lives within a body for a time as it takes its time as an actor, learning the lessons that are required of it. Finally the spirit departs the earth and takes its place as an intersessor between the living and the gods. In these cases the suty of these spirits is to aid the gods in their work, and advise the living with their wisdom. Some such spirits, if strong and able in life and deemed worthy by the gods, can reincarnate, and walk among the living in godlike bodies; paragons of knightly and noble virtue. In this way some who have passed beyond may still take a hand in the events of the living, however they are bound by wisdom or requirments beyond the Ken of mortal men, and their ways are not easily understandable.
On Chaos and the Undead:
Chaos cannot create. It can only bend and twist and make fey that which the gods create. In this way, when a spirit leaves its body behind, the child of chaos will oftimes animate it and attempt to use it as a tool against the living. These are those that we can undead. They are no more our kin than would one be the kin of a snake if one wore its shed skin about. Thus we should slay them, that Chaos will be confounded.
As Chaos cannot create, but may only twist; There are times when chaos will bend the bodies of some animals of the wood and some few men who fall under its sway. These poor creatures become hideous to look upon and gruesome in appearance and temperment. These are monsters and the servants of Chaos. The best that we can do for them is to split their bodies and free their souls from their imprisonment, so that they might find healing and comfort among the gods.
Introduction of the Church
My Lords and Ladies, My Borthers and Sisters of Eston,
Recently I didst journey across our beloved land, and didst discover that we are neither alone nor as mean as perhaps we at odd moments didst assume. The dead of Eston do indeed live on in the darks and dells and in the realm of spirits. Yay, even amongst the pantheon of creators and shapers of our world.
All men of a seemly humble demeanor do know that to hear the words of the ineffable creators would doom a man to witlessness and even perchance unto death. For this reason, those who have passed from our realm into theirs do act as intercessors between us, and reveal the purpose of these gods unto us. Thus has it been since the dawn of time.
Yet why then have we heard nothing from these, our champions among the gods, in so many ages? Recently this very wisdom has been brought to me, not because of my greatness, but rather because of my meaness; I have been deemed unworthy of any greater purpose in Eston, but to bring this news unto you.
I know that the memory of Marouane, the Lion of Eston, is yet too fresh to be invoked without causeing much distress and many a damp eye, and fain would I invoke his name were it not to bring you tiding that may be a balm to you.
Marouane was taken from us in a strange and unseemly fashion. No illness or eld didst touch his body, and yet it seemed that his spirit had passed from its residence there. Indeed, this is verily the measure of his passing. The gods themselves saw that he was the greatest warrior yet birthed in Eston, and did call his soul into their service.
And what need could the gods themselves have that would justify taking this icon from his place in Eston? The need was even that which has kept our dead from speaking to us for so long, that I here recount to you.
In the dawn of time, the ineffable created the world, but in their generosity they gave men too much freedom, placing no rulers over them, and the men were unruly. So the gods decided to create a line of nobles to rule over men to give them direction and purpose, and thus follow the will of the gods. For this reason the line of Nobility was established, and for a time, things were good.
But eventually some men became to envy these rulers and did make war upon them, and established noble lines of their own making. This did displease the gods, and they would have stepped in to set things aright, but a dark creature, the child sprung from the chaos that was before creation, took pleasure in vexing them, and brought forth a mighty dragon of chaos to keep them from this world.
Now the gods are mighty and could have easily bested this dragon, but the dark spawn of chaos in its cleverness didst meld the chaos of the dragon the heart of a living man so that the chaos was bound to the fabric of our world such that the gods could not best the dragon without destroying us, their beloved creations, for creation cannot abide being smitten by the gods without unraveling.
For eons the gods watched and waited, but not idly. For they used what slim means they could sneak past the dragon, to shepherd their original line of nobility to one day bring forth a paragon of knightly virtue who would be able to slay the dragon without destroying all that was.
Yes, it is even as you guessed. The blood of this ancient royal line doth flow in the veins of the nobles of Eston, and the mighty warrior for whom they waited was none other than Marouane. When he had proven himself on the battlefield, they awakened his spirit to their world, and thus he had to leave us.
It was not in vein, far from it, for Marouane was victorious. He fought against the chaos of the dragon and severed its man’s heart from it, casting it back into the chaos beyond creation.
Now that the Dragon is no more, the gods once again speak to us through our departed brethren, and they desire that we once again take up the ancient purpose for which our shared bloodline was founded.
The Emergence of the Lion
The Emergence of the Lion The moon had scarce been a moment above the horizon when it happened. Some trick of the feral wilds or the impish interference of a forest sprite had cast forth a vein to ensnare his ankle and pitch Marsyas sobbing to the earth.
The beast was close.
That lone thought pounded repeatedly in his mind as the staccato tread of the mighty creature pounding against the turf thundered in his ears. Two miles ahead, no more than three, he could see the lights of Massillion; his destination. He cried out in anguish; an animal sound with no meaning except to express the frustration and fear welling up from within him. The sound echoed his visage, as on all fours he sobbed in frustration. Wet rivulets ran down his face; rain mixing with tears, and days of unwashed sweat, to sting his eyes.
“And here is it to end?” he cried out at the sky and the land about him. “Alone?” It was the tortured cry of a man driven near mad with pain and fear and exhaustion. How bitter, how terribly unfair it was that this land of his birth, the land watered by the blood he’d spilled defending it, should deliver him now into the maw of a savage beast. He could not run. His ankle felt sprained, and he’d had to kill his horse two days ago when a stone had given out and pitched them into a ravine. The fall had broken the animal’s leg in several places; white bone protruding from the forelock. ‘Just one more sacrifice to Eston’, he thought acerbically. Neither could he fight. His sword, as little good as it would have been, had been lost swimming a stream swollen beyond its banks with the recent rains. He had so little left, he’d even been forced to abandon his cloak when it had become entangled in bramble several days past. “Damn it,” he thought, “let it take me,” and he hung his head ready to be food for some wild beast. He laughed suddenly. Half a laugh only to be sure, but a giddy laugh sprung from some macabre sense of humor. “Fine then,” he thought. “My last service to Eston as her knight will be to feed one of her creatures”.
And he waited.
“No!” The sudden shout springing from his own lip startled him, but not nearly so much as the resolve that grew in his chest. “A knight of Eston does not die with his back to the enemy.” “I will look into your eyes even as you sup upon my flesh!” he screamed twisting himself around to face the predator as it approached. It was lion, or so he surmised. He had never seen a lion except on the livery of the Knights from Tara, but this could be no other creature. It strode close; so close that he could feel its hot breath upon his face. His heart pounded in his chest like it would burst free, but he held his chin high and with Herculean effort, stared directly into the creature’s eyes, waiting for the lunge of teeth and jaw that would rend his life from him.
“Greetings my friend. I think I have not seen you in a worse position.” The voice was familiar, gay and lively, but grave. “No, not even when the walls of Belegrond fell.” Tearing his eyes manfully from the beast, Marsyas glanced at the newcomer. He was tall and dark; stern, but carrying a youthful energy. He moved with confidence, approaching the beast as he drew a sword and dagger. Marsyas felt he should know this mighty knight who now drew the attention of the Lion. Yet Marsyas also knew that he had never in life met such a paragon.
“Here my friend, take these in case I should fail to overcome this beast.” The fey knight said this with humor as though the possibility were ludicrous, tossing his sword and dagger to Marsyas. Once so disarmed, he crouched before the lion spreading his great mail-clad arms as though to welcome the beast into a lovers embrace. The lion shook its mane loosing a deafening roar, angered by this intrusion, and lunged accommodatingly into its suitor’s grasp. It was over quickly. The knight caught the beast about the neck and with a groan of inhuman exertion, pressed his arms together and twisted the beasts head nearly about. With a sudden moist pop, the lion fell to the turf twitching. “Here give me that dagger.” he said, and as Marsyas lay dumbfounded by the incredible display of valor he had witnessed, the knight deftly skinned the beast before him. When he finished, the knight gravely held out the skin for Marsyas to take. “Difficult times lay ahead for Eston. At times you will wish that rather you faced this beast again.” All trace of frivolity was now gone from his countenance “but remember this day when you were not alone, and when you remember, take heart. For neither Eston nor the least of her knights ever shall be without succor; I, Marouane of Eston, so pledge upon the skin of this beast.”
The sound of thunder woke Marsyas with a start. A dream, a figment, and yet not the first he had known in the past week. All were leading him somewhere. “But Where?” He thought. “Massillion”, he whispered to himself. ”Alastrinana said that I would find my Destiny in Massillion.” He looked up at the sky, cursing himself for falling asleep so close to the city. Now it was well past the middle of the night with the cold of autumn closing tightly about him, and a bitter drizzle soaking his skin. “Just a few more miles” he thought pulling his cloak more tightly about himself, neither recalling in his exhausted state that his cloak had been lost days ago, nor noticing that what he now wore over his shoulders was the freshly skinned pelt of a lion.