The Order of Mireluth
The Order was founded several millenia ago by the humans who fought alongside the Creation Gods Arenthian and Mireluth in the war against Erebus. It resides in the Temple of Creation atop Nal'hadir Island, the only place where the powerful manastone Rubicos forms. This island houses the Sacred Pool, a well of magical energies necessary to the ascension of the Goddess, and it is the self-appointed task of the Order to protect it, as well as the Goddess it empowers. The Order is a religious faction with strict church doctrine and initiation processes, and it also serves as a specially trained force designed to combat the ever encroaching threat of the Bjira.
The ranks are broken into two factions; the Sons of Arenthian (also known as the Templars,) which serve as the physical arm of the Order, and the Daughters of Mireluth (also known as Litanists,) who serve as the magical arm. These two groups may work together or separately, though the Litanists also aid in charitable work, such as healing the sick and infirm, or restoring land that has been decimated by war or famine.
The Ascension Journey
On the twenty-fifth birthday of the Goddess, born as a mortal Elennian princess with the power of a Creation God sleeping within her, the Ascension Journey begins; a highly traditional rite that takes two months of comfortable travel to complete. This Journey is the travel of the Goddess form the capital in Elen, through the countries of Kashr and Randorin, and finally to the Creation Temple where she will be born again as a true Goddess. The purpose of the journey is to expose the Goddess to the people, to show the people their saviour and to show the Goddess her people, so that she might have a better understanding of the lives of the men and women she is to rule. The end of the Journey, when she will become a Goddess, is to strengthen the seal on Erebus' Gate. This process keeps the world safe from the darkness, and it is critical that it be accomplished. To this end the Order grooms a Weaponer, chosen for his or her excellence, to exceed the skill and prowess of the other swordsmen in the Order. This Weaponer is referred to as the Knight of the Goddess, and serves as an escort for the Goddess to the Temple. The Knight of the Goddess undergoes vigorous, harsh training mentally and physically to prepare for the Journey, and fasts and days of reflection are taken to strengthen the man or woman spiritually. Each Knight bears his or her own unique sword (or other weapon, dependent on the Knight), crafted by the world's finest artisan (determined by a contest held on the Goddess' 16th birthday in the Kingdom of Elen), and the weapon is often set with affinity-appropriate manastones. Once their task is complete, the Knight's weapon is placed in the Hall of Reverence, a tribute to Knights past.
The Bjira Threat
Aside from these two tasks, the Order also steps in to fight the Bjira, or Taken, who act as servants of Erebus and seek his restoration. The Bjira are an enemy not easily destroyed because of their infectious nature, and many Bjira operate from the shadows, making them difficult to find. The Order's undeniable experience with the creatures has landed them with the task of destroying them, but the covert way of the Bjira in recent history has lead the Order to be a reactive group, and catching the beings before they do any significant damage is more a stroke of luck than a serious possibility. Because of this they have patrolling groups on the lookout for any suspicious activity throughout all the countries, and in this way they serve as guardians for the three countries, with many people looking to the Sons and Daughters of the Order in reverence.
To do this, they train ranks of Weaponers and Spellbinders who are widely regarded as some of the finest of their kind in all of Arenia. They also train mages and swordsmen independently, as not all members of the Order are paired together in the Weaponer/Spellbinder fashion. In fact, many of the Sons of Arenthian act as military units of a dozen men, and are often accompanied by one or two mages to identify and deal with magical situations. These units, rotated in and out of patrol across the globe, are usually welcomed in any community.
The Sons of Arenthian
The Sons of Arenthian serve as the physical arm of the Order and its primary source of military power. Although they number only a meager two hundred strong, this number should not be underestimated, as the Sons of Arenthian are widely regarded as the best swordsmen in Arenia. The discipline and training necessary to become a member of the Order demands much of the individuals, and each man is a well crafted weapon in their own right. There is no finer training establishment for the arts martial, swordsmanship, archery, or the use of a polearm.The First Bulwark:
He leads the Templars as Commander, determining battle plans, keeping the Templars focused, and generally maintaining the morale of the group. The Steadfast:
These are the those who lead in the First Bulwark's absence more often than not, and are captains who preside over units of men in the Sons sect of the Order. They enforce the Bulwark's orders and serve as the last line of defense in the event of a withdraw, protecting their brothers-in-arms as they retreat to regroup. They are field commanders primarily.The Dedicated:
They are the lowest ranking of the Templar, commonly regarded as the foot soldiers of the Order. They have a strong connection to each other, for their task is their brother's task, and this mentality is true even up to the First Bulwark. During the novice years these men are encouraged to grow and bond, and are trained to believe that each man is only as strong as their weakest member. It is this unity which helps them stand in the face of the Bjira, presenting a unified front of trust and intimate understanding of their comrades, where betrayal is simply not a possibility. When a Templar is infected, they bravely throw themselves into the fight as long as their body can hold out, and selflessly give their lives to their brothers before the Taken's infection can corrode their strong wills entirely. Fallen Templar are honored with their own place in the Hall of Reverence when this happens, their names committed to history as those who died defying the darkness of the temptatious Erebus.
The Daughters of MireluthGrand Reciter:
The Litanists, unlike the Templars, are not strictly intended for battle. The Grand Reciter assigns the Daughters to this or that charitable task for the three countries, which also serves to maintain the Order's information network, keeping eyes and ears in every country that keep her up to date on any suspicious movements that may involve Bjira activity, which she then passes along to the First Servant. The Invocators:
They are the major workforce of the Litanists in the world, going out in pairs where needed to secure and collect supplies and tithe for the Order and its workings, and to supply healing and restoration where allowed or requested. The Invocators are also priestesses (or priests, on rare occurrence) and spread awareness of the Church, the teachings of Arenthian and Mireluth, and may perform spiritual rites. These people are the mouthpieces for the Order's religious sect.The Hymnists:
They are the support of the Order, maintaining the stability of the Temple and tending to the needs of its Initiates. They heal those who are injured, accompany the Templars most frequently in battle, and ensure the wards and protections surrounding the Temple are maintained. The Hymnists may also become Spellbinders, bound to a Weaponer in the ranks of the Sons. First Servant:
Above the First Bulwark and the Grand Reciter sits the lofty position of the First Servant. The First Servant is the leader of the Order of Mireluth, and his (or her) title comes from the concept that they are the first among the servants of the Goddess. The First Servant maintains the balance of power between the Sons of Arenthian and the Daughters of Mireluth, handles the orders and documentation of the transfer of goods and services, the amount of tithe required from the other lands, and ensures the peace and stability of the Order in its entirety, as well as maintaining the relations between the Order and the other three countries. All judgments regarding the breaching of laws or protocol within the Order are decided by the First Servant, though they may be contested by the a consensus between both the First Bulwark and the Grand Reciter. In addition to maintaining order within the Temple, the First Servant also sees to the spiritual needs of the Order's members, often leading Mass and invoking the blessings of the Goddess. His or her short hand title is simple "Master" as a prefix to a name.
The Order's Politics
The Order is not strictly a world power, keeping itself far removed from the political concerns of the three kingdoms of Elen, Kashr, and Randorin. However it also remains free from the influence of the other three countries, and is not beholden to their laws or practices. Despite this, the three countries give tithe to the Order, as it is known that the Order maintains the stability of the Sacred Pool, ensures the safety of the Goddess once the Journey has begun, and protects the three countries from the Bjira, whenever they might surface. This agreement exists for the benefit of the world at large, and through it, as well as the Order's views of acceptance and tolerance, any from the three kingdoms are welcome to the Order, and are free to learn whatever the Order has to teach them.
The Doctrine of the Order of Mireluth
1: Mireluth is within all that is, all that was, and all that will be, intimate with every aspect of creation and the mother of the human race. She is us, and we are Her.
2: As Mireluth and Arenthian selflessly sacrificed themselves, so too should man hold himself to honor and selflessness. To do right without reward strengthens the spirit.
3: Do not dismiss the presence of Evil. As Mireluth fought against the Darkness, so too must we all. To beleive it is someone else's problem is folly of the most deplorable sort. But in this, do not quest to destroy evil. Every sword must be sharpened with wisdom and temperance.
4: Salvation of the World comes through the Goddess, the inheritor of Mireluth's power and divine purpose. The Goddess becomes the world to heal it, and so the world continues. Cherish the Goddess, who goes to become a greater thing than a mortal, and revere the sacrifice of the human spirit.
5: The Teachings of Mireluth remain open to all who wish to seek them, and must not be twisted or converted to the gain of the individual. Mireluth is the world, and thus we, her followers, are of the world as well. And being of the world, we must never forget that we are not greater than the world.
Charity. Sympathy. Sanctity. Unity.
Blessed is Mireluth, mother of Gods. Blessed is Arenthian, father of creation. Holy is the land of man, holy is the realm of heaven, and holy are the Gods thereafter.
Praise be the Goddess by whom all things remain sacred, and through Her, the Trinity of Salvation is formed.
Glorified are our brothers, hallowed are our sisters, who are in Mireluthe and in the Goddess, and are of the World. Glorified is the world which is in us, as all is one and one is all in the hands of the Makers.