1218

Teaser Feb 1218 #4

The imperial rally to retake Pyredown met with failure. It was determined that it would be best to storm the capital from the south, through Weisbaden, while the Weisbaden troops were still engaged in sacking the smaller towns and villages. To wait longer would be to give the Exalted time to get fully entrenched and set up their own defenses.. It was a sound theory. Those troops that could be gathered in time were underprepared and underarmed due to the vast stores of their supplies behind enemy lines, but soldiers have won against even worse odds when it is their home they are fighting for.

This war was lost to the traitors. The imperial troops were significantly bolstered with a full muster of Brechtish knights, flying under the banner of Warlord Regent Volkmar. At a critical moment in the battle, four of his northern bannermen turned their blades upon him. Their knights wrought havoc among the already embattled armies of Volbrecht and Pyredown. The Warlord Regent was able to fight his way free and kill two of the four and then, injured, go on to lead the confused battlefield to a stalemate instead of a calamitous defeat.

After the fact, the two remaining warlords declared war against Volkmar and at the same time declared themselves against the traitors in Weisbaden. They cited that the warlord regent had taken their lands without besting them in battle, and then given those hereditary lands over to the ancient enemy of the Brechts, the Sparians.

On the north side of Hallowed Hills, tensions between Inlyrico and the Imba’nire forest are again on the rise. Inlyrican border towns have been raided by the tribes, and after the dead were accounted for there were still many missing. They are presumed to be prisoners of the Wild Nation, and groups from the regency, the empire, and the Federation who have been providing aid are seeking quick answers from the clans about this affront.

In the wake of the chaos, Lady Reagan Xaertes has been named the new Regent of Braeus upon the official retirement of her father Riade. She was well prepared for the position and the transition was not even a hiccup in the smooth Braen bureaucracy. The lady has named the recovery and expansion of Isou University as the priority for her first years in office.

The emperor’s Arcane Advisor Katarina Musaphi, her assistant recently disappeared, is being scrutinized for the downgrade in her performance. Others in the political circles whisper about her inexperience coming into her position, and how this flailing about was inevitable. On top of her other duties, she has recently been inundated with reports from around Rues regarding a sudden surge of demonic activity. Entropy demons especially have been reported in much greater numbers and at much greater strength, coupled with Despoilers whose normally stable magic has been behaving in unexpected ways.

Among all the change and worry, the people of Rues wonder – with Fortune’s Bend caught in the heart of Hallowed Hills, will the heroes still be able to help them?

Teaser Feb 1218 #3

To: the Purposed of Rues

From: Sister Maribeth Pargeter of the Chappelarie

Beloved,

The Revelation of Ten sent shockwaves throughout Rues. I have already written to address what this means for the Faitful on a personal level. In that letter, I spoke of the danger of certainty; of how quickly our certainty in what was will blind us to the reality of what is now, of how being entrenched in old ideologies will lead the Faithful to turn on one another. I have also, in previous letters, touched on my concerns that the Exalted, in their certainty, and in promoting the false security that certainty can grant, have been turning away from the Genesori’s plans for us. But my previous words did not go far enough, and now I feel I must be as unambiguous as possible:

The Exalted are dangerous, power-hungry, opportunistic traitors. They are using faith to intimidate. They are using Faith to consolidate power. They are using faith, and abusing it, for their own gratification, and in so doing wiping away all that is pure and honorable about Belief.

Belief cannot be coerced. Faith professed with a sword to one’s throat is not true faith. It is hollow, and momentary. When the sword is removed, where is faith? They are bludgeoning the Faithful with their own fears and not bringing anyone to the truth.

Nearly immediately after the Revelation of Ten, the Exalted took to questioning the Faithful as to the number of Gods. Any answer other than “Five” resulted in violence. How much clearer can it be that the Exalted have closed their eyes, ears, and hearts to the Genesori?

Beyond this, they have allied themselves with the traitors of Weissbaden and struck at the Heart of the Empire, at the Emperor himself. Emperor Mercurio was protected by the favor of the Gods. Could there be a clearer sign of who is in the right and who is in the wrong?

I know there are those within the Exalted who began with pure and faithful intent, seeking to spread faith throughout Rues. To them I say, turn around now. Open yourself to the possibilities of change. Humble yourself enough to doubt. Come home.

To the rest, I say, beware. You have shown us who you truly are. You have shown us that you do not value belief.. You value control. True Faith is stronger than the bonds you would put on it, and it will defeat you.

And to you, my Beloved Faithful, I say again to choose your Faith with love and not fear. Find your Purpose, the Genesori’s greatest gift, within yourself. Hear it, heed it, and choose.

Yours in Faith,

Sister Maribeth

Teaser Feb 1218 #2

To: the Purposed of Rues

From: Sister Maribeth Pargeter of the Chappelarie

Brothers and Sisters,

The missive that I write to you now may be the hardest thing I have ever written. I write even as I wrestle with the Revelation of the Ten and all its myriad implications. Brother Godrick Dwyre of the Chappelarie has written of the Revelation itself, and I see no need to touch again on information that has flown – in some cases literally – on the wings of Angels across the face of Rues. Rather, I write to parse out what this means for the Faithful.

The first time I wrote to you, it was to encourage you, my brothers and sisters, not to run from Holy Doubt, and I will state again with conviction that there are doubts that are indeed Holy. Now more than ever, I believe that doubt is the way forward, and that certainty is a trap that will turn the faithful on one another in ways destructive and antithetical to the Genesori’s hopes and plans for us.

So let us reflect briefly on something I believed with complete certainty, a thing that has been turned on its head in the past season’s revelations, as well as what this thing will mean for our faith. I am speaking of the Blasphemy of Sabira Venopoulous and her recent elevation to Sainthood.

My friends, I will be completely honest. When I learned that the reawakened Lady of Mystery had chosen Professor Venopoulos for Her Saint, I was beyond incredulous. I was furious. Here was a woman who was regarded unanimously as a blasphemer. She shattered a holy relic of Jormic. Surely nothing could be more unambiguously sinful and deserving of swift retribution. How, how, how could she now be elevated to Sainthood?

It has taken me long hours of prayer and meditation to make peace with this. In making my peace, I have come to accept the following: first, that I could allow myself time to feel angry, betrayed, and confused. Is this not what I have been counseling Church and Chappelarie to do with their parishioners? I needed to give myself the same grace. Second, that I need to recognize that in matters of faith, there will always be things outside my ken. My certainty could quickly become willful ignorance and arrogance. Did I really think I knew better than a God? Now that there are ten Gods, do I really expect everything to be as it was? As I have counseled my brothers and sisters through their own struggles with the Revelation of the Ten, a recurring theme has been that a mortal cannot ever fully understand the motivations of the Divine. I must approach the new churches and their teachings with an open mind and an open heart. Third, that because this is a time of change, I should feel no shame in my past certainty; I was not wrong at the time. This is precisely what we must be open to — a Blasphemy against Jormic can be an act of great faith to Thiacris. Our churches will have to come together to recalibrate how we deal with such contradictions, and also remember that the Genesori, in their wisdom, have already created an arbiter far more impartial than any ecclesiastical body, Lady Death.

In the course of these reflections, I found myself surprised at how life may give you the tools you need to get through difficult times, often long before you need those tools. My first conversation with Brother Dwyre touched on Death as the Genesori’s arbiter. This conversation happened over five years ago, but my recollection of it brought clarity and comfort as I thought through the challenges before me. In the conversation we had, we posited that should the need arise, if, for example, Garioch felt it a person’s time to depart life, but Severrin felt their presence was still needed, Death’s judgement would be necessary, and her decision binding.

I wish to be extremely clear that I believe asking Death to settle disputes should be the Churches’ last recourse in any internecine disagreements. Among the many fears I have wrestled with over the past few months is that some differences between faiths may be irreconcilable. When that anxiety creeps in, I recall that the five gods we knew held the mantles of the five gods we will come to learn for centuries. If our gods could protect these aspects — so different from their primary purviews for so long, surely the churches can find ways to respect the practices of each god, even when conflicts arise, and I would offer the Chappelarie’s assistance in negotiating agreements between the churches as they move to new understandings of ecclesiastical law.

More than ever, beloved, we must be flexible in our faith, both as individuals and institutions; saplings who sway in the storm and are nourished by the rain, rather than stauch old trees uprooted in the gale. The True Chappelarie is with you.

Yours in Faith,

Sister Maribeth

Teaser May 1218

In a great blinding explosion, the Prayer of Revelation toppled in the middle of the stolen city of Pyredown. It burns there still, they say, a constant monument to the defeat suffered by the oppressors who still rule the city. Following the fall of the tower, a new resistance effort made itself known as Phoenix Fyre, formed from imperial loyalists trapped within the city, working against the Exalted from the inside.

Southward, the imperial city of Fort Hawksclaw has become the hub of the displaced empire, relying on Vascoll and Sparian ships to get communication and trade through and around Rues. The most daring of these captains will brave the guarded coasts of Hallowed Hills to rescue the lucky few who are able to flee the occupied territory. The pyredonian people emerge with tales of constant fear, institutionalized oppression, and brutal consequences. These stories have only enhanced the anger and distrust leveled at the Exalted and by association Weisbaden, and are passed on at the docks along with condemnations and tales of horror from the two “worst of the worst.”

Across the sands from Hawksclaw, the once-hero of Shiara, Mason Atasir, has in his absence been revealed as only a power-hungry pretender with a cold, angry heart. Stories have surface from those under his care in the Rojeur province as well as the lands that he rode across of arrogance, cruelty, and rank ambition. Bradley Lansdowne, Ereya Atasir, and the newly chosen Scion Wirth Banrion have been at the forefront of the outspoken outrage and condemnation of his actions. Mason Atasir himself, however, has not been seen in over a year.

Inlyrico, now free from the looming danger of the Prayer of Revelation, have turned their eyes to other matters. The Blessed Land and its legendary fertile soil will not receive the Blessing of Duron this year, a denial which has greatly upset the leadership of the regency. They have reached out to the Church of Terra Anima, the official name of the newly formed joint church of Eilona and Koreel, but have received no explanation.

While troubles have continued on the border of the Imba’nire forest, Endreago Ellegere has come forward as a spokesman for Lady Regent Onnathea on the matter. The attack of Inlyrican citizens and towns on the forest’s edge have been perpetrated by those who have given taken on the mark of Corruption, and cast aside their other beliefs. The Wild Nation reviles them, and so too does Inlyrico, and so they are considered a part of neither, and an enemy of both. The unification of efforts against them is hoped to bring relief to the towns along the edge that are seeing the most of these foul beings.

Teaser Feb 1218 #1

In port taverns and bars, devil-may-care bards with quirked smiles have been heard singing a haunting tune. The verse, it is whispered, has not been approved by the Review Boards and that only makes it more delicious. After the fall of Pyredown in the late autumn to the Exalted, aided by the traitors in Weisbaden, the song has spread across Rues like wildfire. Some use it to terrify their rapt audiences, others as a dirge for the fallen city, still others as a galvanizing anthem to rally in the aftermath of such a great loss.

“Who can find safety

when any day may be

the one when she takes you

the Lady of Keys

you pray most devoutly

each day on your knees

it won’t stop the Exalted

to accuse blasphemy

they’ll torture you slowly

saying pain sets you free

until you, truly pious

do admit blasphemy

she is proud of her actions

though evil they be

she betrays all that’s holy

the Lady of Keys

28 has she captured

so from death she may flee

they are trapped in the tower

of the Lady of Keys

if she truly were pious

if she truly believed

she would not fear her own death

the Coward of Keys”

Spreading more slowly is any news from within the sacked city or its environs. A declaration from Celinda Reeve identified the former imperial seat as “Hallowed Hills” in the same sentence that she elevated herself to Grand Illustrada. The simple people of Pyredown and the residents of Fort Firetol are assumed to be under the oppression of their new leaders.

The most concrete answers to any of the great upheavals thus far have come from the Chappelarie, who have sent criers to distribute a response to the revelation of five unknown gods.

Faithful of Rues,

From the lips of Angels and mortal Agents of the Gods, there are ten Genesori. This has caused many to reevaluate their place in the world, and question what they have known all of their lives in their faiths. This has not changed the duty the Chapellarie has taken to help any who have questions of faith without judgement. For some, the Revelation has brought answers, especially to those who felt much more connected to one aspect of their faith than another. For others, the Revelation has brought doubt for their faith was strong in the duality of worship. There is nothing wrong with these things. The Purposed Races of Rues have been granted a great gift, for the Genesori have felt we are ready to receive it. As we have grown in our faith out of the Shrouded Age, we have now stepped into what could very well become known as the Age of Revelation.

Any such great step forward shall always be met with those that wish to take advantage through fear of change. These people will roam the land and demand others remain embedded in their old ways. They will use fear and violence to try to prevent the progress the Genesori have granted us. Most do not do such out of hate, but for a love of their faith that has been a truth for their entire lives and guided them. They will see anything that is different as opposing their love, and thus must be a bad thing. In doing such, they are also denying the Genesori’s wisdom in bestowing this Revelation upon us, most likely because to accept the Truth makes them question something that they have always known. As a people we can cling to the ways of the past, or we can step upon the new path that Genesori have put in front of us.

The duality of the Genesori we have known have been revealed to have been the mantles of two Gods. The five we knew took up these mantles to preserve them for Rues until such time as they could be returned to the Genesori from whence they came. This time has finally come and we have been deemed worthy and strong enough of faith to receive this Revelation. The Genesori have anointed High Matriarchs and High Patriarchs. These people have heard the call and the Angels themselves have recognized them. They are working to spread the Revelation to all, and embody their faith as they always have. The Angels themselves have stated that it is known that some people will now find themselves drawn to different Genesori than before and that is part of our growth. The Chapellarie will help answer the questions that arise and make finding your path or reaffirming your faith as smooth and rewarding spiritually as possible. While we know the Revelation will create questions for many, we want this gift of the Genesori known to all. As such, below you will find the names of all ten Genesori, an incredibly basic, one word description of their Mantle, their Angel, and their High Patriarch or High Matriarch..

In Faith,

Godrick Dwyre

Brother of the Chapellarie

METIOCH : Order

Angel – Cosima

Patriarch – Themothy Wald

GARIOCH : Chaos

Angel – Varys

Patriarch – Torvinius Char

SEVERRIN : Entropy

Angel – VACANT

Patriarch – Owen Benham

GWENNARA : Essence

Angel – Amar

Patriarch – Liam Orselli

KOREEL : Spirit

Angel – Alise

Matriarch – Phyllida Vondran

EILONA : Nature

Angel – Riel

Patriarch – Heyman Krassus

ISTARUM : Tranquility

Angel – Seifer

Matriarch – Alandra Nemethial

BAHADUR : Resolve

Angel – Aeron

Matriarch – Kiera Soshana

JORMIC : Knowledge

Angel – Vinita

Patriarch – Durante Scipio

THIACRIS : Mystery

Angel – Laylia

Matriarch – Dakota LeRange