Heroes of Khemer
Church of Light
The most prominent religion in Khemer is the Church of Light. The church is led by a Patriarch, who allocates regional duties to the Archbishops, Bishops and Priests of the realm. The Patriarch is a lifetime position and is elected by the Archbishops. The Church is responsible for the spiritual guidance of the people of Khemer and also sanctions and legitimizes the nobility.
In the civilized lands of Khemer, clerics of the church are generally respected as wise counselors, healers, and defenders of the downtrodden. Almost every civilized settlement has at least one chapel tended to by a local brother or sister to provide for the spiritual needs of the locals and advise the rulers on matters of state.
However, in the Free Lands and the wild areas, the Church of Light does not necessarily hold sway. Isolated missionaries must compete with elemental-worshipping pagans, the old Gods surviving from ages past, and worst of all, vile demon-worshippers, practicing unholy rites in the darkest regions of the land.
Due to the events of the Mage Purge the Church of Light often finds itself in conflict with the Crystal Tower.
Messanian, or the Old Tongue, is utilized by mortals as a means to communicate with the gods. Based on their divine language, but able to be understood by mere mortals, speakers the Old Tongue has been able to perform miracles, simply by offering the right prayer.
The Church of Light is the official religion of the Khemer and is heavily integrated into its laws and culture. The Church has a great many moral teachings. It frowns on gambling, preaches against bastardy, and curses things like incest and kinslaying.
The Church of Light is a highly organized, formal priesthood that maintains internal rules and a system of fortified temples. At holy temples, the faithful can find lodging, fresh mounts, healing, spell aid, weapons, gear, and holy advice. If a worshiper or priest knows that she or he has stinted in service to the Lord of Light, confession and penance are also available.
In addition to numerous minor holidays, the Lord of Light’s priesthood follows a strict regimen of monthly high rituals. On the first day of December, members celebrate The Procession of Justice, celebrating the completion of the Mage Purge, at which the congregation sings loud, booming hymns as an illusionary scales of justice appears above them.
The faithful celebrate daily rituals of prayer to their god, which take the form of a sung invocation, a series of responsive prayers led by a senior cleric, a short sermon of instruction or reading of wisdom from the Sacred Judgments of the Lord of Light, one of the central holy texts of the church which is divided into twelve gospel-like sections, and a rousing closing anthem. In churches, such rituals are celebrated every two hours around the clock, with the most important offices taking place at dawn, highsun (noon), the equivalent of six o’clock, and the equivalent of nine o’clock. The dawn ritual, The Awakening, is a gentle, uplifting renewal of faith. The noonday ritual, the Hammer at Highsun, is a stirring, exultant expression of the church’s vigilance and martial might. The evenfeast ritual, High Justice, is a stern, proud celebration of the Lord of Light’s commandments and the church’s purpose. The evening ritual, the Remembrance of the Just Fallen, is a haunting, softly chanted reverence for those who have laid down their lives for justice, both inside and outside the faith—a ritual of quiet dignity and respect that always leaves many witnesses, even those who do not follow the Lord of Light, in tears.
Ceremonies are lead by the highest ranking male member of the clergy, and hymns are often sung. The number twelve is considered holy to the faith and is used to invest rituals or objects with a holy significance. In the naming of a child, twelve oils are used to anoint the infant. Weddings are conducted and blessed in churches and consist of twelve consecutive hours of celebration.
During trials by combat, the Light is expected to intervene on the side of the just combatant. In order to become a knight, a squire must spend a nightlong vigil in a Church and become anointed in the name of the Lord of Light.
The Church of Light defines people & creatures into 6 groups. Each group can classify anything from a race or nation to an individual. The classification is somewhat arbitrarily as it can often depend on an individual’s point of view
- Divine: Divine creatures are the epitome of the faith. They are the supernatural and the immortal that are the represent the tenants of the Lord of Light’s will.
- Faithful: Faithful creatures are the mortal beings that follow the Lord of Light and act according to his dogma. Upon their death, they are sure to ascend to join the Lord of Light’s ranks in the afterlife.
- Errant: Those who have strayed from the path of Light are errant. Their actions, through ignorance or weakness cause undue harm or suffering. Upon their death, they will reside in ‘purgatory’ until the have redeemed themselves and are forgiven by the Lord of Light. Upon that boon, they ascend into his ranks.
- Fallen: The fallen are those who have tainted their souls to the point of which redemption is impossible. They are blasphemers, practitioners of vile arts and worshipers of the dark. Upon their death, they are sent to the Void for eternity.
- Damned: Those souls who are denied into the afterlife, being bound to defile the mortal plane. These beings haunt the realm of man, often rising as the dead. Some are willing, but most are not. It is with pity that most of these creatures exist, and a most honorable action for any member to return their souls to the afterlife.
- Soulless: The Soulless are abominations to all life. Originating from other realms of dark, these creatures prey on mankind and are the enemy of the Light everywhere. Destruction of their physical forms destroys their existence, or returns them to the dark pits from whence they originated from.