Paradigm Concepts

A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]
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Author:  Cosmopolita Publia [ Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

Haakon_val'Ishi wrote:
Okay the following is OUT OF CHARACTER to clear some things up:
First the person you refer to is a Henry character and thus has script immunity....

Out of Character: True. Still I believe we're going to get a shot at him someday. I apologise if my in character rant makes it seem I am not aware of that.

Haakon wrote:
Oh one last thing. My character is Milandisian not Coryani.

In Character: What's that? He's not ...? But I would have assumed... Oh! ::snif:: Well I guess THAT explains that. Pity. Come along Cornelia. Nothing here worth our time or interest...

-A Concerned Patrician

Author:  Heidi val'Tensen [ Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

My fellow Clergy,

The King of the Gods commands that we bring the Light of civilization and law to all the peoples of the known lands, and Hurrian commands that we never charge headlong into battle if another way exists to prevent it. Illiir teaches us that we must embrace Equality, for His Light shines on all creatures and gives them its strength without thought to race, nation or creed. He likewise asks us to observe Honor, treating all we meet with fairness and gentility. When you seek to bring the Pantheon's light to others, let that light first fall upon yourself, and do not turn away from what you see in your own mind or soul.

Beltine asks us to give aid and comfort to all, especially our foes - for it is they whom need it most. Anshar tells us to have compassion and not judge others for decisions that have brought them to where they are, and Cadic reminds us that we must do in darkness only that which we must to complete our duty, for while Darkness is our ally the light is our home.

Althares reminds us to always be ready to admit where the faults in our knowledge lie, and Yarris commands that we adapt to new ideas and flow like water over stones.

So I ask you, my dear friends, would it not be the Pantheon's will that we first try to bring the word of the Twelve to these unfortunate creatures? It was once told to me that the hardest path is often the right one. Is it not our duty to give even other races such as the Gar the chance to learn of the Twelve's glory and bask with us in the Light of civilization - even if it should take months or years to effect their conversion? If these thoughts are what stayed your companions' hands, then I daresay it was their piety rather than lack thereof which motivated them.

I once met a heretic worshiper of the blasphemous Dark Triumvirate, many decades ago. It took the effort of years to convert him to the proper worship of the Twelve, but once he did he became one of the Mother Church's greatest champions until his death. My work in facilitating that conversion was one of the things which brought me to the attention of then Arch-Prelate Sabinus val'Assante, whom named me his Seneschal during two separate convocations.

By your mindset, I should have been reported to the Inquisition for not immediately slaying that heretic... and had you been there and I followed you advice, then I would have killed him and denied the Church a champion.

Ultimately, all life is precious for it always contains the possibility of change. When a life's thread is cut from Larissa's tapestry of fate, all its possible futures are forever lost to us. I therefore believe that it is only proper to kill in order to immediately preserve life or when all other options are exhausted.

May Hurrian guide your paths wherever they take you, my friends. All Praise to the Pantheon, Blessed Be!

- Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia, Priestess of Hurrian

Author:  Haakon_val'Ishi [ Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

Heidi val'Tensen wrote:
I once met a heretic worshiper of the blasphemous Dark Triumvirate, many decades ago. It took the effort of years to convert him to the proper worship of the Twelve, but once he did he became one of the Mother Church's greatest champions until his death. My work in facilitating that conversion was one of the things which brought me to the attention of then Arch-Prelate Sabinus val'Assante, whom named me his Seneschal during two separate convocations.

By your mindset, I should have been reported to the Inquisition for not immediately slaying that heretic... and had you been there and I followed you advice, then I would have killed him and denied the Church a champion.

So a Milandisian Knight, whose Kingdom is committed to the destruction of the nation of Canceri and the Dark Triumvirate that rules it (as witnessed by numerous Crusades devoted to that end) takes the time and effort to shelter and convert an avowed heretic?! I am surprised you retained your lands and titles! Illir did not say "oh well some of those Celestial Giants are bad people so we'll punish them," no he cursed the ENTIRE race! The Pantheon did not say, "we can tolerate these Elorii, they're just misguided," no they commanded their worshippers to exterminate them wherever found and take over their capital for Humanity's own use. I could go on but you get my point.

OOC I think your post is very well said! And in the real world I would never be this rigid. But we have to be honest, reading the history of the Pantheon as given these beings are NOT nice nor tolerant. Of course who knows what the real "truth" is....:-)

Author:  Heidi val'Tensen [ Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

My Dear Colleague,

Before I continue, I must thank you for reminding me that Milandir still remembers my service to our King and people. Thank you, for reminding me that once a Milandisian Knight, one is always a Milandisian Knight regardless of one's having been released from one's oaths. When I was released from my oaths to King and Country at the formation of Almeric, I admit that I felt a loss of identity for quite some time - something I pray that you may understand given that I had been a Knight of the Crown for nearly five decades when I was suddenly, at the stroke of a quill, retitled as an Almerican Knight instead. I assure you, however, that regardless of name or title, I have always held true to the Knight's Code, and I shall continue to do so so long as thought and action remain to me.

Now, forgive me, but I feel the necessity to continue our debate, for I worry greatly for the state of your soul as well as for the motivations behind your words - and I must ask you to shine the Light of the Pantheon upon your own darkness and not shy away from whatever you might see. Ask yourself, are your actions for Their glory, or for your own? Ask yourself, does this hatred stem from righteousness or from an inner-darkness, hurt, or anger that you have not addressed within your own soul? I fear I must remind you that Cadic teaches us that we all wear masks and must be careful - for the worst sort of evil wears a mask of righteousness. Many great men and women - many great Knights even - have fallen to evil whilst seeking only justice. I take now a moment to remember their tragedies, and I say again a prayer for them - in particular I pray for the fallen souls of Ophelia val'Tensen, Nerodic val'Assante, Dorjan val'Mehan, and Morushun val'Ishi. All died in the belief that they did the will of the Pantheon, and all did evil in the name of Righteousness. I pray that whatever good may have remained to their souls finds its way from the Cauldron to a more worthy vessel... and I pray that Ophelia in particular may find her cursed time at the Cauldron's threshold an opportunity to reflect on the evils she committed in life.

Does not Beltine tell her clergy and Hospitallers that pain and suffering do not stop at borders, and neither should her followers? Her tenets clearly state that one should not involve oneself in the affairs of one's nation if doing so would prevent one from helping those in need. The heretic's soul was in need, and I answered the Pantheon's call to save that soul. I pray that you find it in your heart to follow your patron Goddess's tenets in such regards in the future - know that I shall also light a candle for your soul each night, for I grow concerned that the affairs of nations have clouded your judgment in these matters.

You are yet comparatively young, so I feel I must remind you that Milandir, may its glorious spires forever stand tall, has never been the aggressor against benighted Canceri. We are not the warmongering likes of they - every crusade has been precipitated by Cancerese incursions. King Orsric, blessed be his name, always sought peace except when his hand was forced. His son and successor has thus far done the same. And forget not, my dear Exorcist, that Canceri and Milandir have been at peace for more than fifty years - the last true Milandisian Crusade into that benighted land having taking place prior to the events that would lead into the Coryani Civil War. For the glorious crusade against the Infernals, our most glorious King Osric IV even sought the help of Canceri - though the vile abomination Hegrish val'Mordane, cursed be his name, could not find it in his unbeating, rotten heart to lend us that assistance.

Genocide and Conquest have never, ever been the goal of the Milandisian Kings - our people are far too noble of heart and spirit for such vile, base motivations. The Milandisian nobility of spirit would never allow us to wish the destruction of the Cancerese people, rather we would only wish to rescue them from benighted lives of heresy under the unjust yoke of oppressive, blaspheming tyrants. Such would be the will of Hurrian, that we could do so. I, for one, answered the call of Holy Emperor Calcestus val'Assante, Blessed be his Memory, Arch-Prelate in Exile Shaitan val'Mordane, and yes, then Arch-Prelate Sabinus val'Assante as well in 1027ic when they called us to crusade in Canceri to support the newly returned to the Church Erdukeen in the suppression of the vile Dark Triumvirate faith. Have no doubts, however, we arrived in Nishanpur as liberators, not as conquerors. While we ultimately failed due to the interference of greater events in the world - including the necessity of the Holy Tasks set to us by the Word of Illiir, we won a great many battles in the name of the church, in the name of justice, and above all else, in the name of saving heathen souls. Many of us gave our lives, and some of us gave our very souls in this noble endeavor. I must say that even now, nearly half a century hence, I am shamed that noble King Osric did not give his official support to our crusade, but I understand the politics of the time and how they stayed his hand.

Thus it is that my efforts to save a single soul can be looked upon as that same crusade held in miniature. Remember, dear friend, that every soul is precious - every soul is worth saving. At the time I bent my energies to save that heretic, Milandir and Canceri were at peace, and he was traveling abroad as an adventurer - much as many of us do now. The first time I met him, I remember sensing that he had left Canceri for the adventuring life purposefully - I sensed that he had grown dissatisfied with the foul teachings of that cursed place. That sense told me that there was yet fertile soil within his soul from which - with nurture and care - true faith in the Pantheon could spring. It was more that sense of the possibility of his soul's salvation that stayed my hand from slaying him than it was the laws of man - and believe me, I was sorely tempted to excise his corruption at the point of a blade. However, I saw then that saving his soul instead would be a hard road - a much harder road than killing him for certain... but Anshar tells us that the hard path is often the correct one - that the easy road is not the road to enlightenment or fulfillment. I took the harder path, and because I did this heretic became a champion of the Mother Church and accompanied me to the Battle of Nishanpur where he took the head of the Dark Triumvirate rebellion's unbound Marilith General - effectively ending their alliance with the Devil King Uthbraxcit.

I saved a single soul - as the Gods bade me to do, and in so doing Larissa's tapestry was not denied a thread that proved so very important. Had Josef not slain the unbound Marilith General which led the Dark Triumvirate forces, then I have no doubt that the Mother Church's forces would have been pushed from the city... and the unholy alliance between Palic val'Mehan, cursed forever be his name, and the Devil King would have been sealed. How different would the fifth and sixth Crusades of Light have been if we had fought not only Uthbraxcit, but also the heretic nation Canceri - bound to them in alliance? We cannot know... but I fear we would have fared far worse... far worse indeed.

I saved a single soul, and that soul's thread rewrote Larissa's tapestry of Fate for the better. I paid a dire cost for saving this soul, mind you. During that crusade, I contracted the Bleeding Plague of the Blight Bearers... a plague that always proved fatal and destroyed the victims' souls. During the years it took me to save his soul, I unintentionally engendered a sense of loyalty and devotion in Josef - to a far greater degree than I ever would have desired. As the Mother Church's Champion of the Church of Neroth, he committed the final sin of his life - a sin for which he later paid penance in the Bay of Seremas in righteous battle with the blasphemous Accursed Legion. In his desire to save me, he had a ritual performed to beg his patron deity to preserve my existence...

Please be aware, that at this point in my life my faith was a young thing informed as much by my national heritage as by the Word of the Pantheon. I see much of myself in you, Haakon, in that regard. Like most of my countrymen, I believed that the ultimate sanction of destruction was the only fate appropriate for the unliving - that every undead creature was an abomination. I remember shuddering in the presence of the Lich Arch-Prelate Shaitan val'Mordane at the Convocation of the Divine where Holy Emperor Calcestus val'Assante, Blessed be His Memory, was confirmed. I remember thinking "How can such a monster be permitted to exist in the Holy Church? How can this be? How can this not be heresy that he has a vote in the selection of Patriarch?" Then Arch-Prelate Sabinus val'Assante - the future first Primarch of the Milandisian Orthodox Church - told me that there were a rare few undead whom were not abominations - whom were of the Church and properly Blessed by the Pantheon - and that the existence of this exception made the rule all the more poignant and important. I remember having my doubts, but swallowing them so that I could perform my duties as both an ordained Priestess and a Knight of Milandir.

My faith was the most tried it has ever been on that benighted night in Nishapur. I usually do not share this story even when asked - dodging the question with a quip or bit of humor - for even without proper emotions, the memory is not a pleasant one... but now I share it in the hopes that you take it as an object lesson. Black Neroth, brother to Illiir and husband of Beltine, has a dark sense of humor... he and his Valinor are want to teach object lessons in the most ironic, terrible way possible. Against all reason, he answered Josef's prayers that dark night - even though Josef had been warned by the priesthood that it was a nigh-impossibility given that I had not been properly prepared and did not even worship Neroth Death-Forger.

I awoke that night as one of the creatures that I most despised. Before that night, had an undead creature approached me and claimed to be a child of the Mother Church and follower of the Twelve, it would have taken much to convince me not to strike it down as a blasphemer and enemy of the Crown. In my anguished self-loathing, I nearly destroyed myself that same night - but the Pantheon sent me a sign. They sent me a child whom needed my aid. He was being accosted by the Ghoulish dead, and I fulfilled my duty to Hurrian by defending that child and destroying those foul creatures. That sign told me that I was still an instrument of His will, and I continued to serve the Pantheon faithfully ever since... better for the lesson in humility that my rebirth taught me in the most terrible way I could have imagined.

I have done a great amount of good in this world since that night - few world argue otherwise. I have been bodily to the Cauldron to wrest a great man back from death, I have seen the warring Valinoric Hosts of the Heavens, I have saved the lives of the leaders of men, and I witnessed the death of a legend and the binding a mad being bent on Humanity's destruction. I played a role in all these events, because it was the Pantheon's will that I do so... and because a heretic whose soul I once saved prayed to Black Neroth that I not be lost forever - my soul and life both lost to a blasphemous plague - on a cold night in Nishanpur.

If this does not illustrate the power of saving a single soul, I do not know what may. That single soul I saved rather than sending to the cauldron, is responsible for both ending the unholy alliance between Palic and Uthbraxcit and also for saying the prayer that brought me back so that I could complete my duties to the Pantheon, my King, and my Country. How many strands of Fate would have been cut prematurely had I not saved that heretic's soul? How many lives would have been lost? I dare not imagine it.

Before you discard my words due to what I was made into, know this: though I did not convert to the Milandiric Orthodox Church - largely due to my absence at the time of its advent and thus only recently having been made aware of its existence - I was the servant and seneschal of Arch-Prelate Sabinus val'Assante twice over. I do not blame you for being unaware of this - at his urging I kept my nature as being Blessed of Neroth secret at the time, because it was best to not confuse the people by showing them the rare exception to the rule, a notion to which I readily agreed. Later, his wisdom was vindicated, for King Osric, Blessed be his Name, saw fit to recognize the rights of Milandisian Knights Blessed of Neroth to continue their service to the crown. To my knowledge, I am only one of two in history to have benefited from that wise and noble decision - the other being the most honorable Knight Protector of Ashvan.

So the long and short of it is this: Not only were my title and lands not stripped from me, as you claim I deserved, for the saving of that heathen soul, but I was in fact honored by King, Country, and Church for my actions. You can not even claim the split between the Mother Church and Milandisian Orthodox Church as justification, for I was honored by none other than the Milandisian Church's future Primarch, Sabinus val'Assante - whom went so far as to make me his direct agent and advisor in times of great upheaval and import. So it is that I ask you to re-examine your priorities - to shine the light of the Pantheon upon the dark places in your soul.

And please, do not mistake my argument to mean that unrepentant sinners and heretics should not be excised from the land. If one makes no headway in the conversion of a heretic - be one's methods by word or by the infliction of Anshar's blessings - then the wrath of the Church should be swift and final. I mean only that so long as headway is being made, one should stay one's hand from that final sanction.

Know - one Milandisian to another - that I shall always be here for you and I shall always be your ally. Even if I was released from my oaths, I shall honor them regardless wherever I can.

All Praise to the Pantheon! Blessed Be!

- Ser Adelheidis Sigrid val'Tensen of Moratavia, priestess of Hurrian
Last Scion of the line of Sigismund the Stalwart and Knight-Protector of Ritterfeld

Author:  Haakon_val'Ishi [ Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

OOC--to be clear I was reacting to the signature line which suggests you are a knight (the "Ser" bit --which i recall is used in place of "Sir" in Game of Thrones

Also I started this thread to demonstrate a thing I have heard referred to as "sacred geography." I was listening to a NPR story some years back and one of the commentators stated that Americans can never understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem because we don't have the same connection to the ground that they do. People are willing do some pretty savage things over Jerusalem that I imagine we as Americans just would not do over Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington DC. I think we are more invested in the idea rather than the place. But that's just my opinion, others may differ.

But it got me thinking as to how fanatically devoted people are to the First City. Like Jerusalem it to has been fought over by multiple groups. I mean the Coryani and the Khitani have fought two major wars over the First City. Now imagine if Jerusalem was being fought over by two rival religious groups like say the Shia and the Sunni branches of Islam (and you can think of the Coryani and Khitani in the same light since they both claim to worship the same Pantheon but in radically different ways from what we have seen). I imagine that mindset would want "their" city purged of all "impure" elements. So I decided to play with that a bit.

That said if you played with me at the table you will find the "real" Haakon to be a bit more understanding and gentle...except where Undead are concerned and then...given his background and training you can understand where that's coming from. There's a bit more I want to say but I will take this private to avoid mod spoilers. :-)

Author:  Heidi val'Tensen [ Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

OOC: To be clear, her signature also said 'of Moratavia' - but I like the interaction. She still sees herself as a Milandisian Knight after all (and, more telling, she still refers to herself as a Knight-Protector, refuses to call any 'Almerican Prince' by any title other than Graf - the appropriate Milandisian title for a land-holding noble whom is not necessarily a Knight, and generally cleaves to the old, Milandisian way of doing things) - perhaps she is one of the last of the "old guard val'Tensen" that does so.

Also, the use of 'Ser' is not just a Game of Thrones thing - modern fantasy literature and games are rife with this usage whenever there is gender equality amongst a knight-hood. My first exposure to the term was in the game Dragon-Age Origins. Given how rife literature has become with it, I felt justified in co-opting the term for my own use. It sounds much better than Lady-Knight or Dame for certain.

Author:  Haakon_val'Ishi [ Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

That's cool. I wondered where Martin got that term. It seemed clunky at first but your reasoning is sound. While I don't mind gender differences some titles should be gender neutral. For instance there's no way to tell the gender of a military officer by rank and that's as it should be. If you do the job to the standards required who cares what your gender is, or any other descriptive for that matter. It might sound weird coming from me, raised in the Deep South, but it's always how I have felt.

Getting back to character thinking back about his parents and what they went through I imagine Haakon is less judgmental than I may have seemed in earlier posts. He would have been taught to look beyond appearances and to judge people on their actions, not their words or station in life. My mother is a val'Ishi from Enpebyn and you know how much that area suffered during the Coryani Civil War. My Milandisian father went back there after the war to help it rebuild, met my mother there and got married. I imagine they both drilled into their children the consequences and costs of war, and to reach for the sword as a last resort. That said I can't help but think that his religious training and cultural background would make him initially uncomfortable around undead. They do represent one of the things he is taught to fight unfortunately.

Of course one of the things you quickly learn as a hero is nothing is as it appears... :) ;)

Author:  Heidi val'Tensen [ Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Troubling Incident [Potential Spoilers Ahead!!]

The young woman across the table from Haakon takes a sip from her glass of wine. Her skin is healthy and flawless - devoid of scars or callouses - and she looks like she is only barely into her 20s, save for her eyes. The eyes have always been a window to the soul, and in hers one can only see the void of something decades absent.

She smiles and says with a courtly diction a few decades removed from the current style "Well, at least you should be able to give me a chance now to earn your friendship, given that I am once again quite alive and well." She smiles and asks "Would it surprise you to know, my friend, that I tend to agree with you when it comes to the undead?" She pours a measure of alcohol into both her own glass and Haakon's as she continues "In my long existence, I've only met four undead beings whom I did not feel compelled to destroy in the name of the Church... five if you include myself, of course"

She raises her glass to her lips as she adds "As I was told long ago, its the exceptions that make the rule. I lost count of how many abominations I had put to the blade after the first battle of Seremas against the undead legion..."

She cocks her head thoughtfully after returning her glass to the table. Then she says, her diction remaining even and measured "I imagine that number would have been higher had the Legion of Unsettled Quietus survived the Battle of Empebyn, but at the time I was thankful for their destruction. They were on the wrong side of history, after all."

She grins - though the warmth of it does not reach her eyes - it seems no emotion does - and she adds wryly "I suppose that you might find it odd that I was amongst Empebyn's defenders. In fact, I paid a princely sum of gold for the privilege - they required all undead within their walls to make a substantial donation and undergo extensive scrutiny in order to acquire a talisman to protect them from the city's wards against the unliving."

She produces a time-worn scroll case marked with the sigil of the Church of Beltine as she says "I still carry it and my traveling papers just in case. I had to go through quite a few proverbial hoops to convince them that I was not a monster, and this was even after I had foiled several plots to do harm to the city's occupants." Still smiling, she sits the scroll case on the table.

For a moment her gaze seems distant, like she is remembering some far off event...

The memory is vivid, as if it were only moments ago. She stood in a Beltinian temple amidst the soot and cloying odor of the Empire’s eternal forges. An old priest spoke to her, his grey eyes astonished at his own words “I must thank you for your service to Empebyn, abomination… the soul you devoured in your genesis must have been a truly noble hero, and Beltine weeps for that eternal loss, but somehow the memories stolen from the dead woman’s soul must have allowed you to rise above your nature. You did honor to her this day, and so long as you continue to honor the soul you consumed, you shall be a friend to my family and church. But please, do not linger here… in spite of our debt to you, your presence sickens us and horrifies our honored ancestors. I will light a candle for the soul you murdered every night for the rest of my days.” She knew that this was the highest praise and honor that a Beltinian was capable of offering one whom was Chosen of Neroth. They truly and honestly believed that she was not herself – that she was a monster that had consumed her soul, taken her memories, and wore her skin but was not her. It concerned her that she could not truly say with any certainty that they were incorrect – only the Pantheon knew the truth of it. Even so, it was difficult to smile and bow graciously. However, she did so anyway.

Heidi smiles again and looks down into her wine as she swirls the glass, "I find myself curious if I might have known your father. There were few enough of we Milandisians at the Battle of Empebyn... and we all suffered together the shock, horror, and dismay of witnessing the actions of our Duke... the dishonor Adolphos' hatred brought to our nation and my family that day.... Back then I used magic to conceal what I was, so your father would have only remembered me as a val'Tensen Knight of the Crown. I hope that the idea that we may have fought side by side does not disturb you, Haakon?"

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