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Notes on the Lioness Sect

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Notes on the Lioness Sect

Post Number:#1  Postby The Keeper » 31 Oct 2010, 13:49

The Lioness Sect is a shadow organization within the country of Karthin, one of my larger countries on the Isiryon peninsula. Karthin as you might have read in some other posts is insulated by choice from many outside countries. Karthin is theoretically ruled by a "king," but no hereditary king with the right to rule has been present on the throne for a few hundred years or so. So, the country is ruled by the Houses (families) of the country who elect one of their number to govern until such time as the rightful heir is found (if ever and not that anyone is trying very hard to find him or her).

Karthin is manipulated in the background by the church who worships a recluse god who is entirely unfamiliar to the rest of the citizens of the various countries on the peninsula. Ahriel likes it that way and Karthin reflects his isolation. The church of Ahriel has sects. Some come and go, some stay and some are secret. The Lioness sect is one of those. Here are my notes on the subject. Note that like many of my files, this one is still being written so you will find it incomplete.

Notes on the Lioness Sect

1.0 Brief
This sect is part of the church of Ahriel (of Karthin) and is a major reason why the church is in its current treasonous state. Started shortly after the death of Iraine, the Lioness, it is referred to internally as the Order of the Lioness. It is not known externally, because of the deep need for secrecy.

The order started, like many with a noble purpose. During the dark days of “Iraine’s Madness,” the church of Ahriel became persecuted and many of her good clerics and teachers went to their deaths simply because they could work magic. The church went underground to conserve what few practicioners of magic it still had, putting it in direct opposition with Iraine’s Seekers.
With the ascent of Maya to the throne, the church finally saw some relief after 40 years when she rescinded her mother’s ban on clerical magic. It would take another three generations, however, before the church fully re-established itself in society. Key to this was the church’s incredulous plan to beattify Iraine.

The beatification of Iraine caused a major split in an already fragmented church. Referred to as the Schism, those who sought only revenge broke away from the church and formed the “True Church of Ahriel.” This lasted only briefly however, as the Church War broke out. A quiet and invisible, but nonetheless deadly holy war destroyed the prodigals and returned the rest of the recalcitrant to the fold. Finally, united, Iraine was beatified in the last year of Maya’s reign. It was seen as a new symbol of hope and cooperation between the church and state. Maya was humbled, given her mother’s persecution of the church and ordered that all church land taken be restored to it.

With St. Iraine, now part of the church sainthood, the church turned toward other matters. Iraine’s following, however, concentrated on expanding her power. This eventually led to the creation of the Athenean and Justinian orders.

Athenea, or Constance Marquez-her given name, was an unknown in the church until her sudden appearance ten years after Iraine had been beattified. She claimed loudly that Iraine had appeared to her in a dream and demanded that she spread her faith across the world and other various dutys. [Unfortunately for all, Constance had this wrong. After her death Iraine was judged by Om and under the directives of Ahriel sent to Hades for her persecution of the church. She was told pointedly that she would not be released for rebirth until the “final battle.” Wereupon she would be released to do battle with evil and attone for her crimes in full, at which point Ahriel would allow her reincarnation. Until then, she would suffer for each new crime committed against the church because of her actions. When made aware of her beatification through prayers offered to her, Iraine became very afraid. However, Ahriel was not angry, indeed he came to her and instructed her. The prayers gave her power, and it was through this power that she manifested in Constance’s dream. Unused to this new thing, and speaking in an old tongue, Iraine conveyed to Constance the exact opposite of her intent. It was Iraine’s need for the church to seek out and protect the persecuted, per Ahriel’s instruction. Constance got the opposite. Iraine has therefore been suffering tremendously through the generations.]

Constance’s declarations threw the church into confusion. She was brought before the Archprelate and the elders and put to the test. This became a major event in the church “…as all who witnessed her saw that she glowed with a holy light from her fervor and her sweat and tears were of gold and precious oil.” On the spot, Archprelate Shujaat Khan knighted her, and declared the followers of Iraine a Holy Order. [Ahriel was not pleased, confusing theologians on why he would so blatantly demonstrate his favor on Constance. This is a misunderstanding. Her “glory” was the tears of fear and frustration from Iraine, wrongly interpreted by the church.]

With the advent of the Order of the Lioness came the Crusades, which ultimately made very little difference in the South and East, but had major impact in the North. The First Crusade was short and was merely a prosthelytizing junket within Karthin itself. The new knights, constantly questioned on who sent them always responded, “Athenea.” The populace soon began to refer to them as the Athenean knights and thus the order was brought into the public consciousness.

It is now important to note the difference between the Athenean knights on the whole and the Lioness Sect itself as led by Athenea. During the Second Crusade, Athenea took to gathering men and women of worth, distinction, and loyalty about her. These she considered to be the ideal standard of the order and to those she allowed the special priviledge of wearing the Lioness flash on their tabards. The rest were sycophants. Ultimately this led to a marked seperation between the order. Khan and his successor never saw it, but by the time of Athenea’s successor it was easily visible.

The Second Crusade was a border excursion that met with stiff resistance from the Elves to the south and the Atans to the east, and later on the Dominion itself. The northern operations met with considerable success among the Montegnards of the Safwyrn Kingdoms to the north [off the map and not yet involved in this campaign], causing major conversion and touching off a war in those countrys.

The Second Crusade ignored both Samarita and Noe and the Jahr. Speculation and recorded history have never revealed the answer as to why, however, it is believed that since the Atheneans discovered the magicals among the Jahr they have had a steady reason for existence. To convert the Jahr or wipe them out would stop the flow.

Athenea’s exploits during the Third Crusade got her the most attention. She battled Daffid Ogram of the Kingdoms to a standstill and met her death in personal combat with him. As befitted the secrecy and rituals that had grown within her little group of loyalists, her body was brought back to the church in Karthin. Kahn officiated her burial and as a last honor named the province Athenea. The Crown had a serious problem with this liberty, but conceded when covertly threatened with ex-communication.

Athenea’s successor was a red-haired, Byzmin-gened spitfire. Known as Laras or Laraschelle she was Athenea’s favorite and took the reigns immediately. Realizing that the battle with the Kingdoms was now a lost cause and that the Dominion was a serious threat, she threw the order into seeking out the magicals in the kingdom. Raids on the Jahr soon became an established practice. As these people were “dead,” and “barbarians,” there was little moral thought about it.

Kahn’s successor was a weak-kneed fool who was controlled by those around him. Laras used him to gain political power and by the time of his death had managed to get herself named as successor. Thus came the Dark Times of the church.

One of Laras’ first acts was to separate the Athenean order and the Lioness sect. As distasteful as it was for her, she felt it useful to use the Athenean knights to divert attention from the sect. By putting them out front, no one payed any attention to the sect which was getting more and more exclusive. Declared it’s own order, but never revealed to the public, a new patriarch was appointed secretly. This position has always (as of this time) taken its orders from the archprelate, who since Laras’ time has almost always been of the Lioness sect.

The Athenean order continued to do what it had always done. However, it’s purpose was redirected toward Ahriel and the pursuit of magicals. The sect became focused on fostering the magicals that had been picked up, indoctrinating them for the church’s purpose and gaining political, economic, and social power.

The history of the sect now demands the discussion of the Justinian sect. Justin was an honorable cleric during the tenancy of Donaldus. Much like Martin Luther of our own reality, he discovered ancient texts that opened his eyes to the corruption and hypocrisy of the church. Like Luther, he also raised his voice, but in the assembly. Church history is very clear on what happened next, although the Lioness sect has always sought a way to re-write it.

Known as the Revelations Ahriel himself appeared with Iraine in the center of the Assembly. Those who had their hands on Justin were immediately struck dead and their existences wiped out from all records in the Hall. [Note that this action caused Ahriel a SERIOUS loss in the game and is the single, biggest reason as to why he is a very minor player on the stage at this time. It also affected Kellina’s plans and is a large part of the reason as to why her planet has not been won yet. There is tension between Ahriel and Kellina because of this, but yet, she can not argue with his methods. Hypocrisy and corruption on this scale within his church absolutely had to be dealt with directly.] Ahriel in his anger, himself, declared a new order under Justin and announced that anyone who tried in anyway to excise the order for ten generations would meet the same fate. Donaldus he gave to Iraine to extract her own form of punishment and he was seen no more. In the confusion after the gods left, Ahriel’s word was tested. Many believed Justin to have done a trick and were immediately struck dead when trying to apprehend him. Panic and fear broke out and was increased when the order was given to strike his knighthood by a newly appointed Archprelate. This new Archprelate keeled over dead after announcing the order and the assembly was thus forced to reassess Justin, who the entire time had not moved, except to prostate himself in front of Ahriel.

Justin’s order was declared valid, by another newly appointed Archprelate who was smarter than the previous. Justin was warned, however, that as of the 11th generation, there would be war between the church and the Justinian order. He would have ten generations of non-interference until his time was up. Then he was told to get out.

At this point things took a slight downturn for the Lioness sect. Donaldus had been the overseer of a fat and happy church which was used to getting its own way. To a great extent this continued to be. However, Vallamark, the new Archprelate (the one who warned Justin) was a sober realist and a plotter. He recognized the serious rot that he had inherited from Muglum (who ruled for all of five minutes, although the Lioness sect has converted his pompous ass into some great revered hero (he had inherited from Donaldus)).

Val, as he became known, began housecleaning. The men he chose to do this were very effective and very efficient at what they did. Many corrupt Athenean knights and clerics were sent to the gallows with a huge public spectacle. The result was a turn of opinion about the church in the eyes of the public. Not a few Lioness sect members (mostly those opposed to Val) were also sent to the stake, with all their Lioness insignia carefully removed and their “historys” cleansed, of course. This method also strengthened Val’s power base and by the time of his death he had managed to secure a power for the church that was equal to that of the King.

However, Val’s major impact on the church was his intent to leave a lasting mark. Most of his ideas, plans, and orders became strictures followed by every cleric and knight. Particularly, the housecleaning. Val appointed one trusted man every ten years to see to this. And he did not exempt himself. It is to Val’s credit that his own men never took him out. This ritual still occurs every ten years. It is currently set to happen within this year, although the current Archprelate has delayed more than is customary. This may present problems.

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