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|“||I believe in the Stallion, who bestowed upon us sacred Law to create a more Just world, ruled with Love in the name of His Spiritual Father. He traveled with mortals, shamed the wicked, healed the sick, and redeemed the earnest seekers. I believe in Him, I believe in the Authority of his mortal Companions and their rightful heirs, and the in the ultimate victory of Honor and Light over the abominable Darkness.||”|
–Catechism of the Companions
The Church of The Stallion is the second largest organized body of faith in the entirety of the Known Land, and though its adherents would balk at such a description it is the largest cult of a Beast God. The Church is a major force in the daily lives of millions of people in the Gloaming North, and its influence sometimes extends south across the sea. Its leader, The Equinex is typically a popular figure across all social, national, and ethnic lines in the north. The Church is descended from the missions of the thirteen Companions of the Stallion, said to be people of great valor and righteousness who accompanied The Stallion when He walked openly in the North, the most prominent of these missions being the ministry of Saint Essua who proselytized to the Altanes so successfully that the faith gained greater traction there than it had in the islands and along the east coast where The Stallion first arrived.
Traditionally the clergymen and women of the Church forsook all other claims and titles when they take their vows, following the example of the Companions Alejo, Gracia, and Isandro who set aside titles to dedicate their lives to The Stallion. Eventually, the Altane leadership wavered on this principle in the course of converting the Tearvingauls. Citing the fact that neither The Stallion or his Companions spoke directly on the issue, the Equinex and the Archbishops of the Altane Coast allowed missionaries to bring in prominent Tearvingaul clan leaders as clergymen, a vital step towards the eventual conversion of Maxmilian and the rest of the Tearvingaul people. This outraged the Archbishops of Nevira and the Isles. They issued a joint Apolistic mandate forbidding the clergy, new and old, from claiming titles. Not wishing to lose a significant portion of the church membership, especially holy Delvarra, the Equinex quickly responded by stating that the eastern church was still in full communion and that such "local traditions" were to be respected.
For millennia traditional Vuscovi culture has been at one with the values and traditions of the ancient Lunar Druidist religion Nhж`wiy, functionally more of a mythologically laced set of moral codes than a strict and restrictive worldview. With the declaration of national adherence to the Church by Emperor Genkhita the First-blooded in 1055 S.R., The Stallion was decreed as the living embodiment of the three old Gods. In time, active beliefs became mere traditional fables, as the ways of the Eastern Church settled deeper into the psyche of the Vuscovi Empire and its people, creating what is now recognised as the Vuscovi Synthesist Church.
The first day of each month is a feast day for the Companion the month is named for. Throughout the the North, lords and priests collaborate to provide the peasants with food and drink and a day without labor. In more urban areas, these feasts can take on a very festive atmosphere lacking in piety.
- Feast of Saint Agenor: The most important feast day in the Tearvin nations, honoring the Equinex who brought the great hero Maximilian into the light of the Stallion.
- Feast of Saint Celso: A day to end vendettas, to dispense and receive forgiveness.
- Feast of Saint Essua: One of the most prominent feasts of the year, this is also a day where relics are paraded.
- Feast of Saint Marisol: Northern orphanages record more adoptions and donations on this day than the rest of the year combined. Parades of children playing honor guard to ponies are common.
- Feast of Saint Renato: A day to honor the Knights of the Northern Lights with gifts of cider and pastries. In many villages, giants are burnt in effigy.
- Feast of Saint Salvador: It is common for the people to request their leaders to commute the sentence of a criminal on this day, though in recent years they often seek the forgiveness of someone's debt so as to free them from indentured servitude.
- Feast of Saint Urhammu: On this day many people celebrate by adopting their idea of "southern dress" which is to say any combination of clashing patterns and colors. Animal masks are also worn in parody of the southern Beast Gods, though the church frowns on this behavior.
Horses in the Gloaming NorthEdit
Early the history of the formal church, the bold and extremely controversial decision was made to forbid the use of horses for many of the typical chores for which they had been domesticate in the first place. It was made forbidden to use a horse to pull a cart, plow, or wagon, to turn a mill, to pull a boat upstream, to butcher for meat or hide, and to race against other horses while bearing a rider. To help combat resistance to these rules, the early church kept herds of oxen to be loaned out for labor on farms.
There are a number of church approved uses for horses. First, it is permissible to use horse manure as fertilizer. Additionally the church allows horses to be used for certain tasks relating to "Justice and Love." The authorities can use riders to pursue and transport criminals, they can be used in "Wars of Justice," such as the Great Ride. They're also used in some church ceremonies, such as weddings where the bride is delivered to church on horseback.
The Stallion's LawsEdit
- Prepare for the coming of the Darkness, for it is Abominable.
- There shall be Law for all Mankind, it shall serve Justice and Love.
- Where Justice and Love are not imperiled, there shall be no Violence.
- Be Mindful and True in the stewardship of Men, Beasts, and Lands for this shall be all the world you have.
- Order of Able Wardens: Dedicated to Saint Isandro. Wilderness ministry.
- Order of Friars Minor: Dedicated to Saint Celso. Ascetic pacifists, men only.
- Order of Knights of the Argent Shield: Dedicated to Saint Alejo.
- Order of Knights Hippocampus: Dedicated to Saint Vasco, dedicated to fighting pagans on the high seas.
- Order of Knights of the Northern Lights: Dedicated to Saint Renato, dedicated to fighting the pagans throughout the north.
- Order of Knights of the Shining South: Dedicated to Saint Urhammu, dedicated to fighting the pagans across the sea to the south.
- Order of the Maiden: Dedicated to Saint Gracia. Ascetic pacifists, women only.
- Order of the Mother: Dedicated to Saint Marisol. Church orphanages.
- Order of the Penitent: Dedicated to Saint Salvador. Prison ministry.
- Order of the Righteous Accuser: Dedicated to Saint Zarita. Inquisitors and special prosecutors.
- Society of the Hoof: Dedicated to Saint Valencia. Traveling missionaries.
- Society of the Horn: Dedicated to Saint Vidal. Academic ministry, studies Unicorn jurisprudence.
- Society of the Unicorn: Dedicated to Saint Essua. Urban/suburban ministry.
Roster of the EquinexesEdit
- Saint Essua (Daltane. 0 - 60): One of the Unicorn’s 13 companions. His ministry, the Society of the Unicorn, was the primary factor in converting the Altane peoples from the Mysteries to the Unicorn. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion I (Daltane. 60 - 77) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Damasias I (Daltane. 77 - 89) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Nicodemus I (Daltane. 89 - 100) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Stratocles I (Daltane. 100 - 113) The first Equinex to reign within the completed Via Solenne in Selvanesco. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Danaus I (Daltane. 113 - 130) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Agron I (Daltane. 130 - 152) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Chrysaor I (Altane. 152 - 169) Cause of Death: Slipped and fell down a flight of stairs.
- Ardys I (Altane. 169 - 184) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Merops I (Altane. 184 - 208) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Karanus I (Altane. 208 - 215) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Simonides I (Altane. 215 - 230) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Zenon I (Altane. 230 - 248) First Equinex to come from an order besides the Society of the Unicorn, a devout student of magic and alchemy from the Society of the Horn. He drafted numerous letters that were to be the church’s foundation for creating a code of ethics around the use of magic. Cause of Death: Radiation poisoning.
- Pandion II (Daltane. 248 - 268) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Erginus I (Daltane. 268 - 280) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion III (Daltane. 280 - 293) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Polydectes I (Daltane. 293 - 313) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Theiodamas I (Altane. 313 - 326) Cause of Death: Strangled with garrote by an unknown assassin.
- Ardys II (Altane. 326 - 350) First Equinex to come from the Order of Friars Minor. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Simonides II (Altane. 350 - 373) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Theiodamas II (Altane. 373 - 390) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion IV (Altane. 390 - 415) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Danaus II (Altane. 415 - 432) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Karanus II (Altane. 432 - 445) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Simonides III (Altane. 445 - 470) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Saint Agenor(Altane. 470 - 518): Masterminded the conversion of Jarl Maximilian Alvan of Sigiswald to the worship of the Unicorn, negotiated terms with the Altane Princes and the Queen of Nevira to aid Maximilian’s conquest of the Tearvin tribes, forming the basis of the Commonwealth of the Gilder. He crowned Maximilian Emperor. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Antigone I (Daltane. 518 - 580) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Nicodemus II (Altane. 580 - 594) Cause of Death: Poisoned wine.
- Zenon II (Daltane. 594 - 614) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Danaus III (Tearvin. 614 - 637) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion V (Altane. 637 - 657) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Orestes I (Altane. 657 - 682)
- Merope I (Daltane. 682 - 707) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Euxantius I (Daltane. 707 - 727) Cause of Death: Killed along with his entourage by highwaymen.
- Agron II (Altane. 727 - 749)
- Sciron I (Tearvin. 749 - 777) Cause of Death: Run through by an insane Temple Knight.
- Polydectes II (Daltane. 777 - 793)
- Ardys III (Altane. 793 - 808)
- Briseis I (Altane. 808 - 819) First Equinex to come from the Order of the Mother.
- Pandion VI (Altane. 819 - 825)
- Saint Archelaus II (Altane. 825 - 857) Negotiated with the King of Breden to turn over portions of his hinterland territories over to the Knights of the Northern Lights to further their battles against the pagans of Hygaras and Irrandar.
- Danaus IV (Altane. 857 - 877)
- Danaus V (Daltane. 877 - 880)
- Karanus III (Altane. 880-890) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Archelaus III (Altane. 890 - 900)
- Pandion VII (Tearvin. 900 - 926) Cause of Death: Illness
- Orchomenus I (Tearvin. 926 - 931)
- Stratocles II (Altane. 931 - 938) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Leda I (Daltane. 938 - 949) First Equinex to come from the Order of the Maiden.
- Polydectes III (Altane. 949 - 961) Cause of Death: Nightmare induced panic attack.
- Chrysaor II (Daltane. 961 - 973) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Pandion VIII (Altane. 973 - 999) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Zenon III (Altane. 1000 - 1100) Although among the youngest of the Equinexes when he first assumed the role, it eventually became impossible for Zenon III to conceal his use of magic to prolong his life. When his mystical elixirs finally failed him, the College of Archbishops outlawed the use of such magic by the church. Cause of Death: Potion toxicity.
- Orestes II (Altane. 1101 - 1112) Granted Emperor Lambert of Gilder a Letter Patent authorizing a Gilder Crusade against Nevira, in exchange for a hefty infusion of cash into church coffers. When this corrupt act was discovered by the church at large, it led to a schism, with the church in Daltane lands seperating from that in Altane and Tearvin lands. Cause of Death: Poisoned nightgown.
- Chrysaor III (Altane. 1112 - 1117) After the controversies surrounding Zenon II and Orestes II, the College began a trend of choosing extremely aged candidates in the hopes of them having short but conservative reigns. Chrysaor returned Lambert’s bribe and revoked Orestes’s blessing, he otherwise spent his short tenure trying to smooth over relations between the Daltane Rite and the remainder of the Church. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Agenor II (Tearvin. 1118 - 1125) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Danaus VI (Altane. 1125 - 1129) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion IX (Altane. 1130 - 1137) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Blessed Pandion X (Altane. 1137 - 1144) Having continued the work of his predecessors going back to Chrysaor III, the Daltane Rite returned to communion with the church prior to the end of his tenure. Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion XI (Daltane 1145 - 1152) The last of what would be called the “Candle Reign” Equinexes.
- Erginus II (Tearvin. 1152 - 1172) With the church seemingly stabilized, the College felt comfortable electing an Equinex of less advanced years. Erginus II’s reign was largely devoid of controversy or triumph.
- Damasias II (Altane. 1172 - 1190) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Stratocles III (Altane. 1190 - 1202) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Polydectes IV (Tearvin. 1202 - 1224) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Agron III (Daltane. 1224 - 1247) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Chrysaor IV (Daltane. 1247 - 1257)
- Nicodemus III (Altane. 1257 - 1266) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Simonides IV (Tearvin. 1266 - 1289) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Pandion XII (Altane. 1290 - 1301)
- Karanus IV (Altane. 1301 - 1313) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Leon I (Tearvin. 1313 - 1329) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Theiodamas III (Altane. 1329 - 1337) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Euxantius II (Daltane. 1337 - 1350) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Ardys IV (Daltane. 1350 - 1363)
- Damasias III (Altane. 1363 - 1375)
- Polydectes V (Tearvin. 1375 - 1390) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Agenor III (Altane. 1390 - 1400) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Pandion XIII (Daltane. 1401 - 1440) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Damasias IV (Altane. 1440 - 1458)
- Danaus VII (Altane. 1458 - 1470) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Euxantius III (Tearvin. 1470 - 1492)
- Stratocles IV (Daltane. 1492 - 1506)
- Ariston I (Altane. 1506 - 1517) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Leon II (Tearvin. 1517 - 1529)
- Saint Danaus VIII (Altane. 1529 - 1536): Persuaded the Tsar of Tyvic and his court to convert to the Unicorn’s faith.
- Ardys V (Altane. 1537 - 1549)
- Stratocles V (Daltane. 1550 - 1571) Cause of Death: Illness.
- Leon III (Tearvin. 1571 - 1597)
- Agron IV (Daltane. 1598 - 1607) Cause of Death: Infirmity due to age.
- Chrysaor V (Vuscovi. 1607 - 1623)
- Damasias V (Altane. 1624 - 1630)
- Sciron II (Tearvin. 1722 - 1735) Initiated the “Ride of Southern Liberation,” intended to spread the faith south across the sea.
- Orestes III (Vuscovi.) Declared that he would crown no Emperor of Gilderdammen until the murderer of Archbishop Charles of Uln was brought to justice. His belligerence was one of the important factors that set off the Gilder Civil War.
- Blessed Orchomenus II (Vuscovi. 1989 - 1999)
- Merops II (Tearvin. 2000 - Incumbent)