In the days before the coming of the comet there were the old magics of the Skagriagaard and the Zoranethi, the Giant Kin and the Angelus. When the comet came it bought with it the first of the changes, the new magic, the source of magic; source magic. From source magic through the belief of others the three Gods of old were born: The first was Kalarin a goddess founded in the forges of War, battle goddess: The light of the Heavens. The next was Malice the made being created of spite and sin wickedness founded of one man’s ambitions to rule the lands: The Dark One. The last was the balance, weaver of order and bringer of the peace, founded by need and necessity and a call for common ground: Tremalian the Grey. As they rose to the heavens so they gave Focus to the power of the Source. Focus Magic was created and so, powered by the belief of their followers and a pact made with Fae of Eidelos they prospered.
For many hundreds of years they ruled the heavens and the stories of their followers, the Angels and Archangels and indeed even the Gods themselves are many. Epic Legends when all powers strode the lands and did battle, causing so much devastation that the great Tharinos’ was called in which all powers were as equal and the Gods could be called to answer for their actions. Eventually however the eyes of Malice, inspired by the will of the Torakaylin family line, turned to the control of the lands of the Basin and beyond and it called upon its General Gabrak to lay waste to the other great churches in its name. It was in these great Pantheonic Wars that the Gods of this time were destroyed and the Gods that we know and venerate today were born.
Power and belief of that time are mysterious forces to the modern day Priest; the fall and rise of Gods and Goddesses, that seems so alien to us now, was a real threat to the followers of the faith in that day and age. It is almost impossible for us to imagine seeing the raw power of our God overshadowing a city and being cut to pieces by the power of Daemons and enemy casters. Yet this is how the deities of the past were ended but it was not the end of the belief nor the power and portfolios that they represented. It was almost as if the Gods had prepared for the final days of their mortality and had chosen new vessels for their powers but rather than the simplicity of the three deities their power was extended to meet the demands of a larger, growing base of Priests. Seemingly normal folk were raised up and became the new powers of Gods and Goddesses beyond the boundaries of Soul Anchor.
One of these Gods is called Bethylak; representing the not only the balance but also the need to understand and manipulate the matter and fabric of the universe. During life a powerful Mantacist, Bethylaks thirst for knowledge and the powers that he had already mastered made him the ideal candidate to take over the role of master of Time, fate and Knowledge. In fact so great was his mastery of Time that many believed him to have died many years before his rising and to have continued his body in some form of temporal Undeath! However Bethylak was not the only acolyte of Tremalian that had hoped to fill the power left in the void of his death, many others found that they had been manipulated by Bethylak, used and then left behind as he ascended. In the wake of those actions and in the early days of the church there were many schisms that formed throughout the basin as various bastions of knowledge declared themselves the High Priests of their own orders. It took many years for the church to defractionalise itself and become the unified power that it is today.
The Church finally achieved that end in 245 PPW when the church came under the tuition of Leaona Belvane, a Zumatakan who had worked hard to discredit and destroy anyone who had opposed her. It was also around this time that a young Warrior Priest from the Frozen North joined the Church; his name was Dazak and he would change the face of the Bethylakian faith in the years to come. In these days of unification the Church made strong alliances with the Churches of Yarrianne, Notelexus and Terref, forcing through the initial ideas that would bring together a synod that would later become known as the Clergy. This role would be one has kept the Church in the centre of activities both religious and generally magical/political for the next two thousand years. In the earlier years the majority of the Churches of Bethylak were built in the heart of the political power bases; texts, manuscripts and knowledge was swiftly transferred to these great temples from the libraries, schools and smaller shrines that had been forced to house them in the burgeoning days after the end of the chaos of the Pantheonic Wars. The change was swift and absolute; the Church of Bethylak had arrived.
The Timeless Order consolidated its powerbase by effectively becoming the keepers of Lores, secrets and histories. They made it their concern and business to keep track of and record knowledge be it bureaucratic, family or political all things were filed away within the confines of the Church. Over the centuries it has become very apparent that the Church has strong political aspirations and indeed it was Dazak North who became the first Emperor from a wholly religious background who could have threatened to bring the entire control of the Royal Basin into a Theocracy had not the College of Controlling Power intervened. After he stepped down Dazak stepped back into his role of Duke of the Bitter Vale, took up the mantle of High Priest of the Church and constructed the Grey Keep, which is still the heart of Bethylakian worship to this day. As the power of the Church rose so too did the power of Bethylak himself; after the Pantheonic wars the story went that the three Gods broke their power into four giving three pieces each to one they could entrust and creating with the final piece an over power that would keep the Gods in the heavens punishing any that trod the world once more. This lie was believed by seven of the Gods and observed but ignored by Bethylak and undoubtedly the Devourer.
The Lord of Fate spent long years in the world of mortals until the Divine Law was penned in 2006ppw and he was forced to take a more sedentary role. During this time it is know that he meddled with the fate lines of many great and powerful individuals, family lines and powers of prominence, it is also likely that he meddled with the fates of “lesser” folk as well. He certainly produced offspring and seeded them among the general populace in appropriate places to further the ends of his clergy in days to come before any of the other deities realised what he was about. In the end it was him passing on information to the other Gods through their own faiths that bought them to the same end as he, all save Ekimelahw who still bears him a great deal of Malice to this day for that action. As the Children of the Gods rose to power so too did Bethylak begin to take a greater position in the heavens gaining enough strength to raise more angels and demi powers then had been laid down in the first synods of the Gods. This was a tradition that was to continue in the heavens that has lasted until the days of now where Bethylak seems to speak at the Tharinos as though he is the voice for all powers.
Under Dazaks guidance the Church shifted Focus, remaining still politically active but steered more in the direction of invention and the extension of the artificing laboratories and alchemical experimentation that had been woefully neglected for several centuries: The Church leapt forward in its understanding of all things magical and mechanical. The Grey Keep and the surrounding City of Shriekspire have become synonymous with the development of Dirigible artifice and is the heart of the Basins Sky Navy. Firearms, explosives, experimental potions and research and development artifice have become a defining factor of the faithful with adventuring Priests became more and more prevalent and a clerical exploratory wing was created at the Grey Keep. The Church prospered in wealth and reputation, gaining much notoriety with the nobility, merchant houses and the Guilds. Sadly the attitude of the Church has never been one that has leant itself towards the smallfolk; the relationship of the clergy with the Church of Naed is a little restrictive but there has been no ill will as yet.
As the years have passed the Churches have developed new outlooks as they strive to meet the demands of the people that they serve. It has been a mainstream struggle between the old guard and the new thinkers and in recent years the new thinkers have won through. Whilst many would point to the actions of the old “Dark” Churches that brought us together it is clear that the new order of the Clergy: The Churches of Dawn, Day and Dusk would not have become prevalent had it not been for the Holy Order. The Dawn Churches, Yarrianne, Naed and Tiberius represent the dawn of life when we are fresh and full of life, naivety and energy. The Day; Bethylak, Terref and Ekimelahw, represents the middle of our lives when we have become wise and wealthy and live more ordered lives. The Dusk shows us as we approach the end of our lives, when our burdens have weighed heavily upon us, we are wearied and tired and death is but a corner away on our journey. This aspect of our faith is represented by the Churches of the Kraken, Notelexus and Rayvahn. Thus the coming together of the faiths has occurred and we hope that this unity will be reflected inwardly to all faiths that have shared a schism such as ours and that it will one day be for the best of us.
In recent days the Church took bold steps, or at least their patron did: After the last cataclysm the power of the old Gods seemed to return; both Kalarin and Malice, albeit under the name of Krannix, stepped back into the heavens. Their power dwarfed that of the other deities, none would ally with Krannix and Kalarins extreme dogma meant that only Tiberius would ally with her. Bethylak set himself up as an over god that would protect the others and maintain the balance. A bold move and one that ultimately gave him control for almost a year before the Tharinos of 2010 when the power of Kalarin and Krannix was revealed to be a hoax and one that Bethylak must have known about. He stepped down from his role but there was some damage to the reputation of the Church itself. That damage was restored in 2012 when, after daemonic invasion of the Rice Empire threatened the security of the Royal Basin a now aged Duke Dazak North re-entered the fray.
Our Lord Dazak North had led the Church for over two thousand years and had enjoyed many great exploits, however his hatred of Daemons was well known by all. When the Daemons threatened the land that he had called home for so long he was not found wanting. Those that were at the Tharinos that year speak of his words with a rising lump of emotion in their throats and a misting of their eyes. The Hammer of the North called on those gathered to join him for he had claimed from the legendary sage of the Cold Mountain a blade whose purpose was to return Hope to the Rice Empire, Hope whose parents were Chindit and Shisa (see the story of Chindit and Shisa). Together they went with the power of Bethylak to guide them to the very throne room of the Golden Emperor and there Dazak sacrificed all the years of his life, all his knowledge, all his invention and finally the last of his breath that those assembled might drive that blade deep into the ground with the pelts of the great Lions fluttering like a Gonfalon in the breeze. The reputation of the Church was whole again and the clergy lost one of its greatest members.
The Clergy have long been the ruling body and government of the faiths of the Royal Basin. At times it has been severely understaffed, particularly in the periods when the Churches of the Devourer, Notelexus and Rayvahn were left awash in the wilderness. In recent years the Clergy has been in constant debate and argument but in 2014 the decision was made to appoint a full head and re-establish the Azure Table to sit with the Golden Table of the Royal Basin. Initially the vote seemed likely to be in favour of Sebastian Blackthorn to rule the table in the name of the Church of Rayvahn but it was Yarrianne’s Mirelle Silverlight who won the majority vote and became the new leader of the Azure Table. Now the Azure Table/Clergy begin a time of rebuilding and unity that will bring a new and prosperous time for all faiths and a togetherness that we hope will endure a thousand years of Basanic life.
All of these things aside the Bethylakian Church has proved loyal to the Royal Basin time and again and have earned a place of power and prestige. The Clergy is populated by them and their wisdom is generally sought after by others, even among the other faiths. The powers over mastery of time, presentience and skills and lores make them an invaluable aid to any number of adventurers, politicians and solicitors alike! Although they remain effectively leaderless at this time the Church is still a great and potent power and its destiny remains, clearly, at the helm of Basanic Society and Politics.
Leave a Reply