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Brotherhood of Maj

A faction dedicated to their belief in Maj, the Arch Archon.

Contents


[top]Abstract

The Brotherhood of Maj is a heretical cult who were cut off from the Church of Faith due to its aggressive promulgation of the Maj Dios doctrine: the belief that Maj is a god in his own right. The Brotherhood relies on old and spurious folk teachings about the status of the Arch Archon, even citing Jorel as an example of how the former Arch Archon became a god. Some proponents of the doctrine go so far as to claim that Maj is the 'Future God' and that in a final war yet to come, the gods will perish and even that the Throne of Ioannes will fall. Only Maj will emerge from the destruction, as he is destined to march into Aeternia and bring order from chaos, siring the new Multiverse crafted from the power of the Exercitum.
Further Reading: A Primer to Religion, A Primer to the Pantheon, Maj, the Arch Archon, Jorel, God of Chaos, Ioannes, King of Gods

[top]History

The Brotherhood of Maj is a rather complex organization, and little is known about us by the public. What the people donít know is that the Brotherhood is far more extensive then people would guess. We operate in cells, nearly every major city having at least a cursory following. The biggest, of course, is in Sacrum, to directly combat the oppressing of the Church of Faith. There is a long, dark history between the Brotherhood and the Church that dates back to the early brightenings of the Church.
Further Reading: The Church of Faith
The Church of Faith was not in its infancy, but it was not incredibly old, either. It was at this time, under the reign of Archprelate Maximillian, that they still followed the general pantheon, worshipping all the gods, and not just focusing on the Sacred Three. When the religious doctrine changed, however, nearly all the members of the Church instantly became diametrically opposed to any and all other gods but the Sacred Three, at least its more devout followers. This upset many, but they still went along with the general doctrine.

However, there was a time when even this was not enough. The Church decided to seek out and erase all opposing religions, a period of inquisition and strife that many of the longer lived races choose to not remember. This period, known as the Great Purge, was dangerous to any who didn't believe in the Sacred Three above all else, and followed the Church of the Faith's official view.

One of these factions was a group that believed that Maj was very powerful, and deserving of godhood in his own right. This was actually a rather large faction of the Church, about a good fifteen percent. The Church, seeing it as a threat to its position as preeminent authority on all things sacred, decided to persuade or eliminate these followers as quickly and quietly as possible.

During this elimination, close to eighty percent of the original followers of Maj disappeared, either scared back into the Church of the Faith, or simply vanished. The remaining twenty percent of the followers--only three percent of the Church's original following--seceded from the Church to begin their own following, the Brotherhood of Maj under their unofficial leader, an already elderly elf and then-Prelate Merucio Aladend. Forced to remain underground, the Brotherhood struggled to maintain what secrecy it could, learning through trial and error what worked and what didnít. They panicked and scattered, no longer listening to Merucio after the first attack, and it was during this period that yet another sixty percent of this surviving faction vanished just as the previous ones had. By the time this period was over, only eight percent of the original faction survived, less then one-and-a-half percent of the Church's following.

The cost was high, and they needed to unite under a specific leader to survive. Once more they chose their most outspoken member, the former Prelate Aladend. By this time the other ninety-two percent of the original followers had been either reinitiated as a member of the Church of Faith and subsequently betrayed more members, or had quietly gone missing into the night. Frequently whole cells at a time would disappear. However, it was not for nothing.

Under the new leadership of the self-proclaimed Host of Maj Aladend, who knew the Chruch's methods and had hidden from them so effectively at first, they remained hidden for almost three hundred patterns. Eventually, the aged elf died, leaving a legend and a martyr in his wake after naming his successor. Now having near perfected the art of religious subterfuge that had become a necessity due to the one nicknamed Duke Baxtor The Bloody--better known to the church as Archprelate Maximillian--we of the Brotherhood of Maj have since been able to and still now work nearly unseen. The Church of Faith, even with its extensive intelligence network, has trouble tracking down, infiltrating, and eliminating cells of the Brotherhood. Most say though that the cost was too high.

[top]Doctrine of the Brotherhood

Originally during the factionís infancy, the sole reason for the existance of the Brotherhood was that we believe in Maj, knowing him to be the ultimate champion of good and honor. Because of this, he is even more deserving of godhood then those that he protects constantly. That he could protect them from other gods proves that he had the power, so why not strive to make him a god? We the Brotherhood devoutly believe that Maj is entirely capable of making himself a god. He simply does not, because the slightest lack of vigilance would allow the Aeternians to gain a foothold on Aetheria, something that is Majís duty to prevent, else the entire balance of the pantheon would fall to chaos. Such an amazing and profound belief on his behalf is impressive to say the least, and thus makes him even more worthy of godhood. So, since he cannot spare the time nor attention, we have made it our quest to make Maj one of the gods, constantly searching for relics, passages in ancient texts, and other like things that might help Maj evolve to become a god among those he protects.

Over time, though, the goals have evolved, mainly because of the negative influence of the Church of Faith. Instead of only trying to help and worship Maj, we also work to expose the Church for the true villains they are, and protect the innocent as well as the ignorant of evil-doers. We humbly attempt to emulate the behaviors that Maj has modeled as we go about our lives, hoping to eventually elevate him and exonerate the Brotherhood as a legitimate religion, and counter the damage that the Church of Faith has done not only to us, but to others like us.

[top]Circles of the Brotherhood

There are three main circles within the Brotherhood, three main paths that one can follow, their goals as diverse as their fields of study. One common factor in all of them is arcana, as a mage is useful in just about any area. The favored arcana spheres are mysticism, as it has become necessary to hide their own with illusions; and sorcery, of which they believe Maj to be the patron, and thus a worthy art. Oneís Circle does not set in stone their destiny with the Brotherhood, it is instead considered a starting point from which they begin to have a deeper understanding of Maj.
Further Reading: A Primer to Arcana
Usually, to become a senior of the Circle of their particular cell, one must have served Maj in the Brotherhood for over ten patterns, and have achieved the rank of Sword or above. The Circles almost always keep to themselves except during Council. When not in Council, each Circle meets once a month. The exact time, place, and date of the Circle's meeting is determined at the previous meeting. This meeting keeps the Circle coordinated and moving forward, and the seniors of the Circle lead them. It is here that individual assignments are given, as well as coordination and updates on larger projects. It is decided during the meeting just before the Brotherhood-wide Council who will represent their Circle.

A Brotherhood member is not allowed to select their Circle, despite what they may or may not know. Instead, to each member of the Brotherhood that indoctrinate new members, a set of coins are given. Each coin has a different symbol on its back, and on the front is the crest for the Brotherhood. Each symbol on the back represents one of the three Circles. An open book represents the Circle of Keepers, a shield represents the Circle of Swords, and a pouch represents the Circle of Wands.

Before anything is done, the new Initiate states which Circle they would prefer to be a part of, and which one they wouldn't. Then the three coins are placed face down, in an order that the joining Initiate couldn't know, and through the new Initiate's faith in Maj, they choose the coin that represents what Maj is calling them to do within the Brotherhood.

[top]Circle of Keepers

The Circle of Keepers are the scholars of the Brotherhood. They research texts and keep an accurate history not only of their own Brotherhood, but of world events as they see them, which often times is different from the accepted world view. The Keepers usually keep to themselves, constantly immersed in text, often secluded for cycles at a time. Itís not unusual for a member of the Keepers to be a mage of any sort, as scholars make the best magi usually, and vice versa. Keepers ranked Sword of Maj can choose to only send one Keeper to Council meetings to update the other Keepers at the Circle meeting, and usually are allowed to proceed with independent projects that further Maj's work.

[top]Circle of Swords

The Circle of Swords is the militant arm of the Brotherhood. They are responsible for the safety and security of the Brotherhood, as well as any independent military action should it ever become necessary. The members of this circle, the Guardians, are well trained in stealth and martial combat, though several magi are known to lie within the ranks. While a few Mystics would be here, Sorcery is the prevalent sphere because of its directly beneficial capabilities in combat. Guardians ranked Sword of Maj or above are given a dwarven steel longsword with a blue pommel, and are usually put in charge of the combat needed by the Brotherhood.

[top]Circle of Wands

The Circle of Wands are the merchants of the Brotherhood. They are responsible for the acquisition of all needed items within the Brotherhood be it food and supplies or ancient texts or an artifact, as well as running the businesses which the Brotherhood is responsible for, acting as the legal, legitimate face of the Brotherhood. Members of the Circle of Wands, called Crowns, are also the more diplomatic of the Brotherhood, so if any negotiations are ever held, it is the Crowns that attend. Mystics are frequently here, as it helps with negotiations both diplomatic and financial to know what your opponent is thinking. Crowns ranked Sword of Maj or above are granted Immunity of Coin, as they aren't required or requested to donate any money towards the cause, and are often given large cuts off of all the deals that they strike in the Brotherhood's favor.

[top]Rankings

Regardless of what Circle a Brotherhood member belongs to, there are several ranks within the Brotherhood, ranks which one must climb as with any organization.

[top]Initiate

Initiates of Maj have been accepted as members of the Brotherhood, and are still learning what itís all about, and what their specific Circle is all about. No one expects an Initiate to be very knowledgeable, so when one is, itís a rare treat.

[top]Squire

A Squire of Maj is someone who understands the Brotherhood's goals, and knows the basics of their Circleís craft. They have a small amount of experience for independent study, and are allowed to experience a broad range of topics within their Circle so they can find their niche where they can truly shine in the service of Maj.

[top]Shield

A Shield of Maj has a complex understanding of their Circle and all its workings, and are devoted to all of the greater workings of the Brotherhood as a whole. They see the larger picture, and are working to see it resolve as the Brotherhood wishes it. They are intermediately specialized in a specific area of their Circleís field, and are usually consulted on all matters pertaining to that subject.

[top]Avatar

An Avatar of Maj is one who has such a complete understanding of the Brotherhood and all its circles that their thinking is considered near-identical to the Arch Archonís own. An Avatar is usually granted special dispensation to do as they please, so long as it is in accordance with the Host and his Inner Circle, as well as the Council of the Avatar's cell. Avatarsí knowledge is usually incredibly extensive, to the point that they seem an expert on just about every area of Maj and the Brotherhood. Usually very experienced Avatars lead cells of the Brotherhood, except for in Sacrum, where there is the Host.

[top]Host

The Host of Maj is the one single leader of the Brotherhood. He leads council discussions, and has veto power over all the decisions made by the Council. All Seekers answer to the Host, though this fact is unknown to even the Brotherhood. Any orders to any member of any cell given by the Host supersede that of the cellís leader. It is believed that the Host is in constant contact with Maj, and is thus the physical embodiment of Maj on Telath. Most believe the Host to be chosen by divine will, but he is in fact named by the previous Host as his successor in front of the Council of the Brotherhood. The previous Host then passes on the artifacts that many say allow him to communicate with Maj, but in fact bear several powerful magics. These magics to seem to enhance his strength and speed, and even give him an immunity to most other magic, but it's also believed that there are other, less obvious effects that remain unknown.

[top]Council of the Brotherhood

Six members make up the Council of each cell. There are two from each Circle, always Shields or Avatars. The only exception is the cell within the city of Sacrum, where the Host too resides and leads the Council. Members of the Council are usually the most experienced and wisest of each of the Circles, and the representatives for the cell's Council are chosen by each Circle as a whole from the cell. Within the Brotherhood as a whole, the Council in Sacrum that sits with the Host is known as the Inner Circle. Once every season, the Avatar who leads a cell or a representative of the Avatar from each cell will arrive into Diana 'on business'. These members, or the Outer Circle, consult on all the Brotherhood-wide issues and ideas, as well as plans and mandates for where to take the Brotherhood until the next gathering. This is known simply as The Gathering.

Outside of The Gathering, the Avatars that run the cells--or in Sacrum, the Host himself--decide which path they take in their work, where the Inner Circle decides which cell works on what aspect. Each cell has their own Council, their versions of Sacrum's Inner Circle. Only during The Gathering does Sacrum have an Outer Circle, to coordinate with the Host, which then returns to their respective cells to update their cell and move on with their work. Before the end of The Gathering, the Host informs those attending the exact time, date, and place of the next Gathering, subject to change dependent upon integrity of secrecy. If it changes, the Host will dispatch messengers to each cell with a token enchanted by the Host with a message accessible only by the Avatar of the cell.

[top]Credit

Original Write-up by Motito Gil'dae


Created by Nimh, July 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM
Last edited by Nimh, July 5, 2015 at 05:53 PM
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