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The Veiled Glow

Deep below the surface world of Alkotas, in the treacherous black of the Darklands, the Veiled Glow resides uncontested by other cuirizu orders. Once there was a time where they shared some space with the Deep Undergrowth, but since the fall of the order the Veiled Glow has continued to proliferate in the dark unchecked. Far away from the light that sustains so many of the other cuirizu orders, the Veiled Glow thrives, ruling their Gardens like god-queens with iron fists.   One of the norms established by the Deep Undergrowth early in its rule was that no cuirizu should seek divine worship, warning not only against entangling one's self with the politics of larger more ancient fiends, but against inviting such fiends to strike against the cuirizu as a whole. The wisdom of this proved true when the Veiled Glow decided to ignore it, inviting the attention of greater demons and devils, as well as crusading celestials and heroes, within an age. Some of the first conflicts between the cuirizu and other outsiders were due to the Primogen accumulating worshipers among the mortals of the Darklands.   Despite these conflicts, the surviving cuirizu of the order interpreted their victory as a sign that they were meant to rule and were well on their way to accumulating the worshippers they needed to reach a profane form of divinity enjoyed by the Zloduch Vladce. With her sights set on joining their ranks, Vespera doubled down on directing her order on accumulating followers not just for her, but for themselves as well. Even with the risks, other orders continued to support their right to do so, chief among which was the Briar Harvest. The subject would remain a point of contention within the cuirizu until the fall of the Deep Undergrowth.   Today the Veiled Glow rules in the dark, establishing cults among the races of the Darklands, namely the Dark Elves. Though members of the order demand absolute loyalty and rule with iron fists, most in the Darklands who find themselves under their power find them preferable to that of their original lieges. Though one could believe that its a more fair and even handed rule that results in this perception, its just as likely due to the hypnotic patterns of light the order emits and intoxicating pheromones.   The Veiled are the most difficult of all cuirizu to resist by mortal races, not only because of their alluring natural beauty but the various tactics they employ in crushing an individuals will. Every member of the order possesses a form of bio-luminescence that can be fluctuated in hypnotic ways. Additionally, every member of the order has a natural scent containing powerful pheromones that activate attraction in most mortal races within a certain distance of the Veiled, with those with more sensitive senses of smell falling prey to the effect much more quickly. Even other outsiders, including other cuirizu, have difficulty resisting the Veiled Glow if not prepared or over extended periods.  

The Temples of the Veiled


The Order of the Veiled Glow is every bit as much a Cult as it is a cuirizu order. The order maintains shrines and temples to their Primogen, the active worship of which is known as the Cult of Vespera with followers being regarded as Vespereon. Temples are located almost exclusively in the Darklands and are ostentatiously decorated with graphic sexual imagery of the Primogen and various important figures to the faith, all awash in the glow of eerie bio-luminescent plants and fungi.   Temples typically double as Gardens for the cuirizu in charge, with members of the Garden serving the temple in their respective Garden roles. Those who are formal members of the Garden are protected by the cuirizu, and those who come to worship or pay tribute to Vespera at the temple are not automatically entitled to access to Breeders, Studs, or anyone else within the Garden itself unless explicitly stated. There are those in the Garden who are given the appropriate role, but all others are considered off limits by common members of the Vespereon.   The interior of the temple is lit by much of the same bio-luminescence that is found on the outside, albeit with a pointed effort toward being more intimate. An Altar to Vespera rests in the center with pillows and cushions strewn about the main prayer chamber for fornication and other acts of debauchery in the name of the Primogen. Worshipers are encouraged to keep what remnants there are of their licentious activities and place them as oblations to the Primogen in bowls at the Altar, though expelling such fluids right onto the base of the Altar or at the Primogen's feet are also acceptable practices in many places.   Shrines, due to being much smaller, offer only limited versions of these activities, usually only capable of accommodating four to five worshipers at a time, depending on what acts they are engaged in. Altars in shrines, though smaller, usually retain much of the same sensual detail as those found within the larger temples.    Altars, regardless of where they're located, emit an aura of desecration allowing profane and evil acts to become bolstered within the aura while suppressing and resisting sacred and divine magic of faiths not aligned with Vespera. Because the magic of the order is not actually divine in nature, innate talents or arcane magic on the part of the cuirizu must be employed to emulate the protections found in other temples. Saharite, mined in the Darklands by legions of slaves who's lives only serve to provide the order with the precious commodity to amplify their magic.

Structure

The Veiled Glow has diverged from other cuirizu considerably over the ages, with much of the order taking on a structure more like a profane religion, bent on the goal of elevating the Primogen of the order to the status as a Zloduch Vladce, the elite group of Demonic deities that rule from Abaddon and the Abyss.   Primogen: Vespera, the Primogen of the Order, is one of the most alluring of the Primogen with a presence that practically oozes with sex. Mortals ache with need in her presence and can even go into fits of madness or states of shock by beholding her. Part of this comes from her natural gifts but much of it is elevated by the growing power of the Primogen's near-divinity.   Vespera demands only the best from her order and promises them the same in return, when she ascends to Zloduch Vladce status, she intends to take the most dedicated and faithful of her order with her to usher in a new era for all cuirizu. Being worshiped for Vespera is not just a path to power though, its a very real sexual experience that the Primogen has become addicted to and might just be the thing holding her back from being able to truly ascend.   High Voluptuary: Veiled who reach the heights of transformative debauchery sit at the side of the Primogen, acting as her principal counselors in all matters relating to the order as well as matters of fiend politics in general. High Voluptuaries seldom maintain the day to day activities of any temple, instead making appearances only for special occasions and personal indulgence. Cuirizu of this rank exert a great deal of their time and effort outside of the order as well, attempting to navigate the chaotic landscape of Outsider politics. Most will have specializations, with one High Voluptuary focusing entirely on the happenings of Abaddon while another may be focused on the matters of Hell. Because of the scope of the individual planes, multiple High Voluptuaries will often work in tandem with one another on how to handle the workload with shared specializations.   Voluptuary: Just below the High Voluptuaries are the Voluptuaries who spend the bulk of their time maintaining the largest temples of the cult or specifically the Exalted Temples where High Voluptuaries make their residence. Voluptuaries maintain Gardens in these spaces, and are required to split their time effectively between the activities of the cult and their own Gardens. Voluptuaries are responsible for multiple Hedonixes in a region and provide them with the edicts and decisions that come down from above. Voluptuaries also offer key council to Hedonixes as well as additional boons for exceptional service and dedication. Many of the standard holidays and special events of the faith are overseen by Voluptuaries with only very few being handled by High Voluptuaries instead.   Hednonix: Hednoixes are the cuirizu of the order who manage the temples of the cult of Vespera. Hedonixes personally minister to the cult, accept offerings, and grant boons to followers during regular services and oversee major oblations within the temple walls. Obediences can also be taught by Hedonixes but more often times than not they expected to already be known, with a Hedonix simply overseeing correct execution of the obedience. Hedonixes maintain their own Gardens, which serve as the backbone of each individual temple. Enforcers in the Hedonix garden are responsible for its protection while aritsans of the Garden are responsible for the physical upkeep and design of the temple. Those who prove themselves worthy are sometimes handpicked from a Hedonix Garden to ascend along their own career path to the Gardens of higher ranking Veiled.   Sybarite: In remote areas of the Darklands and above ground in Alkotas, smaller outposts of the Veiled Glow can be found. Here, the cuirizu in charge of these smaller shrines are known as Sybarites. Though they don't hold the same rank as a Hedonix in the overall faith, they generally have many of the same duties but on a smaller scale. Gardens members and thralls both have much smaller numbers, so much to the degree that they are often one and the same. Sybarites also tend to deal with the most amount of conflict on the edges of Veiled Glow territory and as such have more militaristic bents toward their work, becoming experts in magical combat very quickly. When not in a defensive posture though, many Sybarites have more personal downtime than Hedonixes, with the ability to cater to their own indulgences and offer up their own Oblations and Obediences to the Primogen.   Fornixa: Unlike other Orders, the order of the Veiled Glow has cuirizu dedicated to bringing people into the gardens of other cuirizu. Fornixa's are ordained Mistresses who forego maintaining Gardens of their own in order to go out into the world and find individuals to be converted and turned over to others of the order more established and well protected. Fornixa's live dangerous lives, traveling into areas to Proselytize and Seduce prospective followers and turn those of other faiths who might be vulnerable. This would be risky in the above ground realms of Alkotas but doing so in the Darklands is exceptionally more dangerous.   Fornixas are known for their skill in the field, possessing a wide array of ways to corrupt individuals for Vespera and enjoy a wide degree of latitude when it comes to their duties. Once a Fornixa has ensnared someone for the cult, they deliver them to the nearest Garden capable of taking them. Some Sybarite's and Hedonixes have good enough relationships with Fornixas to be able to make special requests, either to seek out someone specific or to prioritize their Garden for the next acquisition. Such arrangements are considered acceptable but always come after any directive a Fornixa may have been given by a Voluptuary or higher.   In exchange for their service in lives of danger, Fornixas are allowed to visit any other Garden in their travels to indulge their lust, though breeding must be approved by the Mistress of a Garden. Often times breeding rights are just the thing that Sybarite's and Hedonixes leverage in order to ask favors of the traveling Fornixas.   Mistress/Master: Not all members of the Veiled Glow are formal clergy of the faith and choose instead to focus their efforts on breeding. Any Veiled who is the head of a Garden may call herself mistress, as obtaining and keeping a Garden in the Darklands is considered test enough of a cuirizu's mettle. Those who establish Gardens and keep them for more than a few months are required to report them to the nearest member of the clergy. If the individual is a member of the clergy themselves, they are required to report it to their nearest superior. Once reported the Garden is registered in the lists of the order, provided initial resources, and becomes eligible for bolstering by Fornixas... provided that the Garden has a proper Altar to Vespera located within.  

Non-Cuirizu Roles


Within the Order of the Veiled Glow, members of the various Gardens are considered integral in the day to day operations of temples. Many of the roles in the base Garden structure carry over with little adjustment, but there are others which were devised specifically with the cult structure of the order in mind.   Blight: One of the most sinister things the Veiled Glow has ever devised for members of their Garden is to offer them up as hidden weapons among their rivals. Though not a common role within the order today, there are still instances of it's use on the borders of Veiled territory. A Blight is an individual who is selected to ingest small amounts of Saharite over a long period of time, making them unsuitable as breeders. Because the amounts are so small over such a long period of time, a Blight does not typically suffer from the same obvious sickness as others exposed to it. Some manifest magical abilities or other strange powers and appear to radiate auras of magic. Blights are then left out for cuirizu of other orders to discover and bring into their Gardens for breeding.   Attempts to breed with Blights nearly always results in terrible supercharged cuirizathi capable of destroying or devouring entire Gardens in a matter of minutes. Though such a practice is repugnant to most of the Veiled, it was done heavily in the days when the Briars attempted to take revenge on the Veiled Glow for its "betrayal" during the last War of Trees. Any cuirizu aware of Veiled Glow Gardens near their own today remains particularly cautious and suspicious of any beautiful women with inexplicable magical auras and talents they find in the wild.   Supplicant: Some members of the Garden seek only to satisfy the needs of those around them at all costs. Though others of a Veiled's Garden are off limits to the worshipers in the temple, Supplicants are available to anyone who will have them. Every act of fornication and debauchery for the Supplicant is an Obedience to the future Goddess Vespera, an act of worship to her greatness. Some Supplicants will push themselves so far as to collapse under lovers who continue to use their bodies anyway, awakening the next day only to eat, drink, and begin again. Supplicants are some of the most dedicated of the faith, turning themselves over to the desires and lust of others wholly without question. Those who become pregnant from such acts of worship aren't given much reprieve from their duties either, only receiving lighter duties during the final third term of their pregnancies. Such individuals are well supplied and cared for though, especially if there is reason to believe she carries a potential cuirizu.   Taskmaster: Those who have worked the Saharite mines and been transformed by its power and converted to the worship of Vespera are elevated to the positions of Taskmasters, usually as an extended part of a particular cuirizu's Garden who is responsible for the mine. No two taskmasters are the same, due to the nature of Saharite mutations. Some may simply have more durable skin or an extra set of arms while others may possess the means of seeing throw walls or firing destructive blasts from their eyes. Such individuals are typically employed to protect the mines they once worked while overseeing the slaves they used to be one of. Some however, are made from Enforcers in Gardens who wish to become more and go beyond their current capabilities, volunteering to enter the mines in the hopes that they may one day emerge with powerful abilities to better serve Vespera. Any Enforcer who volunteers and makes it through with their life returns to their Garden with special honors and recognition for their dedication to protecting Vespera's Gardens.   Penitent: Those who seek to move simply from the acts of worship to Vespera to entering the Garden of a Veiled cuirizu begin their time in the Garden is a penitent. Unlike the other roles of the Gardens, the penitent is not expected to do any task other than what is handed to them in the moment by the Mistress or her First. A penitent must earn the right to join the Garden and must submit to the will of Vespera and those who represent her in order the achieve this coveted status. Penitents are put through a series of standard Garden tasks to determine the best fit as well as more grueling tasks to determine their level of dedication and worthiness. It's not uncommon for a penitent to spend days at a time performing in one role or another, including that of a Supplicant, with little food or rest to see if and when they break.   Proselyte: Mortals who are corrupted and turned and are brought back by a Fornixa, or during the Night of Reaping, are known as Proselytes. Such individuals circumvent the normal process of joining a Garden that a Penitent goes through, having already proved themselves ready for the process to a Fornixa or through the tribulations of the Night of Reaping. Proselytes demonstrate their willingness to submit to a Mistress or her First while undergoing an in-depth crash course on texts of the Vesperaeon and performing profane and obscene acts, or having them performed upon her. Proselytes spend the beginning portion of their time in the Garden secluded from all but the Mistress, the First, and the Second and sometimes an appointed Scholar particularly knowledgeable in the faith. Once the Proselyte demonstrates a level of proficiency and loyalty, she is integrated to the rest of the Garden where she is assigned a new formal role.

Culture

Despite having few encounters with the Veiled Glow, the order is well known by all the others for their virtually uncontested hold of the Darklands. While this wasn't always true, the fact remains today that the Veiled Glow enjoys a swath of territory and Gardens that are virtually never threatened by the other orders who have failed to adapt to the low-light environment.   The Veiled Glow itself has few strong opinions of most of the other orders beyond perhaps a sense of vague pity for having to scrounge and fight for scraps among each other instead of working to elevate themselves to a position of power over the mortals they quibble with regularly. The exception to this, like so many positions a cuirizu holds, is that of the Briar Harvest albeit for a very different reason. Before the fall of the Deep Undergrowth the two orders were allies, with the Veiled Glow only severing ties when the Deep Undegrowth Primogen was murdered. This was a line that Vespera had never condoned crossing, despite her numerous conflicts with Dionaea. A lesser exception is that of the Scarlet Thorn, who the Veiled Glow has written off as an order of lost causes that will be scoured from Alkotas in due time.   The Veiled Glow views itself as the next evolution of cuirizu culture, fashioning themselves as the true heirs to the Deep Undergrowths mantle. By harvesting the faith of mortals, the Veiled Glow seeks to empower it's Primogen in such a way as to stand head and shoulders above all other Primogen so that she remains unassailable by traitorous sisters and the race can rekindle its struggle for dominance among the other races of Outsiders who have enjoyed a non-threatening race of cuirizu for too long.   The Veiled have recently begun to expand their efforts into the surface world, accepting converts from other orders with a genuine interest in repenting their faithless ways and swearing their existence to Vespera. Despite the welcoming position the order has taken though, there have been very few takers. The Veiled have little interest in crusading against other orders, but respond to criticism and disparaging comments about their faith and their primogen with sudden and ferocious violence. Anywhere that the Scarlet Thorn and the Veiled Glow meet stand as pointed exceptions to this relaxed posture the order has, with the two orders fighting to the last cuirizu in each and every engagement they've been in.   Despite the sureness the order has of its Primogen's superiority over Ynale however, the fact remains that Vespera has yet to obtain a divine spark that would put the Veiled on the same footing as the Thorn's when it comes to divine magic. Even the distant power of Ynale a full planet away is still too much for Vespera to match at present. A fact the Thorns remind the Veiled of right before battle commences.   The Night of Reaping
Though the Veiled Glow has a relatively relaxed posture when it comes to crusading, there is a single night of the year in which any nearby a known temple to Vespera remain wary of: The Night of Reaping. Each year, on the birthday of the Primogen into the world of Alkotas, the Veiled gather as one and take to the Darklands to kidnap any mortal that catches their eye, absconding with them to their temples to ravage them mercilessly until they swear loyalty to Vespera.Feasting and Drinking during these long nights is also typical, with entire Gardens existing in perpetual states of revelry and celebration. Shrines or Temples located near the surface take special joy in performing this Obedience under the cover of darkness in any nearby settlements or cities. It's worth noting that on the Night of Reaping, no individual outside of the faith is except from the depredations of the order, even members of other orders.   Though normally reserved for the cuirizu of the order, the Night of Reaping is something that high ranking members of Gardens in various temples are allowed to engage in, with some cuirizu turning the whole of their enforcers upon a local settlement for added volume for the night's festivities. Those who do not break from the Night of Reaping are typically taken far from the temples and dumped in the wilderness to fend for themselves, sometimes giving birth to the results of the night months later. In other instances, mortals who do not break are sacrificed to Vespera with their corpses being displayed nearby the temple where they will be seen by other mortals.

Assets

The Glowing Court
Located in one of the deepest layers of the Darklands, the Glowing court plays host to the High Voluptuaries during their times of deliberations and darkest rituals. Here the highest ranking cuirizu of the order plot against the other Outsiders of the multiverse, preparing long rituals and hoarding powerful weapons. Though one of the most remote locations in the entire world, the Glowing Court houses numerous mortals relocated to tend the grounds and the lust of the cuirizu who reside there temporarily. Guarding the court are strange aberrations that Vespera herself has turned to her will with unknown promises and temptations. The court itself rest on a long jagged precipice that overlooks a vast underground sea from which writhing tentacles as large as redwoods can be seen breaking the surface from time to time.   Vespera's Throne is located in the Glowing Court, the throne room itself a large circular chamber with Vespera at it's center. From here Vespera hears the council of her High Voluptuaries and issues edicts that filter down to every last member of the order. Though the Primogen has personal chambers in the Glowing Court, this is not where her Garden is located nor is it where she resides for extended periods.   From the Glowing Court there are numerous gateways to other fiendish planes, the Nadir in Ivalia, and a select few Temples located in higher layers of the Darklands.   The Silent Grave
Long ago in a province of the Imperium a creature from the stars made landfall and began to rampage across the countryside. Everywhere the creature went, it tainted and corrupted the land, devoured it's people, and wreaked havok. The creature was a Void Behemoth and it had followed the Gaogh from their homeworld to Alkotas to do the bidding of the terrible deity they had left behind. The Void Behemoth was stopped only the awakening of the dreaded Tarrasque that met the creatures insatiable appetite with it's own and emerged victorious.   When the battle was over, the Tarrasque devoured the taint of the land for miles around, gorging itself on the Fell energies the creature had brought down from the stars and then returned to it's slumber, leaving a large portion of the Behemoths corpse unconsumed. The corpse remains in the same place today, no sunken underground into the Darklands near where the Tarrasque slumbers. The Veiled Glow loot the body, carving pieces off of it in small portions, harvesting flesh, organs, bone, and other unknown materials contained within, plundering the remains of the creature for fragments of its power and studying its origins.   The Silent Grave is site covered in complete magical silence, with Veiled working tirelessly to understand the origins of the Void Behemoth and unlock it's secrets. Communicating in the silence through fluctuations of their natural lighting to avoid awakening the Tarrasque nearby, the cuirizu hope to have the site cleared by the time the natural cycle of the Tarrasque causes it to stir.   Many theories abound within the order as to what might come of the exhaustive research and offerings made to Vespera of its flesh. Some think that the power it used could be wielded to corrupt minds and souls, others think that the creature could be used to unlock a gateway to a whole other world across the stars, and finally there are those who think that if the creature truly is a servant to an alien god then perhaps it holds a clue to accelerating Vespera's acquisition of a divine spark.   The Glimmering Maw
Singularly one of the most dangerous places in all of Alkotas, the Glimmering Maw is a massive jagged deposit of Saharite with arcane circles and symbols carved into it. Strewn about the periphery of the circle are the glowing bones of the artisans who were worked to death to complete the working. Here, Vespera enacts her most impressive feats of magic, using the whole of the deposit to amplify her magic to reach across layers of the Darklands and across the realms of Alkotas with the same efficacy of a lesser deity. Though arcane in origin, those targeted by her wrath or her boons wouldn't know the difference.   Despite the highly toxic quality of Saharite, Vespera has gone an untold number of centuries exposing herself to its power with seemingly no ill effect, perhaps a testament to her physical durability or raw power of will. Whatever the reason, Vespera spends much of her time here alone, with only the most faithful of the High Voluptuaries following her to the maw. Those who make repeated trips do not survive long, but are forever canonized within the faith. Vespera keeps those of her Garden far from the Maw, aware of the effects it could have on weaker flesh and the increased risk of cuirizathi being born from such exposure.   How Vespera came to find this deposit of Saharite isn't known, but the nature of the carvings and bones strewn about the deposit being almost entirely Duergar may provide some clue. The site is protected jealously from a distance by a retinue of specific guards always on the lookout for those who might brave the toxins of the Saharite to chip pieces off and bring back to market for sale. Those who truly gain the favor of Vespera sometimes earn a small piece of Saharite from the Maw, accepting the boon eagerly despite the risk doing so entails.   The Blistering Mines
Established ages ago along a Saharite vein deep below the surface of Al-Tahim, the Blistering Mines serve as the main source of Saharite for the Order of the Veiled Glow. Because of the high mortality rate of mining Saharite, the order does not typically make use of its faithful followers to do the work if it can be helped, instead employing slave labor taken from surrounding settlements or purchased from Dark Elf slavers. Those working the mines for extended periods manifest lesions, bubbling blisters, rotten teeth, failed organs, as well as a host of strange and painful mutations. Some of those who have developed beneficial and stable mutations willing to convert to the faith have been pulled up from the deepest parts of the mines to oversee their brethren and protect it from intrusion by those seeking to steal the already mined Saharite.
Founding Date
The Age of Mithral
Leader Title

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