In a nondescript secondary school, somewhere in Brecia. "Name the most powerful political entity in Arnd right now." " !" "Thank you, but that is not correct." "The Rhuthen?" "No, you must think about the definition of a political entity." "They Eurani Pledge?" "The Loro?" "The New Lolland transitional partnership?" "Closer." "The United Partnership of Nations?" After five minutes of further guesswork, the teacher intervened. "No, the most powerful political entity in the world right now is the institution known as the Elemental Circles. And the reason for that is very simple, as the only religion on Arnd, what possible counter could there be to their influence, especially if you include their magic? What prevents them from taking over Arnd really, is that they are fragmented along country and continental lines, and while the Circles of Mountain Home have an immense influence over the others, this is not absolute authority, nor does it left them just give orders to the others. Namcha, what would you think would happen if the Eurani Commissioner tried to ban the circles?" "Riots?" "Riots, and calls for elections, to replace her. But the Circles have their own paramilitary, the Lifeguards, and the military efficiency of the Kagomine Branch is such their leaders get automatic credentials as senior flag officers." "How senior?" "This is the hierarchy of the Kagomine Empire. At the top sits the executive or regency council, who can tell me what's remarkable about this?" "There's two priests?" "There's two priests is quite an understatement. The for Kagomei, now recognized as the and the both sit on the regency council, the latter as the the former as a Domei. A Domei is a landed aristocrat, given to rule the largest provinces. Both of these were equivalent to a OF-08 Flag Officer, like the current commanding officer of all Brecian Air Forces. " "So the top priestess is their air marshal?" "No, their Air Marshal is higher in rank, they have, up to now, more Aircraft than Brecia does, although since the treaty of alliance, that should change." "And that top priest, what would he command?" "He would, by default command a pair of regiments, perhaps a short division, as the Kagomine reckon it, which is more than five hundred, but less than a thousand troops." "And how many divisions does Kagomei have?" "That is classified, but estimates of their navy alone are in the hundreds of thousands."
As their members have more and more magical powers as they go up the command chain, little emphasis is placed on technology, except for helping to standardize tech, and help spread it across national borders through trade agreements.
The Elemental circles do not have foreign relations per se, since they are the single religion of all of Arnd. They do act as mediators in disputes between country, and a power block for non-violent resolution of conflicts.
Mythology & Lore
In the beginning, there was primordial chaos, a state of flux between nothing(void), and four primordial conditions of matter(earth, wind, fire, water). The void had no intelligence, but the four conditions, or states of matter, soon were inhabited by sentient personations. These 'primordial elements', whose power and vastness are so incomprehensible as to be akin to Eldritch Abominations of Cthulhu Mythos, felt Void encroaching too often, and too regularly on their domains and endeavours. Worried that to fight in a single being would show weaknesses, they decided to manifest a Dyad, a pair of entities each having significant elements from their 'parent', but different between each other, and recognizable. The power used to create them, in four different "realms" attracted visitors, beings that were loosely affiliated with the void but had goals of final, effective destruction, where the void was content in destroying things that were recreated anew, different, each time.
Before the ancient times that are now known as warlord time, at least 2700 years before our story, the Elements manifested to humans that interested them, for reasons that were not clear, and are not much clearer now. Individuals discovered new strength, guile, authority, beauty, new strengths of belief and became leaders and pillars of their communities. When the demons invaded, those enhanced individuals were at the forefront of every battle, and as the victors, dictated that the worship of the elements who had made this victory possible was to continue and be made mandatory. This is the story that is told to explain the cult's origins, it's exact truth is disputed, but actual demon remains were documented by unaffiliated individuals, enough that the core of the story is not doubted by most scholars.
Arndans live on Arnd, the reality. Demons live in Mortagon and Spinagon. The Elements live in Kromwell, doing whatever pleases them, time does not flow there like it does elsewhere.
Tenets of Faith
The demons are real, they have attacked, the faithful were a bulwark, protecting the people. Every year ceremonies recall the sacrifices, the various heroics, and those with magical talents become priests and sorcerers. Cult laity do not understand the distinction, but do their best to respect those with either, for they are fearsome.
The cult's motto is to guide Arnd away from fear and vulnerability to the demons. To do so they must encourage trust and goodwill among Arndan, this has led many to seek cooperation, conciliation and trade.
All worship is done in the presence of the element that's being sought:
- water: near a body of water
- fire: near lava/hot springs
- earth: underground, or near a large mountain or hill
- air: outside
To become a Sorcerer or Priest, one must be chosen by the elements and manifest religious magic. Standard tests exist, and those are repeated when one is promoted from one rank to the next.
Granted Divine Powers
- A priest or sorcerer can heal even fatal wounds if soon enough after they were inflicted
- They can disguise themselves and others
- They can create the magical material Depending on elements, they can have some of the following additional powers: and use it to send magical communications, forming a permanent or temporary net
- They can throw fire, and incite it, causing it to burn on command
- They can summon water to wear down any substance known
- They can control gravity over an area
- They can cast winds to move any number of persons or objects
- They can enhance themselves, inuring themselves to any two elemental forms of damage in exchange for taking triple or more damage from one elemental form from the remaining list
- They can petition the elements to do almost anything else, but the results aren't guaranteed
Political Influence & Intrigue
Despite being the de facto seconds of the priests, the aristocracy, especially in Kagomei, is jealous of the priest, and have worked long and hard to restrict the cult's privileges.
Each continent has a slightly different interpretation of dogma, and different rites to celebrate different victories over the demons, but the Kautanissians work to keep them from becoming full-fledged sects.
Religious, Organised Religion
The High Nine, The High Twenty-five
Priests, Priestesses, Sorcerers, Sorceresses, Circline[in disuse]
Head of Government
The high nine act as an executive body, the high fifteen act as a transnational board to set new religious laws
An Aumhava(highest cleric in a region, capable of administring rites, is by default a judge, empowered to deliver summary judgement. Appeals go up the command chain, up to the High Twenty-Five
Official State Religion
Related Ranks & Titles