Order of the Orfien Pilgrims Organization in Crooked Mile Valley | World Anvil

Order of the Orfien Pilgrims

Black Ichor Scenarios include "soft" horror text and graphics.
It may not be suitable for children or the skittery to read.
Opinion of the writer: PG-13 material.

Crutsthoulian Delicacies

Orfien Pilgrims live in limbo between life and death. Reaching a thinning is the goal of a pilgrim who wants to find glory. But the seal that transfers creatures or objects through the Flare is blocked by initiating their , a cypher that is only connected to the darkness of a shadow. The signets can be found anywhere on their ghoul cadavers. Taskmasters are born with their signets, but most Orfiens are branded with signets by Shadows during rituals.    It took 176 years for Shadows and Orfiens to . Orthodox Shadows begin granting privileges to Taskmasters once they assume control, including the decision about whether to create chaos and evil in honor of, and on the behalf of exalted Shadows.
Order of the Orfien Pilgrims Crest

Order of the Orfiens

Order of the Orfiens by ROD w/Midjourney


The Orfiens hierarchy includes a priest, deacons, dogma tutors and the congregation who are given privileges by death date. Revelations about their non-traditional manner of establishing authority does not please Traditionalist temples in , that handpick their own magick liturgies for exalting gods. Traditionalists believe that unvarying wealth earned with and offering establishes a better structure by separating and forcing one group to work for the other.   Running aroun, whooping it up, while drinking weird concoctions is not the ritual they expect their religious organizations to model. Their truth, perceptions and assumptions are written in traditionalist stone. Humiliating nude believers, flogging, retching or the booming trumpet amuse Blasmouth Traditionalist Judges. None of these rituals are considered worthy of the death by the hanging penalty.


During the Otherwhere reformation period, conjuring a religion became a popular pastime. The Orfien, outcast laborers of Blasmouth live in the holler where sewage from the other side of the river drains. During the week, they advertise with placards and street bellows, but no one bothers to attend their meetings. So a group of five ingenious rag tags (the name ascribed to the poor by Traditionalists) up the ante. When the scribes begin exploiting the acts they perform in their leader’s barn, decorated to look like a church. They promote their plan out in the streets to lure folks into their pews.   They also write specific rules for their congregation to follow. These rules: spitting after chewing mint leaves, peeing in the village drains that spilled into the river and dressing in black hooded garments covered with living spider webs, remind parishioners of their differences with Traditionalists. Orfiens do not appreciate the hypocritical culture promoted by the Traditionals, so it pleases them to be called the sacred and insane people of Blasmouth. Wearing inappropriate ragged clothing under black shawls is a fashion statement.


The Order of the Orfiens keeps a variety of assets for their ritual ceremonies, including a bullhorn, three trained copperhead snakes, a vomit bucket for turbulent foot pounding, and black hooded robes adorned with live spider webs.


1607 CE

Before Crooked Mile was settled, the Queen Cirsea's Curses off Drumkeeploch Manor's east shore served as a sanctuary for the repulsive. The Orfien zealots, having escaped Blasmouth, took risky voyages on poorly equipped ships. Orfiens heard about the monsters at the world's edge, but their law-abiding neighbors, who meticulously recorded every snake juggling revival and embarked on unexplained phenomena without hesitation or consent, were even more terrifying.   The priests Orfiens followed for thirty years grew more extreme and secretive about the Alchemy needed for eternal life. They prattled gibberish through services; they wrung the necks of sickly terminal parishioners until they were breathless. Congregation members were instructed to undress for a flogging during altar calls. The screeches of individuals with diseases that smelled rank enough to ooze out through windows alarmed the lurking townfolk.   Traditionalists, in particular, did not want to hear screams as the tide rolled in. The Orfiens had an unusual fondness for the unsettling sounds of choking and retching during a full moon.
The Queen's Loss Windjammer

A Queen's Loss

A Queen's Loss by ROD w/Midjourney

Fed up with three years of growing unrest, neighbors next to the Orfien Mission in Blasmouth finally reached their breaking point. They petitioned Otherwhere authoritarian judges during the inquisition season. In the past, the Orfiens backed the authoritarian regime due to their aversion to unprivileged individuals determining policy or lifestyle outcomes. When the Otherwhere Judges Council began erecting a gallows and prison for the criminally insane, they cheered along with other Blasmouth residents.
They took cover under their priest's cellar and decaying barn when they discovered the gallows were meant for them.
— Milo.
Taskmasters debated whether only a consensus of Orfien and Traditionalist gods could demand the judgement of Orfien hangings, but Blasmouth residents were indifferent. They longed for rest, a return to their weekly soul-searching, Wednesday square dancing classes, and Saturday pub nights. Nailed to every Blasmouth tree were comments forwarded by Blasmouth food critics, who did not appreciate the Order’s nutritional practices. A sane reason to hold a public hanging. Although Orfien off-putting tastes were never properly studied, they were said to drink fermented tea with a sprinkle of chalk.
In protest, the Orfiens did not leave the Blasmouth immediately. They tried to convince village residents of their beliefs about longevity and life after death. Their breathless retching wasn’t a painful process; it was a rite of passage. Their most esteemed founder's daughter was sent into the city streets with a signboard, a trumpet, and a stool to stand on. After being stoned, she pronounced the entire town to be miscreants.   Betty Mathers, Recorder charade brought the entire village and judges together. The authorities no longer needed to make a discreet commitment. They planned to fetch Orfiens early in the morning, burn down their mission or any artifact they held dear and run them out of town. They never intended to hang them. To hang them meant the Orfiens would likely curse them to a fate of living with them for the rest of eternity. Buried under their feet. Blasmouth villagers expected to see. No one wanted that.
Believing they were on the way to the land of wolf milk and hornet honey, the Orfiens escaped. At least 79 did
— Milo.
Orfien Taskmasters

Order of the Orfiens

Order of the Orfiens by ROD w/Midjourney

For Orfiens who couldn't swim or handle 40 ft waves, the voyage across the seas was a terrifying experience. The leader, who failed to escape the hanging by a group of villagers, remained absent for months, well after the ship became stranded on a reef of rocks and oyster beds. In order to not lose weight, the Orfiens relied on eating rats while confined to their bunk during the 7-month expedition. Only feet away from the beach, they were in danger of falling out of the boat onto sharp shell fragments. Because of the scarcity of the tea and mushroom elixir and the absence of a ritual performer, the unlucky many bled out.
Seventy Nine half-life bodies crossed the Perpetual Seas. 35 grabbed a wood plank and wog paddled to shore. What they found amazed them. A stream of fresh spring water and shellfish. The settlers appreciated how easily they could net their meals, break open their shells and boil their meat. Spending “nearly a year,” they exaggerated, “without food is blasphemy. Within six months, there was no shell fish left to eat.   In between rocks and coconut endocarp or hiding under the sand, the Crusthoulians watched the starving and wasted Orfiens from a safe distance. A shiver was on its way; colder by the day. Fearing the worst, the possessed invaders spent hours in bad weather build a wooden village. Never once did they think about what resources they would need for heat or cooking raw fish teeming with bacteria.   Soon they ran out of wood. The death rate grew and dismay set in. Until their former deceased leader materialized. She suggested the few remaining Orfiens take the leap through the flare and die. They took Dahlia Holmwoode, Taskmaster Holmwoode's advice and died after a sandstorm buried them gasping breath or not.


The Order of the Orfiens did not disband entirely. They came to realize the Shadows who worshipped Crusthoulian gods are more adept at persuading the living to join their cause. Their dogma includes retribution and cruelty. So they live quietly in case they make a giant leap into the world of the dead or the living. There is no real chance for them to make this leap, but they continue to cause suffering for themselves and everyone else.

Mythology & Lore

Choosing not to create a mythology is one of the biggest mistakes the Orfien Taskmasters made during the early years. Without a tale to tell, they are forced to come up with a peculiar phenomena every week. Because they only worship their own creativity, they lose ives trying to wake the dead.

Divine Origins

A Matter of Origin

Shapeshifting Ghouls

Shapeshifting Ghouls by ROD w/Midjourney

Shapeshifting Ancestry

Orfiens never grasp the concept of procreation and remain unaware of their innate shapeshifting abilities until the Order of the Shadows examines their lifeless bodies. Crusthoulians are aware of their deliciousness, a mix of cheese and broccoli scraps, but their only goal is to devour carbons. The Shadows are unaware of Orfien's shapeshifting abilities, but they see potential in their skills for their own sinister purposes, thus convincing a select few that disguises and grunts are advantageous.   Since the Orfiens admire the Shadows, they agree. Over the next 81 years, the Orfiens honed their ability to transform into recognizable creatures, including humans. The Orfiens plot to break through the flare and return to their former existence. If the Shadows realize the Orfiens are disloyal, they feed them to the Crusthoulians.
Admiration does not ensure loyalty to the admired
— Milo.

Cover image: Orca Odyssey, an Arcane Prophecy by ROD w/Midjourney
Character flag image: Order of the Orfiens by ROD w/Midjourney


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