Crown of Thorns
Information gathered from various scholarly theological texts including from the Holy See, the Citadel of Scholars dedicated to Our Lord Hamaskus, and published sources originating from ILDEK in relation to Eldervairian knowledge
Dear Kortu the White, I witnessed the raw power of the Crown, Kortu, you were right. Those bloody bards at Anthor were right. This heresy we blinded ourselves against is right. He who dons the Crown can control the very woven fabric of reality itself, they can achieve whatever they desire. Maybe the stories of the Second Era are right too then? Those of Logaan ruling all the known Realm? Then that opens up so much more for the Archbishops to explore, think of Eldervair and the flying portals directly to the Dreamrealm. The possibility to witness the beginning of time itself and know for certain the truth. Such an item of true power should not be passed between monarchs like a child's plaything. I require the ascension to the throne, Kortu, and soon. The Crown I last heard is going to be voted by the Inner Council to be granted to Analand, but I'm sure after that king's Soul passes to Mortis they will surely vote for one of their own finally. I see a new Empire, Kortu, with you and I at it's head ruling the entire Mortal Realm. We will be like gods amongst mortals, and whose to say we won't end up becoming gods by the end of it? Our time will come.. Our mutual friend, the one in our dreams. Or nightmares I should say. He has shown me all of this recently. Burn this letter after reading. Sincerely, the Archbishop of Doldrei and soon to be High King of Buerach if our plan works well. Long live the Pontifex Maximus.
2nd Era - The Angel Age
Logaan the First Man
As Logaan's third heir Seth is being born, the First Man looked out over the Copper Sea in a time of content for his Kingdom of Redfall. A seed develops in his mind, the First Sin: Greed. A gift to the Mortal Realm from the four Prime Elementia across the Star Bridge had reached Logaan some days prior, one of the first Phoenixes to bless the Garden. The Phoenix had observed Logaan and deemed him the virtuous figure he was, worthy of one of the Flame Tongues of Ignis. While the magical metals were being forged into the weapon Excalibur, the Phoenix spoke of the larger Great Dance, of the Gods which lie on the other end of the Star Bridge and the conflict between Light and Dark since Before Time. It was these tales which developed the seed as he pondered the wonders of reality. His Greed made him ask questions to nothing and no-one, of just how far can he reach and claim as his own. And with these questions, Logaan's Greed reached out and stole something from beyond the Aether, from the Gardener and Winnower themselves. Logaan plucked two Stars from the Aether which manifested in his hands as a Crown of Thorns and Knife of Loneliness. With these, Logaan declared himself the King of All That Is.
Seth and the Gargoyle King
Where his brothers, Cain the Older and Abel the Oldest, had failed Seth the Younger succeeded. The Crown of Thorns was stolen from the head of Logaan, hoping it would ease his mind from its slow descent into a madness of the mind. As the First Kingdom of Redfall fell into chaos after the order of Light's artefact was removed, Seth and his caste of Scholars called the Gargoyles fled into the unexplored Mortal Realm to escape the wrath of the First King. The Gargoyles do not articulate on the full descent Logaan took into the Path of Darkness, or at least the scriptures do not properly translate into our current languages. It appears from then on he was referred to as the King in Yellow in his mourning of the Crown of Thorns, but the reason for this is beyond out current understanding though the mythical Coven of Morgrot are referred to multiple times. Seth and his Gargoyles found the city of Eldervair where they could live in peace while seeking to understand the reality which built their Mortal Realm, investigating what we now call Chronurgy and Graviturgy as well as notions of the Grey. At some point, however, the King in Yellow is said to have discovered Eldervair and brought with him unknown sorceries and witchcraft to retake the Crown of Thorns from the Gargoyle King. According to a magically restored fresco discovered within an Eldervairian ruin in the Sylvan Valley, the Gargoyle King used to power of the Crown of Thorns to potentially shape the reality around the city of Eldervair with the assistance of the Bronze Dragon. Eldervair rose into the sky itself above the Mortal Realm, escaping the wrath of the near-Demonic King in Yellow.
3rd Era - The Dragon Age
House von Apollyon
Grand Imperial House von Apollyon finds it's origins nestled comfortably in the tales of myth and legend of the Second Era, though in history is placed in the dawn of the Third Era and immediate aftermath of the Invasion of Mortis Realm. In time, the Gargoyle King looked to the Realms of Man again from his seclusion in Eldervair and the Dreamrealm. There, he saw a worthy soul in the Tribe of Doldrey by the name of Harrian; a young man of 17 years who had just returned from the Crusade into Mortis Realm. The Gargoyle King would award Harrian the Crown of Thorns and name him King Harrian I von Apollyon, the King Over The Darkness. And so started the Long Line of Apollyon at the very start of the Age of Chaos, the House who would later found and rule the magnificent Empire of Midland. The Gargoyle King coronated Harrian, and proclaimed that the magics of Eldervair would help extend their human life expectancies for as long as House Apollyon stayed true to the ideals of the Path of Light and if they faltered, so too would the blessing slowly fade away. King Harrian is then believed to have lived to the age of 102 Summers, where a year of mourning was declared in 3E 85, and became tradition for whenever a King or Emperor of the von Apollyon line died.
The Missing Period
While the Midlandian Empire were groundbreaking in their research and understanding of the cultures and geo-politics of the greater Mortal Realm, we are unfortunately without details in consideration of the Nameless Empire. Even the name of this antagonist of Midland is beyond our current understanding so the Nameless Empire of Rostau is still it's official name in our Citadel. I personally have been interested deeply in the Shadowless Advisors of their "Nameless One" as Midland called it. Over the decades and centuries, a total of five Serpentine Cults whose origins lead back to the Advisors have been uncovered in ex-Imperial provinces. The "Great Hooded Princes" are another name attributed to the Advisors, moreso in the sense that one of the words in this translation is "Taranilla". The only other note of the word "Taranilla" occurs in the relatively modern country of the same name, established across the Great River coastline from Ancient Tief in the far south of the Mortal Realm, whose governship appears to consist solely of Liches. There is a folkloric tale which connects Taranilla to the Advisors, as the Advisors were said to bend reality with the Nameless One's "Time Crown" making them immortal though fuelled by the excess energy of Souls, and the Liches of Taranilla supposedly originate from an Ancient Court who betrayed their Lord by stealing the secret of immortality from his serpentine head.
4th Era - The Mortal Age
Centuries ago, in a time we now call the Warlord Period, the Mortal Realm was full of pockets of civilisations thrown into chaos. Although several warlords tried, none could unite Midland in common cause again, as all manners of evil creatures started to crawl from the dark crevices in the Realm. That was until a lowly footman by the name of Chalanna fought on the fields of Femnis for the Lord of that land, and came upon a ring of thorns sitting inside a tree stump. Chalanna took the ring and bonded with it, understanding the full and true potential of its true title; the Crown of Thorns. This magical Crown had mysterious powers, bestowing supernormal qualities of justice and leadership on its new owner. Civilisation and order spread throughout Midland after Chalanna discovered the Crown of Thorns. With its help, Chalanna's ambitions were met and established what would become the greatest and most powerful organisation in the history of the Mortal Realm. But Chalanna's own ambitions were not of conquest, for he had been granted foresight of the End of Days. Instead Chalanna wished to establish peaceful relations with the new nations which arose in the order, uniting them in a singular faith of the Gods. A Holy See to bind all together in peace and the singular purpose to prevent the Great Dance from collapsing. One by one, each land which joined the Holy See's Territories became peaceful and prosperous, even after Chalanna's passing.
The Holy See
To become a faithful citizen of the Holy See Territories, one must instantly recall the information of significant pieces of the Holy See's One True Faith. We have previously spoke of the Pantheon, of Saint Chalanna and of the Pontifex Maximus. Now we shall cover the Crown of Thorns. The Crown of Thorns is the symbolic depiction of the Holy See and its supremacy itself. As it was once the Imperial Crown of the Midlandian Empire, the Holy See's ownership of the Crown of Thorns allows the Pontifex Maximus to be the legitimate successor of the glorious and ancient House von Apollyon. The Crown of Thorns is a holy artefact, born from the same essence which allowed our True Gods to come into existence. It is therefore the most important item upon this humble Mortal Realm, and reserved only for the most worthy and faithful to the Gods to act as their representative for all mortals to look up to. While the Pontifex Maximus is the true successor of the Midlandian Empire, they usually do not hold the traditional rights by blood to wear the Crown of Thorns. Instead, the Crown of Thorns is granted on a rotational basis to one of the monarchs of nations within the Holy See Territories whom the Pontifex Maximus deems a devout enough descendant of the Harrian's Bloodline. They who don the Crown of Thorns work as a direct piece of the Holy See, driving the Territories to further prosperity until the day of their death where Sindla will undoubtedly pass their Souls on to the Realm of the Gods.
King Faust Arkle of Analand
CROWN HEIST LEAVES HOLY SEE IN DISARRAY
Yesterday was supposed to be a joyous occasion for the King of Analand, current holder of the Crown of Thorns, as he finally held possession of the long-lost Coronet of Jabaji. Being coronated under this third crown would allow King Faust the legitimacy he has long sought to enact his somewhat controversial "Shamutanti Clearances" and take-over of previously sovereign city Yosha without any complaints from his peers elsewhere in the Territories. However, the plans were cut short due to an unexpected weather front appearing from the Kakhabad region meaning that the ceremony would not be able to take place at the proper site of Lea-Ki, ancient city of giants. Clearly not wanting to delay this moment any longer, a stage was set up just within the Shamutanti Hills within throwing distance of the Great Wall so that the ceremony could occur on that day as planned. Investigations into the true legitimacy of King Faust's actions were theories to having been taken place by Archbishops of the Holy See, with some rumours claiming the Pontifex Maximus himself was taking charge of the legal case. While not officially declared, the rash decision of King Faust to conduct the coronation without thorough planning and protection of the Sightmaster Corps proves my suspicions at least. Though the lack of divination protection would prove to be King Faust's downfall and cause the 16th Sinastal to be a mournful day of woe for all holy subjects of the Territories. On the cusp of the storm, quite clearly a ploy by the malevolent Throff - curse her name - Birdmen descended upon the coronation and stole the Crown of Thorns itself before flying back eastward unchallenged. An investigation has gone underway as to who the culprit of this horrific spit upon our faith is, but all suspicions suggest the new Archmage of Mampang, who recently conducted a coup d'état on the arcane fortress atop High Xamen and is rumoured to be a cultist of Throff herself.
Author's Note/Disclaimer: This is a LONG article and I sincerely apologise! 3.5k words in fact... If you don't fancy anything quite like this I wouldn't blame you for turning back at all. This was more a passion project for myself than anything else. Cheers, David_Ulph "Mango"
Prompts Advent Calendar #7 WorldEmber Article #8
Jewelry / Valuable
A Time Before Time
The Time Before Time
Myth | Jun 15, 2023
Written for Prompt 11 (2020 Advent Calendar) - The Creation Myth in Accordance with the Holy See
It is no secret that the Holy See does not concern itself with the events predating the First Era, for the Gods did not bless the Great Dance with their presence and anything which could or could not come before them have no consequence to our One True Faith. Though to be ignorant in its entirety is to allow the corruptions of Throff ease of access into even the most devout mind. The Tomes of Chalanna teach us many things, with some hints to what came before especially in relation to our holiest of symbols; the Crown of Thorns. After decades of study and interpretation, we have been able to understand the origins of this symbol. In the beginning before time was the Garden, where Light and Dark would compete against one another to tip the Great Dance in their favour by introducing more moves. This eventually led to the creation of the Realms and of Chaos to which our Gods were born. One of these moves Light introduced was a thorn bush to compete with Dark's introduction of Time, where no matter how much Time passed the thorn bush would still be able to protect the flowers of the Garden with its pricks. The Dark crafted the concept of Loneliness in the form of the first blade, and attacked Light. This is, according to Chalanna, the point where the Garden was lost and replaced with Chaos, but Dark did not successfully strike Light at first, instead missing and snapping a circlet of thorns from the bush.
Emperor Bridgett von Apollyon
Oh Gods above, I write this letter in despair and final hopes it will reach the Library of Hamaskus who will notify the other deities of our plight. As an honourary member of the Imperial Court of Emperor Bridgett von Apollyon, I have bore witness to the awful experiment which has befallen the Imperial Crown in attempts to restore our Emperor's life. Why we did not follow your Path of Faith and instead sought the assistance of druids is beyond me, oh Lords, I for one voting against the experiment on every occasion. Emperor Bridgett died accursed and with no heir, and we did not wish for another succession war as with before Bridgett so we sought for ways to navigate the curse and bring Bridgett back to the Mortal Realm before the cousins discovered her untimely death. The druids promised reincarnation, but Bridgett is not who she was anymore; She sleeps at day and active through the night, she eats only raw meat, and she turns rabid during every full moon. We can keep this secret for lengths of time, but this new curse has transferred to her new son and heir Sarrus who is growing more complicated to manage as the years carry on. For this curse, the druids were hunted down and executed with their culture and religion deemed unlawful on pain of death. An adequate response to those heathens who do not worship your true power. Though since we carried out this hunt, the Imperial Crown has disappeared. We are without the birthright of Harrian I, and I fear for the future of our Empire.
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