Church of the Heathen Prophet
The Church of the Heathen Prophet was originally founded to carry on the work of Sarkav Borskalux, the Heathen Prophet, after his death. Through the centuries it has grown into a political as well as religious organization, governing the nations of the Northern Reach.
The Chief Speaker is the top authority of the Heathen Church on all issues both religious and political. The Chief Speaker appoints Regional Speakers as representatives to each defined region. These Regional Speakers are assisted by their own appointed Speakers.
The Church of the Heathen Prophet strives to rescue the oppressed using any means available. The Church professes their belief in the divinity Heathen Prophet, performing works in his name and spreading his word throughout the Northern Reach.
The Heathen Church has claimed the entire lands and populations of the Northern Reach through peaceful negotiations and the military might of the Heathen Crusades. As the governing organization of the region the Church has been collecting funds from its citizens via taxes as well as donations to the Heathen Church. The Church has also begun to collect profits from its holdings at Northwood, particularly the Inn of the Red Oak and other businesses geared towards serving the pilgrimages to the town to see the Childhood Home of the Heathen Prophet.
Sarkav Borskalux, known colloquially as the Heathen Prophet, began his ministry as a renowned Spark of the Hidden Flame. He traveled throughout the Northern Reach to assist those in need, particularly in domestic violence situations, answering the call of those who sought his help.
Rise of the Heathen ProphetSarkav's heavy handed and frequently violent methods of resolving issues caught the attention of many Embers of the Hidden Flame, earning him condemnation and eventually the title of "Heathen," an individual who believes in the teachings of the Hidden Flame but only to further their own ends. With a heavy heart at the condemnation from his former peers he turned from the Flame and set forth on his own path, continuing to answer the call of those who reached out to him for assistance. He believed in his cause and his methods, and had developed his own cult of personality during his time as an esteemed member of the Hidden Flame. As a result his ostracism merely removed his access the resources of the Hidden Flame, resulting in his reliance on his supportive Aunt Moria to collect and communicate requests for his assistance, rather than ending his ministry entirely. As time passed and his renown spread further the people began to refer to him not as Sarkav but rather the "Heathen Prophet." His popularity grew, particularly among the smaller towns scattered throughout the Northern Reach. He was their hero, their champion, their violent angel of retribution. And then, after more than fifty years of ministry as the Heathen Prophet, he simply vanished.
Founding of the Heathen ChurchThe Church of the Heathen Prophet was founded one year after the disappearance and presumed death of Sarkav Borskalux, to carry on his mission. The Church founders originally reached out to Sarkav's aunt to request she provide the foundling Church with any outstanding requests to her missing nephew, but upon her refusal they resorted to sending messengers to towns known for more ardent followers of the Heathen Prophet.
Relocation to Red ChapelOver the next two centuries the Heathen Church grew in size and bureaucracy. The people of the Northern Reach began to drift away from the Heathen Church, offering fewer donations and requesting less assistance. Heathen gatherings shrank in size as the devout sought other sources of spiritual fulfillment. The Chief Speaker of the day, Dahlia Povi, realized a change was required to regain the attention of the masses. She sent representatives to research the life of Sarkav Borskalux in the Fillimet Magical Archives, and through their efforts discovered the Prophet had kept a private residence within the woods, a retreat from the demands of his followers. From this information came a large scale effort to locate the site of the Heathen Prophet's private residence, funded by the Heathen Church itself. The Church advertised its efforts as a spiritual revival, a Church striving to remain true to its roots. The ploy worked. When a promising site was discovered within the Nomuran Forest the Church was quick to name their quest a success and declare the site holy. A red chapel was built at the remote location and the faithful were encouraged to visit the site to seek the Prophet's blessings and assistance. Church participation surged, as did donations to the chapel's upkeep. A booming tourism grew to support the pilgrims traveling to the site, eventually resulting in a town christened Red Chapel after the small building at its center. Dahlia Povi siezed her chance, constructing an annex on the chapel to house the top Church administration and declaring Red Chapel the center of the Church of the Heathen Prophet. Through persuasion of key officials throughout the area she also affected the renaming of the Nomuran Forest to the Prophet's Woods, further raising the profile of the Heathen Prophet and his Church. Thus began the true expansion of the Church throughout the Prophet's Woods.
The Heathen CrusadesAfter more than two millennia of slowly acquiring control of the Prophet's Woods through diplomacy and religious influence, the election of a new Chief Speaker ushered in a new era of Heathen expansion. Hungry for further power and not content with the slow progress from before, Chief Speaker Jakk Malix encouraged the faithful into a religious frenzy through the use of militaristic rhetoric when detailing the Heathen Church's mission to bring the news of their Prophet to the world. Thus began the Heathen Crusades. Throughout the next several decades privately funded militias, with full blessing from Church leadership, would assault their neighboring nations. Conquered nations were brought beneath the governance of the Heathen leadership, while those who resisted faced destruction of their lands and holdings until they agreed to submit. In this way the Church expanded its borders to include the lands of their neighbors, especially the Giftwood Grove. This period of rapid expansion was brought to a sudden halt due to a famine, caused in large part due to the Crusaders themselves. Destruction of farmland coupled with unease from the Church's prior trade partners resulted in a food shortage across the Church's holdings. It was only the Annexation of Arcturia and their Aquaponics which saved the Heathens from starvation.
The Church of the Heathen Prophet is the governing body for the entire Northern Reach. While the larger cities willingly embrace this governance there is much resentment in the smaller towns, especially in town such as Northwood where the Heathen Church has been applying pressure to the inhabitants to more easily exploit the towns and their resources.
The Church of the Heathen Prophet is the only permitted religion within the Northern Reach. The Followers of the Hidden Flame are occasionally tolerated when their mission benefits the Heathen Church and the extraction of the Flames would cause widespread public outcry. The Heathen Church will take strong sometimes lethal action against those following other religions, but only when it can do so without hurting its own political standing. This has resulted in political strife between the Church and much of its geographical populace due to the Church's imposed religious and monetary restrictions.
Agriculture & Industry
Due to the plethora of forests within the Northern Reach, most notably the Giftwood Grove and Prophet's Woods, lumber is the top export. The Heathen Church even founded its own logging business at Southwood, created as a direct competitor to the Giftwood Loggers at Northwood.
The Crusaders' FamineAs a result of the Heathen Crusades and the rapid size increase of the Church's territory during this period, Church leadership began to face a problem feeding its population. Destruction caused by the Crusaders, coupled with fear of conquest from many of the Church's prior trading partners, led to the cancelation of many trade agreements providing much-needed food to the Heathen population. Desperate but foolhardy attempts by the undisciplined Crusaders to conquer neighboring city states in the Andisol Valley led to brutal failure and further alienated the Heathen Church from possible peaceful resolutions. Church leadership braced for famine. Help arrived from an unlikely source. Many of the Crusaders responsible for bringing the Giftwood Grove under the governance of the Heathen Church, missing the adventures of Crusading and hoping to resolve the food crisis, journeyed northward in search of the lost cities of Arcturia. According to the conquered population of the Grove, two centuries prior the northern nation had been an affluent trade partner with their logging communities. The Crusaders sought to uncover the ruins of this lost nation and exploit its treasures in exchange for food. What they found instead was the war-torn but thriving nation of Arcturia, battered until recently by generations of assault from magically-enraged wildlife. The Crusaders enthusiastically prepared for war once again, only to be met by a peace delagation from their foes led by the enigmatic Kalia Furstek. The Crusaders requested their own deligation from the Heathen Church and both sides worked together to draft the Annexation of Arcturia, detailing how the Church would assist Arcturia in their recovery while in return Arcturia would provide the Church with the one resource it desperately required: food, courtesy of Arcturia's thriving aquaponics industry. With the famine resolved and the city states of the Andisol Valley preparing for a retaliatory strike against the territories of the Church, the Chief Speaker of the Heathen Church resolved to halt any further expansion of the Church's borders. The Heathens were praised for their successful Heathen Crusades to carry word of the Heathen Prophet to their neighbors and all active Crusaders were encouraged to return home to receive their holy rewards. The Church's neighbors remain wary, carefully watching for any attempts to resume the Crusades.
Mythology & Lore
Sarkav Borskalux, the Heathen Prophet, dedicated his life to selflessly helping those in precarious personal situations with no expectation of profit or thanks for his efforts. He was especially known for his efforts to bring an end to domestic violence, championing for victims against their abusers and raising awareness throughout his travels.
The Heathen Church began as a mission to continue the work of the Heathen Prophet after his death. So many had reached out to Sarkav Borskalux requesting his assistance with their situations, and the Heathens stepped in upon his disappearance. Over time the Heathen Prophet has become a mystical figure, spoken of in hushed whispers as a god among men.
Tenets of Faith
- Each Heathen has their own gifts and riches to benefit and revere the Heathen Church.
- Each Heathen has an obligation to use their own gifts to improve the Heathen Church, in the name of the Heathen Prophet.
- Each Heathen is tasked with the sacred mission of ensuring their neighbors do not suffer repression by utilizing their own unique skills and abilities to free each individual who may be in an oppressive situation, unless to do so would directly counter the efforts of the Heathen Church.
- Heathens must utilize any means necessary, as the freedom from suffering is the most important thing, unless that suffering is for the glory of the Heathen Prophet and his faithful servants of the Heathen Church.
Political Influence & Intrigue
The Church of the Heathen Prophet is now the governing force of the entire Northern Reach. This authority has been used to require all citizens to follow the faith, and the laws in the region typically have a religious slant. The Church has also been pushing citizens to sell their homes, businesses, and lands to the Church in key rural areas, most notably Northwood. This has allowed the Heathen Church to secure a stronger foothold in these areas, develop the businesses and infrastructure in the regions to better support the Church's goals, and reap the profits of this arrangement. It has also led to resentment from the inhabitants of many of these areas. The profits of these endeavors are used in part to solidify the Heathen Church's standing among its citizens in the larger cities by ensuring their physical well-being and therefore attracting more generous donations for the Heathen Church.
- Founding Date
- Religious, Cult
- Red Chapel
- Alternative Names
- Heathen Church
- Government System
- Power Structure
- Dependent territory
- Economic System
- Major Exports
- Wood, especially Giftwood, is the top export of the Heathen Church.
- Legislative Body
- The Chief Speaker and the Regional Speakers dictate the laws and decrees of the Heathen Church. While Regional Speakers officially have full authority within their assigned regions the Chief Speaker has absolute authority to dictate or rescind any law according to their own desires.
- Judicial Body
- The Speakers are responsible for interpreting and enforcing the laws, both religious and political. This interpretation tends to rely heavily upon the individual Speaker as well as their relationship with the accused.
- Official State Religion
- Church of the Heathen Prophet
- Subsidiary Organizations
- Controlled Territories
- Related Myths
The Chief Speaker is the leader of the Church of the Heathen Prophet, elected from among the Regional Speakers at the time of death of the prior Chief Speaker.
Regional Speakers have the power to dictate the Heathen Church's decrees on matters of religion or state within their region, including appointing the Speakers to serve under them.
A Speaker is an officially-recognized official in the Church of the Heathen Prophet, with the power to dictate the Heathen Church's decrees on matters of religion or state within their region.