Church of the Heathen Prophet
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.
Agriculture & Industry
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
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 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.