Written in collaboration with Martin Drax
The Makalites are a heretical schism of the Imperial Church of Canthartism, that split from the Imperial Church in the early years of the Empire of Turelion's second century. Unlike the monotheistic adherents of Canthart, Makalites believe that given a loving God would not allow evil in the world, evil must therefore be the result of a separate deity. This has given rise to a dualist theology, wherein the forces of light are embodied by the Good Lord Makalite whereas the forces of evil are represented by “The Dark One”, and given that these forces are separate and opposite it is incumbent on each and every person to do what they can to tilt the balance in the favour of the Good Lord. They believe that at the end of all time the cumulative forces of good and evil will clash and whoever wins will take control of all reality turning it into either a Hell or a Heaven depending on the victor.
To spread the goodness and righteousness of the Good Lord, to ensure that when the end of time comes, he has enough power and followers to best the Dark One.
As a breakaway sect of the Imperial Church of Canthartism that is not overwhelmingly viewed in a positive light, the Makalite faith has a much smaller asset base than the larger faiths that exist within and beyond the Empire of Turelion. As a result, their temples tend to be much smaller and more basic in their design, layout and furnishings, with many of them being indistinguishable from the buildings surrounding them. In terms of monetary assets they are also relatively poor, with one of the major ways the sect earns money being through donations provided grateful people or communities that Makalite priests have aided. All priests in the sect are expected to give a portion of any earnings they make through their activities to the collective sect, but rather than resenting this, Makalite Priests view this as an act of piety to the Good Lord.
Emerging in 107AIF, the Makalites were founded by a Half-Elf priestess in the Imperial Church of Canthartism, Portia Asprenas, who according to the sect’s legends was shown visions directly by the Good Lord, which led her to question her faith to the point that she could no longer contemplate serving Canthart any longer. Along with a small band of followers she left the temple she had served in Turelion Province and retreated deep into the peaks of the Heavenspire Mountains, where she could fully understand and commit to the Good Lord’s plans to defeat the Dark One. After several years in self imposed exile, Portia Asprenas and her followers descended back down from the mountains to preach the faith of the Good Lord to the residents of the continent of Euristan, and soon well beyond its shores to the rest of Kelbonnar. Since their return to the wider world, the Makalites have established temples across the Empire of Turelion, including the Imperial Capital, Meltaro and the provincial capitals as well as some other larger towns, but the vast majority of their clergy lead itinerant lifestyles, operating far from their nearest temple, bringing the word of the Good Lord to smaller communities and more remote places. Though they have purpose built temples across the Empire, the Makalites still regard the caves in the Heavenspire Mountains that Portia Asprenas and her initial followers lived in during their exile, as the centre of their faith, and they are regarded as hallowed, sacred ground. This feeling has been amplified even more since the death of Portia Asprenas in 196AIF, as these caves now also house her tomb. Though the Imperial Church and the Imperial Court in general are suspicious of the sect, it is just about tolerated. This is helped by the fact that the willingness of Makalite priests to fight and often purposefully seek out undead is widely respected, along with the fact that like Hedge Mages, Makalites have a knack for ingratiating themselves with poorer folk, through their willingness to offer their services as healers free of charge. Nevertheless, the Imperial Church rarely misses an opportunity to try and blame outbreaks of unrest or strange happenings on the Makalites, and the Imperial Church’s hostility towards them is the primary factor in the Makalites remaining a small sect rather than a widely practiced and recognised religion.
As well as the dualist theology of the Good Lord and the Dark One, which is what originally separated them from the Imperial Church, the Makalites also have a number of other beliefs that shape their understanding of the planes of existence and their denizens. For example, the Makalites in particular revere the hedgehog as a servant of the Good Lord, for its unwavering appetite for eating creatures regarded as the spawn of the Dark One such as lizards and insects. One of their recurring legend of the sect is that this plane of existence in particular is at risk of being consumed by a cosmos sized frog called Arowat the Unseen. According to legend this can only be defeated by Arowat’s own consumption by an equally enormous hedgehog called B’inmal Bright Eyes. This legend states that the eclipse is the sun being consumed by Arowat and its restoration is due to B’inmal’s defeat of Arowat in turn, and Arowat then regurgitating the sun.
Tenets of Faith
The most commonly adhered to tenets of the Makalites are:
- General edict against killing except in self-defence, many Makalites extend this to an all round vegetarianism (hot blooded creatures are valuable to the Good Lord, eating cold blooded creatures would represent self-pollution).
- Caring for the sick and needy – these are seen as blows against the Dark One.
- Disregard for hierarchies beyond the Makalite Church – worthiness is determined not by birth but by ones struggles against the Dark One.
- Greed is bad and to be discouraged. There is a spread of opinion from those who argue that where wealth is used to buttress order it is doing the Good Lord’s work to those that argue that anything short of the pooling of communal resources is a sin.
- Just authority is to be obeyed unless it clashes with the Church then the Church takes priority.
- Succour the weak and scorn the proud, seek justice for widows and orphans.
- Priests of Makalite in particular are encouraged to fight the undead whenever they encounter them, as they are believed to be some of the Dark One’s most powerful servants.
- The Makalites view that all deities are an aspect or servant of the Good Lord or the Dark One often causes ructions with other faiths.
The Makalites are led by a high priest, known as the Lord’s Anointed, who is the ultimate authority within the sect. The Lord’s Anointed holds the position for life and is elected on the death of their predecessor through the long, sometimes year long consultation of omens by the Lord’s Chosen, the next highest ranking body of clergy within the sect. The Lord’s Anointed does not need to be a high ranking cleric within the sect, and it has almost become a tradition that the Good Lord selects a young, less senior priest to become their anointed. The Lord’s Chosen are a body of the thirty most senior clergy within the sect, who have to have served for a period of thirty years or more, and who act as a theological, legislative and bureaucratic body for the sect, ensuring its tenants of faith best serve the Good Lord and that the sects various temples run effectively. Beneath the Lord’s Anointed and the Lord’s Chosen are the Priest of Makalite, who are generally split into those that run the sect’s temples and those that lead an itinerant lifestyle, travelling the provinces of the Empire and beyond, proselytising in the name of the Good Lord. Acolytes within the sect are almost always trained within a Makalite temple and are then assigned either to temple based or itinerant activities based on their particular skill sets and talents.
Political Influence & Intrigue
As they are viewed as a heretical sect by the Imperial Church of Canthartism, the Makalites have little influence in the highest Imperial circles, bar a sympathetic ear here and there. However, their willingness to help the poor often gives Makalite priests a good amount of sway with poor folk across the Empire, and their missional drive to destroy undead earns them respect amongst factions such as the constituent houses of the Imperial Order of Knights and the Renegade Houses.