Garb of the Acolytes
"To appreciate the garb as you journey to enlightenment, Fawkes, you must understand where it all began," Thimys Fairchild said to his grandson. Fawkes still scowled at the pile of new clothes that were NOT of the fancy sort he always wore. Why did he need the Appelkamp acolyte clothes anyways? Grandfather was not sending him there to study. "I don't see how I will ever appreciate these. Is there ANYTHING else I can study?" Thimys rapped his staff against the back of Fawkes' leg. "Ow," Fawkes protested in reflex. The blow had been more attention getting than punishment. This time. "Stop your whining and sit down, Fawkes." Thimys ordered the boy. "Now, LISTEN to where it all comes from ... "
Boki is the goddess of secrets. She spread the knowledge of magic, stolen from another god, to those who were not giantkin. This was during the time of the Hrokentorm Empire, an empire of magical giants who once ruled all the world with a ruthless hand and savage magic. To do this Boki built a flying ship she then manned with a crew of loyal and devoted humans. She gifted each member of her crew a headband of braided leather blessed by her. These minor blessings granted them courage, insight, and tolerance for all climates. Each colored strand contained one of the blessings. The dark cognac strand, a dark reddish brown, holds the tolerance for climate. The griffin strand, a dark tan, holds courage. The augustine strand, a dark muted purple, holds insight. Only when all three are together, will they work. To this day, such headbands are given to all novitiates who have passed their trials of enlightenment. For three human generations she sailed the world, before returning to Godsheim. When she left, her crew remained in the her hidden mountain top temple. She never gave it a name, saying that if it had no name it could not be scried for.
Over time, they stopped thinking of themselves as Boki's crew and started to call themselves Acolytes of Boki They even gave the temple a name: Old Fane. The acolytes in Old Fane still wear the original styles used by the crew of the Flying Ship of Boki. They believe that to change the style would be to dishonor the origins of all acolytes.
An acolyte who has passed the greater trials becomes a master of enlightenment, earning the title of Father or Mother. They receive an elaboate epaulette that covers both shoulders and straps that wrap around the torso and arms. This is made of intricately worked leather in the colors of hearthcoal and augustine. Instead of a one-shoulder top, they wear a shirt with three-quarter sleeves to prevent too much material bunched at the wrists. At the base of the throat, a single amethyst is set. This once served as communication between officers but that enchantment was lost when Boki left the world, so now the gems are simply decoration.
The headbands of braided leather enriched with the same blessings as those for her crew remain unchanged. Though Boki is no longer upon the world, her shrine within Old Fane grants the blessings to the new headbands. Their clothing is of cotton and wool dyed in augustine and hearthcoal, a muted black. How much of the acolytic dress an acolyte wears is a symbol of their journey to enlightenment. Petitioners are given hearthcoal armbands of cloth and continue to wear their regular clothes. Once a petitioner has completed their primary studies, they are accepted for further training as a novitiate. They are given a one-shoulder top and loose-fitting pants colored with hearthcoal. The pants have a waistband of augustine. Depending on the seasons, these could be wool or cotton. A belt of twisted hearthcoal cloth with a buckle of aged brass and a pair of sandals complete the ensemble. A novitiate who has completed the trials of enlightenment becomes a true acolyte, earning the title of Brother or Sister. They receive their blessed headband and a leather sash dyed augustine and hearthcoal, though these have a sheen as the leather is polished. This sash includes a shoulder pad on the bare shoulder when wearing the one-shoulder top and two buckles of aged brass for adjusting.
As the numbers of acolytes grew, so did their need for greater amounts of supplies. This led to the acolytes building a landing on the Darkwater River, shortening the distance their trains of pack donkeys had to travel overland. Over time, this landing was built up into a monastery they named Appelkamp. At first, Appelkamp was a place for masters to study in between supply runs. Eventually they, too, began to train acolytes.
Being on the Darkwater brought the attention of the Allgods Temple, which controls all religion within Miribex. The only other major change the Allgods Temple demanded was for the acolytes to change their garb to something much less ... rustic. After weeks of debate between Appelkamp and Old Fane, a new style was created. Petitioners wear a sleeveless top, pants, and socks in augustine. They are also given hearthcoal colored sandals with formed soles, the current style in Miribex. Novitiates wear the same thing with the addition of a leather sleeveless tabard with crossed lapels that reach above the knee in front with a coat tail that reaches just below the knees in back. This leather is of polished hearthcoal with augustine trim. A leather belt is in polished augustine. The buckle for this belt is aged brass. One thing they refused to change were the headbands. Fortunately, the Temple allowed them. Novitiates who pass the trials and become acolytes get their headbands delivered by Old Fane masters. The masters of Appelkamp get a pullover leather surcoat of long sleeves. This is in polished hearthcoal with polished augustine trim. A leather belt of polished augustine with an aged brass buckle finishes the surcoat. Over the surcoat, an elaborate leather epaulette that covers both shoulders is polished hearthcoal over a layer of polished augustine. A long chest plate trimmed in aged brass completes the epaulette.
A hundred and seventy years ago a secret sect began within the Appelkamp Monastery. They call themselves the Brethren and have taken to watching out for magic users organized into consortiums and covens who plot to do great terrible magics. Acolyte numbers are too few to be able to directly confront these groups, but the Brethren are masters at spying and sabotage which the use to weaken and, now and again, cause these groups to have a falling out. The masters of the Brethren live as shopkeepers with cellars that are more than just storehouses, or as traveling merchants who do more than sell wares during their journeys. Though the Brethren wear regular clothes, they do keep to a style. They wear fashionable surcoats or slickers and dress in the latest, yet sensible, trends while favoring tans and russets. Their headbands are often made to fit about a hat or serve as a neckpiece that more often than not holds a pendant or locket.