The Divine Order is a holy order of worshippers that represent the gods they worship that deal with problems and events within a religious context. The Targonian pantheon consists of 46 gods (as of 1532 AFT) and each god is represented by 2 of the most credited, devoted and capable followers for each one. Instead of the followers trying to wage war on the other, the Divine Order is responsible for maintaining peace within Targonia by following the Three Principles of the 46 Divines. They are heavily respected by the other factions of Targonia and ensures that peace and prosperity continue within Targonia. They are easy to spot, with the red robes and white trimming, with their insignia of the star in front of a burning sun, adorned in their clothing and heraldry.
The Divine Order consists of two followers for every god recognized in the Targonian pantheon (which totals 92 representitives): one male and one female in most circumstances. The male representative may act under the title of "Godvoked Priest" or their own personal title from their diety and the female representative may act under the title of "Godessvoked Priestess" or their own personal title from their diety.
To concern themselves with matters that involve the Targonia pantheon, which includes decisions to stabilize the Targonia pantheon, ensure the safe practice both within a diety's following alongside other deities, and decide the course of action of when a new god appears, a current one seems unruly and the ultimate decision of "banishing" a god, alongside all activities, prayer and contributions to the banished god.
The Divine Order has access to its own private crusader army with the ranks of Magisters, Sentinels and Godkeepers; the soldiers, paladins, and clerics (respectively) that take the affirmative action on behalf of the Divine Order to better ensure the greater good and stability in the region. Most of the churches in Targonia are partly owned by the Divine Order, as they have the resources to better repair the lesser-prayed gods from the most common ones. They also own the Martyom Cathedral, which is the recognized headquarters and barracks of the Divine Order which is located in the capital city of Grandzam in Revellon
When Targonia was formed by the first inhabitants of what will later by Revellon, the first pioneers acknowledged the rest of the world was still fighting religious wars and crusades on other gods and their followers. In order to establish peace, they would need to end those wars. And so, the first pioneers cooperated with each other and the gods they represented enough to form an alliance that was called "The Divine Order". And for the next two thousand years, the number of representative gods have increased from the measly 5 all the way up to the 50 gods currently known in Targonia. They negoitated with the followers with the studies conducted over the past thousand years: all of the gods in Targonia represent the formation of Targonia and the individual domains that they contributed to its creation. Should the wrong god be banished and no longer exist, it could mean the end for everyone else in the Material Plane.
The Divine Order has enlisted members of the deities to make a crusader army that would help deal with the affirmative actions the Divine Order sees fit, regardless of the actual followers of different deities being side-by-side. They are categorized into 3 official ranks: Magister, Sentinel, and Godkeeper.
Magisters are the footsoldiers and typically the ones to move out first when a situation arises. They are typically soldiers and/or volunteers that come from all different walks of life and have come forth to ensure stability whether they go. They are not specially trained, as they replicate training more akin to guardsmen at the local hamlets, towns, and cities they come from. Superiority is determined by the length of duty any Magister has experienced and the intellectual ability to command others beneath. While there's no significant title or rank given to a Magister responsible for the duties of his lesser Magisters, the ones moving out will be notified before heading out to a mission.
Sentinels are the paladins that have sworn an oath to either a god that they serve or to the Divine Order themselves and have stepped forth to aid the Divine Order in their mission. Sentinels are the officers of any dispatched group of Magisters and are the ones the Magisters report to, regardless of personal experience or expertise. Sentinels are also heavily trained in martial combat as well as self-balance, and they some of the deadliest martial combatants known in Targonia.
Godkeepers are clerics of the gods they represent and they are highest ranking soldiers in the Divine Order, second only to the representatives that actually sit in the council chambers in the Martyr Cathedral. Should a representative go out into the field, they often go as the title of Godkeeper. Their connection to the gods is the closest of any known mortal, and are often dispatched out to the area to see if the operation is going as planned, as well as receiving feedback from the gods in case they are still acting within their best interests. While some of them are not as martially adept as Sentinels, they are powerful divine spellcasters, which more than makes up the power difference.
There are currently 46 recognized gods/deities that make up the Targonia pantheon, from Auril, "The Frostmaiden" to Moradin, "The All-Father" to Torm, "The Loyal Fury". Each of these is represented by two of the most dedicated and devoted followers that they have: typically one male and one female. The members meet at least once a month to discuss religious conflicts, issues, and problems within the religious conflict. A recent example of this would be the decision to find all individuals with the power to control Source to be locked away on the prison island of Deadwalker Island until a cure can be found. Using Source has caused the arrival of the Voidwalkers, which actually "eat-away" the arcane waylines that enable magic to exist, but also enable communication with the gods as well as allowing their power to reach their clerics and acolytes. Continued exposure of this was deemed to be detrimental and dangerous to the stability of the pantheon, and a decision was made by all represntatives to deal with this danger.
The Divine Order maintains high status and respectable aptitude with the governments and leaders of all nations in Targonia, especially Revellon since it is the base of operations for them.
The Divine Order has a mixed-to-positive relationship with the metallic Dragonknights that sometimes aid them in their endeavors when it comes to affirmative action, especially since Dragonknights are mostly followers of either Bahamut or Tiamat, depending on whether they are metallic or chromatic, respectively.
The Divine Order has mostly negative relations with the Order of the Meniasampoca, mostly due to the unlawfulness of its members and its complete disregard of the first principle of the 46 Divines. While sometimes helping them out unintentional, they mostly make a messy job of helping out the Divine Order, so relations have diminished significantly over the past couple decades.
Mythology & Lore
Before the Material Plane was created, their existed a pantheon of gods that were called the Elder Gods. 50 deities each representing a different idea and belief that personified them from the rest. They have essentially ruled their own planes of existence, from the positive planes like Mount Celestia to the negative planes like The Abyss, and every in between. Some time ago, the gods have created a wager that would change the outcome of the universe: each of them was universally weak but equal, and all of them almost desired to be the strongest one out. And so, they combined their powers to form a new plane that would essentially create the Material Plane and act as the battleground to fight who can gain the follower's devotion which increased that gods power. To the gods, they created Panarium, to the scolars it was called the Material Plane, but to the denizens of that plan, it was called Targonia.
When the name "Targonia" was created by some of the list inhabitants of the new land of Revellon, religious wars and crusades were still happening, as followers fought other non-followers in the name of their god to gain their approval. In order for peace to stand a chance in Targonia, the first humans must band together and find a way to unify the fighting forces while still maintaining their religious identity. And so, they studied all the gods they currently knew about and tried to find ways to unite each other, and what they discovered was of essence the human interpretation of the wager the gods created eons back. All of the gods created Targonia, they found out, and they reasoned that since so much of their power went into this, should a number of gods fall and become catatonic, Targonia is doomed to fall. With this discovery, the first human sages and scribes explored the lands and told the other followers of their discovery and prophecy. When the discovery was made in 10 AFT, that's when the first humans created the alliance called "The Divine Order", and over the next couple hundred years, they would incorporate all the gods into their ranks, and thus, the Divine Order was made.
The gods came together and combined all their powers into a single plane of existence, of which the scribes of Targonia called "The World Weave" since the world was "weaved" together using the arcane power of the waylines to create the Material Plane. From their, the gods sent forth creations in their image to populate the plane, like Moradin crafting the first dwarves using the iron found on the Material Plane. Corellon Latharian created an avatar of himself onto the plane and explored to find an ideal home for himself, and then created the elves to maintain it, which would later become the nation of Springlend. Each god has created a mortal species that they would later populate the Material Plane with, and when the gods completed their creations, they let the world run its course.
Tenets of Faith
The Divine Order, when all 50 gods were represented, created the 3 Principles of the 50 Divines:
1.) All of the Targonian gods contributed to the formation of the Material Plane and Targonia, and so all gods must be respected and protected from forces that would otherwise hinder or destroy the god's influence on the world; regardless of an individual's own affiliations, beliefs or customs.
2.) All denizens of Targonia must pray to a god in the pantheon, and that the contributions and prayer made to a god must be fair to the individual, the god of the follower, the other followers of the god, and the followers of other gods. A non-follower must not interrupt or influence the way a follower prays to their god, unless it is beneficial to both the gods in doing so OR that it the local laws of the land demand that it most followed, regardless of its affiliation of the balance of expression (lawful, neutral or chaotic) and/or the balance of morality (good, neutral or evil).
3.) The Targonian pantheon is ever-shifting in its balance, ideals, beliefs, and powers; and is constantly being tempered with outside forces. Everyone must exercise extreme caution when dealing with such forces that would hinder a god's presence in any geographical, social or religious body. Problems faced by a follower with a non-follower are typically dealt with diplomatic reasoning with the audience of a Magister or Sentinel, or with the actual god themselves through prayer or contribution. If the follower is faced with a moral dilemma and is told to act in a manner not appropriate with the god's beliefs, he or she must report this to the Magister.
It is typically expected that the Godvokens and Goddessvokens acknowledge the differences between the others, and to meet compromises between them for the betterment of Targonia. It is typically frowned upon to wage war on another deity due to religious differences unless it can be explained for its reasoning. This is a rare and very serious circumstance, but it has happened before: at the height of its power, the Order of the Divine had all 50 gods, but currently has 46, due the Divine Order's affirmative action to wipe out a deity and their followers for reasonings that could threaten the existence of the rest of the pantheon. One such famous case was the Banishment of the Raven Queen, who was guilty of plotting against the rest of the pantheon and wished it to be destroyed, so the Magisters, Sentinels and Godkeepers explored Targonia, wiped out all followers of the Raven Queen and conducted a ritual known as the Godcurse, which would "banish" the Raven Queen into a catatonic state for all eternity.
The representatives of the gods either act under the title of "Godvoken Priest" or their personal title if they are a male, or "Goddessvoken Priestess" or their personal title if they are female. The representatives are chosen by their gods, which often comes to them as a vision during prayer or their sleep. When a representative steps down as one or dies, the god chooses the next one, and the cycle repeats.
Granted Divine Powers
Godvokens and Goddessvokens can act as avatars of the gods they pray to, though it happens rarely. The concentration of clerics has allowed almost unparalleled access to communication with the gods. When a Godvoken or Goddessvoken is chosen, they are often given a powerful spell or ability that denotes them for their status. While the limit and full functions of these abilities is not yet known, recorded examples include summoning giant weapons of radiant energy, continued use of spellcasting beyond mortal capabilities, and ability enhancements that ensure that failure is impossible.
Political Influence & Intrigue
Due to the importance of religion in Targonia, the Divine Order is single-handedly responsible for the laws that govern prayer, with a level of respect and legitimacy similar to the actual governments of respective nations. The Divine Order, while not having an army capable of fighting most nation's armies, can stand toe-to-toe with most forces of evil, and are respected by most positions of power. They determine what's legal and right within the religious context, and if someone or something were to dispute a ruling, not to be as far as unruling with dissidence, it's difficult to fight against the Divine Order and the gods they represent.