The Temple of the Seven Signs.

Religion has always been of the utmost importance in Dral'azie society, and The Temple of the Seven Signs stands as the centralised pillar of that faith from which all of Dral'azie society adheres to.
  Being the foremost religious authority it's reach stretches far and wide, excreting their presence throughout the Ithen'drels. It's power over spiritual affairs is absolute and influence over the Dral'azie being perhaps greater than that of the Imperial Empress and the great houses. Guided by the absolute authority of the Hierarch, the temple has guided the path of pilgrims, worshippers and it's faithful for over a millennia, awaiting the prophesised day when Aulreth will tear back the veil and lead them back to retake the world that once spurned them.   Generations of Dral'azie have felt shunned by the world above for the curse inflicted upon them and their descendants. A feeling the Temple of the Seven Signs has cultivated and harboured into a deep rooted hated and resentment toward their kin.
As the Seven seals the bind the power of Aulreth are opened on by one, our people move closer to the brink of their absolution. The world will tremble before the presence of our mothers great power as each seal is shattered and she is reawakened to the world.
— Passage taken from the Xhsae Mora.
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Foundation of the Temple

  The Temple was the homogenization of the Dral'azie faiths into one unified pantheon of belief. It came about in the aftermath of the fall of Menor'cress and a series of bloody conflicts between different cults and religious sects. Unity under Aulreth and the tenants of the seven signs, established the authority of Draal'Grondi and The Synod over all spiritual affairs throughout Dral'azie society. The Term the "Seven Signs" Refers to the Seven spheres of influence that surround Aulreth. The Seven Signs are the representation of the seven prime gods of the temple, and prophesied events within these spheres that will lead to the awakening of the goddess and resurgence of power upon the world above. It will see the ascension of the Dral'azie and the faithful to take back what is there's and rule the world in a new age.   Quickly becoming the foremost religious authority, and extinguished any other sect as heresy. The Temple, can be paralleled to the faiths ancient enemy; The Sunburst Sepulchre. Both seek to exalt the supremacy of their primary deity and suppress any and all other faiths that stand in their way by force, both politically and militarily. Despite this dogmatic belief of the tenants throughout Dral'azie society, the temple often comes into conflict with secular rulers and laws. Neither recognising the others authority.  

The Pantheon


The Pillars of the Faith

  At its core the organisational structure of the temple is centred around four specific groups, each having an integral role to play within the greater whole. Referred to simply as Pillars of the faith, they are; The Initiates, Priesthood, Templars, Farseerhood and the faithful.

Initiates

  The Temple receives numerous aspirants wishing to join, ranging from all echelons of society. Those men and women that pledge a vow dedicating their lives to the service of the temple become initiates, receive an rudimentary academic education, whilst serving diligently as an invisible army working to maintain the Temple. Their duties vary from the maintenance and upkeep of buildings, ensuring meals are delivered and assisting the clergy to ensuring the faithful are tended to. Those that seek to become Templars find themselves receiving a martial education in addition to becoming axillaries called upon in times of need. No matter where an initiate finds themselves, and whether in their goal is the pursuit of academic knowledge, spiritual enlightenment or the martial skills of a warrior, they are ready to prove themselves worthy of ascension.

The Priesthood.

 
The Priesthood represent the cornerstone of the faith, it is through their preaching and guidance that the doctrine of the seven signs is spread, and engrained throughout Dral'azie society, and beyond. Ensure the spiritual wellbeing of the faithful, they are teachers and healers, representing the spiritual bridge between the corporeal world of the living and the ethereal domain of the divine. The actual priesthood is made up primarily of women, the tenants of the Seven pertaining that it is through the hubris of man, being more vulnerable to anger or passion that brought about their downfall.   At it’s pinnacle is the Arch-Priestess the Matriarchal figurehead of the Temple and supreme spiritual leader. Guiding the faith from her seat in Draal’Grondii, she is but one part of the Hierarch that leads the Temple but as it’s religious figurehead, she holds sway over the hearts and minds of the masses.     Preist hood is broken down into numerous sects;

The Templar Order.

The Mailed Fist Of Aulreths Faithful And The Ever Vigilant Aegis Of The Dral'azie People.
 

Templar Emblem by AstarothArcaine
 
Standing stalwart as the aegis of the faith, the The Templar Order, or Nal Dacrd'Varond'ul is the militant caste that serves the Temple of the Seven Signs. Their mandate is to enforce and defend the doctrine of the seven signs of their dark goddess through force of arms. They are her sword and shield, the hammer of the heretic, defender of the faithful and extinguisher of the accursed light.   The order despite appearances, is not one monolithic organisation, but rather a collective of individual Militant orders each with their own individual motivations, loyalties and agendas. All subservient to the jurisdiction of the Grand Master of Dral'grondii, supreme commander of the order and one part of the Hierarch. The Militant Orders form the defining martial aspect of the Templars, aiding in maintaining the temples stranglehold over Dral'azie society.
  It was decreed by Archon Abraxus that to better serve the Temple, the Templar order should be divided. Over the course of the millennia saw the emergence of thirteen different chapters of Templar Order, each finding their origins in the Archons that allegedly founded them, taking their names thereafter. Each Order Chapter has its own distinctive set of beliefs, traditions, allegiances and martial practices that have been lain down by their founding Archon and cemented into the rule of that particular Order. Some even gravitating toward a particular deity, allegiance to a great houses or city states.  

The Farseerhood.

  By far the most mysterious of the Three Temple orders are the Farseers. They are divinely guided by and connected to the goddess and her pantheon. Intune with the winds of magic, and able draw the very energies of the gods they serve, Farseers are some of the strongest magic users the Temple boasts. Known for being able to channel other worldly energies and magics from the ethereal realm, even enacting rituals to summon beings from other planes to aid them. Those gifted with the ability to commune with the divine and see what others cannot fathom are taken to Temples when their gift is realised. There they are indoctrinated into the Temple and eventually the fareerhood itself. Typically taken in by the Temples and raised from a young age, they are educated by the priesthood and the Fareers before undergoing the beginnings of their ascension.

Sects

The Temple is Divided into numerous sects, each dedicated to one of the Seven Gods.
The Eye of Aulreth, sigil of the Seven Signs.
 

The Eye of Aulreth.

Interwoven not only in the Temple, but throughout the entire of Dral'azie society. It symbolises the Abyss Mother are the prime got, not only of her churches pantheon, but over all of her children. Her most devout followers are emblazoned with the goddesses Iconography, her Abyssal eye, every watchful from the darkness.

The Mark of Aulreth

A symbol of fait and sign of devotion to the Seven Signs.
Most initiates that complete their training receive the mark of Aulreth, this can either be permanent, or symbolic lasting only for the duration of the ceremony where the mark is given. The mark is made under the eye, forming a black spike descending downward, similar to those descending from the eye of Aulreth.
Six such marks, three under each eye, are required to complete one's full training into the priesthood, each of which must be earned through devotion and service. Many initiates who follow other deities within the pantheon will forego making these marks permanent, usually undergoing other rituals when they join said orders. Those faithful to the Aulrethie doctrine wear the marks with pride.
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Temple Hierarchy

The temple is placed outside of Dral'azie society, and the entanglements of its caste system.
  In many ways, the hierarchy of the temple is an integral part of, and completely separate from Dral’azie society. Its own caste system runs parallel to that of the Valroshi, Vashaa and lowborn Shakkar, something that has caused no end of problems amongst the Noblesse for generations. At the head of the Temple of the Seven signs is the Exalt of Aulreth who leads from her seat in Dral'grondii, acting on behalf of her are her left and right hands, the Arch-Priestess and Grand Master of the Templars.  

The Exalt of Aulreth.

The Exalt of Aulreth is the supreme authority over all spiritual and temporal affairs within the Temple, she is the living vessel of Aulreths will on Evalaw, when she speak all listen. Her word is absolute, and power unquestionable, superseding all other authority in the Temple. Unconcerned with trivial affairs she is only consulted about matters of grave importance or when a decision cannot be reached between the Arch-Priestess, Grand-Master or the The Synod.  

The Arch-Priestess.

Standing as supreme religious leader of the faith sits the Arch-Priestess, or Matriarch of the Seven Signs. Presiding over all other echelons of the priesthood as invigilator of the tenants, protector of the holy doctrine and mother to the faithful. Like many senior roles in the Dral'azies matriarch dominated society, only a female may ascend to this office.  

Aulsh'ganel; The Grand Master Of The Order.

At the head of the Templar Order head stands the Grand Master. Traditionally a position that is preferably held by a male. Though peculiar in an overwhelmingly matriarchal society, it represents the subservience of the role to the Exalt and by extension to the Arch-Priestess (Despite these three positions theoretically holding the same level of authority). When a Female grand master is elected, the equilibrium of typically is thrown off balance. Female Grand Masters do not have to feel inferior and have no issue with over stepping their authority or social status. Usually causing issues for the temple elite, leading to the rise of the faith militant and the inquisition.  
Current Grand Master, Qulvaar Belvorien
  While the order stands as the right hand of the faith, they are an wholly independent organisation to the rest of the Temple of the Seven Signs. Templar’s have been known to become involved within the priesthoods affairs, when military action is required, or a priestesses, acolyte or Temple Magi has gone rouge. This however has a tendency to cause friction between the Arch-Priestess and the Grand Master, the latter of which is usually subdued and forced to back down. The rivalry between the two characterised most Temple politics.   The two technically share power, and complete control of their areas of the temple where rules, laws administration are concerned. This shared power structure runs parallel throughout the entirety of the temples ecclesiastical set-up. From the highest to the lowers members of the church, other priest hood and Templar have an equal counterpart concerning rank.

Articles under The Temple of the Seven Signs.


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Author's Notes

Article currently under major revisions, so extremely messy


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