Church of the Wandering Flame
The Wandering Flame is not there to tell you how to live or what is right or wrong. It tells you to ask questions about the world and yourself. To understand your position in all of this and what you wish to strive for.
With their history wrapped deep into that of the realm, their following is widespread. But with many Maidens who came and went, leaders ruling the council of the church, people are sceptical. Both for the mortals ruling it and the deity they worship.
Organisation of the Church
The main duty of the Church is to collect and preserve knowledge. Archiving legends, historical documents and any relics found. It has been its goal for as long it existed. To ensure that information does not get lost by the passing of time.
Alongside that comes the importance of keeping information accessible. Most things archived by the Church remain public knowledge, kept in public libraries. Only on rare occassions do they keep information behind closed doors should it lead to danger.
Such widescale duties usually requires outside aid, hence why they partner with local guilds. With the aid of many explorers and adventurers, they ensure Fabulae's history is upkept.
Church of the First Flame
At the head of the faith is the Fire Maiden, being the essential mouth and ears of Fasma herself. They run it under direct command of the Celestial, reporting to her with any information the church aqcuires. As such, they live within the confines of the First Flame's Church.
With their importance, they act as the voice of the whole faith during religious and political meetings. In Luxaltar and Nexu they even have a right of veto on certain decisions made.
Each one remains a Fire Maiden for only 25 years, electing a new one 5 years in advance. New Maidens get picked out from the clergy of the Church, but some do come from outside. The details for electing one is secret, even to the clergy themselves.
Just beneath the Fire Maiden is the High Council, selected from the higher ranks of clergy. Each one is elected in agreement with the Fire Maiden and two-thirds of the current council. In total, it consists of 160 members from across the faith's global servitude.
Their duty involves ensuring the management of the faith. Any updates to the teachings, communicating with leaders of local churches and electing new ones if needed.
Flamebearer is the title for the head cleric of a local church. Most are responsible for upkeeping the altars and making sure the shrines remain lit at all times. Managing the local clergy, checking up on the archives and doing the majority of events.
In larger regions multiple Flamebearers can serve under one of a greater church. Those then act as a mouthpiece for the whole region towards the Church of the First Flame.
The commong clergy take up an abundance of roles throughout the churches. Most take on multiple roles, from church duties to upkeeping the libraries. A few might even do pilgrimages to help with rekindling the flames of smaller shrines.
Becoming a cleric requires both permission of the current Flamebearer and some education. Once amongst the ranks, most will get assigned to their local church.
History of the Church
Around a thousand years ago, people first began to migrate towards the newly discovered continent of Sichelan. During exploration of what became Nexu, adventurers discovered the First Flame Crater. Upon closer investigation, they found the First Flame still lit, burning at its center.
Unable to trace its properties to anything one knew, it became a sight for migrants to the new world. Amongst them was Iscah, who seemed drawn to its nature.
Before anyone could respond, the woman brought her hand near the warmth of the flame, and gazed into the Celestial Realm. Seeing beyond the boundaries of the Cosmic Hourglass, she witnessed the world of the Celestials. And amongst them, was Fasma.
Perplexed by the sight of one of her creations able to reach her, she approached the mortal. As Iscah explained herself, Fasma lowered her guard, deciding to tell some truths.
Allowing the girl to ask questions, she told her the stories of the early world. How the multiverse came to be, the Titans and their demise, and why the First Flame was here.
Before returning her, the Celestial offered Iscah a gift, but also a request:
Can you keep me up to speed with what the world has become? I might have created it, but I am not omnipotent. I want to give it another chance, and have it prosper.
With the agreement, Iscah accepted her request and was brought back to the crater. No time having passed in the material plane, she realised her divine gift as her hand still rested upon the burning rock. As neither did her flesh burn nor did she feel the intense heat.
Explaining what happened, most questioned her story. Some called her insane, others thought she was lying. To prove them, she scooped up a small flame into her hand, letting it burn in her palms. Letting it stay lit without a source nor burn anyone who touched it.
Once her fellow adventurers were convinced of the greater power, it became a sacred site. Iscah would visit the First Flame, further documenting her knowledge of the known world. And over time allowing Fasma to catch up to the events of Fabulae.
Birth of the Church & Spread
As people began populating the Sichelan, the tale of the First Flame spread fast. Pilgrimages to the First Flame Crater grew more popular, wanting to see the landmark up close. Over the years it led to Luxaltar sprouting up around the meteor, alongside the church that now holds it.
Iscah took the name of Fire Maiden, informing Fasma throughout the years. At first, she was able to journey to gather information herself, but a growing realm became hard to explore by herself. Combined with her old age, she resorted to the aid of a more organised belief.
Temples were established throughout the region, providing archives to preserve local history. Through affiliation with scholars and adventurers alike, the church's presence grew quickly in the eyes of the people. Before long, everyone across the continent knew of their mission.
Alongside that, Iscah retired, putting her title upon a new person. A long lineage of Fire Maidens began, each one becoming the oracle in direct commune with Fasma herself.
With those two factors, the foundation of the Wandering Flame's church was born.
Great Sangfroid Empire
When the Great Sangfroid Empire arrived on Sichelan, it grabbed the attention of the Church. Trying to avoid having their mission halted, they agreed upon an alliance. The Wandering Flame would own the region known as Nexu, allowing them to operate apart from the Empire.
In return, the Wandering Flame helped preserve and document the reign of the Sangfroid Family. What followed was an alliance that made both grow in influence, spreading through the continent's western side. However, things began to shift.
The family tried to bribe clergy to alter events, making them appear better in the history books. What first began as flowery language turned to lies and false history. Each generation gained access to deeper parts of the archives, with clergy swearing loyalty to Sangfroid. On several occasions have the heads of the Church even stepped in to confront them.
However, it did not stop the corruption of the Church's inner circle. Even with enforcing stricter regulations, valuable knowledge leaked out into the open. To a point where empress Velda Sangfroid's exploitation of the archives led to the inevitable fall of the Elven Kingdoms.
The damage done by the empress led to the Fire Maiden severing their ties with the Sangfroid family. Draconian laws were put in place, prohibiting anyone but the highest officials to access the records. And with it, came the beginning of the end.
During the Great Sangfroid War, the Church refused to aid the Great Sangfroid Empire in any way possible. Current Fire Maiden Wanesa disproved of any support they were given, going as far to excile any clergy that would work alongside them.
Still, it did not stop Kaiser Sangfroid followers from infilitrating their ranks. Documents got stolen offered by Elven scholars during the Blazing War, providing advantages in the armies. Even with their inevitable failure to capture Silva, the damages were done.
You chained heaven and hell to the edges of reality, shaped the cosmos, but a single war is too much to ask for you to hinder? Why? Give me an answer. Any Answer!
But as she pushed the deity into a corner, Fasma severed her link towards the Celestial Realm. Wanessa woke up at the First Flame's altar, only to find the eternal fire to have gone out. That day, the Celestial's presence vanished from the world.
Realising her mistake, Wanessa gathered the High Council to try and explain the situation. Understanding that making this knowledge public would only make the fragile state of the continent worse, they kept it secret. The First Flame's altar was to be off-limits for anyone but the Fire Maiden, leading to the era of Fasma's silence.
Age of Silence
During the first few years, as Sichelan recovered from the war, the Church kept up the façade. While the Fire Maiden lost her divine blessings, clerics could still harness some semblance of the First Flame's power. Such a small sign was enough for many to have hope that Fasma would return, but as years moved on the First Flame remained unlit.
Wanesa left the Church shortly after choosing her successor because of what she caused. As the Fire Maiden did not listen to Fasma anymore, she entrusted decisions over to the High Council instead. Hoping that they could run it while their deity was absent.
From there, the High Council became the true rulers. The Fire Maiden becoming a symbolic title to represent the Church, even if she lacked any power.
But as different faces filled the seats, ideals changed alongside them. While a preservation of history remained, some used it to displace artefacts from their homes. Under the guise of protecting them, relics ended up either in personal collections or melted down for profit.
With a splintered continent, their control over of information became crucial to their ruling. Smear campaigns made sure opposing groups threatening them had their hands tied, demonising them in the public eye. For other groups they wanted to have socio-political power they could rewrite records. For special individuals they even granted direct blessings in Fasma's name.
Such neglection of their duty led Sichelan's healing to be slow, alongside many resigning from the Church's teachings. Several splinter groups formed throughout this age, such as the Whisperers of Wanesa, to try and negate the damages.
But alas, the influence of the faith made it difficult for many to thrive.
Age of Rot
Lighting the First Flame with a flame born from her soul, she tried to connect back to the Celestial Realm. She succeeded but was unable to call upon Fasma, instead gazing into the realm beyond the Cosmic Hourglass's borders. And alongside it, the building blocks of the world.
Discovering the Celestial Tongue, Cecilia learned the truth of the creator's words and their power. And as time moved on, she learned how to speak and write them. The only downside to all of this was that her discovery left her blind for the rest of her days.
Her notes became the 32 words of the Celestial Tongue, each able to warp existence. Though understanding their danger, many did not leave the presence of her even in death.
That was, until one day people began to witness a rise in Undead activity. The region of Nexu swarmed with monstrous forms of living dead across the countryside, disrupting the populace. Attacks grew more frequent than ever, leading to the High Council closing Luxaltar's borders.
Assuming it to be because of a Lich, teams were dispatched to locate their base of operations. However, as finding it became fruitless, the Church abandoned the attempts of finding the necromancer. To which groups like the Prometheists rose as a result.
It came out that the Lich was a high council member, known by the name of Eldred. Having stolen the 32 words of the Celestial Tongue, he used to achieve immortality and raise an Undead army. With such knowledge in the open, their public image began to falter more than ever.
Rise of Ori Santoro
As the image of the Church was faltering, Fasma finally emerged back after hearing Eldred speak the Celestial Tongue. Realising the situation is worsening, she decided to make contact with the mortal plane. To do so, she cast down what is referred to as the Second Flame.
Crashing into the region of Peripatia, the crash site was first discovered by Ori Santoro, an adventurer coming from said region. Like long before with Iscah, touching the flame allowed her to come in direct contact with Fasma, who explained the situation.
Understanding her mistakes to doom this world into further chaos, the Celestial swore to this time fix these problems. But to do so, she needed to rekindle the First Flame first, requiring Ori to infiltrate the First Flame Church to do so.
I have made many mistakes in the past, some more disastrous than others. But I can't keep burying them hoping they will be forgotten. Things need to change, and all I ask is for you to help me do so.
Convinced, Ori accepted her mission, being blessed as the new Fire Maiden. With her newly gained powers, she journeyed towards Luxaltar, in hopes to awaken the First Flame.
Of course, when she arrived at the capital and tried to explain her situation, people did not believe her. Many saw her as insane or a hoax, with few people believing her to be a new Fire Maiden. Soon enough her ruckus attracted attention of the Church, leading to her exile from the city.
Realising that negotiation wouldn't work, an infiltration was brought up instead. To do so, she needed help from other groups that settled within Nexu, mainly the Grievers and Prometheists. Convincing both leaders about her affiliation with Fasma, they began to set up a plan.
The big plan involved the Prometheists to cause a ruckus at the Church's entrance, allowing Ori and the Grievers to get in through the Catacombs. From there, they confronted the High Council in the meeting room of the cathedral.
Threatened as a false prophet by the council members, they did not believe that she wielded Fasma's flame and committed blasphemy. To show them proof of her blessing, she allowed all of them to gaze at the true nature of the Celestial, and show her full power. Judging them all for their lies and mistreatment of her words, and punishing them accordingly.
The most corrupt of them were cursed, rendering them incapable of magic. Neither blessing nor spell would touch them, for they were unworthy of the presence of divinity.
With that done, Ori turned her attention to the altar of the First Flame, and rekindled it with the second one. For the first time in over 500 years, the flame was lit once more.
After rekindling the First Flame, a major reform of the Church began. Archives across Sichelan got a continent-wide cleanup to wipe away the lies out of the records. Every book flipped through, every scroll cross-checked and every bit of knowledge re-examined.
Relics belonging to still living societies were brought back to their respectful owners. Attempts were also made to mend broken relations with the faith, with mixed results of many groups.
Ori herself journeyed throughout the first years to aid as well, but found difficulty to do this alone. Hence a recruitment program began, funding adventurers to help recover lost knowledge from across the land. Hence began a new age of adventuring, rediscovering the lost world.
Nowadays, the Church is trying to fix its past mistakes, dawning the age of adventure.
Life Amongst the Church
The Principles of the Faith
Due to the unorthodox nature of their deity, the Wandering Flame is a lot more passive in its worship. It is less a belief that considers worships and more one that embraces a type of living. As for many lies the principle of "How do you want to be remembered".
Everyone has their own interpretation of it, but most accept the idea to leave behind memories can one look fondly back to. How impactful or grand does not matter, as all stories to tell are to be seen with equal value, from the mundane to the epic.
History is a fleeting thought, and even with our efforts we can't preserve everything. Names will be lost, societies erased and events forgotten. Even I no longer will be known one day, neither by name nor by deeds. But let your actions carve the future for those that will no longer know your name. To be the silent voice for those to come. As a guide... or a warning.
Despite their preservation attempts, the Wandering Flame understands that nothing is eternal. Inevitably, the old world dies for a new one, and will take its stories with it. An endless cycle since the dawn of time that can't be fought against.
Hence came forth the idea of the eternal delusion. That anyone trying to immortalise their existence will walk a path of pain and suffering doing so. That any attempt to outlive all, either in written word or to defy death itself, will only end in misery.
One can fight for their existence, to carve a future for themselves or others. But one should also accept that such deeds will become nameless as time moves on.
To improve the world one lives in now rather than live in a time that has yet to be born.
- Many households keep a single candle lit at all times. Considered to ward off evil.
- Cremation is a common funeral method. The urns are either kept at the deceased's family home or amongst graveyards in urn walls.
- Shrines get offerings from followers. Candles and flowers are common gifts, but some also write rolled-up notes with wishes for others.
- A newly given name is written down in a note and burned. The ash from it then gets then rubbed upon one's forehead. Such practice can be done multiple times in one's life.
- Name tags are worn by those that explore a lot amongst the faith. This ensures should they perish during their journeys, people can still identify them.
Those blessed by Fasma gain divine boons in the form of minor divination. A comprehension of most languages and an ability to recite historical events are their most common spells. This allows them to work at their best to help in their tasks.
Those more of the adventurous type might get some extra boons as well. Tying into the concept of the flame, most gain pyromantic abilities, from moving flames to conjuring them.
Amongst the blessings, the Fire Maiden's ones are the most well known. Gaining not only previous spells, but also resistance against both cold and heat. Alongside that is her connection with Fasma through the first flame, allowing direct communication with her.
Festival of Flames
During the period of rekindling shrine flames, the Festival of Flames commences. Many see the period before a rekindling the most dangerous, while afterwards it being the safest. Hence why people gather to feast and party in the safety of a new flame.
Week of Warmth
The last seven days of the year are celebrated through the Week of Warmth. People spend a few days trying to do good before the new year comes, or make a promise for the next year. Families gather together, good deeds are done, and people end the year with a bang.
- Organisation of the Church
- History of the Church
- Life Amongst the Church
Carriers of the Flame
Wandering Flame's Church