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Church of Narvaezby Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies
Worshipped in: Narvaez, Torreón (Savage Coast)
Ixion - Sun, wisdom and learning, strength and passion, balance
The Church of Narvaez is a Lawful religion deriving from that which became known as the Ispaña Heresy, due in 900 AC to the internal schism in the Church of Thyatis and the migration of the majority of the ethnic Ispaña from the Known World towards the new frontier, the Savage Coast, at the moment of maximum expansion of the Thyatian Empire. At that time, in fact, a large part of the Thyatian clergy made up of ethnic Ispan clergymen led by the charismatic Balthazar de Narvaez, had begun to spread a series of writings and theories that went in open contrast with the markedly balanced philosophy of the Church of Thyatis, trying to confirm the prominence and the centrality of the figure of Solarios (who became called Ixion by the Ispans) over the other Immortals recognised by the Church. The Ispans, forever bound to the cult of the sun, had tried to reform the old Church of Thyatis and to give new impetus to the evangelisation of the population, in particular of the colonies, on the wave of a mystical and religious fervour brought by some miracles completed by the same Balthazar in the name of Ixion, but the ecclesial hierarchies, threatened by this monotheistic change, had been openly lining up against the actions of the clergymen, branding its doctrine as Ispaña Heresy. Feeling the strong pressures mounting up within the empire both by the ecclesial front and by the popular, the Emperor Gabrionus VI, on the direct council of the Pontifex Magnus, had placed the Ispan governors and Don Balthazar de Narvaez in the face of an option to avoid a civil war: or renunciation of their heretical doctrine and was realigned with the Church of Thyatis, or they would have had to emigrate together with the expedition that had been prepared for colonising the new frontier, the lands of the Savage West beyond the Gulf of Hule. Naturally the Ispans chose the exile, guided by the patriarch Balthazar de Narvaez, and arrived in the region to the west of the Gulf of Hule settle in lands inhabited by a few humanoids and elves claimed in name of Thyatis in 902 AC. A few years later, seeing the distance from the motherland and the frequent conflicts with the Thyatian bureaucracy sent to the Barony of Narvaez in order to control the movements of the colonists, in 904 AC the Narvaezans declared their own independence from the Thyatian Empire. After following the council of the Pontifex Magnus, Gabrionus VI didn’t try to resume possession of the Savage Baronies, judging it more a problem than a resource, and this clear laxity brought about the fragmentation of the Barony of Narvaez in the various feuds that currently constitute Los Guardianos. The faith in Ixion however only remained strong in the Barony of Narvaez, while the other small-established nations rejected the religious fervour that had characterised the first years of the colonisation. The faith therefore became a private question and in many cases decidedly superfluous, and they were asserted mainly the cults of those Immortals considered less “overwhelming” and more important for the style of life of the Barony (from that the proliferation of the cults of Milan, Valerias, the Ambassador and the General) to the detriment of the cult of Ixion, that it remained relegated in baronies of Torreón and Narvaez. In the case of Narvaez, the power has always remained in the hands of the descendants of Balthazar de Narvaez, which they continue to govern the barony as a theocracy, since the Baron is also the High Patriarch of the Church of Ixion (therefore uniting temporal and spiritual power).
The Church of Narvaez worships Ixion as the great creator and giver of life, justice and protector of universal balance, giver of wisdom, knowledge and power to the virtuous, implacable against its enemies and the ungodly. The Narvaezans admit and recognise the existence of a multitude of other Immortals, but they place Ixion over all others, bestowing therefore the most veneration to him, and considering the other Immortals as servants or allies of an inferior rank. The faith in Ixion is dealt with in particularly hard and fast manner in the Barony of Narvaez, where everyone becomes accused or suspected of irreverence towards the Immortal risks imprisonment, followed by a ruthless interrogation to understand what the traits of an enemy of the faith are, in which case the punishment is death on the pyre. This practice has been spread in particular way after the first political schisms that have divided the ancient Barony of Narvaez in the various actual political truths, thanks to the influence of Vanya (called in Espa the Inquisitor or Faña). In the last eighty years in fact, the cult of the Inquisitor has earned prestige with the family of Narvaez and the Church, and its clergymen have taken the religion of Ixion to more and more rigid and intransigent positions, covering therefore the role of the armed arm of the faith and of the hunters of heresy and traitors. This great power has eroded part of the prestige and of the authority that previously rested exclusively with the clerics of Ixion, and it has created strong tensions within the Church of Narvaez, that however seems to continue to tolerate and support only the Inquisitor as a loyal ally of Ixion. Even the cult of Valerias, which was initially welcomed by the clergy of Ixion as embodied in the ideal of the spouse of the Sun, with time and through the influence of clerics of Vanya it was finally considered a dangerous practice. Currently for the Church of Narvaez in fact, Valerias is looked upon as the bride of Ixion to that of his unreliable and scheming handmaiden, symbol of wantonness, sin and of the weakness of the human mind when it is left fascinated by the feelings. The Church of Narvaez believes that the Red Curse is a punishment sent by Ixion to non-believers (and in a certain sense it has reason to). For this reason, the only relief to the curse is distributed by the clergy, who hold the control of all the reserves of cinnabryl, and who especially use clerical spells for alleviating the suffering of the Afflicted and maintain healthy worshippers. For this reason, those who do not regularly visit the church and the clergymen end up falling victim to the Red Curse, and this practice clearly separates the good faithful from those guilty of having sinned against Ixion (beyond that to give to the clergy of the Church of Narvaez the total control on the loyalty of the people). When a citizen shows signs of the affliction, he is first examined by the clergymen of the Inquisitor in order to discover if it is a trait of an infidel or only of a sinner: in the first case is condemned to imprisonment with hard labour to life, or if his guilt is particularly grave to death on the pyre (purified by the flame of Ixion). In the second case instead, the forsaken is transferred into one of the special enclaves outside of the most populous settlements, where their malady is cured by the followers of Ixion whenever possible. The same Afflicted are persuaded to believe by the clerical propaganda of having committed some sin for which the Red Curse becomes the just punishment that they deserve, and lived in a condition of deep consternation, constantly at the service of the Church in an attempt to redress their transgressions and to redeem themselves. Many Afflicted even become clergymen of Ixion, even if his clerical activities are always restricted to isolated monasteries or in the enclaves of Afflicted in Narvaez.
The Church of Narvaez is guided by the baron in office and most important man of the family of Narvaez, currently Hugo de Narvaez y Montoya known as “El Despiadado” (The Despised). From the death of Balthazar de Narvaez, who unified the office of High Patriarch and Baron of Narvaez, all of his descendants have tightly held the reins of government of both state and Church, understanding that spiritual authority is the basis of those politics within a nation whose people have been more pervasively indoctrinated. The High Patriarch has the power of issuing moral edicts, establishing new beliefs, declaring a holy war or Inquisition against a foreign nation or against one or more individuals, as well as consecrating bishops, missionaries and the Knights of the Church of Narvaez. Since it covers the office of head spiritual and temporal of the state, its power is practically limitless and totally unopposed.
Under the High Patriarch is a council of four Bishops, representatives of the more important noble families of Narvaez, who control their respective regions of influence. They administer the financial resources of several temples and the national supplies of cinnabryl, explaining to the Patriarch on the actions of the clergymen, and are occupied of ordering the clerics and of investigating on presumed miracles or ancient dispersed relics. Also these positions are hereditary, although the Baron has the right to deprive a nobleman of his lands if it becomes proven his treachery towards the nation or to promote a noble family to a more elevated rank. This might in theory shatter the current balance, but in over fifty years no baron has never taken advantage of this power to put in crisis the status quo of the Narvaezan nobility, clearly sign that the family de Narvaez succeeds to impose its own will on all the junior officers.
At the third level of the hierarchical scale stands the normal Clergymen of Ixion (named with the noble prefix “Don” in a sign of respect), side-by-side with the Inquisitors (the clerics of Vanya), who have equal importance in front of the Bishops, even if they first answer only to the Council of Bishops and to the High Patriarch of their acts, while the seconds must explain as well to the Head Inquisitor, a clergyman of Vanya chosen personally by the High Patriarch in order to direct the actions of the adepts of the inquisitor. The Head Inquisitor in addition, doesn’t take orders from the Patriarch, therefore he is absolutely untouchable from part of the Bishops, what they see so threatened their sovereignty, done what you/he/she has created numerous tensions in the last decades. At the last step of the ecclesial hierarchical scale are the Cleric affiliates, or rather those who have also taken the vows are (by) now condemned by the signs of the Red Curse. They are confined in monasteries where they carry out humble duties or especially voted to secrecy, and are kept busy administering the enclaves where are cured the other Afflicted, always under the supervision of a Head Healer (or rather a cleric of Ixion pure and untouched by the illness) who reports to the Bishops. For them it is not anticipated some charge of responsibility, nor the possibility of becoming a missionary. Finally deserving a close examination are the so-called Missionaries. They are clergymen of particular cultural preparation and of proven loyalty to the Church who are tasked with going on missions in the foreign nations to carry the word of Ixion. Every five years the missionary must return to his homeland in order to report about his progress and his findings to his commanding Bishop, who then decides whether to restore the confidence and the task, or transferred to other duties (or even to send him to the Inquisition if suspected of treason). The missionaries act as evangelicals (even if often their dogmatic and inflexible character that alienate the favour of the people who seek to convert) and at the same time as spies on behalf of the Church, also resorted to some orthodox means like corruption, blackmail or physical violence in order to reach their own aim (or to conversion or the popular revolt against an enemy ruler).
Knights of Narvaez
The order of the Knights of Narvaez is made up of individual followers of the Church even without being ministers, endowed with great virtue and with the economic means such as being able to maintain their own mount and armour in all respects. It is a trait very often of small landholders with great ambition, young members of the landowning nobility that discover the passion for adventure and devote themselves to the cause of the Church in order to have the official support, increasing therefore its own prestige. Some of them are simple exhibitionists who enjoy lording it over with the approval of the clergy, while other are true and really fanatics of the faith, men whom defend the cult of Ixion by whatever means and without compromise. The Knights of Narvaez are famous for their predisposition to leave on heroic missions and holy pilgrimages in the attempt to carry the word of salvation of Ixion in distant lands with strength of arms and of the faith, or of recovering ancient artefacts and relics of the Immortals scattered around the world (one of these artefacts is conserved in the Grande Catedral de Ciudad Quimeras, a heavily fortified area that it has become the focus of annual pilgrimages by all believers), always encouraged by the clerics or guided by revealing dreams and omens sent by Ixion.