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Ruthinian Cult

by Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies

Worshipped in: Vestland

Forsetta - Justice, law, obedience, loyalty, sincerity, protection of Vestland

History of the Cult
The Ruthinian Cult is an indigenous order of Vestland, raised at the start of the VII century AC, during the ten year war that opposed the Vestlander jarls with High King Finnbogi of Ostland (604–14 AC). The war was begun when the Vestlander jarls, guided by the valorous Gendar ‘the Good’, who refused to pay the exorbitant tribute due to their Ostlander lords, that for decades now had taken advantage of without to give them they nothing in exchange.
Gendar was a straight man and of iron principles, and strong and sincere was his faith in the northern Immortals – in particular in Forsetta, the ancient northern Immortal that millennia before, was mortal and under the name of Ruthin, had united his people against the giants and the trolls, had given them the first laws and had received from the Immortals – said the legends – the magical crown of the sun, the Sorona. The rebellion of Gendar was not the violent and selfish act of someone who does not think it favourable to submit to authority, but was born from the deep sense of injustice that his peers had immediately due to the actions of Ostland and it wasn't designed to eliminate the monarchy, but to the foundation of a more just government.
Forsetta found in the person of Gendar the right man to return order to the Northern Reaches its principles of law, justice and order. Under the bare lies of the sage Haymin, a wandering godar, he presented himself in front of the assembly of the Vestlander jarls, re-united to Norrvik. Speaking the words of an ancient prophecy, it indicated in Gendar the heir of Ruthin and he who would have guided to the victory. Few gave credence to these words: the war was extended by years and the Vestlander jarls were prostrate, while the enemy gave no sign of wanting to abandon its claims on this land. Gendar left in order to meet in battle in the north an Ostlander army; before the battle, he sat in prayer on a nearby height, where erected an ancient stone circle erected millennia ago and of unknown origin, the Stones of the Sky. It was here that he had a vision whilst praying for the return of justice in his country: a great light enclosed him, and a golden crown – the mythical Sorona – descended from the sky onto his head, crowning him (612 AC). Returning to his army with this mythical symbol of royalty, Gendar lead them to victory against the Ostlanders. Thinking back to the words of Haymin, Gendar, before going to Norrvik with the Sorona, decided to consult the elderly clergyman in order to discover the meaning one of this event. Haymin said that the Immortals has revealed to them that now was the time in which valorous returned justice in Vestland and that this man was Gendar; Forsetta had sent the Sorona from skies to him: who was now introduced before the jarl, and leads them to victory. Stigmatised by these words, Gendar arrived at Norrvik accompanied by Haymin. When they saw the crown that shone on its front, the jarl they were knelt down and they understood that Gendar enjoyed the favour of the Immortals. Gendar succeeded therefore to catalyse the favour of the jarl and his people and was acclaimed king; a few years later, also thanks to the magical power of the Sorona, achieved finally the victory in the Battles of Bridenfjord (614 AC) against the Ostlander forces.
Many godar, in the years after the appearance of Haymin and the return of the Sorona, gathered around the wise clergyman, who was revealed as the ancient hero Ruthin – now known as Forsetta among the Immortals – still watches over his people and sent them the Sorona in the most critical moment in order to save them and point them towards a new, more prosperous and just future. Soon the sermons of Haymin became followed by real crowds of faithful, and the same Gendar financed the construction of a temple dedicated to Ruthin on the northern side of the Vestfjord. The temple became the centre of the new order created by Haymin, the Ruthinian Cult, and the old sage became the first patriarch
After the victory, Gendar was crowned High King of Vestland by the patriarch Haymin in person, with the name of Ottar; Ottar had been the son of the mythical Ruthin, and Gendar has now brought law and order to Vestland as a second son of the hero. During his reign Ottar governed in shrewd manner, always advised by Haymin, and earned the name of “the Just”. After his death the sovereign was came buried under the stone circle near which the Sorona was reached by the sky. Haymin mysteriously vanished shortly before the death of Ottar; his followers and the faithful by then venerated him as a saint, an out-and-out a herald of Forsetta reached in the moment of need in order to deliver hope and salvation.

Precepts and Purpose of the Cult
The Ruthinian Cult has grown in the following centuries, but it has never become a too numerous order, although it is extremely respected and revered of all the Vestlander population. According to its own clergymen, its members must in fact to do all they can so that people worship the traditional Immortals and respect the justice handed on by the padres. The task of the order in Vestland is that of protecting justice and the law, and of supporting the monarchy and the authority of the sovereign. These beliefs – absolute fidelity to the crown, meant as a symbol and not as a person or a family, therefore in substance faithful to Vestland – form the fundamental nucleus of the precepts of the order.
The Ruthinian Cult has as centres several monasteries spread throughout all Vestlander territory. Although it is not much numerous one, it is rather rich thanks to the donations of land and vassals made in its favour several times by the Vestlander sovereigns. Its most important centre of power is the ancient temple that was built by Gendar, the Monastery of Ruthin, encircled by vast plots of land of property of the order, but there are others equally rich (like what it is found to Rhoona).
The clergymen of the order perform a very important role in Vestland as legal advisers – often they are chosen by the nobles in quality of impartial judges – and custodians of the laws; in their monasteries can be always found excellent collections of the laws and of the Vestlander rights, ready for being consulted. For the members of the order, the legendary life of the mythical Ruthin is a model of behaviour – as is the life of Gendar; often, in the cases not covered by the Vestlander law, they refer to the examples of the old legends in order to judge righteously. Still more important, however, is the role that the clergymen (above all of those of a more elevated rank) fulfil as councillors of the nobles and of the sovereign in particular. Their councils always are about obedience, to the respect of customs and of the ancient laws, and to the worship of the Immortals and their values. The Patriarch of Ruthin has since from the times of Haymin carried out the most important role like councillor of the sovereign and as principle representative of the Royal Council, many times supporting and legitimising the reigning dynasty in moments of crisis. Annacks, the recently deceased, last patriarch, has not only been the head of the Council of Regency in the years following the death of King Gudmund (981–986 AC), but he has been also the architect of the recovery of the Sorona and of the return on the throne of Prince Tenitar (crowned with the name of Harald Gudmundson – seen in the events of the module X13: Crown of Ancient Glory).
Actually, the Ruthinian Cult maintains a strong presence in Vestland and is beginning to also make progress in the chaotic lands of Soderfjord, where its members operate in order to convince the jarl to gather under the guide of Ragnar ‘the Robust’, head of the League of Nordhartar. A new field of expansion for the order also is represented by the Heldannic Territories, where the Ruthinians hope of being able to contrast with their ideals of justice the oppression of the Heldannic Knights.

Hierarchy of the Cult
Not being a too numerous order the hierarchy of the Ruthinian Cult is rather simple. The head of the order is the Patriarch, who resides in the Monastery of Ruthin built during the time of Haymin; under him are several Priors each managing a priory, that comprised a monastery or building for the clergy and of annexed lands, labour given by the vassals, with the proceeds by which the priory is maintained. The basis of the order is formed from simple Clergymen, that they are taken care of the every day duties in the temples, of the preaching, of the vigilance on the common observance to the laws and the crown and, as it has been looked at, of the administration of the low justice. The aspirants to enter to make part of the Ruthinian clergy they must be presented at a young age near one of the priories, where they carry out a rigid three years period of learning, during which they study the traditions, the laws of the kingdom and the writs of the order; after which they are organised as Novices in the order, to the dependence of a Clergyman – for a period of between three and six years, during which they continue to perfect their knowledge and work in the seat of the priory. Given the prestige which the order enjoys, many of the noble families that can, send their cadet sons to study in order to enter and be part of the Ruthinian Cult. The Ruthinian clergy all wear a long tunic of yellow wool with a pointed hood and a mail shirt if need be, if necessary, in case of need under the tunic, along with the sword to the belt, ready to defend the population. They carry the symbol of the church, which is the same as the holy symbol of Forsetta, which is a golden wand with four rubies on its head, engraved on a very visible medallion on the chest.