Melandihim, the Mendicant Friars
The Mendicant Friars, or the Melandihim, travel the Throne ministering to the distant and the forgotten; the poor, the marginalized, the remote, the weak, the helpless. They live humble lives, and do not accept any form of recompense for their work. In the past, they have been something of a firebrand for social change, especially as rallying points to organize the people against injustice or oppression.
The Friars’ message is the virtue of pilgrimage – that the journey of life is the most important thing. It is a message of forgiveness and understanding, but also a message about progress, and is not tolerant of those who have given up on improvement, or tried to surround themselves with luxuries to achieve a life of ease. Every failure is forgivable, if you stand up, take the next step, and do better.
The Melandihim are some of the strongest critics against groups such as the trade Guilds and the nobility, some of whom they believe have forgotten the mission of Mankind. They have been known to incite the public to anger against these groups, for they usually have extremely large followings by other Priest’s standards, although they never advocate direct violence. Some Priests gather great followings of flagellants, walking the countryside barefoot, making an example of their humble lives to others, while using the mortification of their own flesh as a means to make their journey even more profound.
SANCTAE VIAE, VIRTUE OF PILGRIMAGE
Covenant of Poverty
The Penitent must always follow the Sanctae Viae, living a life of service to others and owning no possessions or their own, other than items granted by Melandihim Rituals.
The Path of Penitence
The mendicant officiates a lost soul’s vow of penitence, putting them on the path of the Sanctae Viae.
Though I never saw him again, I felt his spirit in many places. The journey that we took is the journey of all mankind; the brave, unhindered by evil, the meek, unbent by greed, the meager, unfettered by arrogance. We, the mendicants, spread out through the land and carried his word to every corner and dale, the Heralds of Mankind.
Ritual: The penitent-to-be must kneel before the mendicant and have the mendicant draw the Seal of Melandiel on their forehead in ash. The mendicant must then ask the penitent-to-be to repeat the Vow of the Penitent with them, afterwhich the Penitent must give up all of their worldly possessions and don a scapular provided to them by the mendicant.
From that point and for the rest of their life, the Penitent is set upon the Sanctae Viae.
Props: Ash makeup, rough robes
Effect: The Penitent gains the Belief: “Always follow the Sanctae Viae” which cannot be removed. Each Event that the Penitent goes without sinning or breaking their Vows they gain a Sanctae Viae Achievement, which may be spent to remove Flaws, at a rate of 1 Sanctae Viae Achievement per Flaw point.
For each Sanctae Viae Achievement earned the Penitent may choose a Blessing. For every three Sanctae Viae Achievements earned the Penitent may instead upgrade one of their Blessings to a Greater Blessing.
The mendicant may also gain a Sancae Viae Achievement for performing this ritual.
- Blessing of Suffering: While Miserable, may call No Effect instead of Discipline when calling on Beliefs to defend against Obey
- Greater Blessing of Ecstasy: Once per Scene when you would take Pain, lose Misery and become Inspired instead.
- Blessing of Conscience: May call Spiritual Trauma against anyone who has denied Atonement for Sin
- Greater Blessing of the Judge: Call Spiritual Obey: Enact this Atonement [ ]
- Blessing of Dignity: May Exert to enter Posture
- Greater Blessing of the Awe of Virtue: May call Spiritual Obey: We may go where we please
- Blessing of the Lamb: May call No Effect to any call delivered from an animal source.
- Greater Blessing of the Meek: May call Spiritual Obey: “Do me no harm” against anyone and anything
- Blessing of the Trustworthy: May call Spiritual Obey: “Take of Bond of trust towards me” on each charter one per scene.
- Greater Blessing of the Shepherd: May call Spiritual Obey: “Help me” on any human
- Blessing of the Friar: May perform the Rituals of the High Canon
- Greater Blessing of the Mendicant: May perform Rituals of the Melendahim and call themselves such.
Blessing of Peaceful Slumber
Receive advance warning of attacks in your sleep.
Dark had been my dreams that night. I dreamt of running, trying to catch myself before it was too late, though brambles and branches tore at me. And when I stretched out my hand to ward myself of the danger, I awoke suddenly, and with great alarm. Thank the Lord that I did.
Ritual: The Priest invokes the blessing of Melandiel, the Archangel of Travel, and begs that He watch over the faithful as they rest so that they may continue the work of the Lord as the Priest marks off an area in chalk around where they sleep and draws the Seal of Melandiel upon the door..
Prop: Chalk perimeter, door tag
Effect: The Priest automatically awakens from any natural sleep when danger approaches. Before an intrusion on them while they sleep, the priest will be woken up individually; the intruder must leave, then re-enter. A door tag must be used to indicate this to any would-be assailants.
Purity of Daily Bread
Purify food of corruption.
I watched as the Markgraf brought forth the meal he had promised us. The flesh was discolored from age and flies worried it with their attentions as the Markgraf’s women put the carcass on our board. As I turned my head from the stink to regard Bathier, he smiled kindly to the Markgraf, and thanked him as any guest to a generous lord. He prayed then over the filth we were insulted with, and as I watched, the flies left, the stink abated, and Bathier did eat of it, and bade us all do as he. “No man can despoil what God Himself grants to his flock,” he told me, and the meal did save us from our starvation and sickness.
Archangel of Winds, Change, Music, Travel and Hope
Melandiel is the Messenger and Herald of the Lord
Ritual: While saying the prayer “Nemo potest spoliare quod gregi suo Deus ipse dat” or “No man can despoil what God Himself grants to his flock,” in the common tongue, the mendicant must sprinkle Holy Water over the meal, as well as the hands of any who would join the mendicant for the meal, before rinsing their own hands in the Holy Water. After this the mendicant must bow their head in a moment of silent prayer. Any who eat with the priest and bow their heads during this prayer also gain the benefits of this ritual.
Props: A meal to be eaten
Effect: Food or water becomes safe to consume and all traits from drugs and poisons are removed from the meal.
Hospitality of the Lord
The Lord grants a divine favor to a hospitable home.
At the halls of Meridia, where the Guildmaster Halgas the childless, wealthiest man in then a meager town, Bathier came dressed in the humble clothes of a mendicant. He besought of Halgas his hospitality for a single night, refusing wine and other pleasures, but allowing himself the indulgence of a roof and water. Upon his leaving, Bathier gestured to his hall and declared, “Allowing the Lord’s servants into one’s home is to allow the Lord Himself to stay; and as I leave, He shall remain.” Halgas offered Bathier money for his travels, but he refused it, asking only that those who had come to follow him be fed and clothed. From that day on, Halgas became known as the plentiful and bore a dozen sons in his name.
Ritual: At the doors of a home that has offered the mendicant a good meal or a place to stay the night, that the mendicant has accepted, they may then trace Holy Water along the front door frame and window lintels, and place a Seal of Melandiel at the foot of the doorway, speaking to the Lord and asking him to deliver this home and its residence from the evils of circumstance.
Props: Tag on door, water
Effect: The residence is sanctified and deters the presence of malefic creatures for the duration of the Event. A tag on the door should indicate Sacred Obey: “Malefic leave this place in peace”
The mendicant strengthens the bonds of community cult via symbolic gift giving
Sudarium, meaning sweat rag in Aldersabin, are small white cloth ribbons that the congregation can each hold end to end with each other. These are given to the person holding the other end. They are often decorated, and gather decorations as they are gifted. These represent the community working together and flourishing together “by the sweat of their brow”.
Ritual: During Convocation the Priest may either formally bind a community together, or accept new members into the community. By presenting each attendant of the Convocation with a plain white strip of cloth to be held between neighbors and giving a short sermon on the values of community and explaining the Sudarium, the Priest consecrates it for use by the community.
The Sudaria are held between members of the cult during prayers, and may be decorated over time, creating shared works of art. After a prayer where two members of the civic cult are linked by Sudarium, it is tradition that they exchange them.
Props: Cloth Strip
Effect: When a Sudarium is accepted as a gift, the receiver may choose to take a Bond to the giver. They may also be embroidered by an Artisan and act as an Art Piece.
Wind of Unseen Travel
Creates a charm to hide the bearer and her friends from scrying and notice.
So came we out of the land of the merely petty and the miserly and into the land of true wickedness. The sky turned as ash, and filled with great black birds. They dove for us, and perched upon branches, watching with keen and clever eyes, speaking taunts and warnings. Bathier knelt at a brackish pool, and scooped forth a bowl of the water, praying for it to be blessed and clean. This he spread across all of our brows, calling out our names to the Melandiel, who he named Herald of the Lord. A great wind shook the branches, and threw the birds into bedlam, their howling anger matching the rage of the wind.
Ritual: The mendicant priest fills a small glass vial with holy water. On the glass is etched the name of Melandiel, the Archangel of Wind, and the name of the charm’s bearer, who must be a Penitent on the path of the Sanctae Viae.
Prop: Vial of water, marked with the seal and the name of the holder.
Effect: This flask protects its bearer and those nearby from being found by those who mean them harm. The bearer is hidden from magical divination of any kind, immune to the Streetwise Confrontation Action, and immune to the Tracking call unless they wish to respond.
These may be owned by Penitents without breaking their vow.
Judgment of Brothers
The mendicant agrees to judge an issue or trial and gains insight into the truth of the matter.
Ritual: The mendicant vows to be impartial in their judgment, then prays that God bless the hearing that truth may be revealed. The participants are then sat across from one another with their wrists bound to the other with red ribbon. The mendicant must then stand or sit in a chair and hear their cases. The mendicant should do their best to determine who is right and bring about reconciliation between them.
Props: Chair to judge the trial from, red ribbon
Effect: For the duration of the Scene the mendicant gains the Belief: “Always act impartially”, and may Exert to call Spiritual Obey: Tell the full truth.
The priest causes themselves discomfort to steel themselves against temptation.
“Ego autem, cum mihi molesti essent, induebar cilicio”
Ritual: The mendicant blesses a spiked chain called a Cilice that is designed to cause discomfort, before reminding the recipient of their vows and admonishing them to be unyielding in the face of temptation. These may be worn and owned by Penitents on the Sanctae Viae. The wearer of the Cilice may remind themselves of their devotion aloud or in their heart ““Ego autem, cum mihi molesti essent, induebar cilicio” when they need to resist temptation.
Props: Chain looking bracelet or band
Effect: The spiked chain may be hidden underneath clothing, but causes constant Pain to the limb it is worn on, treating it as if it were Injured for as long as the chain is worn. The wearer may further tighten it to suffer a Bleed on that limb in order to call Discipline.
Vestments of Travel
Priest vestments are enforced and made durable for use during travel.
As we emerged from the wood, we were ragged, our clothes ripped and our feet bare from the ordeal. Bathier touched my feet, and spoke the words over them, washed them and set me upon the path again. “All they need is the word of the Lord to cloth them”, he said, and my strength was renewed for the path ahead.
Ritual: A leather long coat is modified to hold a linen inner lining that is layers thick. The linen is permanently dyed with the symbol of Melandiel, Archangel of Travel along with the entire Sanctae Viae, copied amidst the layers of linen in ink. Outside, the coat is stained on the shoulders to bear the blazing lion or to bear a silver leonem hanging around the neck of the coat.
The construction of this coat takes a Action to copy enough of the scriptures to fill the inside of it and to stain the shoulders.
Component: Light Armor Set, Priest Vestments, Sheaf of Paper, Sheaf of Paper, Ink, 5 Liturgy Effort
Props: Scripture lining and a leather-looking coat costume
Effect: This creates a special Outfit that only functions while the Priest is wearing it. The coat serves as Priest Vestments and allows the Priest to call Armor once per scene, and remain Inspired until it is used, rather than expiring after at the end of the scene.
The penitent whips themselves or others in punishment for transgressions.
Bathier stood and watched the executions, tears twinkling in the firelight. He told me that he had to watch them die, as their deaths were due to his vain sermons against their masters. As the last man fell limp from the shock of the blows that scourged his flesh, Bathier went to the soldier and, removing his robes, asked to be beaten, but the man recognized Bathier as a holy man and refused. Seizing the man’s scourge, Balthier fell to his knees in the bloody street and began to weep prayers of forgiveness for his pride as he played out the agony of his soul upon his flesh. The gathered serfs and soldiers watched the blood of the holy man mingle with that of the dead he had wronged. When Bathier stood again, all could see he was a man redeemed in the eyes of God. He returned the whip to the soldier, but the man refused it, instead kneeling in the street and bearing his back. The soldier then begged Bathier to take his sins from his hide so that God might know of his sincerity.
Ritual: The penitent is brought forward before all assembled in prayer and whipped with a scourge. The penitent must recite the verses of this scripture or ask God for forgiveness. The process of being whipped takes at least 5 minutes.
Props: Flogger or soft whip
Effect: The Priest may whip themselves or another Penitent to the point of being Downed, taking about five minutes. Once the penitent is Downed, they can be tended to as normal. They lose one Depravity of the character’s choice, and if this was their only sin that Event then they may still count the Event as sinless for the purpose of gaining Sanctae Viae Achievements.
If the penitent was already Battered before the Flagellation they gain an appropriate Maim chosen by staff.
The priest condemns an unrepentant sinner
“The soul does violence to itself First, by becoming an abscess by ignoring the will of God when such presents itself to him directly, and in so doing then becomes a tumor upon the world; to fear the will of God, to suffer those who wilfully spurn Him; or to actively do evils upon yourself and upon others wilfully.” Covenants
Ritual: This dire ritual is only used as a last resort, often against those in power who consider themselves above morality. The priest must first approach the accused and offer them Atonement. Only once they have refused Atonement may the ritual proceed.
The priest must gather 7 victims harmed by the accused sin, and bring the accused before them. After hearing the victim’s testimony against the accused, the priest must again offer Atonement, though the penance may be harsh and punitive.
Should the accused once again reject redemption, the priest may declare them severed from humanity, a tumor upon the world, and call on the faithful to reject them. No member of the Church will give them aid of any kind, and their people will turn against them.
The only way for the accused to return to grace is by fulfilling the Atonement given to them in their trial.
Props: Courtroom atmosphere
Effect: Any Spiritual person who knows about the accused’s Censure immediately breaks all positive Bonds or Beliefs about the accused, and may not form new ones for as long as the Censure is in effect.
Ceremony of the Crozier, the Shepherd’s Crook
The priest prepares their blessed staff, so that they may carry the presence of the Lord wherever they may go
After Fenristadt, Bathier left his shepherd’s crook upon the emperor’s throne, and left the city without shoes or supplies. Though none of us knew where he had gone, we knew that all men would find him.
Ritual: The Priest carries with them an adorned staff, a shepherd’s crook, as a reminder to themselves of their duty to Humanity, and to others the presence of the Lord is bound to Humanity, not to church buildings.
At the heart of the ceremony is a simple staff bearing the Seal of Melandiel, grounded and upright, claiming Dominion for Humanity in the Wilderness. The Seals of the other Archangels may be added to the staff as well to extend Dominion to those Covenants as well.
The mendicant who truly feels the Hospitality of the Lord may hang a lantern from their crook bearing the Seal of Melandiel on its glass so that the angel’s shadow might fall upon them. While the Shepherd’s Crook is planted and standing upright, the friar may Exert in order to call Sacred Obey: “Malefic: Do not Approach” on any malefic creature that the light touches.
The Stained Cloth
The priest who has given out the Sudarium knows that community thrives by the sweat of their brow. By affixing a Sudarium to their crook that has been given away and found its way through a community and back to them, the mendicant may call on the bonds they have made with all humanity to create unity with anyone they might meet. As long as they remain kind and genuine, the mendicant may call Spiritual Obey: “Take a Bond towards me: (Priest) means me no harm” at will
Props: Crozier staff or Shepherd’s Crook, Lantern, Bell, Cloth strip
Effect: When planted upright either by stake or a base, the Crozier claims Dominion for the Church of Mankind and the Covenants of the Archangels. Depending on what other rituals the priest knows, the Crozier gains many other effects, often in an aura around the planted Crozier.