Melandihim

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

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.

 

The Seal of Melandiel

SANCTAE VIAE, VIRTUE OF PILGRIMAGE‍

This gospel speaks on the words of Saint Bathier, a traveling monk that took great measures to strip himself of all distractions from the Lord. Within, he speaks on how one’s life is a battle of constant excess that leeches from us our ability to commit wholly to God’s vision. This gospel seeks to redefine the role of the priest as one without limits of institution, expanding a shepherd’s flock to all he can walk to. Thus, the texts are steeped in controversy, and many ranking cardinals do not appreciate how it undermines the will of the church.

Covenant of Poverty
A member of the Melandihim 
may never accept payment for any service be it spiritual or practical, either in coin or in barter.  They may accept donations freely offered, but may not take them as a form of exchange.

Mendicants may earn a Melandihim Achievement whenever they shame someone into a virtuous path without violence.  Melandihim Achievements may be spent as Priest Achievements, or to learn the Sacred Rites of Melandiel.

‍Initiated Rituals

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.

Melandiel

Archangel of Winds, Change, Music, Travel and Hope

Melandiel is the Messenger and Herald of the Lord

Ritual: The friar gives a prayer of thanks for the meal before spending a few moments in silence with head bowed. Any who also eat with the priest and bow their heads and wait may gain the benefits of this ritual as well.

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”

Sudarium

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.

Station of Brotherhood

The Priest reminds others of their station as the Lord’s will and word.

Even as we arrived in Fenristadt, the soldiery had anticipated us, and clapped Bathier in irons.  He did not resist as they put him before the Prince of Gotha, this so-called Emperor, petty and petulant on his throne before the serene dignity of Bathier.  The charge was treason and inciting rebellion, but despite these lies, Bathier was without wrath.  His voice was as the thunder above as he called the very authority of the court into question.

Ritual: The Priest must present themselves with dignity and decorum while unarmed, unarmored, and dressed in the Outfit of a Priest.  

Props: Priest Vestments

Effect: While the Priest maintains a dignified presence they may Exert to enter Posture, able to use Authority at will and may spend Posture to call Discipline.

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.

Cilice

The Priest causes themselves discomfort to steel themselves against temptation.

Ego autem, cum mihi molesti essent, induebar cilicio

Ritual: The mendicant blesses a garment or accessory designed to cause discomfort, most often a robe of rough cloth or animal hair, before reminding the recipient of their vows and admonishing them to be unyielding in the face of temptation.

Props: Rough looking cloth or spiked chain

Effect: The Priest may take a Liturgy Crafting Action to create the following recipes:

Hairshirt: 1 Garment, 5 Liturgy Effort

Spiked Chain: 2 Links, 5 Liturgy Effort

The wearer of the Hairshirt Outfit may call No Effect instead of Discipline whenever they call on one of their Beliefs to resist an Obey call. However, for as long as they are wearing it, they are Miserable.

The spiked chain may be hidden underneath clothing, but causes constant Pain to the limb it is worn on. The wearer may further tighten it to suffer a Bleed on that limb in order to call Discipline

Flagellation

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: Saturday morning, during a Convocation rite, 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 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. This may be performed successively on additional characters during the same Convocation.

Voice of Conscience 

The Priest begs for divine retribution against an unrepentant sinner

Vignette

Ritual: The Priest must first admonish the sinner and offer them the chance to repent for their wickedness. Only after the sinner has denied atonement may the Priest then invoke a holy curse upon them, calling for all to witness their wrongdoing.

Props: Condemnation and scorn

Effect: Until the cursed person atones, the Priest may call Spiritual Trauma against the sinner at any time after by shouting, violently demanding their repentance.

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 Liturgy Crafting Action to copy enough of the scriptures to fill the inside of it and to stain the shoulders, but it does not need to be performed by the Priest.

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.

Succor from Sorrow

By coming together over honesty and drink, the community gains a respite from their burdens.

Vignette.

Ritual: The mendicant must gather together those for whom the burdens and tribulations of life have become too much to bear, and serve them. The Priest must Pray over a communal vessel of alcohol that God might give those gathered respite from their sorrows, that companionship be their true nourishment and that by honest sharing their burdens might be lifted. While the participants are gathered together they must each share what has caused them to take Despair while the Priest serves them each enough for them to become Intoxicated. While the drink might edge away the pain, it is the companionship of Humanity that heals wounds.

Props: Beverages, vessel, sharing circle

Effect: Everyone who participates in sharing the cause of their Despair and becomes Intoxicated takes the Loquacious Reveler’s Trait instead of their normal trait and loses 1 Despair. This ritual causes no Depravity. This ritual consumes the mendicant’s Prayer.

‍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. 

As the mendicant Priest’s wisdom grows, so too does their blessing: 

The Lantern

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, anyone standing within the light of the lantern may Exert to call Sacred Obey: “Malefic do not approach” on any malefic creature that the light touches.

The Bell

The Priest who understands the Station of Brotherhood may hang a bell from their crozier, signaling to the virtuous that the mendicant is here to meet the needs of all people. For so long as the bell remains on their crook, the mendicant is bound to the Belief: Always help those who ask for aid. While priest obeys this Belief and remains peaceful they may Exert to call Spiritual Obey: Do me no harm. The Priest should use this symbol to offer aid to the most desperate and untrusting of folk.

The Holy Vial

The mendicant who understands the Wind of Unseen Travel may provide Melandiel’s shelter from pursuers and enemies to any who would take shelter beneath their Shepherd’s Crook. By hanging a blessed charm from that ritual that bears their own name from their crozier, the mendicant may take the hand of any who would shelter there around their staff and use the Ignore sign for so long as they are holding hands in a circle around the standing Shepherd’s Crook. Neither the Priest nor their charges may move while using Ignore. 

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 to their crook, 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: (Name) 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 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

Sacred Rituals

Awe of Consummate Virtue

Enter unbidden to any location.

The streets churned with the crowds of the righteous, for as word of Bathier’s supposed crimes had reached the capital, so too had the word of his true deeds, and the people were aghast that the crown would turn on the people of the Lord.  Though the people were not in the armaments of soldiers, when they arrived at the palace gate, the crowd subsided for Bathier, who stepped forward and, with solemnity, demanded the gate be opened.  The soldiers complied rather than face the righteous, and Bathier and his followers pushed through to the very throne, where the Emperor was removed from power.

Ritual:  The Priest must cleanse their soul of all sin and be purified and humbled.  Then the Priest and his entourage must dress in humble robes, be unarmed and unarmored, and the Priest must anoint the bare feet of those gathered with the mark of Melandiel. This is usually done with ash and holy water.

Props: Humble robes, marked feet

Effect: The Priest must cleanse their soul of all sin and maintain 0 Depravity. The Priest may Exert to call Spiritual Obey:” We may go where we please”

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: When someone has done the Priest a great service that may put them in danger of retaliation from those in power, the Priest may create an angelic blessing to protect them. 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.

Prop: Vial of water, marked with the seal and the name of the holder.

Effect: This blessed vial protects its holder and those nearby from magical divination of any kind and increases their effective Streetwise protection by their Faith. These may only be made for a person who has assisted the Priest with earning an Achievement of any kind.

Vow of Penitence 

The Priest officiates a lost soul’s vow of penitence and takes over guidance for their life.

Vignette

Ritual: When the Priest is approached by someone who wishes to take the vow of penitence, free of coercion, the Priest may induct them in the holy vows of the penitent, and swear to guide them back to the light. The penitent must wear either black or brown rough robes, and mark their face with ash as a sign of contrition for their sins. The penitent entrusts the wellbeing of their soul to the Priest and gives up all their worldly possessions.

Props: Ash makeup, rough robes

Effect: The penitent gains the following Beliefs: Never own anything. Never wear adornments. Never disobey the Priest. For each Event the penitent lives this way they lose 1 Depravity, which can include the Wicked Flaw which can then be bought off for regular XP instead of Personal Achievements. The penitent may purchase the Zealot advanced fighting style as if they were Gothic.

Censure

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 willfully spurn Him; or to actively do evils upon yourself and upon others willfully.” 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.

The Apostle’s Blessing

The isolated mendicant uplifts the faithful to service

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: They are times in missionary work that the Priest must enlist aid from their far flung congregation when traditional Ordination is unavailable. One Priest alone is sometimes not enough. By trusting in the Lord’s guidance and their own judgment, the mendicant may ordain a layperson into Melandiel’s service as another mendicant, even without the traditional blessing of a bishop.

The mendicant must take the initiate before their community during Convocation and question the community and the initiate about their fitness to serve. Should they prove acceptable before God and Man, the initiate must divest themselves of their worldly possessions, usually distributing them among the community as their first act of service. The mendicant provides the initiate with humble robes to suit their new role and then leads them in swearing to Melandiel, the Sanctae Viae, and the Covenant of Poverty. The initiate is now ordained as a Mendicant Priest. 

Props: humble robes

Effect: The Mendicant Priest may spend a Melandihim Achievement to ordain another character as a Melandihim Priest, with no permission or oversight from the greater Church necessary.