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
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.
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.
Prop: Chalk perimeter, door tag
Effect: The Priest gains the Light Sleeper character Perk. A door tag must be used to indicate this to any would-be assailants.
Refuse food to bolster Faith.
When Bathier came upon the Reikengard fields that had suffered so badly in the Henberger Rebellion, he was deeply moved by their turmoil and bid we all stop at assist them in any way we could. The people of Reikengard needed food most of all, for the fields had been burned and the harvest utterly failed. Of what food he had, Bathier gave every morsel to the people in direst need, and said that he would suffer with them, as one of them. Markgraf Boritz had siege provisions in the keep of the fortress nearby, but refused to use them as relief for the people in case Henberger’s sons returned from exile with armies. Many people wished to take the food, but were too weak to raid the storehouses or demand relief. Yet even as they starved, Bathier seemed to grow more powerful with each passing day, until finally his righteous anger lead him to challenge the thane directly.
Ritual: The priest simply does not eat, instead choosing to pray in silent contemplation of the Lord.
Archangel of Winds, Change, Music, Travel and Hope
Melandiel is the Messenger and Herald of the Lord
Effect: After the Priest has spent the Chapter in meditative Poverty, during the next Event, so long as the Priest remains Miserable, they gain an additional level of Faith.
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.
Ritual: Five minutes of silence before a meal spent in silent prayer. Any who also eat with the priest and bow their heads may gain the benefits of this ritual as well.
Effect: Food or water becomes safe to consume and all traits from drugs and poisons are removed from the meal.
Divine the direction of the destination.
As we fled through the forest, we were harried by the riders of the Markgraf, who wished to see us slain for his humiliation. They harried us through the woods, and many times we heard them riding down the road, but then past us, then doubled back and missed us again. Bathier lead us directly through wood and wild, having no need for the signs and paths of others. When I asked him how he knew the way through the dark of the wood, he replied only that “All roads lead to the Lord.”
Ritual: The priest dangles a little leonem on a silver chain while whispering prayers for guidance.
Props: Leonem, chain
Effect: The Priest may enter and lead any number of followers through Wilderness, and they may use the Ignore signal whenever they are off the path so long as they don’t use any other Skills. During Downtime Travel, the individuals travelling with the Priest travel with a reduced risk of threat.
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 died 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 one Downtime to copy enough of the scriptures to fill the inside of it and to stain the shoulders.
Component: Light Armor, Sheaf of Paper, Sheaf of Paper
Props: Scripture lining and a leather-looking coat costume
Effect: While the Priest is wearing it, the coat protects as Medium Armor, and Hope lasts until used, rather than expiring after an Hour.
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 priest a good meal or a place to stay the night, that the priest has accepted, he may then trace holy water along the front door frame and window lintels, 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 it is Sacred.
In Melandiel’s Footsteps
Travel More Swiftly
As we left the small respite of our host, we were fed and clad, but none wanted to remain. Eager we were, to be along the way once more, for we knew that though we had passed into another land, word of the growing parade of mendicants would frighten those ahead as well as those we left behind. Before long, the horses were upon us once again, now of several banners instead of but one. As even our new boots and clothes became ragged once more in our trek, we found that our speed across the land only increased – each breath filling us with joy instead of dread. The lightness of our spirits matched the quickness of our journey and even the horsemen, wicked of heart, could match our pace.
Ritual: At sunrise when a journey begins, the priest gathers all who wish to gain divine favor. Chanting and praying with a leonem, the Priest mixes ashes from burnt holly with holy water and anoints the bare feet of the gathered with the mark of Melandiel.
Effects: While travelling during this Chapter, the group travelling with the priest count their Travel speed as one higher
Wind of Unseen Travel
Effect: This flask protects its holder and those nearby from magical divination of any kind. The flask’s blessing lasts for one Chapter, but the flask itself may be reused.
Station of Brotherhood
Awe of Consummate Virtue
Abstinence from Tribulation
Travel unmolested by evil creatures.
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: A shepherd’s crook with a silver bell is held as a walking stick, and sets to travel, eating nothing and never hiding from the elements, allowing the world to buffet them.
Props: Shepherds crook with bell.
Effect: The Priest makes one Travel attempt with normal risks and enters Poverty, becoming Miserable and Diseased. As long as the Priest remains Miserable and carry the shepherd’s crook, no wickedness will find them. They and any who follow them with hand on their shoulder may use the Ignore signal at will until they reach their destinations, though must end Ignore if they stop walking.
Used for Travel, this removes all travel risks until the group reaches their destination.
Become unto the people as a spiritual leader.
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 priest divests himself of all lands, possessions, titles, and wealth, living a life of total humility and poverty trusting only God to provide for him. The priest must maintain a Depravity of 0.
Effect: All people can see the Priest’s inherent virtues and cannot help but respond to the higher calling that they represent. The Priest may call “Heed me: Do me no harm,” even on beasts, monsters or anathema, or Obey: “Help me” at will with any human being, so long as they maintain the restrictions of the ritual.