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Raspberry LA

Order of the Word (Temple City)

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Geography

The Temple of the Word is carved directly from the side of one of the huge sheer cliffs typical of the Oureadwhich overlooks a large, relatively flat highland plateau. The rock has been shaped to externally resemble a very artistic vision of Gaia, with the heads of a bear, a markhor, and a bison looking out from the stone around her upper body. At her feet is a stone representation of a flowing river; these four symbols represent the four sub-orders from which the Order of the Word was formed. 

Below the Temple, a city has been built on the plateau. Most of the buildings are double-storied slate roofed houses crafted from stone mined in the higher reaches of the Ouread. The streets are laid out in a very orderly grid fashion; the blocks are clearly defined and grouped into residential, commercial, and industrial zones. The main roads are wide enough for two laden carts to pass each other, while secondary roads are just slightly narrower. A thirty-two foot tall wall stretches across the plateau from east to west, connecting the two cliffs on either side of the city. 

To the north, the land remains flat until it reaches a trail up into the higher mountains, a treacherous pass known locally as the "Cuada Draconis" (Tail of the Dragon). To the west, the mountain cliffs part slightly, and a pass leading to the lower elevations has been widened and graded by Order engineers to allow access to the rest of the world; from there, roads to Coth and Blairville (referred to by locals as, collectively, "the flatlands") are fairly well maintained. Mountain settlements, some specifically allied to the Order but many not yet, dot the land and become more numerous as the elevation decreases.

The eastern mountains are impassable by large groups, but those who know the mountains can find small, dubious paths through the craggy terrain. 

 

Organization

While more loosely structured than most militaristic religious bodies, the Order of the Word is only "lax" by comparison. From an outside perspective, they are well organized and value promptness and organization (with the exception of some of the older members of what used to be the Perfected Order). A push for open-mindedness and acceptance of all races, cultures, and belief systems has gained considerable ground, and allowed the Order to swell their ranks faster than those that require full conversion to a pre-packaged way of thought. Such a technique would be doomed to fail anyway, given the variety of interpretations of their own religion that exist among the members. 

Education is also highly valued by the Order. While many subjects have always been taught disparately depending on which sect someone was joining, now new recruits are required to have at least a functional understanding of many things. This includes world history, math, physics, science, engineering, literature, and comparative theology. Once this basic education is completed, a student begins an apprenticeship which specializes their knowledge. 

 

Government and Politics

Law

Actual laws, rather than policies or guidelines, are few and simple, but strictly enforced. In addition to the standard concepts like murder and theft, necromancy is specifically prohibited in Order territory, and they take the same dim view on the undead as traditional Gaianists. 

The accused are entitled to a trial, to have their story heard if the choose, and to representation. Judgements and sentence are handed down by a randomly chosen jury of five Knights. The death penalty is technically on the books, but typically the harshed punishment meted out is exile. For lesser infractions, things like community service or "meditation" (short term imprisonment to contemplate one's poor choices) are common. 

 

Foreign Relations

The Order sees unity among all people as the only path back to the Grand Terran empire. As such, all foreign relations begin with diplomacy, in the spirit of finding common ground to come together on. This has led to some odd things, such as the alliance with the citizens of Coth, who follow a religion distinctly opposed to and intended to replace Gaianism. 

 

Military

Currently, there are about 400 knights in the service of the Order. Among them are engineers, siege weapon operators, tactical (small group) units, medics, scouts, and general infantry. 

 

Economy

The primary economy of the order relies on mining. Building stone, precious minerals, and gems are quite common in the Ouread, especially in the higher reaches, accessible only to those who know the twisty paths up the mountains.

Meat and furs are also frequently sold or traded outside the community.

Agriculture is more difficult, so what produce is grown is not exported. Temple City is a net importer of vegetables and fruits. 

 

Canon and History

Completed Threads

The Symbol of Unity

 

History

The Order is based on the last spoken word of the martyred St. Zedda. It is believed that at the moment of his death, he was possessed by spirit of Gaia to give a dire prophecy: “To survive the coming darkness, the world must embrace dasuvalda.” The final word was not in any known language. The four priests that were with St. Zedda at the time of his death each came up with a different origin and translation for that final word. Ironically, all four sects agreed that it had something to do with a theme of unity and togetherness, but had a schism over it anyway. Just goes to show how human frailty can muck up even a specific directive delivered by the divine Herself.

As the effects of the Terran civil war have stretched even into the remote regions of the Blaurg Mountains, where they were based, the four sects came to believe that this event was precisely the darkness that St. Zedda was warning them about. Ashamed of how their low-key feud had potentially allowed the civil war to come into being, the leaders of each sub-sect reached an agreement to come together.

The accord was shaky at first, but after a pair of potential disasters that were only averted by working together without regard for their former sect alliances, the Council has ordered all such references be relegated to the discussion of history. While members may still display the symbols associated with their old order, the official color, black, is the only color allowable when in uniform. 

 

The Council is still arguing over an appropriate symbolic representation for their banner. 

Edited by Raspberry LA

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