Abridged History of the 10th Age
The worship of Haeron has its organizational center in the ancient land of the Avars; what is now the Third Empire lays claim to dominance of all Hierian worship in the entire world. However, that is not to say that other temples haven’t grown up in other regions, independent of oversight from Miles. This entry will first deal with the Third Empire temple and then with the breakaway and independent regions.
The Hierian Temple of Miles
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
This organization lays claim to the oldest unbroken chain of worship to the Hammerer in the North. Myth and some scholarship says that the First Men who came up from the ancient lands now known as Zesh worshiped the Hammerer as a God of craftsmanship. There are some interesting hints that this is not the case, however; it may be a legend that has sprung up from nothing. Interestingly, it seems that the First Men learned the worship of Haeron from the dwarves–it is thought by some religious scholars that Haeron is a translation of Eiri Earthfather into old Second Empire Varan. Whatever, the truth may be, worship of Haeron began at Miles and spread outwards to most of the Imperial holdings in the Third Age.
Today, the Hierian Temple of Miles has been integrated by the Kings of Thyrnesse (now known as the Emperors of the Third Empire) as of the coming of the Galoen line into the very structure of the Kingdom/Empire. Law courts in the Empire are unique amongst the feudal lands of the North in that they are not presided over by the secular lords but rather by the important clerics of the Temple.
The structure of the Temple is simple and straightforward. The central temple-complex is located the city of Miles proper and is under the direct oversight of the Lawkeeper, the most important cleric of Haeron. The Lawkeeper (currently Elarent Pellan) is thought to have a direct link to Valingas and Haeron himself. Beneath the Lawkeeper are the Twelve Divines, who are responsible for the welfare and spiritual well-being (as well as legal workings) of the twelve large districts that the Temple has divided the north into.
Below the Twelve Divines are two parallel positions: the Metropolitans, who are responsible for major urban centers and the Hierophants who oversee large districts outside of cities. The lowest ranking of Temple cleric are the Peacewards who serve at a local level.
The temple also supports a number of Vaelen clerics known as the Sacred Heralds who are charged with running messages and are not to be waylaid nor their sacred charges to be opened by any other than their recipients on pain of spiritual turmoil and physical reciprocation by the Temple and the kingdoms that support it. This allows the Temple to remain in constant communication as well as to pass down canon law.
In addition to maintaining these Vaelan heralds, the Hierian temple of Miles also oversees the worship of Tallial, Halor, and Vaela herself. These three faiths do not have enough clerics or adherents to have their own temples. Both Tallial and Halor often have icons and sub-altars in Hierian temples, while Vaela has many roadside shrines that more often than not have no attendants.
The regions administered by the Twelve Divines are known as Divinities. The First Divinity is reserved for the Lawkeeper and encompasses the Milean Hearthland and the County of Bataille. The Second Divinity focuses on the Lonely Lands, Lamp Country, Serpent Country, and Seareach. The Second Divine administers his Divinity from the Temple at Miles, working alongside the Lawkeeper. Amely Lebrun is the Second Divine.
The Third Divine governs Byrne, Meirenia, and the Colonies and his temple (the White Hammer) is located along the Coast of Scythes. Hunder O’lone is the Third Divine.
The Fourth keeps watch over the Vales, Teral and Dorlan, and his temple is located in Dorlan’s capital of Orano. The Fourth Divinity governs the lands of Weyland, Claulan, Stonemark, and Llyria with the Temple of the Fourth Divine being an ancient Llyrian foundation. Derio d’Veccio is the Fourth Divine.
The Fifth Divine oversees the Free Cities of the East, and his seat is at the Temple of the Golden Anvil in Blackport. Ulazer ban Irr is the Fifth Divine.
The Sixth Divine oversees the Gold Coast, Kjellos, and Craftsman’s Reach. His temple is located in the Wilderlund at the sight known as Amberhill. He is named Furin the Wise.
The Seventh Divine is technically responsible for Cymballar, Agstowe, and Essad, but most Seventh Divines neglect their duty to the Essadis. The Temple of the Cleansing Light is located in the land of Cymballar; the current Seventh Divine is Gedder Da’gonnel.
The Eighth Divine was meant to watch over Caruel and Soloth, but his position truly amounts to little more than scattered holdings along the great rivers. The Eighth Divine has no permanent temple; it was once located in Kallatha but destroyed in the Ninth Age. The current Eighth Divine is Malus Ementhea.
The Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Divine all rule over the northernmost north. The Twelve Divine oversees Ralashar and the Neck.
Hierean temples in Miles follow a general rule of square-shaped and hypostyle interiors with an anvil-form altar at one end. Niches may be present for the worship of other, subsidiary gods, but the most important of these is the alcove behind the altar which bears a statue of Haeron himself; in poorer communities this may be a rough wood carving while wealthy places may have a gold-plated statue of mammoth proportions.
In addition to the altar and statue (as well as the Inner Temple, which only cult members may enter) there is one other extremely important feature: the menrab, or Seat of Judgement, which is a tall throne that can only be reached by the ascent of many steps, usually placed in a position subsidiary to the main altar-space, forward and often to the direct right (if viewed facing the altar). This seat is reserved for use during judicial proceedings during which time a Hierean priest will ascend to it to act as the judge (and the leader of the judicial assembly) and ascertain the truth in the matter of the trial. Many solemn oaths are also sworn at the foot of a menrab, such as the oath of liegeship between the nobles of the Empire and their Emperor, sworn at the Great Throne of the Lawkeeper’s Temple in Miles.
Each temple also has a sacral vault wherein the records of each decision made by one of the temple’s clerics. Once a year during what is called the Clerk’s Feast (Festing 18th) the clerics of each local temple send their records (by sacred courier) to the temple at which the Divine resides.
Every five years, sitting clerics must journey to the offices of their Divine (the Pilgrimage of Faith) and sit before the Council of Elect where they are questioned to make certain that the clerics are capable of maintaining their duties as judges.
Tallial’s clerics are quite few. They are generally divided into three types: those who are within the Hierian orthodoxy and dwell within Hierian churches, those who are not attached to any physical temple-location (and who are frequently cruel or insane), and lastly those who live in the Free Cities and serve them in a war-like context or otherwise serve in temples that are dedicated to Tallial alone, rather than in tandem (and below) the Hierian organization.
The clerics who serve the orthodox temple are the most numerous and are frequently consulted by the Avarine states in which they reside. It is rumored that the Emperor Tamerin has several of these in his train at all times to pray for victory. These clerics are also consulted in times of plague or disease in order to help alleviate the problem.
Those who roam free are generally adventurers or madmen. Both tend to be more like Tallial than those who serve the orthodox temple. In this sense they are generally insane or extremely cruel.
Halor, like Tallial, does not have their own hierarchy of temples. Instead, Halorians are attached to various orthodox Hierian temple-sites and serve side-altars. Like Tallian priests who serve the Avarine kingdoms, the Halorians are often granted positions in the service of lords who require their guidance.
The Hierian temple of Miles also donates money to the Halorian organization known as the Order of the Sword Militant.
The Vaelan “temple” is the smallest of the three sub-temples. They never have altars in the Hierian temples; the only real relation they have the Hierian orthodoxy is that the Hierians support (in payment of food and gold) lone Vaelan clerics who inhabit wilderness road-watching temples.
There are a few Vaelan temples scattered throughout the north. These individual temples are kept up not by the grace of the Hierian orthodox coffers but by the good graces of the local populace, from whom they generally draw their clergy.