The Chanter was blessed with a great truth by the Triad, and sung that truth to the world. He drew from this Truth a great clarity, and with that clarity, a great power grew within him. In his great foresight, he predicted the abuse of magic would tear the world asunder and shatter planes of reality so carefully laid out by the Maker. The manipulation of the arcane and the addiction fostered by ill-begotten gods strained the material world and made humanity arrogant and blind to True Enlightenment.
In 741 of the Human Age a ship came to Evanwyn bearing trade goods and emissaries from the land of Calidan. Also aboard that ship were three Chanters of the Cloister, long since the religion of the distant and forgotten southern lands. It did not take long for the Enlightened Mother to see that Evanwyn held no religion of their own (at least not as she understood it), and that Evanwyn would be the battle ground come the day of reckoning. She began her work to install the Cloister in Evanwyn. In the time since their arrival, the Cloister has worked their way into the culture of Evanwyn in order to establish themselves, working with and preaching to commoners and nobles alike. They quickly began to establish roots within communities and within a generation, had gathered a substantial following amongst the masses.
During The Fracture following the Elven Wars, the Cloister allied itself and supported the King of Bandor, the most receptive of the participants in the war, leading to Bandor outlawing the mages, banning magic, and establishing the Cloister as the official religion of their land. Since that time, the Cloister has also established itself in Tilea, but it’s push into Azgohr has been largely met with resistance and blood. The Chanter's have waged a never-ending war against The Council of Nine both politically and physically. Thus far the Magi have proven difficult to rout.
There are three basic truths that form the doctrine of the Chanters.
- You are your own vessel for truth, peace, success, and happiness in this mortal life. All other forces across the planes are mercurial, fickle, and unreliable. Nurturing your inner strength and joining with those who have that same understanding will allow humanity to thrive.
- The Triad holds no more power on this plane than any other Gods, but they care for their children far more - assuring their true independence from the slavery of narcissistic gods and protection from the dangers of the arcane. The true power of humanity has been hidden for far too long.
- Magic is a force external to the human body, limited, creating addiction, slavery, and blocking the path of true power and enlightenment. Humanity, in its arrogance, has been sucking the world dry. They weaken the arcane structure with every use and bring disaster after disaster upon the realms. Necromantic blight is not natural and the realm of Xin is only a taste of what corruption is coming. That corruption only spreads, no matter what good mages and sorcerers may bring, the ultimate consequences are too great. It is time, instead, to awaken the true power hidden within us all.
Branches of the CloisterEdit
The Chanters are unlike many of Evanwyn’s religions. The Cloister does not draw power from its gods, but from psionics, viewing psions as masters of internal strength and unreliant on external forms of power. As with other religions, clergy may have these abilities to varying degrees and are not required to have psionic powers to enter the clergy - though those that develop them undeniably rise through the ranks quickly. Their abilities are honed in such a way as to make them capable healers and warriors. Healers reach into the minds of others to spur on their own rapid healing, for example, while templars and paladins are likely to use their abilities in the pursuit of truth and justice.
There are several functioning arms of the Cloister and several callings one might have. However one is more often defined by the Vows one has taken in addition to their position within the Cloister.
Vows are not life-long oaths, and one is allowed to take new vows or renew old ones every nine years. These vows designate one's order.
- The Order of the Maiden: Vows of purity. Treating one's body as a temple, refraining from intoxicants, rich foods, remaining chaste, and doing what needs to be done to create inner focus, purge oneself of the distractions of the flesh and explore the power of the mind. This allows one to be a better mentor, develop inner power, or to reach enlightenment.
- The Order of the Matron: Vows of service. Putting all before oneself to help others achieve the self-awareness that being a follower of the Chanter entails. The Order of the Matron will do what is necessary to defend the fragile within their flock, purge illness from their ranks, purify the world to make it safer for believers, and exsorcise the demons people create within their own minds. This usually entails vows of poverty, with those in the order using only what is necessary to their mission (eg. paladins will only use money to repair armor, or supplies, but will give away the rest).
- The Order of the Crone: Vows of peity and non-violence. Violence, though sometimes necessary, still gives in to animalistic instict and impedes the growth of the mind and strength of the soul. One must look to spread the Truth to those that would hear it, sharing the Chanter's song by doing no harm and assuring that the songs of the Chanter are heard through acts of benevolence, self-sacrifice, and peace. These are mentors, missionaries, and keepers of holy texts and religious artifacts.
Ranks within the Cloister
Though vows might incline a person towards certain callings, one's job and rank are independent of one's vows. In spite of the terms given to the ranks, none are ristricted by gender.
The Clerical Motherhood
The Motherhood of the Cloister are the priests and leaders of the Order. They write and lead chants to the Triad and Maker, oversee the moral dilemmas of their followers, run hospitals, charities, serve as judicators and magistrates, within other similar institutions, and head the political pushes of the Order.
The Clerical Brotherhood
The Clerics of the Cloister are the prosthelytizers and prophets of the Cloister and serve as missionaries, monks, scribes, friars, teachers and also school masters of the Order. Though every branch has its inquisitors, all are trained by the Brotherhood.
The warriors of the Cloister, defenders of the faith and the armed forces that serve as knights and footsoliders. Many are specially trained to hunt, capture, and kill mages while others simply provide protection for the Chanters and their followers.