Chronicles of Neverael
Church of the One
The Church of the One formed during the waning years of the Atlaneian Empire around the teachings of the Prophet Gaean. Supposed to have received divinely inspired visions, the Prophet began a movement which would eventually spell out the end for the dying Empire and give rise to a new theocratic force in Antegaea.
The Church of the One teaches that the universe was created as a prison by The One to contain a being of pure darkness known as the Adversary. The powers of the Adversary interacted with the One’s prison to startling effect and life was born of it. The One, not wishing to consign any other being to dominion by his Adversary, raised up the mean creatures which had been born in the Adversary’s prison – giving them thought, emotion, will, and incarnating in them a flicker of his own divine spirit. In doing this, the One created beings who existed in both the spiritual and physical planes simultaneously – an unheard of thing. With his incarnate will invested in their beings, these creatures – Humans – would have the power to choose between embracing the darkness or rising above it to the light. In the end, the Adversary will use the power of those spirits who have fallen into darkness to break open the universe and once again wage war on The One. Those who have risen above, to the light, will wage war side by side with the One and go on to live as gods after the death of the universe. Or so the Oneites say.
Whatever the case may be, the religion believes that the afterlife is two-fold. Those who have ascended or been damned and those who have been reborn. Those have proven themselves worthy ascend, those who damn themselves become slaves of the Adversary. Those who do neither are reborn over and over again until they go one way or another.
The Church of the One wields considerable secular power and, of course, power over the masses in the form of spiritual dogma. The Church is structured with a Prophet – chosen by the will of the One – as it’s leader. Below the Prophet is a council of Disciples – nominally there are 7 seats on this council but only 5 are ever actually filled. The other two remain vacant in memory of the two original disciples who lost their lives during the assassination of the original Prophet. Beneath this council of Disciples are an array of High Priests and Priestesses. Below them are the normal Priests and Priestesses of the One. Finally, a number of other functionary roles are filled by those of particular devotion to the Church. There are many different orders and factions within the Church – some of them devoted to different interpretations or aspects of the One’s will as espoused by the great Prophets who have gone before and whom are worshiped as incarnate aspects of the One’s being.
Despite being mostly peaceful, the Church has a militant side to it. The White Knights of the One were formed guard the clergy and deal with corruption, heresy, and blasphemy amongst the believers. The White Knights were formed by the first lieutenant of Natholai Jonarte’s Scarlet Company – a convert to the faith who brought Natholai’s battlefield genius into the service of the Church in a more permanent manner. Many derisively call the White Knights Natholai’s bastard child but they are, in their own right, incredible on the battlefield.
The Church has a standing policy of grudging cooperation with the Eben Guard – but feel that they should have more of a hand in keeping the world safe from the Blacklands. They consider the Blackgate War to be proof of their dogma – they think that a hole was opened into the Adversary’s cell or some such. The also believe that only their faith can truly heal the Blacklands. The Eben Guard has other ideas. The Church has, from time to time, been known to make mistakes and cause horrible things to happen to various people. The persecution of the Eumedico left many with bitter feelings toward the Church.
Despite some poor decision in the past, the Church is a force for order and stability within Antegaea – being the primary political force behind the formation of the Concordant Council. The Church has immeasurably increased the standard of living of hundreds of thousands of people. Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made for the greater good – or so the saying goes.