Age of Ruin| The Church of the Pale Lord

Dooley

The Hermit
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Known worship of The Pale Lord predates the First Era. Similar to many modern religions, The Pale Lord is said to have been one of the Living Gods that walked the planet at that time. The patron of balance and equivalent exchange, it is taught that The Pale Lord grew sickened by the misuse of divine power by other Living Gods and magic by the Elder Races. So willingly did people of that chaotic time alter nature to suite their own whims that the world itself was threatened. Gathering his closest followers, The Pale Lord enacted a powerful ritual that quite literally tore apart reality. The Living Gods and the Elder Races were pulled from the world, cast into a new existence, while Humanity and the other Lesser Races remained. Unfortunately; this magic affected The Pale Lord as well, casting him into this new realm. The few follower that survived went on to spread his teachings in the years to come, yet many places they were met with harsh resistance. Many of the Living Gods had favored certain peoples and societies over others, bestowing upon them many blessings. Followers of the Pale Lord were often hunted by the dejected faithful of other deities. Not until millennia later in year 873 of the Second Era did they gain widespread acceptance as the State Religion of Nothlodar.​

The Church
Officially only four centuries old, The Church of the Pale Lord remains one of the younger religious organizations in the world. It's presence outside of Nothlodar is minimal at best, despite heavy missionary expeditions. In the Galhoth Empire it is expressly outlawed under penalty of death which has surely hindered it's overall growth. Despite that, it remains strong in Nothlodar. The sole publicly allowed religion there, it penetrates all aspects of society. The Archbishop is suspected at times to hold as much sway over the course of the nation as the King, though to date there has never been conflict between the crown and the church. Recently the power of the church was extended with the Right of Inquisition due to the occupation. Though it has dealt with heretics and heathens before, never have those actions been recognized by the crown. Now with a royal mandate to purge nonbelievers, the church is more powerful then ever before.
Structure:
The Church is lead by the Archbishop who is elected by a panel of his peers after the death of his predecessor. Under him are the Cardinals that serve as the main governing body of the Church. Next are Bishops that head monasteries and cathedrals, who are in turn served by the Priests. Last are Acolytes, whom are still training to enter the priesthood.

Role:
The Church serves many roles in Nothlodar. Primarily it acts as the spiritual leader of the nation, serving it's communities and enriching their lives. More directly though the Church operates in nearly all levels of government. Holding positions in nearly all legal courts including a seat on the High Council. In lands it owns the Church also acts in the role of feudal lord to it's subjects.

The Pale Lord:
In modern worship, The Pale Lord is regarded as the guardian of the natural order. Though he is honored for a variety of things, his major aspects are balance and equivalent exchange. Because of this most offerings made to him in prayer are subjectively equal to what is being asked for. Human sacrifice is taboo, but has been committed by the more crazed or zealous follower. The moon is also considered a major aspect of The Pale Lord, the full moon especially. Most ceremonies conducted by the church or in his honor coincide with a full moon due to this. In most interpretations The Pale Lord is depicted as a tall thin man with pale skin and silver hair. His features are usually very sharp, with high cheekbones and a pointed chin. It is common for drawings to have him holding scales or a nearly overflowing glass.
The Pale Ring
Officially founded in 875 SE by the Church in to aid in the war against Galhoth. Though more zealous members and historians claim the roots of the order actually predate the First Era. Where the brave and faithful took up arms in the Pale Lord's name. Regardless, the Pale Ring has been even present in Nothlodar since it gained independence. As a knightly order it is primarily militant in nature; focused on protecting Church lands, pilgrims, and holy sites. At times the order is charged with apprehending heretics or assisting the forces of Nothlodar itself. That aside, the order is also known to act as healers and diplomats. They provide aid to locals that cannot garner attention from the crown or pay for outside assistance. Many in Nothlodar revere the order, idolizing it's actions and merits. Their current role in the occupation of Caeldeth is unprecedented, none of it's number having ever taken part in an inquisition of this scale.
Structure:
The Pale Ring is arranged in the way of most knightly orders. It is lead by a sole Grandmaster that answers only to the Archbishop. Directly under him are the Paladins that serve as both commanders and the most venerated of the order. Next are the Knights that make up the bulk of the order's forces. Finally there are the initiates, the hopefuls training so that they too may one day serve.

The Cold Iron Ring:
The order gets it's namesake from the pale circular brands upon their chest. It is a brand that marks you are a member of the order once you graduate from initiate to knight. Unlike most brands however, this one is not hot but indescribably cold. It was said to be a gift of the Pale Lord himself, a faint trace of his power left in the mortal world. Once pressed against the skin it scars it, leaving a ghostly white circle where placed.