The Orders of Anaimon
The Orders serve many different functions throughout each region of Anaimon. Comprised of Military, State, and Political designations, they reach through every stratified level of the ‘civilised’ regions of the world, providing military forces and political leadership, prophets, community leaders, teachers, doctors and nurses, law enforcement, tradespeople and artisans; almost every facet of society where the Orders reign are affected and influenced by their decisions.
Reaching far back into Anaimon’s earliest spans, the Orders came into being at the behest of the Gods who created and shaped the world, including the mortal populace that dwelled therein. Over long stretches of time, the Gods were able to subtly shape and manipulate the intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical development of the human race they created, gifting their mortal followers with the ability to perceive and understand, albeit on a very cryptic and rudimentary level, correspondence from the Gods. These divine messages in turn would be utilised to help further develop a complex and internalised spiritual state, wherein direct communication could be achieved with the Gods.
It was through such profound evolutions that the Gods gave guidance and wisdom to their followers, teaching them the basic tenets for a successful life and productive, functional society. These tenets in turn were ruminated upon and open for dialogue and debate between men and women, and together with ongoing instruction and direction from the Gods, formed the very basis for both the Orders and the civilisations of Anaimon where they govern in the Gods’ name.
On Anaimon there are nineteen major regional divisions of the Orders, along with numerous smaller shrines, minor chapters, and temple-sites not formally accounted for. The latter are places purely of worship and pilgrimage; spiritual centres that do not play a large part in the governance of a region and though important for spiritual reasons, are considered external to the structure and alignment of the Orders’ regional divisions and minor chapters.
The formal regional divisions of the Order mostly adhere to a common structure and hierarchy, and though some deviations and differences can be found, on the whole they represent a highly efficient and homogenous organisation. Given the immense logistical framework the Order is reliant upon, deviation from the standard structure is minimal, though small differences can arise from time to time and are usually negotiated at length to ensure the ongoing stability and efficient optimisation of all stakeholders concerned.
Each of the four major continents of Anaimon possesses at least a few regional divisions and minor chapters of the Order, though their resources and infrastructure differ greatly. The largest divisions have considerable lands, resources and personnel in both the Militares and Midniaros, as well as augmented Auxilia components. Smaller chapters exist as semi-isolated cells or pockets distributed across the continents, some as small as perhaps a dozen acolytes or monks tending to a small votive shrine or monastery garden-sanctuary.
Their belief system is well-structured, organised, and even documented, wherein specific rituals known to appease, animate, entertain, or rouse the Gods to fury have been recorded for posterity and training purposes, but given their sensitive nature, are restricted to only the highest officials. The pantheon of Anaimon’s Gods, as worshipped by the Order, demand or are given a multitude of supplicatory offerings, usually foodstuffs, fine animals believed to have been created as the Gods’ favourite, effigies and artworks, but never living people.
Even defeated enemies are spared from ritual execution, though most of the Orders’ enemies do not survive beyond the battle to bear witness to this fact. Once in their earliest history, the consecrated chosen were permitted to be offered in sacrifice as perhaps the ultimate honour and acknowledgement of being a truly divine servant of the Gods in rituals known as the Harvest of Whispers and the Narthekeia. These practices, however, were later condemned by the Gods and repudiated, and are considered base, horribly scornful acts of the highest disrespect and anti-theistic sentiment.
It is for such reasons that the Midniaros, the spiritual and political branch of the Order, have penance for failures or inconsistencies in their religious observations or duties, including fasting, meditation and seclusion, pilgrimages and redemptive journeys to re-awaken ones’ faith, as well as physical activities and labour duties even for senior officials who have earned the ire of their superiors or of the Gods. Unlike the Militares, the Midniaros rarely enact or encourage any form of flagellation or physical discipline, be it whipping, strapping, or otherwise, and for this reason alone many of the warriors of the Militares carry a little disdain or contempt for members of the Midniaros, whom they see as capable of more demanding service, but choosing the easier path. For the Midniaros, particularly those in the higher castes, their service, duties, and sense of responsibility easily match, and at times may even exceed those more physical rigours demanded of the Militares.
Paradoxically, the Schtelten and Garren Militares, the military and intelligence branches of the Order respectively, both have mandated summary judgements (executions) for grievous errors and breaches of Militares law. Within the Schtelten Militares, the guilty party is offered a chance to complete a modified version of the infamous ‘Vanas Agon’, an endurance exercise designed to simulate combat, but undertaken by a single warrior. The punitive version of this is made all the more difficult, for practice weapons and blunted projectiles are exchanged for their deadly, real-world counterparts.
Only those who truly prove their commitment to virtue and courage of The Conflicts, the divine twins and patron deities of warfare and martial excellence, are worthy of a second chance. For the rest, they either die undertaking their redemptive Vanas Agon, or fail the final duel, and are beheaded by the cohort master currently assigned the role of Disciplinary Officer for the Koinomahke the offender serves within.
For the Garren Militares, few can truly say anything with certainty of their customs, habits, or methods. It is enough that most believe the Garren are far more ruthless than their reputation suggests, and as such only rumour and hearsay is exchanged, and that at best is brief, whispered, and ill-omened. This reputation proves of great benefit to the Orders, who maintain control through the dissemination of their teachings, through integration, engagement and leadership in the community through the Midniaros, on the battlefield with the Koinomahkes of the Schtelten Militares, and behind the scenes with the shady works of the Garren Militares.
Though their worship is considered equal, different divisions of the Order have a tendency to favour the Gods or Goddesses whose influence is of the greatest benefit to their own overt and subtle inclinations and goals. The Gods may offer mandates, but only rarely, and these tend toward significant activity or undertakings on the Order across multiple divisions. For the most part, the Orders govern in the Gods’ stead, and interpret as best they can the Gods’ will and wishes for their respective region of influence.
It is important to note that while many divisions of the Order act in concert with one another toward achieving shared goals, they are just as often opposed, and Anaimon’s history is littered with nearly as many internecine conflicts between divisions of the order as it is with the Order’s external wars against hostile enemies. Each Order’s relationship to its’ peers is complicated by history, by long-standing but unspoken feuds or rivalries, and often, by the whims and unfathomable machinations of the Gods themselves.
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(C) Timothy Nancarrow 2014