Sects and Factions
Dangerous people grouped in covens, reputedly with black magic to back up their muscle. Ahrimites are an uncommon and mysterious sect, and on many worlds they must operate clandestinely because the practice of their religion is legally forbidden (although exactly what behavior is being forbidden is never quite made clear). The Glorious Lords of Darkness are currently the dominant Ahrimite gang on Al Amarja.
A group of mystic warriors sworn to defend and avenge the members of the Imperial Family. In 1900 A.I., when Imperator Karvad V was assassinated, his successor Kardynis III blamed the Bloodguard and sentenced them to death. Over half of the Bloodguard were killed as they escaped the Core Worlds, and they are now considered exiles.
Children of the Sanguine Mind
Peaceful ascetics sometimes confused with the Followers of Olento. The Children of the Sanguine Mind, however, worship a large red amorphous entity (the Sanguine Mind) native to the world Ollej. The Children of the Sanguine Mind can be discerned by the red gelatinous matter they wear on their craniums; a piece of the Sanguine Mind itself.
This fragment of the Sanguine Mind is a symbiotic organism that eventually extends tendrils through the cranium and into the host’s brain. In the early stages, this may be no larger than a tiny red blob the size of a pimple (and is easily removed, should the host change her mind). After a decade or more of the blob’s development, it will engulf the host’s head and (on Humans), flow down over the host’s shoulders like a cowl (long before this point, the Sanguine Mind’s rhizomes are so entwined with the host’s brain tissue that removal is impossible).
The symbiote confers many benefits to the host (clarity of thought, immunity to many diseases, resistance to pain, limited telepathic abilities with other Children of the Sanguine Mind, and so forth), but the benefit most often referred to by hosts of the symbiote is the overwhelming calm that comes from being part of the Sanguine Mind. When the symbiote has completely integrated itself with the host’s brain tissue (a process taking several decades), the host feels an overwhelming longing to make a pilgrimage back to Ollej, where she will journey down into the cavern where the great Sanguine Mind itself rests, to lay down on the surface of the gelatinous mass. Over the course of several weeks, the host sinks into the mass and is absorbed into the Sanguine Mind, becoming one with her god.
It should be noted that the Children of the Sanguine Mind are utterly pacifistic: theirs is a missionary religion, but not a militant one. No Child of the Sanguine Mind would ever consider planting a Sanguine Bud on an unwilling host.
An ancient order of mystic assassins and mercenaries. To a Coda, the only shame is failure, and the only way to erase that stain is death. The Coda were evicted from the Core Worlds by Imperator Kardynis I in 450 A.I., when Imperator Karevolg III was assassinated and the Tau Crown was stolen.
The Followers of Voya
The Followers of Voya are an expansionist, militant religious order, a once-obscure monotheistic religion that worships the god Voya. Many of the larger Voyan starships are shaped like winged dragons (the Voyan Purifier being the most well-known example); dragons are seen as the messengers and warriors of Voya, destroying the unrighteous with cleansing fire.
The Voyans are rabidly evangelical, and are usually in the process of a crusade against a nearby "heathen" world.
Fanatic followers of rock vocalist Karla Sommers, whom they consider divine. Sommerites are perhaps the most popular religious orientation on Al Amarja; Sommerites in the rest of the galaxy are not uncommon, but are a much smaller percentage of the populace.
Universal Church of the Celestial Sun
The Universal Church of the Celestial Sun was declared the official religion of the Old Imperium in 910 A.I. by Imperator Karzten II. Although the Church may present a unified front for the faithful of the Known Worlds, its cathedrals are rife with sectarianism. While the Patriarch has rule over all aspects of the Church, it is often difficult to manage the actions of priests the universe over. Many sects and orders have arisen, powerful enough to earn official status from a reluctant Orthodoxy. Even more heresies have arisen, forcing the Patriarch to spend his time hunting heretics rather than unifying the present sects. The Followers of Voya are one of the most famous (and successful) of these heresies.
The five major sects/orders ordained by the Church are:
Terran Orthodox The largest sect, it is the Orthodoxy that most people associate with the Church. The Orthodoxy has gained a reputation for their cunning political maneuvers, and many spurn the Orthodoxy for its martial role in the Wars of Succession.
Immaculata This order of monk knights (formally known as the "Congregation of the Guardianship of the Holy See") is one of the elite fighting units in the galaxy, rivalling even the Imperator's Phoenix Guard and the Mallrachen Security Force in martial prowess.
Eskatonic Order Hermetic sages and mystics often thought of as wizards by the common folk. Once considered a heresy by the Orthodoxy, the Eskatonics were admitted into the fold when their leader stood with the Patriarch in condemning the Followers of Voya.
Temple Avesti The Avestites make it their duty to search the Imperium for signs of heresy, demonism and any other threat to the Church.
Order of Saint Amalthea Healers and compassionate mystics. Everybody loves the followers of Saint Amalthea, in no small part due to their steadfast refusal to involve themselves in politics.
The Way of Olento
Peaceful ascetics devoted to the teachings of Olento, an amorphous extradimensional entity. Theirs is a peaceful missionary religion: they actively proselytize, but they are not hostile to those who resist the Way of Olento. The Followers of Olento use cutting-edge technology to archive Olento’s teachings and to keep track of Olento’s followers across the universe. They will send a datachip with the compiled Teachings of Olento to anyone who requests one (for a small fee). However, they ruthlessly prosecute those that distribute copies of the Teachings of Olento without paying the licensing fee. There are rumours that harsh critics of the Way of Olento are prone to catastrophic computer failures.
Copyright © 1998-2001 Brandon Blackmoor