The Faith of the Creator is the dominate religion in Aenar. Unlike many of the other Aenan religions, the Faith is a monotheistic religion, worshipping a divine being known simply as the Creator. It holds its origins in the teachings of the Prophet Damien, who lived during the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Duvian Imperium, in the region that is now Vahidia . The guiding text of the Faith is the Tome of Illumination, a series of writings based on the teachings and sermons by the Prophet and his earliest apostles. The Faith became a centralized religion under the reign of the first Vahidian emperor, Validaius Harmonial. A follower of the Faith is known as a "Luminarian", named after their places of worship, luminaries.
The Faith teaches that the Creator is the supreme being of all existence, creating both the Aetherium and Aenar and all those who reside in both realms. Originally, all worshipped the Creator and were protected under his grace and power. However, the Eldari soon became arrogant and turned their backs on the Creator, which caused him to turn his back on Aenar. Later, humanity would also turn away from worship of the Creator, manipulated into the worship of demons under the guise of gods in the Duvian Pantheon , and the dwarves began worshipping the Earth Mother and Sky Father. According to the Prophet, only when all convert to the Faith will the Creator return to the mortal plane and restore order and peace to Aenar. This creates the primary mission of all Luminarians--the spread of the Prophet's teachings and conversion of all under the light of the Faith.
The Luminarian Calendar is used by nearly all of Aenar, save for the Duvian Imperium and Elomentar.
The Faith holds its origins with the preachings of the Prophet, Damien of Vahidis, during the 4th century of the Duvian Imperium. Damien's teachings directly challenged the already crumbling worship of the Duvian Pantheon and the reign of the Duvian praetors. By -234 LE, Damien had amassed a following of nearly 500, primarily comprised of non-mage citizens of the Imperium. Fearing the growing strength and influence of Damien's following, Hierarch Xendius marched the Imperial Legion on Vahidis. The following war lasted two decades, in which riots broke out across several Duvian cities and settlements, as non-mages were emboldened by the Prophet's teachings to rebel against their mage overlords. Eventually, the Prophet and his closest apostles were captured and brought to trial in the captial, Numenex, where the Hierarch personally executed the Prophet for the crimes of treason and heresy.
Out of the Prophet's death, the worship of the Creator was moved underground, practiced in secret. When the Imperium began to fall apart--largely due to the Second Plague in -147 LE--the followers of Damien were free to openly worship, forming various Cults of the Creator. During this time, the teachings of the Prophet and his apostles were written and canonized as the Tome of Illumination. The cults remained scattered and disorganized until Validius Harmonial, the first emperor of Vahidia, founded the Faith of the Creator in 1 LE, making the new religion the official religion of his empire. In 2 LE, Caisus of Vahidis was elected as the first Patriarch of the Faith, taking the name Lucien I.
The Faith was spread quickly through the military conquests of the Vahidian Empire, which spread the Faith across most of eastern Aenar. By the end of its first century, the Faith had spread to the regions east of the Drakari Mountains. The Faith was able to expand across the Drakari Mountains to the western coasts through the first Crusade in 234 LE, even working its way into the Duvian Imperium, where worship of the Creator was legalized by Hierarch Titus II in 238 LE.
In 289 LE, in reaction to the resistance of the Duvian mages to the harsh restriction placed on the use of magic by the Faith, Patriarch Justus III founded the Order of the Knights-Vigilant, the military arm of the Faith. The Vigilant were instructed to enforce Faith doctrine across Aenar, especially in the matters of magic. Mages were forced to join academies controlled by the Faith, in which they would be trained in magic under Faith teachings. Any mage who refused to join an academy would be put to death by the Vigilant. This caused a lasting tension in the Imperium, which saw this new practice as an unreasonable restriction on their society and culture. In 366 LE, the praetors of the Imperium official split from the Faith, denouncing the Patriarch and asserting that the Creator and the old Duvian god Aemachial are one and the same. The following year, Eldriun I was elected as the first High Priest of the Duvian Faith. This prompted the Patriarch, Benedictus I to call for a second Crusade against the Imperium. Armies from across Aenar marched on the Imperium, though the Imperial Legion was successfully able to defend its borders. The Second Crusade lasted until 402 LE, with the Third Plague providing a new threat for Aenans to be concerned with. Following the Third Plague, the Patriarch attempted a third Crusade, though this only lasted a decade, as the Aenan nations were too drained from the Third Plague to host a long-term war against the Imperium.
The next Crusade was against the invading Sol'dai of Elemontar, which lasted from 567 LE to 590 LE, with the signing of the Treaty of the Red Hill.
The first and most significant tenant held by Luminarians is the worship of the divine being known as the Creator. The Creator is the primary cause of existence, forming the Aetherium and the mortal plane out of pure chaos, bringing order to existence. The Creator is typically referred to as male, though it is not truly known if he is actually male. He resides in the Godsrealm, which is believed to be the Sun--the only feature that can be seen in both realms.
The Creator turned his back on the mortal plane first when the ancient Eldari stopped worshipping him, in favor of a form of ancestor worship. When the Eldari fell, the Creator gave rise to humanity, hoping that the new race would be more faithful to their creator. This proved to be false, as the Duvian society soon began to worship the Duvian Pantheon--which the Faith believes were actually demons exiled to Aenar by the Creator. The Prophet received word from the Creator in response to his efforts against the rule of the praetors and the Duvian Pantheon. The Prophet is the only human to have receive direct contact from the Creator.
The Faith teaches that the Creator will fully return to the mortal plane only when all have come under the Faith. Until then, he remains silent and the Godsrealm sealed. There are some who believe the Fallen are a direct punishment for mankind's heresy and sins and will only be truly defeated with the return of the Creator.
Magic is a complicated issue in the Faith--particularly due to the history the Faith had with the Duvian Imperium. It is seen as both a blessing and a curse. Luminarians respect the power that mages wield--likening it to the power wielded by the spirits of the Aetherium and the Creator--but they also fear what mages may become if that power is misused. The official stance of the Faith is that magic should only be used to better humanity and aid in the spread of the Faith. It is through this belief that the Faith instituted the requirement for all mages to join the Academia Arcana, mage-guilds controlled by the Faith that foster the training of mages under Faith doctrine. Any who do not join the Academia are branded as apostates and may be hunted by the Vigilant, possibly put to death if they refuse to join. The Vigilant are also responsible for ensuring that the curriculum of the Academia fall within Faith doctrine.
The hierarchy of the Faith is broken down into two main branches: the priesthood and the Order of the Knights-Vigilant. Either branch is open to both genders, though leadership positions tend to be reserved for men, with few exceptions.
Divine Patriarch--the Patriarch is the leader of the Faith, guiding the religion's policies and teachings. While technically this position could be held by a woman, there has never been a Matriarch in the history of the Faith.
Archbishop--each region and nation is led by an archbishop, who answers directly to the Patriarch. Once per year, all of the archbishops meet in Vahadis to discuss matters of the Faith, in what is known as the Grand Council. The Patriarch is also elected from this among the archbishops, upon the death or abdication of the current Patriarch.
Revered Father/Mother--each individual luminary is led by a revered father or mother, who answer to their respective archbishop. Typically, the archbishop, near the end of his/her life, will nominate a successor from among the revered fathers/mothers. If he dies before doing this, the Patriarch appoints a new archbishop from the region.
Brother/Sister--these are the lowest position in the priesthood, who work within a local luminary.
Order of the Knights-VigilantEdit
Knight-Commander--the Knight-Commanders are the heads of each region's branch of the Order. They answer only to the Patriarch, and are appointed personally. The Knight-Commanders are given full control of their regional branch, able to make promotions and assign units as they see fit. Should a Knight-Commander violate the Faith or the direct order of the Patriarch, they may be forcibly removed by either the Vigilant of their branch or the nearest regional branch. The Knight-Commanders are also responsible for the operations of their regional Academia.
Knight-Captain--these are the regiment commanders, just under the Knight-Commander. They are assigned leadership of several other Vigilants and usually are responsible for hunting down apostate mages and demons.
Knight-Vigilant--this the basic rank of the Vigilant. They are assigned under the command of a Knight-Captain.
Vigilant-Recruit--this the rank for those training to join the Vigilant. After a base set of training, they finish their training by shadowing a Knight-Vigilant for a period of one year. After this year, the Knight-Vigilant mentor submits a report to the Knight-Commander to determine if the recruit is worthy to ascend to full knighthood.