Prior to The Scourge, Durnia had no unified calandar system. The impact of The Scourge was during the 23rd year of King Abros of the Adigari Dominion, which, to the Varlanders and many Shedforthers was the 11th year of Handuar the Red. To the Golden Khanate, and its Khaganate Saytrapies, it was the 19 year of Emireki of the Falcon. To Elves, it was the 177th year of The Aspen, and, for the Dwarves, the 5th year after the Basalt Moot.
With the cataclysm of The Scourge, civilization fell into chaos. It was blotted out in many places and the light of civilization retreated to certain urban strongholds. It ushered in an era of barbarism seldom seen in Durnia.
In the context of this event, many new religions flourished, but nearly all were successfully suppressed by The Temple of the Seven (The Old Faith). One, however, spread like the wildfire The Scourge sewed upon the continent. That faith, often called “The New Faith” is the Church of Yorbis.
It is not known how the faith began, but early records indicate it rose from the very ashes of the destroyed Kingdom of Longolar, at the epicenter of the impact. Unique compared to the other, short-lived heresies, this religion subverted the very basis of The Old Faith by claiming those gods as false gods. Further, they even proclaimed Yorbis as the one and only true god, one who manifested his purifying rage as The Scourge itself.
Worship of the Scourge grew quickly due to the millenarianism prevalent after the Scourge and to the active efforts to evangelize. Efforts to quell the “heresy” seemed fuel the fervor of its followers instead. Eventually, after countless efforts to expunge the faith, the faith grew to such numbers that it grew from a fringe religion, to one that now rivals the Old Faith.
Current Relations with The Old Faith
After nearly 170 years of tension, oppression, etc. The Priesthood of the Seven and the Church of Yorbis came to an understanding, a peace accord of sorts. Part of this agreement included promises of from both sides. The Old Faith agreed to stop persecuting the New Faith and in return, the New Faith de-emphasized their evangelizing message that the Old gods were “false”. While Yorbisian faith still emphasizes its monotheistic message, it has generally replaced most of the obvious attacks and vitriol toward the Old Faith…publicly, at least. This tense accord has meant a period of relative peace in the Eastern Durnia, where the two faiths most often come into conflict.
Doctrines of the New Faith
Creation and Cosmology
According to “The Light of Yorbis”, the sacred text of the New Faith, Yorbis is light, and it is Yorbis that crafted the world with light, and light is what makes up all things. If you burn an object, it releases that very light of creation made by Yorbis.
Yorbis, say some New Faith theologians, has always been, others say Yorbis manifested as a direct response to the wickedness of the world. On this, there is much conjecture. What is not up for debate though is the emphasis of suffering, pain, and hardship as a spiritual prerequisite of salvation. This suffering may be through mortification of the flesh, ritual fasting, and sacrifices of wealth to the Church.
The afterlife is of great importance of the New Faith. Whereas the Old Faith tends to emphasize the gods as agents that can reward and protect the faithful in this life with various vague notions of a pleasant afterlife for the devout and worthy, the New Faith expressly states that suffering in this life is what makes the afterlife possible. Yorbisian descriptions of paradise, the afterlife, the heavens,etc. are chock full of colorful metaphors of luxury, happiness, and lack of suffering.
The character of Yorbis is one that is mercurial, jealous, angry, destructive, yet also often compassionate and benevolent to Yorbis’s followers. Yorbis is generally understood as transcending gender, although some traditionalists refer to Yorbis as a male.
Worship and Practices
Yorbisians have many ceremonies using fire to mark typical rites of passage (adulthood, marriage, funerals, etc.). They cremate their dead and burn sacrificed wealth (which may include livestock). Oaths are said over a sacred candle which is believed to extinguish itself if the oath maker’s heart is false.
As mentioned above, mortification of the flesh through whipping of oneself with an 11-lash whip (a scourge), or burning the flesh, including branding. The more extreme forms of mortification of the flesh is usually reserved for religious orders, mendicants, and the priesthood, but truly devout followers of any background my endure the pain in order to achieve Yorbis’ blessings.
The New Faith teaches that darkness comes from wickedness, both literally and metaphorically. This wickedness stems from defying Yorbis. The emphasis on being morally forthright, honest, and unflinching in their faith are key aspects of the religion. As the religion grew out of the context of the Old Faith, there is much similarity in legal and political matters. Once Yorbis’ Faith spread to the social elite, the importance of obedience was further emphasized. And Yorbis has been invoked as divinely ordaining kings and queen who follow the faith.
The Church of Yorbis is monolithic when compared to the heterodoxic nature of the Old Faith. This was, in part, because the faith developed long after the advent of writing technology. Also, it is a young religion and has not had any major internal religious divisions yet.
The Church of Yorbis is an elaborately hierarchical structure. The Church is organized into categories of the Greater Church, the State Churches, and the Minor Churches. All theological matters and governance of State Churches falls under the purview of the Greater Church. It is replete with byzantine bureaucracies and offices. There is a Greater Church Council which makes various adjudications and decisions, but it is slow to make pronouncements.
The State Churches are Church organizations that are defined by region, usually the boundaries of a political state. This developed as a way to be more appealing to governing nobles, etc. They are in charge of tending to the religious needs of those who govern and to supervise the actions of the Lesser Church in their territory.
The Lesser Church is the church for commoners and freefolk. It is far less hierarchical, with many local clerics and circuit clerics answering to a few bishops who in turn answer to the State Churches.
The penchant for asceticism in the New Faith cannot be overstated. Early on in the faith, many monastic orders developed. At first they mirrored the simple monastic model of the Old Faith but in time became elaborate orders themselves. They answer to the High Church, so sometimes there is tension between the State Churches and the Monastic Orders.
Many clerics come out of the Monastic tradition as well, and this has developed into elaborate webs of regional, political, and theological influences that would strain the most learned of scholars.
All the Monastic orders were ones that developed around an early Yorbisian Martyr. The chart below shows the major monastic traditions.
|St. Avario the Torch(bearer)
|The oldest and most widely spread monastic order
|The Black Robes
|St. Evenia the Kindhearted (also known as the Kindlehearted)
|A small but very popular monastic order among commoners. They are known as skilled healers.
|The Pale Friars
|St. Mortevo the Gifted
|They are associated with many funereal aspects of the New Faith and are also where the most skilled artists can be found.
|The Red Shields
|St. Hulana the Righteous
|A dwindling military order, often tasked with waging holy wars in the past.
|St. Barada the Vigilant
|A small order, known for being insular and esoteric as well as interested in prophecy.
|The Iron Monks
|St. Norla the Indomitable
|A militant order tasked with defending both the Greater Church as well as the faith more generally.
|The Blue Monks
|St. Tegbact the Wise
|The monastic order tasked with maintaining the "Light of Yorbis" and scholarship in general. They are almost always found in cities/centers of learning.