Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Factions of Source, Part II: The Order of Mercy and Severity

The Order of Mercy and Severity: 

            Recognized (if not necessarily respected) in many realms throughout the universe, the Order is shrouded in pomp, ritual, and mystery.  Their approach to magic tends to be baroque and formulaic, utilizing many highly elaborate systems to understand and manipulate the Sources. 
            The Order believes that the universe is a place of many layers and spheres of influence, conforming to hierarchical laws.  They believe themselves, and all sentient beings, to be naturally imperfect and unrefined.  Fundamental to that belief, however, is the notion that the spark of the divine rests within all living things, and that spark can catalyze into the brilliant white fire of perfect understanding.  The Order teaches that separation between the self and the universe is an illusion.  Only by becoming perfectly balanced and purified can one truly begin to become a vessel flawless enough to receive the Quintessence.
            Magi of the Order of Mercy and Severity are fascinated with forces in opposition and reconciliation.  They typically favor garments of black and white, representing their willingness to deal with contrasting forces of light and dark, sacred and profane, material and ephemeral.  They tend to view concepts such morality and religion as pedestrian and antiquated, believing that they represent a limited view of the universe.  Many of the Adepts of the Order believe that gods are simply a higher order of sentience than mortals, and possessed of a state that is not out of their own potential reach. 
            The Order teaches its magi to draw upon all of the Sources, but they strongly favor Ansetal.  They believe that Ansetal is closest to the true Quintessence, and thus the purest expression of raw universal power.  Ansetal’s light, if the Order is to be believed, dictates the laws of the universe, and even the other Sources are beholden to it.  By strongly aligning themselves with the Light, the Order has a powerfully protective metaphysical structure to explore and manipulate the other Sources.  The first teachings of an Apprentice of the Order focus heavily on forming a powerful bond with the Light, but Masters of Mercy and Severity wield the other Sources without hesitation.  Even the tainted might of Nysroth can be bent by the fortress-like mind of an Adept of the Order.

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