A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

20 April 2011

Q is for Quaint Folk

The “Quaint Folk” as they are called around Coldtreath are observants of an ancient and peculiar religion. Most of the origins of this religion are lost to history and known only to the clerics and religious leaders of the order; they are certainly not shared with outsiders. “Quaint Folk” is a rough pronunciation for the word they have for themselves, which most outsiders find to be nearly unpronounceable. The word matches no known language or dialect and the order is again none too forthcoming with the origins of the term. What is generally known about the order follows:

The Quaint Folk are a polytheistic order focused on the perfection of the inner self through attaining enlightenment. They observe two ruling deities: Eloa’el, the God of Memory, and Jova, the Goddess of Knowledge. In their mythology, Eloa’el and Jova are husband and wife. In images and descriptive texts, Eloa’el appears as a somewhat plain man, with copper-tinged skin, black hair, and eyes the color of shimmering blue crystals. He is depicted as being of a medium height and willowy, and usually with a guarded expression. His statues usually wear leather armor that is dyed the color of mint and grey. Jova, meanwhile, is unusually beautiful, with fair skin, short curly light brown hair, and eyes the color of dark earth. She is tall and somewhat muscular, and is usually depicted laughing. Her statues usually wear a suit of golden colored armor. It is rumored that both Eloa’el and Jova occasionally appear to great heroes of their faith, who attest to the accuracy of the depictions.

Their congregation is actually very small, at least in Coldtreath. The Quaint Folk order is generally believed to be a dying faith. Outside of Coldtreath only two other congregations are known to exist. There may be other enclaves elsewhere; if so, they are in hidden and/or forgotten temples or shrines. The basic worship of the Quaint Folk congregation centers around study and meditation in conjunction with solemn group daily prayers in temples and shrines. Marriage among believers is a family-arranged affair.

The clergy, known as “flamen,” do not marry, as celibacy is thought to increase the focus of the mind on knowledge and one’s studies. The high flamen appoint the lower-ranked members to their positions, often drafting them from the ranks of the young membership during their coming-of-age rituals at the age of nine. Such rituals center around the culmination of a study project; those young men who excel and who exceed expectations in their projects are typically those asked to join the ranks of the flamen. Occasionally the leadership will draft those whose coming-of-age studies are thought to be sub-standard; after all, they say, “it is through the overthrowing of the natural tendencies of sloth and ignorance that the path to true inner enlightenment can be found.” Sloth, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and irresponsibility: these are the four deadly sins of the Quaint Folk. In contrast, responsibility and wisdom are extolled virtues.

It is the duty of the flamen to maintain their temples and shrines while undertaking rigorous studies and knowledge quests. Not much is known about their lifestyle, although it appears to be severe and monastic. Members of the flamen are easily recognizable around Coldtreath by their mint-green robes (the holy color), 11-pointed star symbols around their necks, and their shaved heads; some of the younger flamen wear a pigtail, usually dyed a jet-black, in recognition of Eloa’el’s own hair.

It is also the duty of the flamen to maintain the mythology, traditions, and doctrines of the order for future generations. While some of the most basic information is passed along via oral tradition, everything concerning the order — even down to kitchen orders and mundane daily records — is to be written down. These records are cared for by the Great High Flamen; they form the order’s Holy Books, and are often illuminated with poems and psalms.

In addition to Eloa’el and Jova, the Quaint Folk also count several minor deities in their pantheon. These include , Iduss, the God of Law; Coxor, the God of Cities; Kika, the Goddess of Science and Souls; Binavn, the Goddess of the River; Doumelo, the God of Travel; and Nailoc, the God of Inspiration and Poetry. Each of these minor deities warrants a tome unto itself.

In Coldtreath, the Quaint Folk maintain the library, a structure they refer to as “The Stone of All-Knowledge.” The public has access to only the ground level of The Stone of All-Knowledge. The bulk of the building is a temple to the Quaint Folk as well as the living quarters for the flamen of Coldtreath.

The flamen of Coldtreath are fairly unremarkable. Few take notice of them and consider them to be peculiar and eccentric. Most are completely unaware that many of the flamen are cunning and masterful warriors. None but the Mayor of Coldtreath know that the flamen are the first line of defense for the city; it is the Mayor’s sincere desire that none discover this fact, for fear of the prejudice, confusion, and panic it may cause.

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