King of the Gods, Father of Civilization, The World Maker,
The Noble Lord, Paragon of Order and Law, The Benevolent, The Great Teacher
|Domain||Civilization, Law, Order, Truth, Balance, Justice and Destiny.|
|Ethos||Peace, prosperity and happiness for all people through law, order, unity and vigilance.|
|Typical Worshipers||Most citizens in civilized lands, from peasants to kings.|
|Head of the Church||His Holiness, the Primarch Jaro Tanus|
|Demographics||75% Human, 17% Grum, 5% Dwarven, 3% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Worshipped widely throughout all of eastern, central and southern Ithria, but most especially in the Rukemian Empire, Kitar, Mercia, the War Vale, Ormek and the free city of Garrison.|
|Allied Faiths||All the Elder Gods, but most especially Barrinor, Sarreth, Mireldokar and Glavyris.|
|Opposed Faiths||All of the Dark Lords. Some tension with Erylon.|
|Holy Symbol||Combined elements of a balance, wheel, sickle , hammer and scroll.|
Imarus is the ultimate ruler of the Elder Gods of Ithria. He is seen as the King of the Gods, the highest authority and master of the world.
First and foremost, Imarus is the lord of all civilization – the walled city, the country town, the planted field, the fruit filled orchard and the ship moored in the harbor. He is the god of all people – king and noble and peasant and slave. He is the summit of the hierarchy of civilization. And so being, he brings all people together. Each person, no matter how base or noble their birth, is a thread in the tapestry of the church and has a place within his master plan.
In any art form, be it cast iron, carved marble and woven tapestry, Imarus is depicted as a tall, lean elderly man with a flowing white beard and robes of radiant white. He wears a necklace upon which all five of his symbols hang. His eyes blaze with a divine fiery white light beneath a furrowed brow. He carries of an ornate staff of silvery metal and upon his head is an elaborate head dress of shimmering samite and radiant jewels.
Myths and Legends
Imarus is an ancient god, and as such, is the subject of many equally old myth and legends. These stories have been told and retold a thousand times, around campfires, in hallowed halls and on crumbling ancient scrolls. They have been shaped by history and evolved with the passing of centuries.
According to the church of Imarus, in the beginning, there was chaos. Sky mingled with land, sea with desert, night with day, ice with fire, trees with rocks and so forth. From this chaos emerged Imarus, by sheer force of will, simply because there was a great universal need for order. He then set about separating that which should be separate. He separated sky from land and lifted the sky up above. He gathered the waters together to form the seas, the sand to form the deserts and the trees to form the forests. He raised the mountains, carved the rivers, called forth the hills and the swamps and all that is. From chaos, he wrought order.
He also crafted the other Elder Gods from the chao to help him rule over the newly ordered Universe. When he was finished, the ordered world was quite beautiful, but Imarus saw that it was empty and without purpose. And so, he created animals and humans to use and enjoy this world he had so painstakingly created.
The first humans, however, were unruly and barbaric. They wandered the land living as animals. They dug for roots, searched for berries and hunted animals with sticks and stones. They fought with each other, killing and slaughtering without thought or reason. They possessed no writing and created no art. They neither sowed field nor reaped harvest. They followed no leaders, obeyed no laws and had no purpose in their lives.
Just as he could not abide the chaos of the cosmos, neither could Imarus abide the chaos of the people. He loved the people as he loved all of his creations. He gathered the people to him and showed them a better way. He taught them to sow the field and reap the harvest. He taught them the crafts to shape wood and stone and metal. He taught them how to build homes and villages. He gave to them writing and art and trade and language and all that is good. He taught them the value of leadership and selected twelve from the people to be the first priests and masters and kings. For all of these great gifts, the peoples of the world gave him the title Great Teacher.
When Imarus was done he beheld all the he had created. Civilization was, by far, his greatest work. Now civilized and worthy, the people built temples to praise him and created rituals to thank him. In this way was the world created, civilization crafted and the Church born.
When the sun split and the world storm raged, it was not because of Imarus’ fury. It was the arrogance of man that brought up such tragedy. But always, Imarus was there, guiding and teaching, with a better way. Through those trying times, the faithful built and rebuilt even as the wars of the infidels raged around them. Through perseverance and faith, the followers of Imarus saved the world and rebuilt civilization. All praise to Imarus for his infinite patience and love.
Overview of the Church
The Church of Imarus is the largest and most powerful organized religious faith on the continent of Ithria. It is widely worshipped through the central plains and eastern kingdoms. Religious scholars estimate that it has more than fifty million faithful worshipers.
It is widely embraced by both royalty and nobility and has helped shape many cities and kingdoms as its central tenets promote law, order and civilized behavior.The church of Imarus is often interwoven into the fabric of society. Oaths to Imarus are often included in legal documents. Languages are adorned with sayings and quotes from holy texts. The church of Imarus protects civilized lands against outside threats by linking town militias with armed clerics and king’s soldiers.
The church of Imarus is spread through much of Ithria, ranging as far west as Arkalia and the independent city of Ithell, as far north as Normidia and Vorrik, east to the great Rukemian Empire and throughout the south coast form Ormek to the Drakkellian Alliance. It is strongest in the east, being the official religion of the Rukemian Empire and closely tied to the Emperor’s divine right to rule. Only in Duthelm and the Coalition is this church not a power.
History and Origins
The origin of the church of Imarus is the subject of much debate among religious scholars. Based on the most ancient texts, it is believed that worship of Imarus dates all the way back to the Myratz Empire when one of the churches worshiped a deity called Imoru’Sali.
The worship of Imoru’Sali can be traced back to either the Barakus Clans or the Kingdom of Gekron. At the time, the Barakus Clans worshiped many nature deities. Among them was the cult of Imor ‘sali from ‘soli’ meaning ‘great’ and ‘imor’ meaning ‘lord’. One theory is that the people of each territory or in each wandering clan worshipped their own ‘imor’. Thus, the chief deity of each clan was seen as the source of all the gifts of nature, but also that which gave the clan leader the right and strength to rule.
A competing theory states that the faith of Imoru’Sali comes from the Kingdom of Gekron where, among other faiths, there existed a cult that worshiped Imursul, a god of crafts and knowledge. Some scholars point out that in the ancient Gekron language, ‘sul’ can be translated as both ‘iron’ and ‘rigid or ordered’. Imur translates as ‘master’ or ‘lord’. Thus, the deity Imursul was known as the ‘iron lord’ and ‘master of order’.
Some scholars believe the origins of Imoru’sali may have roots in both the Barakus Clans and the Kingdom of Gekron and it is known that both cultures had influence on each other through limited trade.
In any case, the church of Imoru’Sali survived the collapse of the Myratz Empire and the Holy Wars that followed. Over time, the name changed to Imorus. The church of Imorus was one of the accepted religions worshiped in the Thullian Empire.
After the Sundering and the World Storm, the people of the world drew strength from their various faiths and beliefs. The church of Imorus survived and grew because several of its central tenets (order, justice and law) helped strengthen whatever group followed it. But more importantly, it held that rulers had a “divine right” to rule and taught that everyone had a place in a civilized group. More broadly, the religion taught that every person has a destiny that they were meant for… a special path through this world that they, and they alone, were meant to tread. These beliefs gave people a sense of strength and purpose even in the face of suffering, starvation and war. These beliefs were the foundation that held groups together. In this way, the church of Imorus spread and flourished during the Age of Sorrow where other faiths were abandoned. As the faith spread over centuries, the name changed to Imarus, most likely due to linguistic changes as the Thullian language gave birth to the Rukemian tongue.
Over the last few centuries, the church of Imarus has grown to become the most wide spread and powerful churches in Ithria. It is the state religion in the Rukemian Empire and is widely worshiped in neighboring kingdoms. It has solidified its position as a faith of all civilized people, from kings or emperors down to peasants and slaves.
The primary goals of the Church of Imarus are to promote peace and prosperity for all people through civilized law and order. By strengthening the state, laws are held up high, order is maintained and civilization thrives. In this way, quality of life for all is improved. Chaos, disorder, cruelty and barbarism are the true enemies. Only through hard work and vigilance can such evils be banished.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Churches of Imarus reflect the size and wealth of the city in which they reside. In major cities, they are huge and elaborate, resplendent in gold and marble, and they are called cathedrals. In smaller towns and villages, there may be only a small shrine tended to by a single priest.
Cathedrals of Imarus are bastions of law, order and civilized behavior. The buildings themselves are immaculate and orderly. The acolytes of Imarus work hard to make sure every beam, brick and roof tile is in good condition. A cracked pillar or a leaking roof is not tolerated for long in a cathedral of Imarus. Even the lowliest shrine of Imarus is kept in good condition.
A typical Imarusian church is fashioned from granite with a rectangular main body. At one end is the main entrance to the church and at the other is the main altar which is located within a vast circular gallery under a great domed roof. Both exterior and interior are usually quite ornate. Such a cathedral is generally one of the finest buildings within the city and is a source of pride for the locals.
The cathedral in Aridorn, known as the Basiliarch, is the spiritual heart and central point of reference for the Imarusian Faith. It is the Basiliarch that ordains holy law to all other churches and grants right and title to Imarusian priests. Diplomatically, the Basiliarch acts and speaks for the whole faith.
The Basiliarch itself is considered one of the greatest architectural creations in all the lands. It is renowned for its bells. In total, it has 120 bells, some of them truly massive, which are rung each week to call the faithful to mass.
The heart of the cathedral consists of a dais upon which is a great statue of Imarus and, at the feet of the statue, an ornate throne and stone altar. Sermons are given by the presiding religious official from this illustrious position.
The seating in a church of Imarus is divided up into sections governed by social rank. Around the altar gallery, seating is arranged in a circular fashion. Such seating is reserved for the nobles, the wealthy, the clergy and the favored. The higher one’s rank, the closer one is to the front of the altar.
Those not worthy of seating within the gallery are relegated to the main hall. The front is reserved for those able to make monetary contributions to the church. This includes shop owners, merchants, traders and the like. Further back are the commoners. At the very back, it is open seating for anyone – peasants, serfs and slaves (if their masters brought them to service) and so forth.
Those who follow the faith of Imarus come from many walks of life. Commoners see the faith of Imarus, and more broadly, civilization, as the means to keep the threat of evil and chaos at bay. Civilization is protection. Lords and nobles see Imarus as the source of their right to rule. Indeed, it is the very nature of this particular faith that lends itself to being a faith of all people. Whether one is an emperor or a slave, one has a destiny within Imarus’ grand designs and a preordained position within society.
The church of Imarus condones slavery and considers slaves to be merely the lowest tier in a stratified social system. Slave owners are expected to treat their slaves fairly and humanely. Slaves are expected to pay tribute to Imarus for this fair treatment.
Within those lands where this faith is common, all are welcome to come and worship and pray, regardless of their social rank or background. Of course, the seating within the church is divided up into sections reserved for those of specific ranks. None the less, all are invited to attend service and pray.
A single white glowing eye is often associated with Imarus. Anyone with a single white eye is thought to be blessed by Imarus.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Imarus is seen as the King of the Gods. This title reflects his unique position at the head of the pantheon known as the “Elder Gods of Ithria”. There are several other deities that are included in this pantheon and all these gods co-exist peacefully. The church of Imarus teaches that the other gods within this pantheon are loyal to, and serve, Imarus.
The church of Imarus is on very good terms with Barrinor (the noble knight), Sarreth (the peaceful healer), Mireldokar (the ardent farmer) and Glavyris (the wise scholar). Territories of these five deities frequently overlap.
Imarus opposes all of the so-called “Dark Lords”, but most especially Belhelizar. According to religious texts, Belhelizar was once one of the Elder Gods, but Imarus cast him down when he turned to darkness. There is now an unending hatred between Imarus and Belhelizar and priests of these two faiths will attack each other on sight.
There is also some tension between Imarus, god of civilization, and Erylon, god of the wilds. In the eyes of the clergy of Imarus, the followers of Erylon are an unruly cult of primitive nature worshipers that live in the wilderness like beasts and attack devout Imarus faithful with little provocation. The followers of Imarus are wary when Erylon cultists are near.
The Church of Imarus emphasizes "living a virtuous life" by adhering to the basic tenets of honor, truth, wisdom, humility, kindness, faith and loyalty. Imarus is the father of civilization. All the best aspects of civilization, from the plowed field to the highest tower, are the gifts of the mighty world maker.
Beyond civilization, Imarus is the god of fate and destiny. Each mortal life, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is a thread in the great tapestry of Imarus’ plan. The priests of Imarus teach the faithful patience and endurance… to persevere no matter what ills befall them because everything, both fortune and misfortune, are a part of Imarus’ plan. Every person matters. Everything that happens is part of His grand design.
It is this central tenant that has allowed the church of Imarus to thrive and expand. The poor, the downtrodden and the sick are taught that their suffering is not in vain. This has had the effect of quelling many would-be rebellions. Furthermore, the faith teaches that kings and nobles have a “divine right” to rule. This also helps mollify the poverty stricken masses. However, ruling nobility also has an obligation to care for those in their charge.
Imarus encourages common people to take pleasure in life’s gifts as they come to balance out the hardships. In this belief, the church of Imarus and Daramis agree.
The ‘Covenants of Imarus’ is the most holy text of this religion. It consists of 27 lectures divided into three books (each containing nine lectures). The Book of the Brethren contains rules of the church, priests and monks. The Book of the Faithful instructs how worshipers should conduct themselves. And finally, the Book of Civility is an abstract work merging philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, the nature of the world, destiny, fate and the future.
Among frequently recited texts from the Convenants is the collection of poem-prayers known as the Tower Dreamings, which comes from the Book of the Faithful. Even lay people usually know a few of these poem-prayers by heart and recite them regularly as part of their prayer and meditation. Many frequent quotations and common sayings of the Imarusian faith originate from the Tower Dreamings.
The church of Imarus has five symbols. Usually these five are presented together as a group. Often they are merged, with the sickle and hammer crossed behind a wheel, which is behind a balance with the scroll below. However, each of these five symbols has a purpose in and of itself. The balance symbolizes the law and order necessary and inherent in civilization. The wheel represents the technological advances of civilization. The sickle represents agriculture and the hammer represents crafts and industry. The scroll represents language, knowledge and art.
Clergy and faithful both will often choose one of these five symbols and wear it about the neck. The selection of the symbol is often linked to their profession or interests.
The third day of the common week in Ithria is Imarday, named for Imarus. Once a week on Imarday, this church holds mass. A typical service is an hour long and held just before the midday meal. Births, weddings and funerals are conducted at the church of Imarus as well.
One of the most important rituals of the faith is that of sanctification. When a person joins the church, the person is “sanctified” wherein the priest anoints the forehead of the new member with a mixture of oil, wine and incense. Once sanctified, they are considered a member of the church.
There are three important holy days in this faith:
The first of Imarus’ Blessing held on the first day of the year. On this day, the faithful gather at church for an eight hour mass which involves much communal singing, ritualistic chants and the giving of thanks to Imarus. The focus of this holiday is to celebrate the birth of civilization and all the blessings it brings. At some point during this day, each person is expected to find a place of quiet privacy and engage in personal prayer and solemn individual contemplation.
The second holy day is the Feast of Imarus held on the twelfth day of Spellwane. This is a much more joyous celebration that focuses on community and family. The highlight of this day is a great feast shared with fellow worshipers. In small towns and villages, this feast will often involve the entire community. In major cities, it will involve dozens of separate gatherings.
The third holy day is the Day of Civility, a day of community and giving. This holy day is held on the fourth day of Forestblush. The faithful celebrate and give thanks to the clergy. It is tradition to exchange gifts with fellow faithful, forgive debts and give to the poor.
For centuries the church of Imarus has safeguarded a collection of sacred stones that have been passed down through the ages. These stones are actually ancient bricks that have been worn smooth with age. The legend is that the bricks came from the very first church of Imarus, which, according to the story, was the first building ever created and the start of all civilization. These are called the “Sacred Stones of Driema”. The origin of that name is unclear. Some speculate that it was the name of the priest that built that first church with the guidance of Imarus himself.
Every church and cathedral of Imarus has one of the Sacred Stones built into its altar. Small village shrines are not granted such an honor. It is a day of great celebration when a church grows to such a size that it is deemed worthy of a sacred stone and is given one for its altar. Those sacred stones that have not yet been bound to an altar are held at the Basiliarch in an underground vault.
Overview of the Clergy
The clergy of Imarus enjoy a measure of prestige in civilized lands, for theirs is the largest and most powerful of religions. They are renowned for their good deeds and their work with the poor, so they are welcome in most places.
Imarusian priests serve many roles: judge, advisor, diplomat, teacher, healer. Imarusian priests are sworn to minister to the needs of good hearted people everywhere. They heal the wounded, care for the sick, counsel the lost and defend the weak. They are arbiters that help resolve disputes peacefully. They provide for the poor, feed the hungry and educate the ignorant. They can be found wherever there is need or suffering… in the midst of famine, plague or war. They are skilled healers, employing tools both mundane and magical. From simple splints, bandages and herbs to potent elixirs and healing spells.
Those who hear the call to serve come from many walks of life. They are mostly human, although there are a few grum, half elves and dwarves among their ranks. Both men and women serve Imarus, although at the upper ranks, most are male.
Admission to the priesthood requires sponsorship by an existing member, relinquishing all former ties to other guilds, oaths, government offices and religions and a period of study and service to the church as an acolyte.
Divisions and Rank Structure
The clergy of the church of Imarus is divided into five distinct ranks or groups forming a well-defined hierarchy. Each group has a distinct manner of dress, code of conduct and duties to the church.
The lowest ranks are the acolytes, usually young men and women between the ages of 11 and 17, who are studying to serve the Church. Acolytes wear brown robes of coarse wool. They must always be barefoot to learn humility and only speak when spoken to. Most acolytes serve three years before being ordained into the faith, but some serve longer. The acolytes of Imarus can be found in almost every setting. They serve the militants, the monks and the civilars both in the smaller country churches in towns and in the larger, more ornate, cathedrals in the larger cities. The acolytes tend to all manner of mundane duties: cooking, cleaning, mending garments, general upkeep, tending the gardens, caring for the animals and so forth. The acolytes are worked hard and have few rights. This process is to “weed out” those who are unfit to serve. Only the truly dedicated may serve Imarus. Despite this, competition is fierce to become an acolyte. The poor know that if they can gain sponsership and admittance, it can lead to a much better life. Upon completing their acolyte service and being ordained, each acolyte may choose to serve Imarus in one of the three main branches of the Church: as either a militant, a monk or a civilar. Acolytes are referred to only by name and are given no honorific.
The militants are the warriors of the Imarusian church. It is the militants who provide security, perform missions for the church, transport and safeguard important documents and packages for the church, serve as bodyguards for the civilars and protect the church itself. They are also the enforcers of the church, sometimes charged with tracking down criminals and enemies of the Church and bringing them to justice. The militants are well armed and armored. The younger, lower ranking militants are little more than soldiers and guards. They have no spell ability. However, as militants train and gain experience and rank, they are granted spell-like abilities. These granted magical abilities are weak and few at first, but grow with rank. Militants, depending on their rank, can do the following: heal minor wounds by prayer and touch, mend broken objects, shape stone and metal with their bare hands, sense danger, detect lies, create shimmering shields of force to protect themselves and others and sense the aura of people and objects. They can even track people by their aura. Militants are given their orders by the high civilars. It is not uncommon for militants to be sent away on missions that may take them weeks or months to complete. The militants are the only ones who are granted authority to fight, to make war and to kill, when necessary. One of the most sacred charges of the militants is to fight against the forces of Belhelizar. Finding hidden covens and slaying those who serve the Dark Lord is a charge every militant takes seriously. Militants may use whatever weapons of war they require to get their job done: armor, blades, bows, etc. Militants may work in groups or individually, depending on the task. Militants also work with other law enforcement such as militias, wardens, mercenaries and soldiers whenever their mission requires it. Militants of a certain rank are seen in many cities as the equivalent of a knight and, as such, are referred to as “Sir” or “Lady”.
Imarus is also served by monks, that is, men and women who devote their lives to the worship of this god, but who do not administer to the masses. Imarusian monks live and work in huge stone abbeys (usually a few kilometers outside a major city). Each such abbey will often have a small village develop around it. Such abbeys are massive stone buildings with several inner courtyards. These abbeys are not just places of worship. Besides being a communal gathering places and hall of residence for the monks, each abbey will typically contain a large library, an herb garden, a hospital, a bathing hall, guest chambers, a training hall for new monks, a school for the children of local nobles, a smithy, a tannery and a mill. Abbeys usually own several dozen acres of farmland around them which will include a large pond and a vineyard. Abbeys are considered private institutions where the serious work of Imarus is done - transcribing books and scrolls, debates, the preservation of holy writings, maintaining libraries and museums of holy relics, the safekeeping of dangerous objects or criminals and so forth. Most abbeys have at least a few militants assigned to them for security. Monks are completely celibate and forbidden to marry. They may not own property of any kind and all things in the abbey are considered “communal”. Finally, the monks are absolute pacifists. Imarusian monks will never harm another person, not even in self-defense. Monks have some spell ability mostly related to divination, utility and defense, but never offense. Like the other branches, their spell ability starts out weak, but grows stronger with age, experience and training. Monks can detect falsehoods and often have glimpse of the future and distant places, but they also are said to be able to see “into the hearts of men” and to be able to "weave the threads of Fate". Their powers are somewhat mysterious, even to the civilars and militants of the church. Monks of any rank are referred to as “brother” or “sister”.
The civilars are the common priests of the church of Imarus and they form the bulk of the clergy. They are the largest of the three branches of the church. The civilars serve as the shepherds of the community, guiding and counseling their flock. They live and work within the church. The civilars hold rituals, conduct weekly mass, counsel the faithful, hold conferences and conduct prayer sessions. The civilars are generally pacifists and try to seek a peaceful solution to all problems. The civilars have the following magical abilities: they can heal wounds, cure sickness, create food, summon water, calm animals, detect lies, create defensive shields, sense auras and, in subtle ways, influence the mind and heart of others.
As part of the work and training, it is common for civilars to adopt a trade or craft. They might be stone cutters, blacksmiths, leather workers, farmers and so forth. In this way, they help promote civilization itself. When not busy with religious duties, each civilar can often be found working in his or her chosen craft. Their chosen craft or profession often determines which holy symbol they identify with and wear. Civilars dress in simple grey cotton robes and leather boots. Civilars are referred to as “Father”.
It is possible for a clergy member to change from one branch of the church to another. For instance, it is not uncommon for militants, after many years of such taxing service, to “retire” and become a civilar. On occasion, a civilar will decide he can better serve Imarus away from the city at one of the abbeys as a monk. Such assignments must be approved by a High Civilar and are determined by a considering both the needs of the individual and the needs of the Church.
In many civilized lands, the civilars (and sometimes the high civilars) serve as magistrates for the city government.
The High Civilars
After years of faithful service, a civilar may be promoted to the rank of high civilar. Only a civilar may be promoted to high civilar. Monks and militants are not promoted in this fashion. High civilars preside over all other groups of the church, giving orders to the acolytes, the militant, the monks and the civilars.
Each abbey and major church is ruled by a high civilar. High civilars dress in neatly trimmed gowns of silver and white and wear elaborate head dresses with lengths of fabric that drape down the front and back. The high civilars possess the greatest magical ability, able to restore sight to the blind, heal the most grievous injuries, cure the most terrible illnesses and so forth. Like the monks, the high civilars are gifted with divination and are often given glimpses of the future by Imarus. The high civilars often meet with city officials and represent the Church of Imarus in political and cultural matters. A high civilar is addressed as “Your Grace”.
At the head of the church is His Holiness, the Primarch, Jaro Tanus. His Holiness presides over the entire church and is seen as the voice and hand of Imarus on Khoras. The Primarch dwells within the Basiliarch. This massive and ornate stone cathedral is home to His Holiness, a holy council of one dozen high civilars and scores of civilars, militants, acolytes and other faithful. The Basiliarch is the church of imperial nobles and wealthy families in Aridorn. The Emperor himself will sometimes attend church at the Basiliarch.
The Primarch dresses in robes of gold and white and has a variety of elaborate headgear depending on the situation. He is often draped in a flowing jewel studded cloak and carries the Staff of the Primarch, a two meter long staff of gold, silver and jewels. He is always accompanied by dozens of bodyguards and attendants. He rarely leaves the Basiliarch grounds and then, only on important business, such as a visit to the Emperor.
The Primarch has a number of fanciful titles, including: The Light of the World, Well of all Essence, Radiance of the East, Destroyer of Infidels, Slayer of Chaos and Voice of the World Maker.
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.