The Chivalrous, The Undefeated, Hammer of Justice, The Defender, The Glory of Arkalia
|Domain||Honor, Courage, Chivalry, Law, Order, Justice, Truth and Duty|
|Ethos||Above all else, Honor.|
|Typical Worshipers||Knights, squires, warriors. Most nobles and commoners in Arkalia and northern Ithria.|
|Head of the Church||His Holiness, the Arch Bishop Jon Tenral|
|Demographics||74% Human, 12% Grum, 8% Dwarven, 4% Elven, 2% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Worshipped widely throughout all of northern Ithria, but most especially in the Kingdom of Arkalia.|
|Allied Faiths||Imarus, Sarreth, Mireldokar, Glavyris|
|Opposed Faiths||Belhelizar, Barulda, Agethos, Karenia, Draxorith|
|Holy Symbol||Silver hammer.|
Barrinor the Chivalrous is the ultimate paladin, the perfect knight and gentlemen. He knows no fear and never fails in battle. Barrinor is best defined by honor. He believes in honor above all else. He never uses ranged weapons and always fights fairly, one on one. He always gives an opponent the opportunity to surrender and often attempts stunning or incapacitating an opponent rather than killing. Barrinor is the epitome of chivalry and by this code of conduct does he live, both on and off the battlefield. Barrinor would never think of lying, cheating or stealing. Such things are beyond comprehension to him.
In tales, Barrinor is described as being kind and courteous to all, especially to ladies. In social fellowship, he has an aura of authority and nobility. In artwork, Barrinor is depicted as a tall, handsome and well built human male. He has short curly brown hair and is clean shaven. He is usually depicted in full plate armor and battling a horrific monster. His helm is a barbute with a plume of blue-dyed horse hair which trails down the back. With both hands, he wields Smiter... a massive and ornate war hammer.
Myths and Legends
There are many tales of Barrinor that tell of his origins, his life and honor and the many battles he has fought. To the uninitiated it would seem that many of these tales conflict, but the priests of Barrinor explain that they reveal many aspects of Barrinor and only by accepting all of the tales can one truly appreciate their god.
The oldest such tales tell of the humble beginnings of this great god. Some tales suggest he was forged of iron by great blacksmiths of long ago. Other tales tell that he sprang from his mother’s womb, full grown and clad in shining armor and clutching a silver hammer. At least one tale tells of a “perfect man” born to the Kingdom of Gekron who rose to be its greatest knight and died in battle against a great dragon.
Over the centuries, countless tales have been spun describing the many battles he has fought. Most tell of Barrinor driving out hordes of devils from hell and vanquishing elder demons lords across the cosmos. There are also tales that describe his visits to this world and others where he battles terrible and fearsome beasts and defends whole kingdoms from destruction.
Overview of the Church
The Church of Barrinor is massive with over 13 million members scattered across Ithria. It is seen, by many people, as the second most powerful in the lands and Barrinor is often viewed as the second in command of the pantheon. He is the chief lieutenant and personal guard of Imarus. There are many lower and middle ranking nobles scattered across the kingdoms who adopt Barrinor as their personal god in order to bolster their image as a military man and strengthen their position of authority over the men they rule. Barrinor is popular among knights, military officers, city guards and other "civilized" fighting men. Soldiers often look favorably on a liege who claims Barrinor as his god.
Over 60 major churches and hundreds of shrines can be found in major cities and towns. The worship of Barinnor is strong wherever noble military cultures exist. This includes Arkalia, Normidia, Vorrik, Garrison, the War Vale and all of the Rukemian Empire. The faith of Barrinor is particularly strong in the Kingdom of Arkalia where it is been adopted as the favored religion of the military ranks, from the ruling nobles to the High Guard to the common militias. It has had a strong influence in Arkalia and has helped shaped the military culture there. It is less prevalent, but still present, in many other regions. The worship of Barrinor is confined to Ithria and has not yet spread to Aggradar or Qeshir.
History and Origins
The Church of Barrinor can be traced all the way back into the Age of Dawning. It is an amalgamation of several battle cults that were strong during the Myratz Empire. These cults arose from battle songs and warrior tales told around campfires during the Four Kingdoms War. By the time that the Thullian Empire arose, these warrior cults had merged together into a focused faith based on a war god named Barrinor. The refined culture of the Irenni League shifted the nature of Barrinor from warrior to knight and became particularly strong there. The faith has grown slowly and steadily through the centuries. The ranks of this religion shrank during the Purification Campaigns of the Assembly during the Age of Dreams. However, during the Great War, when noble warriors were needed most, this church experienced a revival and its ranks swelled especially in the Irenni League. Today, the Church of Barrinor is wide spread throughout the realms in all nations and cities where honor is valued.
The church of Barrinor has the following long term goals:
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
The main Church of Barrinor is known as the Argentum and it is located in the heart of Strathon, the capital city of Arkalia. This church rules over all other Barrinor churches, establishs all church law for the other churches to follow and controls the entire faith.
It is a magnificent structure of white stone, flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings. Its brilliant white stones are washed daily and gleam brightly in the light of the suns. Colorful banners drape the outer walls and shining silver spires reach toward the skies. The Argentum is ruled over by His Holiness, the Arch Bishop of Barrinor, Jon Tenral.
All who would hold honor, truth and justice as their guiding ideals find that Barrinor suits them. While many who worship are soldiers and guards, this church also attracts judges, merchants, craftsmen and even common farmers. Honor and truth are not limited to those with money and power.
Knights of Barrinor often preach to and teach at warrior guild halls. They recruit new members into the church from young men eager to join the militia or national army. Often, the Church of Barrinor is closely tied to the town's militia. In Arkalia, the Church of Barrinor is tightly interwoven with the military. Arkalia's capital, Strathon, is the center of this church and the main temple of Barrinor is located there.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
The Church of Barrinor is strongly allied with the Church of Imarus. Many of the faithful, on both sides, consider Barrinor to be the right hand of Imarus. The church of Barrinor is generally on good terms with most of the other Elder Gods of Ithria, with a few exceptions. Vorkayne is viewed as an aloof wizard with questionable motives. Sarreth is seen as too much of a pacifist when sometimes war is required. Barrinor respects Kael's sheer ferocity and battle prowess. Kael is a terror when unleashed upon the battle field, but he does not fight with honor or for worthy causes. Their is grudging respect between the churches of Barrinor and Kael even though they do not see eye to eye on many matters.
The Church of Barrinor strongly opposes all of the Dark Lords of Ithria. In particular, the church of Barrinor is opposed to the church of Barulda. The two faiths will attack each other on sight. In the eyes of Barrinor, Barulda is a corruption and the world must be cleansed of this cult.
Barrinor is mostly neutral toward most of the Celestial Gods.
If one were to distill this religion down to just two words, it would be Honor and Truth. Barrinor stresses that honor and truth are the highest ideals that one can aspire to and these twin beacons of light should guide the faithful in every moment of their lives. Honor is everything and one must always hold it above any other concern. To betray a friend, to turn a blind eye to injustice or to shrink from responsibility is to stain oneself with dishonor. Truth is held in equal regard. The first duty of the faithful is to Truth in all its aspects. Honor and Truth. These two words sum up the entire faith.
Of course, there is much more to this religion than that simple definition. Barrinor teaches that his followers should always lend a helping hand to those in need. The strong must always come to the defense of the weak. The rich should aid the poor. The healthy should comfort the sick. Each of us must give to help others, wherever and whenever we can.
Evil and chaos plague the world. Such darkness must be met with iron will and steel hammer upon the battlefield. The faithful must never shrink from this duty. If an enemy is worthy, if a battle is necessary, if a war is just, then the faithful are called upon to fight.
All war must be just and honorable, however. An unjust war, an unnecessary battle, a simple fight that could have been avoided... these are dishonorable things. An honorable man does not go looking for trouble. Those who revel in killing and battle for its own sake, those who take pleasure in killing with no purpose, are the enemy of this faith. Murderers, thugs, bandits and lawless mercenaries are to be pitied, denied and stopped.
Honor guides the thoughts and deeds of all believers, from the highest commander to the lowliest foot soldier. One must not only behave honorably on the battle field, but also in the war room or the commander’s tent or the throne room. One does not set aside his honor when he takes his armor off.
Even at the height of battle, mercy should be kept close to one's heart. Surrender must always be an option for the enemy. There is no foe, no matter how dark and vile his deeds, that he should not be afforded one last chance. No one is beyond redemption.
Ranged weapons are shunned as they are a craven’s weapon. One does not attack an unwary enemy by surprise and stealth or by trickery and deception. One does not attack an unarmed opponent. One does not attack an enemy unable or unwilling to fight back. Such are the acts of a coward. It is sometimes difficult to live up to these ideals. The higher one’s rank in the church, the more one is expected to follow these rules of engagement. Warriors who strive to adhere to these rules and transgress them (as does sometimes happen in battle) must seek absolution from the bishops.
Criminals must be brought to justice. The laws of the King must be upheld. Oath breakers, in particular, must be found and punished. Such betrayal must not go unanswered.
Life is a struggle against the forces of darkness and chaos. Each of us must strive to aid the cause, everywhere we can, in every way possible. Only together, with strength and vigilance and courage, can we hope to push back the darkness and wipe the scourge of chaos from the world.
The most holy of the sacred writings of the Church of Barrinor is the Sharbarin which is probably a corruption of the Irreni name “Sharul den Barin” which means “The Book of Barrinor”. The Sharbarin is considered the founding religious document of the church and is divided into five separate books, whose themes are honor, truth, courage, justice and goodness. The Sharbarin contains allegories, historical narrative, poetry, genealogy, prayers, ritual descriptions, church laws and prophecies. Barrinoric religious tradition ascribes authorship of the Sharbarin to various early bishops, through a process of divine inspiration... a process which continues to this day.
The silver hammer is the symbol of the Church of Barrinor. It is the weapon wielded by Barrinor and the chosen weapon of Barrinor’s knights. A replica of Barrinor’s own hammer is carried by the First Knight, the leader of the High Guard.
The members of the clergy, from the knights to the Arch Bishop himself, each carry with them at all times a miniature silver hammer as their holy symbol. Most wear it around their neck on a silver chain.
Barrinor tradition holds a formal gathering of believers at shrines and temples once each week on the first day of the week, Barriday (Barrinor’s Day). Followers of Barrinor may choose not to (or may not be able to) attend every week, but are expected to attend at least once per month. During this weekly ceremony, sections of the Sharbarin are read and sermons are given. This ceremony may also involve public promotions of rank for specific individuals and other announcements. Knights of Barrinor and other warrior faithfuls will meet with bishops of Barrinor in private audience after mass and seek forgiveness for blood spilled by their hands.
Any day that sees an evil defeated is seen as a holy day in the eyes of Barrinor. Followers will pray for Barrinor's favor before a battle and offer up thanks afterwards. In addition, the first day of the seven day Khorrasian week is known as "Barrinor's Day" in most civilized lands throughout Ithria. The first day of the year is considered particularly holy to followers of Barrinor as it ties in to several legends about Barrinor. The faithful of Barrinor are forbidden to fight on this day.
The holiest relic of the church is a replica of Barrinor’s hammer. This relic is made of adamantite and powerfully enchanted. The relic is the greatest possession of the church. It is held by the First Knight of the High Guard.
Overview of the Clergy
Many worship and follow the teachings of Barrinor, but few are equal to the tasks required to be a knight or bishop of Barrinor. One must be honest, loyal and pure of heart. One must be confident and have unshakable courage. To become an armiger of Barrinor, one must be sponsored by a warrior and this must be approved by a knight. However, most who seek to serve are welcomed by the Church.
Divisions and Rank Structure
The ranks, duties and dress of the church of Barrinor are similar to that of Imarus in many ways. There can be no doubt that these two faiths have influenced each other over the centuries.
The armiger is the first and lowest rank in the church of Barrinor. Originally meaning “armor bearer”, the term has come to denote the thousands of young hopefuls eager to serve the church and rise in the ranks to more prestigious duties. Armigars serve the church in many ways. Some carry out common menial duties such as cooking and cleaning. Others serve the Bishops in the church as altar boys. And many serve the warriors and knights in the traditional duties of polishing armor, cleaning weapons and tending horses. Armigers wear tunics of rough spun brown wool.
The backbone of the Church is the second rank - the warriors. These battle hardened warriors serve the church by participating in quests, escorting dignitaries, serving the knights and protecting the bishops. Several thousand of these men and women serve the Church. The goal of each, to been seen worthy in the eyes of Barrinor and achieve knighthood. The warriors use a variety of weapons and armor, but most try to emulate the knights and so will work hard to acquire good armor and a war hammer. Warriors are foot soldiers. They are forbidden to ride steeds until they have been promoted to the rank of knight. Over their armor, warriors where tunics of rough spun brown wool, like the armigers. But warriors are allowed to paint a hammer in white on their chest.
Those warriors who serve well are granted knighthood in a special ceremony and promoted to the rank of “knight”. The knights wear heavy armor, fight with war hammer and shield and are granted spell ability. At first this spell ability is very weak, but with years of service and martial training, the scope and power of their spells gradually increases. Knights are mounted warriors and ride fine steeds. They serve the bishops in service and ceremony and follow the knight commanders into battle. Knights wear tunics of white and red over their armor. The white symbolizes purity while the red symbolizes the blood that must be spilled in battle. Each knight carries a miniature silver hammer with him at all times as a holy symbol.
After many years of service, most knights will "retire" from active duty and be promoted to the rank of Bishop. At this time, the hammer and armor are put away and he dons the robes of his new office and serves the Church in a much more spiritual and advisory role. It is the bishops that do the bulk of the clerical work in the church. They conduct most ceremonies, lead the faithful in service, heal the wounded, care for the sick, listen to the woes and troubles of the common folk and see to the day to day administrative duties of the church. Bishops are granted more powerful spell ability and their spells become their primary weapon and tool. Bishops wear white robes hemmed in red at the neck and wrists. They also wear their holy symbol on a silver chain about their neck.
The High Guard
After many years of service, a knight may be promoted to the rank of “knight commander” as a member of the High Guard. Only the most worthy knights are granted this rare honor. Such a promotion always coincides with a vacancy in the High Guard as this prestigious group must always number fifty, no more and no less. Each one of the fifty holds the rank of Knight Commander. The High Guard is the most elite fighting force within all of Arkalia and it is a reputation that is well earned. They fight with both steel and spell and wield the finest of both. Cavaliers are often called upon to complete (and often lead) the most dangerous and important missions. Knight Commanders wear only the finest plate armor (usually enchanted) and fight with massive ornate war hammers very similar to their lord. The High Guard serves the King and Grand Bishops directly. They are often on hand at diplomatic ceremonies, guarding important dignitaries and serving at religious holidays. Once each year, at the King's Festival, the Arch Bishop of Barrinor chooses one of the High Guard, whomever he deems most worthy, to be the “First Knight”. This high honor is held for one year. During that time, the First Knight is given the privilege to carry the Church's most holy artifact, the Hammer of Barrinor, a massive silver and adamantine hammer which is ensorcelled with the most powerful magic. In the cities, churches and during ceremonies, the knights sets aside their armor and wear tunics of white and red over chainmail. The High Guard, like the Bishops, wear their holy symbols around their necks on a silver chain.
The Grand Bishops
A select few bishops are promoted to Grand Bishop. This happens only after many years of faithful service and the selection is made by the Grand Bishops themselves. The Grand Bishops are the highest ranking group within the church. These venerable wise men command all beneath them, including the High Guard. The number of Grand Bishops varies from year to year, but there are typically less than a dozen. The Grand Bishops preside over the largest churches and cathedrals in the faith. They also have the most powerful spells. Grand Bishops were a distinctive and elaborate headpiece and robes of white, red and silver.
The Arch Bishop
Presiding over the entire church of Barrinor is the Arch Bishop, currently His Holiness Archi Bishop Tenral. The Arch Bishop is always chosen from the ranks of the Grand Bishops in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy. Some say he is chosen by Barrinor himself. The Arch Bishop typically wears robes of white, red, silver and gold. His cloak is fur trimmed and shimmers with precious jewels. He wears a variety of truly ornate head dresses depending on the occasion. The Arch Bishop leads ceremonies at the Argentum. He often holds private ceremonies for the royal family and certain other noble families. The Arch Bishop is served by four Grand Bishops at the Argentum, whilst the other Grand Bishops command other major churches elsewhere in the Kingdom.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.