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|pronunciation = Yoon-yen-is-m
|pronunciation = Yoon-yen-is-m
|origins = Emperor [[Theomar]]
|origins = Emperor [[Theomar]]
|deities = The Everwatcher and
Supreme Being, and 7 God Emperors/Empresses
[[Dogmatic]], [[Evintarian]] , [[Dogartan]], [[Vultragon]], and [[ Breizh Unionism]] , with several smaller Sect beliefs
Unionism is a polytheistic [[Religion]] based on the life and oral teachings of the [[Emperors of Regalia]], and the supreme Divine Being known as the Everwatcher that inhabits them. The Everwatcher, in turn, is supported by God Emperors and God Empresses who after their death shed their mortal form and passed into immortality, becoming gods and goddesses in their own right. Unionism is the largest religion in [[Aloria]] and is practiced by millions of people of all different [[Races]]--particularly the [[Ailor]] Race. The core belief of Unionism is that one day by the shepherding of the [[Regalian Empire]], its Emperor, and the faithful, all Races and all peoples of the world will achieve paradise through what they call "The Great Way", which roughly corresponds to the ambition to make Regalia a globe spanning Empire that controls all the seas and land there is. They believe that all those who died will return to the land of the living, and all shall live in immortality and infinity in a forever- paradise. Despite its great message, Unionism also has its controversies and schisms. It is the most divided religion, perhaps a reflection of its Ailor origin, as several split beliefs have caused major rifts in their religious community. Unionism is generally considered the fastest-growing religion, quickly replacing all other religions across the world due to a combination of its universal message and its enforcement by the military might of the Regalian Empire.
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* '''Beginnings & Founders''': Unionism was founded by Emperor [[Theomar I]], the first Emperor of the Regalian Empire who also functions as the faith's chief prophet. He proclaimed that he received visions from the Everwatcher, who chose to bestow the right of the so-called Mantle of Creation unto the Regalians. It is believed that Unionism was a religion that existed for thousands of years, but was always rejected by the dominant civilizations at the time. Theomar proclaimed that the Everwatcher had rejected the hubris and degeneracy of the [[Allorn Empire]], and now favored the newly risen Regalian Empire as the true agents of paradise, or the Makers of the Great Way. This meant that while in the past other civilizations held the Mantle of Creation (an abstract concept that implies a specific empire is the protector of all living things), it was now time for the Regalians to fulfill this task. Emperor Theomar I wrote his visions and intentions into a large holy book called The Creed, which then started spreading from its creation point in the [[City of Regalia]] (this is why Regalia is sometimes also called the Holy City) to all surrounding lands, causing more and more nobles adopted the faith and spread it to their subjects, before it took to the global stage.
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* '''Creation Theory''': Unionist Creation theory describes a time called the Uhr- Era, a time before memory and writing, where the Everwatcher was an immortal formless being alone in the universe with the power of perpetual creation. It is written in The Creed that the Everwatcher wished to create paradise, but could not realize true paradise without free will. Each time the Everwatcher created a new cycle of creation without free will, the world would eventually succumb to darkness as there was no spark of creativity or innovation. However, when the Everwatcher gave complete free will without guidance, all of creation perpetually destroyed itself in disastrous hellfire, with bright flashes of destruction lighting up the horizon followed by eternal winter. It was finally that on the last cycle, when the Uhr-Era ended, the Everwatcher chose to seek out a Vessel to provide guidance through visions and direct communication on how to achieve paradise without removing free will. Creation was still prone to sin, but was then also able to overcome it.
* '''Racial Access''': Unionism is inclusive for all Races, which is a rarity among the Alorian religions. However, while standard Unionism does include means for all Races to be included, Ailor have a primary position above all others, owing to circumstance and historical narrative. The Emperor has always been an Ailor, and the Everwatcher has designated the Ailor to be "first among equal races", meaning that the task of leadership falls upon them to integrate all Alorians under the Regalian banner, encouraging other Races to take up their duty as well. Strictly speaking, this is not a judgment that non-Ailor are forbidden from positions of leadership and/or the priesthood within the faith (and in fact there have been many non-Ailor who have become critical figures in Unionism's history), just that the responsibility for achieving the destiny of all Races first fell on the Ailor to uphold. Furthermore, Unionism is a very schismatic religion, meaning many different cults and interpretations of The Creed exist, and not all agree on an all-inclusive vision for the other Races. There are plenty of Sects that do not believe in the inclusion of other Races, and some who are outright hostile to what they call the lesser races. Refer to the Schisms and Sects for more information.
After the creation of Unionism , several nobles joined the Emperor as a show of loyalty and started spreading the faith among their subjects. This caused a slow but galvanizing wave of conversions that kept picking up speed until whole nations would instantly fold to follow Unionism in the third century after the [[Cataclysm]]. While once the [[Old Gods]] and other Pagan Faiths were dominant among Ailor, within 200 years they had been reduced to a minority religion that was largely only followed in the northern realms and the [[Drixagh]] area of the [[Regalian Archipelago]]. Meanwhile, Unionism quickly took root in vast swathes of [[Ithania]], [[Daendroc]] and the older Ceardian Kingdoms. Holdouts still remain, and the recent decay of Old Gods and conversions away from the [[Faith of Estel]] have been much slower than in the second century, but Unionism still continues to grow at the expense of all other religions that are turning into fringe beliefs.
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has endured several Schisms, all caused at various points in time over major religious differences. Each Schism usually came about following the death of the previous Emperor, which resulted in the priests of Unionism calling for a Diet of Deliberation. During these Diets, thousands of priests from all over the world were invited to discuss the future of the faith, and to have theological debates, as the priests are the only ones allowed to look at the holy words in The Creed. Unfortunately, sometimes these events were also hotbeds of religious politics, and large groups of priests unified behind an idea that incites violence and opposition from the majority or minority, who might break away. There exist more differences between the Schisms than explicitly stated on this page for ease of reading. ''' For more information on additional differences, consult the [[Unionist Schisms]] page.'''
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The Evintarian Schism''' is the first Schism that appeared directly after the death of Emperor Theomar I. In his later years, Emperor Theomar I changed his mind on the matter of Godsparks, the process by which Unionist Heroes are declared (which are described later on this page). Emperor Theomar I originally wrote in The Creed that Godsparks could only be declared by the priests in a Diet of Divinity, once the subject person had died. In his later years however, he decided Godsparks could be detected in still living mortals during a Diet of Divinity. However, he never wrote this down for unclear reasons. After his death, the majority of priests decided if the Emperors did not write their dissent on previous dogma in The Creed (they are allowed to edit it), it is not considered Divine Will and is irrelevant in the eyes of Holy Law. The Evintarian minority faction believed the Emperor' s word is always Divine Will, and that it does not matter if he has or has not written it down into The Creed; if he changes his mind about something and verbalizes it, it must be followed. Because the majority of the priests refused to legalize the Diet of Divinity for living people, the Evintarian faction split from the main Unionist religious community and created the Evintarian Commune. This Commune suffered severe repression at the hands of the Dogmatic Unionists, and were expelled from the Empire to the inhospitable [[Etosian Isles]]. This is also why this Schism is called Etosian Unionism at times, but Evintarian Unionism is the official name. Evintarians consider themselves more holy and pious followers of the Emperors, and consider the other Schisms to be more secular and thus more prone to corruption and sin. The Evintarian Unionists are the second largest Unionist belief in modern days with a powerful army and nation-state for itself in the [[Etosian Theocracy]].
The Dogartan Schism''' is the second Schism that appeared directly after the death of Emperor [[Henri III]]. Emperor Henri III was known to live a pious and virtuous life while rejecting wealth and excess, and due to the rapid growth of Unionism, the Dogmatic Unionist religious community had become very wealthy, as priests were allowed to tax the peasants in their lands just like the nobility. A minority of priests wanted to establish a wealth-cap for all priests, forcing them all to give away their wealth to the poor, which most priests rejected. As such, the Dogartans left the main structure of priesthood and created their own Dogartan Unionism that is based on a vow of poverty and helping others, rather than glory and the self. The Dogartans were less repressed, and in many ways the Dogmatic Unionists simply let them go. They continue to exist in modern times but are few in number of adherents.
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The Vultragon Schism''' is the third Schism that appeared as a direct response to the [[Seasonal Emperors Period]], though murmurings of its origins had already begun during the [[Years of the Three Emperors]] a century earlier. Many priests, particularly from the south, believed court politics and intrigue dictated who would become Emperor too much, over the inheritance clauses clarified in The Creed. They argued that the Vessel could not just be assumed-to -be the next-in-line heir to the throne, because this would imply the Everwatcher just jumped into whomever, regardless of how competent they were (with history producing many such Emperors). The priests argued that the Everwatcher is much more intentional, and would take a Vessel that would not become subject to court intrigue. Because it is impossible to tell who the Everwatcher had chosen, these priests argued for a waiting period after the death of the last Emperor, during which they waited for a sign from the Everwatcher. The majority of the priests declared this heretical and in direct contradiction to The Creed, so they violently expelled the Vultarin priests. These priests went home to Vultaro and their beliefs quickly spread among the locals due to the harsh societal environment the southern lands lived under, stoked by constant petty warfare between its nobles. Eventually, the situation exploded into a rebellion, and the [[Regalian Army]] harshly repressed the Vultragon Heresy that continued to spread regardless. Eventually, the Regalian Army backed off and relations were normalized into peace. The Vultragon Unionist religious community is the third-largest Schism of Unionism today, and has firmly established a Unionist belief structure centered around critical thinking in the southern regions of the Regalian Archipelago.
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The Breizh Foundation''' is not formally a Schism, but it is often called such because it makes the Breizh Foundation Religious Community easier to understand. When Unionism was first proclaimed, the [[Breizh]] people of [[Kintyr]] followed the so called [[Weard]], which were legendary Breizh warriors who were born gifted with some sort of [[Magic]], and had to earn their place in the pantheon of the Breizh Weard and effectively become demigods through service and achievement in life. The Breizh Weard was distinct from other Ailor pagan faiths in that it did not deny the existence of other divine beings (such as , for example , Old Gods would) and also proposed that these divine beings were granted powers by some unseen hand before they achieved their legendary purpose, not after, and that therefor, demigods were capable of failing to ever achieve anything before dying of old age. This made the Breizh Weard faith very compliant with Unionism , as it lacked any of the rules that would deny the Everwatcher, and the Unionist Heroes even connected with the Weard faith, allowing their Weard to be adopted into the list of Heroes. As a result, The Breizh Foundation (which occurred around 50 AC) refers to a time in which the priests of Kintyr accepted the merger of the Weard and Unionist faiths at the Conclave of Alstyr. It is important to note that while they did essentially become a full fledged religious community of Unionism, the other denominations do not acknowledge Breizh Unionism and see this Religious Community as more of a Schism than a part of their own communities. It is officially not a schism because the priests adopted Unionism , they never officially left any main dogmatic bodies, however it is normally treated like a schism for the aforementioned reasons. To read more about Breizh Unionism, refer to the [[Breizh Unionism]] page.
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The Emended Faithful''' or [[Emended Unionism]] is not a schism, and instead simply a denomination of Unionism that came about by general osmosis of beliefs and alternative theories, sprouting in Anglia. Emended Unionism believes that the Vessels of the Everwatcher are Kades instead of Ivrae's, and that Ivrae's simply pretended to be the Vessel for nearly 300 years. There are very few denominational differences between Emended Unionism and Dogmatic Unionism, though some are crucial enough to define Emended Unionism as a more progressive version of Unionism. Emended Unionism is very recent and has only existed for a few months in a formal religious community kind of way.
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Smaller Sects exist within Unionism , though they are not full Schisms. Most sects are intersectional, meaning that a priest from both Vultragon and Dogmatic Unionists can be a member of a specific Sect, since Sects only add beliefs and do not subtract from or conflict with pre-existing beliefs. Sects usually have very small support bases, but are entirely legal within the Regalian Empire or the Unionist religious communities at- large, even the Schisms.
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The Horopadosi Sect''' : This Sect believes in the idea of "physical evolution to a greater being, " meaning that being a specific Race is an abstract concept. Those that undergo physical alterations to the body, such as by [[Mutations]] or [[Url]] Symbiosis, are still their original Race, but only if the changes are seen as a way of improving what constitutes the body or mind. This Sect specifically rejects magical enhancement by itself, but believes Magic can be used to elicit physical mutations that are beneficial. Urlification is particularly popular among the Horopadosi.
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The Priscelle Sect''' : This Sect believes that the inheritance clause in The Creed is incomplete and that the presumption that the inheritance of the Emperors must always be gendered toward the first- born male who survives the Emperor is wrong. They argue that the first-born child, regardless of gender, is the one chosen to become the heir, thus allowing female Empresses to carry the Everwatcher as a Vessel. This Sect does not support changing the inheritance line of succession as it stands now and favor providence in the Kade Succession. They do, however, lobby to get the inheritance changed for the future, so that if the next Emperor should have a daughter first, that daughter becomes the heiress.
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The Minoth Sect''' : this Sect believes in a more intellectual approach to Unionism that considers the Everwatcher a more abstract "learning" and "knowledge" transferal between Emperors, rather than an actual being with intentions and thoughts of its own. The Minoth Sect believes that the Imperial inheritance should be based on elective choice, meaning the current Vessel of the Everwatcher Emperor or Empress should be allowed to choose the next Emperor or Empress regardless of their birth order. The Everwatcher should aid the Vessel in choosing who is most competent to carry the Everwatcher as a future Vessel. This Cult is currently in-favor in the Imperial Court, and Emperor [[Alexander I]] has chosen the elective inheritance clause.
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* '''The Silvershroud Sect''': this Sect rejects the all-demon status of the Occult, and believes that non- [[Affliction]]-based Occult, and to some degree [[Silvenism]], are beneficial and blessings of the Everwatcher, as opposed to [[Demons]] from a different plane of existence. They argue that because some Afflictions or Occult beings are beneficial, or at least not repugnant to life and existence, they must be ordained by the Everwatcher who is the chief creator of all things good. They argue for the legalization of vast swathes of the Occult.
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The Diviner Sect''' : this Sect rejected the all-inclusion of other Races into the Unionist fold, and argued for the sacrificing of other Races as lesser beings to divinate the future, or receive visions from the Everwatcher. Because this Sect implied that the Everwatcher would speak to anyone other than the Emperor, this Sect was uniformly denounced by all Schisms, and made holy war upon by the Dogmatic Unionism religious community. The [[Holy Herebrand Order]] exterminated the Diviner Sect in 308 AC, killing their last supporters in [[Girobalda]].
* '''The Vierzehn Sect''': this Sect rejects the full integration of other Races or [[Half-Ailor]] into Unionism, though not as severely as the Diviner Sect does, while also sticking closer to The Creed. Vierzehners believe that all other Races are by nature inferior or flawed, and should have their statuses reduced while the Ailor continue lead everyone from the top unimpeded, barring non-Ailor from all military, priestly, administrative positions of power, especially nobility. Vierzehners also believe in an expansion of immoral sins, which largely involve importing more bigoted laws against non-conforming minorities in society who do not portray the exact pure vision of the Vierzehners.
* '''The Thyemic Sect''': this Sect believes that [[Undead]] are resurrected by the Everwatcher with a unique duty to the Great Way. Thyemics ( who are usually Undead themselves) tend to fill roles that would be difficult for living members of the faith, such as guarding remote holy sites or ministering to communities stricken by disease. Of note, there is a great disagreement within the Sect over Therin Ivrae, the son of [[Justinian II]] who rose from the grave to kill his older brother during the [[Undead Scare]]. Some hold that Therin was given an opportunity for redemption, but rejected it. Others instead assert that Therin's return and subsequent crime were both divinely inspired, setting in motion a chain of events that will bring about a new era of the Empire.
spread through Missionaries who travel to lands where Unionism is not yet present or present in a minority to establish a so- called "Celery". Celeries are areas that the Unionist priests use to define boundaries between their spheres of influence, as each priest has a rough jurisdiction (sometimes just a town, or a city, or a whole valley) where they administer their religious services. Priests and missionary in Unionism are as such the same people, and most priests have been missionaries at some point or another. "Celate" is the most common term for a religious figure of authority within Unionism, though priest can also be used to refer to them.
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Violence has always been a contentious point within Unionism, as The Creed professes the need for all people to spread the one true faith--by the sword, if need be. Unionism is likely the most aggressive religion that is forced onto other peoples and nations even against their will, and that many thousands of people have died because they refused to convert to Unionism. The Creed never explicitly states non-Unionists must die; however, The Creed does permit holy warriors of the faith to slay those who would stand in the way of the spreading of the faith. This has allowed some blood-thirsty Celates and nobles to slay large numbers of non-believers to soften up populations for the actual conversion, as they have no warriors left to oppose the missionaries’ influence. In modern times, the Regalian Empire has simmered down the violence, but the spreading of Unionism still is built on a bloodbath, especially against the [[Velheim]] people in Drixagh who intermittently waged Holy War against Regalia for several decades. These Velheimers also committed atrocities against the Unionists, and in most cases, Holy Wars are considered defensive for the Unionists, adding more nuance than is often assumed. There are also large segments of Unionist society that are entirely pacifist, and even those who vehemently oppose Holy Wars or other forms of religious violence, while sectarian violence also happens within Unionism itself.
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The following Beliefs are recorded for Unionism:
* '''Narrative''': The Unionists believe that all believers a destiny to lead others to a realm of paradise where there is no suffering or death and everyone lives immortal with the dead returning to life among the living. It is believed that this paradise will arrive when all the world is subject to the Regalian Empire, and believes in Unionism (or any of its Schisms).
* '''Purpose of Life''': Is to love and serve the Emperor and the Everwatcher and the God Emperors and Empresses. The primary directive is to follow the secular will of the Emperor, live in the virtues set out by the God Emperors and Empresses and earn the worthiness of the Everwatcher by living a virtuous life free of sin.
* '''Suffering''' is believed to be a test of faith for the mortals that exposes sin and weakness in the mortal soul. All souls are savable, and it is the duty of the Celates to elicit reform and improvement in souls so that when a person dies, the Everwatcher will deem them worthy for the afterlife.
* '''Canonical Evil''' does not formally exist in Unionism, but generally speaking spirits from other dimensions are considered Evil. These are called Demons, even if they are in fact not a sentient entity and rather just an infection of the mind on a person. Other evil simply derives from the mortal flaws of Free Will.
* '''Magic''' is considered a taint and corruption brought about from Demons, though some Sects and even Schisms tolerate vast swathes of Magic or what they call "Occult", and some even see it as a direct blessing from the Everwatcher as a tool to be used to achieve paradise.
* '''After Death''', each person's soul is believed to be judged by the Everwatcher. Those with excessive sin are forced to reincarnate into a newborn, and get another chance at proving the value of their soul . Those who are judged virtuous are permitted onto the Great Staircase, where all worthy souls look down on the living and exist in bliss until Paradise arrives.
* '''Burial''', involves burning the body, or beheading and burial, as Unionism has had an issue with mindless Undead, and standardized practices to deny Undeath. When a person dies, a mourning period of several days is announced with mourning robes in White, and Silent Sisters, a female caste of priestesses, perform the burial rituals along with a Celates offering the blessings of the dead and sympathy for the living.
* '''Scriptures''': There is only one holy scripture: The Creed, a 300 year-old book carefully preserved in the writing of Emperor Theomar I and his successors. Each successive Emperor, as outlined by The Creed, is able to remove, add or change anything in The Creed, and anything they write automatically becomes Holy Law and truth. The Creed is so holy that it is forbidden for those without priestly training at the [[Divine College]] to read it. This grand heresy calls for the removal of the offender’s eyes as punishment. Only ordained Celates may speak the words written in The Creed.
* '''Calendar''': There exists a Holy Calendar, with yearly holidays and holy periods of the year, each divided into the four holy quarters which roughly correspond with Spring, the Period of Ambitions; Summer, the Period of the Future; Autumn, the period of Glory, and Winter; the Period of Reflection. '''To find out more about the religious holidays, read the [[Unionist Calendar]] page.'''
The Everwatcher, is the supreme Divine Being of Unionism, the source of all creation, and the final destiny of all things. The Everwatcher was the first thing that was created in the beginning of times and created all other races, creatures, land, and all that was and will be. The Everwatcher is not traditionally depicted in any way shape or form, because it never had a physical form and always presented itself through a host, a “Vessel” in which it existed, and dispensed its holy visions and wisdom so the mortal being it inhabited could rule in its stead. Eventually as its Vessel aged and died, it would pass onto the Vessel’s first born child as it would continue to guide its blessed Race to the Everwatch, a time in which all creation would join together with the souls of the dead into an eternal paradise, when creation has proven that it is worthy of eternity.
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The nature of the Everwatcher is a subject of strong debate, especially between the schismatic religious communities within Unionism. Unionism is an immensely divided religion that has several major Schisms: the Divine Unionism (the standard religious community of Unionism), Evintarian Unionism (sometimes also called Ionism), Vultragon Unionism (sometimes also called Clastism), Dogartan Unionism (sometimes also Dosstism) and several smaller sects. The Everwatcher is the same for all of these Schisms, but these Schisms disagree on who should be the Vessel of the Everwatcher, because the Everwatcher does not ever make this explicitly apparent. For example, the common understanding is that the Everwatcher only resides in the first-born male heir, while Vultragon Unionism believes it should be the first-born heir regardless of gender or Race that makes it to adulthood, which the other Schisms disagree with.
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Regardless of the interpretation, the Everwatcher is considered the Supreme Being, through which all the God Emperors and Empresses are created as Divine Beings who ascend to godhood as they shed their mortal form. As such, the God Emperors and Empresses are less important than the Everwatcher in the Unionist faith, but they are more generally present because they are far more personal and once lived on Aloria, thus leaving behind a memory of their existence to be worshiped. One can use the Everwatcher or any of the God Emperors or Empresses in blessings interchangeably; although they all roughly correlate to the same thing, there is only ever one Everwatcher, while there are currently seven God Emperors and Empresses, and more can be declared after the death of an Emperor or Empress in the future. The Everwatcher is eternal; it sees all and knows all, though it only works through the divine hands of the living Emperor who acts as its Vessel, while the God Emperors and Empresses function on the peripheries giving individual blessings to the faithful who are not heard by the Everwatcher in particular.
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Choosing a single God Emperor or Empress as a patron God or Goddess is very common in Unionism. That being said, active worship of all Gods or Goddess is not required, and so long as at least one God or Goddess is actively worshiped, even worshiping the Everwatcher is not strictly necessary, as the Gods and Goddesses are all more personalized extensions of the Everwatcher. Worshiping the Everwatcher alone and largely ignoring the Gods and Goddesses is also possible. It is even possible to perform active worship of one of the God Emperors or Empresses more than the others, or only the male God Emperors, or only the female God Empresses, or any combination of them. Most Unionists invoke the names of all God Emperors, Empresses, and the Everwatcher, but might choose to have a shrine to all of them, or only one of them.
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=God Emperor Theomar====
Theomar, or just Theomar (sometimes also nicknamed the Sun- Father), was the first Emperor of Regalia, Emperor Theomar I Ivrae. Theomar ascended to Godhood after his death when the Everwatcher passed on to [[ Lilienmar I]]. Theomar was the founding Emperor of the Regalian Empire and the creator of the Unionist Faith, writing the first version of The Creed, the holy book of Unionism. As a God Emperor, Theomar is the representing God of Fatherhood and Leadership, the Beginning of everything, and Founders. Theomar was known to be an Emperor with exceptional charisma even at an early age who could seduce even his most staunch opponents into allies, steering the future of Unionism on the path of ever-growth and ever-greatness. Theomar is also remembered as an excellent father who sired several children who all loved him unconditionally, and proved to be very skilled and well educated Princes in their own right.
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Theomar is often depicted holding up his hand, with the palm to the viewer. This is to emulate his proclamation of Unionism, as his hand is sometimes also holding a book meant to represent The Creed. He is always depicted very dignified, and clothed in his royal purple and cream yellow robes, his favorite colors in life. Shrines to Theomar usually feature a golden bowl in which promises of good lives and good wishes for children are deposited by fathers, or good wishes and promises for fairness and kindness from one employer to employees. As such, Theomar shrines featuring this bowl and his likeness can be found in the home, or in workplaces, where Theomar’s name is invoked for the good fortunes of the business and the good wellbeing of its leadership, who in turn invoke the wellbeing of the workers and productivity. It is believed that Theomar blesses the perpetual goodness of the world and the goodness in Unionist hearts to this day.
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It should not come as a surprise that Theomar is often worshiped by laborers, employers and business runners, leaders, fathers, patriarchs and overseers. In the wake of Theomar, a cult rose to specifically worship him above the other God Emperors and Empresses: The Theomarite Cult. The Death of Theomar also created the Evintarian Schism, as Theomar was known to be favorable in his later life to the declaration of living Heroes, those who would inherit a spark of divinity from the God Emperors and Empresses, while the majority of the clergy disagreed, resulting in the creation of Evintarian Unionism, a schismatic religion. Theomar’s Cloister Trial involves several tests of morality and making the right decision in a tough situation to test the ethics and fairness of the pilgrim. Theomar’s Cloister Trial is at the Arch Temple of the All-Beacon, with the inner Faith Chamber containing the circlet of Theomar, as his actual Sarcophagus is buried at the Imperial Palace.
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=God Empress Ness====
God Empress Ness, or just Ness (sometimes nicknamed Nessie or Mutt-Mother by non-Ailor), was the wife of Emperor [[Henri I]] the Honorable, as his wife Empress Nessaria I of [[House van Sherburne]]. Empress Nessaria is best remembered as being an indignant wife to her husband early on, resenting the marriage with Emperor Henri I. Through her early years, she committed many sins of unfaithfulness to her husband in spirit and name. This led to her being punished with being blinded, after which she wore her signature silver butterfly wing eye covers and coronet piece. Despite being vengeful after being blinded, it is said that the Everwatcher gave her sight back after she discovered love for her first born child by the Emperor, [[Bartolomeux I]], who would also later become Emperor. Still, her Godhood has little to do with her motherhood, but rather the redemption she afforded for the assassins of her children. While their implicit assassination of the Emperors Bartolomeux, [[Carvallais I]] and [[Maxelle I]] were never proven, the story goes that Ness gave them penultimate repentance and forgiveness despite the horror they had inflicted on her. She spent many years a devoted mother, only to have her most prized thing in the world taken from her, her children, and still she found it in her heart to forgive the assassins, and gave them blessings as they wept for forgiveness at her feet, clawing at her mourning dress. She would later on continue to go out and seemingly turn the hearts and minds of many of the most ruthless criminals, spending a night with them in their cell by candlelight, and having converted them to pious men full of repentance and seeking forgiveness come morning, continuing on to her dying days. Ness also showed exceptional favor to non-Ailor races, being nicknamed “Mutt Mother” in a time when all other Ailor hated the sight of Half-Ailor, and some of the more radical religious sects continued to attack non-Ailor over radical beliefs of exceptionalism. Ness is the representative Goddess of Forgiveness, Acceptance, Repentance, Absolution, but also the Downtrodden, the Forgotten, the non-Ailor, and the Half-Ailor who feel abandoned.
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Ness is always depicted in her mourning dress with her signature butterfly eye- covers and accessories. Butterflies strongly represent Ness, a being and symbol of forgiveness of Unionists, and for those seeking repentance. She often carries a golden Unionist Eye chain, along with a golden rose and two sets of rose-thorn stalks. These items are meant to represent her objects of the many facets of forgiveness through faith, repentance through loss, and the beauty of absolution. Sometimes her statue has three infants around her pedestal to signify motherhood, and sometimes it has three chained criminals to signify the forgiveness she gave. Offerings to her are silent candle vigils, or the repentance those who have wronged seek to the priests of Unionism. It is believed that Ness continues to whisper conscience into the hearts of the most hardened criminals, and that all feelings of guilt come from her, but also all feelings of liberation and acceptance, and that she continues to protect non-Ailor.
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Ness is often worshiped by non-Ailor, Criminals, Judges, Half-Ailor, those who are poor and feel forgotten and downtrodden, those seeking redemption and forgiveness, and those who seek the strength to forgive others. In the wake of Ness came the Nessilia Cult, which holds her above all other Emperor Gods and Goddesses. Ness’s Cloister Trial involves priests drawing out the sins and crimes of the individual in confessional, after which they are confronted with the circumstances and challenged to find peace and love for themselves despite them. If they are proved worthy by the priests, they are allowed into the Faith Chamber of the Arch Temple of Salvation, where five sarcophagi stand, for Ness and her four beloved children (As Emperor [[Leomar I]], her youngest son, was also buried there after his natural death).
=God Emperor Juvin====
God Emperor Juvin, or just Juvin (sometimes also nicknamed the All-Knower), was the 11th Emperor of Regalia, Emperor Henri III Ivrae de- Sange. Juvin ascended to Godhood after his death when the Everwatcher passed on to [[Lillienmar III]]. Juvin is commonly remembered as the most pious and religiously pure Emperor, who lived an ascetic life of inner peace and perfection, and outward serenity and virtue. As a God Emperor, Juvin is the representing God of Piety and Virtue, the Perfection of Leaning, and Thinkers. Juvin was known to be an Emperor with exceptional wit and knowledge even at an early age when he could easily debate and out-wit his teachers and superiors. Juvin was also an exceptional philosopher and thinker who would spend long periods of his rule contemplating the meanings of everything, and make modifications to the Creed to reflect a more pure lifestyle. Juvin is also praised for his divine detachment, his ability to perceive the world and morals without the biases of the living and the common folk, thus allowing him to reach a greater plane of enlightenment.
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Juvin is often depicted in simple garb with only minimal decorations and dull colors, bowing, kneeling or in some form of submissive stance. This is to emphasize that Juvin never considered himself above everyone else, and served knowledge and virtue more than anything. He is depicted tall and frail, with a bald head and a long robe that may sometimes also contain several scrolls and items that intellectuals use to ply their crafts. Shrines to Juvin are usually put into an alcove inside a larger bookcase, surrounded by knowledge and learning. Candles are lit to his will in front of his statue, while incense is let to absorb the knowledge of the books, in the hopes that Juvin will give the offering person the means to learn faster. Juvin shrines can be found in any library or school, while his statues are also frequently found in Dogartan Cloisters and places of learning for the Unionist priests. It is believed that Juvin continues to watch over all Unionists, believing he grants them the means to learn, and unveils truth to those who seek it.
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Juvin is often worshiped by priests, librarians, scribes, teachers, tutors, researchers, alchemists, philosophers and thinkers. In the wake of Juvin, a cult rose to specifically worship him above the other God Emperors and Empresses: The Juvinite Cult. The Death of Juvin also created the Dogartan Schism, as Juvin was known to lead an immensely ascetic lifestyle, and rejected any and all aesthetics or wealth not forced on him by protocol. There were a number of priests who supported his vow of poverty lifestyle above the wealth that the Unionist religious community had acquired at the time of his death, resulting in the creation of Dogartan Unionism, a schismatic religion. Juvin’s Cloister Trial involves several tests of wit at the Arch Temple of Greater Understanding, before pilgrims can reach the inner Faith chamber containing Juvin’s Sarcophagus.
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====God Emperor Almar====
|God Emperor Almar, or Almar (sometimes also nicknamed the Blind Jester or Allmaverick, the word Maverick comes from his name), was the 13th Emperor of Regalia, Emperor [[Allamaria I]] Ivrae Heiligenblut (surname differs as he was a [[Wirtem]] Emperor alongside his older brother Lilienmar III). Emperor Allamaria I was also the second son of Emperor Henri III, making God Emperor Almar the son of God Emperor Juvin, while he is also the grandfather of God Emperor Allest. Almar is remembered for several things. Firstly, he is remembered as a rambunctious adolescent, spending much of his early years being a boisterous and wild man with many conquests and broken hearts. He spent money like no tomorrow, and offended many foreign dignitaries with his crude behavior, equally letting many of his stewards and guards land in prison, taking the blame for his juvenile actions. As rule came closer to him however, a series of visions of the past and future caused him to completely reform his life. Where there in the past was celebration and endless nights in leisure, there now was endless nights studying and codifying law to create a semblance of order and justice. Almar was so profoundly touched by his visions and the injustice in the world that he sought to right wrongs. He later also created the Regalian Marshalry, which he had envisioned to be the arm that would spread his justice and honor for all across the lands. Almar is the representative God of Justice, Law, Honesty, but also of Leisure, Entertainment, Vanity, and Ego.
Almar is often depicted as a suave and handsome young man (even if his reforms came at a later age), always with either a blindfold or some kind of unraveling cloth disappearing from his eyes. This cloth is meant to represent the blindness of justice, but also the fact that Almar was blind to the truths of duty and fate for so long in his life, until he saw the light and reformed. He is also always depicted with a scale, the symbol for the Regalian Judiciary, that weighs the value of crime and punishment for those who are subject to Almar’s laws. Almar’s shrine equally has a scale, one with a golden feather, and another with a small box. These items normally weigh roughly the same, however anyone wishing to bring offering or pray to Almar, writes a plan or thought on a piece of paper, inserts it into the box, and then lets the scale weigh the value of this thought. If it is heavier than the feather, it is unlawful or sinful. If it is lighter than the feather, it is lawful and righteous. It is believed that Almar provides justice and fairness, even for non-Unionists to this day, as he also cares for those who do not believe in the Everwatcher.
Almar is often worshiped by Justicars, Bureaucrats, Lawmakers, but also Entertainers, Musicians, Dancers, Romancing Couples, and those looking for the perfect partner. Almar’s name is often invoked for good blessings to a Courtship or wedding and lots of healthy offspring before the worshipers “grow up” and transition to Theomar worship. In the wake of Almar, a cult rose to specifically worship him above the other God Emperors and Empresses: The Almar Cult. The death of Almar did not result in any Schisms. Almar’s Cloister Trial involves several tests of restraint and self control as the pilgrims are led from one seduction to the other, until they finally pass into the final Faith Chamber in the heart of the Arch Temple of Eternal Justice, where the Sarcophagus of Almar rests with his favorite scales on top that are said to weigh the heaviness of a soul as they enter the chamber.
=God Emperor Allest====
God Emperor Allest, or just Allest (sometimes also nicknamed the Bear-Claw), was the 15th Emperor of Regalia, Emperor [[Allestrain I]] Ivrae de-Sange. Allest ascended to Godhood after his death from an arrow in the back that penetrated his heart on the field of battle while holding off a hundred soldiers by himself allowing his own soldiers who had been cornered by the enemy to escape certain death. Allest is best remembered for being a beast of a man, alongside his best friend Arch-Chancellor [[Alexander the Giant]], the both of them forming an inseparable warrior duo on the frontlines as the Empire expanded. Allest oversaw the Empire’s fastest and widest expansion, creating the practice of "Beat and Submit", where the Regalian Army and Navy would submit other nations through economic isolation or outright invasion. Allest was the first frontline commander and warrior Emperor, and was an undefeated warrior who seemed to get that much more skilled with every champion he defeated. Allest is the representative God of Conquest, Rule, Brotherhood, and Fame.
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Allest is often depicted either in his massive bulky armor, or in some state of removal of this armor to emphasize his god- like physique, in a victorious or intimidating stance. He is depicted tall and glorious as an example for all Ailor to strive to physically, and for the many victories he brought Regalia despite his short time on the throne. Allest is often also depicted with two large claymores, or scabbards holding his favorite swords: Blutkraft and [[Sangria]], weapons that passed into [[Artifact]] Legend after his death. Shrines to Allest feature larger wardrobes or tables than most other shrines, allowing the owner to cover the surface with a cloth, and put their weapon in front of the shrine to ask for Allest’s blessings. The cloth is often wrapped over the weapon, with the cloth then doused in some form of alcoholic beverage, as Allest was also known to be a heavy drinker, before the liquid is washed off and the item removed from the Shrine. It is believed that Allest continues to lend strength and right of conquest to Unionists to this day.
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Allest is often worshiped by Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Commanders, Generals, Gladiators, but even many in the criminal element, due to his inherent connection with victory and conquest of others who are weaker and less willing. In the wake of Allest, a cult rose to specifically worship him above the other God Emperors and Empresses: The Allester Cult. The death of Allest did not result in a Schism specifically. However, many years after his death, Allest’s memory was used as an argument in favor of the Vultarin Heresy that would eventually form the Vultragon Schism, which did create a schematic religious community. Allest’s Cloister Trial involves several mental tests of self-sacrifice and willpower at the Arch Temple of Perpetual Glory, before pilgrims can reach the inner Faith chamber containing Allest’s battle armor, as his body was never recovered from the battlefield and rumored to be preserved in a perfect state somewhere.
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====God Empress Elia====
|God Empress Elia, or just Elia (sometimes also nicknamed the Brass-Fist), was the wife of Emperor Allestrain I, as his wife Empress Eolaria I of [[House Cadar]]. This makes God Empress Elia thus the wife of God Emperor Allest. Empress Eolaria became the Dowager Empress on the death of her husband. However, instead of staying at the palace she continued her husband's warfare and conquests in his name. Much like her husband, Eolaria died in battle, and was declared the second God Empress. Elia is the representative Goddess of Fighting, Combat, Warfare, Victory, Love and Loss. She is remembered for having been at the very frontline of every battle she participated in, letting the generals do the planning, and just punching her way through the enemy lines with her legendary shield Draackenbuster and her spiked war-glove called Porcelain-Face, both of which passed into Artifact Legend after her death. Elia was the only spouse ever suitable for Allest, rivaling him in size, and reputedly being able to knock-out punch an [[Eronidas]] with one heavy punch to the face.
Elia is often depicted with her fist up, sometimes with or without her spiked war-glove, but always with her shield Draackenbuster by her side. She always wears a muscle-fitting bronze armor with a long crimson dress (which she did not wear into battle) complementing her crimson hair. Shrines to Elia feature her as a statue guarding a small locket box underneath that has a small key-hole. Owners of the shrine put their secrets and diaries inside, along with notes of the names of their loved ones to protect them from harm. It is an unspoken law among Unionists never to steal documents from shrines of Elia, in order not to evoke her wrath. It is also believed that putting things inside this small locket box will aid Elia in protecting them from harm, especially loved ones. Flowers are sometimes also offered to a statue of her likeness as a sign of adoration or love that she had for her husband, even in death. Elia is believed to bring victory to those deserving and bless Regalian armies to this day, her name often invoked before and during a battle by Regalian soldiers.
Elia is often worshiped by Soldiers, Sailors, Knights, Regalian Guards, Mercenaries, but even criminal thugs on the street who simply wish to strive for the strength and power she had, as well as the endurance to continue on even in the face of loss and suffering. In the wake of Elia, a cult rose to specifically worship her above the other God Emperors and Empresses: The Elin Cult. The death of Elia did not result in a Schism. Elia’s Cloister Trial involves several rooms of increasingly difficult duels of combat against other Pilgrims as a test of strength, before the final victor of the tournament is allowed into the inner Chamber of the Arch Temple of Unyielding Perseverance (though locally known as the Arch Temple of Punching Harder). Inside this inner chamber, lies the sarcophagus of Elia, next to an empty sarcophagus which is meant for her husband, who she longs to be united with in death.
=God Emperor Vess====
God Emperor Vess, or just Vess (sometimes nicknamed Vilgy), was the 26th Emperor or Regalia, Emperor [[Vilgemar I]] Ivrae de Sange. Vess ascended to Godhood after his death when the Everwatcher passed on to [[Justinian II]]. Vess was the Emperor who rid the Empire of corrupt politicians and served as the last Emperor before the Regalian pessimism, heralding the last period in time during which the Empire was truly content and there was true hope for the future instead of a constant battle to stave off apocalypse. Vess is the representing God of Happiness, Liberty, Liberation and Freedom, more specifically the breaking of chains and bondage, as he liberated an unprecedented amount of indentured servants and slaves from cruel masters, and spent a large amount of time interfering with foreign nations who tyrannically repressed their local people. Vess is also remembered for being a general fun-loving person who could never be caught in a bad mood, except for that one day that the [[Morgannt]] reached too far with his Tyranny, thus bringing an end to the last Regalian Tyrant.
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Vess is always depicted as a very youthful looking young man (though he is equally often depicted as androgynous or of ambiguous gender as he enjoyed breaking gender expectations), as he still looked youthful even towards the end of his life. He wears the traditional garb of the palace entertainers, a group of people who he had good relations with, and is always standing in some sort of playful position or pose that elicits some sense of playfulness or youthfulness. Vess’s statues often double as ponds or fountains, with water reaching from some object he is holding, or his hand, with flowers being very common in and around the water. Prayers to Vess are usually made by releasing wishes and prayers into budding flowers, and then inserting said flower into the water and letting the petals open up as time passes, believing the wishes to be released into the world with Vess’s blessings as the flower flowers before it wilts. It is believed Vess continues to bless the Regalian forces to bring freedom from Tyranny abroad, and has more recently also been adopted as the symbol for the abolition movement of slavery across the Archipelago.
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Vess is worshiped by party-goers, children, those who treasure freedom and liberty above all, journalists, bartenders, inn-keepers, indentured servants and slaves, particularly for their liberation from bondage. Vess is in fact so common among Children that many men have a natural process of Vess for their childhood, Almar for their early adolescence, and Theomar for their adult years, but Vess is equally common among adults because of his strong focus on perpetual happiness and fostering a positive view and attitude on life and events. The Vessper Cult came into being to worship Vess above all, though this cult has not been traditionally seen as a true Cult as they spend less time worshiping Vess and more time having fun. Vess did not cause any Schisms. Vess’s Cloister Trial involves challenging the pilgrims to entertain or provide happiness for those struck with mental illnesses or depression, who often gravitate to the Arch Temple of Joyous Everwatch to seek help for their despair. If the pilgrims succeed, they are permitted into the Faith Chamber of Vess, where a single sarcophagus stands surrounded by a sea of broken chains, each belonging to a slave he helped free, tens of thousands of them.
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====Heroes of Unionism====
[[Heroes of Unionism]] can come into being through Godsparks. When a God Emperor or Empress dies, their spirit becomes immortal, but a piece of their Soul can be reincarnated into a newly born person after their death, as this Godspark becomes part of their Soul. It is believed that this process causes the person to become exceptionally pious, but to also grant them gifts bestowed by that particular God Emperor or Empress. For example, Theomar would Godspark a mortal into being exceptionally good at leading, while Juvin grants them exceptional Wit. It is doctrine to declare Godsparks only after a person has died in Diets of Divinity, where the priests debate on whether the person's actions and their piety deserves the title of Hero of Unionism. If approved, that person becomes legal to worship, which usually takes the form of votive offerings for blessings. To read more about Heroes, read the Heroes of Unionism Page. The Evintarian Schism of Unionism has some living Godsparks, as their religious community is the only one that maintains that Diets of Divinity can be held before a person has died, instead of only after. This has recently resulted in the Diet of Evintarian Divinity declaring Prince [[Cedromar I]] to have the Godspark of Allest.
* '''Sacred Spaces:''' Each God Emperor and Empress has an Arch Temple devoted to them, which can be found in Regalia. Beyond the seven Arch Temples in the Regalian Holy City, each region with Unionist-majority inhabitants has one Grand Temple, which usually contains shrines to each God Emperor and Empress, but also smaller shrines to the Heroes of Unionism and one big one to the Everwatcher. Finally, smaller Celeries have regular Temples, which are usually devoted to a single God Emperor or Empress, the Everwatcher, or a group of Heroes of Unionism.
* '''Sanktisms:''' are religious rituals and practices that herald a new period in the life of a Unionist. '''To see the full list of Sanktisms, see the [[Unionist Sanktisms]] page.'''
* '''Worship''' to Unionism is not strictly done on a daily basis. For many of the faithful, Unionism is not meant to interrupt their daily activities, and as such, most Unionists perform their worship at home, with shrines to their chosen patron God Emperor or Empress, or just the Everwatcher in general. There is no real communal service for Unionists, as Celates engage in a very specialized and personal service that is often only given when the faithful seek them out.
* '''Symbolism''' is mostly centered around the lidded eye that represents the Everwatcher, though statues of the God Emperors and Empresses, and the Heroes of Unionism are also frequently seen as Symbols. The colors purple and yellow are considered holy, though only by circumstance of being Theomar's favorite colors.
* '''Structure:''' All priests within a Schism community communicate with one another, and also have a hierarchy among them. At the lowest rank exists the lay-priest. The lay-priests are not formally educated priests, but individuals who have a good grasp of Unionist doctrine, and teach others the ways of Unionism. They are not permitted to perform Priestly Activities, however. This is for the regular priests who are called Celates. They go to the Divine College (which is both the name of a physical school, as well as the collective membership of priests) where other Celates teach them the exact practices of the priests before they are either assigned a Celery to oversee, or venture out in the world to seek one out to build up from scratch. Celacy is sometimes inherited, meaning that Celates can marry and have children, and their children can become Celates and inherit the Celery territory as the next priest. A vow of Celibacy is not required in Unionism, but many priests do it anyway for virtue’s sake. Any race can be a Celate, Arch-Celate, or even Primae-Celate, though Primae-Celates as of yet have been exclusively Ailor, and the majority of Celates are Ailor.
**'''Due to the importance of Unionism in the framework of the lore, players interesting in becoming a Unionist Celate should make a ticket in the [[Roleplay Community Discord]] to iron out the concept with Lore Staff.'''
* '''Leadership''': Above the Celates are the Arch-Celates who mostly administer several dozens of Celeries under their authority. Finally, above the Arch-Celates is the Primae-Celate, a single supreme ruler who calls for Diets and issues orders to the Arch-Celates. Each Schism community has their own Primae-Celate.
**'''Becoming an Arch-Celate requires a [[Special Permission]].'''
* '''Morality''': Unionism has a strict but very expansive list of sins and virtues. The sins are fairly standard: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride, versus Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility. In the views of Morality, Unionism does not wildly differ from other religions. What does differ from other religions is that forgiveness from sins can be bought with military service in the army, or heavy donations to the priests and their Celeries, or the cause of Unionism as a whole through payments to the Emperor. This concept of purchasing waivers for sins is controversial, but has not faded from Unionist society. The sin-forgiveness of being a soldier is common, resulting in Regalia's massive army of those wishing to buy absolution with their service.
* '''Gender and Sexuality''': There is gender equality for Unionists in general, except for a few things. Firstly, Emperors have only ever been male. Secondly, the Vierzehn Sect of Unionism has strict male-preference and denies the right of women to be priests or military leaders. In general doctrine, The Creed does not disallow same-sex relations, nor does it enforce a gender binary or assign gender (thus allowing those who wish to self-style gender). That being said, the Vierzehn Sect is strictly against the latter two subjects, believing that because The Creed proclaims the need for reproduction, that women and men have a strict role, and that same-sex relations go against the instructions of The Creed, while gender-non-conformity is an unwanted change of the creation of the Everwatcher, as they believe the Everwatcher creates everything perfect by default.
* '''Syncretism''': Unionism cannot be combined with any other religion. As the divinity of the Everwatcher, God Emperors, and God Empresses is absolute, no other divinity may be expressed.
Priests do not administer communal services. In fact, Unionism does not have any large communal service that involves the worship of a divine entity in large groups. Rather, Unionism is designed more around individual and personal experiences with priests . Sometimes, priests will stand on the proverbial soapbox and preach to a crowd, but the majority of a priest's interactions with their flock are in private settings. Priests act like spiritual guides of their Celerial territory as a guiding father, or a wise grandfather (even if they are young), or a world-weathered sage. Locals seek them out for personal guidance and direct interaction. Below are listed the individual practices that Celates and Arch- Celates partake in. These activities are not unique to only Unionists. While the descriptions below mention "faithful" as a subject to perform the priestly activity on, these activities are routinely offered even to non-Unionists, both as a form of attempting to sway them to Unionism, but also just because Unionists believe in the betterment of mental health of even non-Unionists, as that way they are better able to aid Unionists in their goals of Paradise.
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* '''Hearing''' is the act of the faithful seeking out the priest for personal spiritual guidance. This can involve up to three individuals seeking out a single or more priests for a wide range of issues. These issues can range from a crisis of faith, a conflict of beliefs, wanting more explanation about spiritual doctrine or any other form of spiritual assurance. This is a common activity to do with other loved ones, for example partners, siblings or even parents, if a member in the family has some sort of crisis where spiritual relief can help, but might not approach the priest on their own. In many ways, a Hearing is a spiritual form of therapy, where the priest primarily functions to reinforce and remind Unionist beliefs, but also offer philosophical guidance with Unionism as context.
* '''Relieving''' is the act of the faithful seeking out the priest for relief of their sins. This process involves the priest seeking out a comfortable place, and having a truly confidential one-on-one with the faithful. The faithful then pours out all the sins they have committed and all things they feel guilty for to a listening ear, who may give advice on how to move on, or offer words of encouragement to face their guilt head on and find absolution.
* '''Blessing''' is the act of the priest seeking out situations where conflict may soon arise, or where large groups of faithful are in need of blessings or spiritual guidance. These priests then arrive with an incense thurible they swing around while speaking out the seven blessings of the God Emperors or Empresses, or just a general Everwatcher blessing. Another way of blessing those present is through the Theraffar, which is a long pole, twice the length of the priest in silver, atop which sits an ornate silver holder with a [[Solacrox]] in the middle surrounded by small mirrors. This Solacrox gem is then geared in such a way that it shines a bright beam of light on whatever the priest is aiming the Theraffar on, while speaking the blessings of the eye of Unionism. This practice is frequently done before battle, and any army has a few dozen Celates to perform Blessings before any major battle.
* '''Cloistering''' is the act of a priest guiding a pilgrim or faithful through the Cloister Trial in the Arch- Temples devoted to their God Emperors or Empresses. While other practices done by priests are permitted for non-Unionists, it is not permitted for a non-Unionist to enter the Cloister Trials in the bowels of the Arch-Temples without being a believer. During the Cloister Trial, the priest guides the pilgrim through the various chambers and challenges, dispensing wisdom and guidance along the way, and explaining the challenges, before finally letting them part into the Chamber of Faith, the innermost and most holy place inside the Temple, usually containing the remains of the God Emperor or God Empress.
* '''Creed Eleracy''' is the act of priests coming together in a form of meeting in Regalia to discuss ongoing events and potential religious community stance changes before a Diet of Deliberation takes place, because an Emperor has not yet died. Creed Eleracies are held to make the religious community more flexible in responding to pressing events or crises, and it is also a form of cross-Schism communication, as all Schismatic religious community priests and Arch-priests are invited to participate. Decisions made by Creed Eleracies are not binding, but generally do permeate to all other Schisms if they can agree on something.
* The '''Everloving Choir''' is the act of a priest opening a larger social setting where both spectators and active speakers may join. The priest stands on the stage, waiting for any willing speaker to approach. The willing speaker is usually a believer in the audience who wishes to share a story about how good things happened in their life, or about how they were in a tough spot, but how their faith pulled them through. They speak in front of the crowd their experience, and the priest stands flanked to offer guidance or encouragement, while also commenting to the crowd where the hand of the Everwatcher or the Gods and Goddesses could be felt in the story. This is generally a very positive experience where sharing one's personal and intimate experiences with faith and spirituality is encouraged.
* '''The Creed''' is the single volume large holy book of the Unionist faith which Emperor write and edit.
* '''Celate''' and '''Priest''' are both terms used to describe the preachers of Unionism.
*'''Celacy''' refers to the office of a Celate, akin to Nobility for a noble.
* '''Celery''' refers to the territory managed by a single Priest.
*'''Celerial''' is an adjective pertaining to a Celate or a Celery.
* '''Arch- Priest''' or '''Arch-Celate''' refers to a higher rank Priest that does more paperwork.
* '''Primae-Celate''' or '''Primae-Priest''' refers to the highest office in a Unionist religious community that leads.
* '''God Emperor''' or '''God Empress''' refers to the sub-gods of Unionism, but they can also be called God or Goddess.
* '''The Everwatcher''' is the supreme religious being and the all- creator.
* '''The Everwatch''' is the temporary afterlife in which all souls are judged by the Everwatcher.
* '''The Great Way''' is the purpose of Ailorkind to produce paradise on Aloria.
* '''Arch Temples''' are the main seven temples in the City of Regalia, usually housing the remains of God Emperors or Empresses.
* '''Cloister Trials''' are trials that pilgrims undergo to earn the right to visit the Faith Chamber.
* '''Faith Chamber''' is the most holy and sacred place inside an Arch-Temple that houses the Reliquary.
* '''Dogmatic Unionism''' is the term used to describe the standard Unionist religious community.
* '''Evintarian Unionism''' or Etosian Unionism is the term used to describe the first Schism Unionist religious community.
* '''Dogartan Unionism''' is the term used to describe the first Schism Unionist religious community.
* '''Vultragon Unionism''' of Vultarin Unionism is the term used to describe the second Schism Unionist religious community.
* '''Hero of Unionism''' is a mortal who after death is declared a champion of Unionism, and to have inherited a Godspark.
* '''Godspark''' is a piece of a soul that a God Emperor or Empress allowed to reincarnate with their divinity into a mortal.
* '''Diet of Divinity''' is a Diet in which priests gather to discuss elevating a mortal to the rank of Hero of Unionism.
* '''Diet of Deliberation''' happens after every Emperor dies, to discuss the future of Unionism among priests.
* '''Holy War''' is when priests call for a Diet of Fury, and call for a nation or group of people to be purged by the sword.
* '''Hearing''' is a form of priestly therapy for the faithful or non-Unionists.
* '''Relieving''' is a form of priestly confession for the faithful or non-Unionists.
* '''Blessing''' is a form of priestly blessing before battle for the faithful or non-Unionists.
* '''Cloistering''' is a form of priestly guidance during a Cloister Trial reserved for Unionists.
* '''Creed Eleracy''' is an emergency meeting of all Schisms to discuss ongoing theological events for cross-faith dialogue.
* '''"May he watch over you"''' is a common term used by Unionists to bless each other while departing from one another.
* '''"Everwatcher guide your way"''' is a common term used by priests and lay-priests to bless Unionists or non-Unionists alike.
* '''Great Staircase''' is a sort-of-afterlife where all worthy souls rest on a large imaginary stairs going up to the sky, looking down on the living.
* '''Sanktism''' is a ritual performed on a Unionist to mark certain milestones in their life.
*The matter of depicting the God Emperors or God Empresses is controversial at best. Many priests believe that mortals are fallible and cannot depict the Gods and Goddesses in an accurate or divine manner. Any art produced of the Gods or Goddesses is extremely scrutinized. More curiously yet, the eyes of all depictions of the Gods or Goddesses are always depicted in white. This is because the iris colors of the Emperors or Empresses is always a matter of intense debate and historical revision.
*The matter of depicting the God Emperors or God Empresses is controversial at best. Many priests believe that mortals are fallible and cannot depict the Gods and Goddesses in an accurate or divine manner. Any art produced of the Gods or Goddesses is extremely scrutinized. More curiously yet, the eyes of all depictions of the Gods or Goddesses are always depicted in white. This is because the iris colors of the Emperors or Empresses is always a matter of intense debate and historical revision.
*Unionism used to be mandatory for nobility somewhere during the second century after Cataclysm, though this Holy Law was removed when the war against the [[Skagger Horde]] ceased, and the Empire benefited more from including non-Unionists into the peerage. An exception had always been made for the [[Altalar]] nobles of [[Solvaan]] origins in [[Solleria]] however, called the
Melennarian Confession (who was, in fact, not an Altalar himself).
*Unionism used to be mandatory for nobility somewhere during the second century after Cataclysm, though this Holy Law was removed when the war against the [[Skagger Horde]] ceased, and the Empire benefited more from including non-Unionists into the peerage. An exception had always been made for the [[Altalar]] nobles of [[Solvaan]] origins in [[Solleria]] however, called the .
*Sectarian violence largely came to an end at the turn into the fourth century as the last attacks on Vultragon Unionist by state forces ceased, and an uneasy truce was signed between the Schism religious communities. They still do not see eye-to-eye, and the different Schismatic groups still prod at each other, but instead of murdering each other over sectarian differences, they mostly fight with words nowadays, a legacy of the Kleine Rechnung, the document that called for the truce.
*Sectarian violence largely came to an end at the turn into the fourth century as the last attacks on Vultragon Unionist by state forces ceased, and an uneasy truce was signed between the Schism religious communities. They still do not see eye-to-eye, and the different Schismatic groups still prod at each other, but instead of murdering each other over sectarian differences, they mostly fight with words nowadays, a legacy of the Kleine Rechnung, the document that called for the truce