Unionism is a monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of the Emperors of Regalia, and the divine spirit that binds them all together. This is universally referred to as “The Imperial Spirit”. Unionism, together with the Elven Faith of Estel, are the largest faiths in Aloria, the vast majority of the Ailor population as well as mant other races following this religion. The core belief of Unionism is that one day, Humanity will achieve paradise through the journey they call “The Great Way”. The Great Way simply refers to the time between now and an undefined time in the future where Human superiority will eclipse that of all other lesser races and establish a holy paradise on Aloria. The supreme being in Unionism has a somewhat ambiguous nature, being both an intangible divine spirit, as well as the physical living Emperors. Unionists believe the Divine Spirit, being their supreme being, takes physical manifestations in their Emperors, but pass on to the next Emperor when the last dies.
From it’s inception in Emperor Theomar’s day, Unionism has quickly spread across the known continents, both by word and by sword. Many speculate that even without the aggressive conversion tactics employed by Regalia, Unionism is poised to one day take over the entire world’s population purely by its momentum through Regalian wars and providence in that it is one of the few religions that offers followers the spiritual satisfaction of an afterlife against the uncertainty of death, aside from the Faith of Estel, where the divine afterlife is unobtainable. The Unionist Collective refers to the various denominations of Unionism. The religion of Unionism has suffered several schisms in the past which resulted in the creation of Etosian Unionism, Vultar Unionism, Diviner Unionism, Priscelle Unionism and Dogartan Unionism. There are only three official church structures with a hierarchy, however. The main Unionist church is called the Sancella of Union, the official Regalian state religious institution. The Etosian church is called the Etosian Patriarchate and the Vultar Church is called the Supremocliast of Vultaro. Unionism in it’s entirety defines many of the events around the world, and the very lives of millions upon millions of Alorians, whether they are believers or non believers.
Note: This is a very large article and it was decided to not have it split up. The content is not universally relevant, if you want to get a basic understanding of Unionism, simply read the Beliefs, Worship, Symbols and Denominations. For those who want to go more in-depth though, this article should cover all information you could ever want on Unionism.
Early Churches and Worship
Unionism began as a small cultist sect of Old Gods in the Regalian court. Emperor Theomar the first was said to have visions of a divine nature, compelling him to write down scriptures later referred to as the Ten predictions of Union. Due to the cohesion of the Regalian court at the time, and fluidity of religious worship following the Void Invasion, Unionism immediately took hold in the nearest nobility close to the Emperor. The writing of the Ten predictions of Union took a total of 53 years, being finalized several years before the death of Emperor Theomar.
In the early years of Unionism, there were no churches. The Creeds do not specifically state worship should happen inside a church, and churches were only brought into the spread of Unionism several years after the death of Emperor Theomar. Conversion happened locally throughout Regalia, mostly by court missionaries and by power of word. Sectarian violence in Regalia was a common occurrence in the early years after the Void Invasion, following the fracturing of existing religions as theologians scrambled to try and explain the events happening in the world. Limited missionaries were sent out to other states, but did not take root as strongly as they did in Regalia. Regalia was after all at this stage only but a city state, not a sprawling Empire. After the death of Theomar the First, the Ten Predictions of Union were combined into the first five Creeds, the cornerstones of Unionism. Directly after the death of Theomar the First, the Supreme Reverend summoned a Diet to discuss the future course of Unionism, and how to best spread it, given the interpretations of the Ten predictions of Union. Around this time, the theoretically oldest sect of Unionism, Dogartan Unionism, came to be. The Dogarts believed in a form of Unionism where Humans reject all earthly riches and material values and subject themselves to intense servitude to the Emperor and their religion through fasting, charity, communal service, and even military service. The Dogartans would later be rejected by the other churches as fanatical and downright self destructive, but the sect would continue to operate to even present day due to the allure of religious redemption. Dogartans took no further role in the development of Unionism beyond having a single emissary at the Unionist Diet. After the Diet, the Dogartans simply existed in a series of monasteries and held themselves absent from the conflicts between the other churches.
The First Schism: The Etosian Heresy
Unionism's first true Schism happened at the Diet summoned in 92 AC by the Supreme Reverend following the death of Emperor Theomar the First. The Council broke unity over the eighth Creed, the creed speaking about the Herons. The Supreme Reverend and the grand majority of the Reverends of the Regalian Archipelago believed the liberty of the eight creed was taken too loosely by a Unionist sect called the Evintarians. They reasoned that Herons should function only as the most prime examples of Unionist fervor, and that anointing living Humans as Herons, was heresy, because it would imply that the worship of another Human besides the Emperor in life is permitted. The Evintarians, however, believed that living Humans should be anointed to Heron, so that they may function as living examples and be worshiped to indirectly worship the Emperor, as they claim the Emperor was responsible for their good deeds. The debate between the main body of Reverends and the Evintarians continued for several days until an eventual deadlock was declared and the Reverends started a vote of expulsion and declaration of heresy unto the Evintarians.
The Evintarians were expelled from Regalia by the Emperor Leomar the First when he ascended the throne mere weeks later, though this gave the Evintarians enough time to set up a proper structure. They originally baptised their new split off church the Evintarian Patriarchate, and moved all their priestly members and a large crowd of their followers who refused to convert to the island of Etosil. Mixing with the local population and their culture, the Evintrarian Patriarchate eventually became the Etosian Patriarchate as the land defined was defined by the influx of migrants, which eventually also started adding to the religion. Separated from the Unionist Sancella, which was also set up around this time, largely by the fear of the Supreme Reverend that the Evintarian church would gather more followers due to its structure, the Etosian Church developed some new beliefs. Iconoclasm became a central theme in Etosian Unionism in later years, setting the two churches permanently apart, with the Etosian belief that imagery of the Imperial Spirit or Emperor are heretical objects and that images may only be made of the Herons.
The Clastic Law
The Clastic Law was a piece of legislation accepted by the Emperor and the Supreme Reverend in 98 AC. The Patriarch of Etosil also unofficially ratified the treaty, though mostly did so under the threat of military purging and holy wars from the central Unionists, as the Supreme Reverend in Regalia wished a quick end to hostilities between the two sects. Unionism was, after all, still in its infancy, and the Old Gods faith was still in the majority in Regalia. The Clastic Law would dictate that in the future, all forms of Unionism would have some basic set of protection laws within the realm of Regalia. While none of the smaller denominations of Unionism had the right to perform missionary conversions (with the exception of Dogartan Unionism on various occasions), they were protected from violence and retributions from each other’s members and were given the safety to worship and have houses of faith across the Empire. Various segments of this Clastic Law would become suspended in later years, or entirely dismissed for complete denominations like the Vultar Unionist denomination, however this would not occur until late 300 AC. The Clastic Law set a near 200 years of peaceful co-existence in motion that would result in massive growth for the Unionist faith.
The Second Schism: The Diviner Heresy
Nearly ninety years following the Clastic Law, a small crisis point arose in 186 AC. The Second Schism was much smaller than the first, caused by a group of dissenting locals in the Grande of Girobalda, the south-west Lordship of Regalia. The locals and the priests felt that Unionism did not do enough to forcefully convert non-Humans and pagan Humans to their faith. Additionally, Divining and superstition had become a popular local practice, leading the local priests, under the influence of Opium, to believe that the Emperors were not the only ones able to receive visions and messages from the Imperial Spirit. They believed that, in a smaller form, everyone could form a connection with the Imperial Spirit as long as they were devout and sacrificing enough, and used the right potency of numbing substances to achieve a hallucination trance. The Second Schism is referred to as the "Diviner Schism" leading to the establishment of the small cultist religion of Diviner Unionism. This was the first event that caused the Reverends to regret the signing of the Clastic Law. Diviner Unionism was a much more xenophobic and aggressive form of Unionism, demanding regular non-Human sacrifices and violent struggles within the religion itself to advocate survival of the fittest for the cause of Humanity. Despite the original success of Diviner Unionism in Girobalda, the religion did not spread elsewhere, largely because of the lack of appeal in a drug-infested forest dwelling belief, but also because the Girobaldin lands are completely surrounded by Ithanian lands. Ithanian Culture demands a certain level of civility and class, two things that were utterly incompatible with Diviner Unionism. Without a presentable land bridge to spread their faith, Diviner Unionism eventually confined itself within Girobalda and declined over the decades until it was limited to only a few small forest communities who gradually went more and more underground. Still, the state respected their rights to live out their faith of choice in Girobalda so no aggressive actions were taken in accordance with the Clastic Law.
The Kleine Rechnung
Unionism grew explosively between 190 AC and 250 AC, following the many successful conquests of the Emperors and the subjugation of many other Human States within the Regalian Archipelago and elsewhere. Missionaries, for the first time, had success spreading their faith elsewhere, causing the erection of many Unionist Cathedrals across Aloria. Unionism had undergone several changes as well. Several Emperors selectively removed, added, and re-added smaller sections of the Creeds, or wrote expansions to suit their specific needs at the time. In 263 AC, Old Gods had totally been eclipsed by Unionism as the more dominant religion in the Regalian Archipelago, and was well on its way to control the rest of the Human world. It was in this year that the Supreme Reverend Wolffram Ultor signed the "Kleine Rechnung", a law proposed by Justinian II. The law effectively dictated that the Old Gods and the Faith of Estel, as religions, were protected within the borders of the Regalian Empire, being degenerate religions that simply "lost their way." The Emperor believed that despite the fact that non-Unionists worshiped false idols and gods, they still unknowingly worshiped the Imperial Spirit. It was reasoned that the eight Old Gods, and the Goddess Estel, were in fact the Imperial Spirit in disguise, and that it was the true power behind these religions. The Religious clergy initially thought to resist this change, but the divine will of the Emperor could ultimately not be questioned.
The Kleine Rechnung is sometimes also called the Confession of Melennar, Melennar being a Holy Minister who claimed to have received visions of the lesser religions when he received a gift from the Emperor. The Emperor was so moved by his enthusiasm and emotion that he agreed with the sentiment put forward by Melennar, and the law was proposed. The law would later come to protect many Old Gods and Estel worshippers, sometimes even those who never truly accepted the Melennarian confessions, but merely pretended in order to avoid being chased by the inquisition. After the death of Melennar, the Kleine Rechnung would continue to gather more faiths to its collection, though also become more aggressive. The Songaskia faith of Shama-Abdala was included under the pretext that those who worship the faith wear hats, a practice strictly forbidden in Farah’deen Shama-Abdala.
The Third Schism: Vultar Heresy
The Third Schism happened upon the ascension to the throne of Alexander Kade, the first non-Ivrae to take the throne in nearly 300 years. The Kade Settlement, as the document would later be called, was a paper signed by the Chancellor and the then dying Emperor that would dictate males from female descendants could take the throne. Prior to this event, Emperor Justinian II had lost all his sons to the Undead Scare in Regalia, leaving no male descendants alive. Prince Charles, the brother of Justinian who died 10 years prior to him, still had two living daughters, Princess Liliane Ivrae-Kade and Princess Adelheid Ivrae. Princess Liliane, the eldest of the two, had been married to the Arch-Chancellor Moriarty Kade, and had given birth to Alexander, Thomas, Dominic, Cedric, and Amalia Kade. Adelheid Ivrae only had two sons, Daryl and Frederic Ivrae, but she was the younger sister, and so these Ivrae males were overlooked by the Kades when it came time to select the next Emperor. The Reverends of Vultaro believed that, because Alexander Kade was a muddled descended from Emperor Theomar the First, that the Imperial Spirit had left the Imperial seat and would not connect with it again since the line had been broken. This effectively started the Third Schism, the Vultar Heresy. The Vultar Heresy took place in 302 AC and had major momentum in the Duchy of Vultaro, which was within the Regalian Archipelago. The locals were already disgruntled by rule of the local duke, causing this dissent to merge with religious unrest.
The status of Vultar Heretics was difficult within the Regalian Empire. The Church of Union wished to eradicate their heretical split religion, but the Clastic Law prevented them from doing so. Wolffram Ultor, despite somewhat supporting the Vultar Heresy ideas, sent many missionaries to convert the Vultar population by power of word. The Clastic Law, after all, only dictated that no force was to be used against heretics, but it never stated anything against conversion. The Vultar Heresy was small and local, but still damaging to Unionism as a whole. This marked the first event where the undisputed power of the Emperor was brought into question. Following the Ranger Crisis, and later the Elven War of 302 AC, fervor for Unionism returned, as it always had after wars with non-Humans. A series of revolts in Vultaro also brought a proper end to the concentrated efforts of the Supremocliast of Vultaro, a hastily assembled church structure which the Vultars used to try and compete with the other churches. Vultar mobs formed the bulk of civil unrest forces during the Anahera Dictatorship, supporting the dictator’s moves against the majority of the nobility. The Suprest of the Supremocliast (the highest office in the Vulrar Church) had made a calculated risk and failed. The Anahera Dictatorship was cast down and the Vultar church was branded in violation of the Clastic Law. Since the Clastic Law no longer protected them, the White Order and the Unionist and Etosian churches alike descended on Vultaro to purge the heretics by trials of fire and execution. The vast majority of the Vultarins died by being thrown off the cliffs of Vultaro for their heresy, or being burned at the stake, bringing an almost definitive end to the Vultar Unionists.
The Priscelle Sect
The Priscelle Sect is a relatively new sect that formed around 301 AC. The Priscelle Sect formed after a series of female priests in the Ithanian towns of Priscille declared they had collectively received a vision of the Imperial family, those blood related to the Emperor and his direct descendants. Those visions dictated that when the Imperial Spirit found its end in the last Ivrae Emperor, it became conscious to the idea (and danger) of manifesting into a single person, and as such, split itself into the various aspects of the Imperial Family, with each member carrying a virtue of the Imperial Spirit, the Emperor being the head of them all. The brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of the Emperor would each be an aspect of the Spirit, be it the Honor, Strength, Charity, Valor, Kindness, Wit, Justice or Solace of the Imperial Spirit. The Priscelle Sect was originally somewhat cautiously rejected by the other churches, but eventually gained a lot of momentum in Ithania. This particularly occurred because under the beliefs of Priscelle Unionism, the Emperor’s youngest sister would be deemed part of the Unionist Imperial Spirit. The idea that the Imperial Spirit was never going to be manifested in a woman was often hard to swallow for Ithanians who are always very female centric, and the chance that the Emperor’s youngest sister could actually require worship was immediately jumped upon. Due to the rapid growth of the Priscelle Sect and the relative social unrest of the southern Daendroque lands, the Supreme Reverend accepted the Pristine Law under pressure from the Ithanian political lobby in Regalia, a specific variety of the Clastic Law for the Priscelle Sect which permitted the Priscelle Sect to spread its faith among the Ithanian population, an exception of missionary rights that none of the other churches had. The Emperor has yet to make any statement on the Priscelle Sect, however the relatives of the Emperor seem to be somewhat entertained by the idea of being worshipped for being semi-holy, so for now the sect seems relatively secure in its future.
It is sometimes difficult to have a good overview on the differences between the various denominations of Unionism. The lists below define the exact differences between the denominations.
- Standard Unionism
- Regalian State Religion.
- Sometimes referred to as Sancellist Unionism to set it apart from the others.
- Etosian Unionism
- Herons may be anointed when they are alive.
- Protected by Clastic Law, may not be proselytized.
- Heron appointments are considerably more lax than Standard.
- Making any images, statues, or paintings of the Emperor is strictly illegal.
- Vultar Unionism
- The Emperor is not the Imperial host until some divine sign indicates him to be.
- Heretic-ally illegal in Regalia, liable to be executed.
- Nobility in Regalia do not have the divine right to rule, rather their right should be derived from the people, and suspended by the people when they are abused.
- Priesthood should only be engaged in by men.
- Diviner Unionism
- The Emperor is not necessarily the Imperial host; anyone can be the host and anyone can receive visions from the Imperial Spirit if they have consumed enough Opium.
- Protected by Clastic Law, may not be proselytized. Tends to be prosecuted anyway because of violence crimes against non-Humans.
- The Imperial Spirit will only be manifested and proved to be manifested by an undefined amount of non-Human sacrifices.
- The Diviner Unionists do not accept the 11th Creed, nor do they recognize the Ch’ien-ji or Qadir as Humans.
- Priesthood should only be engaged in by elder men, who perform sacrifices by cutting the living heart out of the subject.
- Dogartan Unionism
- Not counted as State Religion, but may be proselytized.
- Priests should not collect money from the people, nor be part of a church structure. Instead, Priests should gather in monasteries and maintain only themselves.
- Priests should reject all forms of riches and only dress in dark green robes with flax ropes around their neck.
- True repentant believers should reject all their earthly connections and material possessions and become solitarian monks in the mountains of Regalia.
- Priscelle Unionism
- Protected by Clastic Law, may only be proselytized to Ithanians.
- The Emperor is not the only host of the Imperial Spirit; while he is the most important host, his brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters are all various lesser aspects of the Imperial Spirit and deserve lesser, if not almost as much worship.
- Priesthood should only be engaged in by female priests.
Beliefs and Practices
Unionists have a set of holy books referred to as the Holy Creeds, written by various Emperors throughout human history. It is said that the Holy Creeds are the Emperors writing, but their hands are guided by the Imperial Spirit and visions granted from that same divine power. The Creeds are all written in proto-Regalian, a now ancient and dead language that pre-dated the Alt-Regalian language. The only modern exception is the 11th Creed, which is written in common Ceardian. A total of Eleven creeds exist in present time, however the 10th Creed is somewhat of an enigma since nobody has ever seen it, nor does actual proof exist that it was ever written. The Creeds are also all written in rudimentary Elven metaphorical grammar. This is largely a practice that stems back from the days when Elven was actually an accepted language among the Human nobility to conform with the Elven overlords of various lands. Since then, it has simply passed into tradition, as well as practice to treat the creeds as literature for the soul.
The Practices of the Unionist church are fairly uniform, in that all forms of Unionism pray and worship in roughly the same ways with the exceptions of the sect differences like the Diviner sacrifices. Most of the Unionist practices are not mandatory, but highly encouraged or recommended. A list of common Unionist practices is as followed:
- Prayer three times a day, at dawn, noon, and following dinner after dusk. Unionists are recommended to pray at least once a day in public mass, which occurs at the same time as Prayer time.
- The dead are burned and their ashes are buried. The burning occurs in so called Houses of the Dead where priests burn the bodies in ceremonial stone sacrophacusses. After burning, the remains are scraped up and placed in an urn which is then encased in a cask and buried. Most nobles are not burned, but rather beheaded and have their heart removed and placed in an urn away from the body.
- Unionism believes in the concept of Herons, saints who in their life (or afterlife) are deemed so Holy and strong in virtue to the cause of Humanum that they are elevated to Herons after death (or in life for Unionists).
- Unionism defines a distinct difference between worship adoration of the Emperor and worship veneration of the Herons. A Heron must never be worshipped to the same degree as the Emperor.
- Sacred images are used in all denominations of Unionism except Etosian Unionism. This includes paintings of the Emperor, statuettes, and sometimes relics of Herons and previous Emperors.
- The Emperor appoints the Supreme Reverend, who is the leader of the Sancella of Union. The Supreme Reverend, in turn, suggests the Holy Ministers, who are then appointed by the Emperor. The Supreme Reverend then appoints Reverends, and the Holy Minister and Reverends appoint the Priests.
- Strict observance of the Emperor’s Holy Will and Law. The Emperor does no evil, can think no evil, and must see no evil. The Emperor is always right, and when he is wrong, it is because of flawed advisors. The Emperor must never be spoken of in a bad light.
- Four yearly religious celebrations, the festivals of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter with their own various religious implications.
The Creeds of Unionism
The Creeds of Unionism are the written holy scriptures that are worshipped, sometimes even more fervently than the Emperor himself, as the scriptures are the strict words of the Imperial Spirit while the Emperor is technically just a prophet who put them to paper. Similarly to the Emperor, the Creeds cannot be wrong, but they can be misinterpreted or mistranslated. Translation of creeds or the correct interpretation of them has led to much conflict between the various denominations and even the Emperors and the Sancella of Union.
First Creed: Divinity of the Emperors
The First Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, being the foundation for all other creeds after it and the formation of the formal state religion. Back when this creed was written, Unionism was nothing more than a personality cult, however it quickly grew and so did the translations of this creed become more complex. The First Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Elven metaphorical grammar:
“There exists something so pure and beautiful, yet it has no name. I, Theomar the First have witnessed a land where there is no want, no hunger, no sadness and no fear. It is the land where all who have gone before us returned, and embraced those who were living and saw no difference between the living or the dead or the soon to be. It was a land pure of Humans, clean of those who would spoil our greatness and clean of those who would be ruinous onto others as they are onto themselves. It is a vision that was given to me by a being so pure it also has no name. For it tasked me to provide it with a name, and a worldly body so that it can act for which it exists. I write of the Imperial Spirit, the embodiment of our Empire so Holy and our future so pristine. The collective will of all that is Regalian and all that shall be, for a future which we all share. This spirit was born when we cast down the chains of the past, when we freed ourselves of oppression and raised ourselves up in the light of prosperity. This Imperial Spirit has chosen the Emperors of Regalia as its host, as we see the world of Aloria our host. As we guide our world, so does this Imperial Spirit guide our hand to the future that lays beyond, the Great Way that will take us there. For through the divine Imperial Spirit, we Emperors become divine in living. We are but an earthwork vase for a vessel of water however, make no ill mistake. Like glass we can shatter, and like water, our contents may spill into nothingness. It is the primary duty of any of Union or Humanity to preserve the sanctity, life and divinity of the Emperors and the Empire.”
Second Creed: Disbelief of Death
The Second Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, fairly quickly after he finished the first one. Together with the First and Third creed, the first three creeds are considered the basis foundation of Unionism. By the Second Creed, it became more obvious to Theomar that his divine word needed more substance to appeal to the masses. As such, this creed mostly covers the afterlife and death and reincarnation. Unionism is rare in that aspect in that it is one of the extremely few Alorian religions that beliefs in the illusion of death and afterlife, something that many scholars speculate explains why it spread so quickly. The Second Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Elven metaphorical grammar:
“The Divine Spirit has shown us the way, and the way we shall follow. For through my hands, its will shall become manifest, but mine hands are only two of many. For thousands of hands are required to carry the burden and prominence of our future and fate. I speak of those who are the common men and women, the farmers, the artisans, the priests, the clerks and soldiers. No matter how small the being, all carry the weight of Unionism on their shoulders and back, and if one falls, so shall the others feel it. Every person in Humanum must live up to the standards and codes set forth by the Empire, or face the fate of a fallen one. Those who are fallen will wither and die, and be reborn in the being of a non-Humanum, an existence of torment and penance. For those who are non-Humanum are only but fallen ones in a living trial to be given a second chance. When a non-Humanum reaches the end of their lives, the Imperial Spirit will weigh them to the good nature of a Human and decide to condemn them to the void or reinstate them as a Human for a second chance at traveling The Great Way.”
Third Creed: The Rights of the Others
The Third Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First, in tandem with the Second Creed. The Third Creed speaks about the divine paradise that is to come at the end of The Great Way. It speaks about the enslavement of other races and the redeemability of non-Humans in a life of servitude, to be reborn as Humans for a second chance at becoming part of The Great Way. It’s not entirely clear what happens if you fail to succeed in your duty as a Human on your second chance. Many priests just speculate that Unionism technically gives you infinite chances as long as you keep proving yourself worthy as a non-Human. The Third Creed is very poetically written, though it can mostly be summarized as such by removing the rudimentary Elven metaphorical grammar:
“In this pure and beautiful future, I witnessed the hands of Humanum holding the chains of the lesser beings. There is no place for the fallen races among the steps to the Divine throne of the Imperial Spirit, but they will not be denied entry to paradise. Be it they cannot or will not prove themselves worthy of the Great Way, they shall be our slaves and servants when the time comes, that time of such great Regalian might and prominence. One day our fair race shall rule all the world and all the known lands and all the known seas and so too shall we take to the skies and conquer anything that can be seen and even that which cannot be seen. It is by the labor of the man, woman and child, and by the direction of the Imperial Spirit and the hands of the Emperors that we shall achieve and bathe in the divine Fate”
Fourth Creed: The Mass of Passage
The Fourth Creed was written by Emperor Theomar the First originally, but heavily altered by subsequent Emperors due to the changing nature of Human qualifications. Early in Thomar’s writing it purely only spoke about the need for Humans to fight for Regalia, but the centuries past Theomar’s death have seen it radically altered to include the need for religious worship, charity and love for your fellow Humans and various other practices which are encouraged by the Sancella of Union and finally codified in the Creed. It has generally been speculated that as the world’s machinations become more complex, so must the fourth creed become more complex to ensure Humans continue to do the best and most they can to achieve the Paradise.
“The afterlife is not a state to be feared, for I too have heard the voices of my forefathers and felt comfort in what they had to say. The Imperial spirit, much like the Emperors to be, are as much a vessel as a clay vase like us. The Imperial Spirit gathers all the souls of those who pass over and weighs them on the Scale of Worthy Judgement. The single eye pierces through darkness and deceit and exposes the light, or the lack thereof. When the judgement time comes, the souls will be denied or granted. When denied, they shall be cast back as a non-Human, tormented to live life again as a lesser being to have a second chance at proving they deserve to be Humanum, such is the grace and mercy of the Imperial Spirit. Those who are worthy, shall join the Imperial Spirit in the Everwatch, a state of divine being in which those who have come before, together with the Imperial Spirit, watch over us from above. Take comfort in the knowledge my fellow Humanum, death is never the end, simply the beginning of the long Everwatch until the Great Way is complete and all shall be re-united in paradise. Carry all, the sword, the rake, the prayer beads, the hammer and sickle and tool, carry all for the virtue of work, the hardship of prayer and the love for your fellow Unionist. Carry all in your days and your lives, so that when the measure comes of the scales of judgement that you shall be on the weightier end of your crimes against Unionism. For a single crime, or a second crime will not condemn you. But should your crimes become too many, and repentance is far to be found, so too shall your entrance to the afterlife be denied, and cursed you shall be to the life of one not Human."
Fifth Creed: Prayers and Duties
The Fifth Creed has similarly been written by Theomar the First, and also been heavily changed like the Fourth Creed. The Fourth and Fifth Creeds are often considered in tandem, as the Fourth speaks about duties, while the Fifth actually goes into specifics in terms of what should specifically be done and avoided. The Fifth Creed is often used to define the base practices of Unionism and is generally also shared strongly by all denominations of Unionism.
“For The Great Way to remain on the correct path, all must endeavor to pray, worship and act as examples of the Code of Union. Man woman and Child must pray twice a day, come morn of dawn and come dusk of night. Priests shall administer prayer times, five times a day, for those who are unable to meet dawn or dusk mass. All must contribute to the Great Way, from the highest noble to the lowest street beggar. All must also contribute to each other’s Great Way however, the noble must give alms to the poor and the poor must take up the sword and spear and bow when the noble is in need of men and women for their banner. To kill another man not in the name of Union is heresy and will condemn a soul for non-Human torment. War by the Empire is always sanctioned in the name of Union, and so is the divine word of the court which speaks for the Emperor which speaks for the Imperial Spirit. To deny the birth of a Humanum is a crime, and to work against the Empire or Emperor are high treason.”
Sixth Creed: The Holy Sancella
The Sixth Creed dictates the structure of the Unionist church, the Sancella of Union. This creed was written by Emperor Leomar the First with the assistance of the then Supreme Reverend. This Creed mostly came to be as a result of the establishment of the Etosian Patriarchate, thus can be claimed to largely derive its power structure and content from the Etosians. This Creed was relatively short and has very little actual padding language in it, just an analytical approach to describing how the Sancella of Union should function.
“The Supreme Reverend shall rule all, like the Supreme power of the Emperor, though granted by us. The Holy Ministry shall be the Ministers of faith, much like our own material ministers guide our hands in the matters of the material world. The Holy Ministers shall preside over the Reverend, the Reverend the holiest man in the body and house of worship. Their word will be carried by the Priests, the Curates of Union who multiply and amplify the words so holy and pure to be the Holy Law.”
Seventh Creed: The Holy Confessions
The Seventh Creed was officially written as the 10th creed, but moved down to the 7th spot due to the perceived importance by Emperor Justinian the Second. It speaks about the position of other religions, their rights, and more specifically how to deal with heretics and non believers. This Creed is generally very controversial as it has changed so much, sometimes entirely whimsically based on the opinions of the Emperor at the time. It is mostly inspired by the confessions of Melennar, who some would later come to claim had too much personal power on Emperor Justinian the Second after the death of his sons.
“It is not hatred we should harbor for those who have lost the way. For the steps to the Imperial Throne lie in front of us, and yet we may look away. But the only way to the land above, so pristine and pure, is up those steps. There is no way around, there is no way from it, and no matter how far we thread, those steps will always be ever closer. So too are those who have fallen from the righteous path, they envelop themselves in the fabrications of false prophets, but the people are born in a state of ignorance and innocence. It is the duty of the virtuous to convert and protect the lesser beings that need our guidance, not to utterly destroy them in fire. Let the gentiles who accept our word and confess their sins to Melennar be welcomed with open arms, not as a brother or equal, but as a lesser mirror of ourselves, yet to be brought into the fold with due time.”
Eight Creed: The Spirits of Virtue
The Eight Creed speaks about the virtue of the Herons, the Saints of the Unionist Sancella and the Etosian Patriarchate. Herons exist also in the other denominations of Unionism, but are barely given attention to, and in Priscille Unionism, it is limited to the Emperor’s kin in life. The Eight Creed is mostly the subject of controversy between the Etosian and regular Unionist faiths, as the Etosians believe the limitations for Heron declaration are both looser and can be granted upon living Humans, which is declared heretical to the Sancella of Union.
“And by the virtue of strength, or wit, or cunning or the simple virtues of man woman and child, so too can the simplest of souls be elevated to the highest steps to the throne of the Imperial Spirit. The Emperor alone is but one, surrounding him is a vast collection of spirits, not Imperial in a sense, but purely Unionist in many ways. We speak of the Herons, the Heroes and Saints of our times and times past. We model our lives to them as examples, as they have modeled their lives in the image of the Emperors. So that the will of the Emperor can be carried in the wind, like rain on a gust, ever multiplying into the infinite beyond. They shall have shrines, they shall have statues and the people shall evoke their names in reverence. They shall fill the bodies of Union with the will to fight, to preserve our cause, and to dream to one day become like one of them and be assured passage to the highest places in Paradise.”
The Ninth Creed of Unionism is generally seen as a less spoken about Creed detailing the evils in the world, the Demons. It is inherently unclear if Demons are referred to in the scholarly sense, as the Void and Exist energies that they are, or whether they are just basal representations of Human Vice. The Ninth Creed was written by Emperor Handorien the First, and it was also the only piece of writing he did. The Ninth Creed was actually written to instill a sense of fear into the average Regalian who did not know what a Demon was. Curiously enough it specifically speaks about the heretical status of Mages, setting back magical progress for quite some time, as Emperor Handorien was known to be a massive Mage hater.
“There are those who would destroy the steps to the Imperial Throne. Those who would see us all cast out of paradise and paradise twisted to a tormented plain of destruction, where our loved ones will anguish and we will watch for all eternity. It is the Daemons of our past, our present and our future, the evils within and without, the evils we invite and the evils that claw at our very doorstep every morn and every dusk. It is the duty of every man woman and child to purge the evil and Daemon scourge from the world, be it an act of kindness or the sword of deliverance. For Daemons are merely creatures of will, and will hath no hold over Humans of virtue. Those who would dabble in the arts of Daemons, so called mages, charlatans and deceivers of honest men and women. Strike them down for their fingers thread where no Human should, in the realm of the corrupted and the befouled. They bring only ills on their loved ones, plagues of blisters and putrid plague and destruction.”
Tenth Creed: First Humanum
Not much is known about the Tenth Creed. It is now known exactly where it was written or when, but it is generally theorized that Emperor Justinian the First wrote it. Due to the court’s opinions of Justinian the First however, it is theorized heavily that the Arch-Chancellor had a big hand in writing it instead, simply dictating the content to Justinian the First to record. Only various snippets have ever been received, and even then they could not be confirmed by the physical presence of the Creed, as all the writing had disappeared after the death of the Arch Chancellor and the Emperor. There have been various doomsaying speculations on the content of the Tenth Creed. Some collude to the idea that the Tenth Creed was actually a prediction of failure to the entire Unionist Faith, while others allude to the idea that it was just nonsensical rambling of a feeble minded Emperor. The subject of the Tenth Creed is utterly avoided by most if not all of the Unionist denominations, as to presume what the Emperor has written without his holy word is heresy.
“To believe is not to think. To think is to not believe. We will transcend, as those who have come before transcended. Providence only comes forth by the will of the few, like Paradise can only come by the will of the many.”
The Eleventh Creed is the last recorded Creed by the latest Emperor, Alexander the First. The Eleventh Creed is the only Creed written by a non-Ivrae Emperor and has arguably caused the most controversy among the Regalian citizens and beyond. The Creed itself is very vague and open to interpretation, but speaks about the holy inclusion of Elves and Dwarves into the Human fold. Many regional communities have rioted, and many more noble families have outright refused to accept the truth of the Eleventh creed, even up to the Emperor’s own brothers. That being said, the vast majority of the population simply begrudgingly accepts the Creed because it comes from the infallible word of the Imperial Spirit which is housed in his Imperial vessel.
“It is not by the virtue of round ears, or the stature of six foot lengths that we ascend. It is not by the virtue of the roundness of our eyes, or the paleness of our skin that we ascend. Our pride in our semblance, our visage, are all illusions that matter naught in the afterlife which we seek. The Imperial Spirit peers into our souls, not at our faces, nor at our feet. There are those not dissimilar from us, those who have sought us out and joined us and lived with us. They have bled and loved, fought and died in the name of our Empire and our cause. If the cause of Unionism is the cause of our Empire, and if the Empire is our cause of Unionism, then they too are Humans for it is only one eye blink, one thought or one moment that separates us from being equals. I speak not of those that are like feline cretins or green monstrosities, but of the fair skinned Nelfin and the stout Dwarves. Centuries of servitude of their forefathers after the world had accepted their time’s passing, has granted their admittance onto the steps of the throne of the Imperial Spirit.”
The Imperial Spirit
The Imperial Spirit in Unionism refers to the soul of the Imperial power. It is an abstract concept that many theologians have theorized about, but the general interpretation is that the Imperial Spirit is a form of spiritual energy of divine power that fuses with the soul of the Emperor of Regalia as soon as he is crowned. The Imperial spirit, according to the First Creed, only fuses with a male Emperor, meaning male descendants of Theomar must always be the Emperors of Regalia. The identity of the Emperor caused the Third Schism. The majority of Unionism accepted "The Kade Settlement" which dictated that the childless Emperor Justinian II would carry pass the throne onto his second removed cousin, Alexander Kade. A fraction of Union believers believed that because he descended from a female Ivrae, the Imperial line had ended, and the Imperial Spirit no longer fuses with anyone. In present times, the latter belief founded Vultar Unionism, a faith generally considered heresy to the Church of Union. The Emperor's duties as the Imperial Spirit are to make the divine decisions for the cause and course of Humanity, with regards to who to subjugate, who to free, and where to divert the attention of the Empire.
The Imperial spirit also abstractly exists in the afterlife, guiding the souls of those who have passed in the Divine flow of energy that empowers the Imperial Spirit, and keeping them safe and close until the day of the divine Fate. The day of the divine fate, refers to the day when Humanity reaches it's fate and the world shall be rid of all death and suffering, and all those who have passed in service to Humanity shall walk Aloria again. The current afterlife is vaguely called the Steps to the Throne of the Imperial Spirit. It is often imagined as a staircase of marble leading up to a golden throne upon which the Imperial Spirit sits with no face, all the dead and those who have passed before and were deemed good Unionists on the steps all the way to the top.
Death and the Afterlife
Death is the final judgement of any Human's life, a weighing moment when the Imperial Spirit weighs the value of their contribution to Humanity's fate. If the Human is considered valuable to the Human fate, they are allowed into the afterlife. The afterlife is like having a bird’s eye view of the world, the souls of those who passed in service to the Human fate abstractly exist around the living, seeing them, hearing them, but not being able to communicate with them, but existing in the loving embrace of the Imperial Spirit, which is the steps to the Throne of the Imperial Spirit.
If the Human is considered a failure, they are condemned to a life of a non-Human, usually an Allar or a Tigran, and in very bad circumstances, a Kleinfolk. As a non-Human, they have the chance of mercy or absolution, if they put their lives in servitude of Humans. If they succeed, the Creed speaks of a second chance at being a Human. A death sentence by the Emperor himself is generally seen as the worst that could happen to any Human, and they will be forsaken by their family and removed from all records of history and memory.
Origins of Life
Unionism has surprisingly little to say on the origins of life or the creation of everything in general. Some of the Creeds vaguely hint at the idea that the thoughts behind Creation from the Old Gods faith is actually an accepted version of creation theory to Unionists, especially since Melennar’s confessions, Old Gods worshippers are just strayed Unionist worshipers who weren’t blessed by the visions of Theomar the First. Both the Creeds and the Emperors have never been literal on the concept of creation however, which is why it always has just been treated as an unspoken matter. Unionists focus very strongly on where the future is going, instead of where the past has been. This generally hooks into the Ailor belief and drive for progress, as opposed to staying in the past and remaining stagnant, like the Elves. Some of the Sects belief that the Imperial Spirit was originally the world of Aloria itself, existing in a dormant state as lesser races came into being and disappeared, until Humans were deemed worthy enough to become the chosen race, after which the Imperial Spirit sent visions to Theomar the First. These beliefs are never explicitly denied or confirmed by the Sancella of Union however.
Several Sectarian Groups exist within the main Unionist faith, as well as the Etosian denominations. Sects aren’t technically different denominations, as only very minor belief alterations exist, or the groups are so small that they cannot properly be considered a heresy. Still, these groups are recorded and generally tracked to ensure their beliefs do not start meddling with the Sancella of Union’s penultimate power in the Regalian Empire.
- Sect of Hector: The Sect of Hector believes in the additional divinity of the Empresses. Hectorians express that the Emperor actually imparts part of the Imperial Spirit into his wife, who will carry this vessel until she gives birth to a male heir, after which the seed of the Imperial Spirit will pass into the heir. This is how the Imperial Spirit can quickly switch from one dead Emperor to the next. The Hectorian Sect was established in 266 AC by Curate Hector Bundorwald of Calemberg. The Hectorian sect is begrudgingly allowed to exist, but is relatively small.
- Sect of Tharran: The Sect of Tharran believes the Imperial Spirit is actually not a divine unseeable being, but rather a more abstract concept of the collective teaching, will and intellect of Emperors passed down from one Emperor to the next. They have a more linear base belief about Paradise, claiming that rather than some divine state of immortality, Paradise is simply the eradication of all famine, civil unrest, and racial tensions on Aloria, and that the being with loved ones in the afterlife is simply a sense of satisfaction in death for a happy life lived. The Tharran sect was originally persecuted, but has shrunk to such a small group of people that it is now simply allowed to exist in almost complete nonexistence. Tharranism was developed by Reverend Thoron van Bildethar of Dorinn in 195 AC.
- Sect of Elene: The Sect of Elene is generally considered to be the most dangerous Unionist sect as it is their belief that a Human must kill at any time, and for any reason, a non-Human as soon as they see one. Elenites are fervent hedge knights who rove the countryside trying to kill non-Humans, and they are very often at odds with Regalian law enforcement. The Sect of Elene is harshly prosecuted but is still sizeable in Daendroc and Daenshore.
- Sect of Minas: The Sect of Minas is a sect that believes in the structural superiority of the man in Unionism, proclaiming that women are purely tools granted by the Imperial Spirit to expand the Human Empire. Minarians aren’t always obvious to find because this sect does not have a centralized structure or way of being identified. Many have often accused the Calemberger clique of harboring Minarians among their ranks, as their political ideals often compare to the Minarian views. Officially, the Sancella of Union condemns Minarianism because the Creeds specifically state that women and men are equal to the face of Union.
- Sect of Illia: The Sect of Illia is a sect that believes in the divinity of the Ithanian Prince, as opposed to the Imperial Emperor. The sect states that because the Ithanian Grand Prince is a higher more sophisticated being, that he must be the vessel of the Imperial Spirit. The Sect of Illia has a very small following in Ithania, and is strictly prosecuted by all denominations of Unionism, especially the Priscille denomination.
- Sect of Horopadoupolis: The Sect of Horopadoupolis, or Sect of Horop in short, is a sect that believes that Undeadism should actually be embraced and used to the benefit of Humanity to extend the lives of Humans. The exact definition of Undeadism being heresy is not officially supported by credible words in the Creeds, which is why the exact status of the Horopadoupolisian sect is difficult to establish. Still, state laws exist against Undeadism, so a sect professing the need to kill Humans at the end of their lives in Lapis coffins to forcibly turn them undead is considered highly criminal.
It is implied in the Ten Creeds of Union that prayers can be used to call upon the Emperor for worldly favors and blessings. Emperor Theomar constructed the grand Regalian Cathedral, home to the pillars of blessings. The pillars of blessings have small orifices in them, capable of containing small pieces of paper. Believers of union will write down small wishes and deeds they would like to see the Emperor perform, and stuff these papers into the ornaments of the pillars. Every month, the Emperor would lead a procession of the Imperial Spirit in the Cathedral, after which he would come down to the pillars and pick out a few pieces of paper. These wishes or deeds would then be performed within the mortal power of the Emperor, giving heed to the blessings asked for by the followers.
Communal worship for Unionists happens on a daily basis three times a day, and though it is strongly encouraged and almost enforced once a day, participation is not obligatory more than once a week. Most citizens with a profession choose Saturday or Sunday, but Priests hold sermons every day of the week, so one may participate on any day. Sermons of Unionism are usually filled with communal prayer, priests reading from the holy texts, and faith healing. Sermons are held traditionally within churches, but can also be held in open air or in any building. There is no specific celestial law that states sermons must be held in a church, and street sermons are sometimes frequent in times of trouble or social unrest. Worship can be varied for different events. Birth blessings have their own rituals, as do funeral rites, communions for Union and feast days or holidays.
Sacraments of Union
Unionism has several Sacraments throughout one's lifetime. Some are optional; only the first and last Sacrament must be performed for all Humans. The first Sacrament is the birth blessing. Upon the birth of a Human born in a Unionist family, the baby must be blessed by a priest reading the First Creed to the baby, usually when it has just come out of its mother. This Sacrament represents initiation of the Human baby into the duty and rights of a Unionist, but also serves to cleanse the newborn of any past non Human life they may have suffered, to prepare them for their second chance at redemption.
The next Sacrament is the Sacrament of Entry. Entry Sacraments are performed by those who enter the service of the Regalian state. This means all soldiers, knights, nobles, state officials, politicians and priests, or children who aspire to be of those professions, go through this Sacrament. In this Sacrament, the children (usually between ages 10 and 13) must memorize the Ten predictions of Union, and be able to recite them in their most basic rudimentary form during a sermon on their Communion day. The Communion Sacrament is seen as entry of one's duty to the Human Fate.
Another Sacrament is the Sacrament of Sacrifice. The Penance of Sacrifice is usually performed by adults, advanced in age between 30 and 50, and often also by criminals. The Sacrament of Sacrifice effectively introduces those who perform the rites into a monastic order, such as women joining the Celestials of Mercy, and men joining the Fathers of Piety. Fathers of Piety often become monks and priests, whereas the Celestials of Mercy become nuns or silent women of the church who embalm the dead or deliver babies to the world. After the Sacrament of Sacrifice, those who have passed either divorce their marriage or never marry again. It is also common for those who perform this ritual to swear an oath of silence and servitude to the church, becoming a member of the Ecclesiastical Estates of Basta.
The Sacrament of Fervent Service is the official rite name of Knighthood, a ritual that most male Nobility go through, but also commoners who are elevated to knighthood. The Sacrament of Fervent Service is the only Sacrament not performed in the church, instead relying on a test of strength, wit, and faith to the Emperor by the Regalian military. In most cases, the recruits will be instructed to stand guard at the cathedral for a week with nothing but a flask of water, while also reciting the predictions of Union whenever anyone asks for them, and remaining disciplined and orderly throughout the entire ordeal.
The final Sacrament is the Sacrament of the Slumber, the death rite. The Sacrament of slumber is performed for those who have passed, but it differs radically per social class. Richer citizens can afford a church burial, involving priests reciting the relevant Creeds and heavy use of incense, while the more common folk will simply be put in a grave with a simple prayer. It is custom to bury the dead in robes of black, while all those who mourn for their death are dressed in pure white. This is to emphasize that even if their passed spirit cannot see themselves, they can always see those who are still on Aloria and living, and focus their energy to further their cause instead of any worldly selfish desires.
The Liturgical year of Union is very class and profession based. The period of spring is seen as the Cycle of Growth, in which children are conceived, crops are planted and the year's census is done. The following period in Summer is the Cycle of Dominion, in which wars are usually performed by the Regalian Empire for expansion. The next Cycle is in Autumn, the Cycle of the Harvest, in which the ending part, children are usually born, the crops harvested, and the lands subjugated. Finally the months of Winter represent the Cycle of Reflection, months filled with worship, feasts and thinking back on everything that has happened past year.
Every one of these Cycles has their own smaller holidays, but each cycle has its own Festival week, in which most Regalians celebrate the Liturgical cycle with each other in a merry week of drinking, games, feasting and communal prayer. The one in the Cycle of Reflection is especially important, as that is the only Festival which the Emperor actively participates in.
Unionism isn't a specifically aniconist religion, meaning it does not rely much on images to convey itself, but there are several symbols which strongly represent the religion. Within the first 300 years, a stork was the main symbol of Unionism, carrying the spirit of Union across the Ivrae family, the stork also being the family crest animal. Since the Kade Settlement however, the stork has been replaced with a feathered Dragon, animal ruler of Aloria and proud symbol of justice, strength, power and all-rule.
Items or other symbols are not used that much. It's often difficult to symbolize the fate of humanity into a single image, though the most acceptable way of putting it, is often a golden eye with sunrays radiating from it. This is also seen in priestly prayers where they hold their right hand up next to their face while reciting the Creeds with the Unionist symbol pendant in their hand palm, using their left hand to wander the pages and move religious artifacts around during Sermons. Most Unionists have a necklace with a small golden hand in front of a star, or a broach with the head of Emperor on it to outwardly identify themselves as Unionist. In general, Unionists condemn the practice of outward identification of other Religions however, and refrain from doing it much themselves in the street.
The most common Unionist symbols are often found on pendants, worn under clothing, or crafted into armor, especially for the richer Noble Families. Flaunting Unionist symbols is often seen as hubris however.
- Sancella of Union
- Patriarchate of Etosil
- Supremocliast of Vultaro
- Monastriist of Dogartan
- Princessity of Priscelle
- Leenstrian Order
- Retrovian Order
- Empolarian Order
- Hunstarite Order
- Kattarine Order
- Herons of Unionism
- Herons of Etosianism
- Emperor Theomar the First actually made Unionism mandatory among some of the noble families very early on. The Kade family initially always resisted and did not formally convert to Unionism until around 140 AC.
- Some speculate there is some dark conspiracy behind the Emperor, the Oxoron Celestial Body and the Void, but most of this is generally called nutcase ramblings.
- Melennar was not an Elf, contrary to popular belief because of his name.