The Black Road

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The Gods have left the world. They do not act, they are not seen, and they have not been seen. It is clear. They are gone.

There is one God left, the Last God. He is the Hooded God of death, the only God still seen to act. He has knowledge of all that has been and all that shall come to pass, for all things must die - even worlds. However, through death comes life, and this is the crux of the Creed of the Black Road.

The Origin and the Fisherwoman

The Hooded God revealed himself to a Magvellian fisherwoman many years ago. He spoke with her at length, revealing many truths, including his omniscience. She is the mother of the Creed, although long since executed as a heretic. She began to spread the words she had heard, and soon had a large following in her region. The other churches tried to have her silenced, but the truth will rise to the surface and the Creed grew.

Finally, a war was waged against the Bloods and they were driven beyond the great darkness in the West. In that retreat were the Children of the Hundred, warrior elites, born.

The Bloods have grown and strengthened there ever since, and with the help of the first and greatest First of the Battle Inkallim Sirrhas Azali they carved out their lands from the surrounding petty nobles as fearless fighters.

Fate and the Creed

The Hooded God sees all and knows all, and so everything is only as it could only be: everything that happens, happens by Fate. This cannot be changed any more than the sea can be dried away. What the Hooded God has seen must come to pass, and he sees all, so all must come to pass as he sees it.

Thus can no man change his future, and from this the core of the Creed of the Black Road is derived. In the face of Fate, there can be no personal responsibility: no pride, but no shame. No success, but no failure, is decided by any man any more than the sea chooses to break upon the shore. We all walk the Black Road of Fate, but the followers of the Creed know it and embrace it.

This then is the mantra of the Black Road: "My feet are on the Road. I know not pride."

This forsaking of pride is the hardest part of walking the Black Road intentionally. However, it is also a releasing of shame and failure, and is as much a reward as a punishment.

The Reforging of the World

The Hooded God explained one last thing to the Fisherwoman: that he was going to reforge the world anew, with none of the mistakes the Gods made originally. However, he foresaw one thing that must happen first: all must accept the truth of the Black Road, and all must walk it intentionally.

From death there is life, and the Last God has seen every failing and foible of life and the world. As the forest grows from the ashes of the old forest, so the world will rise anew from its broken state, finer than ever before.

This is the ultimate goal of the Black Road, and the dream of all.

The Children of the Hundred, or The Inkallim

In the retreat of the Bloods of the Black Road, lead by the original Thane of Thanes of the Gyre blood, one hundred men of his army stayed to hold back the collected armies in pursuit of the Bloods. These hundred men and women held for long enough for the Bloods to escape in safety, and in their honour the elite assassins, loremasters, and warriors are called the Inkallim, or Children of the Hundred, and marked with a raven tattoo.

Thanes and Bloods

The political unit of the Black Road is the Blood, led by a Thane. The Bloods are not a kingdom: the Thane of Thanes is comparable to a king, but their power is not absolute and they must take the counsel of the other Thanes.

Thaneship is passed on to the firstborn son or a chosen heir, referred to as the Bloodheir.

War between Bloods is rare, as all serve the same Creed, but it has happened before.

The Inkallim are outside of the Bloods. The Thane of Thanes is expected to listen to their advice closely, as they provide a perspective that is, if not politically unmotivated, politically differently motivated.

Meta: Acknowledgment

The Black Road is heavily cribbed from Brian Ruckley's Godless World series of novels. Anyone who wants a total understanding of how it works should go read them - a thousand pages of novels' worth of background is hard to compress well.