Faith of the Seven
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Seven Pointed Star
The Faith of the Seven is a religion that worships a nameless deity with seven aspects. The religion is often simply referred to as “the Faith.” Practice of the Faith is very widespread in the Vinci City-States, though there are some that follow the religion within the domain of the Alin Regios.
The Faith worships the Seven, a single deity with seven aspects or faces, each representing a different virtue. Worshippers pray to specific aspects of the Seven for help and guidance depending on their need. The aspects are:
* Father, representing judgment, he carries scales and is prayed to for justice.
* Mother, representing motherhood and nurturing, she is prayed to for fertility or compassion.
* Warrior, representing strength in battle, he is prayed to for victory.
* Maiden, representing innocence and chastity, she is usually prayed to to protect a maiden’s virtue.
* Smith, representing crafts and labor, he is usually prayed to when work needs to be done.
* Crone, representing wisdom, she carries a lantern and is prayed to for guidance.
* Stranger, an exception to the other aspects, the Stranger represents death and the unknown. Worshippers rarely seek favor from the Stranger, but outcasts sometimes associate themselves with this god.
The Faith has a great many moral teachings. It frowns on gambling, preaches against bastardy, and curses things like incest and kinslaying. One of the central holy texts of the Faith is The Seven-Pointed Star, which is divided into gospel-like sections, such as the Maiden’s Book, also called The Book of the Maiden. Presumably, each of the Seven has his or her own book. During trials by combat, the Seven are expected to intervene on the side of the just combatant. In order to become a knight, a squire must spend a nightlong vigil in a sept and become anointed in the name of the Seven.
The number seven is considered holy to the Faith. It holds that there are seven hells as well as seven faces. Seven constellations in the sky are considered as sacred, and even grace is taught to have seven aspects. The number seven is used to invest rituals or objects with a holy significance. Adherents of the Faith use seven-pointed stars, crystal prisms, and rainbows as icons of the religion. Rites of worship heavily involve the use of light and crystals to represent the seven-in-one god.
The places of worship of the Seven are called “septs”, and every sept houses representational art portraying each of the seven aspects. In rural septs, they may merely be carved masks or simple charcoal drawings on a wall, while in wealthy septs, they may be statutes inlaid with precious metals and stones. Worshippers light candles before the altars of the symbolizing each of the seven aspects. Ceremonies are lead by the highest ranking male member of the clergy, and hymns are often sung. In the naming of a child, seven oils are used to anoint the infant. Weddings are conducted standing between the altars of the Father and the Mother. Rites of worship held in rich areas and during special occasions can feature embellishments such as choirs of seventy-seven septas.
Male clergy of the Faith are called “septons,” and there are various orders of devotion amongst them, each concentrating their devotion on one aspect of the Seven. For example, there are septons sworn the Smith, and they wear small metal hammers on a thong around their necks. Monastic orders of septons can live in ‘septries’ (plural of ‘septry’), self sustaining enclaves of sworn brothers who are called “Brown Brothers.” Septons without a sept wander the countryside ministering to the smallfolk in exchange for food and shelter. They are sometimes disparaged as “begging brothers”, and they wear a small metal bowl around their necks.
Female clergy called “septas”, and there are various orders of devotion amongst them. There are orders of septas, called white, grey or blue septas, but it is unrevealed to which aspect of the deity each of them is devoted. There are convents of septas called ‘motherhouses.’ Septas often serve as governesses in the households of the high nobility. A trial of a woman conducted by the Faith will have septas sitting among the seven judges. High ranking septas are counted as members of the “Most Devout”, revealing that they have a voice in the selection of a High Septon.
A separate order of women with vows of chastity and silence, called the Silent Sisters, handles the bodies of the dead, but they are not regarded as septas. Silent Sisters are sometimes referred to as ‘Wives of the Stranger.’ They clad themselves in grey and keep their faces cowled except for their eyes.
The Faith is ruled by a council of the highest ranking clergy of the Faith called the Most Devout. The Most Devout are lead by the High Septon, an office elected by the Most Devout. Although the High Septon is usually elected from among the Most Devout, this is not a requirement. High Septons rennounce their names upon taking the office. They usually wear a great crown made of crystal while performing their duties.
Militant orders of the Faith have also existed at times in its history: the Warrior’s Sons, a knightly order comprised of the noble classes, and the Poor Fellows, drawn from the common folk. The Warrior’s Sons would give up their lands and gold and swear their swords to the High Septon. They wear rainbow cloaks and inlaid silver armor over hair shirts. They bare star shaped crystals in the pommels of their swords. The Poor Fellows carry axes and wander the roads of the realm, escorting travelers. Their badge is a seven pointed star red on white. They are known as the “Swords” and “Stars” respectively.