The True Faith of the Heart, known colloquially as the True Faith or the First Children (the Docieril, in their language), are the original inhabitants of Haakon Isle. In a way, they are the first true natives of the land Rynmere, though their origin dates back before the land itself existed. Back before the destruction of their jacadon overlord --and the subsequent creation of the island Rynmere as it is known today-- the First Children lived alongside him in servitude, some would say in slavery, residents of Rynmere's giant, floating nest.
No one knows exactly where the First Children came from, not even the Children themselves, just that they live in an island in the sky. In their folklore, it is said that 'a great wave' washed them --and the jacadon's nest-- from the water to its place in the heavens, but little is known about this wave, what it was, or if it even existed. Among the ranks of the True Faith it is postulated that the Children were simply meant to be
for the jacadon Rynmere, created for the sole purpose of serving their Master. Whisperers, however, speak of other truths: that the Children might once have been wanderers, snatched up by the dragon to serve him, or natives to the nest even before Rynmere claimed it as his own.
Wherever they first came from, the Children have been living so long in the jacadon's nest that it no longer seems to matter. Warped by generations of proximity to the great beast and his terrible power, the Children as a whole have been forever altered to care for one thing and one thing only: their Great Master, Rynmere.
The Children are obsessive in their goals; obedient and humble to their Master; cruel, disdainful, hateful --even bloodthirsty-- towards outsiders; and generally primal and warmongering, though it would be wrong to call them primitive. They truly care only for Rynmere, and are more than willing to sacrifice their lives --in battle, espionage, and through suicide-- to ensure that he is appropriately protected and served. Children captured by outsiders will promptly kill themselves rather than be subject to the outsiders' will; Children are willing to do anything, anything, to humble themselves before their Great Master. They would happily let their entire people be slaughtered if it would only wake him.
It is even believed by some that the Ej'Ryn are the debased souls of the Children, unable to leave Rynmere's service even in death.
Appearance and Biology:
The First Children are all of mixed blood, though most seem to share a few common characteristics. Their primary ancestry seems to be a combination of Ellune and Aukari, but with enough human and other races mixed in to completely muddy the waters. Though they are hot to the touch and can withstand much more heat than the average person, they do not display the ability to erupt such as the Aukari do, and Faldurn has no control over them; likewise, though their skin --especially that of their outer arms, legs, and back-- is particularly rough to the touch, almost scaly, they do not display a preference for the cold or have any ice abilities.
The eyes of the Docieril are usually dark in iris. Their skin ranges in color from pale white to dark, tan to grey. When young, most Children have reddish, amber, white, or golden hair. But as they age, their hair tends to darken and turn prematurely grey, with most individuals going salt-and-pepper or full silver by the time they are in their early twenties. Males and females alike tend to wear their hair long, wild, and wavy. As for height, weight, and lifespan, the First Children tend to be proportioned like particularly tall humans, but are no longer lived.
The True Faith is a cult, through and through. Wherever they may have come from, one thing is certain: these people's minds have been irrevocably damaged, bent to Rynmere's will. Alive, the great jacadon had such dark power that through proximity to people he was able to corrupt them; his attentions turned them into his pawns, driven to him through dark visions and insanity. It is not known whether the first generation of the Children wanted to serve Rynmere or whether they were forced to. They may have fought him. If they had, however, it would have been futile; regardless, they were soon bent to his will, and when they had children their children went through the same process, broken, bent. On it went until madness, and the subservience it forced them to, became a part of the people's very makeup. Nowadays, the Children are born with a predisposition to it: in their early teens they go through the Awakening, where they lose control of their minds --and sanity-- and reform as slaves to Rynmere's will.
Their society is one lead by religion, spearheaded by a Priest or Priestess. Priestesses are far more common, with the Tribe leaning towards a matriarchic theocracy, women given slightly more acknowledgement. The Priestess, essentially, is the only authority after Rynmere, and the main interpreter of his will in times of need or confusion.
Religion and Worship:
It is the True Faith of the Heart's prerogative to serve their Master. They have one hope: to resurrect him from his watery grave. Guided by the Goddess on Earth, they have been given four tasks that must be accomplished if they are to have hope of raising him. These are the things that guide the Children to this day.
They must make sacrifices; only mass sacrifice, the raining of common blood and the accumulation of hopelessness and despair, will give Rynmere the strength to rise. As such, they infiltrate the population of the island Rynmere to spread deceit and discord, bolstering war, stirring up crime, and turning the noble houses against one another.
They must remove the stone that dealt Rynmere's dying blow. Currently, they believe that Nora's Rest, the mountain, is a great chunk of unholy rock pinning Rynmere through the neck, holding him down. Their aim is to destroy it.
They must spill the blood of Rynmere's enemies on his Heart. A sacrifice of each bloodline must be given: Andaris, Venora, Warrick, Burhan, Endor, Gawyne, and Krome.
They must locate and free the spirit of Rynmere from its imprisonment. Rynmere's spirit is said to be hosted in a necklace buried deep in the stone vaults of the Royal Glen.
Besides the four great tasks, the Children also serve Rynmere by serving his descendants, the modern-day jacadon, and by guarding the Labyrinth.
The First Children have a great love of jacadon. These wyverns, to them, are royalty, sacred. Like the Skyriders, First Children seek to make bonds with their Master's descendants in order to ride them; but unlike the Skyriders, they believe their claim to the jacadon to be one of mutual trust and servitude of Rynmere-- the Skyriders, to them, are the worst of enemies, defilers. At every chance a First Child will seek to destory Skyriders. Typically they lure them to the Labyrinth and sacrifice them directly to their dragon god.
The Labyrinth is known, even to the citizens of the island Rynmere, as the belly of the beast. And so it is, though to outsiders the stories are just legend. However, the First Children find them to be fact. As the jacadon Rynmere's innards, the Labyrinth is hallowed ground-- luckily any who are not of the Faith who find their way in too deep will be promptly dealt with by the power of Rynmere himself.
Those who enter the Labyrinth unpermitted will suffer Rynmere's Malevolence-- a combination of hallucinations (images and mind-demons from their worst nightmares, memories, and fears), and an upset of the inner ear (causing dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, nausea). The further in one goes, the worse the effects are. Only the supremely strong of mind and body will be able to make their way unaided to the very center of the Labyrinth: Rynmere's Heart.
Rynmere's Heart is the most holy of holy things to the True Faith; to them, it contains his very Will. The Heart is a sinister thing, so large as to seem like the center of the very world (and for those of the Faith, it is). To all it is beautiful and alluring, made of a gorgeous onyx-black metal, but deadly. Any who touch the Heart will be unable to pull themselves away; slowly they will be driven mad by visions, their life sucked out of them as Rynmere consumes them, turning them to stone and eventually dust. Any who threaten the Heart will be immediately attacked. Its chamber is protected on all sides by stone jacadon, guardians of their father. Threaten the Heart and the jacadon will come to life, devouring the perpetrator alive before returning to their slumber.
It is upon Rynmere's Heart that the blood of his enemies --those of the noble houses-- must be spilt in order for him to awaken.
Only members of the True Faith understand how to safely navigate Rynmere's belly in order to reach his Heart. To traverse the Labyrinth without harm, one must imbibe of Rynmere's Blood, a black, noxious, scalding liquid that bubbles up from some rare hot springs (called Edvah Seketh, or Blood springs) on the island Rynmere. However, drinking the Blood directly is almost always fatal. The Blood, like Rynmere himself, is a corrupting force: it siphons life energy in order to grow hotter and hotter, until whoever has been foolish enough to drink it finds themselves boiled from the inside.
The only way to consume Rynmere's Blood without injury is indirectly: either through drinking the blood of another being who has been forced to imbibe it --animal or human-- or though eating crops that have been watered to adulthood by its essence. Even then, the Blood is wont to subvert those who take it. People who consume Rynmere's Blood in any manner will find themselves subject to hallucinations, mania, and corruption of mind and soul. They may be driven to commit horrible crimes.
Besides a rapid increase in Blood springs, other harbingers of Rynmere's resurrection are ground-thunder and earthquakes, the sea turning hot around the island, an increase of mental illness, and vents of burning steam opening up along the land.
The thousand or so members of the True Faith make up the First Tribe, a small, religious society. The religion of Rynlism, to them, is a monstrosity, and all outsiders --especially citizens of the island Rynmere-- are heathens. Despite that, they do not wish to spread their religion to the masses, thinking of themselves as the chosen; those who are heathens, then, are little more than animals, to be used or killed as seen fit.
Their Tribal city is known as Ada Jat'he, the Center.
The Tribe is adequate in all things necessary to survive: building, farming, crafting. The Children's true talents, though, are in deception, seduction, poison, politics, intelligence, and the like, with secondary skills in various forms of combat, guerrilla tactics, subterfuge, and sabotage. They prefer unarmed combat to the use of weapons, especially fond of acrobatics and powerful kicks, though if weapons need to be used they go for shields, bows, throwing knives, and spears.
There are no true laws in the Tribe-- it is simply accepted that those who work against Rynmere's will are to be removed through bloody sacrifice. For outsiders, any unlucky enough to be captured will be cast into slavery, tortured for information, or executed. The favored method of execution is trial by combat by multiple opponents --much as a bull is surrounded by toreros and repeatedly speared-- until death.
Clothing and Grooming--
The Children traditionally will wear dull-colored, simple clothing intended for modesty and camouflage. Most of the time they wear various leathers or skins. Their Priest or Priestess is the only exception, wearing a cloak of jacadon scales and a crown of jacadon teeth over royal blue robes, along with a sacrificial knife. In the winter, they don heavier furs. They are not above incorporating human leather, bones, or hair into their jewelry, to add a bit of flair. When killing outsiders, they tend to collect such trophies.
Makeup and outsider clothing is seen as a mask to present to the enemy, not something to be worn while amidst the Tribe.
Arts and Crafts--
The Tribe has little need for art as an item, choosing instead to think of their everyday actions of serving Rynmere as an art in itself, a type of worship that every member seeks to perfect. They do indulge in some blood sports --generally spectators observing the torture or execution of outsiders-- and ceremonial dance. They are very big on ceremony; everything they do is a tribute to their Master and so must be done with skill.
As a whole, the Tribe is able to perform all forms of craftsmanship necessary to survive. They prefer slaves to do their farming and menial tasks, but it is not unusual for Tribe's members to know tanning, fishing, hunting, woodworking and masonry, and similar necessary skills.
Architecture and Decoration--
The First Children only ever build with stone, and tend to make huge, rough, interconnected buildings, more like mazes or castles than any common abode. The doorways to their houses are enormous, standing more than ten feet high, and open-aired, with no true door; they also tend to avoid windows, though most houses will have peep-holes or arrow slots. Wild Jacadon are known to visit the Children, and are always welcome within their homes. The stonework itself is very crude, unfinished-looking, with little if any decoration. Any ornamentation will be of Rynmere, or his descendants. Nothing else, in their eyes, is worth immortalizing in such a way.
Inside, the rooms are quite large and chilly, lit dimly by candlelight. The Children tend to live in groups (though not necessarily with family) in long rooms like dorms that only exhibit the bare minimum of furniture, perhaps a small bed and storage trunk for each occupant with a central table for eating and meetings. Furs and trophies of animals --and people-- hunted would likely be the only sign of individualization.
Sex is perfunctory and often scheduled, seen as a necessary, almost ritualistic act. There is no marriage in the Tribe, and people are not expected to stay with their partners for any length of time: the whole Tribe raises the children. Outside of copulation, sex is seen as a frivolity. Voyeurism is common: others of the Faith, especially the Priest or Priestess, might observe the act in order to bless the coupling.
Language, Script, and Names--
The First Children speak only a dialect of Vauni when in the Tribe, though may know as many other languages as they need to properly do their duty. They have no written language as they are entirely focused on the task at hand; they tend to speak to the point, using little in the way of purple prose or metaphor.
Names tend to be one word in Vauni and all names work for either gender: examples are aul (grey), athtoi (truth), dithlanis (fire), kauna (slave), zahael (true), etc. They have only one surname: Adonith, which means tribe. In written languages (like in Common), when referring to one another the First Children never capitalize first names, unless referring to their current Priest or Priestess.
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