====== The Holy Fist of Hlark ====== The Qatrun and their religion are synonymous. One does not exist without than the other. Likewise the nation of Fist is not separable from the religion of its inhabitants. A few other peoples, notably Babrem nomads, have embraced Hlark and they are welcome. But worship of Hlark outside of Fist controlled territory is non-existent.

The Mukhtar(“the chosen” in Qadir) as the followers of Hlark call themselves are ardently monotheistic. They know their god is the only true god. All others are just powerful beings, myths, or frauds. Their faith is absolute and impacts virtually every aspect of their culture.

As their name implies they have been chosen by Hlark for a specific purpose. That purpose is to fight the #Old Enemy in a great battle to come. This dominates every aspect of their lives. The nation & people exist for one purpose prepare for war. Their society is built around strength, militancy, and unwavering faith.

They are not overly concerned with proselytizing or obliterating other religions. They do not however tolerate anything other than complete belief and orthodoxy within their territory. Nor do they, despite their impressive military, trouble other nations much (although if other means fail they will take the land and resources they need to properly prepare for the #Great Battle). For it is a sin to weaken yourself fighting petty battles when you should be preparing to combat The #Old Enemy.

“Fist” represents the might of Hlark and his chosen Mukhtar that will obliterate all that is abhorrent to his eyes.

===== Origins ===== Hlark does not waste time with pointless stories of how things came to be. It is enough to know that Mukhtar exist and that they exist for a specific divine purpose.

==== Statue of Light ==== {DM}(hologram of prime god left over from pre-breach times){DM END} Around 900 years ago the ancestors of the Qatrun were chosen and made to find an ancient ruin within which resided the glowing avatar of Hlark. For one hundred years the infinite glory of Hlark was revealed to them.

It spoke of the #Old Enemy, the #Great Battle to come, and the Mukhtar’s special role, as the army of Hlark, in this conflict. It also taught primitive Qatruns the secrets of civilization. Agriculture, metallurgy, architecture, science, medicine, law, divine magic, and above all all manner of warcraft.

When it had taught them all that they needed to know the Statue of Light grew dim and Hlark’s avatar left never to return. Its final words were “Prepare, be ready.” Since then that is exactly what the Qatrun have done.

The ruin, Kazerun, in which this occurred is now the holiest site. Pilgrims can still see the pedestal above which the statue floated.

=== Word of Hlark === This is the holy text of Mukhtar. Transcribed by the first Mukhtar directly from the #Statue of Light. It is the total sum of knowledge provided by Hlark. Not a single book, but many, many volumes organized much like an encyclopedia.

==== Old Enemy ==== The unknown, but terrible and evil adversary the Mukhtar will one day confront in the #Great Battle. Nothing has been revealed by Hlark about the nature or identity of this enemy. He has only said to be viligent and prepare, that when the enemy reveals itself all will know and tremble in horror.

==== Great Battle ==== The climatic war spoke of often by the #Statue of Light. It instructed the Mukhtar to prepare for this war and provided them the means to do so. It warned often that the conflict would be extremely difficult and victory was far from assured. But defeat was certain if the Mukhtar’s resolve to win it faltered.

It is unclear what will happen after this battle, Hlark words on the matter are vague. Some say the Mukhtar will join Hlark in everlasting bliss. Others believe that our duty being done, we will return to wherever we came from or simply cease to exist.

=== Crusade against Kjore === After much divination and study it remained in doubt whether Kjore was what they appeared to be, the #Old Enemy. Those that clamored it was obvious where challenged by others saying it was a test of our patience and resolve to wait for the true enemy. Temples and markets both where filled with arguments like “If they are and we don’t” or “If we do and they aren’t”

Eventually the current #Mouths of Hlark|Mouth of Hlark decided that the chance that Kjore is in fact the #Old Enemy was too great to delay any longer. If Fist launched an attack and it turned out not to be the case Mukhtar would have to redouble their preparation efforts. On the other hand not acting while the #Old Enemy grew in power risks complete failure of duty and the ultimate sin, that of not joining the #Great Battle.

So, in the year 7966(1022 P.) he declared a holy crusade against Kjore. Two years later it is going well but is far from over.

===== Religious Hierarchy ===== Being an absolute theocracy the “government” of Fist and it’s religious hierarchy are one and the same.

==== Mouths of Hlark ==== Are the ruling caste of clerics. Although other classes, esp paladins, have leadership roles clerics are the final arbiter of Hlark’s law in Fist

The highest priest(always male#1|(1)) of Hlark has the title “Mouth of Hlark”. He is the word of god until such time as Hlark returns in person. The position is pretty much for life but occasionally one will retire. The Mouth is selected usually by omen or divination and is typically the most capable and appropriate person. Cronyism, politics, and corruption do not exist at this level of responsibility.

==== Fists of Hlark ==== The military arm of Fist. Comprised of paladins, and other warriors. They are, of course, under direct control of the clerics. But the clerics defer most military matters to the Fists’ commanders. e.g. The Mouth of Hlark might declare a crusade. It will be left to Fists to figure out how exactly to execute it.

The highest ranking Fist, always a paladin, is called the “Right Hand of Hlark”.

==== Body of Hlark ==== The common people of Fist. From craftsmen to merchants, farmers to soldiers, All of the Mukhtar have a role to play in preparing for the #Great Battle. The take their duty seriously. Those who do not risk drawing the attention of clerics, paladins and their more faithful neighbors.

==== Holy Orders ==== Many holy religious orders exist. They are outside/separate from the caste system although some orders are exclude certain castes.

Orders often take the place of departments, municipalities that exist in other forms of governments e.g. “Enforcers of Justice” are police/judge/jury. Many are combat oriented having been created for some specific defense reason or to honor a particular battle/martyr. Others are dedicated to a certain cause “Sisters of Mercy” healing.

Players are welcome to suggest new orders to the DM.

== Enforcers of Justice Order == A large order that is responsible for law and order throughout Fist. They are the police, prosecution, judge, and jury. Although it is much fairer than that sounds. Being regulated by the #Word of Hlark.

== Sisters of Mercy == A holy order dedicated to healing the sick and injured.

== Order of Flame == Protectors of travelers and destroyers of undead.

== Retribuners Order == Solitary hunters of those who have escaped just punishment. They often depict Hlark’s fist holding a black bar.

== Rasha’s Light == Formed to honor the martyr Rasha. Who seeking further avatars of Hlark entered an ancient tomb. Only one of her party returned. From his broken mind clerics where able to extract only fragments of the horrors and abominations within. What was clear is that Rasha sacrificed herself to obliterate the abominations within and cleanse the site of taint. To this day a pillar of pulsing blue light reaches from the tomb into the clouds.

== Wall of Hibena == A combat order based in the city of Hibena. The story goes early in its history Hibena prior to completing its defenses was attacked by an evil necromancer leading a huge Babrem horde of undead. Common people stood shoulder to shoulder with paladins and other soldiers. Filling the gap between the unfinshed walls. Blocking the undead horrors from rampaging through the city proper and ultimately wresting victory from certain doom.

===== Pantheon ===== Although there is only one god, Hlark, he has several “aspects”. Mukhtar do not think of these as separate in any fashion. Different clerics, paladins, and people simply choose to focus on different characteristics of Hlark’s glory. There are divisions such as between clerics(mouths) and paladins(fists) but not based on the aspect one worships. Nothing outwardly distinguishes a cleric of Hlark’s Faith Aspect from a cleric of his Protective Aspect. They will have different “world views”, approach problems in differently, etc. But they are all Mukhtar preparing for the #Great Battle.

The aspects are treated as separate gods only for game mechanic reasons.

=== Common Elements === The mailed fist is the ubiquitous symbol of Hlark. It is often depicted holding things to denote the nature of the bldg/person it is on. Such as Falchion for paladin training compound, quill for a scribe, sprig of herbs for a hospital.

Statues, paintings, etc of Hlark are not made. Mukhtar follow his word not his likeness. Focusing on other than his word is a serious sin.

Prayers All Mukhtar pray regularly. This is done in private or groups. The normal procedure entails supplicating oneself on a prayer mat while reciting religious verses. The melodious chants are quite poetic and beautiful. They also typically face Kazerun.

Temples Are large and ubiquitous. All government and military buidings are temples or part of temple complexes. In fact private homes and some businesses are some of the only structures not part of some temple. Many temples are elaborately decorated with intricate patterns or verses from the #Word of Hlark. Others are plain and practical.

Rites Every aspect of life in Fist is regulated by the #Word of Hlark. Hlark has provided laws for most every situation. No major and few minor tasks are done without the approval, instruction and supervision of a cleric. Many of the laws have been implemented as rites and ceremonies.

Herald and Allies The #Statue of Light, not seen for nearly 900 years, has been his only Herald. Hlark is currently hidden away from the #Old Enemy. Entrusting the Mukhtar to prepare themselves and be ready when he returns. Mukhtar don’t believe other gods are gods and so Hlark has no divine allies.

=== Hlark’s War Aspect === Greater Deity (Lawful Good)

War and combat aspect. Clerics are uncommon but about 60% of paladins follow this aspect.

Falchion is the favored weapon.

Portfolio War, paladins

Domains War, Strength, Force, Law,

Cleric Training It goes without saying that days are long with exercise and combat training. While the nights are filled with studying history, tactics, siege engineering, logistics, leadership, and of course the #Word of Hlark

Quests Training, tests of ability/worthiness, acquiring assets needed to strengthen Fist.

Prayers Often before battles, training, sleeping, upon waking. Sometimes just a quick sword salute. See #Common Elements

Temples Paladins live and train within the expansive temples. See #Common Elements

Rites See #Common Elements

Herald and Allies See #Common Elements

=== Hlark’s Faith Aspect === /Intermediate Deity (Lawful Good)

About 20% of paladins and many clerics favor this aspect of Hlark. They ensure faith and purity within Fist. Obliterating abominations and the faithless alike. Many members of #Enforcers of Justice Order identify with this aspect.

Favored weapon is a scimitar.

Portfolio Faith, truth, orthodoxy, paladins

Domains Destruction, Mysticism, Inquisition, Oracle, Law

Cleric Training To follow this aspect requires extensive study of the #Word of Hlark. They become well versed in matters of faith, law and orthodoxy.

Quests Rooting out and obliterating abberations, the unfaithful, or corrupt.

Prayers Often before battles, training, sleeping, upon waking. Sometimes just a quick sword salute. See #Common Elements

Temples The faithless are questioned and shown the errors of their beliefs deep under the temples. See #Common Elements

Rites When providing testimony for any court or official purpose one must submit to the judgment of Hlark in a short ceremony coinciding with casting of spells to ensure accuracy. See #Common Elements

Herald and Allies See #Common Elements

=== Hlark’s Vengeful Aspect === Intermediate Deity (Neutral Good) 10% of paladins and a few clerics take it upon themselves to bring Hlark’s justice to the guilty. The #Retribuners Order follows this aspect.

They obliterate the deserving with double scimitars.

Portfolio Vengeance, punishment, destruction, honor, retribution, justice

Domains Destruction, Inquisition, Celerity, Travel, Law

Cleric Training Most followers are solitary hunters of evil/abominations. At some point in their life they feel the calling. Enthusiastically submitting to Hlark’s will and new purpose for them.

Prayers They pray less than others, being confident in their faith and believing time is better spent in applying justice. See #Common Elements

Temples See #Common Elements

Rites The Kiss of Hlark. Given to recently vanquished dead to ensure they remain dead. See #Common Elements

Herald and Allies See #Common Elements

=== Hlark’s Protective Aspect === Greater Deity (Lawful Good) All wars create casualties. The side who lets them bleed dry on the battlefield is weaker for it. Hlark said this

Large numbers of clerics keep the cities of Fist healthy and well fed. Their healing and protection magics are honed to keep the more battle worthy of the faithful on the front lines.

Favored weapon is light hammer.

Portfolio Protection, healing, growth

Domains Healing, Protection, Community, Sun, Plant

Cleric Training Many of the clerics following this aspect are members of the order #Sisters of Mercy

Quests Most every expedition, caravan, military patrol will contain one or more adherents of Hlark’s Protective Aspect.

Prayers See #Common Elements

Temples Waterworks, irrigation, grain storage, hospitals, are typical facilities built and operated by clerics of this aspect. See #Common Elements

Rites Planting, harvesting, blessing babies and sanctifying new buildings are typical events clerics recite from the #Word of Hlark. See #Common Elements

Herald and Allies See #Common Elements

=== Hlark’s Law/Teacher Aspect === Greater Deity (Lawful Neutral) This is the most common aspect for the #Mouths of Hlark|Mouth of Hlark and other top leaders to follow. Protecting and teaching the #Word or Hlark is their fundamental mission.

Favored weapon is the mace.

Portfolio Law, knowledge, leadership

Domains Law, Knowledge, Animal, Purification

Cleric Training Extensive bureaucratic training is required. Tests of ability, knowledge, and faith are required for clerics to advance.

Quests Not so much.

Prayers Majority of instruction and schooling is done in the form of prayers as much of the knowledge know to Fist scholars comes from the #Word of Hlark which is also the source of prayers. See #Common Elements

Temples A Law/Teacher cleric is the head priest of most temples. See #Common Elements

Rites Most schooling and teaching is performed by Law/Teacher clerics. There are specific ceremonies for handing copies of the #Word of Hlark, clearing the minds of students prior to instruction, and a byzantine procedure for civil court cases. Criminal matters are much simpler, rarely getting to a court. See #Common Elements

Herald and Allies See #Common Elements

====== Footnotes ====== == 1 == All other positions are open to female clerics. 40-50% of clerics are in fact female. Fist society is very “equal opportunity”. It’s just that Hlark is a male and it has always been felt that his “mouth on dirt” should also be a male.