I'm not typically someone who is concerned with the most extreme intricacies of a fantasy world, but after discussing Valerius with friends, I was surprised at how interested others are in the inner workings of this mysterious realm! Specifically, I've been asked how religion and belief systems work in Valerius.
I've mentioned the gods of Dawn and Dusk and there's obviously a variety of mystical events transpiring, but I hadn't given the religions of the people of Valerius any thought except for a passing understanding known only to myself. Due to the restrictions of a podcast, I thought it best to avoid any superfluous rambling on my part (difficult as that may be).
I'd intended to explore religion through new and varied characters that would appear later in the tale and I still intend to just that, but I thought it'd be fun to put together a more expansive document detailing how belief systems work in Valerius. It's a huge work in progress (working on it in between episodes), but I thought I'd share a taste here. Without further ado, I present a very brief overview of one of Valerius's oldest belief systems: the Order of the Forge.
Order of the Forge - “The heart is a forge. The sword is a soul.”
The Order of the Forge is a martial system of ethics, training, and behavior that has given rise to the military organizations of Valerius. Devoted members of the Order are considered agnostic, as they do not typically acknowledge the gods or openly worship them (though they do not disrespect others for doing so).
Instead, Forge members believe in the spiritual realization of an individual’s true self through disciplined education, martial prowess, and honorable conduct. The Order of the Forge is dedicated to the defense and protection of humanity, so as to see every individual become a paragon to those around them.
This belief system was in a sense borne out of necessity from the high levels of self-reliance and determination needed to survive in the dangerous wilds of Valerius. In its earliest years, humanity realized they need fight together to withstand the vicious beasts and constant challenges of the difficult environment. From those early struggles, respected leaders and warriors emerged to establish traditions of excellence among those willing to stake their lives to protect those most dear to them.
As a result, the Order often attracts members from all walks of life. Great Knight Roland himself – currently “Paragon” of the Order and Advisor to the King – began his journey as an impoverished son of a nameless stone mason.
The Order of the Forge, often seen by common folk as a respectable organization, is strong and thriving in contemporary Valerius. Forge members – especially those few able to attain the rank of “knight” – have served the kingdom as kings, military advisors, and guardians for centuries and typically devote their lives to service. Still, there are some who assert the Order is outdated and that its powerful martial capabilities ought to be feared as a looming threat to law and order.