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=== The Black Hand ===
 
=== The Black Hand ===
 
Tras Veniri is also the home of one of the most powerful and notorious Thieves Guild in the Lands, ''Il Salcci Fano'' (Ven., “The Black Hand”). Operatives and guildhouses of Il Salcci Fano can be found from The Wild Coast to Athervon, in Oisland and as far away as Iruzhin. While rival guilds do exist (there is usually one strong contender in each country), the Black Hand is always a force to contend with where it operates. The Black Hand has a longstanding love-hate relationship with the Council of the Great Houses; for while the members would, in principal, like nothing more than to banish thieves from Veniri altogether, there is not one member of the Council that did not have need of the services of a member of ''Il Salcci Fano'' prior to their election to the Council. Thus, the Black Hand endures, keeping their activities out of the limelight, playing one council member off of the others, and offering up the occasional guild member when circumstances force them to do so (usually, they are offered up dead, to avoid any messy trial testimonies).
 
Tras Veniri is also the home of one of the most powerful and notorious Thieves Guild in the Lands, ''Il Salcci Fano'' (Ven., “The Black Hand”). Operatives and guildhouses of Il Salcci Fano can be found from The Wild Coast to Athervon, in Oisland and as far away as Iruzhin. While rival guilds do exist (there is usually one strong contender in each country), the Black Hand is always a force to contend with where it operates. The Black Hand has a longstanding love-hate relationship with the Council of the Great Houses; for while the members would, in principal, like nothing more than to banish thieves from Veniri altogether, there is not one member of the Council that did not have need of the services of a member of ''Il Salcci Fano'' prior to their election to the Council. Thus, the Black Hand endures, keeping their activities out of the limelight, playing one council member off of the others, and offering up the occasional guild member when circumstances force them to do so (usually, they are offered up dead, to avoid any messy trial testimonies).
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== Holy Orders ==
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=== Order of the White Rose ===
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Annau du Rose Blanc
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Paladins (LG) All-Male Order, Holy Weapon is Longsword & Shield; white surcoats with insignia of sword as flowering cross.
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=== Order of Saint Allyson ===
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Annau du Haix Allyson
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Paladins (LG) All-Female Order, Holy Weapon is Spear & Shield; white surcoats with insignia of crossed spears behind flowering cross.
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=== Order of the Heart of God ===
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Annau du Cur de Il’Matio
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Paladins (LG) both sexes, mounted knights, wear full-plate ornamented armor, holy weapon is lance, horseman’s mace & shield; blue surcoats, emblem is flowering cross within a heart.
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=== Order of Saint Bernard ===
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Annau du Haix Bernard
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Monastic Order. Keep monasteries throughout the Lands, where they preserve all forms of written knowledge and lore.
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=== Order of St. Yvonne the Silent ===
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Annau du Haix Yvvone de Mumere
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Monastic Order (LG)
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=== Wayward Daughters ===
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Champions (CG) All-Female order, Holy Weapon is Spear & Shield; no uniform or insignia.
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“Dogma and religious laws have no divinity, they are earthly tools to maintain power over others. Listen to them not. Let your conscience be your only guide.” – Mother Clarissa Ward
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The order was founded several decades ago by Clarissa Ward, a Senior Sister within the divine Order of St. Allyson. During her time in the Order, she was a radical reformer. She protested against displays of wealth and power by the Church, arguing that the Church should be humble. Instead of building cathedrals, the wealth of the Church should be used to help those in need. She also protested against dogma and religious law, stating that every person had a personal relationship to the divine, and that the Church was in no position to dictate or monopolize that relationship, and conscience should never be replaced by dogma. In particular, she felt the prohibition against women entering the priesthood was a grave offense to the written word of Il Matio.
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Her opinions were not well received by the Church hierarchy, who gave her several warnings. Nevertheless, she persisted; finally, after an incident where she flattened a member of the priesthood after learning of what he had asked a young girl to do in order to receive absolution, she was expelled from the Order.
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If the Church thought that expelling Ward would silence her, they were wrong. A soldier as opposed to a preacher, she continued her mission in the streets, especially in the poorer districts. Her message of freedom and responsibility soon gathered a following – an exclusively female following, for she had some things to say about the rule of men that alienated most menfolk. Some of the followers took her message to heart, and soon Senior Sister Ward found herself Mother Ward, with a number of would-be disciples asking for instruction. Ward and her followers became famous (or infamous, depending on the story-teller) in the North of Athervon. None other than Archbishop Médard Massé of Aven Ilepeu -- the fanatical priest that had made Northwestern Athervon a land of fear and repression -- gave a fiery sermon denouncing “Mother Ward and her Wayward Daughters.” Mother Ward thought the name had a ring to it and fit the group and its mission; and thus The Wayward Daughters were born.
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Although Mother Ward has passed on, her Daughters are still around. They are few in number, and all female, for as Mother Ward taught: “Men will always seek to dominate every group they become a part of.” The Daughters themselves have no official hierarchy, just a sort of pecking order based on fame and wisdom. More accomplished and experienced daughters are shown respect by the younger ones. They have no keeps, churches or other buildings. On the rare occasion a number of them gather, they gather in a tavern or the house of some member or supporter. Generally, they act alone, bringing the message of Mother Ward to those who would hear it, especially in places the Church does not visit. And the Waywards do not evangelize or give sermons. They bring their message by deed and example. As Mother Ward taught, those in need should be helped, and Waywards live by that teaching.
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The Church has occasionally attempted to crack down on Waywards as heretics and blasphemers, but this has tended to end up in embarrassment. The Waywards are dispersed, have no bases of operation, and carry no symbols of their membership – they have proved exceedingly difficult to find when forces are dispatched to do so. On the few occasions that those dispatched did find them, the fact that they are very much a martial order was quickly made clear. They are few, and their mission often brings them to dangerous areas or situations, so the Waywards would never recruit a person who could not take care of herself. Every new recruit is apprenticed to an older Daughter, a relationship that the Waywards refer to as Aunt and Niece. The Aunt teaches her Niece the necessary skills, including fighting skills, and when she is deemed ready to become a full member of the order, the Waywards pool their resources to arm and equip her. Wayward Daughters will not shy from violence. They will defend themselves and others – though violence against other of good alignment is only a last resort, and only in direct defense of themselves or others of good alignment.
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Although the relationship between the Church and Waywards is frosty, the Waywards do not seek to bring down the Church. That would be against Mother Ward’s teachings. Just as the Waywards are free to reject the dogma of the Church, others are free to accept it. And unofficially, some people within the Church hierarchy do maintain a relationship with some Waywards. When there is a problem within the congregation that the Church hierarchy can’t or won’t help with, they know that the Wayward Daughters are the ones to turn to.

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