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The Servants of the Real Fire

Unyielding in belief, the Servants of the Real Fire posed as formidable threat to the Free Peoples of the South as the Army of the Southern Dragon or Jí Indûr the Wraithking of Mûmakan. Still, neither the Guild of Elements nor the independent cultures of the Mûmakan (save the Court of Ardor) understood this insidious and relentless force. The Servants were masters of the Essence who repudiated both the notion that the Valar were guardians of Arda and the ideas attached to the Song of Creation (Q. "Ainulindalë"). Their ritualistic magic contrasted sharply with the fading, naturalistic practices of the Ûsakani Seers and the Kiran, Ganim, and Hathorian priests that composed the clergy indigenous to the Mûmakan area. Practicioners of Mind Magic, the Servants believed that there were two coequal deities vying for control of Arda: Alûva and Malkôra. They believed that in the Beginning Days (essentially before Recorded Time), Alûva reigned supreme, and that Malkôra replaced him as the preeminent god with the outset of the Middle Days (i.e., the First- and Second Ages). As they understood the world, their present time constituted the Later Days, a period of conflict between the warring deities. The victor of this conflict would rule Arda for all time during the Final Days, when the primeval flame of creation no longer flickered, but achieved its True Balance.

Oddly, the Servants were divided into two apparently opposing Orders. Each of these Orders contained disciples of the one of the two halves (or volumes) of the tome called the Speakings of the Fire. Those that served the Golden Flame followed the teachings from the Words of Alûva, while the Servants of the Blue Flame subscribed to doctrine set forth in the Book of Malkôra. Both factions coexisted and refrained from attacking one another. Their respective Masters guided the cult and possessed the power of life and death over their adherents; however, either could veto the other and cancel the effect of his edicts.

The Servants believed that those who mastered mental powers attained a pure understanding of the Balance and thereby became Prophets. Both Masters were Prophets, there were the six senior Servants in each Order. The multitudinous lesser Servants included those with knowledge (of spells), Adherents, and those without, Aspirants. Hardly a hidden cult, the Servants of the Real Fire proselytized openly in all of the major towns south of Mid-Harad. Their circular ceremonial platforms, which looked like squat towers, were scattered throughout southern Middle-Earth. These centers functioned as funeral sites where the dead were wrapped and laid out beneath the open sky - to decompose or be eaten as carrion. Preoccupied with death, the Servants took great care to offer their fallen bodies to their gods. They scorned burials as rejections of their deities and believed that burning the dead polluted the Holy Flame.

The greatest of the Servants' bastions was undoubtedly the Spire of the Flame, the ancient home of the Order of the Blue Flame located in the Orolanari. This carefully concealed lair contained one of the two copies of the Speakings of the Fire. It was half again as large as the Golden Rock, which served as the home of the Order of the Gold Flame and housed their copy of the exalted book. Both Masters and all the Prophets bore a tattoo of two, stylized, intertwined flames - one blue and the other gold - on their cheek. Adherents and Aspirants displayed the allegiance by wearing a bronze choker or a brooch embodying the same design. Servants identifying which of the two Orders they subscribed to by displaying their Order's flame upright and to the left, arraying the other flame down and to the right.

See:

References

  • Fanmodules:The Mûmakan
  • MERP:Shadow in the South
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