|Temple of Humility, City of the Moon
|Ursus, Demigod of Humility
Imphiel (Imphiela in some texts) is a deity originating within the Praetaran beliefs, and is the deity of humility, modesty and shame. He is of the Praetara deities, and has a concentrated following within Luna, due to the Resurgence of Luna.
Whilst he is a non-corporeal being, Imphiel will often take physical form, primarily atop the tower in the City of the Moon, to communicate with his apostles and closest followers to continue to spread his beliefs.
Age of Praetara
The origins of Imphiel are vague, but can be tracked back through Praetorian texts to the height of the Praetor ages. During this time, Imphiel was a strong influence within the Praetaran mythos. His ideals of maintaining humility in victory, and modesty in triumph, helped to keep the balance of pride in Praetorian society. Whilst not as physically dominant, nor wielding extreme power to assert control, Imphiel continued to be a major deity, due to several notable philosophers of the time maintaining his teachings, and the invention of many information spreading technologies.
Like the other Praetaran deities, his link to our world was through the Gate of Praetara, located in the centre of the Moon City. This would give many deities strength, but was purely dependant on the followers continuing to worship. For Imphiel, as he was not a God of pure power, this instead allowed him to manifest to give teachings.
Whilst his teachings did prevent many a disaster, words were not always a means to an end. As the age of Praetara was reaching it's end, Imphiel lost more and more of his grasp over Praetor. War-mongering and fringe warlords resulted in a breakdown of dialogue, making Imphiel's teaching more and more obsolete, as the philosophers were no longer able to teach, and libraries and books were burnt by the pile.
Dark age of Praetara
With the burning of the Praetara, Imphiel and many other Praetaran deities fell into obscurity. Whilst some texts to vaguely refer to the mythos being practiced throughout the dark ages, it is not clear how widespread or influential it was. Pillaging and plunder was still rampant, and the former Praetara had fractured into many nations, all fighting for control.
Not much else is known of this period, as few artefacts of knowledge can be found pertaining to the time, but it is well known it was a time of pure chaos and mayhem. Due to the deities' powers depending on their following, almost all deities dropped off the planet, having near to no influence during these times.
However, during this time, it should be noted that there were small pockets of strong resistance to the downfall of Praetara. These primarily were the religious strongholds and sites which were predominantly inhabited by zealots, which refused to give up the ways of the old. However, due to being completely surrounded by aggressive Heathenry, each fell one by one, the relics and monuments being ripped down with them. The only known city to last through this era without any major destruction was Luna, which still suffered major casualities, however was vehemently defended due to the extreme importance of The Gate.
Whilst almost every deity became all but forgotten, a notable acception was Amphus, deity of war. It is unknown why or how, but Amphus was unbound from The Gate and freely roamed the Earth, primarily Arith. It is believed that in some part, he resides in the spirits of those who fell to chaos and violence, as they would often act out unfettered attacks regardless of who. This lead to the mistrust of the Apostles of Amphus, who invigorated by the bloodshed of the world, fell to chaos rather than attempting to control and maintain the proper use of aggression. In their madness, they split off from the rest of the Praetaran practices, and were outcast by the few remaining figures, in the extent possible for the time.
Resurgence of the Remnant
The next notable period was hundreds of years later, and is known as the Resurgence of Luna. Remnants of the Praetaran beliefs gathered in the City of the Moon, Luna. The gate became more active, and several deities reformed, but as lesser forms of themselves. Many did not last, but a few remained. Imphiel was one of the strongest of these, as his teachings had picked up a large following due to his message of humility and modesty in a time of hatred and bloodthirsty carnage. (Another notable deity that returned during this event being Luna.)
There was a slight struggle for power between some of the Gods during this period, as they lesser followed attempted to regain control, but Imphiel remained. Once the dust had settled, Luna became the single location where Imphiel would manifest, as the power of the gate was limited. Upon hearing of the Resurgence of Luna, some neighbouring nations attempted to quell the city due to the perceived threat of the return of the deities, but no major nations were alerted to or aware of what the significance of these events were, which is believed to be due to the large passage of time burying any knowledge of the Praetara.
Imphiel would also seek to spread his influence throughout Alathra, and did this through the conception of his son, Urses the Demigod, who became his primary apostle, spreading and confounding the people in the faith of Praetara. This method was effective within the walls of Luna, but spread to other cities was slow due to the closed nature of the people, who wished to guard themselves from the barbaric outsiders. However, over a prolonged period of time, the age of chaos would subside and the surrounding areas became more peaceful, allowing for the city, and it's people, to open and prosper.
Nightmare of the Apostles
The resurfacing of an old Enemy
After the resurgence in Luna, several deities remained, reforming in this plane of existence with the revitalisation of the Gate. The main conflict after the settling of the Gods back on their throne was the return of the Apostles of Amphus. After their forming and gaining considerable strenghth in the Dark Age of Praetara, they moved south from Luna and forests, only being spotted near jungles near the centre of the continent. Whilst isolated from the rest of the world and it's infernal age, the group of followers became a close minded cult. Several grotesque murders and missing persons were reported from local towns, which whilst not directly linked, have been linked in to the group in texts located from the time.
As the group, more commonly known as the “Cultus Chaus” (Cult of Chaos) during this period of time, found out about the re-birth of the Gate. Sightings of cloaked individuals became more and more common further and further north of there, as far as the ruins of Esteura. These increased sightings were made heard of within the walls of Luna, and a combined group of combatants from several orders (notably the Order of Humility and partially the Order of the Moon), spearheaded by Ursus was assembled to protect the city at all costs.
Small skirmishes broke out on the outskirts of the area controlled by the city, however no major battles occurred for several weeks, and citizens went about their duties with minimal issues, other than not being able to go too far south without proper escort.
The Battle at Amnis Creek
The first major conflict occured at an unexpected location. A group of apostles were spotted moving up the eastern road, a direction which had not been expected to be attacked from due the presence of other towns and an outpost at the crossing of the creek. However, the figures covered by cloaks marched forward nonetheless. Guards at the outpost closed the gate, and warned them to halt, but were immediately attacked with crossbows and were forced to hold back on the defensive.
Fortunately, the city had an infantry unit stationed nearby. These forces marched immediately, crossing the creek at another point, and came around the rear of the apostles to encircle them. The cultists were caught in-between the outpost and the bridge, and the Lunarian forces slowly circled them, attempting to pick off stragglers as to minimize casualties with direct confrontation. The cultists, aware of their imminent demise, immediately charged the bridge, and took control of it easily as the reinforcements were completely caught off-guard. They proceeded to set fire to the bridge and moved to it's east side, waiting for it to crumble and fall apart. As it fell apart, chanting could be heard from the apostles, in a dialect not able to be understood. They then charged the infantry forces, but to little avail, as the well organised infantry severely outmatched the tenacious, but ultimately untrained “monks”. They were slaughtered left and right, and accounts of the gruesome massacre are still locatable to this day.
The cultists, despite the extremely unlikely chance of victory, did not surrender. They continued to fight viciously, to the last man, and refused to give themselves up. Those unable to fight reportedly either killing themselves or having one of their brothers-in-arms mercy kill them, refusing to have themselves captured or tortured. The aftermath of the battlefield was a sea of blood, the grass stained for days after. The field around where the battle took place became littered with roses and poppies, which were believed to have been planted by locals in remembrance of the lives lost defending the creek.
However, in accordance with Imphiel's Teachings, the victory was not gloated other than a single small banquet, and the order instead returned to the focus of keeping it's people safe.
The Slaughter of the Lumberyard
Days after the failed attack at the creek, a second attack occurred at the lumberyard, south of the creek. This attack was clearly more organised and was executed by experienced individuals. Due to the necessity of lumber for the city, the lumber yard continued to function with a small stationed force to defend. However, it was not heavily guarded, as the location was of no strategical value, and was only expected to experience light attacks along with the standard bandits attempting to steal produced lumber. However, this protection detail based on the cult being sane was a decision that caused a butchering.
This ambush was one of several times the force as the one on the creek. Cavalry appeared from the southern forests, and swooped through, quickly disposing of the guards and circling the workers. Monks in cloaks then appeared from the trees, and gathered the survivors in the centre of the yard. The only witness able to recall was a single surviving worker, who had gone on a quick break to sit by the Luna river, returning just to see the horrific sight. The remaining people had been systematically removed of their heads, and the bodies were placed in a neat circle surrounding the centre pond, beheaded necks facing inward.
The lone survivor rushed back to report the tragedy, and an immediate cavalry reaction force moved to the lumberyard. The bodies were indeed all in a circle, but the heads were not in the water. The rest of the remains were never located, but it is surmised that they were taken by the cultists for ritualistic sacrifice to Amphus. All guards had any undamaged armour ripped off them, many left completely naked and beheaded. The only remaining person is then believed to have killed herself days after witnessing the atrocity, due to an assumed case of extreme survivor's guilt.
A honorary grave was erected in the memory of the innocent lives lost that day, and can be found at the lumber yard, often with flowers blooming around it.
The Great Hunt of the Apostles
After the Slaughter of the Lumberyard, the people of Luna became outraged and demanded that action be taken to swiftly end the conflict, with any means necessary. After seeking guidance from his father, a plan was devised by Ursus to eliminate the Cultus Chaus once and for all. The cultist camp, in the southern woods east of Lake Praeta, was swiftly located by scouting parties, and was attacked upon nightfall. Several cavalry charges and infantry attacks were launched, and there were near to no survivors. Unlike the battle of the creek, the Lunarian forces had the element of surprise, and purposefully took prisoners such that they could learn more of the working of the cult, and how it had fell from an order of apostles into a sacrificial clique.Other than the few kept as prisoners, none were spared. All the cultists were indiscriminately killed as swiftly as possible as to refuse any organised counter-attack. Although very effective, all of the survivors formed a group, protecting the believed leader. Whilst their attempts to defend themselves were overall ineffective, they still were able to delay and remove the element of surprise. The remaining cultists, circled around a cloaked individual, began chanting loudly whilst drawing their weapons and violently swinging at any who dared to step into their range. This display of courage was short lived, as archers ripped them apart with a volley of arrows, leaving none but the cloaked individual alive. Dressed in a black robe, with a gold trim and a purple dagger in hand, he cursed them, the rough translation saying
May the non-believers be struck down by the might of his holy divinity, the ever consuming chaos swarming their minds and filling them with nothing. The never-living come for them, the clock strikes one.
before stabbing himself in the chest several times, and falling to the floor, their garments soaking in their own blood.
This battle, later named The Great Hunt, was then declared the finality of the Apostles of Amphus, and Luna celebrated the victory over the cult. As a congratulations for his work in defeating the group, Ursus, Son of Imphiel, was declared the Holy Consul for the Order of Humility, and was granted power over the majority of Luna, alongside the Holy Consul for the Order of the Moon. Citizens often use these events as a reminder of what can happen if teachings and beliefs are turned sour, and used to promote immoral and ethically wrong actions, and to always be wary and self-judging, linking to the teachings of Humilians Sua.
Imphiel's sphere of influence stretches across the Northern Peninsula of Arith, primarily near to Luna and it's surrounding villages, both in a geopolitical sense as well as a cultural sense. Imphiel's primary teachings are common knowledge amongst most of the citizens of Luna and it's dominion, but in small towns around the area, general senses of greater modesty and a proclivity to act more civily, aiming for discourse over war, has been noted. This effect has been beneficial for most people of the area in other senses also, with the increased generosity and openness to trade allowing for the area to prosper economically in recent times. Flocks of citizens immigrate to the area, for a multitude of reasons such as the relative safety compared to the warmongering of other empires, the belief systems, as well as for the benefits of wealth. Imphiel's guidance has been enacted directly by the Order of Humility, and therefore during this current age, there is little resistance strong enough in the local area to stop the growing of his presence.
Due to his increase following and devoted apostles, Imphiel has gained more power over this plane, and accounts of his presence in recent times have sky-rocketed compared to the Dark Times.
Imphiel is widely considered the second most influential deity within the city of Luna, second only to the Goddess Luna. Ursus is a prominent member of Luna politics, and can be seen often working to forward his father's teachings both inside and outside the walls which he presides in. Surrounding villages, whilst sceptical, have become more accepting of the people of the Moon City, and branches of the Imphiel apostles can be seen working inside nearby settlements, spreading humility and modesty.
After the Infernal Attack on Luna, and subsequent Battle in the Oakhurst Caverns, Imphiel decreed that any Infernals remaining were to be captured and kept to study and gain knowledge from them if possible. Whilst the trail went cold for a long time, Lunarians miners found two infernal beings trapped deep underground, in an abandoned mineshaft. An armed force was sent into the mines, and retrieved both.
The two entities currently kept inside the catacombs are:
- An infernal skeleton of a horse, oozing a lava-like substance which is hot to the touch but does not melt through the floor. It is otherwise considered no longer dangerous, and is contained by being held on a lead, as to not attempt to move too much. It is otherwise non-aggressive, and will only be aggressive in response to provocation. The only danger is prolonged contact with the horse's skeleton, which will burn the subject, or getting the “Oozing lava” directly on the skin.
- An infernal zombie, riding a seemingly normal horse. The horse however, is inanimate except it's limbs, which move instead of the zombie's legs. This creature is still extremely hostile, and will attack any person who comes within swinging range of it's sword. However, even though the entity was able to walk whilst being taken by a leash, the being will not chase after a target. The reason is as of yet unknown. Both the zombie and horse are of unusually high temperatures, and prolonged contact with flesh will result in burning of the skin.
Some tests have been conducted on the creatures, however little to no information has been extracted other than the dangers of being close to them. It is believed that after the day of the infernals, the source of the creatures' power was either destroyed or possibly disappeared, and subsequently any creatures that were unable to flee, were left without any of the abilities they previously had. Although still “dangerous”, both the Orders and Imphiel have determined that as long as they remain guarded and relatively dormant, they are of no danger to the people of Luna, and therefore should be kept locked away if required in the future.
Recent Relevant Events
Whilst not directly linked to Imphiel, the following events are relevant to the Praetaran culture and recent events in it's dominion.
Those who have met Imphiel describe him to be respectful in nature, regardless of the significance of those who he meets, but becomes hostile towards those with an untempered ego or feeling of self-entitlement. He has been seen lecturing and reprimanding those who are seen to be in "high positions", often playing the side of the underdog.
Whilst taking modesty seriously, Imphiel is known to take a liking to humbling his followers through humorous methods. A famous example of his "comedic justice" is an incident during the Praetaran Age, when he made his famous apostle Euclio Bodenius Mulier Vestorius held a ceremony in the Temple of Modesty in Proma, and in front of an estimated 2500 followers, had himself pulled out from under his feet onto a woollen table top. (It is disputed as to whether this account is genuine or a story to emphasise the personality of Imphiel, as the Temple of Modesty would only hold 950 people during most ceremonies.) He is also a somewhat zestful character around his close followers and apostles.
All of the below are accounts from individuals, compiled together to form a general idea. Imphiel has no true corporeal form and only appears in rare events.
Whilst Imphiel is able to manifest in many forms due to the nature of his being, most appearances from the Praetara Era follow a similar general description. He appears as a male of the race of the observer, with an androgynous appearance, and animated personality. His height would vary from 175-500cm, and could sometimes appear more muscular at specific dire times. He would also have an angelic appearance, often utilising wings to move.
Similar to the Praetara era, Imphiel manifests as the race of the observer, androgynous and with wings. However, he has only extremely rarely been seen to be larger than 190cm, and only uses his wings when needing to travel vertically. He is also often carrying a poleaxe.
Abilities & Non-corporeal Effects
Imphiel has various effects and abilities that are both possessed by many deities, and also some specific to himself and relating to his domain of godship.
His primarily used ability was to manifest a body through which he would communicate with his followers, although it is seen that he is able to speak to mankind without form through “voice transmission”. Imphiel has also been noted to occasionally utilise kinetic abilities, although any attempted “testing” of such power is prohibited by the Order of Humility, for reasons unknown.
These are not all the teachings of Imphiel, but some select ones of greater importance.
One of the primary teachings of Imphiel is to find humility in all situations. The "Three Humilities" are the three times at which one should focus most to keep humble and modest.
The Three Humilities:
- Humiliate Victoria (Humility in Victory) - Reminding oneself of the virtue of remaining humble in victory, not gloating in the domination over others.
- Humiliate Irascibilis (Humility in Aggression) - Remembering the virtue of keeping yourself modest in aggression, keeping yourself controlled in your actions and not letting hatred get to control you.
- Humiliate Fora (Humility in Good Fortune) - Not boasting of one's good fortune, remembering your circumstances and empathising and helping with those around you instead of acting only in self-interest.
A teaching often brought up often, the “Humilians Sua” translates to “Self-humbling”. Followers must remember that to be able to function within society, they must first be able to function on an individual level. This can function in a variety of levels, whether from the smallest level of not blaming others for small deeds, to taking on large burdens of responsibility rather than bragging about your stronger abilities to others.
The most common application of this by apostles is to talk on the idea of “Shifting burdens”, where one can often resort to pointing to others for ineptitude, instead of self-reflection and looking at how one can better their own actions. For this reason, Imphiel's teaching are often categorised as “individualist” in nature.
This teaching is the general notion that one should strive to remove pride from their actions, as an abundance of pride often leads to narcissism and looking down upon others. Whilst Imphiel teaches to make sure you acknowledge your own achievements, floundering them around and showing off to others how “great” you are is only a path to become a self-conceited person. The best way to let others know of your accomplishments is instead through actions, leading by example and not exclaiming your superiority, for that is where the path away from modesty and good-intent lies.