Heironeous is the champion of fights for honor, justice and the good order of things. He is a strong warlike and protective power, and this duality attracts many followers. He is widely venerated throughout all the non-bad regions of Flannesse and more particularly in the highly militarized zones. As patron of knightly warriors and noble fighters, he is constantly a thorn in the side of the evil gods, especially his half-brother and nemesis, Hextor. There are many quests against Evil, and Heironeous is always quick to act to help the forces of Good.
Traditionally revered by paladins, officers, rulers of good character and noble or heroic combatants, the cult has spread to a large number of ordinary combatants, even of modest origin. Soldiers, city watchmen, mercenaries, and others who make their living by the sword find themselves honoring the Archpaladin.
When someone searches for individuals who will surely agree to fight for the Good, he seeks out the clergy of Heironeous. The Heironasars
are valiant fighters, always dressed in their chainmail and ready to battle the forces of evil. Despite their warlike tendencies, they are generally welcomed because their arrival often precedes the destruction of evil enemies in the area.
Priests of Heironeous often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil. Older priests often work as strategists, military instructors, or judges. Several of the faith's most powerful clerics, seeking to gain the benefits of meersalm (a secret magical solution that provides resistance to mortal weapons), have had themselves embalmed alive with the substance, though some have not survived the ritual.
The heironasars must train daily in the handling of the sword and the ax, in order to be prepared as best as possible to fight evil in all situations. They must be vigilant towards the forces of Evil, especially those of Hextor, with which they fight mercilessly. It is not uncommon for large groups of these priests to come together to go on an adventure and spread the cause of the church.
Priestly vestments include chain mail and blue robes with silver trim. Their favored weapons are the longsword and battleaxe.
Novices of Heironeous are known as the Blessed
. Full priests are called the Glorious
or, collectively, the Valorous Host
. Other titles used by Heironian priests are Hero of the Third Rank
, Hero of the Second Rank
, Hero of the First Rank
, Champion of Glory
, Knight Gallant
, Knight Courageous
, Knight Valiant
, and Knight Champion
. Senior priests are called Paragons
, while those who command armies are known as Paragon-Generals
. These titles are separate from duty-titles such as Postulant
, Professed Priest
, Cloistered Cleric
, Affirmed Priest
, and Templar
. They are also separate from ranks within the temple hierarchy such as Hierodeacon
. In everyday use, senior priests are called Father
, while lesser priests are known as Brother
. There is also an elite order of priests known as the Gloryaxes
Once every seven years, all the leaders of the largest temples meet at the Silver Citadel to elect a replacement for the head of the order. This person should have demonstrated moral virtue, leadership, vision, wisdom and combat prowess.
The places of worship dedicated to Heironeous are generally decorated with blue and silver ornaments, and sometimes decorated with colored stained glass windows which depict Heironeous triumphing over Evil. A copper statue of the deity, armed with a silver battle ax and covered with a silver chainmail, is often placed behind the altar, seven silver flashes spurting from behind his head.
The largest religious congregations are found in several places: the Silver Citadel at Thornward, the Cathedral of Bravery at Chendl, the Court of Seven Lightning at Rel Mord and the fortress known as the Heart of the Dragon at Citadel; all are bastions of the Invincible.
The Heironean Code
The Heironean Code consists of three sets of duties:
- Duty to the People - This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law.
- Duty to the Arch-paladin - This duty stresses obedience to Heironeous himself, devotion to the church, generosity, championing good against evil, putting the needs of the church and the faith above those of mortals.
- Duty to a Lady - This duty pertains to the concept of courtly love, devotion to one's beloved, and respect toward all women in general.
A number of holy texts are venerated by the faith of Heironeous. The best-known work is likely The Book of the Code
, a four-chapter work outlining the Heironean Code and providing examples of how one is expected to follow it. Another well-known work is the Book of Penitence
(also known as the Just Book
), which describes the achievements of Ferrante, a legendary paladin who is now venerated as a saint by some Heironean sects.
Heironean services and holy texts are all in the Old Oeridian language. Services to Heironeous include triumphant battle hymns, offerings to copper statues of the god, and the sharing of hearty, strengthening foods such as meat, full-bodied red wine (in moderation), and spiced, stewed, kara-fruit.
The Tests of Valor
- Before advancing in rank, priests of Heironeous must clearly demonstrate their bravery, honor, and sense of justice. The exact nature of these tests varies, but they are revealed through prayer and divinely-inspired visions. They can range from tests of fortitude that can be completed within the temple to crusades against the forces of evil.
The worship of Heironeous celebrates many festivals and holy days which commemorate the heroes of past battles.
The March of the Heroes
: This celebration takes place in countries where Heironeous worshipers can manifest their faith without jeopardizing themselves. All the adventurers and honorable soldiers of the city gather in the central square, then parade through the city, waving banners and flags, encouraged and applauded by the crowd of spectators. At the end of the walk, all the priests return to the temple and await the arrival of the young people who wish to join their order. Those who are deemed worthy are initiated and trained, which takes a year. At the end of this year (when the new Hero March arrives), the new priests are allowed to join the march, wearing chainmail and carrying a battle ax—symbolic of their initiation within the order.
The Fortnight Festival
: This festival originally celebrates the victories of the church's armies in the service of the Kingdom of Aerdy, before it fell under the control of the House of Naelax. The fifteen days of ceremony correspond to the duration of the famous battle during which the armies of Aerdy succeeded in defeating the cavalry of Nyrond. As the Great Kingdom sank into decay and Evil, this festival slowly lost its primary meaning and became mainly a period of jousting, sword or ax tournaments, reenactments of battles during which the forces of Good have triumphed, and epic tales told by bards.
The Festival takes place during the week of the Fertility Festival, and therefore mixes with all the celebrations together.
The Day of Just Rebellion
: On this day the faith commemorates the battles which enabled the Almor to gain its independence from the Throne of Malachite. This holy day is largely ignored by the people but it is observed in all the temples of Heironeous through prayers, meditation and debates on the exceptional circumstances which can lead to support a rebellion against the established order.
The church of Heironeous is supported by numerous religious-military orders, some of which can trace their origins back to the church armies of the Great Kingdom (though none swear allegiance to the Malachite Throne or its successors today). Prominent examples include the Order of the Shining Sword
, the Brotherhood of the Lance Unbroken
, and the Copper Crusaders
The Holy Order of the Supernal Topaz Defenders
, or the Topaz Order
for short, is an organization of Heironean clerics, paladins, fighters, fighter/clerics, and monks dedicated to purging the world of evil, aberrant races such illithids, beholders, grell, aboleths, and neogi. Their emblem is a brilliant yellow topaz on a field of cobalt blue.
Although this is uncommon, there are also orders of Heironean fighting-monks. The most famous is the Order of the Glory Everlasting
, led by a former nobleman named Luther. The Order of the Glory Everlasting
is dedicated to the preservation of Oeridian culture and the destruction of an order of Hextorian monks called the Brotherhood of the Gray Hand.
The most famous group of Heironean knights, however, are the Knights of Holy Shielding
The world is a dangerous place offering perpetual challenges to those who fight for justice and the protection of the weak as well as the innocent. Always behave with honor and defend the virtues of justice and chivalry, in thought as in deed. Faced with danger, use confidence and calm. Glory is born from the defeat of Evil and virtue rewards one who defends the precepts of Heironeous.
Heironeous appears as a tall human man in fine chainmail with auburn hair. His skin is a coppery shade, and impervious to all but the mightiest weapons due to a secret solution known as meersalm. His signature weapon is a great magical battleaxe, though he has recently taken to the longsword.
The half-brother and sworn enemy of Hextor, Heironeous is the son of Stern Alia, the goddess of Oeridan Culture, Motherhood, and Law. Another brother, Stratis, is mentioned in literature, but he is deceased. Heironeous sponsored the apotheosis of Murlynd, and remains on very good terms with him.
Though this is known to very few, Heironeous also has a daughter, known as the Chalice of Heironeous.
In general, Heironeous considers all other gods who stand against evil to be allies, while those deities who promote suffering and evil he regards as foes. Specifically, however, he is a staunch ally of Al'Akbar, Allitur, Bahamut, Daern, Delleb, Fortubo, Johydee, Mayaheine, Murlynd, Pelor, Pholtus, Rao, Saint Cuthbert, Zilchus, and Zodal. His strong adherence to Law sometimes brings Heironeous into conflict with Trithereon. He finds Olidammara annoying at times, but tolerates him because of his charm and humor. Heironeous considers himself the enemy of Beltar, Bralm, Damaran, Erythnul, Hextor, Iuz, Kyuss, and Kurell, Llerg, Meyanok, Pyremius, Ralishaz, Raxivort, Syrul, Tezcatlipoca, Tharizdun, Tiamat, Tlaloc, Vara, Vecna, and Wastri.