Trope-a-Day: War is Glorious

War is Glorious: The doctrine of one of the Flamic war gods: Kalasané, Laughing Warrior, Sword of Heaven, Lord of the Two Swords, the eikone of battle, courage, valor, victory through strength, and personal combat, who approaches the whole thing with a degree of enthusiasm that would impress the mythological Norseman or the fictional krogan. You are standing on the edge of civilization, facing down barbarism and desolation! How should that be less than glorious?

(The other one, Dúréníän, Noble Warlord, Grand Master of Strategies, Champion of the Just, the Ice Warrior, eikone of righteous war, battle, conquest, strategy and tactics, and patron of the sentinels, prefers to take a distinctly more sober attitude.

That both of these approaches have their strengths and the perfect warrior exists in a state of dynamic tension somewhere between the two is exactly why they have a pair of war gods.)

Trope-a-Day: Fantasy Pantheon

Fantasy Pantheon: Yes, indeed, in the shape of the Triad that emanate from the Flame, their 48 Divine Ministers and Aspects, some divine oddities like the Court of the Seasons, the Court of the Muses, and the Elemental Hexad, and their exarchs (for which read angels, kami, devas, genii loci, etc.).  And most of them do, arguably, have Anthropomorphic Personifications, although most of them have several, and quite a few non-anthropomorphic, and in some cases amorphic, personifications too – and they never turn up anywhere outside statuary, and suchlike.

Of course, in the beginning they didn’t actually exist in any physical sense, or, for that matter, as the full worship-objects of so many deities; rather, these eikones were personifications of idealized abstract concepts, and all the bundles of ideas wrapped around them, suitable for mortal reverence and emulation.  Having this sort of deity made it a rather philosophical sort of religion, and more or less ideal when it came to persisting once non-supernatural worldviews and atheism set in.

And then the Transcend came along, put on the masks, took up the insignia, and for all intents and purposes, there are now real gods in the heavens – albeit either in the virtual heavens, or in the form of a seed AI with a brain the size of a star system, depending on how you look at it…

(The henotheism part of the trope is averted, however.  While some eikones may be more prominent in any given life than any other, the theology is very clear that each of them only cares about those things within its sphere, and nothing for anything else.  A warrior who devoted himself absolutely to Kalasané, eikone of battles, and ignored Lanáraé, eikone of romantic love, could expect to find no love in this life, no matter how honored he was on the field.  Honoring all of the eikones, even if not to the same degree, is the expected behavior.)

It is also notable for not containing any “gods of evil”, or for that matter “demons”.  The opposition in the cosmology is the impersonal force identified as “chaos” or “entropy” – which the emulation of the eikones as forces of creation and order enables sophonts to fight, bringing about an ideal world; i.e., immanentizing the eschaton.

Trope-a-Day: Church Militant

Church Militant: The eikones revered by the Church of the Flame include two war gods, arguably so described: Dúréníän, eikone of righteous war, battle, conquest, strategy and tactics, and patron of the sentinels; and Kalasané, eikone of battle, courage, valor, victory through strength, and personal combat.  Their combined religious order, logically enough, is made up entirely of heavily armed and appropriately deadly templars – and when I say appropriately deadly, I do mean that in the modern age, they’re stomping around in much the same power armor as the actual Imperial Military Service uses.  (No bludgeoning weapons here out of a “commitment to peace”; they are very clear about Coming In War, and Gods Being On The Side Of The Big Weapons.  Also, not terribly keen on converting by the sword – they’re religiously militant, not militantly religious, if you see what I mean.)

They also supply all the military chaplains, which in the Imperial Legions is not a noncombatant position.  If anything, it’s a more combatant position than “legionary”… if one considers enthusiasm anything to go by.

Come Not Unarmed Before Your God

Fellow Congregants, Cousins in the Army of Kalasané, Sword of Heaven:

By the word of the exarch of Kalasané the Ever-Victorious, We of the Prelacy are commanded to speak His displeasure.

Kindred, our eikone is the Laughing Warrior, a Lord of War. Remember that it is unfitting to stand in His presence, in the precincts of His temples, without being armed as for War. In earlier days, the sword and pistol you carry may have satisfied Him, but in these days in which they are the common arms of all daryteir, He requires more of you.

From this cycle forth, let none attend the Musters of Kalasané without at the least a weapon of the carbine class, and armor of the first military grade, or their equivalents; and know that further armament is apt and pleasing in His sight.

– Prelate Deximos, Fane of the Bound Axe

(Those cousins who require training or assistance in obtaining these weapons of war should consult Tetrarch Valeni of the Fane’s templars.)