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 The Occitanian Compendium; The Saints and their Worship

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PostSubject: The Occitanian Compendium; The Saints and their Worship   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:28 pm



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There are two tiers to the status of "saint". Revered, meaning the holy ancestors of Occitan who are worshipped by the vast populace. In life they were model citizens of the Empire, heroes who all Occitanians should remember in their daily lives. In death, they are divine, with otherworldly hands that reach down into the Empire and aid all.

The second tier is 'Recognised', meaning usually more recent saints (many still walk among us) who have done a great contribution and have been rewarded as such. They can be worshipped, though it is nonsensical and ill advised due to tradition. There are very little known recognised saints, as this process remains a purely ceremonial honour, not an official canonization.

STOLZ - The male patron saint of THE KAISER.

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Chronologically the third Saint to be consecrated, Stolz was born in the era of the old Gods - of Kelund and the revered Irminsul. The restless son of a minor tribal lord, Anjaar Stolz came into power during a time of great famine and sorrow. The relentless lord Romas Talibar had invaded the land of Occitania, crushing a great army sent to oppose him and defiling the hallowed grove of the Irminsul, felling the mighty oak. Though young and inexperienced, Stolz was a natural leader and did all he could to provide for his people, though the fields withered. In the fourth year of famine, Stolz saw seven omens which beckoned him to the defiled grove in the south. Upon his arrival, he saw the felled Irminsul for himself and wept for Kelund's sake. As he did, White Robed figures surrounded him and commanded him to cease his weeping. They told him that the era of the Old Gods had ended, their strength having failed the land. No more would petty spirits rule, or foreign Gods defile; men would rule men, judged by worthy lives. By their deeds they would live forever, their worthy actions guiding the people for ages to come. They proclaimed Stolz the first Kaiser, Lord of Lords and defender of the New Order. Stolz' deeds are many, his role in establishing the new order of Occitania unmatched. Under his rule, the famine ended, Occitania was united as one, the first White Palace was built, along with the Chantry of the Saints, the resting place of the bodies of the consecrated.  He recovered the bodies of the heroes Steudel and Keipp, and had them consecrated properly as Saints. He died in 1400 BP (Talibarian Calendar) and was consecrated on his death bed.

In the ages to come, Stolz would become a widely revered Saint and a shared symbol of the nation of Occitan. His dynasty ruled for another one hundred fifty years, and Stolz was often sought after by later Kaisers for guidance and legitimacy.

In the years before the Fauerzeit Convention, Stolz became loathed for his status as a symbol of the rightful rule of the Kaiser. During the war, Kazuth rebels raided the Chantry of the Saints, seeking to burn Stolz body, but the retreating loyalists escaped with the bodies of many Revered Saints and their relics, saving them from destruction. Today, Stolz has fallen far from his prior status, but is still widely recognized in Vinberg and Reutten. Stolz is still revered by the Vinberg Order, who seek to reestablish the unity of Occitan and reinstate the reign of the Kaiser.    
VERENA - The female patron saint of ACCEPTANCE, EQUALITY and UNDERSTANDING.

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Verena Kahn was a wealthy aristocrat in the years preceding the Third Occitanian Civil War. The daughter of the Count of Weissstahl in Weissbode, the Kahn family were a very wealthy family in possession of thousands of acres of fertile farmland surrounding the city of Weissstahl. The Kahn family owned thousands of Kazuth slaves which they used to work the fields, attaining astounding yearly profits at the cost of overworking thousands of enslaved people. Verena came to loath the practice of slavery, and in the early years of the Third Civil War, she used her family's considerable wealth to secretly arm over five thousand slaves. When her plot was discovered, the Occitanian Order executed her in the manner of escaped or murderous slaves - being burned on the Iron Kreuze. Her death became a rallying cry for many enslaved Kazuth unwilling to remain in bondage any longer.

Following the Fauerzeit Convention, the newly founded nation of Haria petitioned to have her consecrated. In 715 MoP (Talibarian Calender) Verena Kahn was consecrated as the first Saint of the post-Fauerzeit Chantry. She is widely revered by Kazuth and humans who embrace the end of the practice of slavery and racial suppression.  
FALK - The male patron saint of ANGER, VINDICATION and FRATRICIDE.

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Arvin Falk's early life is almost entirely undocumented, suggesting destruction of his records either by his own means or by other methods. He first appears in history after the Second Occitanian Civil War, as a prominent politician.

However, after the brutal murder of his wife and three children, he disappeared from politics. Following the discovery that his brother has committed the murders, he vows vindication. Falk spent a total of thirty three years tracking down his brother, eventualy killing him honourably, but not without immense sorrow and rage. It was also revealed later that the brother was indeed treasonous, involved in multiple failed plots against the Empire and the Kaiser.

Arvin Falk's life became legendary in later years, the tales of his epic journey to bring justice for the murder of his family growing with each retelling. Beyond the folktales, Falk became a potent symbol of the punishment handed down to traitors, heretics, and other dissidents of the Holy Occitanian Empire, as well as the righteousness of the Occitanian cause. Hymns to Falk would often be recited during the execution of heretics, traitors, mages, and escaped slaves. Falk's unerring willingness to bring bloody justice upon his own brother for his crimes led to his special veneration among the Knights of the Occitanian Order, whom used his icon to remind themselves of their oath to the Kaiser and to the Saints, even above their own familial duties.

His story was spread, and eventually canonized in the year 523 BP (Talibarian Calender). His body was interred in a special chamber of the Chantry, allowing his family to be buried alongside him. When Kazuth rebels breached the Chantry of the Saints, one of those they sought to desecrate was Falk. By that time, however, the retreating Occitanian Order had removed his body to Vinberg Keep. Today, though reviled by many  Kazuth, Falk is still worshiped and kept within the Vinberg Order's Chantry of the Saints.

 
STRAUSS - The male patron saint of BATTLE, VALOUR and LOYALTY.

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Johann Strauss was born to a somewhat wealthy family, their true wealth in the tradition of breeding sons who would always be trained into fine soldiers, with no other siblings and a harsh upbringing. Constantly tested and trained by his hardened father, all the while encouraged to fight by his mother, Strauss grew to be the model soldier for the Occitanian army. His test would come later in life, once he had become recognised and respected within the ranks of the military. At the time, it was a war that no-one really knew the reason for fighting. Even now, that reason remains unknown. The conflict would be known as the First Occitanian Civil War.

He insisted, as at this time he was close to the leading generals, that he should be at the head of every major battle, and then every minor battle should there be no decisive conflict. Much to his delight, this request was accepted, and Johann spent all of the war in battle. His fellow soldiers were amazed by his valour and undying loyalty in battle. Hundreds of stories circulated, each one as heroic as the last.

The most famous story goes, that at the turning point of a significant battle that could have changed history, the army that Strauss belonged to began to rout from the battlefield. Despite his angered cries to keep them on the field, they turned and kept on running. Strauss, however, merely faced the remaining oncoming force of nearly one-and-a-half-thousand men and readied his blade once again. His undying loyalty to his Empire and his general would not let him make any other choice. When the general rode back to the field, after hearing suspicious silence, he found Strauss alone on a field of dead bodies. Bloodied and badly wounded, Strauss looked up. He saluted.

Strauss went on to fight in the army well into his older ages until the law required him to live a calmer life. It is not known where he died, but that his actions would forever be remembered for all Occitanian soldiers to follow. He was canonized once his legend was told, in 1098 BP. To this day, Strauss is a universal symbol of the armies of Occitan, a paragon of Occitanian military virtue and the proper form of the soldier. His symbol was carried into battle beneath the symbol of the Kaiser. Although his body was rescued from defilement by the Kazuth, his body was returned from Vinberg Keep forty years later, in a peaceful exchange.

RIEGEL - The male patron saint of TIME.
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Sigismund Riegel was born in the time of the Old Gods, was a wise man and a scribe trained in writing given by the Elves. When Stolz rose to power, Riegel wholeheartedly embraced the New Faith. In service to his people, he endeavored to pen an extensive history of the Occitanian people, their triumphs and hardships, as well as the Annals of the Kaiser. Riegel's histories, as well as his studies on a number of other subjects, formed the basis of the Library of the White Palace.  Riegel was not recognized for his efforts during his life. Only one hundred fifty years after his death were his records widely read, and his name entered the growing list of Saints. Riegel was canonized in 1230 BP. He is often dubbed the 'silent Saint', referring to how long his deeds went unrewarded. His body was painstakingly recovered and then preserved from his original resting place. Riegel's mark adorns the Library of the White Palace to this day. His relatively unknown stature saved him from desecration during the Third Civil War.  

ELFI - The female patron saint of THE OCEAN and SAILING.

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Elfi Amsel was born to a humble family. Not much is known about her upbringing, but from a young age it is told she took a deep interest in the sea, and sailing.

She looked into a military career, in the years following the First Occitanian Civil War, but finding no naval forces or openings for them, she turned to a career in trading. Following in the steps of her idol, the late and canonized Arabella, she set out to deliver goods to coastal towns where trade had not flourished in times of famine. Her actions over a lifetime not only saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but allowed those men to go into military training.

Most notably, however, she helped in transporting soldiers about Occitan whenever asked, often without charge. Her selfless service and dedication made her the role-model for all mariners in the Empire.

She was canonized on her death bed, her home now a beautiful marble shrine after it was destroyed in a thunderstorm.
HARTHAN - The female patron saint of THE HUNT.

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Elena Harthan is told to be a young girl, born to a widow of a legendary soldier in the mountains and raised by Order soldiers. Early in her life, she learnt her way around a bow and used it to hunt animals for food to give to wounded soldiers. This was her calling in life, and in records it is said that she was selfless, and gave an extraordinary amount without taking a single thing in return.

In one single day, to feed a passing army in dire need of supplies, she expertly hunted enough animals to provide for every hungering soldier and all of the army's struggling wounded. Thanking the forest, she even took steps to aid in the skinning and cooking of such a momentous amount of food.

She continued her role throughout the war, reportedly becoming one of the greatest shots with a bow that any army had ever seen. Tragically, before the end of the First Occitanian Civil War, she was struck by an arrow whilst travelling through enemy lines - on her way to reinforce another friendly army. Though gravely wounded, she managed to escape detection and arrive at the camp.

Harthan clung onto life long enough to hear of the end of the war, the news delivered on her death bed- whereby she was canonized. Her techniques for hunting and her plans for emergency supplies in times of war still remain very much in use today.
LORA - The female patron saint of LOVE and JOY.

STEUDEL - The male patron saint of STRENGTH and PERSISTENCE.
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Little is known of Bjorr Steudel's early life, save that he was born in the time of the Old Gods, long before the coming of Stolz and the New Faith. A hundred thirty years before Stolz's rise to significance, the Elves of Ahdsur invaded Occitania, seeking to conquer the land and bring their foreign gods to power over the race of men. Steudel, a strongman of his village, gathered a throng of men to his banner and joined the federation created to oppose them. During battle, Steudel was ambushed and captured by the Elves. He was taken and tortured for a hundred days without ceasing, compelled to abandon his gods and aid them in the subjugation of his people. Steudel did not relent, lasting days of endless torture. On the hundredth day, Steudel broke his bonds and strangled his captors with nothing but his own hands. He escaped and return to Occitania, joining the fight with renewed vigor. The stories he brought spurred more men to action in anger against the Elves' atrocities, and Steudel himself took to the field with his titanic greatsword. Steudel died in battle against the Elves, but it is said his spirit was overjoyed with the sight of the Elves pushed off their shores.

Steudel was a well-celebrated hero by the time of Stolz' rise to power, and Stolz strengthened the power of his New Faith with the consecration of Steudel's body. Steudel's greatsword became an artifact of legend, one of the many Saint's Relics sought after by questing Knights of the Order. In 303 BP, hundreds of years after Steudel used it, it was finally recovered and placed within the Chantry of the Saints. Steudel was saved from desecration during the Third Civil War, and returned a decade later by the Vinberg Order.

In the many centuries following his consecration, Steudel became a symbol dedicated to the strength of ordinary people in the face of great hardship. From landless peasants to captured soldiers, Steudel is a reminder of the glory of stout resolution against a more powerful foe. Steudel has a special role in the lives of the faithful, spurring them to resist urges of the flesh and keep their vows, or otherwise stay from sinful pleasures. Ironically, Steudel grew in significance to the many generations of oppressed and then enslaved Kazuth under the bondage of Occitan. Many of these oppressed peoples came to revere Steudel and his story, pointing to his resolution in the face of tyranny to both spur fellow slaves and to condemn the actions of the Occitanian people who claimed to follow him. Today, the Kazuth of Haria have adopted Steudel as a patron of their struggle against slavery and their eventual freedom.

Steudel was canonized in 1422 BP.

KEIPP - The female patron saint of DILLIGENCE and ARCHERY.

SABINE - The female patron saint of THE WIND and AIR.

LORELEI - The female patron saint of SCHOLARS and KNOWLEDGE.

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Lorelei Engel made history as the first female saint, following her heroic deeds to further the wealth of knowledge via her pilgrimage outside of Occitan and around the entirety of the known world. She embarked with a party of four, both leading and organising the expedition completely independant of any help at the age of just 16. Her bravery was remarkable, financing her quest with an extremely low budget.

She managed a complete trip of the world, reaching Sida and even as far as the lands within the Wastes, before returning home after a remarkable five years. Arriving on a long caravan that she had specially put together, and appearing much more weathered than before, she came home with more than anyone had predicted she could have - over a thousand books, with an assortment of scrolls and her own extensive, rigourously observed journals.

However, the journey had taken its toll. Weakened by disease, but also wounded by a series of bandit attacks whereby she stood her ground to defend her cargo despite her age and little experience with a blade, Lorelei was reported to have clung onto her life long enough to present her findings and journals as a gift to the Emperor himself - for the benefit of the empire as a whole, bowing one last time in the throne room before collapsing.

She was canonized on her death bed, at just 21, by three reiter-bruders of the Order. Her last words were those of thanks, and of those of a life well lived. Her knowledge continues even today to grant cultural insight and advances, her journals studied by every Occitanian man and woman during their education.
RAIDEL - The male patron saint of BENEVOLENCE and FORGIVENESS.

DIMMIG - The male patron saint of FARMING and THE HARVEST.

GESCHWARZT - The male patron saint of FIRE.

ARABELLA - The female patron saint of HOPE and THE POOR.

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Arabella Kirsch was born in poor conditions, surviving a tough upbringing in a poor area of Occitan where she grew to be known amongst the locals as the role-model for everyone wishing to elevate themselves to better conditions. This was due to her dedication to going into further education in the field of medicine. After years of application to a medical college, and helping locals with minor medical issues via skills she taught herself, Arabella finally found herself on the road to the college she had aimed for.

She went on to spend her entire life healing so many, ignoring the pressures to tend to the more wealthy before helping the poor.

On her death bed, still a beacon of hope for those in need of help, she was canonized. Her legend lives on in the hearts of those in desperate conditions.
FRECHTEN - The male patron saint of THE FORGE.

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Lucas Frechten was born into a wealthy family, having an easy life and upbringing. Regardless, he ignored any further education opportunities, choosing to follow in his father's footsteps as a blacksmith.

Abandoning the chance to live effortlessly and rich, he walked away from the palace to begin a trade of smithing armour and weaponry. He would do this for thirty years before being recruited by the military for his skills, the likes of which the entire nation had heard of. So many had travelled across the Empire for his masterwork swordsmanship and armour.

For the rest of his life, he made armour and weaponry for the highest and most respected knights in the Occitanian Legion. It was reported that his work never broke. Famously, he died working in his forge, the unfinished blade still on the anvil. This sword sadly no longer exists, having reputedly been lost during the Battle of Druckenwell.

Frechten was canonized immediately after his death.
TIMO - The male patron saint of HOLIDAYS.

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Timo Steinhauer was well known across the Empire as a post-war hero who pioneered three additional holidays for the nation. One focused especially on the farmers, allowing them to take a five day break annually. The other two were more widespread. Ever since the dismantling of the Occitanian Empire, Steinhauer has become a national symbol for ale, revelry and joy. Of course, he still retains his role as the saint of holidays, and each festival an idol in his image is hung atop the highest building in the host town.
Regardless of his actions under serving the Kaiser, he dedicated his life to his cause and as such lived to see the holidays become a realised dream.

He was canonized on his death bed, and ascended peacefully.
MEYER - The male patron saint of LIFE.

ABRAHAM - The male patron saint of PROSPERITY, WEALTH and FRUGALITY.
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The Occitanian Compendium; The Saints and their Worship
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