The Path of Courage
Courage is a popular virtue amongst the soldiers of the Empire who must face bloodthirsty foes and the spectre of death. However, the Virtue of Courage has lessons for those in all walks of life. Courage calls for citizens to stand firm in the face of all that would cause them to falter. The senator whose conscience compels them to vote against the populist measure; the proud leader who must face the shame of a secret exposed; the general who must pass on ill news to their people – all of these must draw on the Virtue of Courage in their time of trial. It is easy for many citizens to pay lip service to the Virtue of Courage but harder to cling to when the challenge finally comes.
Guidance on the Path
Through meditation on the auras of Courage, and study of the lives of paragons and exemplars, the priests of the Way have gleaned insight into the heart of the virtue and how best to pursue it. There are collections of parables, tales, sayings and teachings that distil this for Imperial citizens to learn from. The following are a handful of teachings and sayings deemed to be essential to understanding the path:
- The Virtuous face unwelcome truths as boldly as any barbarian charge.
- Do not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction.
- Cleave to what you know is true, even where others wish you to doubt.
- Never accept defeat; adapt your strategy and try anew.
- Despise cowardice which steers the spirit to weakness and inaction.
'I shall despise the cowardice that steers me to weakness and inaction. I shall face unwelcome truth as boldly as any barbarian charge. I shall not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction. I shall never accept defeat; I shall adapt my strategy and try again. I shall cleave to what I know to be true even when others wish me to doubt.'A Highborn Litany of Courage
Paragons and Exemplars
Recognised paragons and exemplars of Courage include:
- The oldest recorded paragon, Korl, whose legendary learned the secrets of metal in the darkest places of the world and used them to craft the first axe, with which he drove back the dark forest and slew the beasts who dwelt within.
- The exemplar Permion of the Highborn who opposed the wicked power of the corrupt Patrician’s Council and empowered the Assembly of the Virtuous in its place.
- The exemplar Gilda Ashwine of Dawn whose fortitude and commitment freed her family and brought down the corrupt earl who had enslaved them.
- The exemplar Inga Tarn of Wintermark whose fearlessness and forthrightness inspired generations to seize the opportunities life presents.
Symbols of Courage
Common symbols of Courage across the Empire are those associated with the iconic tools or weapons of favoured paragons and exemplars. One of the most common and prevalent is the axe. This is symbolic of the axe created by Korl as both a weapon and a tool with which to tame the wilderness and overcome obstacles. Axes and hatchets are popular weapons among priests and pilgrims dedicated to the path of Courage for this reason. The hammer, the iconic weapon of Inga Tarn is likewise favoured as a weapon by pilgrims, and is especially popular among those dedicated to Courage in the southern Empire especially the Marches - a common saying is that a pilgrim in the south is much more likely to encounter problems that can be solved with a hammer than with an axe.
In Wintermark, courage is often signified by a jackdaw, while in Varushka the virtue is associated with the strength of the boar and the bear. Jotra, the Rune of Battle which represents challenges to be overcome, is used by some magicians as a symbol of Courage.
Those who take a less martial approach to the virtue use the Blue Rose as a symbol, in honour of Gilda Ashwine. During the Spring flower festival celebrated by the urizen by contrast, crimson and scarlet blossoms are associated with this virtue, perhaps representing shed blood.
- You can learn about the various spiritual roleplaying effects created by priests dedicated to Courage here.
- You can learn about the skills that priests can use to support the virtue of Courage here.