Virtue

Lepidus was recognised as a paragon of Pride by the pre-Imperial Highborn assembly. His status was ratified by the Imperial Synod in 18YE.

Biography

Lepidus was born in the Seven Stars chapter in Bastion during the time of the patricians. He was both a theologian and a student of Highborn history. His meditations on the meaning of virtue, and the importance of a virtuous life, were influential both for his peers among the chapters and in the foundation of the Way. Even as a young man, he was known for his skill with oratory. When he spoke, his passion and conviction could often move his listeners to tears and leave them resolved to be better people.

Lepidus spoke often of the importance of being able to be proud of oneself; especially the importance of avoiding hypocrisy. Feelings of shame, he said, often arose from acting in a way one knows to be wrong, but convincing oneself that it is justified to do so. He was also a vocal proponent of the philosophy that the virtuous needed to reach out to the people of Highguard who had not embraced the Revelation, and show them the strength that came from the virtuous life. By separating themselves from the rest of the Highborn, he said, the chapters were acting shamefully - these were their people, and the people from whom they all came. Trying to pretend otherwise, to deny the past, was shameful.

When things came to a head in the time of Permion the Lawmaker, Lepidus was the first spiritual leader that the Navigator reached out to. He shared the revelation with Permion, reintroducing him to the teachings of Atun and Atuman. Once it became clear that Lepidus was inspiring Permion's drive to represent all his people, rather than just the interests of the patrician families, Lepidus was the subject of an assassination attempt. According to the stories, three unconquered attacked Lepidus in his study with Scorpion's Sting daggers. Before they could strike him, however, Lepidus turned the full force of his personality on his attackers, engaging them in an impassioned debate during which he convinced them that they had demeaned themselves by serving unworthy masters. By the end of the night, all three assassins embraced the Revelation, denounced their previous masters, and committed themselves to the protection of Lepidus becoming his bodyguards.

Lepidus was not afraid to face danger in support of his vision. After Permion was murdered, he helped lead the chapters against the corruption of the patricians. He fought along with the rest of his chapter, bearing their Sunfire Pennant into battle against the enemy. Grievously wounded during the battle that saw Pharos burnt, he allegedly simply refused to die until his work was done. He lived long enough to help begin the healing process - to turn the ruins of Pharos into a memorial to the past and a warning to future generations, and to ensure the foundations of the White City would be laid.

When he finally succumbed to his injuries, it is said that the blossoms fell from every tree in Highguard as if the world itself were weeping for his loss. He was laid to rest in a white granite tomb at the heart of the White City. He sleeps there still, guarded as in life by his three loyal assassins.

Signs

  • Lepidus Inspired the people of Highguard, but has also served as an inspiration to generations of people since. His teachings about the virtuous life and the importance of being proud of oneself and one's roots are known by followers of the Way around the world.
  • His Benevolence is clear - he helped the nation of Highguard embrace the Revelation, and the philosophy of the virtuous life. By doing so he laid the foundations for the Way.
  • The tale of the three virtuous assassins, as well as his refusal to succumb to his injuries until he had secured the future of Highguard, are both seen as Miracles. Stories of his ability to move others with his words, and bring the guilty and the ashamed to tears with just his gaze, are both viewed as miraculous by many theologians.
  • By helping shape the Way, and by increasing understanding of the virtue of Pride, and by helping the Highborn to turn away from the corrupt practices of the patricians, Lepidus brought Salvation to his people.
  • The Legacy of Lepidus is clear - he built the city of Bastion helped to create modern Highguard, and shaped the Way.
  • There has been no incident in the Empire or the Sumaah Republic where anyone has experienced a past-life vision of being Lepidus. Along with the circumstances of his death, he is widely held to have achieved Liberation.
  • Lepidus died before the White City was built, but some theologians consider him to have achieved the sign of Pilgrimage regardless. The idea of building Baston to mark a new beginning for Highguard and the Revelation is usually ascribed to Lepidus, and he was the first person entombed within the walls of the newly built city.

Lepidus in Play

Ruth of the Seven Stars

Lepidus was married to a woman named Ruth, a significant figure in her own right - both during the revolution against the patricians and in the creation of the virtuous nation of Highguard. According to the Heirs of Lepidus, Ruth was recognised by the Virtuous Assembly of Highguard as a paragon of Loyalty shortly after her death. For some reason, however, she was not later recognised by the Imperial Synod - possibly an oversight, or possibly a consequence of the recognition of so many Highborn historical figures as inspirations. There is some rumour that Ruth was buried in an inspirational tomb somewhere in Bastion - she was certainly not buried alongside Lepidus - but the location of the tomb if it exists, has been lost. The Heirs of Lepidus, beyond their commitment to uncovering lost information about inspirational figures, are very interested in seeing Ruth restored to her proper level of recognition.

Heirs of Lepidus

The Heirs of Lepidus are a group of stewards of the dead dedicated to finding and recovering records of paragons and exemplars. Initially founded by the Assembly of the Virtuous to identify inspirational Highborn, their efforts quickly expanded to include identifying potential paragons and exemplars among other human nations. Their chapter was quite influential in the early years of the Empire, but by the reign of Empress Varkula their significance had begun to wane. They continued to follow their calling, however, and patiently compiled information about modern exemplars with the same dedication they had shown to gathering evidence of past inspirational figures. Their chapter was struck a significant blow during the reign of Emperor Nicovar when their chapterhouse, the Lepidean Library, was burnt to the ground along with centuries of carefully collected tomes regarding the histories of the paragons and exemplars. Their new chapterhouse in Woodbury is significantly smaller, and their historical archives barely a fraction of those they once tended.

The Heirs have recently regained a small measure of prominence. In late 380YE, they completed a significant piece of work - along with the School of Epistemology in Tassato they recovered, collated, and published information on Berechiah, an exemplar of Vigilance. Their work proved somewhat controversial - Berechiah is a polarising figure after all. The Heirs were keen to continue their work, but had limited funds. As such, during the Winter Solstice they approached the Benefactors of Highguard to see if they would consider supporting their work. The Benefactors were more than generous, and scholars from the Heirs of Lepidus are again scouring the Empire for information about inspirational figures.

Anyone who wishes to contact the Heirs of Lepidus should consider approaching the Highborn egregore, who has apparently been working closely with them on their new projects.

The Inspirational Tomb and Basilica of Lepidus

Lepidus' remains, and those of the three virtuous assassins, are interred in a white granite tomb in the White City of Bastion. The tomb lies beneath the Basilica of Lepidus, which stands not far from the old Virtuous Assembly meeting hall, the House of Seven Doors. The basilica is a beautiful seven-sided structure, surmounted by a breathtaking glass dome.

Rather than stained glass, the interior is decorated with extensive bas-reliefs depicting the history of the Highborn people, from the passage of the ships across the ocean, through the time of the patricians and the Revelation, culminating with the foundation of the Empire. The history of Highguard as part of the Empire continues on a series of seven free-standing sheets of white granite; two of them still possess unmarked surfaces and the intention is that when they are full, a new circle will be created. There is plenty of space both for the history, and for the many pilgrims who come to visit the basilica from around the world.