The sword scholars and their founder Sulemaine i Taziel have been a controversial part of Urizen history since their foundation in pre-Imperial times. Their commitment to challenging outside influences on Urizen society, especially outside spiritual influences, eventually saw them suppressed and driven underground in the reign of Emperor Giovanni. In recent years, however, their philosophies have been re-examined, and their movement has been thrust into the spotlight of Imperial affairs - with mixed results.

Early History

The sword scholars descend from a pre-Imperial cult inspired by the teachings of Sulemaine daughter of Taziel. Espousing a martial philosophy that emphasised observation and reason as a path to truth, she achieved notoriety when the first Highborn missionaries came to Urizen. Angered by their insistence that faith and visionary revelation gave them a deeper understanding of spiritual mysteries, she sought them out, denouncing and executing any whose beliefs she considered insufficiently grounded in reason and logic. Many who refused to accept the Highborn faith flocked to her banner, determined to preserve Urizen's more individual and scholastic approach to religion. In the decades following her death, the sword scholars grudgingly adopted the virtues but they remained fiercely opposed to Highborn religion, arguing that embracing the Way risked Urizen falling under the influence of the Highborn Assembly.

At the height of their power the temples of the sword scholars were a significant military force within Urizen but opposition to them began to grow as more of the nation adopted the Way. Increasingly violent clashes broke out between temples and anyone who attempted to defend the Highborn missionaries. Despite their martial discipline, the scholars were often outmatched by the more organised sentinels who protected the opposing spires. The fierce independence of their temples made it difficult for them to cooperate, and they suffered a number of defeats.

In the end, it took Urizen joining the nascent Empire to unite them in one final act of defiance. They refused to bond themselves to the new Urizen egregore in open rebellion against what they considered to be a tyrannical Imperial presence. As trouble grew, the Senate and the Synod called for the suppression of the sword scholar sects and a brutal crackdown saw the remaining temples destroyed or driven underground. Attempts by Urizen to make peace with the remaining scholars foundered in the face of both the opposition from the Synod, and the recalcitrance of the more dogmatic of the sword scholars. Gathering at the Temple of the Winds in Morrow, the survivors were confronted by an army of sentinels and ordered to disband. Despite being heavily outnumbered they refused to submit, and the resulting battle saw hundreds killed on both sides before the defeated sword scholars were forced to scatter.

The Disciples of the Tempest Jade Maiden wish a judgement on their Virtue. In order that as many members of the national assembly as possible may witness their statements about their philosophy and in doing so we gain true knowledge rather than hearsay, we summon senior brothers “Marcus” and “Atticus” to inquisition in the Endsmeet Tent on Friday of the Autumn Equinox 381 YE at 8pm.

Inquisition, Summer 381YE, Urizen Assembly, Raised by Edmundo, Upheld 112-0

We the Urizen National Assembly recognise that the teachings of the Disciples of the Tempest Jade Maiden encourage Virtuous action. Consequently we believe that they and other groups of sword scholars are following teachings that promote virtue. This follows the inquisition on the Saturday of this summit.

Vindication, Autumn 381YE, Urizen Assembly, Raised by Edmundo, Upheld 154-0

Temple of the Four Winds

In Summer 381YE, Edmundo of Urizen worked with the Disciples of the Tempest Jade Maiden to arrange an inquisition of two sword scholars, with the stated intention of gaining "true knowledge rather than hearsay" about the modern movement. The inquisition took place during the Autumn Equinox, and culminated in vindication of the Disciples of the Tempest Jade Maiden.

Next year, in Spring 382YE, Edmundo presented a statement of principle to the Urizen Assembly, calling for the sword scholars to unite under the banner of the Tempest Jade Maiden. The sword scholars responded cautiously but positively to these overtures, and opportunities were presented during Summer that year to reconcile the sword scholars with the nation and the Empire.

Both the Wisdom assembly mandate and the Urizen assembly mandate were enacted, and the Senate commissioned the reconstruction of the Temple of the Winds in Morrow to serve as a central temple for the movement. While some people may have been skeptical of the reconciliation, the Severein encyclical muffled any dissent.

Preparations to rebuild the ancient temple were interrupted by the Druj invasion of Morrow. When the barbarian orcs attacked the construction site, nearly two-thirds of the sword scholars were slaughtered. It took almost a year for the Empire to free the area from Druj control and complete the work to restore the temple.

The Wise Test

Meanwhile the progression of the Grey Pilgrims across the Empire had caused concern in almost all the Imperial nations. During the Summer Solstice, the Urizen Assembly encouraged the sword scholars to engage in spirited debate with the Grey Pilgrims who had begun questioning spiritual attitudes in the Imperial nations. This led, in Summer, to a mandate declaring the study of Sulemaine to be acceptable which the general assembly upheld despite some dissent.

With construction of the Temple finally completed shortly before the Summer Solstice 383YE, the sword scholars had a focal point around which to rebuild their philosophy. The Urizen Assembly appointed the first Envoy to the Disciples of the Tempest Jade Maiden, whose responsibilities included liaising with the surviving sword scholar sects, and presenting their philosophy at Anvil and to the Urizen people as a whole.

Once the work on the Temple was complete, the mandate that the Wisdom assembly had previously passed came into effect, though their full force would not be felt until the Autumn Equinox. This mandate encouraged all the virtuous to take inspiration from Sulemaine and the sword scholars. In particular, they were urged to actively challenge anyone who wishes to spread the imperatives of the Synod to justify their actions with reason and logic, effectively opposing the mandates of the Imperial Synod at every turn. As a result, it became much more difficult for the Synod to enact its will. At the same time, the Urizen Assembly judgement calling on the sword scholars to organise at home meant that, even in the absence of the Wisdom Assembly mandate, Urizen would still be resistant to Synod mandates.

During the Autumn Equinox 383YE, there was spirited debate about the role of the sword scholars. The Urizen Assembly continued to support the sword scholars unequivocally, enacting a mandate to declare that "the Paragon of Blades is the perfect epitome of the Urizeni spirit - pure calculating reason unhindered by emotion or pity.'' The mandate caused a surge of support for the sword scholars, creating an opportunity to build fortified temples in Morrow (and the other Urizen territories should they be recaptured). It also meant that the power of the Synod over Urizeni citizens was further attenuated. Only in Redoubt was there any real resistance to the rise of the sword scholars; the presence of so many sentinels there made the idea of large gatherings of Sulemaine's scions unpalatable.

The Virtuous apply what they have learned: the Sword Scholars undermine this with their ruthless and indiscriminate opposition to the expressed will of the Synod. Their founder, Sulemaine i Taziel, taught them to browbeat, silence, and murder any who raised a dissenting voice. They would rather strike down a soul seeking the right question than face an unwelcome truth. We should stand against such narrow minded and dogmatic behaviour. Those of scholarly inclination should look to the Exemplars Kala Windward and Avigliana di Sarvos, not to Sulemaine i Taziel. Above all, we should not let the will of the Synod be stymied by followers of a lawless sect whose philosophy promotes silence, shame, and inaction.

Statement of Principle, Autumn 382YE, General Assembly, raised by Rafael Barossa di Tassato, Upheld 1535 - 321 (Greater Majority)

Debate is necessary and laudable, but obstructing the Synod's capacity to act and guide our citizens on the Way is not. If the sword scholars truly wish to improve and influence the quality of Imperial thinking let them do so by participating in the business and processes of the Imperial Synod, not by obstructing its ability to act.

Statement of principle, Autumn 383YE, Assembly of the Nine, raised by Clarice Novarion, Upheld 8-0 (Greater Majority;Primacy)

Chastise Folly

Unsurprisingly the Synod has not welcomed this challenge to its power. Autumn 383YE saw two significant statements of principle raised and upheld with greater majorities that rebuked the sword scholars for their beliefs and practices. The General Assembly agreed with Rafael Barossa di Tassato, who described the sword scholars in incendiary terms as "followers of a lawless sect whose philosophy promotes silence, shame, and inaction" and said Sulemaine i Taziel "taught them to browbeat, silence, and murder any who raised a dissenting voice. They would rather strike down a soul seeking the right question than face an unwelcome truth". He called for the virtuous to "stand against such narrow minded and dogmatic behaviour"

Clarice Novarion (the Cardinal of Courage) led the Assembly of the Nine who agreed that "debate is necessary and laudable" but made clear that "obstructing the Synod's capacity to act and guide our citizens on the Way is not." They - and the unanimous Assembly of the Nine - said that "if the sword scholars truly wish to improve and influence the quality of Imperial thinking let them do so by participating in the business and processes of the Imperial Synod, not by obstructing its ability to act."

At the same time several statements were upheld by the Urizen National Assembly. Clytemnestra of the House of the Wanderer encouraged "all sword scholars to act within Imperial law in the prosecution of their virtuous challenges" and said that "with our increased responsibilities comes increased obligation to virtue." A further statement by Cato Hypation which said that "the title "Paragon of Blades" is exactly that, a title. The Synod does not currently recognise Sulemaine i Taziel as a paragon of virtue. The Urizen assembly do not contest this" was upheld, but did not receive a greater majority - while the mandate declaring the Paragon of Blades to be the epitome of the Urizen spirit absolutely did.

After the Autumn Equinox, several mandates that might otherwise have been enacted, failed. This failure was categorically due to the opposition of the sword scholars in Urizen, and the dedicated of Wisdom all over the Empire who now looked to them as an inspiration.

At the Winter Solstice, several mandates were proposed that would allow the General Assembly, the Wisdom Assembly, and the Urizen Assembly opportunities to further explore the situation with mandates, and the relationship between Wisdom, sword scholars, and the Imperial Synod.

Further Reading

Summer 381YE
  • Sword scholars receive wider recognition
Autumn 381YE
  • More sword scholar sects emerge publicly
Spring 382YE
  • Reconciliation with sword scholar sects begins
Summer 382YE
Autumn 382YE
  • Construction halted
  • At least a third of sword scholars murdered
  • Synod mandates held in abeyance pending completion of temple
Spring 383YE
Summer 383YE
Autumn 383YE
Winter 383YE
  • TBC