Symposium of Revelation
In recent years we have learned of a Paragon soul returning from beyond the Labyrinth with a message of what lies beyond.
We have seen a miracle of bodily Ascension, and will surely be called on to pass judgement on Recognition of a new Paragon.
We have recovered lost ritual lore, granting us access to forgotten methods of scrying on our past lives.
We have recovered the Prophecies of Abraxus, and with them the chance to understand the true extent of the gift of Imperial Liao.
We have welcomed Orcs into our Human faith, and face the challenge of defining their place in doctrine.
We are developing new understanding of the interactions between the human soul and the magical realms.
These Revelations, and other matters of the Faith, demand debate and response through refinement of Doctrine.
As Symposiarch, I will ensure that we use this Symposium as an opportunity to pass Judgement on the most pressing of these matters. Wisdom directs us to act on what we know, this Symposium is our chance to gather as the Imperial Synod and refine our faith.
Walk with virtue.
Friar Edward of King’s Stoke, called Watcher, Symposiarch. Winter 380
- 1 Overview
- 2 Significance
- 2.1 Approaching the Way
- 2.2 The Nature of Exemplars
- 2.3 Yael’s Revelation
- 2.4 The Realms, Eternals and the Way
- 2.5 Inclusionism vs Exclusionism
- 2.6 Symposiarch’s invitational
- 2.7 Action against False Virtues and Idolatry
- 2.8 The Nature of False Virtues
- 2.9 The nature of True Virtues
- 2.10 Orcs and the Howling Abyss
- 3 Sessions
Upon the day of the Winter Solstice, YE 380, the Synod has declared that it shall hold a Symposium. It has invested the Marcher Ed Watcher of King's Stoke with the honorary title of Symposiarch and charged him with the organisation of a program of sermons, speeches, discussions and debate in a central location within Anvil: he has named it the Symposium of Revelation. The business of the Synod writ large, done in public, with the explicit goal of coming to an understanding of the potentially seismic shifts that the last few years have produced in the forefront of the ever-advancing Imperial Faith.
Individuals from across the Empire and beyond have been called to preach, speak or discuss at this Symposium. The Assemblies of Nation and Virtue have extended invitations to specific groups they feel would have something to learn or something to teach. Perhaps quite by accident, the Symposium promises to be something of a cultural exchange, as priests from different nations and even some foreign nations are invited to come, to mingle, to speak, to listen and to learn - and all of this under the umbrella of a Judgement of the General Assembly raised by Watcher himself: that nobody who is invited to speak at the Symposium is to be considered in a legal sense to be teaching. This Judgement has been widely understood by those who understand the Synod to be a clear statement that the Synod shall not seek to prosecute religious crimes committed at the Symposium. In other words, that this shall be a place for contention and controversy - for Courageous and Ambitious steps forward in the understanding of Virtue - a place for the development of a new and better orthodoxy, rather than the retrenchment of the old.
The Symposiarch seeks the support of the support of the Synod in declaring "anyone invited to speak during a Symposium session should not be considered to be preaching for the purposes of the religious laws of blasphemy, idolatry, heresy, etc. during the session."Statement of Principle by Edward Watcher of the General Assembly
This step is not without controversy. There are those within the Empire who watch the direction of the Synod and compare it to the faith of their parents and grandparents and wonder openly if the Synod goes too far. There are those who look at the recognition of Thrace, at the denunciations from Sumaah, at the claims of a Paragon supposedly reborn - and wonder if it is not the Empire that is falling away from the true path. This is the time, and this is the place, for the Synod to speak to them - to itself - to the world. To take a step forward - or backward. This is the time for the Synod to demonstrate whether it represents the leadership of the Imperial Faith, or is nothing more than the weathervane of the Way.
There are no new powers granted to the attendees of the Symposium. In a technical sense, apart from the Judgement stating that the invited speakers are not considered to be teaching, apart from the assistance of the civil service in providing a place for it to be held, the Symposium is the very definition of unofficial: nothing but a gathering of interested citizens. Any conclusions that come from the Symposium - will be no more than the Synod could do at any other summit at Anvil.
But now is the hour. Speak, O priests of the Empire, for the world listens.
At the Symposium, some sessions should be open to all including the laity where discussion should be kept within normal religious laws. Others should be closed to all but Synod members and their invited guests where normally prohibited theories may be discussed.Statement of Principle by Cardinal Orzen de Orzel of the Council of Nine
The Symposium officially begins at 2pm on Saturday and ends at 8:30pm in the evening with an open session. It is divided into half-hour periods, each dedicated to a specific topic. Citizens who wish to speak on a topic or participate in some other way should make themselves known to the Symposiarch in advance of the session.
|2.00pm||Approaching the Way|
|2.30pm||The Nature of Exemplars|
|4.00pm||The Realms, Eternals and the Way|
|4.30pm||Inclusionism vs Exclusionism|
|6.00pm||Action against False Virtues and Idolatry|
|6.30pm||The Nature of False Virtues|
|7.00pm||The Nature of True Virtues|
|8.00pm||Orcs and the Howling Abyss|
Approaching the Way
A speaker session featuring talks about how to approach the Way, especially where matters of faith and doctrine are challenged by new evidence or events.
The Nature of Exemplars
A debate on how Exemplars are recognised and their place in the faith: are they primarily recognised for themselves, or for others to learn from?
A panel discussion in which supporters and detractors of Yael will discuss questions of the revelation and its implications for the Way.
The Realms, Eternals and the Way
A panel discussion on matters of the Way and the realms, discussing current theory on their interaction
Inclusionism vs Exclusionism
A debate on the Eternal Schism, asking whether it is best to make careful contact with Eternals as a part of creation or to ultimately sever all ties in pursuit of Human Destiny
A speaker session featuring topics which don’t fit into other sessions. Speakers will be selected by the Symposiarch during the summit: speakers who wish to propose a talk should seek out the Symposiarch. Foreign dignitaries who wish to speak may wish to do so at this session.
Action against False Virtues and Idolatry
A speaker session during which approaches to recognising and combating the spread of malign influences will be discussed.
The Nature of False Virtues
A panel discussion on questions of the false virtues and why they are false.
The nature of True Virtues
A speaker session where speakers will present their approach to their virtue, focussing on the ways that they may be misunderstood.
Orcs and the Howling Abyss
A panel of speakers invited by Imperial Orc preachers will discuss their work to incorporate their species into the Way and the formulation of Doctrine on this.
(You can find a PDF of the timetable here which you can print out for IC reference if you like)
There are four types of session:
- Open Session Open to any speaker, with a judging panel to halt proceedings once a speaker becomes boring.
- Speaker Session Featured speakers will deliver a short talk on a topic of their choice related to the session. Once all speakers have given their talk the remainder of the session will be questions from the audience to the speakers, moderated by the session chair.
- Panel Session The panel of experts will be invited to debate a specified topic. The session chair will introduce the topic for the audience and guide the debate through preselected questions and questions from the audience asked to the panel.
- Debate Sessions During which a topic with two clear sides will be introduced by the session chair. Session attendees will divide into two groups, each supporting one side of the debate, to discuss their arguments. Each side will then select two speakers, one to present their arguments and one to challenge the other speaker. A short debate will take place.
"There is just too much to take in. Can you not just summarise?"
The advocate did not roll her eyes. She smoothed the front of her tunic - a nervous tic - and agreed that, yes, she could just summarise.
"So who have we invited?" Asked Ser Hannah.
"Invited, or confirmed they are coming?"
"Both, I suppose. Sometimes guests change their mind at the last minute."
The advocate pulled out a scroll of her own.
"We've invited several orcs. First, the Lasambrians - most likely the Hierro clan."
"Excellent! An excellent start! What do we know about them?"
"They recently embraced the virtues with the fervour of the convert. Then left the Empire to join the Jotun. They don't hate us."
"You mean they like us?" Asked Ser Hannah making a face.
"Oh dear paragons no. They embraced the virtues, not the Way. They're too proud to like us, and too courageous not to have told us. They're probably not attending the Symposium anyway, what with being at war with the Empire and allied with the Jotun. Or part of the Jotun. It's unclear."
"Oh. Alright, what about the Grendel. I understand we invited the Grendel. What do we know?"
"Barbarian orcs from the south. Heretics, or possibly blasphemers. Smug, confident, think they're clever. They're at war with us. They've accepted the invitation and are sending a delegation and apparently are looking forward to educating us about the true virtues."
"That ... could be interesting." Ser Hannah spoke slowly as if tasting each word. "Who else?"
"Axos and Faraden. Both have expressed cautious interest."
"That sounds more like it! They're humans, we're at peace with them, that sounds like it could be a good start."
"Yes. Unfortunately both nations are absolutely heretical by Imperial standards. Faraden refuse to acknowledge half the virtues and insist on 'justice'. The Axos - actually we have no idea what the Axos believe, apart from the fact that they think we think it's heresy. Which is not heartening."
Ser Hannah deflated slightly.
"Sarcophan ... it's unclear. Signs are someone is coming but we don't know who."
"Are they heretics?"
"Oh yes. Their religion seems to be about money, cannibalism, and extremely peculiar priests. We've also invited a Commonwealth paladin. That will also be tricky."
"The Commonwealth ... actually I'm not sure whether they are heretics or not. They seem to acknowledge virtue but not the Way,. They might possibly be unitarianists but they are definitely Lucidians - they think all auras of virtue are wicked and spend their time expunging them wherever they find them. Also they don't really like us very much because we've made it fairly clear that we favour Jarm - but that's politics."
"Alright, politics. Luckily it's a religious meeting so we shouldn't have to worry about that.
The advocate made a face.
"Ah, maybe you are right Ser Hannah. Maybe you are right. Sadly, given we've also invited a Jarmish prince, we might not be able to avoid politics.".
"At the same time? I thought they were on the verge of open warfare?"
"I'm sure it will be fine," said the advocate diplomatically. "I am sure precautions will be taken. There are other problems of course, from an entirely different quarter."
Ser Hannah sighed again. "I assume by that you mean the Asaveans are coming?"
"Yes. I suspect it would have been hard to stop them. They're sending someone, and the response is quite diplomatically framed. Very nicely worded, I thought."
"Unapologetically so. Also blasphemers and idolators. They worship made-up deities and spirits. They've already had several fallings-out with the Synod."
"Is anyone we've invited not a heretic?"
"Yes, of course. The Sumaah Republic follows the Way, shares all the same virtues and doctrines with us, recognises a number of our paragons and exemplars. The faith infuses every level of their society, and they even produce their own liao. True liao as well if rumours are believed."
Ser Hannah turned round with a smile on her face. "Excellent! They sound like they might be just the ticket!"
The advocate shuffled her papers."Unfortunately, they are not coming. Apparently, they think we're heretics ..."
Various assemblies of the Imperial Synod issued invitations to representatives of other nations and cultures. They are expected to attend Anvil on the Saturday afternoon, and likely to depart after the close of the Symposium. Some have confirmed their intention to attend the Symposium. Although they are representatives of foreign powers, it is likely most of them will be focused on religious affairs. On the other hand, for some of these attendees, politics and trade are religious affairs so during lulls in the Symposium they may well be seeking to speak to people outside of the Imperial Synod.
As far as the civil service has been able to ascertain, the following nations or groups have confirmed their intention to attend the Symposium:
- Following an invitation by Niccolo dos Tassatos of the League national assembly, an Imperial merchant who trades with the Sarcophan Delves has returned with several unusual passengers: a group bearing a diplomatic credential from the Bedelaar Huisbaas and an individual claiming to be their guide. It was noted that the alleged guide rapidly parted company with the diplomatic delegation the moment they believed themselves to be out of sight of the Civil Service office in Crown's Quay.
- Marcus Drummond of the Prosperity assembly invited the Jarmish Prince Turnin of Limitu in the northern Principalities. While the Prince has declined the invitation, he has sent several followers of the Way from northern Jarm in his stead.
- A trading vessel from the Commonwealth has identified itself to the port authorities at Crown's Quay as carrying a fact-finding mission from the University of Volkavaar under the name of one 'Blutsauger Wargan', claiming to have been invited by Bonewall Rek of the recently-formed Imperial Orcs national assembly.
- Julius Cavita of the League national assembly presented an invitation to the priests of Asavea to attend the Symposium, Several Asavean priests are already in the Empire working on the Temple of Balo and the Black Bull in Feroz. Several have expressed an interest in attending, but nobody has formally confirmed at this time that they will be coming to Anvil. Given recent friction between the Synod and the priests of Asavea, this is perhaps not surprising.
- Danita i Riqueza and the Brass Coast national assembly invited the priests of Faraden to attend. At least one priest from the western nation is expected to be attending the Symposium, as a representative of their priest cast. Among other things, they may well want to raise the matter of the return of the Copper Scrolls which were lent to the Empire several years ago so that they could familiarize themselves with the life of an important "paragon" of "Justice" which is believed to still be in the possession of the Imperial Synod.
- Belisarius and the Urizen national assembly issued an invitation to their "cousins" in Axos. The Axou have traditionally been extremely reticent about discussing religious matters with Imperial priests, but the civil service has had confirmation that a priest has been dispatched to the Empire and will be making a presentation during the Symposium.
- Finally, Isaac Carlino di Sarvos and the League national assembly have invited the Grendel orcs to send a representative. The Grendel have confirmed that they will absolutely be sending a spiritual representative to attend the Symposium and are very much looking forward to the opportunities it will present.
We are informed that the Grendel follow Virtues and The Way. Despite our state of war, we therefore extend our invitation to priests and religious thinkers of the Grendel to attend the Synod's Symposium so that we may engage in comparative theology between our two ways of beliefs.Isaac Carlino di Sarvos, League National Assembly
Several groups were invited but have not given any official response, or their response has been unclear.
- Immeldar i Ezmara i Erigo of the Freeborn assembly invited the "Lasambrian Orcs" (presumably not the Jotun who currently hold western Lasambria), while Jaylus of the Assembly of Pride invited the Hierro clan specifically - the orcs who have by all accounts embraced the Way. There has so far been no response.
- Finally, Livia Cascade of the Wisdom assembly invited the eternal Roshanwe to attend - or send a representative to - the Assembly. A birdlike entity believed to be a creature of Day was encountered by a member of the Civil Service as they were compiling the Synod judgements last season. It did not identify itself intelligibly, instead asking a large number of almost incomprehensible questions in a variety of languages, apparently attempting to establish the definitions of the words 'symposium' and 'attend' in Imperial: eventually satisfied, it departed with a promise to return 'nearer the time'. The Civil Service believe that the Archmage of Day would be the most qualified individual in the Empire to know when that might be, or what the creature was.
- The Cardinal of the Way, Atla of the Imperial Orcs, issued an invitation to the priests of the Sumaah Republic to attend the Symposium. There has been no response from the distant nation. Despite their embrace of the Way, they are currently at war with the Empire.