The Labyrinth of Ages and the Paragons and Exemplars

The Labyrinth of Ages is the name, coined in Highguard, of the twisting realm of pure spirit that is integral to the cycle of reincarnation. The name is something of a metaphor for no mortal has been there to witness it. However, it is understood that the journey from death to rebirth is neither simple nor instantaneous. Indeed, some spirits are said to wander between lives for years, even generations, before being reborn. Some are condemned to wander lost forever.

The Way of Virtue teaches that living a virtuous life holds the key to successfully traversing the Labyrinth of Ages swiftly, safely and with the purity of spirit that strengthens ties to past lives. This is supported by insights gained from the Liao Ceremonies conducted by priests of The Way. These same insights revealed the nature of the Seven Virtues and the presence of powerful individuals throughout history who have burned with Virtue and been legendary heroes known as Exemplars. A few, rarer still, have been recognised as Paragons, possessed of such a state of Virtue that they have transcended the Labyrinth of Ages and never again need to be reborn. This is held to be the ultimate destiny of humankind.

Although the Way teaches the supremacy of the human spirit and rejects false gods, there are some superstitious corners of the Empire in which simple folk venerate the transcendent Paragons. The Synod tolerates this idolatry by affirming that prayer to the Paragons achieves nothing more than meditating on their example for inspiration on how to take action oneself.

The Synod, and the Highborn Chapters that pre-date it, have found evidence of exemplars and paragons going back to the dawn of history, preserved in myths and legends. To many are attributed wonders and miracles that have helped raise up humanity from darkness and primitive superstition, laying the groundwork - in their own way - for the Empire and the Way. It is also widely held that the First Empress was herself a paragon, though there is some debate as to which virtue she may have been a paragon of.

Further Reading