The Sentinel is upheld as a Paragon of Vigilance. The Sentinel was initially identified as such by Wayfarers of the Highborn Assembly of the Virtuous, but was confirmed by the Synod at its first sitting in 1 YE.
There is nothing actually known of The Sentinel themselves. No text has identified them by name, gender, lineage or nation. The only attestation that this Paragon exists are in a series of ancient structures that can be found throughout the Empire, but most particularly in the mountains of Morrow and in the lands of the Highborn. These ancient towers and defensive structures have stood for generations, and many with the capacity for a warning bell or beacon. The structures and layouts speak of a common design, a template plan - the guiding intentions of a master architect.
Even by modern standards, the defensive constructions of The Sentinel stand the test of time. More than one has been simply adapted upon and added to rather than needed to be replaced. More than one Urizen spire or Highborn chapterhouse is built upon, or within, an adapted edifice.
The journey of the Sentinel to a recognised Exemplar and Paragon has been unusual. To an extent, the anonymous nature of this benevolent builder has enabled priests and pilgrims to project their own understandings upon him or her. Parables have been constructed on the importance of preparing ones' defences against threat, and there have been speculations about the type of threat that the constructions were designed to shield against.
As yet, no liao visions have given any insight. During her tenure over the Assembly of Vigilance, Cardinal Selene of the Highborn was attributed with saying that she hoped that no visions would be forthcoming; not only to preserve the Sentinel's Paragon legacy, but because the Synod's interpretation of the Sentinel was the most "true".
Noting the signs of the Sentinel has been difficult with so little information, but the Synod holds:
- The Sentinel has achieved Liberation from the Labyrinth of Ages by dint of no past life visions recalling them.
- The Sentinel's edifices and constructions are a clear Legacy whilst simultaneously being a gift of Benevolence to the Empire
- The constructions and shelters of the Sentinel have granted shelter to virtuous people in need, offering Salvation, and have been instructive to the craftsfolk of the nations and so Inspirational.
- While the initial Synod judgement was that the Sentinel was excused the sign of Pilgrimage by dint of pre-dating the Highborn arrival to these shores, the Heirs of Lepidus have discovered the remains of a tower near the city of Bastion that raises serious questions about whether the paragon may, in fact, have made a pilgrimage to the location where the city would later be built.
- Early on, some claimed that the Sentinel's towers could only have been erected by Miraculous means, but over time engineers and artisans have developed methods capable of replicating the Sentinel's achievements; though this does not diminish those advanced achievements
The Sentinel in Play
- The Sentinel is often used by critics of the judgement of Recognition as an example of a paragon whose status makes no sense.
While the Sentinel has no known tomb, a significant place of pilgrimage exists in Casinea. Following the revelation of the research of the Heirs of Lepidus into the structures of the Sentinel at the behest of the benefactors council of Highguard, proof was found that the castle was the largest built by the enigmatic paragon and most likely their place of residence given its location. The Imperial Synod arranged for it to be consecrated by Rhesa, Exarch of the Scions of Ravensfell, and the Senate commissioned a grand belltower to serve as a place of pilgrimage. The title of Castellan of the Silent Sentinel was created not only to oversee the tower, but also to take custody of the fortification as a whole.
Have you not heard, have you not seen that corpse
Of shadows in the tower, whose shoulders sway
Antiphonal carillons launched before
The stars are caught and hived in the sun's ray?
The bells, I say, the bells break down their tower;
And swing I know not where. Their tongues engrave
Membrane through marrow, my long-scattered score
Of broken intervals… And I, their sexton slave!
Oval encyclicals in canyons heaping
The impasse high with choir. Banked voices slain!
Pagodas campaniles with reveilles out leaping-
O terraced echoes prostrate on the plain!…
And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
My world I poured. But was it cognate, scored
Of that tribunal monarch of the air
Whose thighs embronzes earth, strikes crystal Word
In wounds pledges once to hope - cleft to despair?
The steep encroachments of my blood left me
No answer (could blood hold such a lofty tower
As flings the question true?) -or is it she
Whose sweet mortality stirs latent power?-
And through whose pulse I hear, counting the strokes
My veins recall and add, revived and sure
The angelus of wars my chest evokes:
What I hold healed, original now, and pure…
And builds, within, a tower that is not stone
(Not stone can jacket heaven) - but slip
Of pebbles, - visible wings of silence sown
In azure circles, widening as they dip
The matrix of the heart, lift down the eyes
That shrines the quiet lake and swells a tower…
The commodious, tall decorum of that sky
Unseals her earth, and lifts love in its shower.
The Broken Tower, by Harold Hart Crane