From A Children's Primer of the Way

The Path of Vigilance

The Virtue of Vigilance is popular amongst those charged with ensuring the safety of things precious; from the inquisitor who seeks out treacherous cultists, to the scrivener who scrutinises their dhomiro’s records against fraud and theft, to the shepherds in the fields. The threats to the Empire and its citizens are many and varied and all must be prepared for, guarded against and actively opposed lest they tear down civilisation. Not all threats carry arms like the barbarians; some come with smiles and lies, like false-faced eternals, or even lie in the hearts of weak citizens. Through diligence, detail, and dedication in all things does one person’s Vigilance safeguard another from harm.

Guidance on the Path

Through meditation on the auras of Vigilance, and by studying the lives of paragons and exemplars, the priests of the Way have gleaned insight into the heart of the virtue and how best to pursue it. There are collections of parables, tales, sayings and teachings that distill this for Imperial citizens to learn from. The following are a handful of teachings and sayings deemed to be essential to understanding the path:

  • Seek out the poison in your neighbour’s fields, lest your own crops be blighted.
  • Be alert to all dangers; within and without.
  • Seek out falsehood and expose the truth.
  • Prepare for malice, yet thwart malice before it strikes against you.
  • Despise that which threatens what you watch over, whether by malice, lies, folly or carelessness.

Paragons and Exemplars

Attempts to catalogue paragons and exemplars of Vigilance have met with mixed success. In some cases, the disaster they prevent or the catastrophe that goes averted results in their heroism going unsung. More notable are those who publicly expose traitors, infiltrators, and black-hearted villains. Recognised paragons and exemplars of Vigilance include:

  • The legendary paragon known as The Sentinel, who is credited with building many ancient towers and fortresses that still stand today.
  • The paragon Vardas the Witch-Hunter of Varushka, who dedicated his life to tracking down and bringing to justice the criminals who preyed on his people.
  • The exemplar Berechiah who exemplifies the often unpopular idea that the vigilant should be prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect their people from outside threats.

Symbols of Vigilance

The tower is a common symbol o Vigilance, representing the ancient works of the Sentinel. The watchtower allows one to see great distances and prepare for coming threats, while a fortified tower or a castle allow one to protect that which is precious. Along similar lines, other tools of warding and warning are common symbols of the path, especially the bell, the barred gate, and the beacon. Priests and pilgrims of the Path of Vigilance will often carry a bell or whistle for precisely the purpose of alerting others to danger they have identified. A lantern is another popular symbol of Vigilance, as is the candle - both can be used to provide aid in dark places and to signal warnings to others.

Mystically inclined Urizen favour the unblinking eye (an eye without lids). The eye has a great deal of hearth magic significance, and is often painted onto surfaces such as gates, doors, and the base of heliopticon towers as a reminder of the need to stay alert. During their Spring festival, they represent Vigilance with green flowers or sometimes wreaths of green leaves. The image of the unblinking eye can also be seen in the basilisk, a common symbol for unsleeping Vigilance among the Highborn.

In Varushka, eyes or grim faces are often carved into lintels or trees to keep watch over a vale; there are several stories of warnings being delivered in dreams to those who sleep in a house guarded by these peculiar icons. A similar role is played by the scarecrow (and to a degree the traditional poppet) in the Marches.

The spear also stands as a symbol of Vigilance, especially among the Navarr where it has strong connotations of protecting against outside threats.

Among the people of Wintermark Vigilance is represented by the loud jay and by the goose. The goose is also used as a symbol of the virtue in Varushka, alongside the wise spider. The spider also serves as a symbol of Vigilance among some covert sects in Urizen, specifically as the astronomantic constellation of the same name). The law of the Spider - things are watched by a hidden eye - is both a statement of the need to be constantly alert for danger and a reminder that others are always watching. Some magicians use the rune of Revelation, Ophis, as a symbol of vigilance.

Further Reading

  • You can learn about the various spiritual roleplaying effects created by priests dedicated to Vigilance here.
  • You can learn about the skills that priests can use to safeguard the virtue of Vigilance here.

The Seven Virtues