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The Guardian of the Maze of Zoria is an Imperial title created by the Imperial Senate in Summer 383YE. The position of Guardian is a sinecure, requiring minimal responsibility but offering a regular income of liao. Following the Autumn Equinox 384YE, the National Assembly of Varushke sent the first Guardian, Illya Nikovitch Volkov, to consecrate the Maze with true liao, creating a memorial for the paragon - and awakening unexpected powers within the Maze.


The Guardian oversees the Maze of Zoria in Miekarova that serves to house the knowledge the Empire has left of Zoria's teaching. If the shrine were to be threatened, it would be the responsibility of the Guardian to face those threats; likewise should any opportunity related to the shrine arise they would decide how to respond. Since the true consecration of the Maze, they are also tied by the Law of Dominion to the Maze itself, and experience both peculiar dreams and unexplained abilities as a consequence.


A Portion of Liao

The number of pilgrims who visit the Maze of Zoria sees the Guardian provided with 18 doses of liao by each season by the civil service, to be used as they see fit.

The Nature of Names
The Guardian of the Maze of Zoria possesses several unique powers. As near as anyone can tell, they arise from a combination of the true consecration, the magical Law of Dominion, and the nature of the physical Maze. While the title holder has dominion over the Maze - while they are recognised as the sole person responsible for it - they can use these powers. In each case, the powers are lost if the Guardian loses their title; and gained by their successor shortly after their title is confirmed.

The Eyes of the Spider

Three times each day, the Guardian can bring to mind the twisting paths of the Maze and perform an insight ceremony - quick or thorough - following all the normal rules but without the requirement to use any liao. They can even use this power if they do not have the dedication skill. They cannot access the power if for any reason they are unable to use religious skills(if they were an orc for example, subjected to a curse such as Chastise the Foolish, excommunicated and so on) On gaining the title, the new holder will be able to access this remarkable power after a full night's sleep (the day after they gain the title).

The Squirrel's Red Fur

If the Guardian uses the anointing ceremony to create a personal aura on themselves with a dose of liao the effect is extremely powerful. As long as they remain Guardian, that anointing cannot be removed except with a ceremony using a dose of true liao, or similar powerful effect and it will not expire normally (it becomes both durable and true). The Guardian can always replace their own anointing with another, using the normal rules. This ability can only be used if the Guardian is dedicated to Wisdom and capable of using the anointing skill. It has no effect when anointing anyone else, and if the Guardian loses their title the aura immediately becomes a normal aura (expiring at the start of the next event, removable with a normal anointing ceremony, and so on).

Mazemark Salve
8 Bladeroot1 Mazemark Salve
16 Bladeroot2 Mazemark Salve
24 Bladeroot3 Mazemark Salve
Owl's Eye
12 Bladeroot1 Owl's Eye
24 Bladeroot2 Owl's Eye
Weasel's Whisper
12 Bladeroot1 Weasel's Whisper
24 Bladeroot2 Weasel's Whisper
Nightingale Warden
30 Bladeroot1 Nightingale Warden

Wisdom's Whisper

The Maze of Zoria grants the Guardian inspiration when they traverse its narrow paths. Some scholars claim that it contains a fragment of Zoria's vast knowledge of, and mastery over, the natural world. During downtime the Guardian can retreat into the Maze and draw on that knowledge to produce unique potions - even if they are not an apothecary themselves. The Guardian does not consciously know how to make these potions when they are not in the Maze itself; they can't teach them to other people and it's impossible for anyone other than the Guardian to understand how they are made. To brew each potion the Guardian needs drams of the familiar herbs, but also incorporates components from the plants that form the Maze.

Each downtime the Guardian can make a combination of potions. Those available are:

  • Mazemark Salve: A salve that grants a source of spiritual strength similar to an anointing
  • Owl's Eye: A tonic that increases the power of a magician to perform a divination ritual.
  • Weasel's Whisper: A tonic that grants a magician an amount of additional personal mana.
  • Nightingale Warden: A powerful potion that ensures a good night's sleep and can end the effect of certain curses and enchantments.

This power is used in the same way as a ministry. The required herbs must be handed in at the end of the event, and they make their choices during downtime from their character page. Herbs is removed from, and potions are placed into, the character's inventory when the downtime is processed.

The Winding Mark

The connection between the Guardian and the Maze permanently marks the Guardian's aura. Whenever they are subject to a thorough insight they should let the referee know that their aura is marked with maze-like elements woven of living plants. This special mark on their aura remains even after they lose the title; it can be removed as if it were a normal testimony, but if the character still holds the Guardian title it will return the next time they sleep.


The Guardian is a virtue position which is appointed by judgement of the Varushkan assembly.

The Guardian is appointed during the Autumn Equinox each year. They can be revoked by the General Assembly, the Varushkan National Assembly, and the Assembly of the Nine.

Autumn Equinox 385YEIllya Nikovitch Volkov166 Votes
Autumn Equinox 384YEIllya Nikovitch Volkov106 Votes
Autumn Equinox 383YEIllya Nikovitch Volkov144 Votes

Recent Elections

This title is currently held by Illya Nikovitch Volkov; it will be reelected at Autumn Equinox 386YE. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.

The Maze of Zoria

The Maze of Zoria stands in Mieriada near the vale of Griejezdo. It is a strange creation; a vast circle of trees with dense plants and vines wrapped between them makes the maze impassable to those who do not know the right route to tread. Some strange magic lingers here still ensuring the maze must be traversed alone and though each pilgrim can only find a single route through the maze, no two individuals can agree upon what that route must be.

According to local legend, Zoria created the Maze using powerful magic. The maze is considered to be one of her legacies, a test of Wisdom for those confident enough to try it. Most people assume that the quicker one can complete the maze, the wiser one is. But the opposite has also been said - that the longer spent in contemplation of the maze the more judicious one shows oneself to be.

The maze is located in the Vale of Gniejezdo, in Miekaravoa. The priest who most recently brought the Maze to Imperial attention - Starac Sijed of Dawn - knew the location well, for he was once entrusted with the care of the site. He passed on the responsibility to another when he and his family departed Varushka for Dawn, where they became House Orzel. Guardianship of the maze was passed from person to another in short order but the most recent guardian was a young man named Domagoj Gnietzen who he disappeared more than two years ago. According to the more fanciful claims he entered the maze late one winter's night seeking Zoria's wisdom and never managed to escaped. However the wise ones note that the wolves were thick in the forests that year and more than one young man was caught out after nightfall and never returned.

The Maze is not the only site closely associated with Zoria - Zoriah's Cave in the Opascari mountains is said to have once held the paragon and her belongings - although what legacy the cave might have concealed was lost long ago when a Thule raiding party plundered the cavern.