The Virtori are one of the five major religions of Elyria, practiced primarily by the Neran and Hrothi tribes. Virtori teaching is centred around the existence of powerful Gods and their Guardians, representing the 7 virtues and 7 vices.
Virtori believe that there was a war between the Virtues and Vices, with Mann-kind being caught in the middle and ultimately sealing away the Vices and Virtues to protect Elyria from the Gods.
The Virtori believe that this sealing split the world into Elyria, Haven (the place of Virtue), and Karcion (the place of Vice). The Virtori believe that individuals are pawns that are manipulated by much higher powers.
It has been stated that the Virtori fighters are the “Paladins and Clerics.” In Virtori lore, the Neran’s and the Hrothi are the Sword and Shield of the Virtues, respectively, and are often depicted as such in religious artwork.
The Virtori live in the moment as representations of their faith and have no greater feeling of purpose compared to other religions.
Virtori rank structure
Archbishop Bishop Priest Monk
Neran The Neran are one of the two Virtorian tribes (the other being the Hrothi). Among the Virtori, the Neran are known as "The Swords of Virtue". Indeed, in the battle between Virtues and Vices, it was the Neran who were called upon by the Creator to enforce the will of the righteous upon those who would seek to corrupt Mann-Kind.
As a result of their calling, the Neran continue to take pride in their role and responsibility. Monuments and statues of the Virtues can be found throughout Neran civilisation. In addition, the core belief in the Virtues leads the Neran to maintain a stoic sense of order and commitment, with their religion - like their civilisation - having an established hierarchy. Members of the Neran tribe who do not embrace their responsibility to their faith are looked down upon and referred to as the "Fatherless" by other Neran.
All Neran are expected to have at least a passing knowledge of the Virtues, and part of the duty of the Song-priests is to spread this knowledge.
Hrothi The Hrothi are the one of the two tribes known for worshipping the Virtori (the other being the Neran). Among the Virtori, the Hrothi are known as “The Shields of Virtue”. Indeed, in the battle between Virtue and Vice, it was the Hrothi who were called upon by the creator to defend the world against the vices, and to protect Mann-Kind from being led astray.
While the Hrothi are less institutional in the practice of their faith, they are no less dedicated to the Virtues. Monuments of the Virtues can be found throughout Hrothi civilization, with large statues filling massive chambers, and relief sculptures filling cathedrals of varying sizes which depict historic events in the Virtorian religion. As well, while the Virtori refer to the Hrothi as the "Shields of Virtue", in their own language it translates more to "Stalwart in Virtue". Indeed, while the Hrothi have a duty to the Virtues and an unyielding dedication to their faith, they view the Neran's structured hierarchy of priests as somewhat distasteful, as titles and rank are temporary, while the Virtues are infinite and undying. Strangely, while the Hrothi value dedication to the ideals of the Virtues, they have no negativity toward the other religions, nor do they view Hrothi who identify with other faiths in any negative light, so long as they uphold their virtue.
The grasslands occupied by the Neran is one of the largest biomes in Elyria. As a result, protection of the realm is distributed among the various Duchies, with each Duke or Duchess responsible for the safety and security of their contained counties. While the Duke or Duchess is responsible for funding the training and equipping of militia within the duchy, the formal army is often made up of trained soldiers referred to as the Holy Swords. These soldiers, akin to Paladins in other fantasy universes, believe they wield not only sword and shield, but the strength of Virtue that their faith affords them.
To become a Holy Sword, would-be knights are sent to either the Virtorian Military Academy or, in the case of wealthier aristocracy or nobility, are sent to remote duchies - sometimes as part of a negotiation - to be trained as a page and squire. In the case where someone is sent to a foreign duchy, it is necessary for the Duke or Duchess to be a Holy Sword themselves or to have an on-site Steward - a member of the Virtorian Church - responsible for overseeing the religious training of the up-and-coming Knight.
The Kingdom's sovereign ruler, through their vassals, wields the Holy Swords as their own - with the leader of the Virtorian Church serving as an adviser. The remaining forces of the Neran military are both cultivated through the local militia, as well as mercenaries-for-hire.
Neran perspective Hrothi - Being resourceful can sometimes mean being pragmatic. They have traditionally been strong allies with the Hrothi, possessing a long and dense past thanks to their shared faith and lineage. There is a substantial amount of religious iconography featuring the Hrothi and Neran depicted side-by-side, with shields representing the Hrothi and swords representing the Neran. You can find quite a lot of Hrothi designs and influences in modern Neran armaments as the Hrothi were at one point the chief blacksmiths of the Neran's holy army.
Hrothi perspective Being resourceful can sometimes mean being pragmatic. They have traditionally been strong allies with the Neran, possessing a long and dense past thanks to their shared faith and lineage. There is a substantial amount of religious iconography featuring the Hrothi and Neran depicted side-by-side, with shields representing the Hrothi and swords representing the Neran. You can find quite a lot of Hrothi designs and influences in modern Neran armaments as the Hrothi were at one point the chief blacksmiths of the Neran's holy army.
Festival of Virtue Every fifty years or so, Virtorian's hold a festival where they celebrate by trying to "wake up" the Virtues throughout the year. Each month, the Virtue for that period is honoured through festivities and, more importantly, through action. With so many among the people demonstrating, it is believed that the Virtue can't help but reflect and resonate its power back through the realm. This contrasts with the Abolition of Vice ceremonies held at the midpoint between this bicenturial festival.
In the month of Angelan, followers of the Virtori are expected to awaken Pacyen with acts of patience. Fasting is common, as well as planting and sowing new crops, constructing new community buildings or repairing old infrastructure. It is also a time where virtuous crafter's will often produce their most intricate and high-quality goods, the ones that require a steady hand and patient heart.
During the month of Daemi, tradition demands honoring Pudoros through abstinence and modesty. It is a month of chastity and any self-respecting Virtorian would balk at the idea of a wedding while observing this virtue. That is not to say there is no celebration! In fact, followers gather frequently and exchange goods and services freely in order to demonstrate to Pudoros that they can be unbound from covetous thought.
The Virtue Kedryn is honored in the month of Ocei with acts of kindness. Violence is strictly forbidden, and entire war hosts filled with the devout will plan around this observance so as not to anger Kedryn. No weapons of any kind are held, if possible. Mercy and compassion are wielded instead. Food and shelter is provided for the poor, succor is given to enemies, and friendships new and old flourish in this month more than any other (although a Virtorian would counsel that the Virtues should be followed and adhered to at all times, not just during the festival).
During Terrarn, the virtue of justice is demonstrated to Iustus most keenly. Virtori followers flock en masse to their ministers to confess. So, too, will they make a point of apologising to those they may have hurt or put too heavy a burden on. Scribes are often kept quite busy during this time with the flurry of hand-written cards and notes needed to commemorate this mass atonement. Lastly, it is considered one's holy duty to pay back any debt one might have accrued previously. Ending the month with a clean slate across all facets of life is how Iustus is honoured best.
In the second to last month, Monarn, an interesting change of pace. This is a month of temperance to give worship to Modestos. No drink is imbibed during this month by even the least devout followers. Self-restraint is key so Virtorians will often take a vow of silence during this month as well. At the very least, it is expected that one will mind one's own business to demonstrate their worthiness to Modestos and receive her blessing.
Lastly, during the month of Lunai, Virtorians pay homage to Harbos with acts of charity. The month is a joyous one and culminates in gift giving among friends and family, as well as giving forgiveness throughout the community. This includes forgiveness of prior trespasses and debts between members of the settlement. This forgiveness sometimes extends to taxes, tithes, or minor criminal transgressions in small towns, but larger cities can't afford to halt the great machine and the church tends to look the other way.
Accompanying everything is colourful decoration and revelry. In all months, except Monarn, these celebrations are raucous and lively at all hours. The idea being that the louder they celebrate and demonstrate, the more the Virtues will be able to hear them. During Monarn, the party doesn't stop but it is held in silence and with restraint. Underground Hrothi settlements will petition to be loaned an illuminated manuscript from the archives so they can lecture on one of the parables or accounts of virtue from the earliest times. Predominantly Neran settlements like to hold games and competitions in line with the monthly observances that often end in moral lessons.