The Old Ways: The Customs and Philosophy of Grave and Faithful Council

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Author (in-game): Celarus

We who know the Old Ways are well aware of the existence of a spiritual world invisible to the unenlightened. Just as one living in a kingdom but unaware of the political machinations may see a new tax or battle preparation as capricious fortune, many observe floods, famines, and madness with helpless incomprehension. This is deplorable. As the great Cuilean Darnizhaan moaned, “The power of ignorance can truly shatter mithril like glass.”

What, after all, is the origin of these spiritual forces that move the invisible strings of Mundus? Any neophyte of Artaeum knows that the spirits are our ancestors, and that, while living, they too were bewildered by the spirits of their ancestors, and so on to the original Acharyai. The daedra and gods the common people turn to are no more than the spirits of superior men and women whose power and passion granted them great influence in the phantom world. Certainly, this is our truth and our religion, but how does it help us in our sacred duty to seliffrnsae, or “provide grave and faithful counsel”?

Firstly, we can easily grasp the necessity of both bringing good men great power and making powerful men good. We recognize the multiple threats that a strong tyrant represents — he breeds cruelty which feeds the daedra Boethiah and hatred which feeds the daedra Vaernima; if he should he die performing a particularly malevolent act, he may go to rule in Oblivion; worst of all, he inspires other villians to power and other rulers to villiany. Knowing this, we have developed patience in our dealings with such despots. They should be crippled, humiliated, impoverished, imprisoned. Other counselors than we may advocate assassination or warfare, which, aside from its spiritual significance, is expensive, aleatric, and likely to cause at least as much pain to innocents as the brutish dictator was inflicting. No, we are intelligence gathers, dignified diplomats, not revolutionaries.

How, then, are our counselors “faithful”? We are faithful only to the Old Ways — it is essential always to remember the spiritual world in watching our world. Performing the Rites of Moawita on the 2nd of Hearth Fire and the Vigyld on the 1st of Second Seed are essential means of empowering the salutary ghosts and debilitating the unclean spirits. How, then, are we faithful to those we counsel and to the Isle of Artaeum?

Perhaps the sage Taheritae said it best: “In Mundus, conflict, disparity is what brings change, and change is most sacred of all the eleven forces. Change is the force without focus or origin, and it is the duty of the disciplined Psijic (enlightened one) to dilute change where it brings greed, gluttony, sloth, ignorance, prejudice, cruelty … (Taheritae lists the 111 Prodigalities) … and to encourage change where it brings excellence, beauty, happiness, and enlightenment. As such, the faithful counsel has but one master, his mind. If the man the Psijic counsels acts wickedly and brings oegnithr “bad change” and will not be counselled, it is the Psijics duty to counterbalance the oegnithr by any means necessary.”

A student of the OldWays may indeed vassal himself to a lord, but it is a risky relationship. Should the lord refuse wise counsel and order the Psijic (to use Taheritae’s out-moded word) to perform an act contrary to the teachings of the Old Ways, there are few available options. The Psijic may abandon his lord, which will bring shame on him and the Isle of Artaeum, and so may never be allowed home again. The Psijic may also kill himself.

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