Focus- The Bringers worship Melina, Goddess of love and sex, and of birth
Symbol- Two pieces of rope, knotted together; a chalice; a dove carrying a heart.
Prime Stats- IN/PR
Skills- The priests of Melina get the following skills (note: this is instead of the first level development stage):
MA: Sweeps (4) 3
MIA: Soft Leather 1
Religion: Melina 4
Religion: Toltoni 1
First Aid 2
Body Dev 2
MA: Sweeps (4) 4
MA: Strikes (4) 3
MIA: Rigid Leather 3
Religion: Melina 3
First Aid 3
Second Aid 2
Body Dev 3
Skill Cost Changes- For both clerics and paladins: Seduction 1/2, Dancing 1/2, Singing 1/2, Play Instrument 1/3, Massage 1/3. All weapon skill costs are doubled (except whip, for the cleric, and Martial Arts for both!)
Customary Garb- All Clerics wear red cloaks and pink robes, with red sandals. The paladins dress in red cloaks, with red robes, red sandals and a crimson leather cuirass. On their heads, both Paladins and Clerics wear a headband consisting of a winged heart, and all Bringers wear a wedding ring, to signify their marriage to the goddess. The Bringers wear a knotted rope for a belt, to signify the Great Union.
Special Requirements- In order to become a Bringer, the character must be both single, and a virgin. Their PR must be greater than 70, and their Apperance greater than 75.
Membership- The priesthood is restricted almost exclusively to humans, with a few Elves also being members. Most of the order are Ilmans, although any nationality is allowed to join. Males are restricted soley to Paladins, and females to clerics. The paladins are the healers of the group, whereas the clerics are both the diplomats and the intelligence.
Culture- Temples to Melina are scattered throughout Ilmanor, and there is at least one temple in every city. The main temple is at Amelia (The Hill of Consummation). Apart from the senior members of the church, the clerics and paladins are nomadic, travelling from country to country, spreading their word.
Benefits- Members are always treated with respect, both in Ilmanor and throughout any Tolton lands. Due to their reputation they are both desired and feared.
Restrictions- Only virgins may join the priesthood; the Bringers must give themselves soley to their goddess. Also, all members of the order must be both charismatic and good-looking, due to the services they must perform.
Structure- The priesthood is lead by the High Priestess, Miara. There are several different circles under her, each decreasing in rank. Rank is determined by age. The older the member becomes, the greater the rank they achieve. The priests are identified according to their circle, and given ranks accordingly:
The new high-priestess is usually chosen by the old one, before she retires or dies. A Bringer is initiated into the next circle by having sex with someone in that circle (normally someone who is about to leave it), and then drinking from that circle's chalice.
Paladins join the same circles as the Clerics, although they can never pass the Circle of Romara. High ranking Paladins are often the consorts of the high priestesses, as they are said to be manifestations of the male aspect of Melina. The consort of the high priestess is the Lord of the Chalice, Kheaser.
The Holy Chalice- In the Temple of Amelia the Holy Chalice is stored. This is an artifact of immense power, and was said to be the grail that Melina and Gurthil drank from at their wedding. Drinking from the cup bestows eternal youth on the drinker, who will never physically age (although they will still die of old age, due to weakening of the spirit). The Chalice is protected by the Lord of the Chalice, and it is used at initiations. All new members of the church must drink from the grail, thus providing eternal youth to the recipient.
In addition to the Holy chalice, each circle as its own lesser chalice. These do not have any power, and are used as symbols to initiate someone into a higher circle. These are as follows:
The High Priestess must drink once from every chalice, including the Holy Chalice. The Bringers also have hundreds of minor, Copper Chalices, which they use at weddings for the common people.
Philosophy/Purpose- The Bringers follow the teachings of Melina goddess of love; they believe that love is eternal and the most powerful force in the world. They also believe that love is to be shared by everyone. The Bringers' belief is that sex is a physical representation of love, and also a sacred act of Melina. They believe that sex, like love, should be shared with any who are in need of it. As a result, a temple of Melina is a place where any weary traveller can go to get 'relief.' Their doors are open to males and females. They do not consider their acts in anyway immoral. They have given themselves wholey to their goddess, and the 'sexual' act is just a way of worship to them. By coming together with a member of the opposite sex, they are sharing and worshipping Melina. The priests who travel perform very much the same task.
It would be untrue to say this is their only purpose. Their main task is to spread the Word of Melina, and to create feelings of love wherever they go. They strongly oppose violence, believing it to be the Child of Hate. Their main purpose is to stop all the fighting, and get people to talk.
Their activities have earned them a reputation as whores; this is untrue and unkind. The Bringers will never accept money for what they do; to do so would result in expulsion. Nor would they give it out of love for another person; to them, love is universal, and no being should have the undivided love of another, save Melina herself. This is why the Bringers must be virgins when they join- to give themselves soley to Melina.
It is considered a sin in the religion for a Bringer to start a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, and expulsion WILL occur. They are 'married' to Melina. Initiation for the Bringers involves a fomal marriage to Melina, in the temple of Amelia. This is then made official, by consummating the marriage with a member of the Circle of Silara (the embodiment of the male/Female aspect of Melina). This also serves as the initiation fir the Silaran into the next circle.
It is interesting to note that, according to Atlantean law, it is not considered adultery if a married man or woman copulates with a Bringer; it is just considered an act of worship.
Another belief of the Bringers is that duality consists in all things. They believe that in every female there is a bit of mascaulinity, and in every male there is femininity. This is another reason for their sexual worship- it signifies the bringing together of two seperate halfs. Just as day cannot exist without night, neither can male exist without female. Their belief is similar to the yin and yang belief. Originally, the church only allowed female members, as the priestesses represented aspects of the goddess, who was most definately female. With the new belief of duality, males were suddenly allowed in- after all, if the goddess had a mascauline side, the church certainly needed a male aspect, and the high priestess needed a male counterpart.
This belief of duality is what rules most of their activities. They seperate aspects, but know one cannot exist without the other- good needs evil, order needs chaos, life needs death- the only aspect they don't accept is hate. Love is everything, it is Melina's gift to the world of men- hate can have no place in such a world. Hate is merely the absence of love, and as such, it is the Bringers' job to eradicate it.........
Holy Days- The Holy Day of Melina, Melra, falls on the first of May. This is believed to be the day when Melina and Gurthil married. It is a day of romance, and celebration for the common people. Couples renew their vows, and single people choose a mate. Their are many festivities. At night, the people gather around a fire and play games. It is a time of love. A bringer is often present to perform marriages, and to sing and dance for the people.
Melra is also the day of the Meeting of Melina's Circle, when the high-ranking priests gather together to discuss the past and future years. Most initiations for the church take place on this day. A Bringer who was born on Melra is considered a Child of the Union (i.e. the offspring of Melina and Gurthil) and as such is considered blessed. The Bringer is treated with even more respect than their peers, and automatically bypass the first two circles. Needless to say, they have a certain seniority among the priests.
Activities- As well as spreading the Word of Melina, and themselves up to those who need it, the Bringers are also healers and diplomats. Rival leaders will often call on a Bringer to help calm an argument, or stop discord. Bringers are also present at wars, healing the troops, no matter which side they were on, and preaching 'love thy neighbour.' It is also a Bringer's task to 'worship' at least once a day, each time with a different person. This ensures new followers, and stops romantic attachment occurring for the priests.
The Temples of Melina are always open to the public, and the Bringers perform marriage ceremonies to those who want them (ALL priests can perform the ceremony, no matter what circle). Although the Bringers do not believe in undivided love, they realize that marriage is just another act of celebrating Melina's love. Also, from most marriages come births, and Melina is also the goddess of childbirth. A lot of the Bringers are trained as midwives.
As well as all these formal tasks, the Bringers are also frequently present at any fair or festival, where they perform singing and dancing for the masses. The Dance is representative of Melina's Dance of Life, and the song is her Song of Love.
Kisses (Houri Base list)
Fascination Dances (Dervish Base list)
All Cleric lists except: Summons
Subdual Ways (RMC VII)
Alluring Ways (Houri Base List)
All Paladin lists except: Arm's Way
Absolution- The target is filled with the love of Melina. He passes into a unwakeable sleep for 1 day per 5% failure. When he awakes, he will believe everyone is his friend, and will not make any aggressive move for 1 week per 10% failure). Absolution Pure is similar, except the target will never make an aggressive move.
1D6 Healing Herbs (random)= 10
1 Phial of Love Potion*= 10
Make-up (+25 seduction)= 15 (Cleric only)
Owed favour by a higher circle= 10
Owed favour by high ranking man/woman= 15
Spell Adder (+2)= 5
Magic Whip (+5)= 0 (Cleric only)
Spell Adder (+3)= 10
Magic Whip (+10)= 5 Make Whip 'holy'= 30 (Cleric only)
Blessed by Melina (GM determines)= 25
Gift from Melina (GM determines)= 20
Holy book (the Melara)= 5
Magic Armour (+10)= 5 (Paladins only)
*The drinker will fall in love with the first person he/she sees for 1 week/5% failure (level 6).