Corath: Hierarchy

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At no time are the followers of Corath to reveal their faces. "That which you do not know, can hurt you."

This includes inside the Os Inasnum and in the outside world as well; therefore, only the titles, gender, and (sometimes) the race of the leaders are known. There is a definite set hierarchy however, which seems at odds with the seemingly chaotic nature of Corath. At the very top is Mortis Mentis, a name used for Corath in rituals and gatherings. Below him used to be only one leader, the Sanctus Mortis, known as the High Priest/Priestess of Death. However, in the last two decades since the fall of Bloodstone, the church has adopted a policy of splitting the Sanctus into four'the better to create chaos. Organizations under the Sanctus have been given leaders and more influence; although, the Sanctus Mortis still has a great deal more power where decisions are concerned.

Now, in addition to the Sanctus Mortis, leader of the clergy, there is the Oraculum Mortis, leader of those who use the Al'Noth for their spells. Formerly (and occasionally still) called the Oathmaster; the Proeliator Mortis, the general or head of the warriors, who was known as the Keeper of the Legions previously; and the Ereptor Mortis who is the final word on the thieves and assassins of the Bone Lord. Each Mortis resides on one of the four major continents. It is known that the Sanctus is in Arnax and the Oraculum somewhere on Mistone. The locations of the other two remain a mystery. These four are not voted into office (like many of the less antisocial gods) nor do they attempt to murder each other as Pyrtechon's priests do. To obtain office, one must directly challenge the current title holder to a Caries Minuo. This challenge cannot be rejected. Refusing the challenge results in the death of the challenged and the raising of his or her body as unliving. "Those who will not embrace the madness are too weak to lead it."

Only one witness to a Caries Minuo has ever survived to tell about it. Pretina Aushawiss, a former member of the Morsus, was present to guard at one ceremony and after rescinding her association with the Os Inasnum and going into hiding, gave a detailed recounting of that incident before her untimely death a month later.

"The Oraculis stood at either side, three for the Proeliator Mortis and three for my liege, the Proeliator Stipatio. There were four of us per man, and both men were stripped naked except for their masks. At the word of the Sanctus Mortis, the mages cast their spells and each man was suddenly wailing and thrashing around. We had to hold them down, they were in such agony. A few minutes later the Proeliator Stipatio had a bloody tail, as did the Proeliator Mortis, who already had extra fingers and patches of scales from his first challenge years ago. Both men nodded and the mages began again. We held them while the Oraculis cast and the two men screamed. This went on for an hour, and finally the Proeliator Mortis collapsed, while my liege'former liege'still stood. He was deformed. Horribly. But he won, he remained conscious through it all, and the changes to him were badges of his new office."

Below the four Mortises are the local leaders, and this is a looser hierarchy. There can be one or more in a given location; although, there will only ever be one of each at that location. Leaders of Maligare, the local cults and houses dedicated to Corath, are called Stipatio. They lead followers directly and answer to the Mortis that leads their discipline as well as do the Mortises' bidding. Stipatio are chosen by Cruor Sto, commonly called the Blood Stand. Each challenger is slashed across his or her wrist and bled onto an unholy alter and the last to remain conscious and on their feet wins. Oraculis are present to make sure no magical cheating goes on.

  • Sanctus Mortis

    A female dark elf, age unknown, who says she wears the skull mask of a White Light of Aeridin. She is known to have no morals at all, often using victims for pleasure and promising release from captivity before corrupting or killing them. Her darkly divine powers are tremendous. She has four sets of arms, the second set bearing vicious claws; blood drips continuously from beneath her mask. She no longer appears in public.

  • Oraculum Mortis

    A male human with a bulging chest that appears to writhe under his clothes. His mask is said to be the facial bones of a former high-ranking Lucindite priest, although there is some question about this. He was almost caught in a magical trap by an ambush of Aeridinites in 1419, and in escaping, part of his face was seen. His skin was wormlike and he had a lantern jaw. His hair was a rusty brown, and his left eye appeared brown as well. His ear was covered by his hair and so his race is unverifiable; though, his left eye did seem to have a slant.

  • Proeliator Mortis

    This presumed human male is much taller than average; this alone marks him in ceremonies. He is thickly built with powerful muscles under a layer of fat, making his bulk seem to match his height. Information from a low ranking member of the Leringard Maligare says that he is also a member of the Excrucio. His mask is the skull of a former Champion of Toran, made all the more horrible (and powerful) for the carefully preserved skin still attached.

  • Ereptor Mortis

    Of all the Mortises, the most puzzling is the Ereptor. Gender is hard to tell but male has been mentioned most often; race is similarly hard to discern. Elf, human, and half elf have all been suggested. The Ereptor Mortis seems to have a way to blend into the background, to be ignored. As such, no description is available. Some who have seen the Ereptor claim he or she can vanish into thin air, which has led a few to speculate that the Ereptor is also a mage. Since blood seraph attacks increase anywhere the Ereptor is said to be, others are not so sure, The only information about the Ereptor that has more than one source is that the Ereptor does not seem to eat or drink.

Elections and Organization

Corath, of all the churches, holds no prejudice. Death takes all equally, male, female, young, old, human, elf, dwarf, or orc. It does not matter. Only the knowledge that the individual lives to serve Corath as a special and superior predator on Layonara, and it is this certainty that allows the Corathites to do the horrors they do.

"Those who do not bear the brand are your sheep, your oxen, your meat, your milk."

While humans are the most common followers and make up the bulk of the Maligare, any race is tolerated. The organizations, as noted, are split into four. Each has an area it tends to focus on. Despite many valiant attempts, the minds of most sentient creatures are not capable of learning every way possible to corrupt, murder, raise from the dead, and battle the living themselves.

"Four knives make more cuts than one sword."

Only one elf of all the followers of the Bone Lord'the Oraculum Mortis, called Flesh Weaver by those who knew him'managed to pass through every organization, ending as the head of the Veneficus. He remains a legend still inside the Os Inasnum.

  • Sanctum

    Clerics of Corath bound to the word of the local Sanctus Stipatio who is bound to the Sanctus Mortis. The Sanctum is focused on the manipulation of unliving and the rituals that raise them. Called Sancti or priests/priestesses to the uninitiated, they specialize in divine magics that raise unliving, cause pain, and change the nature of a being or their Astral Locks. Powerful Maligare of the Sancti are said to gather in Fort Vehl, at the temple to Corath on Mistone, in the Kingdom of Succession on Dregar, and in Arnax at the Tower Vereor.

  • Veneficus

    Spellweavers in the service of Corath and bound to the word of the local Oraculum Stipatio who is bound to the Oraculum Mortis. Members are called Oraculis and specialize in a number of magical disciplines, most notably those that change the form of living beings and corrupt their Astral Locks. Casting of spells by the Oraculis (and other evil mages, as the term has caught on) is called darkweaving. Rumors have existed for decades that the Black Wizards ally themselves with this group. Maligare of the Veneficus have centers of power in the Black Wizard's Tower on the northern Belinara coast, Mesgard on Mistone, and somewhere in the realm of Morholt on Alindor.

  • Morsus

    Warriors and other fighters who follow the Bone Lord. They are led in battles by their local Proeliator Stipatio who follows the orders of the Proeliator Mortis. The individuals of this group are called Noceo, inflictors of pain, and while they don't have the specialized skills of the Excrucio, they are adept enough at the breaking of wills and minds. As expected, the Morsus do not train as a group and cannot be considered an army. In battles where they have been called to rain blood, they have performed like hired mercenaries. The Morsus can be anywhere, solo or in small Maligare, although fingers point to somewhere in central Belinara for a concentration of the Noceo.

  • Furax

    Those who work with stealth, stealing, and assassinating are led to this group and are given specific instructions by a local Ereptor Stipatio who answers to the Ereptor Mortis. They are commonly called Furtim and tend to specialize in assassination with thievery being an afterthought to murder. While they have orders on occasion, most of the time it is left up to the individual how best to venerate their god with both themselves and their Stipatio held accountable if things go awry. Maligare of the Furax are rare. Most prefer to work in solitude, reporting to their Ereptor Stipatio as needed. Furtim are found everywhere there are crowds, on every continent, in every city.