The Mistral, as the Church of Mist is commonly called, has few official positions. At the head is the Tempest, chosen of Mist, her agent of change on Layonara. The Tempest has been chosen in a wide variety of methods. General vote, assassination, claims of divine right, manipulations of votes, getting put into office for the purposes of being manipulated, actual divine mandate'every possible way to elect someone has been tried. Only two Tempests in the history of the Mistral have been male. It is considered unlucky for a man to hold the position.
Under the Tempest are eight Tides, each very powerful and considered equals of each other. In theory. In reality, Lady Doom encourages her Tides to challenge each other, reveling in the fresh blood that this brings her Mistral. The Tides are given their position by the Tempest and are responsible for different parts of the globe, each reporting directly to the Tempest. Often, though not always, the Tides will also fill other leadership roles in the organization. The different positions are filled by the Tempest; thus, a little sucking up doesn't hurt. However, the Tempest has carte blanche to choose whomever she wishes.
The head of the Storm Bringers is called the Riptide with Crests commanding flotillas and Currents captaining the ships. The organization here is strictly hierarchical. The Riptide is chosen by the Tempest, the Waves are chosen by the Riptide, and the Currents are chosen by the Waves (not necessarily as a group, often leading to clashes over individual appointments). The Currents choose the members of their crew. For land troops, the Storm Bringer advancement structure applies.
In the Trade Winds, the Tempest also assigns the Eye of Storms who then picks her Flurries. Due to the exclusiveness of this organization, the remaining members are, like the Tides, considered to be on equal footing. Which, also like the Tides, works out to be a politically charged atmosphere.
The Voices have no leader unless they choose to rally around one of their members or the the oldest Voice of Mist, the Lyric.
Elections and Organizations
- Tide of the Northeast
- Tide of the Southwest
- Tide of the East
- Tide of the Southeast
- Tide of the Northwest
- Tide of the North
- Tide of the South
- Tide of the West
- Storm Bringers
- Trade Winds
- Eye of Storms
The Head of the Mistral, the Appointer, and the embodiment of Mist on Layonara, the Tempest has many hats to wear. She must be the strongest at her profession, the most clever, and remain in the favor of her goddess. Of all the followers, she is considered closest to the Lady of the Seas. The history of the Tempest goes back to the ascension. After the cyclone of rain, sleet, and snow swirled to the skies, a young cleric who worshiped the God of Storms, but pledged herself to Mist secretly, gathered the others. She bade them to go to all corners of the world to bring the word of the Goddess of Storms. She took the weight of the fledgling Mistral on her shoulders and became the spearhead of the new church. For her tireless work, Mist granted her the name of Tempest.
From this first woman onward, this title name supplants any the Tempest is born with. The Tempest makes the decisions of the Mistral and fills all vacancies of the highest positions. The Tempest has the full power of the Storm Bringers and the Trade Winds at her back with the support of the Voices as well. The position brings great power and is coveted. While the Mistral is not as rife with backstabbing and violence as is, say, Pyrtechon's church, certainly a Tempest would do well to keep eyes in the back of her head and her ear to the ground. The current Tempest is a human woman at the latter half of vibrant adulthood. Her champagne-colored hair has a liberal streaking of gray that matches her stormy eyes. She is never seen in anything but her long cerulean robes, and she is always barefoot.
Since before her ascension, there have been nine in the inner circle of Mist: the Tempest and the Tides. Eight women and men with different talents, agendas, and personalities. The first Tempest assigned them regions to whence they were to bring the word of Mist, the faster to sing her praises. That tradition has stuck. Along with the Tempest, it represents one of the few unchanging aspects of the Mistral. Each Tide is placed by the Tempest, but it is almost never necessary for her to remove them. Internal fighting and manipulations keep a steady turnover of these strong-willed, prismatic personalities. Tides are responsible for shrines and temples in their area as well as keeping the Tempest up to date on rivalries with other gods and their minions and political struggles that could prove beneficial to back or prevent. Tides are instructed to bring the full power of Lady Doom to the lands, demonstrating both her benevolent and unforgiving side. They recruit when they can and travel most of their tenure. It is guessed that Mist's constellation reflects her eight Tides with the deep-black center, and that they radiate around being the tidal pull of the Tempest.
During the whirlwinds of the Cataclysm, naval battles raged across the seas. The first Riptide appeared in the wake of this early time in Mist's history. Trauden, Tide of the North, rode the chaos of the waves as the most skilled captain and most clever sailor seen yet. The oceanic instincts and cunning of this man echo on Mist's ships even now. He assembled a fleet that represented a considerable naval might, and he called them the Storm Bringers. Since their inception, they have served as major powers in the war with the elves, waged war against Shindilaria's forces, lent aid to battles of allies, more than once acted as paid mercenaries in other folk's wars, and spread the word of the Lady of Seas. The military might of Mist also lies within this elite group. The Storm Bringers comprise both land and naval forces, but the naval ones are by far the more advanced and prestigious. Beyond the armada are the ground forces, also called Storm Bringers. They have slightly different nomenclature and different traditions than the shipdogs. Independent Wave commanders (Crests) answer to the Riptide.
Those that captain the ships are called Currents, and at the bottom of the organization ladder are the Eddys, forming the bulk of the sailing crews. Initiates or the youngest or least experienced crew members are not given a name until they can prove themselves as Eddys. On land, a Crest will still answer only to the Riptide, but under him are Gales (commanders) with the support of Squalls (captains), and Zephyrs as the grunts.
The Storm Bringers are not aligned with any current government structure; they come together at the call of the Tempest or act in smaller groups as the Riptide command. Banding together only in times of need, helps to keep this force of fierce warriors and sailors from self-destructing due to their strongly independent natures. When not serving the direct interests of Mist, these fleets usually default to the trades of privateer and mercenaries. Very few are merchant-oriented, excepting the few vessels that act as slave transports. The number and placement of Wave and Gale crests varies greatly. In chaotic times, there may be as many as a dozen and less than five when the political winds are calm.
The proud naval traditions of the Rohden Alliance are rooted deep in this force. Many of that kingdom's finest officers had their start on a Storm vessel, and rumors abound that many a high-ranking official secretly serve as Crests. Notable as well are sightings of fleets off Vanavar's coast, and there are known bases in Sloren and Seacove. Storm Bringers harbor all over Layonara with some of the more prominent ones out of Leringard, Mariner's Hold, and Audira. The isles and coves of Krashin have also served as bases to the organization. Since Krashin is home to the current Riptide, there is always a good chance that the Temptation is anchored in some secluded bay waiting to pounce.
- Riptide - The rank of Tempest may be the realm of the women of Mist, but the Riptide is the only post that is invariably male and often filled by a Tide; although this is not a requirement. It is also supposed (although not yet proven) that the Riptide acts, at least occasionally, as an actual consort to Mist. If any of the men who have filled these considerable shoes in the past know for sure, however, they're not telling. Murray, Tide of the Northwest, currently heeds the call and provides the direction as Lady Doom's Riptide with his small armada and command vessel, the Temptation.
Simply known as the Winds, this select group is both admired and feared. The distinct cerulean blue of their robes (or plate in the case of those divinely called) and the intricate silver scrolling of the Al'Noth bound to them, make these casters a feared sight to many an enemy commander. Theirs is the power of the storm. Long and arduous studies in the graces of Lady Doom make these storm callers terrifying in their control of the elements. Training often begins shortly after the first shows of arcane talent or divine calling. The test of the calling is a period of seclusion, which occurs in the year preceding the new Wind's emergence into the ranks; in this seclusion, the initiate (often called Drafts, though this is considered derogatory) are required to walk alone, without support of family or friends, and brave and best every situation they come across. The number of Winds is small, generally less than two dozen, although when chaos abounds the ranks may grow accordingly. The upper echelons of this sect are legendary in their skill and Mist's favor.
The leader is called the Eye of Storms, and her assistants are called Flurries. When an Eye of Storms is called to battle, often the battle will be over before it begins. Tactics of the Eye and the Flurries include wearing down opposing forces with constant bad weather, making formerly passable roads unpassable due to rains or mudslides, and stirring up local hostiles to bleed down supplies and decimate moral. In more peaceable times, it is rumored the Winds evoke the cleansing of the land, bringing storms to raze the forest allowing younger trees to grow out of the shadows of older ones, and heavy downpours to stir up and soak the earth, the better for planting. Varsha, Tide of the Northeast is the current Eye of Storms.