Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: The Twins

The Twins
Summer and Winter.  White Sun and Black Sun.  Day and Night.  Love and Death.

The Twins are two sister Goddesses, their faith being one of the most influential religions over the last thousand years.  The twin roses- the Summer Rose and the Black Rose- reflect two opposing portfolios.  The Church of the Twins thus is known for its plethora of binary organizations.  The Church also favors female Priests over male ones, a very old tradition dating back to the Church's founding.

This doesn't prevent male priests, but that is the distinction between conservative and progressive views of the church.  Each god has her own philosophy, but core to both faiths is a cooperation between the two.  Both faiths act in concert with one another.

The Summer Rose
Titles: Mother Summer, Mother of Souls
Portfolio: Summer, Beauty, Healing, Justice, Birth
Favored Animals: Eagles, Wolves
Holy Symbol: A White Rose
Holy Weapon: Longsword
Worshippers: Paladins, Healers, Midwives, Constabulary
Domains: Eagle, Sun, Healing, Summer, Protection

The Summer Rose is the mother of all souls.  She created life, according to the Rosegate, out of a dream she had.  She teaches that one must uplift their brother and sisters, to help their fellows, even if they are a enemy.  The Summer Rose sees beauty in all hearts, in that all are born the same in her eyes.  Optimism and altruism are worth their price.

It is no surprise that the Church of the Summer Rose is active force for helping others.  Its priests engage in all forms of charity, especially helping entertain or feed the worst off.  Prior to more modern innovations, the Summer Rose provided the most detailed or extensive forms of healing.

Her more militant orders provide for countless Paladins and other champions who fight injustice.  In prior eras, adherents of the Summer Rose were granted authority to arrest or detain criminals.  Today, Paladins of the Summer Rose have few legitimate avenues outside of joining constabulary- some become vigilantes, as those in the  Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow have taken to doing.

Perhaps the most bizarre quirk of followers of the Summer Rose are their unfaltering honesty.  Some of them are proud of it, others see it as a critical weakness.  Many claim that serving the Summer Rose requires such honesty, that her blessings only come to those who forsake secrets.  Only by revealing their True Selves, will she protect them in kind.

The Summer Rose is portrayed as a young mother, her hair bright red and face beautiful beyond reproach.  Sometimes she is pregnant, other times clad in armor from head to toe.  She always is seen with white roses, glittering with sunlight.

The Black Rose
Titles: Mother Winter, Our Lady Death
Portfolio: Winter, Death, Fate, Prophecy, Silence
Favored Animals: Crow, Cats, Spiders
Holy Symbol: A Black Rose
Worshippers: Rogues, Slayers, Judges, Criminals, Witches
Domains: Crow, Luck, Death, Winter, Destruction

All things must End.  The Black Rose is at that End, holding open the door that takes souls beyond.  She knows how all things will end.  Fate is open to her like the road or a book- and she keeps her silence.  The Black Rose teaches the importance of secrets and destiny.  Hers is the dark path, where one walks in quiet.

Where her sister's Church concerns itself with creating justice or helping the living live, the Black Rose's church has two areas of concern: the dead and executions.  They take care of the recently deceased.  They also take care of taking life from those they deem too guilty to live.  Priests also act as executioners, taking the lives of those who must die, whose lives would be too dangerous for the rest of society.

Vigilantes of the Black Rose are perhaps more troublesome than those of the Summer Rose.  They take the Executioner's task of the Church and extend it in practice to anyone, including those never tried for their crimes.  In modern times, many places ban the executioner rights of the Black Rose's Church.  Priests will go underground, assassinating targets who they believe committed a crime, disregarding any local laws at the same time.  They kill the unjust, even if it means they must commit suicide thereafter.

An extension of the Church is its militant side, which can be seen in the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.  The Crows are criminals the Church of the Black Rose has permitted to live.  They serve instead of dying or serving in prison.  The Church forgives their debt to society- although many governments these days don't recognize that, forcing many Crows to go underground and perform their work from the dark.

The more frightening quirk of the Church of the Black Rose is Silence.  Most, if not all of them, practice utmost silence.  They say little to nothing.  They sing no songs to her.  They speak if necessary, but to pray or call upon the Black Rose's powers... they must say nothing.  Not a word.

Just silence.

The Black Rose is often portrayed as a young woman the same age as her sister.  Her hair is black or covered in a hood made of starlight.  She never wears armor, only a cloak made of crow feathers.  Her eyes are always hidden, but sometimes she bears a dead child in her arms.

Together: The Twins
Holy Symbol: A Black Rose and a White Rose
Portfolio: Community, Cooperation, Family
Domains:  Community, Healing, Luck

Of course, most everyone doesn't dedicate themselves to one sister over the other.  In recent decades, both Churches have come to support congregations that worship the two of them in concert, much like the sky when both suns are risen high.  These mixed worshippers worship the Twins, and the idea of duality.  They worship the idea of opposites coming to compromise, the idea of family and the concept that everyone has something others can find themselves in.

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