The Mephali Enchiridion, which bears the order's seal.
Year 0 of the Sixth Age
Mephiles' Paradigm is a religious order and cult that was founded by Mephiles Sol at the start of the Dark Schism, when he and several allies seceded support from Fer' Ireth’s Immortues and pooled their forces and resources together under Mephiles’ banner. Following Immortues’ dissolution and the “ascension” of Mephiles, the order has been reformatted into a cult who now seek to impart political control over the human kingdoms and restructure societal taboos on magic.</p>
Pre-FoundingThe origins of the Mephiles Paradigm can be traced back to the internal conflict between Mephiles Sol and Ares Intempium during the absence of the Immortues leader, Fer' Ireth. The two has very opposing views of their leader, who had been captured and left incorpeal by the Zeiro in the Wushanko Isles. Mephiles despised the Necrolord for abandoning him: without the life bond or the ability to cross to the afterlife, he was terrified at remaining in eternal limbo between lives. Ares however was still furiously loyal to his absent master, who knew that he had ways of returning him.
With Mephiles slowly dying, Ares decided to preserve him within the Tower of Life, which contained the only plentiful source of life-energy that could sustain him. However Mephiles highly resented this as self-imprisonment. He expressed these views with Lord Mox of Ardounge, who bankrolled much of the order’s work. Mox agreeded with Mephiles on this, believing Fer to be too self-centered and blinded with obscession to contribute to the cause anymore.
Ares, despite reasoning with Mephiles on several occasions, failed to reconcile the relationship between the order’s acting parties; instead only poisoning the waters further with deception. Mephiles used his personal relationship with Mox to withdraw Ares’ financial and political contacts, while he used his influence to win the support of the Kaledrake Milita, who had several contacts with the order to supress other cults who might expose or threaten their operations.
The official Secession and foundation of the Paradigm began when Fer ‘Ireth regained his corporeal form in the presence of his two creations. Fer demanded a sign of fealty from his creations upon return to ensure their loyalty, but Mephiles refused to do so, revealing that despite the Necrolord’s return that he was no longer bound to his will, promptly attacking him with power siphoned he had siphoned from the Battle of Lumbridge.
However Mephiles could not rival Fer in power, promptly having his magical burst being deflected back by the defensive aura created by the Necrolord’s four artefacts. Declaring that Fer would fall and that Ares would pay for his treachery, the Wight teleported back to the Tower of Life to hastily summon the Kaledrake Commander, Lord Mox and the few undead who served him. He used the urgent gathering to cement their support for him against Fer and declaring Secession as Mephiles’ Paradigm.
The Dark Schism
With their declaration of Secession, Mephiles began to organise his newly gained power to an immediate war-footing, with the disruption of the remaining forces that where loyal to the original Immortues paramount for a successful rebellion. Mox began to bankrole the Kaledrake forces, allowing them to fund the short-lived but successful South Kandarin campaign. The campaign drove back the broken Khazard forces from their fortress and port, ensuring a secure perimeter around the Tower of Life that could be plundered for resources and caravans.
Meanwhile, Mephiles cultivated the Necrovile species within the tower to bolster their forces with the introduction of the Necrovitalia Cognito stem of the family, which would cultivate new genus from the various corpse samples that Mephiles had imported though Mox’s connections.
But the main goal for the Schism was to assassinate Fer. Mephiles concluded that no mortal magic he could source would be powerful enough to penetrate the artefacts the Necrolord possessed: he had to ascend to a minimal level of godhood to defeat him. Mephiles therefore ordered several spellcasters from the Kaledrake ranks to begin a large-scale Divination harvest at several known sites across Gilenior, while he would refine the power in the Well of Life.
Kaledrake forces during the Dark Schism initated raiding parties against the known allies of Immortules, with Ares responding with miscellaneous task forces assembled by either invitation or influence with larger organisations, who would often dominate Mephiles’ larger but more inexperienced units.
Kaledrake forces would withdraw the raiding parties following the Skirmish of White Wolf Mountain, where Paradigm and Immortues would battle as convoys of divination energy and necromancy supplies from their respective sides would cross the essential trading path. The Battle was a disaster for Kaledrake, with heavy losses stemming from a lack of preparation and insufficient equipment to withstand the mountainous environment.
Regardless the skirmishes where the ideal distraction and diversions needed for Mephiles to conjure a plan, who would learn enough about Divination to create Simulacrums. Combined with intimate knowledge on how Ares was created, and Freneskae, he conceived a way to transfer his essence into a divine, undying form and ascend into a minor deity.
Victory over ImmortuesThe Paradigm would have to rush to enact the plan however, with Fer and Ares launching counterattacks against his Necroviles, who they saw as abominations to the art of Necromancy. Mephiles evacuated the Tower of Life, freezing the entire lower-chambers in enchanted blood-ice to prevent Ares or Fer from sabotaging it.
The Paradigm relocated to a temporary war encampment north of the newly-restored World Gate, where access to Freneskae was possible. A small platoon of Excubitor Necroviles and elite Kaledrake escorted Mephiles, and his assistant Viza, into Freneskae, where they would rush to enact the Ritual of Ascension at the Elder Halls.
The remaining forces would remain at the camp. They would tragically be decimated as the Necroviles would lose their stem, which formed the centre of their hive mind. The Necroviles which were not bound to a superior mind became rabid, wild predators that swarmed the encampment. The Kaledrake Militia would be decimated by this, leaving only a brave few of their rank to escape along the Baxtorian River, along with the few Excubitor personal guard that where bound to the Kaledrake commanders.
In Freneskae, Viza and the remaining forces would made a defensive stand within the Zarosian Sanctum. This ultimately cost Viza her ‘life’, as she unsuccessfully confronter Fer and Ares, before being consumed by the Nihil who used the Sanctum’s lab as their nest. Lord Mox would cower within the Sanctum, suffering from repertory problems with Freneskae’s ash-laden environment, but otherwise remained unharmed.
Mephiles would finally confront Fer and Ares within the Elder Halls, being empowered by a powerful energy portal that extracted from the Well of Life. The epic conflict was brutal and evenly matched, but ultimately Mephiles was unable to defeat his former master while he still possessed the artefacts, with Fer throwing his disavowed creation into the Anima Vortex. This however proved to be his undoing, as it fufiuled the Ascension ritual by destroying Mephiles’ original form.
Mephiles’s spirt passed into the Simulacrum, which grew into a new, silica-based body that granted him the so-called ‘hint of divinity’. The newly acquired form was able to penetrate Fer’s defences, who was overwhelmed almost immediately. Mephiles relished as he impaled Fer with his own staff, killing him. Without Fer, Immortules collapsed.
ReformationThe Paradigm, now shrunk down to about 40 people, along with the last remaining Excubitor Necroviles, remained scattered across the kingdom of Kandarin as Mephiles remained in self-exile. Lord Mox would reunite over several months via several communiqués to the scattered order’s commanders, which would culminate in a gathering at the ruins of the Tower of Life a short time after the death of Tuska.
The meeting was fraught with tensions following the chaos caused, with Mox struggling to regain order. However, without warning the newly ascended Mephiles arrived, subduing the last remaining Kaledrake commanders without effort and gaining full control of the situation. He declared that he was now indeed a deity, and that now the order had a new purpose: To restore the influence of the Empty Lord though the human kingdoms though political and educational infiltration. In reality, Mephiles desired nothing more than power; both divine and political, to legitimise himself as a god for when he would be exposed.
With his return, Mephiles restored the order to power within a few months. The Tower of Life would be restored and reconfigured, while Lord Mox would absorb the influence of the fallen Immortules and begin a secretive recruitment drive from the youngest nobels. The independent commanders who had survived where inducted into a Synod, who would effectively command the small forces he influenced, under the protection of the last Excubitors.
The reformed Paradigm would begin its infiltration politically by financing political unrest in the Kingdom of Asgarnia during the reign of Empress Quinn the First. This culminated in the Occupation of East Falador, which was led by the eccentric warlock Lord Maltimore and a Paradigm Emissary known as Trakig.
The Paradigm-Godless Conflict
Some weeks after Tuska’s fall, the Godless discovered that someone had attempted to usurp some of the dead boar goddess’ Anima. Mark, leader of The Godless, sent a Ramokee Hoardstalker (who had been nicknamed ‘Naabe’ by the organisation’s members) to investigate who had perpetrated this.
This would lead the Hoardstalker to Ardounge by tracking the missing portion of Anima from Tuska with the assistance of a Light Creature familiar. The hoardstalker started to inquire the locals bluntly, attracting the attention of Trakig, who had returned to the city to report to his master about the occupation, who attempted to intimidate the Ramokee. But undeterred the Hoardstalker eventually discovered a link with the Tower of Life, and after sending a message for assistance by hawk to Port Sarim, attempted to infiltrate it.
However the Hoardstalker failed, being knocked out by Trakig as he laid a brief glimpse of Mephiles. Trakig and a pair of Necroviles dragged him to an abandoned coal quarry outside Seer’s Village. Trakig interrogated the Hoardstalker by force, who had been bound to a tree. However the communication had been received, with a lone Godless spellsword sent to retrieve him. Trakig and the spellsword duelled briefly, before Mephiles recalled him back to assist another Emissary known as Kallig. The Hoardstalker was rescued and returned to the Godless Hall for urgent medical treatment.
The Paradigm’ worships a triad of deities: two legitimate deities, Zaros and Seren, and Mephiles as a demigod (though still considered to be the head of the triad). All three represent a particular element that is revered and required to succeed in their goals. Much of this is detailed within the Mephali Enrichidion.
Mephiles – PowerMephiles is the main member of the Pantheon, due to his physical presence and founding of the order. He is worshiped as a Demigod, who represents the Embodiment of Power. Mephiles shares similar views to Zaros, but does not agree that indirect influence will be enough and that hands will need to be forced for ultimate victory at critical junctures. He extends these views onto the teaching of Magic, strongly believing that mortal races should embrace all forms of magic, regardless of the stigma or taboos attached to them, and declaring those who do not as inferior and needing to be eradicated for the greater good.
Zaros – InfluenceZaros is represented in the Pantheon to be the strongest of the trio, but also the most elusive. He represents the Embodiment of Influence, being known as the God of Control. Followers are taught to trust in Zaros to present themselves the opportunities for them to prove themselves, but also that they must seize that opportunity, or be abandoned to the shadows. The majority of practices are derived from the Second Age church established in the empire, which were preserved though Immortues.
Seren – Anima / TimeSeren is the last of the Pantheon and least worshiped, due to the little knowledge of her existence outside the Elven Lands until the 6th Age. She is idolised as the Divine Personification of the Anima Mundi, but also as the Embodiment of Time. Members of the Pantheon are taught that everything is connected, using Seren and the Anima Mundi as the prime example for this, and that pulling the right strings at the right time will enable success, but mistiming it will cause more damage than good. The prime example of this would be the accidental attachment to the Elven race.
Traditional worship within the order is almost non-existent, as much of the taught theology is incorporated into daily life. However there are still some pratices that are carried over from the ancient Zarosian faith:
Sacrements within the Paradigm are often exclusively for the indoctrination or ascension of members of the order, and often more used to reinforce the presence of Mephiles upon them. Such ceremonies however share very similar traits:
- They are ‘public’ events that are expected to be attended.
- They require the bearer to kneel before either Mephiles or his appointed Emissary.
- The bearer is anointed with water from the Well of Life.
- Ceremonial attire is required, including military honours.
Induction into the Excubitor Guard
The most gruesome of the worship within the Paradigm is the ritualistic sacrifice of a humanoid sentient, which is used for the creation of the Excubitor guard. Such sacrifices are a rare occurrence, and all follow the same procedure.
A sacrifice is declared whenever the Exubitor guard has declined in number or following military action where prisoners of worth have been captured alive. The tribute is either a low-ranked member of the order, or prisoners of war, but any tribute must be physically able and have a reasonable sane mind.
Such rituals are conducted in the Tower, by strapping the tribute to a table with their chest exposed. Either Mephiles or an Emissary would then use a sharp blade to split the skin open, exposing the ribcage while still alive. Waters of life are forcefully consumed either orally or by injections across the limbs and spine, as a Gorgavore is inserted into the open wound The Gorgavore then begins to cannibalise the being, converting them.
The Mephlai Enrichidion
The Mephali Enricidion is the ‘holy’ book of the Paradigm, which was published by the Tribunus. It is an edited composite of several loose papers and handwritten journals by Mephiles, along with salvaged texts from the Zarosian Empire, including the Codex Ultimatus. It was published (under the books) by Smiths & Son Publishing. Co. Due to the nature of the Zarosian, Necromancy and cult-like ritual content, it has been outlawed in several human kingdoms.
Mephiles’ Paradigm has a loose higheracy that ensures structure and obedient control over the order’s more important followers.
EmissariesEmissaries are the 5 representatives of Mephiles that he created while regenerating within the Well of Life. They are all humans who have been bonded to Mephiles in a similar way to that he was once bound to Fer (and later Ares), but instead are fuelled by a fraction of his leaking Divine Energy. Their duties are directly appointed by Mephiles and each wear the same robed uniform and bone mask: the only visual identification between them being gender, hairstyle and coloured eye-filters in their masks.
Each of the Emissaries can be utilised as Mephiles as hosts, allowing him to observe what they experience and talk though them. He can also recall them to him though a forceful Tele-other spell, regardless of his location, along with even inducing vivid halicunations as punishment. Mephiles has also said that he could "stop their hearts with only a single thought", but this has yet to be confirmed.
The Tribunus is the synod of the order, consisting of around 7 members. They are responsible for the internal policing of the order, such as rooting out trators and ensuring leaks are plugged up. They also control some of the doctrine that is taught, mainly though revisions of the Mephali Enrichidion. They directly report to Mephiles.
Excubitor GuardThe Excubitor Guard are the formal guard for Mephiles and the Tribunus. They are named after the Excubitor Necroviles that they mainly consist of, though some humans act as commanders and captains within the guard. They are duty-bound to escort and protect Mephiles, the Tribunus and the order from outside threats.
They are well equiped to deal with threats due to their biologicaly and magicaly enhanced strength, speed and agility, along with their folded steel plate armor. The majority of Excubitors are equipped with melee weapons such as swords and axes, but can include crossbows for ranged attacks.
Members of the Excubitor Guard who are killed in service are cremated, against any personal or family wishes, to prevent outbreaks of rouge Gorgavores.
The Mephali Incarnate is an unoccupied position within the order. It is to be filled by the head of the Tribunus in the event that Mephiles is absent from the order, or is killed. The Mephali Incarnate is to be treated as the grandmaster of the order and would gain the same authority that Mephiles possesses.
Alliances and Enemies
The Paradigm have either infiltrated or gained the support of these groups. They would be promised of aid when needed, and supplies of resources for both sides. The specific allies to the Paradigm are:
- West Ardounge
- East Ardounge
The Paradigm are known to have enemies, either forged during their formation or because of their existence. Enemies would never be allies to the Paradigm: they would be avoided, or attacked if seen as a threat. A truce with them is allowed only if something is threatening both organizations. The specific enemies to Mephiles and his Paradigm are:
Mephiles and the Paradigm were known to have truces with some organizations in the past, this means of aid to protect a mutual interest or their existence. Do note that this does not mean that both side would then turn enemies, depending on the outcome after the truce, both side can be allied, or natural;
- Armadyleans (During the battle against Tuska)
- Kaledrake Milita (Betrayed after the Dark Schism)
- Mephiles' Paradigm was codenamed as the Grey Paradigm in plot development documents to prevent spoilers.
- The existance of the Paradigm was developed from ideas of making the Immortues storyline into a public clan. These ideas where later scraped due to a lack of intrest at the time.
|† denotes that character is deceased.|
‡ denotes character defected to Mephiles' Paradigm.