Annulus Conflagrus - The Ring of Fire

  • Annulus Conflagrus - The Ring of Fire - a Treatise and Journal on the Faith of the Lord of Flames.

    The first: The address to the faithless, the faithful and the aspirants.

    To all those gathered here, i bid you greeting. Take heart and warm yourself by the braziers I have erected for you all for the gifts of the firelord are simple, as well as rich in nature.

    :: Vertus surveys the crowd with a satisfied smile as he pushes his hoodback to reveal his strong features and thick black hair ::

    _Troubles surround us all, and it has been said that my lord… our lord of flames - Kossuth is distant, and does not involve himself in worldly affairs. Our lord is indeed of the nature of fire, he is the cleansing flame, the spark of innovation, the tempering force of reason and the heart of all passion.

    With Kossuth at your side and watching over your soul, he will smile on the everyday difficulties of your lives, lives which are ours to live. He does not demand fear or senseless obedience nor does he demand you perform illegal or immorral tasks for his pleasure. Think not of fire as the chotic and senseless destructive force out of your control, nay. Fire has always been the servant of all, and it is only fitting we show devotion to our lord of flames for his supreme gift. The fire that heats your cauldron, your childrens food each day. The fire that is a barrier to the cold in these dark northern lands. To the forge, where the tools and weapons that preserve us and allow us to defend one another there is his home. Our fold of the dwarven race, and Moradin share a great allegiance to Kossuth,and we smile upon them with respect.
    Fire, as i said, is the cleanser, burning away the diseases, and sending the dead on their way with honour and with simplicity. At the end of each season the fires burn down the ends of your crops returning the renewing ash into the earth for a new crop. Think of all the wonders of our realm also - and the new things that come from the forge each day. From the simplest of hinges to your door and the locks that secure you - to the magnificent suits of armour and metal weapons that are all that hold back the destruction all around us. Even those that do not realise Kossuth is around them and gifting and rewarding them - now is the time to re-pay your innovation and success.

    Also, i spoke of the force of reason by which fire has equal and even measure to all. He aids and secures the faithful above all, but does not judge others for their weknesses of failings as individuals simple devotion and reverance to the flame will put you in our lords hands for the higher purposes and his grand plan. Finally all of us, from the richest merchant to the simplest citizen know the heat of passion. From the most flamboyant bard to the parents of every child. There in your chest we all feel the fire of passion, passion of determination and the passion of desire and affection or ambition. It is not for i to speak of for we all know that Kossuth is with us all inside.
    Many of you i know seek that which does not satisfy you in a life of repetition and everyday concerns but seek greater purposes for your own faiths. Remember this that Kossuth smiles and approves greatly of challenges undertaken and in their success as you burn your own way with your own will to the ambition and rightful rewards of your risk, and your effort. Know that Kossuth watches all such trials, and as part of the faith your trials will be not only the most worthy - performed in his name but also the most richly rewarded as Kossuth sees to it that you are rewarded beyond all measure for your guile and determination. Even those who are resolved to their current faith - a word in reverence and prayer to the firelord will aid your success in the fervour and depth of your words.

    So i speak to you again, to those that wish to receive the blessing of the firelord to come forward, or those that want to know more of his favour. You may be blacksmith, merchant, bard arcanist or prospective acolyte to the glorious and exciting faith of the Lord of Flames. Come forward brothers and sisters.... friends i would wish to call you. Embrace the faith of the firelord and remember and give thanks to the fire that has always been at your side and with you each day._

    :: Vertus Dahl - inclines his head and folds his arms inside his simple robe and leans on his humble staff smiling at the crowd around him before speaking further with those approaching him after the speech ::

  • The Seventh: Favour first those who do show respect and tithe to the faith of the firelord, but show the renewing aspect of fire first to those not of the faith as the priority of the disciples of the phoenix.

    :: Vertus remarks first in a quiet moment by the fire in the Mermaid to himself only :: "The lawful resolution of the knights of the cleansing flame is challenged at all times by the ever changing and chaotic nature of what crosses one's path, but so must it also be said that this is a test of the brotherhood..,.. But what a find i have made.. it is truly a sign of greatness to come"

    :: Vertus then emerges, and speaks in public, close to a collection of braziers lit as usual to ward off the chill of the night.. his countenance bright with the fervor of his faith, speaking with some charisma to compliment his muscled frame ::

    Soon friends! Soon there will be a great surprise and reckoning of the enemies of the faith, but until then see the bounty of the firelord brought forward for you all. While i need little for he sustains me, the toil and costs of our lives in this city drain away warmth from our fire, and coin from our purse no matter how hard we work... Am i right friends? :: he remarks as he hands out cooked meats and hot bread and pastries from the ovens of the mermaid to those outside::

    To those brave enough to seek to venture from the city to put an end to the enemies who threaten us, the undead... :he pauses with dramatic effect: the unknowably evil, the orcs, the kobolds.. the list goes on... I say this to you. Seek me out, Vertus, knight of the cleansing flame and fear not the fire of your enemy, and may your weapon blaze with the fire of Kossuth, as you break through the lines of your enemy. I'll be there at the borders of the enemy waiting for you to set your weapon afire with the divine heat of the firelord. Not for an extortionate cost, and not only to the faithful of the firelord. No, but to all. Walk through their fires with impunity, laugh at their magics, and watch them run from your blades of fire. Save for the sloshing damp steps of those who follow Itishia who would rather see you all in a watery grave so long as their rivers and coasts are clean, preferably without the rich trade of your boats.

    Will i refuse your donations, or even a tithe from the faithful. No of course not, but you need not unless you are inspired to strike down your enemies once you feel the power of the fire in your hands.

    Soon friends, he pats a huge and heavy wrapped package on his lap. Soon we will see a reckoning to the uncaring and cold waters, soon even the coral and the weeds of the sea will crave the warmth, nay.. the cleansing and joyous hearth and blazing brazier we all stand around thankful for it...

  • The Sixth: Establish favourable political influence of your faith and see to it that it establishes itself in its rightful place as a superior faith.

    ::: Personal Journal Entry of Vertus Dahl, faithful of the Disciples of the Phoenix :::

    18th Before Shieldmeet:

    It was on this day that my trial by fire completed for another cycle.The defences granted by the harnessing of the power and veneration of Kossuth firelord prevailed as did my own fortitude in the 6th Trial.
    Trial by the other elements and aspects of fire. The hardest of them all, as they steel the aspirant to approach the most challenging of all for the disciples of the phoenix, as unlike brethren who follow a lawless path, or a path of malice or self-serving nature this path must still be carried out before progress can be made.
    To manipulate and cajole, threaten or bribe, supplant other goodly faiths or remove those of influence preventing our climbing to political position. These are not of the nature of the Disciples of the Phoenix who hold that both the sanctity of life, lawful authority driven from the place of kindness and compassion and the placing of others above your own will is the highest ideals of the order.

    It is said in the text of the annulus conflagrus that through the elemental aspects of fire, will insight and wisdom be gained as to how to accomplish the trial of the 6th no matter your political, or compass of good or evil.

    What follows are my notes obtained in these trials adapted from the Annulus Conflagrus treatise on the terraces.
    Notes would be quite different or the earth, air or water for those who hold no value to life or law

    Fire as of The Earth: The ember

    While immersion within a volcano, is reserved only for the highest of the terraces and elemental archons I did light a fire with the bow and dry sticks of wood to create an ember to which life can be breathed into it to cause sufficient flame for a fire. The fire has to be taken to a snow covered place of hills or mountains, using a slow burning fungus only found in the rawlinswood - then maintained for a day and a night without letting the fire die out.

    Fire as of the Air: Steam

    An intense wind must be envisioned and caused to be created amidst the forge of a smith, either by your own labours at the bellows or granted by the firelord until exahaustion and collapse, or until the smith tells you the task is done. You must bind yourself to this smith for this duty for a tenday at least, taking no more than the minimal of sleep and never more than the smith themselves, preparing the forge each day as directed by them as a humble apprentice, whether the aspirant has any skill at the forge or not?

    Fire as of the Water: The boiling cauldron

    Bring forth your own labours of sustenance and nourishment to those who need to eat or workers hard pressed making a life for themselves, such as miners, farmers, soldiers or the downtrodden and destitute.
    The cauldron must be prepared by yourself alone and the necessary skills gained at the hands of those skilled in the kitchen or campside spit.

    Objectives and Insights from the Three Tasks:

    1. Demonstrate your command of fire to those who could well be assailed by it, a known enemy of fire giants or an expedition to cold lands and demonstrate that extension of this fire from the south to the north is the essence of the Disciples of the Phoenix bring about a consideration that not all of the faith of Kossuth are the builders of pyres to pile their victims upon.

    2. Find an ally favoured by the firelord a smith favouring moradin perhaps or gond and place yourself at their service, protecting them at the forge with the prayers of kossuth and placing yourself in their service. This will aid in the acceptance and prominence of your faith among the dwarven kin or the smiths of a certain town or region.

    3. Deliver your food and place it at the most challenging ouf outposts of the land, ones which are hard pressed for soldiers, of the Icelace in defiance of the endless chill, the mountains and snow of Blackbridge and the damp and rainy Norwick to the guards on duty there. This will aid in the perception of humility of the Disciples of the Phoenix, where usually only the proud confident wielders of the firelords power are known.

  • The Fifth: Bring the warmth of the fire into the dark and cold places of the realm, act as protector in the coldest realms

    :: Vertus Dahl looks wistful for a long time, overhearing the conversations of many at the meeting places and campfires of the land, and in the darkest hours of the night to those standing watch, in the guard, defenders and workers of Peltarch he offers an old tale ::
    "Take heart in these cold dark hours friends and strangers alike, for the fire will always be there even when there is no wood to burn and the snow lay piled against your herd animals or the doors to the seat of the throne". "It will be there because of the ancient tales of fire, of the creatures of myth and wonder"

    "There is a bird that lays no eggs and has no young. It was here when the world began and is still living today, in a hidden, faraway desert spot. It is the Phoenix, the bird of fire.

    One day in the beginning of times, the Firelord, Kossuth looked down and saw a large bird with shimmering feathers. They were red and gold and bright and dazzling like the sun itself. Kossuth called out, "Glorious Phoenix, you shall be my bird and live forever!"

    Live forever! The Phoenix was overjoyed to hear these words. It lifted its head and sang, "Glorious firelord, I shall sing my songs for you alone!"
    But the Phoenix was not happy for long. Poor bird, its feathers were far too beautiful. Men, women, and children were always chasing it and trying to trap it. They wanted to have some of those beautiful, shiny feathers for themselves.

    "I cannot live here," thought the phoenix. And it flew off toward the east, where the sun rises in the morning.
    The Phoenix flew for a long time, and then came to a faraway, hidden desert where no humans lived. And there the Phoenix remained in peace, flying freely and singing its songs of praise to Kossuth.
    Almost five hundred years passed. The Phoenix was still alive, but it had grown old. It was often tired, and it had lost much of its strength. It couldn't soar so high in the sky, nor fly as fast or as far as when it was young. "I don't want to live like this," thought the Phoenix. "I want to be young and strong."

    So the Phoenix lifted its head and sang, "Glorious Kossuth, make me young and strong again!" but Kossuth didn't answer. Day after day the Phoenix sang. When he still didn't answer, the Phoenix decided to return to the place where it had lived in the beginning and ask the sun one more time. It flew across the desert, over hills, green valleys, and high mountains.
    The journey was long, and because the Phoenix was old and weak, it had to rest along the way. Now, the Phoenix has a keen sense of smell and is particularly fond of herbs and spices. So each time it landed, it collected pieces of cinnamon bark and all kinds of fragrant leaves. It tucked some in among its feathers and carried the rest in its claws.

    When at last the bird came to the place that had once been its home, it landed on a tall palm tree growing near a circle of stones. Right at the top of the tree, the Phoenix built a nest with the cinnamon bark and lined it with the fragrant leaves. Then the Phoenix flew off and collected some sharp-scented gum, which it had seen oozing out of a nearby tree. The Phoenix made an egg from the gum and carried the egg back to the nest.
    Now everything was ready. The Phoenix sat down in its nest, lifted its head, and sang, "Glorious Kossuth, make me young and strong again!" This time Kossuth heard the song. Swiftly it chased the clouds from the sky and stilled the winds and appeared with all his power. The animals, the unicorns, the basilisks, and every other bird hid from Kossuth's majesty in caves and holes, under shady rocks and trees. Only the Phoenix sat upon its nest and let the power of Kossuth blaze upon its beautiful, shiny feathers.

    Suddenly there was a flash of light, flames leapt out of the nest, and the Phoenix became a big round blaze of fire. After a while the flames died down. The tree was not burnt, nor was the nest. But the Phoenix was gone. In the nest was a heap of silver-grey ash. The ash began to tremble and slowly heave itself upward. From under the ash there rose up a young Phoenix. It was small and looked sort of crumpled, but it stretched its neck and lifted its wings and flapped them. Moment by moment it grew, until it was the same size as the old Phoenix. It looked around, found the egg, and hollowed it out. Then it placed the ashes inside and finally closed up the egg.

    The young Phoenix lifted its head and sang, "Glorious Kossuth, I shall sing my songs for you alone! Forever and ever!" When the song ended, the wind began to blow, the clouds came scudding across the sky, and the other living creatures crept out of their hiding places.
    Then the Phoenix, with the egg in its claws, flew up and away. At the same time, a cloud of birds of all shapes and sizes rose up from the earth and flew behind the Phoenix, singing together, "You are the greatest of birds! You are our king!" The birds flew with the Phoenix to the Temple of the Firelord. Then the Phoenix placed the egg with the ashes inside on the altar.

    "Now," said the Phoenix, "I must fly on alone." And while the other birds watched, it flew off toward the faraway desert. The Phoenix lives there still. But every five hundred years, when it begins to feel weak and old, it flies west to the same circle of stones. There it builds a fragrant nest on top of a palm tree, and there the sun once again burns it to ashes. But each time, the Phoenix rises up from those ashes, fresh and new and young again."

    :: Vertus stokes the fire of the nearest braziers and campfires, before heading off back into the night ::

  • The Fourth: Mark the passing of the dead with a fire at times when there is not time for burial, this will prevent the creation of the undead.

    :: His trial over, Vertus has been seen wandering the Nars pass in nothing more than a simple robe and tattered cloak searching out places of ambush, and signs of battle and the fallen, marking fires at the spots as a warning as well as to remind folk of the need to not seal folk in a tomb awaiting a corruption of their life to emerge one day but to set folk to the flames instead ::

    "No matter the pain and difficulty death can bring to those left behind" : Vertus remarks beginning his usual narrative around the campfires of the region :: , remember that you have been left alive, be you a solider or scout who survives a deadly caravan attack, a family saved from the cold by a passing trader, though your herd animals have perished, or a simple son or daughter whose kin have reached the age in which they are likely to die.. You persevered, in the face of their passing, you live in order to remember and to light a fire in their honour."

    "Whether the Uthgardt pyres of their families, or the battlefield mounds of dead of your own brothers and sisters or of your foes, the memory of such which may burn into your thoughts and everyday moments; these are the moments of illimination where you are driven to new heights and challenges to train new recruits the better, or to bring up your children strong and able to resist hunger and disease."

    "The nature of undead is truly the most despised and travesty of nature, and as all the righteous know the cleansing firelords name of kossuth is remembered by every Kelemvorite priest who seeks the pyre burn hot and long to prevent their appearance, and every Knight of Torm as they set a fire in the camps and deep dwelling places of the unclean, profane and prawcticioners of the arts which will as surely consume their practicioner with fire as the sun rises to its zenith each day."

    :: Vertus moves off again, after taking any thanks, tribute or listening to the replies and words of those present unconcerned by the nervous, whom he knows are only starting on their journey of challenge and the difficulties and pain this will bring ::

  • The Third: Act against the irrsponsible use of fire not in Kossuth's name and the constructs of the faithless.

    :: In an unusual display, the now ragged and unkempt figure of Vertus emerges from the woodlands and passes of the north, his clothes torn and burnt , though he is unscathed and unscarred ::

    "The trials of Kossuth are many friends," Vertus speaks confidently at campfires and gatehouses of Norwick, the Dwarven realms and Peltarch, and smaller communities across Narfell,

    "...and no matter what befalls us, we always survive, to forge a new place and purpose unbent by toil or unconcerned by sweat or grime as is the nature of my latest trial, the trial of devotion, no matter the cost. It is exemplified by the powerforce and the essence of the smith, and of dwarven kin."

    "The virtue of Dwarven Kind, and the virtues of the Smith, are known to all whether they revere or give thanks to Kossuth or not. the very acts of preparation for the forge and the construction of items herein exemplify the essence of fire and of Moradin whom is indeed worthy of the utmost respect."

    "To gather wood, not to simply burn it for our own warmth, or to cook a meal which will satisfy us but a short time, but to burn it safe in the belly of the earthen construct of a charcoal burner, so that it again will spark life from the charred wood, at an even higher heat than before... shows what devotion to fire and its' responsible use can bring. Failure to seal the charcoal mound will result in nothing but ash, but with care, and embracing the power of the earth and of the ingenuity of all we have a bounty which is worth a fortune."

    "And to devotion, where the young apprentice spends a decade at the bellows forging their own strength and patience of observation, and learning to set the fire for the smith, and clean the tools at the end of the day, learning the value of respect to what fire has forged which allows the smith to put food on the table and a roof around the blazing hearth of home."

    "This devotion allows space for the apprentice, a simple home loving person or woodcvutter to hone the passion and drive in their endavours, a drive using the flame of kossuth hot enough to draw metals from the ground, to heat an ingot to a place where it pours like the most beautiful river of lava, or to weld and hammer colour into a fine edge. Such is the same result of devotion to that constant challenge and forging of one's own will and one's own abilities."

    "The blessings of flame forge and fire be upon you all, in the name of the Disciples of the Phoenix, and the Knights of the Cleansing Flame!"

    :: Vertus Dahl, hands over his customary barbequed freshly hunted tribute to those who listened, and heads off back into the wilds again until his next return to hearth, home and heartlands of civilisation. ::

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  • (( Gotta say been enjoying what you've been doing with your kossuthian. but now i have that johnny cash song stuck in my head 🙂 Keep up the good writing ))

  • The Second: The bonds that fire forges and the bringing forth of fire into the realms of the unclean:

    For all faithful of the Disciples of the Phoenix, and chosen knights of the order of the cleansing flame the code of the disciples must be fully assimilated into life before the second terrace of the clerics and monks of the firelord can be achieved, the seventh terrace of the firelord. Any deviation from the code for acolytes or faithful of the seventh or the eighth will result in terrible consequences for the offenders.

    The terraces 6th to 10th are known in name to all priests, monks and knights of the order, touched by the power of the firelord, but beyond that only the high-priests of the faith know the name of the terrace as an emissary of the firelord names their progression personally.
    The terraces of faith, from 6th to 10th, are only ascended after each second trial of firewalking, providing there is no evidence of the priests’ disclosure of the secrets of the trials.
    The code of the faithful is known to all of the Disciples, and must only be repeated to those who epitomise the nature of the code at least in the majority.

    For all acolytes and priests of the faith, it must be assured that the tithing followers who accompany you are given your ministrations and the most holy blessings of the firelord strictly in accordance with their position on the terraces of the followers. Terraces I through V. To those showing the most humility, obedience and zeal in the service of the lord Kossuth should the rarest and honoured of his blessings be reserved. Disciples of the Phoenix must remember that for some, the poor, dispossessed or utterly destitute the chance to tithe to the faithful in the name of the lord of fire is impossible. For them the wisdom of the clergy should arrive at an appropriate challenge for their status and reward the most daring, ambitious and pious of the followers with an award on the first terrace of the firelord, the terrace of humility. Those of the first terrace have been found to make the most worthy civil leaders even, of poor and peasant communities and their passion for the faith is surely an asset to the young and old of their communities alike.

    The symbol of the tendrils of fire, possesses great power in the hands of the truly devout priest when facing the unclean servants of darkness whose great weakness in the face of the focussed fire of the faith is well know, and the liturgy and even the name of the Firelord will surely destroy or drive away in fear those which show no fear to mortal nor cold hearted simple steel. The faithful must remember always to bring the knowledge of the essence of the fire to the notice of the faithless arcanists of their land. The danger of an uncontrolled creature of fire is inevitable against all those who do not worship the Firelord. All of the faith must remember to use wisdom in dealing with the brothers of Kossuth, and seek out knowledge as to why they have been called, and see to it that all who do so are called to faith, to account for their actions, or be eliminated if their actions threaten the faith or by opposition abuse their powers over the elemental plane of fire for war against the faithful; actions surely doomed to failure.
    The faithful are also granted power strictly in accordance with their standing on the terraces over mockeries of life, or the constructs forgotten by ancient powers, long dead or dangerous mages of the past or present. Any construct was surely forged in the powerful fires of arcane forges; and through the power of Kossuth the faithful have the blessing to smite and weaken the bonds of the creations as a reminder to the creator of the fateful consequences in not honouring the Firelord in their construction.

    The faithful are reminded always to show the glory and power of Kossuth in their actions, as all success and victory is surely the will of the Firelord. A simple fire lit at the heart of each place of victory should be done to remind all that pass that the faithful have passed herein. The extend and majesty of the fire should reflect the magnitude of the victory, and always fire in the eyes of those who have heard the way of the firelord shall never have the same humble manner again.