Mishra

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Learning, enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom. These are all gifts that Mishra, second-born child of The Holy Mother, brought to the mortal world, and these are things that Mishra's most devoted followers continually strive for, and measure their achievements by. Each follower's motivation for doing so is different. Some seek these tools to help bring civilization to a new era of enlightenment, while others seek to further a particular field of study. Still others prefer to spend their time quietly preserving the knowledge of the past for future generations to study, while others seek knowledge for the power it brings, for good or for ill.

The stereotypical Mishran is highly intelligent, but lacks worldliness, owing to the copious amounts of time they spend holed up in libraries and antiquity warehouses pouring over ancient written records and artifacts from bygone eras. While many Mishrans do indeed possess these traits, this far from describes every single Mishran. After all, if no Mishran ever went outside once in a while, nothing new would ever be learned, and no crucial pieces of knowledge would ever be shared. Mishrans also understand that while preserving the knowledge of the past is important, the knowledge that they keep must remain relevant to the present, for relevant knowledge is always the most valuable kind, even if its relevance is not always immediately apparent.

The following article examines the religion and structure of the Church of Mishra, plus its festivals, sacred rites, and the mystic gifts granted by The Book Himself.

NOTE: Throughout this article, the word "priest" is used to refer to either an ordained member of the Church of Mishra or a member of the third rank in the Church Ranking system. To avoid confusion, the following rules should be kept in mind:

  • When the word is not capitalized but is not used in conjunction with a deity's name (for example, "The priest went over the mountain"), or when it is capitalized and is used in conjunction with a deity's name (for example, "The Priest of Mishra went over the mountain"), then the word refers to an ordained member of the Church in general.
  • When the word is capitalized but is not used in conjunction with a deity (for example, "The Priest went over the mountain"), then the word refers to a member of the third Church rank.

The Seven Holy Tenets of the Book and Stars

These ancient laws are the most sacred in the Church of Mishra. Every priest and follower of the Book and Stars, no matter what race, nationality, or culture they might come from, follows the Seven Holy Tenets, for it is said that Mishra Himself passed these words down to His earliest priests. Breaking the Holy Tenets is a grave offense within the Church. A serious enough breach of these laws can warrant excommunication from the Church, or even death.

The Seven Holy Tenets of the Book and Stars are as follows:

1. Honour Mishra and His loyalty to The Holy Mother.
2. Improve your life through the pursuit of Knowledge.
3. Do not reject Knowledge; rather, take what is useful from the Knowledge you are given, and leave that which is not for others to learn.
4. Preserve Knowledge for future generations to learn.
5. Do not condemn ideas. Question them. Venture forth into previously unexplored realms of research.
6. All of The Book is not open to everybody all the time. Know that sometimes Knowledge must be kept secret from some or all, perhaps for a short time, perhaps forever.
7. The mind is the true power in the universe. Magic is but a product of that power.

Symbols

Though sacred symbols often vary from culture to culture, the most common symbols include books, scrolls, and quill pens (symbolizing Knowledge); spheres, wands, and arcane glyphs (symbolizing Magic); and stars and planetary symbols (representing The Stars).

Cultural Religious Practices

Though Mishra is worshiped worldwide, He is most commonly revered in Deorn, Laythwren, and the Baronies.

Deorn

The Dwarves in general have a great respect for Mishra, despite the fact that, due to their lack of magical aptitude, they cannot become priests capable of casting spells in His name. Because of the fact that the larger Church has based its ranking structure on spellcasting capability, the Church of Mishra in Deorn has devised its own ranking system based on academic merit which allows its priests to achieve higher ranks even without spellcasting prowess. This system is only recognized in Deorn, however, so no Dwarf can gain membership on The Grand Library Council

Laythwren

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Laythwren, the city, is the Religious Capital of the Mishran Faith. Those faithful to The Book and Stars flock to the city in order to study within its walls. The Grand Library of Mishra is located in the city of Laythwren, and The Grand Library Council sits here as well.

Politically speaking, the nation of Laythwren is the most important Deanship in the Church. The one who holds the position of Dean of Laythwren is generally the most powerful and influential member of the College of Deans. Politically-minded members of the Church will vie for this position, for many Grand Librarians and Archdeans were elevated from this Deanship.

The Baronies

The Church of Mishra is a major faith in both Baron Gregorin and Baroness Johanna's Lands, and a minor faith in Baron Luceas's Lands. This is a testament to a time when all of the Human Nations were ruled by the King of Laythwren from the Throne of the Sun. Each of the four Baronies has a Dean, and each province within the Baronies has a Minister.

Holy Rites

Rite of the Book's Chapters

This rite is generally performed for priests who have achieved milestone Church ranks, namely Acolyte, Priest, and Circle Priest. The achievement of some other prestigious positions in the Church, such as promotion to one of the Hierarchy ranks, may also warrant a Rite of the Book's Chapters.

The ceremony is held in the presence of the local priests. It is traditionally presided over by the direct Hierarchy superior of the priest being honoured. In cases where the ceremony is being held to promote a new Dean, the Dean who formerly held the position performs the ceremony if she is alive to do the honours. If she is deceased, then another Dean can perform the ceremony in her stead. Smaller rites for the other Church ranks may be conducted in private between the newly-promoted priest and the priest conferring the promotion.

The contents of the ceremony are the same regardless of whether the ceremony is public or not. It includes prayers to Mishra, a sacred oath taken by the newly-promoted priest, and other formalities appropriate to the priest’s new station.

Graduation Ceremonies

A Priest of Mishra often acts as master of ceremonies at universities and other academic institutions across Dremlin, whether they are from the school faculty, or they are called in from outside the institution.

Weddings

While Mishran weddings are solemn occasions intended to usher the couple into a new stage of their life and advise them of the road ahead of them, the wedding is always followed by a joyous celebration.

The ceremony itself is composed of a number of different parts. First, there is the Introduction, during which the couple to be wed is recognized both by those gathered, and by the Holy Presence of the Book and Stars. This is followed by a general prayer to Mishra that is selected by the priest which best suits the situation the wedding is being performed under.

Following these opening proceedings are the two Matrimonial Blessings. The first of these Blessings is the Blessing of Knowledge, by which the priest passes on the teachings of forethought and respect, that these values might bring prosperity to the marriage. The second Blessing, the Blessing of Love, brings with it the lesson that love can conquer all if the couple works to maintain it.

After the Matrimonial Blessings, the Marriage Vows are spoken. These are often recited by the couple while they rest their hands on a holy text or other holy symbol. Usually, a couple is encouraged to write their own vows, but the Priest presiding over the wedding can also do this at the couple’s request. Following this, the Priest gives the opportunity for anyone to provide a reason why the couple should not be wed. If no one speaks, then the Priest performs the Union, pronouncing the couple wed, and then presents the newlyweds to those gathered.

Following the presentation, those gathered retreat to a place other than the Temple for the post-wedding celebration, which is an entirely secular affair, and thus can be held in any manner the couple chooses to.

Funerals

Mishran funerals are an opportunity to not only mourn, but also to remember and appreciate the lessons learned from the deceased. Mourners are invited to reflect upon these lessons in silence, and then to share them with those who have gathered. In addition to this exercise, prayers to Mishra are offered, asking that the soul be guided into His Holy Care, and that the soul be honoured with the privilege of being His student in the afterlife, reading from the Book for all eternity. The body is disposed of in the manner which is customary to the deceased's culture.

Sacred Festivals, Feasts and Holidays

New Year's Eve

Contrary to the jubilant celebrations of the masses, Mishrans customarily spend New Year's Eve in quiet prayer and reflection. They use the time from sundown to midnight to think back on all they learned during the past year, for good or for ill, and how these lessons will serve them in the coming year. No special service is usually held for New Year's Eve.

Celestial Festivals

Celestial Festivals are held to mark rare stellar phenomena, such as the passing of a comet, planetary alignments, and significant meteor showers. Often, legends which are immortalized in the sky's constellations are told, sometimes with dramatics, and ritual prayers honouring the Stars are recited, asking that the cosmic event will bring more enlightened times. Naturally, if the Temple has access to an observatory, a viewing of the celestial event is also held

Historic Commemorations

As the keepers of Knowledge, and through this, history, it is naturally customary for Mishrans to hold festivals to mark major historic events. Major festivals include those that celebrate the anniversary of the end of The War of Redemption and, in Deorn, the end of The War of the Deep. Minor festivals are held at local Temples to commemorate events which were significant to the community, such as the community’s founding or the end of a local menace, such as a plague.

Historic Commemorations vary in tone, depending on the nature of what is being commemorated. Most include a feast of some kind, and a reading from the Headmaster of the Temple reflecting on the historic event and the lessons it offers for people in the present.

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Scholars' Market

This is one of the most highly-anticipated festivals in the Church of Mishra. Once per year in April, people of all walks of life are invited to the local Temple of Mishra to trade and barter for Knowledge. Knowledge (and its more tangible products) is available in all its forms at the Scholars' Market, including rumours, passages of rare texts, and magic scrolls and potions. The Temple opens its library to those seeking knowledge within it, although only priests are permitted to perform the actual research, and then only at the discretion of the Head Librarian, who oversees all purchasing and bartering of knowledge, though most resources are made available at a lower price than the Church might normally charge.

The scheduling of the annual Scholars' Market is a meticulous task, especially if several temples are within a few days' journey of each other. Temples will schedule their Scholars' Markets to allow those seeking knowledge to travel to as many Markets as possible, thus allowing for the greatest possible trading of Knowledge.

It is customary for those taking part in a Scholars' Market to provide a nominal donation to the Temple. This can take the form of a small offering of food or clothing, whatever a person can spare, if the visitor does not have money. In return for this donation, food is provided by the Temple at no cost to travelers. Lodging may also be provided if the Temple has space, or else a local inn may sponsor the event by offering room at no charge or a very small fee.

Church Structure and Titles

The structure Church of Mishra is one of the most rigid, and complex of all the faiths. It is comparable to the inner structure of The Guild Arcana, though even their ranking system pales in comparison to the Church of the Book.

There are three types of titles in the greater Church of Mishra: Church Titles, Secondary Titles, and Hierarchy Titles. While the core of the ranking system lies in the Church Titles, all three are an important part of the way the Church functions. These titles are at least acknowledged, if not recognized, across Dremlin. Deorn has its own ranking system, which is discussed in another article.

The Titles

Church Titles

One's Church Title is the rank by which one's standing within the overall Church is determined, particularly when one is outside one's own jurisdiction. While only certain priests of the Church of Mishra have Secondary or Hierarchy Titles, every priest has a Church Title.

There are seven recognized Church titles which are recognized everywhere except Deorn, which has its own unique ranking system beyond the rank of Acolyte, and is covered in another article.

The seven Church ranks across most of the world are as follows:

Scribe

This is the title that is given to an apprentice of the priesthood upon his acceptance into the Church. He retains this title throughout his training until he is given his first Rite of the Book's Chapters to be promoted to Rank Acolyte. Scribes are not permitted to hold a Secondary or Hierarchy Title.

Acolyte

Acolytes are fully recognized priests of the Church who are not capable of casting spells in the name of Mishra. They are generally expected to be literate in at least one language, and to have undergone basic religious knowledge and medical training, as well as proficient knowledge of at least one area of academic expertise. Many Mishrans do not advance beyond this rank, especially if they do not possess any magical aptitude.

Priest

This title is conferred upon Acolytes who have learned their first divine spell. During the Second Rite of the Book's Chapters which confers this title upon the Priest, he adopts his Cerebral Schools, and swears to use the Book's power to serve the Divine Will of Mishra, and to uphold the Seven Holy Tenets.

Priests are properly addressed as "Brother" or "Sister".

Father or Mother

When a Priest is Blessed by Mishra with Secular Knowledge and also knows three Novice Faith Spells, she is eligible for advancement to the rank of Father or Mother (the title, of course, depends on the gender of the newly-promoted priest). The Church title, and all others above it, is granted at the discretion of the eligible priest's most direct Hierarchy superior who also possesses a higher Church rank.

A priest with this rank is properly addressed as "Father" or "Mother".

Disciple of the Book and Stars

The title of Disciple is granted to one who has been Blessed with Higher Knowledge by Mishra, and who knows two Intermediate Faith Spells. Disciples can choose their own preference in title insofar as being referred to as a Disciple of the Book, a Disciple of the Stars, or a Disciple of the Book and Stars. There is no difference in the way priests with varying titles are treated, though some believe that there is a difference in philosophy.

Disciples are still addressed face-to-face as "Father" or "Mother".

Esteemed Speaker to the Book and Stars

This title is granted to a Priest who is able to Pray to Mishra and receive Divine Insight directly from The Book, in addition to knowing two High Faith Spells. Many Esteemed Speakers hold a Hierarchy title of some kind.

Appropriate titles for Esteemed Speakers include “Learned Father/Mother” or “Enlightened Excellency” for those within the Church. Outside the Church, the title “Esteemed Father/Mother” or, informally, “Father/Mother”, can be used.

Circle Priest

This is the highest Church Title that can be achieved within the Church of Mishra. As such, they are afforded the greatest respect within the confines of the Church (and often without, as well), but they also expected to act as exemplary members of the Faith, moreso than any other members of the Church.

A priest becomes eligible for this title when she has learned Divine Faith Magic, and has proven her competency with its use. The Third Rite of the Book's Chapters is performed following the successful completion of the Holy Trials of Divine Faith, with the examiner's permission. Unlike the previous three ranks, a priest can be granted the rank of Circle Priest by any existing Circle Priest who is a direct superior by virtue of Hierarchy title.

Appropriate titles for Circle Priests include “Holy Teacher” and “Learned One” inside the Church, while “Divine Father/Mother” or, informally, “Father/Mother” can be used outside the Church.

Secondary Titles

Secondary titles are granted to priests who perform specialized jobs within a particular Temple or geographical jurisdiction (such as a Ministry or Deanship). Acolytes with these titles are generally afforded the same respect as Priests are while they are in the jurisdiction covered by their position.

The following titles are merely common examples of secondary titles. Other titles may be created by those who hold Hierarchy Titles to fulfill specific needs within their jurisdiction.

Head Librarian

This title is given to the official keeper of the library in a Temple. The Head Librarian has direct authority over the resources archived in the library and other Temple archives. He is responsible for overseeing the maintenance, preservation, and acquisition of all materials. He reports directly to the Temple Headmaster on all matters which he cannot decide alone.

Keeper of the Vaults

This position is similar to the Head Librarian, except that the Keeper keeps and maintains the Temple’s collection of magical items and sacred artifacts, including scrolls and potions. This title is only given if there is at least one magical item housed at the Temple. This title is usually given to a priest ranked Father/Mother or higher so that the Keeper can identify the magical properties of new items coming into the Temple.

It is not uncommon for a Minister or higher-ranking Hierarchy priest to have his own personal Keeper of the Vaults for his own store of magical items. Sufficiently powerful Headmasters may even have their own Keeper.

Professor

This secondary title is conferred upon anyone who teaches at least one class within a Temple, whether her students are other priests or students from the larger community.

Herald

Heralds act as representatives for members of the Colleges when those colleagues can't act in their own stead. While there is no limit on the number of Heralds a colleague may have, it is common for Ministers and Deans to have one to three Heralds, while members of The Grand Library Council may have one or more in every region of the world. It is uncommon for Headmasters to have a Herald, unless the priests they preside over do a lot of field work over a large geographical area.

Hierarchy Titles

These titles represent leadership positions within the worldwide Church. The holders of these ranks are among the most powerful and influential members of the Church of Mishra.

The collective members of the ranks Headmaster, Minister and Dean are called “Colleges” (as in, "The College of Headmasters”, "The College of Deans”, etc.) The Archdeans with the Grand Librarian at their head are collectively known as The Grand Library Council.

Headmaster

This title is given to the priest who heads a particular Temple. He makes all decisions pertaining to that Temple, while enforcing the policies handed down by his superiors.

Minister

Ministers govern Church matters in a small geographic region, called a Ministry, usually a county or smaller division of a sovereign nation, overseeing all Temples within that region. Their main task is to ensure that the Temples are complying with Church Law, to ensure that all Temples are sufficiently taken care of, and to assist the Headmasters when matters get out of hand. A Minister also acts as the official Church Representative to the secular ruler of the region she presides over.

Dean

Deans oversee all Church matters in a sovereign nation or region, such as Baron Gregorin's Lands, Deorn, or The Razor Valley. These jurisdictions are called Deanships. Each Deanship is made up of at least two Ministries, though there may be over a dozen in more populated, influential areas. For this reason, some Deanships are considered more important than others, though other factors can play into a Deanship's influence within the Church, including important academic discoveries or prominent scholars who reside within the Deanship.

It is a Dean's responsibility to pass the word of The Grand Library Council, to whom they directly answer, to the Ministers over whom the Dean presides, and to speak on their Deanships' behalf to the Council on matters that warrant that body's attention. A Dean may also act as the Church's representative to the secular ruler of their Deanship, should the need arise.

Archdean

This title is given to each of the fifteen members of The Grand Library Council. Archdeans are elected to the Council in fifteen year terms, or for life, whichever is shorter. Each member presides over a school of magic and a particular academic subject. The Archdean's school of magic and academic subject need not be related. All Archdeans are considered to have worldwide jurisdiction when concerning Church matters, though they rarely exert their power as individuals, as it is generally considered to be more prudent to pass matters through the Council to be made Chuch law.

More on the Archdeans can be found in the article concerning The Grand Library Council.

Grand Librarian

This title is given to the Head of the Grand Library Council, and the Church of Mishra as a whole. The Grand Librarian is considered to be Mishra’s Direct Representative in Dremlin. He has absolute worldwide jurisdiction within the Church's bounds, and can overturn individual influence exerted by an Archdean.

More on the Grand Librarian can be found in the article concerning him, and the one concerning The Grand Library Council.

Granting and Removing Titles

All titles are granted at the discretion of the direct superior of the priest in question, regardless of whether the promotion is to a higher Church Title or the acquisition of a Secondary or Hierarchy Title. Every member of the Church has their own standards by which they decide how to issue promotions, but candidates' adherence to and promotion of the Seven Holy Tenets are commonly a factor, while some titles, particularly Hierarchy ones, are more politically-oriented in nature.

The rules for demotion are much more codified than this, though. In theory, this is intended to protect Church members from tyrannical superiors. One can never be demoted below the rank of Acolyte without extenuating circumstances, and even then, only certain members of the Church have the power to demote to Scribe.

  • A priest who is the direct Hierarchy superior of a lesser member of the Church can strip their lesser of one rank after a fair hearing of the cause in question.
  • A Church member can strip a member three ranks lower than they are of one rank regardless of whether they are a direct Hierarchy superior or not. This can be done without a hearing, although this is generally considered bad form. One can never be demoted beyond the rank of Acolyte in this way.
  • If Mishra ever punishes a priest by removing some of their divine power, the punished priest is considered to be two ranks below what they usually are until Mishra restores the power, to a minimum of Rank Priest.
  • If Mishra ever removes all of a priest’s divine power, they are demoted to Rank Acolyte until Mishra restores her power, and then she is elevated to Rank Priest, and must begin earning her ranks over again.
  • A Minister or Dean has the power to demote a priest who is within his jurisdiction to the rank of Scribe or excommunicate them altogether.
  • Members of The Grand Library Council have the power to demote any priest to the rank of Scribe or excommunicate them altogether with no vote required from the Council, save Church members with the Hierarchy titles of Dean, Archdean, or Grand Librarian.
  • Members of the Grand Library Council can demote a Dean or Archdean with a 70% majority vote (14 out of 20 votes).
  • The Archdeans of the Grand Library Council can strip the Grand Librarian of her title with a unanimous vote (the Grand Librarian, obviously, does not receive her usual 5 votes on this matter).

Specialists

With the vast array of topics that Mishrans study, it is not surprising that the Gifts of Mishra can sometimes manifest themselves in unique ways. Usually, these specialized Gifts are most strongly evidenced by new and innovative rituals or new academic theories that come to fruition after years of study. However, sometimes a Mishran is granted an exceedingly rare, special Gift from the Book and Stars. These Gifts are mostly rare and obscure in the extreme, but there a few of these gifts have become sub-cultures within the Church.

The Loremaster

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The Gifts of Mishra

The Schools of Magic

One of the most unique gifts that Mishra grants are the Schools of Magic. Unlike the priests of the other eight deities, those who have been Blessed with the ability to cast spells in the name of the Book are not initially limited to eight schools of magic. Technically speaking, Mishra grants all fifteen schools to the collective body of His priests, but each individual priest can only ever learn magic from eight of these.

The fifteen schools of magic are classified into two groups: the Cardinal Six, and the Cerebral Nine. All priests of Mishra are given access to the Cardinal Six, which represent the values and goals of the Book and Stars. In contrast, a priest is only given access to two of the Cerebral Nine. These chosen schools represent the individual priest's goals, past, and mind. The Cerebral schools are chosen by the priest at the time of their second Rite of the Book's Chapter (promoting them to the rank of Priest).

The Cardinal Six

Each of these six schools are an integral part of every Mishran's training (even Dwarven priests are introduced to the concepts surrounding the schools). Each one represents a facet of the faith.

Alteration represents the ability to manipulate magic more intimately than any other god's priests can. Enchantment represents power over the mind. Order represents both Mishra's loyalty to The Holy Mother and the highly structured nature of the Book. Healing and Protection are both ties to the divine nature of the Book and Stars, as every priest is granted access to these schools.

Confining is seen in many different lights. Some Priests feel that it represents a tangible tie to The Weave. Others feel it is protection sent from the Book for His generally frail priests. Others still find the school useful in the creation of magic items. One objective belief that holds true across most of the faith is that the school represents the diversity of its Mishran practitioners, as it inspires many varying theories regarding its status as one of the Cardinal Six.

The Cerebral Nine

Each of the Cerebral Nine schools represent a philosophy or mentality through which a Mishran can hone her magical pursuits. The two schools that the priest adopts at her induction say a lot about her mind and values.

Each of the Cerebral Nine are discussed briefly below, with a general sense of common motivations for taking the schools. These are by no means all-encompassing, though, as often Mishrans have personal reasons for taking these schools, particularly in the case of human priests, who often feel that they are fulfilling a sense of obligation to their heritage, temple, or country by choosing a certain school.

Augmentation

The few Mishrans who study a weapon often take up this school for the advantages it gives in battle, particularly those involving increased strength and bodily constitution. These priests often go on to become prominent military ritual casters, developing new ways to catch the enemy off-guard.

Chaos

This is a controversial school within the Church, given its relation to Kagent and The Void. Priests who adopt this school are watched closely by the Church, for the use and study of the school are heavily regulated. Those found misusing it are excommunicated from the Church, though this does not always equate to a loss of Mishra's power.

The majority of those who adopt Chaos are interested in one or both of the following concepts. First, there is interest in using the school to gain further knowledge of The Void, so as to better defeat denizens of that plane of existence. Secondly, there is an interest in the polarity between Chaos and Order, and how the two schools relate to one another. The latter concept is popular among those who also pursue Order to greater-than-rudimentary levels.

The Elemental Schools

The five Elements are a calling in and of themselves. Mishrans who adopt Elemental schools often either take two elements and study the way they interact, or they adopt one Element and the Destruction school and focus their studies into the nature of the chosen element. Combining one element with a non-Elemental Cerebral school is not unheard of, but elemental focus is most common among those who select from among these schools.

Elemental Air

Those who study Air are often intereseted in weather patterns and climates, especially those who also adopt Water or Nature. Many of the most acclaimed Mishran authors of almanacs pursue Elemental Air magic.

Elemental Destruction

Destruction is the choice of Mishrans who truly wish to dedicate their studies to a single element. These priests’ other Cerebral school is, by necessity, always an Elemental school.

Elemental Earth

Those who study Earth often study minerals and rocks, or archaeology. Some may take interest in architecture, sculpture or jewelry. Those who study Earth with Nature often also study the herbal arts.

Elemental Fire

Mishrans who take this school are often interested in a number of disciplines, including the science of heat, flame, volcanoes, and rocks and minerals (those who study the latter two often take Earth as their other Cerebral school). Some also pursue chemistry and potion-making, using their understanding of fire magic to experiment with new alchemical states (such Mishrans often take Water as their other Cerebral school.)

Elemental Water

This school is a favourite among Mishrans who are native to seafaring or cold places, such as members of the Drakkar or Wolven races. Water is also favoured among those who are interested in the study of glaciers or tundra. Those who also study Earth may also pursue knowledge of mountain ranges and cave formations. Some Water casters also pursue chemistry or potion-making, using their knowledge of liquid manipulation to experiment with new chemical states. The latter Mishrans may also study Elemental Fire.

Nature

Nature is a favourite among Mishrans from "natural" races such as Elves, Wild Elves and fae races, and those who are interested in the natural sciences.

Necromancy

Like Chaos, Necromancy is a controversial school within the Church, given its relation to Necros and the other Dark Gods. Priests who adopt this school are watched closely by the Church, and the use and study of the school are heavily regulated. Those found misusing it are excommunicated from the Church, though this does not always equate to a loss of Mishra's power.

Some who study Necromancy are interested in the processes of physical death and decomposition, studying corpses in various states of decay. Others may be interested in the school's polar relationship with the Healing school. In either case, it is commonplace for Mishran necromancers to pursue the Healing school beyond its rudiments.

Blessings

The Blessings of Mishra are in many ways closely tied to the Magic aspect of His Deific Portfolio. As Magic is one of the mortal world's greatest manifestations of the power of the mind, this is to be expected. It is important to recognize, however, that the Blessings of Mishra also grant Knowledge and Learning to the Blessed, as is explained below.

Secular Knowledge

The First Blessing of Mishra integrates the priest more intimately with his arcane counterparts, and through this, The Weave. This is accomplished in two ways. First, the priest is allowed a special insight into the workings of magic, granting him the ability to use scrolls as if his divine schools were arcane. Thus, if the priest knew the Alteration spell Light as a divine spell, he could use a scroll of Invisibility through the use of Secular Knowledge. This divine insight is only granted a limited number of times daily, relative to amount the divine power that Mishra grants the priest.

Second, the Blessing reveals to the priest the mystic auras which are inherent in any magically enhanced object, allowing him, with careful inspection, to distinguish the magical properties of a particular object, and perhaps how to use the powers present, or else dispel them if the priest is capable of doing so. The priest must first attune himself to the object to determine whether magic is present within it before the priest can examine it further with this application of Secular Knowledge. Like the scroll-casting application of this Blessing, this mystic identification may only be used a limited number of times per day relative to the spellcasting power granted by Mishra, but the important distinction here is that the Knowledge gained by a successful examination will stay with the priest.

Higher Knowledge

Many Mishrans refer to this Blessing as the "Lessons of the Holy Teacher", for this Blessing, when used correctly, is both a powerful asset and a practical instruction tool. Higher Knowledge allows the priest to cast a very limited number of spells each day without using any of her daily allotment of Mishra's divine power. In addition, she may choose to cast any spell with this power, up to one tier higher than one she has actually mastered. Thus, if she knew the Order spell Smite, she could use Higher Knowledge to cast an Imprison spell, even if she had not yet mastered Imprison. Mishrans commonly use this Blessing as a way of experimenting with the next tier of spells to determine which would be the most useful in achieving their goals, though some more worldly Mishrans also find that it comes in handy in case of an emergency.

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