"More horrible than their empty forms are their noble eyes. I dare not strike." -Vahlok
Law: Mandate of Heaven
Economy: Organized Religion
Though the Dwarves worshipped Moradin, the Halflings worshipped Avandra, the Minotaurs worshipped Kord, the Thri-Kreen worshipped Erathis, the Goliaths worshipped Melora, and Man worshipped Pelor, the concept of cooperation among the gods was not unknown to the first era. Ancient lore of the Dawn War taught that Moradin and Kord fought together against the Primordials. In the year 82,950 BC, when the Prophetess Petrice Hepler died a martyr, around her legend grew a cult known as the Cult of the Host. It had no central leadership and its followers were oppressed. The cultists had to hide their lore from traditional priests by way of ciphers and encoded scrolls. In 82,547 BC, they collected Hepler's teachings into a manuscript called the Sovereign Light and the cult's popularity spread.
The cult remained fragmented until it was formalized into the Order of the Sovereign Host by Jaya Beleren in 82,203 BC. She established the Sovereign Host as an organized religion, and began the construction of the Temple of the Prophetess in Parsantium. Three years later, Beleren was named Archpriest of the Temple. Priests ordained by Beleren spread the Order to each province, building temples. By 81,700 BC, the Sovereign Host was the largest organized religion in the mortal realm.
With so much influence over the people, the Order can also exert considerable political pressure on the ruling classes in many areas of concern. In extraordinary times, and in deference to the Prophetess, the Archpriest may also be moved to declare an Inquisition, or a Crusade. These religious wars have mobilized temple armies of thousands to destroy the heretical enemies of the Sovereign Host.
The actual priesthood of the Order is made up primarily of women, on the basis that the Prophetess was a woman. At the head of the Chantry is the Archpriest, who leads from the Temple of the Prophetess. Below the Archpriest are the Invokers, who are the Order's highest authority in a province or a region. After a Archpriest dies, Invokers are the ones who are required to travel to Parsantium for the Divine Verdict, a meeting where they must unanimously elect the new leader of the Order. Beneath them are the Clerics, who are responsible for teaching and healing at the temple. Beneath them are the Avengers. Avengers begin by going to the temple, seeking absolution for grievous crimes. In some circumstances, clerics seek out condemned prisoners with the intention of converting them to become avengers.
Since the Temple of the Prophetess in Parsantium, the Order's temples have watched over unwanted and orphaned children. These youths are raised by the clerics, instructed in the ways of the clergy. Though clerics often begin their lives outside of the Order, the temple youths are always raised into holy servitude as paladins; temple armies.
In the year 49,990 BC, the paladin Haytham Ley began the heretical Black Guard order. The Order of the Sovereign Host excommunicated Ley, and declared an Inquisition to cleanse his heresy. This was actually a conspiracy by the Archpriest to usurp the Imperial throne. The Archpriest was killed by the avenger Kuori, and replaced by the cleric Amgetoll Ivo. The Black Guard officially severed ties with the Order, and Ivo formed the Gray Guard to combat them.