- Father, I am weak, and my mind does not obey me any longer… I have sinned and sacrificed my health for a glimpse of paradise’ pleasures ... please help me.
- We will help you, my son. Brothers, take our new charge, and guide him to his cell. Hard times await him, and it is good that he is with us.
Dark walls surround the gardens and fields of the cloister. The monks diligently work outside, tending to the plants and trees, and carrying the baskets with harvest, all without a needless word, a holy sign shown now and then for greeting.
Then, a sudden cry pierces the air from a nearby cell, and interrupts the work for a moment. The cry turns to loud sobbing and pleading for mercy. The monks just continue their work.
It all began with Brother Pietrus.
A young man joined out of guilt, for in a desperate moment he killed his own sister, when he didn’t get the money for the next dose. Somehow he avoided justice, but his guilt has hounded him more than any militia could. Entering a monastery to become a better man and forget it all, he soon felt the urge again… and in desperation fell on his knees before the prior, begging that he be killed for his weakness, or find a way of atonement for his great sins.
The prior listened, and offered atonement, but only if the young man would rid himself of the unclean substances, and would never intake them anymore.
Long and painful was the path of a slave to the freedom, shivering without cold, and lashing out at his brothers without a reason - without a dose. But eventually he overcome it, and joined the monastery out of his full heart.
In the years that followed, many unlucky sinners have been brought into the monastery, and helped out of their misery. The order was associated with addicts ever since.
- But you cannot understand the FEELING!
- We do understand, brother. Many of us do.
By now, around a fourth of the monks used to be addicts, and managed to defeat their addiction. As most of them are now caring for the ‘charges’, it gives a specific feeling to the therapy - deeply convinced of drugs being a great Evil that destroys lives, they do not leave out any chance to help or mentor the poor souls. While gentle in principle, they also do not hesitate to hold tight or tie up a raving confused man screaming for his dose. They can be harsh, and a few border on fanaticism, curing no matter what.
To the order, the past of their monks is a closed book. Of course, they have to atone for their sins. Of course, if possible, they have to amend their evil deeds. But their names are forgotten and changed, and those that were ‘clean’ before are not above those that were not.
In the order’s library, there is substantial knowledge on the matters of drugs, and addictions and their removal. Many monks know this or that detail about drugs, and the illicit business connected to them (not a few were even dealers). Healing and brewing is studied by many, and this is their specialization.
For a few known drugs exist herbal concoctions, that suppress withdrawal symptoms well. For most, however, the only way out of the hell is pain, with minor potions that aid the body to cleanse itself faster, and soothe the pain somewhat; more is being researched.
- What about Tiny Dor, is he out again?
- Yeah. He’s ready for the Falling Leaves I tell ya.
The cloister, since it became its trademark, is to the public known as the place where the wrecks end. There’s usually gossip about this or that well-off kid being sent into the cloister to ‘recover’. Part of this stories is true, which makes for very sensitive family secrets… so naturally, some very influential families are supporters of the cloister. The monks on their part stay silent about their charges.
On a not so bright note, organised crime has also an interest there - sometimes valuable people try to hide behind its dark walls. There were several attempts to force entry, kidnap charges, or get in by cheating. In response, the monastery became even more closed off from the world. Secretly, some of the cured disciples are sent to other monasteries far away.
As you have noticed, the Order is not connected to any particular god or religion - it is on you to choose a fitting backdrop in your game world. A buddhist/taoist-like religion may do well; as deities of healing and nature; but also more ‘classical’ religions (like Christian monasteries this post is vaguely inspired by).
Should they have clerical powers, they will specialize on healing; alchemy is also an option. At any rate, herbalism will be their primary interest.