The Brotherhood of Larfu
In a society where the greater good often gets precedence over the individual and his loved ones, in a society where everyone has a defined place which he would never be able to, nor ever dream of vacating, there actually exists an organization that seeks to defy the Six Commandments.
They are the Brotherhood of Larfu, a organization that feels the Six Commandments and everything they stand for are, a betrayal of the lost, tribal ways that only they remember. They long for the days of the old Clans, when a male would cherish the welfare of his loved ones and his Clan above all else. Dyas when a man’s place in life was determined by his courage and skill, rather than the station of his mother. When a chieftain would have to earn the respect of his people, rather than be born with such a privilege. And most of all, they long for the day the Eshal have leaders that are not manipulated by those loathsome, spellcasting Cuada, leaders who would never be corrupted by the foul magic of the salamander men.
Their beliefs and ideals are symbolised by their worship of Larfu, an old god of the hunt that represented personal courage and determination.
Larfu was forsaken by the tribes, following the their unification in favour of the demanding Gods Of Water. But a few of the old Clan shamans remembered him still and passed the old tales to him down to their descendents.
The movement is very old and has existed for as long as the empire itself. It was formed in secret by a group of senior warriors and shamans who were determined to preserve the old values,following the formation of the old Clans into a single unified group. Among them,no caste exists and a peasant who shows great skill and courage can climb up their ranks as quickly as a warrior. Most of its members are peasants angry with the luxuries heaped on the Cuada and warriors who feel that the so called First Born Of The Gods have undermined the abilty of the Brave People to make important decisions independently.
The Brotherhood has no supreme leader and instead has a Council of Elders that votes on important decisions.Below them lie the Disciples who asist the Elders in giving orders to the rank and file. There is also an order called the Shamans of the Hunt. They are the gifted ones are trained in the arts of the shaman. Organized into a council of their own,they do not take orders from the lay leadership.
The Brotherhood has loyal agents planted in every village who moniter the situation and recruit those who seem to have a strong individualistic streak and nurse strong feelings against Cuada ‘‘meddling.
Upon joining,every member has to undergoes a certain initiation rite to ensure his loyalty. He is taken to their village office,usually no more than an abandoned store house or animal pen and takes an oath before a carved wooden statue of Larfu, to remain ever loyal to Larfu and the ways of the old Clans. During this rite,small incisions are made along both his forearms. The blood that flows is collected in a small wooden bowl which is poured over the idol of Larfu, symbolising the fact that his personal honour now hinges on the honour of his Clan, aka the Brotherhood. Then one trained in the arts of the shamans, chants sacred verses and douses him with the blood of a slain shark, Larfu’s favoured prey. This represents his status now as the annointed of Larfu.
Both these rites prevent betrayal. For betraying the Brotherhood means betrayal of one’s very self,something that would mean the total and absolute loss of all self respect. As an added incentive to honor the oath of loyalty,the betrayer would also loose the wisdom and blessings of Larfu and the feeling that he has proved unworthy of the god,who does not punish so much as forsake. In return,the Brotherhood never commands a member to anything that would stain his honour or put his loved ones in any danger. He is also given a chance to voice his views on any topic,during the Common meetings in which every member is entitled to his view on any matter concerning the Brotherhood. The scars that result from the first ritual,allows members of the Brotherhood to recognize each other.
These Common meetings are held in their remote headquaters once a year. The chances of anyone stumbling on it are
rare,for it is hidden among the ruins of Aflan, the forgotten mer folk city state. Most Eshal believe it it to be haunted by the restless spirits of the dead,a rumour that the Brotherhood has taken great effort to circulate. Peasants usually go with warriors, under the pretence that they have been drafted by them to assist in building new fortifications.
Initially,the Brotherhood’s goal was to preserve traditional Eshal practices and customs,with emphasis being placed on the belief that every member of the tribe mattered and that to ignore his rights and contributions,would result in the Clan collapsing. They also felt that the Eshal should not turn their backs on the old gods like Larfu who made it clear to mortals that respect for gods should not reduce them to the pathetic state where they would be convince that even the slightest trangession would result in dire consequences and that the gods were there to guide rather than command them. Both these notions go against the retribution-driven concept of the current religon.
Although this has largely continued to be its main objective,something of an of an ideological split emerged among their ranks sixty years ago. Some of the more radical members of the Shamans of the Hunt,unhappy with merely preserving the old ways,have taken to assasinating Cuada mystics and lesser priests accused of pandering to the whims of the Cuada. Calling themselves the Spears of Larfu,they are regarded as fanatics by the rest of the Shamans of the Hunt as well as by the lay Brotherhood leadership and are thus pariahs at most Common meetings. Unlike the rest of the Brotherhood,the Spears Of Larfu, feel that the Emperor and his High Priests must be overthrown. Recent events involving bloody raids by mysterious humans known as the Snake Riders have convinced them that the age of the Emperors is at an end.