During the 4th struggle against the Star Whales (my subs will make a lot more sense if you read The Stolen World ), in the Kuthrii Empires' desperation, they turned to the most fickle of magics, time. Many very powerful time spells were cast simultaneously, in a futile attempt at turning back the Whales. This is one of many left over remnants of this time magic.
See, there was this priestess (image) and as the mighty time magics were being cast, she herself was casting, a little too close to what was happening. As the time spells bounced uselessly off the Star Whales, she was struck by one of them.The spell warped and misfired under the iinfluence of the Whale. The priestess is now stuck in an endless loop of casting her spell over and over again. In fact she has been in the same spot , casting the same spell for over 20,000 years. In a very strange by product of this, in each tiny time loop, she successfully casts the spell. A lot of myths and legends have sprung up around her, absolutely none of them are true. Presently a church has been built around her (image). Attempts to read her mind only reveal the mental component of the spell she is casting.She is totally unaware of her surroundings and her plight. The priestess may only be interacted with by receiving the spell from her or reading her mind. Oh and by the way avacia is not her name, it is the first word of the verbal component of the spell she is casting.
It is a spell that gives the recipient the ability to cast the following spells on there own: cure wounds( as the lowest power level), magic weapon (+1 to weapon receiving, one combat encounter duration) and foretell ( enabling the recipient of asking one yes or no question of the game master, with a 80% chance of accuracy, 10 combat rounds casting time). She is literally casting this spell every combat round of every day. You may not receive a second "helping" until you have cast all the spells. They will stay in your head until cast. Absolutely no magical ability is need to use or understand the spell. It could be handed out on a continuous basis to the general public.But there' no money in that.......
REPEATED EXPOSURE TO THE SPELL
As all that is necessary to be able to cast the spells is emptying them from your head, repeated prolonged receipt is not only possible, but highly desireable. In some instances this can cause problems. A psychological dependance is one of the possible side effects, causing the individual to get withdrawal symptoms once the last spell is cast, with nausea and headaches the most common. Another side effect is the recipient gets used to the spells being in there head and gradually refuses to cast them anymore, these individual become morose and withdrawn. The most severe of these effects are brain aneurysms that are almost always fatal, this happens in about 1 out 200 individuals upon first receiving the spell. These victims are extremly good subjects of undead reanimation magic and the corpses are sold by the present cult to necromancers (anything for a gold piece.....)
OVER THE LAST FEW THOUSAND YEARS..........
As she is permanently stuck and it is fairly easy to figure out what she is doing. Her location at the mouth of a major river makes her discovery a near certainty of every Whale Cycle. A cult, church, holy man or whatever almost always springs up. Often these "cults' worship her and will go to great lengths to figure out what she wants, but there is no way of doing that. The current cult was founded about 900 years ago. At first, the spells were freely distributed to all, as that is what the holy man who found her wanted to do. As the centuries past, the church was built around her, and the self serving nature of her "followers" evolved into their current greedy, selfish nature.
THE CURRENT CULT
Ok, the ones who eventually come to control her have very little to go on, so the organizations that spring up mostly mimic this one.The founders of the present church of Bishop Avayia( as she is portrayed and "followed"), have focused in on the actual spell as the basis for their theology and the three "priestly" orders that have sprung from it (Avacynian Missionaries image)
The cult is controlled by the three"lesser" bishops, who each in turn control one of the branches. Access to the priestess is strictly controlled and very few have even the faintest of ideas of what is going on. These "lesser" bishops' positions are hereditary. now as the self serving nature of the "Church" has evolved.
The doctrine of the cult is contained in a 23 volume "holy book" , "The Leaves of Avayia".that has centuries of built up contradictions and self serving bull. It is completely incomprehensible, and the cult itself doesn't pay attention to it. AS there is no deity or anything else to go on, the cult focused' like a scalpel on the spells provided as the only thing they have to go on. Over time, The bishops that have controlled access to the priestess have grown very self serving, after all they get free spells and answer to nothing.On the face of it, the orders follow a basicly "good" philosophy, in reality they are totally currupt, greedy and self serving.
THE WISDOM KEEPERS
These are the "priests' that run the church itself and control access to the spell. A brief ritual is conducted to "purify "the spell recipient and they are then briefly admitted to the closely guarded chamber , built around "Avancyia" to receive said spell. These priests are basically in the "know " about the true nature of what is going on. They are lavishly paid and live sumptuous lives. For a price, they can be bribed to give"unbelievers" access, as they are quite corrupt. They will reward lay people with receiving the spell on some of their high holy days.This are directly controlled by the 3 lesser bishops, who reside in the church.
THE ORDER OF HEALING
Focusing on the cure spell, these missionaries job is to go among the poor and helpless spreading their cures, for a price. In reality only those with the cash will receive a healing, but they talk a really good game of helping the helpless. Missionaries of this order must pay to join and serve a long apprenticeship of poverty.
THE ORDER OF THE SWORD
It is the job of these missionaries to convert the unfaithful at sword point. This branch is exceedingly obnoxious and unpopular, as they are the enforcement arm of the cult. All are novice to experienced warriors and many view themselves as sort of perverse "paladins". They are organized as a military unit and have very little trappings of religion, other than a sort of general belief that all must follow Bishop Avanyia. Those members of other orders that show any signs of not following the party line are quickly transferred here, given a sword and put directly in harms way.
THE ORDER OF THE VISION
Foretell is cast only for the powerful in an attempt to control the upper classes. This order is filled with 3rd and 4th sons of nobility and the upper classes. They are picked for their connections to power and any other consideration be damned. They are the most motley of crews and by far the worst of the bunch. Also very chaotic and unkempt.
As can be easily understood, their range is limited to a single city-state. In order to control and keep secrecy the cult is a little smaller than would be expected. Their has been some talk among the lesser bishops to gain an arcane gate to spread their influence. As this would be incredibly expensive, it is not being undertaken at this time by the very content command section of the cult. Locally, they are absolute in their overwhelming control of religion and are well on their way to being the state religion, as that is their ultimate goal.
The cult is just plain rude.