Followers of Anvari

Put briefly, the Followers of Anvari are a quiet, reclusive order of people who seek - and perhaps gain - enlightenment through control, meditation, and understanding of themselves and other people. Progress towards this enlightenment seems to confer dramatically increased magical ability, as well as other strange, unexplainable abilities. Followers have been said to run heedlessly up walls, leap gracefully over tall buildings, or even withstand the onslaught of a blightstorm.

How They Live

The Followers of Anvari are somewhat secretive, and generally do not openly profess their beliefs. They are disliked by the aristocracy, due to their liberal views and strange powers. They often quote meaningful proverbs or aphorisms, and have an annoying tendency to answer questions with deeper questions or koans.

They are almost always homeless, and those who still sleep generally do so in the streets. They do not typically stay in any once place for long. Anvarites are generally peaceful and amicable unless provoked, and strive to treat others with compassion and respect. Vehemently egalitarian, they believe that class distinctions are both irrelevant and destructive. As such, most Anvarites were born of the lower classes, but sometimes a member of the Aristocrats will abandon his wealth and life to join their ranks.

The powers of the advanced learners in the sect are closely guarded secrets. It is widely known that they sometimes move with seemingly supernatural grace and speed, and can be lethal combatants even unarmed. They usually possess some ability to overcome the natural limitations of the body - able to go unexpectedly long periods without food, water, sleep, or even air. More advanced students are able to stretch their limitations further, and some are supposedly able to overcome them entirely. It is rumored that they can manipulate luck - the blessing of an Anvarite monk is a valuable thing in some circles, and the curse a feared one.

Methods:

The Followers possess a rich oral tradition and lack written texts. Of particular importance are The Parables?, a loose collection of (presumably metaphorical) fables concerning a (possibly metaphorical) wise man named Anvari. Each Parable is rife with metaphor, allegory, allusion, and tautology, and is generally intended to impart some fragment of Anvari's wisdom upon it's listener.

Followers see themselves as the polar opposite of the Void Eaters, and destroy the cultists wherever they are found.

Followers occasionally take a student, often a child, and teach him The Ways of Anvari. Followers teach one student at a time, fitting their teaching methods to the particular student, and to the world around them both.

Teaching involves the telling of increasingly subtle and complex parables as their understanding of Anvari and his wisdom expands. Each parable is usually accompanied by a lengthy conversation between the teacher and student, discussing the possible meanings of the tale, and what it implies in the larger philosophy taken as a whole. Notably, followers do not distinguish between teacher and student - for it is said that both of the two followers teach much to one another. Traditionally, the two part ways only when they mutually agree that it is time.

The Ways of Anvari

The philosophy itself is an incredibly complex, subtle hierarchy of interrelated concepts and rules, and it takes years to acquire an understanding of the intricacies involved. The philosophy covers enlightenment, morality, psychology, honor, law, etiquette, meditative techniques, mystical rituals, magical powers, and even a specialized martial art unique to the order. It is said that every one of these aspects is vital to a clear understanding of Anvari, and that, conversely, every one of these aspects can be mastered simply by properly understanding Anvari.

Every Anvarite Monk holds slightly different philosophies and interpretations thereof, and in fact the only truly universal constants to the order are the Edicts of Anvari.

The Edicts of Anvari.

(1) Control Thyself.
(2) Know Thyself.
(3) Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. This is known as the Golden Rule.
(4) Do not do unto others that which you would not have done unto you. This is known as the Silver Rule.
(5) To do otherwise is evil, and evil does not belong in this world.
(6) Followers of The Void or of The Blight are an Anathema, and must be destroyed at any cost. The other rules do not apply against their kind.

The fifth edict is the most controversial, since it seemingly justifies violence and/or resistance against criminals and the unjust. Others claim that the first two rules preclude the third, and that a Follower of Anvari should be pacifists. Most Anvarites follow a middle path, and only resort to violence when there is no other viable option available.

The Aspects of Anvari

Anvari has many aspects, each of which plays a deep and meaningful role within the philosophy of the order. Each of the parables generally features only one such aspects, and throughout that parable Anvari will generally be referred to by his current aspect. For example, a number of parables feature "The Teacher Anvari", and these parables typically involve a student asking The Teacher Anvari some question, and Anvari's answer. There are many aspects - The Sage, The Wanderer, The Oracle, The Peaceful, The Protector, The Enlightened, and, in certain rarely told parables, The Warrior. The subtle differences between these aspects, and what they imply to the meaning behind the parables, is the subject of much debate among the followers.

Anathema

Followers of Anvari oppose The Blight and The Void Eaters, and they are the most fervent hunters of their kind. Adherents to the two faiths are locked in a constant but hidden battle down on the surface, where few others dare to venture. It is rumored that Followers of Anvari can detect undercover Void Eaters.