The Miros Underground
Heironeous appears as a tall human man in a full robe of chainmail so fine that it moves with him like cloth. He has auburn hair and skin the color of copper, and is impervious to all but the mightiest weapons due to a secret solution known as meersalm. His signature weapon is a great magical battleaxe, though he has recently taken to the longsword.
In general, Heironeous considers all other gods who stand against evil to be allies, while those deities who promote suffering and evil he regards as foes. Specifically, however, he is a staunch ally of Bahamut, Pelor, Pholtus, Rao, Asmodeus, and Zodal. His strong adherence to Law sometimes brings Heironeous into conflict with Avandra and Kord. He finds Ioun annoying at times, but tolerates him because of his charm and will. Heironeous considers himself the enemy of Beltar, Bane, Tharizdun, Cyric, Tiamat, Tlaloc, Vara, Vecna, and Wastri.
Heironeous’s realm, known as the Fields of Glory, is located in Venya, the third of the Seven Heavens.
Heironeous sees the world as a deadly place, filled with perpetual challenges and trials for those who battle for justice and defend the weak and innocent. His followers should always act with honor and chivalry, and to uphold justice. Danger is to be faced head-on, with calm and resolve. Those who defeat evil are rewarded with Glory, while those who uphold the tenets of the Arch-paladin are rewarded with Virtue. The Arch-paladin’s teachings have been codified in a chivalric code known as the Heironean Code.
The Heironean Code
The Heironean Code consists of three sets of duties:
- Duty to the People. This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law.
- Duty to the Arch-paladin. This duty stresses obedience to Heironeous himself, devotion to the church, generosity, championing good against evil, putting the needs of the church and the faith above those of mortals.
- Duty to a Lady. This duty pertains to the concept of courtly love, devotion to one’s beloved, and respect toward all women in general.
A number of holy texts are venerated by the faith of Heironeous. The best-known work is likely The Book of the Code, a four-chapter work outlining the Heironean Code and providing examples of how one is expected to follow it. Another well-known work is the Book of Penitence (also known as the Just Book), which describes the achievements of Ferrante, a legendary paladin who is now venerated as a saint by some Heironean sects.
Temples, chapels, and shrines to Heironeous can be found throughout Piretha. Notable houses of worship include the Sanctum of Heironeous in Ridgecrest, as well as a chapel at Diamond Lake. The fallen kingdom of Lakeside was once a major center of Heironeous’ faith.
There are several temples to Heironeous in Hadarac, but the most prominent one is called the Spire of Glory, whose high priest is Glorylord Gaeraeth Heldenster.
The Shield Reclaimed is a great cathedral in Damara. It has only just begun to be rebuilt after being destroyed by the forces of Iuz. Its high priest is Abbot Roderick Docamald.
Heironeous’ temples are decorated with blue and silver trappings, and often scenes of Heironeous triumphant in stained glass.
Heironean services and holy texts are all in the Old Chondathan language. Services to Heironeous include triumphant battle hymns, offerings to copper statues of the god, and the sharing of hearty, strengthening foods such as meat, full-bodied red wine (in moderation), and spiced, stewed, kara-fruit.
- The Tests of Valor
Before advancing in rank, priests of Heironeous must clearly demonstrate their bravery, honor, and sense of justice. The exact nature of these tests varies, but they are revealed through prayer and divinely-inspired visions. They can range from tests of fortitude that can be completed within the temple to crusades against the forces of evil.
The faith of Heironeous is a very militaristic one, launching crusades against evil and championing causes. As one would expect, many soldiers, city watchmen, mercenaries, and others who make their living by the sword find themselves honoring the Archpaladin.
Priests of Heironeous often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil. Older priests often work as strategists, military instructors, or judges. Several of the faith’s most powerful clerics, seeking to gain the benefits of meersalm, have had themselves embalmed alive with the substance, though some have not survived the ritual. Their favored weapons are the longsword and battleaxe.
Novices of Heironeous are known as the Blessed. Full priests are called the Glorious or, collectively, the Valorous Host. Other titles used by Heironian priests are Hero of the Third Rank, Hero of the Second Rank, Hero of the First Rank, Champion of Glory, Knight Gallant, Knight Courageous, Knight Valiant, and Knight Champion. Senior priests are called Paragons, while those who command armies are known as Paragon-Generals. These titles are separate from duty-titles such as postulant, novitiate, professed priest, cloistered cleric, affirmed priest, and templar. They are also separate from ranks within the temple hierarchy such as hierodeacon and abbot. In everyday use, senior priests are called Father or Mother, while lesser priests are known as Brother or Sister. There is also an elite order of priests known as the gloryaxes.
Priestly vestments include chain mail and blue robes with silver trim.
Large numbers of paladins in Piretha follow Heironeous, as he himself is one. Because of this, and his utter dedication to Law and Good, paladins of Heironeous can be among the most devout, albeit overbearing, people on the Material Plane. The ancient Chondathan hero Arnd of Tdon is credited with establishing the first order of paladins among the Chondathan tribes before the Great Migrations. The hero-deity Murlynd was also paladin of Heironeous, and his order of White Paladins is actually part of Heironeous’s ecclesiastical hierarchy. Saint Handraleo the Swift, another paladin, is honored by a group of Heironeans called the Order of the True Strike.
Prominent paladins of Heironeous include Artur Jakartai, Belvor IV, and Karistyne.
The church of Heironeous is supported by numerous religious-military orders, some of which can trace their origins back to the church armies of the Great Kingdom (though none swear allegiance to the Malachite Throne or its successors today). Prominent examples include the Order of the Shining Sword, the Brotherhood of the Lance Unbroken, and the Copper Crusaders.
The Holy Order of the Supernal Topaz Defenders, or the Topaz Order for short, is an organization of Heironean clerics, paladins, fighters, fighter/clerics, and monks dedicated to purging the world of evil, aberrant races such illithids, beholders, grell, aboleths, and neogi. Their emblem is a brilliant yellow topaz on a field of cobalt blue.
Although this is uncommon, there are also orders of Heironean fighting-monks. The most famous is the Order of the Glory Everlasting, led by a former nobleman named Luther. The Order of the Glory Everlasting is dedicated to the preservation of Oeridian culture and the destruction of an order of Hextorian monks called the Brotherhood of the Gray Hand.
The most famous group of Heironean knights, however, are the Knights of Holy Shielding.