A Relic of the Past
Church of the Vigilant Eye
“Understanding is the seed from which Good Fortune sprouts.”
- Vigilant Eye catechism
The Church of the Vigilant Eye believes in the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination to all who are willing to hear.
The Church encourages a contemplative and skeptical mind and values scholarship. It abhors unfounded superstitions, the suppression or hording of knowledge, and the exploitation of ignorance.
However, the Church feels pity and shows mercy to those who lack knowledge, and much more so those who lack the means or aptitude to gain it. (Despite this, arrogance is probably the most common vice among its adherents.)
The veneration of verifiable fact means that art and performance receive little attention. They are not outright discouraged but seen more as a hobby than a respectable pursuit.
Weekly services are open to the public and feature readings from lauded historical literature. The Church also hosts respected authors—living or dead—for Q&A.
Feasts and festivals serve as the primary means to announce and celebrate new discoveries.
Membership is open to all races and walks of life.
Clergy must demonstrate reliability, objectivity, and competence with recordkeeping before being ordained. Most clergy are wizards or clerics of Knowledge who help maintain its vast libraries. Clerics of Light also serve as evangelists. Warlocks tend to arouse suspicion due to the kinds of knowledge they pursue, and few are trusted to be among the ranks of the clergy.
The head of the Church is known as the High Pupil. He or she sets the vision for the Church and is expected to spend the majority of time in deep study and divination. The current High Pupil is the elf Vertaelie Aurovoron.
The High Pupil is chosen from among the Church’s clergy the person who has been a member in good standing for the longest unbroken span of time. As such, most High Pupils throughout history have been long-lived races such as elves and gnomes. Recordkeeping in the Church of Knowledge is unsurprisingly superb, so to date, there has never been a dispute about the line of succession.
The High Pupil appoints a number of Irises as emissaries to the world. The exact number is not prescribed; it is whatever the High Pupil determines is appropriate to gain a diverse understanding of the world. High Pupil Aurovoron has appointed eight Irises who are spread throughout the empire—one Librarian at each of the six Grand Temples plus two Pilgrims who are perpetually traveling between the empire’s smaller towns.
The Church maintains a network of temples throughout the empire, each of which sports an immaculate public library.
Six Grand Temple Libraries dot the empire’s major cities, and their catalogs are meticulously maintained so they are all identical. The Church employs hundreds of scribes in each to copy new historical records and rigorously-reviewed scientific publications. They then ship the quintuplicate manuscripts to the other Grand Temple Libraries to maintain a growing yet identical catalog.
Temple libraries in smaller towns contain subsets of the full catalog. Where space and supply are limited, librarians rotate out the stock periodically to maximize access.
There are rumors that the Church created a demiplane to house its Supreme Library, which contains a magically preserved copy of every known written work.
As seekers of truth, clergy at all levels are relied upon in meting out justice. Political leaders throughout the empire are known to call upon priests as advisers or special investigators in high-profile civil and criminal proceedings, trusting them to be thorough and unbiased. Especially busy (or lazy) governors will delegate the responsibility entirely, appointing a priest as his local adjudicator.