Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for the Jeweled Path

While the worship of a god or gods is commonplace among Men -- and, indeed, is unique to them -- not all Men are followers of a deity. Some Men instead guide their lives according to some philosophy, creed, or ideal, such as the well-known devotion of paladins to Law. In a similar vein, the monastic ascetics of Aranoon are devoted to a system of thought they call the Jeweled Path. The teachings of the Path bear some resemblance to those taught by Turms Termax, focused as they are in harmonizing one's body and mind accord with the secrets of the cosmos to achieve mastery. Indeed, the resemblance is so close that some charge that the Emerald Tablet of Turms is in fact derived from earlier books by the sages of the Jeweled Path -- a charge that has only become more popular in the years since the fall of the Thulian Empire and the widespread condemnation of Termaxianism.

Of course, the similarities are largely superficial. Where Turms understood "mastery" to mean the transcendence of mortality, the Path teaches that the acceptance of one's mortality is one of the keys -- or "jewels," in the philosophy's jargon -- to inner harmony. Only when one understands that to be a Man is to die can one achieve the insight needed to become all that being a Man entails, including powers and abilities that some might deem "magical." To outsiders, it is the mystical abilities of Jeweled Path ascetics that are their most noteworthy feature, a fact that simultaneously amuses and annoys adherents of this ancient creed.

In the former lands of the Thulian Empire, the Jeweled Path remains largely unknown, except to scholars of western lands. Comparatively few of its devotees can be found even in the largest cities and settlements of the east and those who can be are typically solitary individuals traveling the world for their own purposes rather than as representatives of the great monasteries that supposedly exist in their homelands. There are, however, stories that, since the opening of Dwimmermount once more, several ascetics of the Jeweled Path have been seen in Adamas, seeking a property on which to establish a school in which to teach their esoteric philosophy. Like so many stories in Adamas these days, it's almost certainly untrue in its specifics, though, just as certainly, there's probably a grain of truth in it as well.

4 comments:

  1. Are these the monks you were talking about a while ago?

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  2. It would seem that you've found an answer to your terminological problem: "ascetic of the Jeweled Path" has a nice ring to it.

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  3. Nice. Kind of a side-glance Tolkien reference as well, as his true "Gift of Men" was mortality.

    Embrace that, and embrace what you are meant to be.

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  4. Are these the monks you were talking about a while ago?

    Yes, exactly.

    ReplyDelete

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