A clothbound book, the symbol of Inil stitched onto the front in simple yellow thread, left in the tavern for all to read.
The Lectatio Solarium
The Collected Meditations of Percival Belrose
Violence and Pacifism
Since it is the true and sacred duty of Inilians to safeguard and aid those who inhabit the world, many take it upon themselves to use violence in order to accomplish this. Those who do this see it as practicality, condemning other methods as inefficient, or even fantastical. In their eyes, snuffing out the evil within one life in order to preserve the light of others is an unfortunate piece of their duty. This is blindness, self-deception at its very peak.
As the sun rises and sets, so too is it within the soul. Anger, despair, love - all waxes and wanes in time, existing within a great internal cycle. Those who are perceived as threats, those often permanently condemned as sinners and heretics, are but a temporary version of a greater individual. To destroy them, therefore, robs the world of all their potential, all the good they might do if shown the light. Many pass through valleys of despair within themselves before rising to greater peaks than ever before - do not be a foe to them in this journey, but rather be the lantern which guides them. Deliverance, mercy, love - these are the medicine which cures violence. To fight violence with itself traps us in an entropic cycle, where each revolution is more twisted, more soulless and hopeless than the last, and from which escape is a feat of divine willpower.
There is no greater tragedy than being truly beyond help. Such individuals are so rare as to be figures of legend, but are not wholly unheard of. In these cases, where the wayward soul has devoted itself entirely to the workings and service of evil, where they have snuffed out the light within themselves, death is the last mercy which can be shown. To live beyond all love is a fate which surpasses all others in its horror. These mercies, grim despite their virtue, must be certain, and kind in the ways they may be. There is no call, even in the most wretched of forsaken souls, for undue pain in their passing. The blade shall be sharp, and the stroke shall be sure. Fight, in those rare cases that it must be done, without anger or passion, but with purpose alone.
Though we should never seek it, it is true that many who dwell still in the valley of despair may use violence, for their circumstances cloud their vision and their mind. When beset by them, do not see foes - see the hurting, the hungry, and the desperate. See them for the reasons they resort to violence, not for the violence itself. Act in your own defense; do not seek martyrdom, but do not lash out in these moments. Show them mercy even as they show you the very worst that they can do, for they cry out inside for love, for warmth.
It is truth as well that those who are lost, who have not yet found the light but are not beyond redemption, are more easily led by a kind word and a helping hand than by a warrior, even one devoted to the Lady. To be an Inilian is to be a light first, a sage second, and a warrior last. Do not be always prepared for war, nor for the grim mercy that befalls the irredeemable. Let your armor sit so long upon the stand that it becomes like a painting on the wall. Let your sword be so accustomed to its oilcloth that the blade forgets its purpose. To go into the world adorned in the instruments of war displays a preoccupation, rather than dread, for battle. Let those who see you rest their eyes on a friend and guide.
In those times, however, when the irredeemable come for war - for evil is drawn to itself, even as it consumes itself - let there be a declaration of grim mercy. Let all tongues speak with unmistakable regret that the time has come for Crusadis Illuminare, a war for the light. Then may all the implements of death be brought forth, and the armor taken from its stand, that mercy may be brought swiftly. Let the slain be remembered, and the lost be mourned.
Violence is used as a solution - a key to the lock of conflict. Conflict arises from evil only in the irredeemable, it comes from a misguided and wanting heart in all others. Therefore do not meet violence with violence, but rather seek to heal the source. Let wisdom, therefore, be your sword. Becoming entangled in the cycle of violence is the surest way to bring harm to yourself and those you hold dear. Adhering strictly to kindness and wisdom will not only keep others from the trap of battle, but the practitioner as well. Let mercy, therefore, be your shield.
The Magics of Suffering
Those arts of blood magic, necromancy, and other forms which derive their power from suffering and sacrifice, should be treated with extreme caution, as they attract many foul and cruel practitioners. These forms are not themselves anathema to the light, but are dangerous, easily abused, and corrupting to the unwary. Many see these arts as a path to greater power, and care only that the path is short, not that it is bloody and treacherous.
Rare individuals may have the wits and wisdom to utilize these arts without damning themselves and their surroundings. These individuals may claim that their arts are an exception - that they practice something closer to science than magic, or even that their caution renders all harm of the dark arts inert. To this, they must be rebuked, and reminded that caution renders only the caster safe.
Such deeds are called the magics of suffering because of how they derive their power. Blood, bone, and pain are turned into energy, and it is this aspect which brings a terrible cost to these arts. There is no way to practice such things without inflicting pain upon those used as components. The only way, therefore, to practice such arts in a way that resembles ethical usage, is to offer only the willing as a sacrifice. It is not the place of any person to dictate what another may do with their own form. Even in these circumstances, with the practices of caution and self-sacrifice, these arts should never be mistaken as blessed or holy. Even in their most excusable, the magics of suffering remain in a place of gray - neither good nor evil, only an extremely unpleasant and dangerous means to whatever end. They may not always be damning, but they are never to be celebrated.
Hope in Despair
Even within the heart of the devout, and in the places that they light by their presence, there will always be a sapping of the light. When the light grows dim and the joy of Inil seems insufficient, it is not the time to seek other paths. Instead, clasp tight your symbols and let your lips speak praises to Inil. Seek to feed the flame within yourself, and let others warm themselves by it as it grows. One will find that even the dimmest embers may be reawakened, and such fires burn the brightest of all.
There should be a distinction drawn, a chasm which ought never be breached, between despair and darkness. Despair is that which bleeds light from the world, and is embodied in anger, fear, jealousy, and all else which brings nothingness. Darkness is not nothingness - it is the gaze of Shothar draped lovingly across the world each night. Darkness is the domain of Shothar’s devoted, but it bears a special significance to Inilians as well. It is as a sibling to the light - different, yet familiar. The darkness brings peace, rest, safety, and hides the creatures of the world from each other, that the cycle of nature might slow and find peace for a time.
It is the unfortunate nature of this age that many who serve Shothar have twisted the darkness into a tool of evil, and forgotten its true virtues. In seeing this, many have forgotten these virtues as well, leading to an association between darkness and evil. It is a habit that must be broken, so that the worship of Shothar may be brought to its rightful place alongside all other eldest.
The Role of Inilians
Dozens, if not hundreds, of Inilian orders have existed throughout history, and only a bare handful of them bear enough similarity to be readily compared. Most confine themselves finely, devoted utterly to a single aspect of the Lady of Light, but this is the way of the past. To deny the good works and contributions of the old ways is foolishness, but the people of the world change. Wars come and go, leaders rise and fall, kingdoms and empires succumb to the ravages of time and pass into myth. It is the blessed truth that all is temporary, and a new ethos must arise to meet the new dawn.
This is the truth of the Exiled Lands, and the era which they define; it is Kierna who gives life and Noktal who takes it. The role of Inilians is not in life or death at all, but in the lighting of the path, the world, and the flame in all hearts. Ours is the work which makes life worth living, the work which brings rejoicing and love. Inilians are the blessed caretakers of life - not creating or destroying it, but being entrusted with it, entrusted to teach it kindness and love, entrusted to show it the warm light of Inil.
In all acts, great and small, strive to build friendships, heal the hurting, and nourish light in the hearts around you.