Monlon Vigiles

Law keepers and protectors of the Holy City, the Monlon Vigiles are generally taller and more stalwart than the average citizen. They are simply clad in tunics and boots, and wield quarterstaves to keep the peace. They are also tattooed with small, geometric marking around the eyes and cheekbones. Many citizens like to joke about the Holy City and it's laws of "decency" revolving around kissing in public. One such saying goes, "It is safer to murder a man in Monlon than it is to kiss your wife in public."

The Vigiles: Beginning

According to oral legend, the first incarnation of the Vigiles formed immediately following the return of light to Midlight following the last great darkness. After Iridine's great show of piety in her sacrifice, many of her fellow clergy were overcome with shame and repentance for having given up hope, breaking the faith, or in some instances, abandoning Ereal as he had abandoned them and turning to old deities. For their lack of faith and for their wickedness, faithless clergy were struck blind, never to see the light that Iridine's faith had stirred Ereal's mercy to grant.

The blind priests were pariahs in the culture of renewed faith around them, their sins too great for simple forgiveness. Many never regained their faith, loathing Ereal for denying to them what he had returned to others and many died in the years following the return of the light.

A small group of these blind priests turned back to Ereal, and did so with renewed vigor. From that day, a handful of them refused to leave
the site of Iridine's burial, they covered themselves in ashes, stripped of all clothing, let their hair and nails grow wild and spent their days reciting chants of repentance even while the populace mocked their blindness by calling them the "Vigiles" (the watchful).

Time of Tulca I: Soldiers of Faith

Over time the tradition of the original Vigiles affected the religious expression of the Kingdom of Monlon. As the religious center of Cinerans and Aestivans, Monlon was fertile breeding ground for the particularly devout brand of Erealism espoused by the original Vigiles. The military of Monlon in particular adopted the hard-line approach to their religion. Morning, midday, and evening chants, the donation of all earthly possessions to the temple, vows of chastity, abandonment of simple pleasures, and even self-flagellation, in memory of the repentance and sincerity of the original Vigiles became common among military men.

Of particular note was the importance this tradition placed upon Iridine herself. Prayers were uttered to both Iridine and Ereal in the same breath, and the belief in the divinity of 'The lady' as a gateway to Ereal flourished.

As these practices led to greater patriotic feelings and deep attachment to the city itself, the 'Vigile' tradition among soldiers was actively encouraged by the ruling family and it became difficult to receive prestigious assignment without being known as a 'Vigile'. Soldiers who attempted to adhere to the principles of the original Vigiles commonly referred to themselves by that title, and being publicly known as a 'Vigile' became synonymous with being a pious Erealite and Soldier of the Kingdom of Monlon.

Destruction of the Kingdom: The Coming of Granthulius

The final battle of the Kingdom of Monlon was fought in the small hours of the morning. Granthulius' legions had effectively eliminated all other resistance in the much smaller kingdom, meeting little resistance of note. It is said that before giving the order to attack, he offered quarter to the small remaining Monloni force and was refused without consideration.

Soon, the night sky took on the appearance of dawn, so brightly did the Fires of Monlon burn. Not one step into the city was given up easily;
the near fanatical brotherhood of Vigiles formed the core of the capital's remaining military and their tradition forbade retreat or abandonment of their posts under any condition. The air was thick with smoke, screams of the dying and the smell of fire and blood. By dawn every inch of the city had been razed to the ground and only a handful of broken and wounded Monloni remained, pausing for breath in the courtyard of the only structure still standing - the Monlon Temple.

Here it is said that Granthulius again offered quarter to the doomed Vigiles and, as the first light of the rising sun crested the horizon, he was again refused. The living Monloni could have retreated to the temple, taking cover and slowing the approach of the inevitable.
Instead, covered in the ash of their burning homeland, hair matted with the blood of enemy and friend alike, they gathered as one and began their ancient chants of faith and repentance.

So moving was the courage and brotherhood of these men that Granthulius' legions were not ashamed to admit to the scribes of the day that they fought with tears in their eyes as they cut down the remaining Vigiles. The war had ended, Monlon was in rubble and her army destroyed and the day would never be forgotten by those who had witnessed it.

Monlon would have been no prize had it been left in rubble, and Granthulius was not so foolish as to leave it so. The rebuilding of the center of Cineran and Aestivan religion began immediately. By either misinterpretation or by keen planning, when it came time to select local law enforcement and protection for his local administrators, Granthulius declared that they would be named 'Vigiles'. Volunteers were overwhelming, even from his own men, so moved had they been by the actions of the men who last claimed that name. The title even pleased the living clergy of Monlon, who were quick to offer support and education to these new 'vigiles' and even supply learned men to assist Granthulius appointed administrators in re-establishing Monlon's bureaucracy.

So the tradition of the Vigiles lived on; though the form changed, the tradition could continue.

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