The Church of Horus-Re is the largest and most powerful church in Mulhorand, it is also the centre of government for the nation, acting as the administration in a manner similar to the Church of the Sky Father in Unther.
The Church of Horus-Re had its beginnings; like most churches in Mulhorand, with the birth of the First Empire of Mulhorand, when the scattered city states came together as a true nation and the Laren of Mulhorand began to style themselves as gods instead of heroes or lords.
The Church of Horus-Re was then two separate entities; the Church of Ra and the Church of Horus, but upon the death of Ra during the Orcgate Wars and the Mulhorandi civil war that followed, the churches of Ra and Horus joined as did Horus and Ra and the noble houses Helthaunt and Calliant.
With the accession of Horus-Re to the Sun Throne of Mulhorand, he quickly established the Church of Horus-Re as the government administration in Mulhorand to keep the government running while he was off reuniting the former pieces of the empire. Since that time the Church of Horus-Re has expanded to have a presence in almost every settlement in Mulhorand, dealing with and implementing all activities relating to central government.
Headquarters: Skuld, The Solarium
Members: 15,000 priests
Leader: The Pharaoh Akonhorus II, Divine Precept of Horus-Re. Like all churches in Mulhorand, the Divine Precept is the titular head of the church, however, in reality the most senior priest is the true leader of the church. In the Church of Horus-Re Vizier Rezim is the true power, giving the commands and authorizing all activities of the church.
Secrecy: None, as an official religion of Mulhorand, and the organization responsible for central government administration, everyone in Mulhorand and beyond knows of the Church of Horus-Re.
Symbol: A hawk’s head wearing a pharaoh’s crown surrounded by a solar circle.
The Church of Horus-Re is strictly regimented in a fashion synonymous with the central government administration of Mulhorand. The ranks in descending order are Vizier, Sunray, Lightbringer, Illuminator, Heliant, Huntlion, Hawkflyer, Avenger, Initiate. Novice priests are given admin tasks and typically sit at the front desks in the public facing area of temples where citizens come to pick up, fill in, and drop off forms etc, as one would expect for a government building. Avengers typically deal with supervising Initiates, reviewing the various admin tasks, and seeking approvals from superiors. Hawkflyers are often sent to deal with suspicious and problem cases. Huntlions oversee entire temples. Heliants oversee minor precepts. Illuminators oversee major precepts. Lightbringers and Sunrays are typically the only ones with direct access to the Vizier and they bring matters them deem worthy of his attention, while ensuring his orders are carried out by the rest of the church.
The Church of Horus-Re does not deal with the filing and organization of the many forms; these matters are left to the slave scribes of the infamous Guild of Scribes (the largest and most powerful guild in Mulhorand), although many in the Church of Horus-Re (and indeed all other churches in Mulhorand) are part of the membership of this guild.
The Church of Horus-Re and the administration of central government is strictly by the rules, with little or none of the corruption inherent in neighbouring Unther. Citizens must fill in appropriate documents for taxes, births, deaths, marriages, travel, trading, etc. Licences for many of the above activities must also be purchased with the correct supporting documentation. The Church of Horus-Re provides a central place for all these and more. All forms must be filled in correctly, all licences must be purchased by eligible citizens and renewed on time, no allowances are made for incorrectness, although the Initiates are available for friendly help and advice.
The Church of Horus-Re does not deal with all the documents once filled in correctly, much of the activities it supports are handled by other churches, for instance registration of death is handled by the Church of Osiris but can be facilitated by the Church of Horus-Re, both churches will provide the documents that need to be filled in but in the end they will be ultimately processed and filed by the Church of Osiris.
Promotion in the Church of Horus-Re does occur, but only through achievements and reputation (and upon the vacancy of the previous post holder by death or demotion). Assassination is illegal and not allowed to secure a promkotion (although it does happen in secret occasionally). Most often a promotion is secured due to the self promotion of one’s achievements to superiors (or getting an associate to promote your achievements for money or acts in kind), and through the mistakes of the current post holder that bring him shame, or the shameful acts of kin, or through careful character assassination. The Church of Horus-Re, despite its strict and law abiding nature is rife with politics as everyone seeks to better their own position in society at the expense of those they deem unworthy to already have a better existence. Priests quickly form groups and factions within their own peerage to hasten their own goals, and those overlapping groups and factions constantly compete against one another for the positive attention of patrons in a higher position, while simultaneously trying to eliminate rivals and attract negative attention onto unworthy priests in a higher position. This rivalry is rarely directly deadly, but the demotion of an individual can quickly bring about destitution, slavery (for unpaid debts), and even death.
House Helthaunt: Within the Church of Horus-Re are three ancient noble houses that constantly vie for power within the organization. House Helthaunt (along with House Calliant and House Helcalliant) is one of the three powers within the church, and contantly pushes against the ruling House Helcalliant which holds a position it believes should rightfully belong to House Helthaunt.
House Helthaunt has allied itself with Rezim to try and increase its political power, offering support for many of his plots and reforms in return for patronage and honoured positions within the church and the government of Mulhorand.
The New Dawn: This faction includes most of the conservative members within the Church of Horus-Re at one point or another. It is officially dedicated to preserving the status quo of everything in Mulhorand, preserving life and society in the state it has existed for a thousand years.
Currently the faction is led by Mardikan Helcalli, and his hatred for Vizier Rezim often leads him to pursue counter plots against the Vizier to the point that his supporters often abandon his causes long before they can reach fruition (it doesn’t pay to be known as an enemy of the Vizier.
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
The Church of Horus-Re preaches that Mulhorand is eternal and must be kept so, priests are to ensure the citizens of Mulhorand can live honourable, peaceful, and above all law-abiding existences, while giving thanks and homage to Horus-Re for providing the means for this existence.
The Church of Horus-Re must protect the Pharaoh, and keep Mulhorand in existence in the manner it has done so for over a thousand years. At some point it was decided that the best means to continue this existence was with carefully administered bureaucracy, that necessitates a need for the Church of Horus-Re to exist (to provide that bureaucracy), and to carefully order society.
Priests of Horus-Re are supposed to live by example to the rest of Mulhorandi society, behaving honourably and bravely at all times, rooting out evil and the followers of Set whenever possible. Unfortunately with time, the priests of Horus-Re have taken to behaving like haughty, arrogant nobles, demanding the proper obeisance’s that should be according to their status in society (and punishing those who refuse or forget), many of their number also engage in over zealous interrogation of suspect followers of Set.
Membership / Recruiting
Officially, the Church of Horus-Re is open to any Mulan citizen of Mulhorand. All prospective applicants must apply in writing using form HR72, with birth, marriage, and citizenship certificates proving Mulan lineage and Mulhorandi citizenship dating back three generations.
In reality, very few applicants that are not related to (or have patrons in) one of the noble houses of Mulhorand, are unlikely to be approved. Those few citizens without noble kin or patrons who do enter the Church of Horus-Re (usually in frontier regions) are incredibly unlikely to progress very far beyond the Initiate level, leading many to leave the church after a decade or so of fruitless labour.
The Church of Horus-Re expends much of it’s time fending off the plots of factions from other churches, while all its members likewise plot to advance their station within the Church of Horus-Re and the government of Mulhorand.
Large factions that centre around plots to achieve defined goals (beyond increasing personal power) are unusual in the Church of Horus-Re, because the church holds almost all the power in Mulhorand and so any change or reform would likely only diminish the power that the Church of Horus-Re holds. Nonetheless, Rezim himself has organized a few factions to further plots of his own to appease his family and allies.
The Slave Trade: Rezim desires vast sums of wealth to further his other plots and reforms. In order to achieve these aims he intends to sell slaves directly to the wealthy land owners (rather than lease them). This would reduce the cost to monitor and maintain the slaves that are currently the personal property of the Pharaoh and are rented out to those needing slaves. By transferring ownership, the new owners would be able to treat the slaves how they wish and breed more slaves from them in future.
Rezim has significant backing for this venture from the ancient House of Helthaunt (founded by Ra) and other noble houses who own large slave farms in the Asanabis. Thus far the Solar Council has resisted this reform, but Rezim believes he can buy the support of some Divine Precepts, and force the support of others to allow this reform to pass.
Rezim Helcalli (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Magic User 11): Brother of Akonhorus II, this ambition man is the most powerful in all Mulhorand. Originally the heir apparent, he chose to become a priest of Horus-Re and thus removed himself from the succession.
Potmephron (Good, Human – Mulan, Warrior 8, Magic User 7): This champion is known as the Doom of Dragons and wanders the Dawn’s Land region on the border of Murghom and claims to worship the ancient god Khepera (although his holy symbol is an ancient design of the Church of Horus-Re. He shares a birth name with one of the Iwah Pharaoh (Undying Kings) and is said to be immortal by the locals of towns such as Dmiatum.
Sphere of Influence
Kaledshran: The Khaledshran is known to the Mulan as the elixir of immortality, it was created from the blood of Ra; gathered at the moment of his death as the blood of the Laren had often been used to bestow gifts upon their children. Using a secret formula known only to the Church of Horus-Re, an elixir was brewed that allowed the imbiber to become effectively immortal, granting them the moniker “The Undying Kings”.
Those invested with the divine blood of Ra, gained incredible longevity far beyond that of mortal men. Of the 5 Undying Kings to rule Mulhorand during that period, three were slain unexpectedly (one in battle, one by magic, and one by dragon), one disappeared in the Plains of Purple Dust, and the first is noted as dying peacefully in his sleep at the age of 151 (although his body was never displayed through the streets in a grand procession like the others).
The Kaledshran did not always grant immortality, there are three prospective Pharaoh’s who crumbled to dust upon imbibing the potent brew (deemed to be unworthy of Ra’s divine blessing). Later Pharaoh’s; those after Horuseres II “The Ancient”, rarely lived for more than a century leading many to suspect the Kaledshran had run out or lost its potency. In truth, stocks of Ra’s blood were always limited, (only enough blood was gathered for 20 full strength elixir, and Ra’s blood had many other uses).
Since Horuseres II “The Ancient, the Pharaoh’s have been taking the Elixir of Horus-Re, which contains some of Ra’s essence (because Horus-Re does and his blood is used to make the elixir), so the longevity effect is vastly reduced. This has allowed the Church of Horus-Re to conserve the remaining stocks of Ra’s blood for future use.
What has become of the remaining Kaledshran is unknown, there are very few people on Toril even aware of it’s existence. It is written that of the first group of 8 candidates to become Iwah Pharaoh, two of them received the Kaledshran but only one; Horusret I, became Pharaoh (what became of the other candidate is unknown, except that he survived and was revealed to be false and fled Mulhorand). It is believed that a sacred vial contains 3 drops of Ra’s blood, and there are 2 Khaledshran unaccounted for, which may or may not even be in Mulhorand anymore.
The Blazing Mantle of Horus-Re: Crafted for Horus-Re following his coronation as Pharaoh in -1045 DR. The Pharaoh Laran wore the mantle for over 3 centuries as he battled to reunite the Empire of Mulhorand, it was then bequeathed to the joint Pharaoh of Mulhorand (for Horus-Re was also Pharaoh); Atuhorus I, who later lost it in the defence of the Thazalhar in -623 DR, the Year of Clipped Wings.
The mantle was torn from the back of Atuhorus I by none other than Wendonai, and despite the demon being subsequently banished, and the armies of Narfell defeated, the Blazing Mantle of Horus-Re was never found (presumably carried away by the retreating Arthraen warriors).
The Blazing Mantle was able to project a blinding aura of shimmering light that burned all within a 30 ft radius. It also bestowed the wearer with resistance to such effects (blinding and fire).
The Scales of Horus: This armour of bronze scales (each scale no larger than a thumbnail) was worn by the hero Horus when he battled Lord Artificer Yuvaraj in the skies above Inupras. It is rumoured to be enchanted to resist fire and steel, but none have worn it since Horus-Re was crowned Pharaoh of Mulhorand, and has remained on display in the throne room of the Solarium ever since.
The Sun Throne: This magical artifact was purportedly created by Ra and gifted to the people of the Empire of Mulhorand, although some ancient murals dating back to before the first Empire depict Ra, Enlil, and Anu ascending into the mountains (presumably the Dragonsword Mountains) and returning with three great gifts including what looks like the base of the Sun Throne.
The Sun Throne is a pink and white marble throne mounted upon an oval shaped dais made of an unknown, fossilized metal (thus making it appear as stone) of incredible magical power. While seated upon the Sun Throne the seated individual is completely immune to all magical energies directed at him (they are instantly absorbed by the Sun Throne), although any magical energies he cares to manifest are successfully projected outward from the throne.
The Sun Throne also has a curious age retardant effect (deliberately kept secret by the Church of Horus-Re to prevent idle rulers) which seems to prevent the ageing process of all who sit in it, but only while they sit in it (discovered purely by accident by Hokasteb II “The Indolent Pharaoh”).
Finally, the Sun Throne appears to be lethal to all who sit in it who are not of the blood of Ra, this includes (thus far) any Oblaran of Horus-Re who consume the Elixir of Horus-Re and are infused with the essences of the Laran Horus and Ra.
Unknown to all except for Ra himself (who, being dead, is now silent on the matter), the dais the Sun Throne sits upon has a secret opening, and inside is a chamber large enough for a person to lay down in. If the lid is closed with someone inside, they are rejuvenated and repaired of all maladies (including age). However, using the Sun Throne in such a manner comes with a price, and it appears to make the user become protective of the region around Mulhorand, seeking to preserve it for all eternity.
Elixir of Horus-Re: With the Khaledshran in very limited supply, and in order for the Pharaoh’s to continue to rule legitimately as Divine Incarnations, the Elixir of Horus-Re was created from the blood of Horus-Re. This specially prepared concoction infuses the imbiber with the blood and abilities of both Ra and Horus (and thus allows the recipient to sit on the Sun Throne), it grants increased longevity (to varying degrees, though always to a lesser extent than the Khaledshran), as well as heightened senses (usually eyesight), and in rare cases the ability to see the truth in people and magical deceptions.
The Elixir of Horus-Re; like all the elixirs used to create Divine Incarnations, comes with a price, a chance of failure that most often results in the death.