The Church of Isis operates the Ministry of Agriculture and sees to all the farming needs of Mulhorand and its people. All farms are registered with the church, and at harvest time all produce is weighed and measured and recorded (and taxed) accordingly. The church is also responsible for maintaining the rivers, and it works with the Church of Thoth to help irrigate the farmland.
The Church of Isis was founded by the Laran Aset Ishar (otherwise known as Isis). Since it’s inception it has always worked to keep Mulhorand lush and green, making it popular with commoners and nobles alike. When Horus-Re created the modern state of Mulhorand’s government, the Church of Isis was given formal responsibility for ensuring Mulhorand’s agricultural output kept up with the needs of it’s population.
The Church of Isis has been relatively un-noteworthy throughout Mulhorand’s history, dependably working with the farm owners to ensure food output is sufficient for Mulhorand’s needs.
Following the rebellion of Thay and the focus on self sufficiency within the empire and interdependency upon regions of the empire for certain commodities, Mulhorand has become the breadbasket for the entire empire, producing enough food for Mulhorand, Semphar, and Murghom. This additional requirement for food production is putting added pressure on the agricultural system, some farms in the Great Vale are suffering early signs of soil erosion and the Church of Isis is starting to look outside Mulhorand to meet these needs.
Headquarters: The Great Vale, the Mystic Cornucopia
Members: 8,000 priests
Leader: Nulithi Ishar (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Magic User 8), Nulithi is the Divine Precept of Isis and leader of the Church of Isis.
Symbol: A silver disk with an eye and teardrop in the centre of the disk. Earlier symbols of the church are a silver disk with an ankh and star in the middle (to represent Osiris and Isis), but this was changed after the War of the Gods and the death of Osiris. The symbol at the Mystic Cornucopia shows the disk in the middle of a pair of horns, but that symbol is used nowhere else.
The Church of Isis is a very loose organization, with its structure very much dependent upon who is oldest/wisest, or who knows the most about the particular topic at hand. A hierarchy of ranks in descending order follows: Uniter, Planter, Weaver, Rainmaker, River, Lover, Harvester, Sower, Seedgiver. These titles are often prefixed with terms such as Joyous, Bountiful, Endless, Lady, etc, as is the wont of the priest.
The Church of Isis respects age and wisdom above all, so rank and seniority are generally ignored in favour of deferring to whoever knows most about the subject or problem. Many Sowers and Harvesters of advanced age are often seen ordering about passing senior clergy who are inspecting the agricultural yields at times of harvest. However, the high priests (Uniters and Planters) of the clergy are in firm control of the politics of the church and ultimately decide the direction the church will take, they are firmly behind the Church of Horus-Re and keeping Mulhorand in the state it has been for thousands of years.
The Lunar Sisterhood: Created around 923 DR during the time of the Ire Pharaoh, when Incarnations of Thoth were given the regency of Mulhorand while a new Pharaoh was selected and trained. This was seen by many as progress and change in the eternal empire, some priests of Isis thought the time was right to improve women’s rights.
In 998 DR, a high priestess of Isis was married to Pharaoh Ramenhorus III, and a number of reforms were made under her influence (before she perished in 1003 DR from fever). The sisterhood has waited centuries for a Pharaoh to be available at the same time as a suitable match was available within the priesthood (or the Houses Isharia and Thulhani). Viziers have spent much of their efforts ensuring a Pharaoh was married to their own candidates, but this time Rezim has let his guard down while plotting to expand his own power.
The Lunar Sisterhood is almost exclusively made up of veteran members of the Sister’s of Life, who having trained in combat, healing, diplomacy, and farming, believe they are as good as any man in any role you could choose.
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
The primary duties of the priests of Isis are to see to the farms of Mulhorand, ensure that they are growing the correct produce (the church has calculations as to the amount of produce of each agricultural commodity to ensure there are no shortages), that the yields are enough to meet demand. They are busiest during planting season and harvesting season (although priests of Osiris are on hand to help during harvest time), ensuring that crops are planted and harvested at the correct times, weighing and counting harvested grain, etc. They also see to irrigation and fertilization, ensuring that the plants have enough food and water to grow.
Outside of planting and harvest time, the priests of Isis tend to growing plants everywhere, not just in farms, but in gardens and out in nature as well. They spend many hours trying remedies to cure plants of diseases, searching for new varieties of plants to grow and breed with existing stock, and using plants to create new herbal remedies.
Their duties and tasks mean that priests of Isis often dwell among the rural settlements in and around the great slave farms of the Asanabis, and so are often called upon to perform marriage ceremonies and act as midwives in the absence of priests of Hathor.
Membership / Recruiting
The Church of Isis is open to anyone with an interest in herb lore and plants. Widows and unmarried women from rural settlements often find a home as a junior priest within the Church of Isis, but the bulk of its membership come from the second and third daughters of noble families (especially those who own slave farms in Mulhorand). The upper echelons of the priesthood are almost entirely of noble birth, and while men may find equal favour within the church as women, most men tend to view the Church of Isis as the preserve of women.
Those wishing to join the Church of Isis need only display their skills to a nearby priest (many of whom often live in or around the settlement). These priests will often take the prospective candidate as an apprentice, once they have learned enough they may present themselves at a temple of Isis and formally join the ranks of the clergy (after a few tests).
The Church of Isis has an active recruitment program aimed at hedge wizards, witches, those magic users of common descent (particularly from Turami stock) who usually dwell in rural regions. These recruits usually advance little further than the novice ranks, and are a great resource of herb-lore, wild talents, and minor magics that can be used to help the growing of crops and animals and help defend rural settlements that might otherwise have few recourses for magic. By recruiting these magic users (although some are just herbalists or fraudsters) into the church, they prevent these individuals from having to register and endure the severe restrictions imposed by the Church of Thoth, and have thus the Church of Isis has acquired a reputation as the champion of local magic users who use their gifts only to benefit Mulhorand.
Like all political organisations, the Church of Isis is rife with intrigue as priests plot to advance their own power and that of the church. The biggest factions work to maintain the church’s right to serve Mulhorand despite it being a female dominated organization, while others work to improve women’s rights.
Equal Rights: The Lunar Sisterhood are engaged in a long term plot to increase equality for women within Mulhorand. They have worked tirelessly for centuries to allow women to inherit nobility (rather than be married into nobility), serve on the Solar Council, serve as Precepts (a success they achieved around 1000 DR), own slaves and land independently of a husband or son.
The Lunar Sisterhood believes that change can only be brought about through revolution or through influencing the Pharaoh, as no-one wants a revolution of any kind their only option is to influence the Pharaoh. Steps have been taken to romantically introduce the next potential Incarnation of Isis to the future Pharaoh in the hopes of a marriage. Arira Thulh has arranged for her cousin Korethys to attend court on multiple occasions so that the Pharaoh might encounter her. These introduction have been successful, and the young Horustep has taken an interest in the dusky skinned beauty, sending her poetry and asking for her attendance at important events.
If Korethys and Horustep were to marry, it is hoped that she might be able to persuade the Pharaoh to improve the rights of women in Mulhorand.
The churches of Mulhorand are the allies of the Church of Isis. There is a longstanding alliance between the Church of Osiris and the Church of Isis that originates in a similar alliance (and supposed marriage) between the two Laren. This alliance is most manifest during the time of harvest when priests of Osiris and Isis are often found working the fields together in harmony.
The Church of Isis officially supports the Church of Horus-Re in it dominant rule of Mulhorand and the preservation of Mulhorandi society as it currently stands. In public the Church of Isis actively supports the edicts of the Pharaoh (although most realize it is the Vizier who truly makes the decisions).
Internally however, there are many in the Church of Isis who disagree with some of the policies brought in by current and previous Viziers, particularly those punishing other churches (such as removing Precepts from the Church of Anhur, or changing inheritance laws for those families without heirs so that the Church of Horus-Re inherits the estate). Some within the Church of Isis believe that Mulhorand is stagnating and can only be saved by a period of conquest and expansion (particularly of its former territories), these radicals often find themselves sympathetic towards the Church of Anhur and at odds with the Church of Horus-Re, many of these radicals are given (by the senior hierarchy) the rewards of serving in the Sisters of Life.
Nulithi Ishar (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Magic User 8): The current Oblaran of Isis is an elderly lady of 93 years with the power to heal wounds with a touch.
Arira Thulh (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 5): This veteran temple guard is the current leader of the Sisters of Life. Equally trained in the sword and first aid, she is equally respected and feared within the Guardians of Skuld for her ability to take and save lives. Currently Arira is stationed in the Solarium as leader of the Guardians of Skuld, although she reports directly to Rezim. Arira is chafing under the watchful eye of Rezim who treats her as an administrative assistant. She dislikes the politics of the job (having to keep the priests of Anhur away from the Solarium), but otherwise performs an exemplary job.
Korethys Thulh (Good, Human – Mulan, Expert 1): This twelve year old girl is not technically a member of the Church of Isis (she is too young), but many believe she is destined to become the next Oblaran of Isis. As the cousin of Arira (the leader of the Sisters of Life), she has spent many months at court in Skuld where she has caught the eye of the young Horustep; the future pharaoh of Mulhorand, and the pair seem very much smitten with each other.
Sphere of Influence
Mystic Cornucopia: Located at and around the meeting of the River of Lifeblood and the River of the Dead where they become the River of Spears. This temple is the single largest walled farming estate in Mulhorand, with many terraces and plots dedicated to growing plants from all around the Old Empires.
Those who work the farms often never wish to leave (novice priests graduate in a single year and are quickly sent elsewhere), working the fields and often passing away while hoeing or planting.
This temple is the only place where the famed Powder of Obsession can be manufactured, using dried plants grown in these fields. It is rumoured that the convergence of the rivers (particularly the River of the Dead) confers strange magical properties on the waters which in turn affect things nurtured by the water. Thus far there have been no attacks on the Mystic Cornucopia, or violence of any kind within its confines, which the priests say this is proof of the divine hand of Isis.
The Sisters of Life: This specialist order of priests of Isis are composed mainly of combat medics well versed in the arts of healing and defence. They are the sworn defenders of the City of the Gods in Skuld, along with the Deathgrins of Osiris and the Watchful Lions of Anhur. The Church of Isis is bound by tradition to provide defence to the Pharaoh, ever since the War of the Gods, when the priesthoods of Anhur, Isis, and Osiris defended Skuld from the forces of Set while Horus-Re gathered his forces in Semphar.
Officially the Church of Isis trains its best warriors in the healing arts (or its best healers in defensive fighting) and sends them to the defence of the City of the Gods in Skuld, or to the border of Mulhorand to help people deal with wandering monsters, bandits, and Red Wizards. In truth however the Sisters of Life are often used to keep the more radically minded priests of Isis away from the rest of the clergy (radicalists in the sense that they want Mulhorand to escape the iron rule of the Church of Horus-Re and the Vizier and lead the empire to war to reclaim its former territories, with powerful women leading the way).
Powder of Obsession: A powder made from the dried plants grown at the Mystic Cornucopia. It causes those inhaling it to become obsessively focused on whatever task they are performing, although often causes confusion at the specifics of the task (so for example someone planting seeds will plant every seed they carry without being able to distinguish between individual seed types, those attacking a target will attack everyone nearby being unable to distinguish friend from foe.
Traveller’s Belt: A simple belt made of woven hair (often assumed to be camel, but sages in animal lore have thus far struggled to identify the creature exactly), this special gift is bestowed upon those travelers who provide a boon to the clerics of the Mystic Cornucopia and thus receive one in return. This belt insulates the wearer against high temperatures (but not open flame).