TOTSE: The Pilgrims of Merian

September 2, 2012

Sketch of the cover to LoE Book VII “Against the Druries” featuring a Merian ship attempting to rescue the wreck of the Demophalon John (Carol Phillips)

The Pilgrims of Merian are a group of wanderers roaming the countryside of Kana, Hoban, Onaris and various Xaphan worlds as well. They travel from city to city preaching an alternative history of the Elders, often in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Sisterhood of Light. The Sisters, normally swift to stamp out alternative histories of the Elders, found the Merians to be benign and harmless and so bizarre in their views, that nobody could ever possibly take them seriously. They allowed them to continue provided they pay their taxes and cause no strife or duress.

The chief tenet of their teachings is that the Elders of Old are not gone, only relocated. They believe in the Star of Merian, the astral presence of the Elder Merian thought to be long dead. They say those with clear sight can see the Star of Merian as a great yellow star, easily visible in broad daylight, and that it is wreathed in a twisting red cloud. A prerequisite to joining the order is to be able to see the star.

The Merians travel the countryside by way of floatwagons covered with tarpaulins. They have no known permanent headquarters and make a meager living selling hand-made trinkets and cloth and performing calligraphy (see below). When asked where they come from, the Merians always say “Westwood“, though such a place has never been located. Occasionally, the Merians will stop and settle in one place for a year or two. They often ask the local Lord or Lady permission to settle, and, when granted, build a temporary village called a Hermitage. The estate of Belmont-South Tyrol resides on the grounds of an old Merian Heritage. Though they are impoverished in the extreme, those who enter a Merian Hermitage are welcome to share in anything they have.

“Lady Alesta of Dare and Pilgrim of Merian” by Eve Ventrue

Their dress consists of a homespun white smock that extends down to their knees. They wear a belt of red and green shells and a number of small necklaces of red and green wooden beads. Merians never cut their hair for they believe their ability to see their Star comes from their hair. They hold back their masses of hair with pins and combs. They rarely wear shoes. On top of everything, they wear a green brocade cloak lined with gold cloth. They write in a secret language known only to them. In some parts of Esther and Barrow, Merian writing is thought to bring good luck, and they are sometimes paid to decorate various vessels and buildings.

Though threadbare and impoverished, it is said in some quarters that the Merians are much more capable and advanced than they let on. Some say that their belts allow them to pass unseen if they wish, and their beaded necklaces shield the wearer’s mind from attacks and illusion. There is also the various tales that the Merians may travel virtually anywhere they wish at the blink on an eye via an arcane bridge called The Merian’s Road. Xaphan Traders often tell tales of selfless, green-robed people who walk into peril to rescue those in need and that they travel by way of a “Road” wreathed in fog.

Such tales have never been verified and the Merians themselves never speak of such things.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Carol Phillips.

2 Responses to “TOTSE: The Pilgrims of Merian”

  1. The Pilgrims of Merian are mentioned in Sands of The Solar Empire, and I found them to be fascinating. After reading this, I think I would have liked to be one of them!

  2. theleagueofelder said

    The Merians always struck a profound note with me. In my mind, the true measure of heroism is to do the little things without expecting to receive any notice or acclaim for their actions. Of all the various heroic characters I’ve created, I’ve always felt the Merians are the bravest of all.

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