Order of the Red Clover
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The Order of the Red Clover is currently the largest religious group within the Ingressa, based upon the belief of a genderless deity known to the members as the All-in-One. They believe that all gods are reflections of the All-in-One, and thus every religion may find its own place within the order. As a result of this, members are free to venerate this overarching deity in any manner they prefer, some worshiping the All-in-One directly while others focus on an aspect of hir that appeals to them personally. Typically, members wear the symbol of the Red Clover openly, especially when traveling on order business. Extra-normal abilities are seen by the Order as blessings of the All-in-One, and so magic-users and psions are actively recruited by the Red Clover.
|Headquarters||the planet Trefoil|
|Leader||Most High Master Gabrielle Vega|
|Resources Types||miracles, technology|
A three-part oath is required upon becoming a full member of the Order, regardless of the form an individual’s worship of the All-in-One takes: to offer help to all those who ask, whatever their background; to always think before judgment, no matter how clear a situation might seem; and to both practice and teach compassion in all situations. Originally, a fourth vow of strict adherence to pacifism also existed. Over time, this vow was eventually eliminated as the expansion of the sentient races exposed humanity to the Umbral and other threats that had been unknown at the founding of the Order. While many members still make a practice of lifelong pacifism, it was decided the Order as a whole should be on the front line of the conflict against supernatural dangers.
The Order of the Red Clover’s three-leafed symbol is representative of the order’s organization into three distinct factions, or Leaves: missionaries, clergy, and the oya. There are rumors of the existence fourth branch, who wear a four-leaf clover and move covertly in the Order’s interest, but no official word has been passed on the subject, and no proof of any member of the Fourth Leaf has been conclusively documented.
Initially, missionaries of the order served as support personnel, nurses, and teachers; they have earned the nickname the Traveler’s Leaf, for while each has a particular sanctuary to report back to, they are constantly on the move, being sent to different areas on assignment as need for their particular skills arise. Each missionary is trained in several basic techniques of hand-to-hand self-defense; those who wish to pursue more active or dangerous assignments may elect to receive more intensive training, and are much in demand as negotiators, translators, and mediators in dangerous locations. Missionaries who are more peacefully-minded frequently serve as clerks and administrators, doctors and nurses, teachers, religious advisors, and heads of non-military departments. While any member may devote themselves to any one of the order’s three factions, pergressors who join the Traveler’s Leaf inevitably advance rapidly.
The Warrior’s Leaf, or the oya, receive similar basic training to those who serve as missionaries. Unlike the missionaries, they receive further training in the usage of weaponry, tactics, and other militant disciplines. This Leaf also provides its members with magically or psionically enhanced weaponry when appropriate, and trains members with supernatural talents in their use. Members generally act as community peacekeepers, guardians at sanctuaries, outposts, and other places important to the Red Clover, and as bodyguards for missionaries moving through dangerous territory or prominent members who might be in danger of attack. The leaders of this young and energetic part of the order encourage their subordinates to be flexible, and as a result the oya often act beyond their specific orders and roles if they believe it beneficial. Being primarily militant in nature, those initiates who join the Warrior’s Leaf are required to swear additional vows to use non-lethal force whenever possible, and against undue violence in general. However, no member of the Warrior’s Leaf is expected to show mercy or quarter of any kind to the Umbral.
Those of the clergy, or Scholar’s Leaf, are the keepers of the sanctuaries and abbeys of the Order of the Red Clover. In everyday life they perform those duties where a figure of religious authority is required or requested, such as weddings and funeral rites, as well as overseeing the training and vows of new initiates who have not yet chosen which leaf they will join. This is the branch with the highest concentration of members possessing some degree of extra-normal abilities, and oya or missionaries who need more advanced training in psionics or magic are instructed by the clergy. As with the Traveler’s Leaf, members of this particular leaf are given basic hand-to-hand combat training, though relatively few request more advanced classes than are absolutely required. These are the researchers and historians and record-keepers of the order, those who grant blessings and hear confessions from those who wish it, as well as performing exorcisms or purifications where necessary.
Each leaf possesses its own leader—Prime Matron/Patron of the missionaries, Grand Master of the oya, and Archbishop of the clergy—all of whom in turn serve the head of the order. Each leaf contains its own internal power structure, though members of complimentary ranks across all three wear the same insignias, allowing relative ranks to be quickly determined. While order members must technically obey those of higher ranks, even from other leaves, in practice cross-leaf commands are rarely given except in emergency situations.
The head of the order is selected by the three leaders of each Leaf upon the death of the previous head, and holds that position for life. Once selected, the head adopts a new title based upon her previous affiliation (Most High Mother/Father of the Red Clover, Most High Master of the Red Clover, or Most High Priest(ess) of the Red Clover) but is otherwise considered to be a member of all three branches.
The Order of the Red Clover tries to remain neutral in metasociety politics to allow its members to focus their efforts on combating supernatural threats. Despite their best efforts, though, the other factions frequently push or pull them into conflicts.
Despite their theological differences, the Order of the Red Clover for years bore no ill will toward the corps. More recently, though, through efforts of both Roma Exterra and Wàiguó Liánméng, the two orders find themselves increasingly antagonistic rivals.
Janusites are as welcome at Red Clover sanctuaries as anyone else. The Order attempts to remain on positive terms with the Janusites, although the increasing tension between itself and the syndicate’s Derinam allies continues to sour their dealings.
Historically, the Order and the empire have enjoyed a largely positive relationship. Roma Exterra frequently hires Red Clover clergy to travel to its colonies and new settlements in an effort to check the growth of the Derinam Corps, which has resulted in the two orders becoming increasingly antagonistic. The Order, for its part, attempts to influence the empire by mediating disputes between Roma Exterra and Wàiguó Liánméng.
Tennyson Delinoix Associates
Like everyone else, the Order of the Red Clover conducts business with TDA. Their relationship remains cordial and utterly businesslike.
Depending on the realpolitik at play at the time, the Order’s attempts to mediate between the union and Roma Exterra are either lauded or vilified—and in the latter case the Wàiguó Liánméng publicly questions the Red Clover’s neutrality. Despite any misgivings the union holds, however, it too uses the Order to oppose—directly or indirectly—the efforts of the Derinam Corps.
For more information on the Order of the Red Clover, see the Guidebook to the Order of the Red Clover, by Sister Incognita, due for release on 25 May, 2011.