The Training Camps
There are two training camps, with rumors of a third one being planned. These are hidden, secretive places, tucked away from the world. They are explicitly sequestered away from the rest of the world, and carefully away from travel routes. They are generally in unforgiving territory that no one in their right mind would want to travel through, and always strongly aligned with local gods.
The lowest order of organization within the training camps is the Initiate. Mortals and Illuminated alike begin as initiates, and Illuminated remain so for about a year. They are differentiated by their robes, and each level has requirements in terms of appearance and diet as well.
Ranks Within the Camps
- Black Robes: All initiates begin as black robes, although the Illuminated are noted by the gold trim on their robes. Non-Illuminated Black Robes shave their heads and all black robes eat only rice and drink only water. The color represents someone still deeply immersed in the Cycle of Night, so the black robes work the hardest to find their way to the Light, through a combination of exhaustive daily prayer and maintaining martial arts stances, as well as grueling menial work in the camp. After a month, Illuminated are generally given their White Robes.
- Brown Robes: Mortal initiates who work diligently and show progress may be given their brown robes, representative of the good earth of the world, which they can now see clearly. Brown robed initiates are the most common initiates in a training camp, and many of them leave to join cells after a year or so. After becoming a brown robe, an initiate never again shaves his head, and brown robes often have varying lengths of hair flowing down their backs, which they often wear in ponytails while working, but most often leave loose and flowing. Brown robes are permitted to drink tea, and to add nuts, fruits and vegetables to their food.
- Red Robes: Of those brown robes who show a strong body, strong will and potential for violence, they are chosen for the red robes, which represent the hue of battle and violence. These initiates are chosen for training in the martial arts, and all wear their hair in braids down their backs. They are the first to come to the defense of the Tabernacle if it is called for. They are permitted to add legumes and white meat to their diet, to give them the nutrition to build muscle quickly.
- Blue Robes: Blue robes are chosen from among the brown and red robes. Any initiate who shows a strong understanding of the Illuminated Doctrine, a talent for leadership, and the ability to teach others may be chosen as a blue robe. They are trained as leaders and priests; many blue robes are ordained as priests of the Cult, and go out into the world to act as priests in local cells. Blue Robes may wear their hair in any fashion they like, so long as they do not cut it, and may not consume alcohol.
- White Robes: After their month as black robes, the Illuminated are given the white robes of their station, along with braided belts in colors that represents their Caste: red & gold for Dawn, white & gold for Zenith, purple & gold for Twilight, black & purple for Night and silver & gold for Eclipse. They may eat and drink what they like, and wear their hair as they choose. The Illuminated wear these robes as initiates, and later as adepts as well. For one year, the Illuminated simply train in basic skills and the use of their Essence, focusing on what they need to understand and aid the Cult. For their second year, they take up training in one of the three vocations taught in their training camp.
- Adepts: Adepts are those Illuminated who have proven themselves to the Masters of their training camp. They are no longer given missions, but may instead confer with the Masters about what needs to be done, undertaking projects they consider important. They may also leave the Tabernacle entirely, heading out into Creation to tend to the growth and health of the Cult as they judge proper. Adepts continue to wear their white robes, but their collars are marked with a simple, single gold dot (on the right side for adepts who are part of the Tabernacle, and on the left side for those who are visiting).
- Masters: The masters of the Tabernacle see to its day-to-day operation, as well as the recruitment of new Illuminated, arranging for the transportation of newly-Exalted Solars to the Sequestered Vale. They are the teachers of the Illuminated in the Tabernacle, and act as liasons between these Illuminated and the Illuminated Heavens. Masters wear a golden dot on each collar, and the head of the training camp wears a simple golden chain connecting the two.
The Sequestered Tabernacle
The Sequestered Tabernacle is located in the North, tucked away in a hidden valley in the Dehennen Mountains. It is a place where the role of the Illuminated are emphasized as shining heroes and saints, out front and ready to act as the heroes the people can look to in this Cycle of Night.
The Vocations of the Sequestered Tabernacle
- Exemplar: Exemplars are saint-like and heroic, masters of what they do, and role models for those who share their (admittedly unExalted) skills. An Exemplar craftsman shows simple craftsman how the forge and loom might be the instruments for creating a New Age, and the Exemplar captain is an inspiration to all Cult members who sail the waters. They are masters of lore and often healers, as well, prime examples of the ways in which one can bring mercy to those in need.
- Itinerant: Itinerants are those who favor travel. More than this, though, they enter new places without a Cult presence, and begin establishing one there. They are the shining messengers of a New Day, and their words bring hope to those with none. They are skilled at traveling through the wild places of the world, and of dealing with spirits and occult powers.
- Inquisitor: There are forces who would destroy the Cult, or use it for their own ends. To avoid this, the Inquisitor is responsible for checking up on the operation and health of already-extant Cells. They are skilled in discerning truth, noticing details and the operation of groups, as well as shadier skills.
Kether Rock is a secret military stronghold, tucked away in the southern edge of the Delzhan Empire's furthest hinterlands. Constructed inside an ancient, but long-abandoned stronghold, Kether Rock trains its initiates to be warriors, ready to take up arms in the name of the Cycle of Day. Illuminated train here tend to be far more concerned with accomplishing their missions than in being seen doing so - they have a reputation of being the ones who skirt the sides of a problem, remaining largely unseen, and then disappearing quickly when it is resolved.
Vocations of Kether Rock
- Paladin: The shining generals of Kether Rock are indefatigable, masters of the battlefield. They wield the hearts of their troops as readily as they do weaponry, and their tactics are cunning and sound. A Paladin calls the faithful to war, and leads them there, at the front of the host - and his troops love him for it.
- Deacon: Scouts and spies without parallel, the Deacons of Kether Rock are masters of information - and its acquisition. They serve the cult in an intelligence capacity, though they have also been known to accept the duties of assassination when it is called for.
- Architect: Engineers and makers, the Architects of Kether Rock. They are trained, at the end of the day, to understand how things function: not just machinery and architecture, but also the systems of interaction that people create for themselves.