The Way of Virtue (the Imperial Religion)
Ambition, Courage, Loyalty, Pride, Prosperity, Vigilance and Wisdom
The Way of Virtue – often simply known as The Way – is the dominant and pre-eminent religion of the Empire. It found its birth amongst the Highborn and was adopted across the Empire at the Founding, though its roots go back to the very Dawn of Time, and it is one of the forces that binds the Empire together.
At its core, The Way of Virtue teaches:
- Human flesh is perishable but human spirits are immortal. After death, the spirit must traverse the Labyrinth of Ages before being reborn through reincarnation.
- The journey from death to rebirth is not instantaneous, and passage through the Labyrinth of Ages is influenced by how virtuous a soul is.
- The Way of Virtue comprises the Seven Paths of Virtue each of which prospers the individual in life, enhances the purity of their spirit, and speeds their reincarnation through the Labyrinth of Ages.
- Other virtuous qualities may be laudable, but they do not aid you in the Labyrinth of Ages. Some may actively hinder your passage.
- Individuals who have attained sufficient purity of spirit, predominantly through perfection of a Virtue, pass through the Labyrinth of Ages unhindered to Enlightenment and are never again reborn. These individuals are called Paragons.
- Individuals who embody, or illustrate, a particular Virtue, or Virtues, are called Exemplars and are considered to be strongly on the path to becoming a Paragon, if indeed their spirit is not already ready.
- There is no expectation that every Imperial Citizen be an Exemplar or Paragon, though that is the eventual goal of The Way. For the majority it is sufficient to be aware of the Seven Paths of Virtue and how they influence your life so you can pass through the Labyrinth of Ages.
- There are some Priestly Ceremonies that benefit from dedication to a single Virtue. As a result, dedication is only normally practiced by some Priests and individuals who aspire to be Exemplars of that Virtue.
- Only human spirits reincarnate. As a consequence of this, humans – especially the Citizens of the Empire who follow The Way of Virtue – are the greatest agents in Creation and are inherently superior to non-humans.
The Way of Virtue is promoted and protected by The Imperial Synod, comprising Priests of all Nations, and is shaped by the Imperial Theology.