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Ano Cult

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The scions of Gnora.



The Cultists of Ano are dedicated to purging themselves of the influences that corrupt logic and order. A reverence for the goddess Gnora guides their way. They are always scholars of a sort, and somewhat ascetic. However, they lack the "softness" or the artistic qualities of some academics. Their courses of study are varied, as balance requires that both the mind and body be adequately fed, but logic dictates that a person emphasize a realm in which they show aptitude.

Training often begins as children, as cultist parents encourage Gnora's principles in their offspring. Children are taught to control emotions and replace them with logic in both martial arts and academia.

Ano Cultists make formidable scholars and politicians. They are consummate tacticians with a predilection for games of strategy. Their pursuit of logic makes them somewhat dry or even confused by emotion, but they also lack the malevolent cunning of more emotional intellectuals.



Becoming a Weight/Initiate requires a willingness to learn Gnora's ways and the formal blessing of a more advanced Cultist. Surprisingly, the Cult does not require absolute devotion to Gnora from its members. Balance, their ultimate goal, would dictate that a range of gods should be worshipped. Many Ano Cultists treat Gnora with especial respect, but will also give tribute to other gods.

One's first step into the Cult is the formal blessing. A Counterweight and the hopeful Initiate's sponsor Cultists must be present for a small blessing ceremony. The ceremony is highly scripted and each member must play their part.

Counterweight: We offer you a path unerring. It is a way that divides like a sharpened sword parting chaos and order, justice and imbalance. The path will bring you pain and peace, denial and freedom. Can this child walk the edge of a sword?

Sponsor: The child wants to see the scales still.

Counterweight: And why would a child want that?

Initiate: (This is where the initiate pleads their case, but ends with "I do not turn away from the edge.")

Counterweight: Then it shall not turn from you.

At this point the Sponsor will cut the Initiate with the edge of a sword and the Initiate must make no sound.

Sponsor: The Initiate wastes neither breath nor time under pain. We proudly accept him.


After the blessing ceremony/Initiation, the member bears the title of Weight. During this period the Weight will immerse themselves in training under the supervision of a Measure or at a Librum.

A Librum is one of very few schools dedicated to Ano Cultists. Weights will often live on its campus while being taught by learned senior Cultists. Here, the Weight will discern where their talents lie. They may choose to be a jack of all trades, a master of one, or something in between, whichever path is the most logical. Classes are divided by age, then level of skill. An Ano Cultist never ceases learning or training, but their time in a Librum or under tutelage will cease when they complete the Purjin trial and earn a positive Gnosis mark. Strangely, the Cultists are not picky; any Gnosis will do, though Gnora's is favored. Completing the remaining training without her marks tends to be extraordinarily difficult.

Purjin Trials

In this graduation of sorts, a Weight who has a Gnosis mark will be brought before a Counterweight. One of his tutors and his original sponsor will present the Weight to a veiled Counterweight.

Without words the Counterweight will give the Weight food and drink tinged with the drug Mirage. The Weight is then led into an austere room and seated at a desk. The trial begins simply, as the Weight is given a written test with laborious questions. The drug then begins to muddle the brain and encourages vivid hallucinations, but the Weight must complete the test with near perfect answers in limited time.

When this portion is finished, the Weight is brought to another chamber of heated stone. Sweating, drugged and dehydrated, the Weight must answer a series of riddles and questions dictated by the Counterweight. This is followed by a spar in the Weights martial art of choice. The Weight's expression and voice are closely monitored for obvious signs of discomfort. An open betrayal of emotion is an immediate failure.

From there the Weight is brought into a room thick with oppressive darkness. Then begins pain. Cuts and stings begin to open the Weight's skin anywhere below the neck, each more painful than the next. All the while the Weight must not defend himself or make a sound betraying discomfort.

A voice will speak from the dark, asking questions that twist the heart and put needles in old wounds. A half truth is rewarded by a touch from heated metal. But still the Weight must not lose his temper or make a sound of pain.

Lastly, the Weight will be given water to drink, laced with a specially made drug created to induce fear. A Weight, in their own way, must meet and overcome the deep fears that the draught unearths. Greater allowance is made for shows of suffering, as this is the final purging to be felt with the whole being. Only when the Weight shows peace, despite primal terror, will the trial conclude.

When the fears diminish, the Weight is given a candle and flint. They must now find their way from the dark. Usually there is some mechanism in the room that opens a hidden door.

As the Weight emerges successful, he will be greeted by those dearest to him and a celebration will be held in his honor, as balance would dictate pain be offset by enjoyment.

The Weight is now a Pon and may remove their hood.

Maintaining Membership

Lifelong Learning

Image:Scroll2.png "Do not be blind in your exclusions. What is necessary is always logical."
- the goddess Gnora

As a Pon or higher, an Ano Cultist must now endeavor to live a life where their actions are dictated by logic and balance. Feelings are indulged where necessary, but due to years of taming, they are often stilted. Only the most disciplined of cultists are able to indulge and deny with fluidity.

Ano Cultists must pursue knowledge their whole lives and act when order and balance are threatened. The Cultists must choose what path is most logical for them and embrace it wholly. Often, a Cultist will keep in contact with their sponsor for guidance. Due to this flexibility, Cultists are widespread.



Those cultists who reach the highest levels of self moderation and balance will become a part of the Counterweights. This intensely secretive council will deploy members into political movements to observe, chronicle and, if necessary, silence political forces that would overwhelm the balance of Mizahar. However, Ano Cultists are very broad in what they consider a disruption to order. Balance requires both the light and the dark, progress and decay, brilliance and mediocrity. Counterweights can rarely be typified as good or bad, they simply are.

Counterweights will also never encourage a movement. They are individually useful in their positions but will not use the full weight of the council to support a figure. They will act collectively only to eradicate a threat to order.

Despite this limit to interference, it is a lingering question whether Counterweights helped subtly encourage the events of the Valterrian as a purging for the world.

A Counterweight in his or her formal role is veiled in either black, white or silver. The color reflects their current task, whether they work to hinder a cause most would find bad (white) or good (black), or they are merely observing (silver).


Image:Scroll2.png "My Measure Antoninus? The only way I know he's not made of metal and stone is that he cut himself once. I'm glad for it. I was beginning to have my doubts."
- Kahmen, noble of the house of the Eastwinds

Measures are Cultists who have shown especial talent in one sector, such as business, politics, arts or reading people. They are taken on by powerful or wealthy households and organizations as advisors. Their role could be typified as a formidable servant or a majordomo. Their services are not cheap, but the advice they give is impartial and usually effective. They wear the usual simple attire of a Cultist, but commonly bear a crest or symbol of their employer.


The title for general members of the Cult is taken from the Ancient Tongue's word for thought or balance and the common word for a piece in a game of strategy. These are cultists who live normal lives while instituting the principles of the Ano Cult. They are the most numerous of the members. A Weight enters the rank of a Pon when they receive a gnosis mark and perform the Purjin trial successfully.

While Pons do not generally act on a scale grander than their personal sphere, Pons may be called upon to do small tasks to aid Measures or Counterweights. They tend to be valuable contributors in their community and mild mannered until they see a gross imbalance or disruption to order. Many Pons are drawn to law-related professions.


Initiates without gnosis marks who have not completed the Purjin trials are called Weights, as they still tilt the scales without foresight or discretion. They are either under the tutelage of a Measure during this time, or enrolled at a formal Librum. Weights commonly wear hoods to distinguish them.


Ano Cultists are recognizable by their precise diction and even moods. They also tend to be utilitarian in their appearance, using finery only when it is logical or proper to do so. A unifying physical trait is the presence of scars on their hands and arms. These are marks from the Purjin trials in which the cultists, often as children, must withstand burns and cuts without an emotional response or interruption in their mental cogitations.