Haresbreath is the southern-most monastery of the Thane Wizards, built along the Eastern ridges of the Flintridge Mountains just as they descend into the March. It was built 800 years ago, during the reign of Aversill when the Thane Wizards began to become increasingly concerned about the jungle reaches and the ancient kingdoms that were concealed within the dense forests and sunk beneath the monsoon-driven swamps.
Since that time, the monastery has served another role not intended in its original design and only barely in keeping with the philosophy of the Thane Wizards. The countless soldiers who would wonder off the March or the explorers who would wonder away from the Gosh Gelios often arrived with hands shaking from the horrors they’d witness or stars in their eyes as if infected by distant lands and mysterious kingdoms. Powerful warriors who had been rendered impotent through war found themselves unable to enter back into a society, the safety of which they, themeselves, insured through their struggles.
The Fringe, as they came increasingly to be called, represented a significant danger to the empire, and later, to the civilization that survived Aversill’s collapse. Haresbreath began taking in the Fringe in the hopes of rehabilitation. The monastery now serves both as a repository of mysteries learned from explorers of the Gosh Gelios, a partial repository for the mysteris of the March (nothing compared to the enormous monastery in Streckhorn), a hospital for the treatment of “world shock,” and an asylum for those who are too far gone to ever return to society again.
Haresbreath and the other Thane Wizards
Two major features are necessary to understand Haresbreath in the structure of the Thane Wizard monastic tradition. The first is that Haresbreath is generally considered to have been infected by the liberality of the frontier—it’s version of Baccob worship seems to be remarkably lax. Baccob is, after all, an uncaring god who makes no show of hearing his servants prayers or even of acknowledging their existance. The Thane are used to being worshippers of a silent god and they are used to conducting themselves in a way that is equally uninvolved with the world around them. They are, essentially, an aescetic order.
Haresbreath clearly lies outside this tradition. They actively use their power and facilities to help those afflicted by their close proximity to the Fade. At the same time, this mission, and only this mission, seems to be the source of this critique. The monastery, for instance, rarely involves itself in the affairs of Fusenhase, the town built in the shadow of Haresbreath. This has led some of the monastery’s critics (mostly from among those employed in its service) to wonder at whether or not Haresbreath’s altruism isn’t, in fact, a furtherance of the Thane Wizard’s general search for arcane truth.
Second, Haresbreath, despite its deviation from strict Thane structure, is considered one of the more renowned of the order’s monasteries. It is always put under the charge of a senior Lord Thane who has always had experience serving at another Thane monastery. Whatever concerns the Thane Wizards have with the Gosh Gelios, it is clear that they do not wish to leave this charge only in the hands of those who have proven their capabilities through experience.
Haresbreath has a minor alliance with the barony of Heronsconce in whose territory the monastery resides. It also claims old military alliances with Streckhorn. Any military expedition sent into the Gosh Gelios by Streckhorn will be accompanied by an advisor from Hairsbreath.
Operation of the Monastery
Daily operation of Hairsbreath is overseen by a Grand Thane. Underneath the Grand Thane are four Regents in charge of the monasteries libraries and collections (Codecier), further aquisitions by the monastery (Sagascier), coordination of the affairs of the outside world (Reconatier), and the healing of the sick (Hospitalier). In most monasteries, the position of Reconatier and Hospitalier exist but are limited in scope and do not warrent the position of a regent.
Because of the monastery’s additional purpose as an asylum, operations are aided by the Reducian, ex-soldiers who have been delivered of their madness (and personalities) through the use of magic. Of course, other Thane monasteries have Ruducian as well, but their ranks are normally drawn from people who have suffered curses. Peasants, for instance, who have made their farms too close to a Trod and as a result now suffer from a curse for which there is no recovery. They are not military in their nature.
The Reducian of Haresbreath, on the other hand, are ex-soldiers and, in some cases, even ex-wizards. Their tranquility masks and hints at great power. Unfortunately, the process of making them into the Reducian also renders them incapable of sustained independent thought or action. Repetition becomes key to their livelihood and social interaction drops away. Of course, this begs the question of whether or not it would have been better just to suffer their curse and let it run their course.
Religious scholars are generally of the opinion that the process of creating the Reducian is an offense against the gods whose curses are avoided (including the Fade, which is itself seen by many as a curse against human-kind). The Thane are simply too atheistic about non-Arcane gods to care.
Seekers are non-Thane who have, for one reason or another, come to be a part of the Thane monastery’s team of experts and warriors who are,regularly sent out into the field to recover ancient secrets and artifacts. Most seekers are either in danger of becoming part of the fringe or have only recently recovered their center.
Seekers generally operate alone or in pairs. The Thane have no desire to trust their most precious treasures to whole groups of adventurers who would be impossible to track down and beat should they refuse to return. Most seekers remain loyal to Haresbreath because of their fear of becoming part of the Fringe (at which point, only Haresbreath would exist to aid them). Some seekers perform their duty out of fear of the Thane curse—a kind of magical amnesia that infects those who offend the arcane deities. Others tell rumor of a curse of Baccob not only to the Thane, but given the general apathy of Baccob (if he exists), it is unlikely that the deity ever becomes active enough to levvy a curse. Then again, it may just be that those Baccob curses are never heard from again (or perhaps it’s just a bad idea to cross an intercontinental group of wizards).
Seekers are rewarded, monetarilly, for their efforts and are given room and board at Haresbreath. Most other monasteries honor seekers for their efforts, but are much more temporary in extending their hospitality. Wizard seekers are not eligible to become part of the Thane as the cumbersome desire for adventure is against the order’s general philosophy.