- "Ah, Ulricans... they are little better than beasts when it comes to war. Lay a bear trap or two and they always get their feet trapped. Personally, I’d like more of my opponents to have such directed characters, it would make my life far simpler."
The Initiates and Priests of Myrmidia's Cult belong to the Order of the Eagle, named after the form Myrmidia was sometimes known to take before battle to scout out her foes. The clergy of this order minister to soldiers, be they the national forces of Tilea and Estalia or the mercenary companies of the southlands that fight across the Old World. Members of the order consider it a great honour and their sacred duty to fight alongside soldiers and to counsel commanders on matters both martial and spiritual.[1a]
In the ‘Book of Transformations’ from the Bellona Myrmidia, the Goddess takes the form of a sharp-eyed Golden Eagle to scout enemy positions. The Order of the Eagle thus identifies itself with this majestic bird, and commonly pictures it with wings spread high above its head. This symbol is worn on the left breast, or as a clasp to hold a priest’s white cloak in place. In the Empire, members of the order also wear blue cowls with red edging and white robes. Elsewhere in the Old World, cowls take different colours according to the regiment the priest belongs to (see more about this in the Structure section). Rank in the Eagles is shown with small claw pins worn at the neck.[2a]
Structure In Estalia and Tilea, the massive Cult of Myrmidia has seemingly countless positions of power spread through its myriad orders. However, in the Empire, where the cult has little representation, it is somewhat simpler. Although the Order of the Eagle is organised like a vast army, where those below take orders from those above, wisdom and insight, the gifts of Myrmidia’s mother and father, also command great respect. Superiors not only listen to the counsel of their lessers,but they actively request it. The highest position in the Empire is the Eagle of the North, who is currently based in Nuln, and commands the Northern Regiment of the Order of the Eagle. This Regiment is split into ten Units—one per Human Imperial Province and one for Kislev—each of which is commanded by a high priest. A High Priest’s Unit is split according to how many temples he controls, with each temple commanded by a temple priest. A temple priest is aided by one or more temple sergeants, who each order up to ten priests each. Lastly, each priest can direct up to five initiates. In the Empire, progress within the order is mostly dictated by the whim of an individual’s superiors, and the availability of appropriate ranks, although most ranking priests meditate long upon their options to make sure they are making the best choices. However, to the south, appointments of most ranking positions require the support of the Order of True Insight, which is believed to have a greater understanding of Myrmidia’s strategy for the cult. The impartiality of the oracles is never openly questioned, but it is whispered that money and favours have more influence than any revelation of Myrmidia during a smoke-fuelled prophetic trance. Indeed, it is not uncommon to find different oracles supporting different candidates, with each claiming Myrmidia is guiding their choice. The structure of the Order of the Eagle goes though minor changes almost every other year, as it believes in adapting to changing circumstances. Currently, the Eagle of the North is an equivalent position to the head of a province in Tilea or Estalia. He is commanded by the High Eagle of Miragliano (L’Alta Aquila di Miragliano), who also commands half the order’s Regiments in Tilea.[2a]
East versus West
The Cult of Myrmidia is split. To the east, there are the Tileans. They believe Myrmidia was born in Remas, and was therefore a Tilean. Importantly, they believe that Myrmidia, as a Tilean, conquered Estalia. However, the Estalians to the west believe Myrmidia was born in Magritta, and was therefore an Estalian. Similarly, they believe Myrmidia, as an Estalian, conquered Tilea. Both nations have their own versions of Myrmidia’s holy texts to support their beliefs, and both are convinced they are correct. This fundamental difference has been the cause of, or the excuse for, much of the hostility between the Estalian kingdoms and the Tilean city-states down through the centuries. Indeed, the cult has almost broken in two over the issue on more than one occasion. Currently, Magritta is considered to be the heart of the Myrmidian religion, although the high temple in Remas undermines this at every turn. La Aguila Ultima (or, as Tileans prefer, L’ultima Aquila), the Order of the Eagle’s leader, is a Tilean woman; thus, the Tileans expected her to support Remas as the future centre of the cult. However, she controversially swore to accept the Estalian version of Myrmidia, and has moved to Magritta, where she is working hard to put this old division to rest. This causes problems for the Empire branch of the Cult. The Order of the Eagle is sworn to obey a High Eagle from Tilea, thus they use the Tilean texts. However the templars receive their orders from Magritta, and, by default, accept the Estalian texts. To make matters a little more complex, the Eagle of the North has authority over the Order of the Righteous Spear in the Empire, and has been ordered to ensure the templars follow the Tilean texts, which, of course, they resist. It is a massive divide, and one that, it seems, will inevitably tear the cult in two, which could plunge almost half of the Old World into an acrimonious and bitter war.[2a]