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Mercalan Hearts
Mercalan Hearts
[Image: E7i4gix.png?1] 

Mercalan Hearts is an official sect of the Church of Mercala. They are a congregation of men and women seeking to promulgate the common law and word of The Voice, and by extension, Mercala herself. In the past, the Mercalan Hearts were an exclusive covenant of women; but now, the Mercalan Hearts have expanded to include men of the faith as well. This sect is led by High Priestess Mavis Haemin, also known as the Chief of Medicine of Lispool.
Mercalan Hearts heavily believe in natural ways of recuperation, sticking strictly to using professional medical aid in lieu of Mercana, and much like Mercala, do not take much liking to the abuse of Mercana -- even for scrapes, scratches, and bruises. They use Mercana in only incredibly risky and extreme situations where medical aid simply will not assist -- some even go so far as to use Ki to avoid using Mercana. Such risky situations can be assumed to be Void Poisoning, mass injuries that need to be healed in a timely fashion, mass life-or-death injuries, or life-or-death injuries in general; severe illness and sickness that can lead to comatose or extreme debilitation have also been cited as genuine emergencies Mercalan Hearts consider using Mercana in. They still ultimately defer to the Church's judgement on the usage of Mercana, however. Even so, there is no doubt that this particular group practice far more restraint than is mandated by the Church -- whether it is to not feed the hound of complacency or their own reverence of Mercala, though it could simply be for both reasons.
Aside from following their prerogative in nursing others back to health, Mercalan Hearts often scour the realms in search of those in need. This could range from beggars needing alms to get by, to where others need homes to stay in for a certain period of time -- whether reduced or no rent is necessary. Furthermore, in their travels, they help build and rebuild villages and establishments while also preaching the true word of Mercala to those willing to listen. They triple as educators and guides as well, naturally embedding Mercala's words within their lessons. Some may include more secular aphorisms, though, for the sake of simplicity.
They are not unknown for emulating Mercala's legendary White Lady attire, although such regalia is not a requirement in being identified as a Mercalan Heart. Their belief in Mercala being the primary progenitor of life, and therefore the pillar of life itself, is trenchant within them; there is very little logic, science, research, or theories that can usually go against their belief in their White Lady's supreme judgment and rule over life itself.
Q What's the point of this faction?
A My intention with this faction is to promote Mercalan RP and presence in the SL2 world. From what I've observed, there is very little religious RP that happens at all, so why not start with the most popular god in Sigrogana?
Q Why were they female-only before?
A In the distant past, many eons ago, Mercalan Hearts existed as an actual mechanical class in SL1. Eventually, it was unified with Mercalan Priest and ceased to exist. The original lore stated that they were female-only, so I wanted to bring that back to SL2. As nuns exist in the real world, so too do monks -- who tend to be male-only. I wanted to create that kind of emulation in SL2, aside from just honoring SL1's old lore of Mercalan Hearts. However, due to OOC issues, I wasn't able to bring this to fruition. Hopefully by opening this up to male characters, a more unified Mercalan RP front can be established.
Q Can anyone apply to join?
A OOCLY, yes. ICLY, it's invite only. Mercalan Hearts are meant to be elite without being bigoted zealots. They practice ultimate restraint and only seek to promote the accurate word of Mercala in its entirety, seeking to not repeat anything any others of the Church state unless it is Mercala herself (this means whatever Dev has said in official lore. Sometimes we extrapolate for the sake of flavor, but Dev sort of allows this due to his equating the Mercalan religion to modern day Christianity, in a way). If you have a character you wish to involve in some Mercalan RP, by all means reach out to me on Discord at Anastasia#0666 and we can work something out. 
Q What do you do?
A As mentioned above, to promote Mercalan RP and establish an actual group people can interact with that represent the closest thing to the Church as possible without treading on any lore toes. I hope to get this group involved in events and such, but for the most part, you'd be preaching -- sermons, on the street, or even helping out with the Lispool medical ward (which doesn't sound like much fun now, but as the system evolves, I'm sure more help will be necessary). It's really heard to task things as a religious organization when you're not trying to be antagonists, but I can certainly say one thing: the Mercalan Hearts hate the Void and the fact it exists. Perhaps getting involved in some Void related quests could be fruitful in the future? Or maybe a Mercalan Heart can lecture a Void user's ear off? Or perhaps, as a Mercalan Heart just observing the people, you can chastise someone who is abusing Mercana (Mercalan Hearts don't like that, either).
Q What do you mean when you say 'officially recognized by the Church'?
A So this one is tricky, but it doesn't actually mean anything fancy. What this means is that the Church recognizes it exists and I received permission from Devourer Of Souls for this many years ago when I first intended to bring this group into the canon. The Mercalan Hearts don't have actual influence on how the Church functions, or how it rules, nor can they command Church Knights, nor do they have a squadron of Church Knights that they can call upon. Their role is to provide a unified RP front for Mercalans to be a part of, and to enrich the lore of Mercala. Now, I must explain that my intention in making it 'official' in this way is much the same as the Blades Of The Promised Land, another 'official' faction recognized by a major governmental party. By making the Mercalan Hearts 'official' in the eyes of the Church, it makes it easier for them to get into certain RP situations and events. It also adds to credibility. But I must reiterate: the Mercalan Hearts are NOT a mouthpiece for Mercala or the Church.
Q What ranks are there in this faction?
A Not many, but for the most part:
High Priestess is the highest rank, this being the leader of the group.
Priest/Priestess is the second highest, this being full-fledged members of the group (this rank also doubles as nurses/doctors in the Lispool medical ward, and they can also host sermons without supervision, and can travel in their own mini-groups without supervision).
Acolytes is the third highest, and these are fledgling members of the group. They mainly go throughout the lands, observing and helping others. Sometimes they go into dungeons and help adventurers, sometimes they remain in city-states and preach and/or help the homeless and needy with alms.
Students is the lowest rung, members who are not really official members of the group, but are affiliated with the group. They tend to just be students of a priest/priestess in the group, including the High Priestess.
Q Wait, wasn't this stuff on the Wiki that one time?
A Yep. But I opted to have a GM purge it and I moved it to the Factions section of the forums for further exposure and easy reference. I had it on the Wiki to further support how 'official' it was, but that didn't provide much exposure for it (it was also kind of a dumb idea my old self had and I only just got around to remedying that). So now it's here, and now I can edit this however necessary without bothering anyone.
If you have any other questions, please message me directly on Discord (Anastasia#0666). I'll be happy to answer all questions you may have. I've been doing the whole Mercala thing for a long time now, so I tend to have answers.
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^Mercala's Favorite Apparently
[Image: To2mAPS.png](heh)
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