Terrors of the Deep
La Orden de la Dei Lucrii
Or in Trade Common: The Order of the Gods of Profit
Although la Orden de la Dei Lucrii are well-known as the militant arm of the church of Vauraus – the god of trade, commerce, and empire – as a knightly order, they actually predate their patron god.
Following the collapse of the Old Empire, there were many gods of coin – every petty kingdom, empire, and satrapy had their own deity of some combination of trade, commerce, order, civilisation, and travel. The objectives of each of these gods (later recorded in history as the dei lucrii, or ‘gods of profit’) were much the same – to promote the growth of trade and commerce, and the expansion of civilised lands where these things could exist and flourish.
Where there needed to be unity of purpose in fulfilling their aims – in order to bring about trade agreements across nations, standardised laws, or a unified currency, for example – instead, each of the dei lucrii squabbled between themselves for influence and power among their common portfolios, to the ultimate detriment of all. Further, while these gods were respected within the boundaries of their own lands, their disparate nature worked against them. The power derived from the worship of their followers was split between them, and each individual church’s influence only extended as far as the borders of their own dominion.
While the precise origins of la Orden de la Dei Lucrii are not entirely clear, the effect of its formation following the immediate post-Old Empire era was quickly apparent. They looked beyond the short-sighted goals of the individual dei lucrii, and sought to bring about the apotheosis of a new god who could aggregate their collective influence and power. The gods themselves were understandably reluctant to cooperate, however their assent was not required – only the collective will of their worshippers. With the aid of high-ranking sympathisers in many of the churches of the dei lucrii who despaired of the self-limiting nature of their gods (and who were enthused at the prospect of making money hand over fist), many of their worshipers were converted to the worship of a new god of coin and commerce – Vauraus.
The remaining dei lucrii were deeply unhappy with this development, and in an ironic turn of events, actually unified against the newly formed church of Vauraus. What followed was a sustained period of economic warfare, with the dominions of the remaining dei lucrii and of Vauraus attempting to destroy or control the markets of the other with tariffs, embargoes, restrictive trade agreements and industrial espionage. This period was known as the Gold Wars, and while it was mostly bloodless, by the end of it la Orden de la Dei Lucrii was recognised as an elite military force. The Gold Wars ended with the church of Vauraus taking control of the major banking clans of most of the former Old Empire states, thus depriving the dei lucrii of a great source of their power and influence and allowing Vauraus’s worshippers to expand their operations all through the Old World.
Since the Gold Wars, the knights of la Orden have largely been engaged as elite mercenaries and caravan guards, and Vauraus stands unchallenged by any other upstart gods of profit. The dei lucrii persist yet, however, in the form of some regional sects of the church of Vauraus who still engage in heretical practices as a holdover of their worship of the old gods.
With the discovery of the New World and the Western Isles, la Orden have expanded their role to be dedicated pirate hunters, viewing pirates as one of the primary obstacles to the continued growth of civilisation, and the establishment of new and prosperous trade routes.