“Pain, when carried with dignity, is strength”
from Ragana the Crone
Ragana, the Crone, developed the Discipline that allows the Giants live in a structured society. After the first starfall, the surviving people of Esgalgrath spent three centuries coping with the Fellwright, the effects of the body and soul warping effects of the starfall. Their bodies grew large, gray, and powerful, and their appetites for food, sex, and violence became ravenous. The survivors of the greatest human empire became barbarians unable to control their own urges, constantly warring with one another and unable to form a true society.
Ragana was born into this time, in a dilapidated castle in the eastern portion of Esgalgrath. Unique for her kind, she was taught how to read since a young age, spent many hours looking through the tablets and scrolls of her ancestors, finding use in the science, politics, and philosophies she found in them. She became a healer and sage for her clan, a close confidant of her chieftain, and an teacher of the young. She taught the children math and botany, but most importantly these children were the first recipients of The Discipline, the meditative method Ragana developed to control the urges that consume giantkind.
Eventually, when the children she taught from birth grew, she held more sway over the clan than the chieftain. She began preaching that the clan give up their nomadic and warlike ways and settle, to begin farming again and retake the city of Helligimark, their ancient birthright. The chieftain, threatened by her influence, and unwilling to give up the life of hunting and raiding, attacked Ragana, stabbing her in the eye. She survived the attack, but the chieftain was ripped apart by the furious young clansmen and women. Ragana, then, immediately chastised her vengeful students, telling them restraint, always restraint, should be their guiding force.
Eventually, Ragana and her band traveled across Esgalgrath uniting clan after clan through missionary work, leading many back to the lands surrounding Esgalgrath to join in the community farms there.
She taught that the pleasures of the immediate world are incomplete, that virtue is sufficient for happiness, and that it is the pure control of one’s own will that can give a person access to perfection. For practitioners of the Discipline, nothing is considered “good” or “bad” aside from the things within their own control. Ragana claimed that a person could be sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy. One needs to modify their own willed outlook through the force of reason to interact with the world, not seek out and consume the world in service to inner desires. Part of Ragana’s teachings included meditation and self-dialog so that practitioners of the Discipline could constantly rediscover why they practice the Discipline in the first place.
The end goal for a willing being, according to Ragana, is flourishing. Ragana’s philosophy is one that is based on a theory of ideal forms, the notion that there is an ideal version of what is manifested in the world. Ideal forms are ones that most perfectly represent the purpose of their form, and the purpose of an object is whatever that object does best or most uniquely. This means that a craftsman is in pursuit of some ideal version of their product, and through discipline and sufficient iterations an ideal can be made real. Ragana’s teachings is that the ideal form of a person is one that manifests the unique function of willing beings best— that of willed reason.
Another distinctive feature of the Discipline is its cosmopolitanism: All people are manifestations of one universal spirit and should, according to Ragana, readily help one another. Ragana was a preacher of a nationless ethic, one that does away categorically with notions of slavery, class, and nationalism. To be sentient is to be a part of this universal spirit, a willing creature that seeks to flourish.
Her aphorisms, called Recheni, written into the ivory horns of Koza, are still common pendants carried by those who follow her philosophy. The Ascendant Church recognizes her, and many of her temples can be found outside of giant lands, in Ackenzal and the colonies.