Earn your place on the memory stone, sentinels. Victory for the Offensive.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Askar
The memory stone is a natural rock formation on Kora. It's slightly less than a kilometer high (3200 feet) and spans almost twenty-nine kilometers (18 miles) in length. The stone resembles a mountain formation, but the rock is one solid piece that burrows down to the planet's core. Its outer shell is purple with a reflective sheen where someone can make out their reflection when they stand nearby. Ripples of black streak through the stone randomly with small green sparkling flakes. When the outer layer of rock is carved or chipped away, the second layer glows brightly without dissipating. Even eroded chunks that fall from the main piece never lose their bright yellow glow beneath.
The Dolrinion Offensive's founding principles of Duty, Valor and Glory to the Offensive were the first glyphs carved next to the entrance archway centrally located within the memory stone.
Dolrinions suffered great despair during the Great Darkness, and their people spent hundreds of years regrowing their populations to sustainable levels, but they had no real guidance or drive of purpose besides local commanders fighting each other for control.
No historical documentation on the founders existed from before the first carvings were etched into the surface. The first glyphs state that the founders and their followers stood near the central archway tunnel leading from one side of the mountain to the other. That was when a swirling monsoon took shape in the clouds as lightning began to strike with repeated anger in a way that had never been seen before. It grew closer and closer around the followers. They had no choice but to move nearer to the stone when the ground shook like an earthquake that felt as if it would break the planet in half. The shaking knocked them off their feet. A vibration came from the mountainous rock, and the founders touched it as lightning struck from above and coursed through their bodies. Each of the five saw visions and heard a voice that told them what to do. The way was clear as a sunrise. Dolrinions today know this important event as the Awakening, where the founders gained hidden knowledge on how to lead their people out of the Dark Age.
Dolrinions are born into a system of servitude through a military structure to the supreme generals of each Force Command. From the time they learn to walk, Dolrinion children begin practicing the art of war. Firing a rifle comes as natural as breathing for the people of Kora. When a Dolrinion turns sixteen, they start their Rite of Passage and are sent to whatever Rite designated by each Force Command. If a recruit teen survives their Rite, they walk through the archway on their seventeenth birthday, leading to the other end of the mountain. It takes them roughly forty minutes to pass through, and caretaker elders from Force Command Tacoma wait for them on the other side to say their vows of service and give them their tip knife, which is a symbolic representation of their success. Caretakers keep oils of remembrance on their hips used to bless each successful sentinel who passes the Rite. The oils drip from the memory stone each time a fallen sentinel’s name is carved. Caretakers believe that the dripping substance is tears of joy from the soul who gained entry into the stone halls of eternity.
The tunnel was created by years of water erosion and formed a perfect arch at both ends. The underpass was long and glowed yellow from the exposed interior stone. Once the recruit exited the other side of the tunnel, they were given a tip knife, blessed in the essential oils and became sentinels of the Offensive to their Force Commands.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Askar
After receiving their tip knife and the sacred oils are wiped on recruit’s foreheads, Caretakers speak the words carved by the first five.
“You entered a recruit without real purpose but exited the archway a true sentinel of the Dolrinion Offensive. Serve well, follow our principles as set down by the five founders, duty, valor and glory to the Offensive, and you’ll one day return to the memory stone in spirit to live forever. Speak the words now and speak them true.”
Dolrinions believe in life after death but only for those who have earned the right to have their name carved onto the memory stone. When a sentinel dies, their life’s deeds are evaluated by both commanding officers of the sentinel’s Force Command and Tacoma caretakers to see if the fallen followed the founding principles of duty, valor and glory to the Offensive. When a name is etched, and the yellow glow brightens for all time, the fallen souls can enter into the stone halls of eternity to feast and live on in happiness with other heroes of Dolrinion society.
Although Dolrinion sentinels are all warriors and the primary way of earning a place on the memory stone comes from dying in service to their Force Commands, that’s not the only way to gain acceptance on the memory stone. Other famous Dolrinions received special consideration with larger etched names than standard sizing because of their steadfast dedication to providing for the Offensive in a meaningful way. A perfect example of this is Lieutenant Colonel Willington from Force Command First Ones, who received a large engraving on the stone for his dedicated service as the commander of warehouse supply. He died an old man in his bed and gained higher recognition than most frontline battle sentinels.
If a name doesn't make it to the memory stone engraving, that sentinels soul will not be accepted into the afterlife and eternal bliss. It fades away into nothing without the power of the memory stone to keep it whole.
First Supreme General Kace of Force Command Tacoma received her visions of the treatment and power within the memory stone. Her visions gave her complete insight into their religion and how to follow its customs accordingly. Because of her dedication to writing down laws and being the first Dolrinion to carve the memory stone, Force Command Tacoma became the caretakers for their religious mountain rock’s safety. All five founders have special recognition with their names cut much larger than any other that came after them, but First Supreme General Kace has the largest area of etching than any other. It took one hundred Tacoma caretakers one hundred days to carve her name.
Caretakers are considered the most faithful among Dolrinions, and they take great pride in maintaining the memory stone. Through years of practice, caretakers learned to shape areas of the stone to fit their needs for proper name engraving. Since the outer layer of rock is several centimeters thick, it gives them the ability to not disturb the yellow glow beneath until they are ready for a new name.
As new names get carved into the rockface, younger caretakers come closely behind to collect the oils of remembrance that drip from the new etchings. This substance has never been analyzed by any Free Worlds' government before and is only known because of the name given by caretakers.
"Tears of joy from the fallen."
"Oils of remembrance"
In the first few hundred years of name carving, caretakers would use the tip knife of the fallen sentinel to carve into the rockface surface. The oldest names closest to the central archway aren’t honed the way newer names are by using heated chisels. The sentinel tip knife is still viewed as an object of religious importance, but caretakers no longer use them for etching. When a sentinel dies and judgment is passed, bodies are cremated, armor and tip knives are melted down and recycled for recruits entering the Rite of Passage age. The Dolrinion Offensive flag still remains unchanged since its founding and displays a tip knife with clarity.
Dolrinion Caretakers do not have any forms of written bibles for their faith in the memory stone. All practices and knowledge come from carved glyphs on the outer and inner archway tunnel. Through the last eighteen hundred and sixty years, their language has changed dramatically, and they’re no longer able to decipher the earlier etchings. All of the traditions come from caretaker elders passing information and past knowledge to younger caretakers generationally.
The only house of worship a sentinel needs is a battlefield. Dolrinions have no use for churches or buildings to observe their beliefs. They serve with honor by the founding principles of duty, valor and glory to the Offensive. Sentinels trust in their commanding officers to convey their worth upon death.
From the time a Dolrinion sentinel learns to walk, they begin training in the arts of war. Training is maintained by all ten Force Commands where sentinel recruits learn the ways of sentinel life together and don’t officially become citizens of the Dolrinion Offensive until successful completion of the Rite. Force Command BlackRock has a majority of their command throughout occupied space, so recruits learn from their command's teachers only.
On a sentinels sixteenth birthday, they commence with their Rite of Passage for one year, which is different for each Force Command. Examples include War Dogs who send their recruits to the southern waste of Kora to survive there while fighting black-tailed scorpions. Red Legion sends their recruits to fight ground wars on rogue worlds near the edges of occupied space. Every day of the year, on a recruits birthday, new batches are hard dropped onto these Rite worlds to fight alongside fellow recruits. Those who complete their right leave on their birthday after one year. Tacoma sent their young warriors to live in a rogue-world jungle or wasteland for a year and find dangerous predatory animals to hunt for survival. A feat that doesn’t match their known specialization yet ensures sentinels from this command earn the right to wear their battle armor. Steel Talon sends their recruits into the Great-in-Between on cruisers to survive there. Every ten years in the Decade Rite, recruits of this command must hunt Androsian harvester ships and survive the encounter. This Rite is the hardest of all ceremonies, and after a successful stalker raid, the Rite ended, regardless of the timespan.
The Rite of Passage is the most sacred religious honor for any sentinel. Upon completion, sentinels walk through the archway at the memory stones center. It spans several kilometers through the mountain, and when they exit through the other side, elder Tacoma caretakers who are among the most devout in their religious beliefs perform the ritual that gives them status as sentinel citizens of the Offensive.