The Iridian Fold refers to both a state of enlightenment and the philosophical order and teachings that help people attain it. In both senses, it is shrouded in mystery. Its members are bound pairs of male lovers whose spirits merge into a single entity inhabiting their individual bodies, forming a unit called a szerik.1
The Iridian Fold is nearly a thousand years old, with an early record of it dating back to the arrival of a strange pair of men to Ular Kel in 3789 AR. The two men, who would come to be known as Teacher, wandered out of the Grass Sea and into the city of Ular Kel. Chained together, this pair moved and spoke in perfect unison as if they were one soul split across two bodies, which the Iridian Fold refers to as szerik. Together, they sought out an audience with the reigning Water Lords who ruled the city. As rulers of Ular Kel, none of the Water Lords were inclined to grant an audience to these penniless travellers (who were assumed to be escaped slaves due to their chains). So, Teacher waited at the bottom of each of the Water Houses (which serve the Water Lords as homes) for eight hours a day. Eventually, the Water Lords sent their guards to remove these vagabonds from their property but, despite being completely unarmed, Teacher managed to overcome every single guard that the Water Lords threw at them.1
Finally, the son of one of the Water Lords (along with his lover) came to watch the pair defeat his father's guards. When he asked Teacher what they wanted they replied "Only to teach you". This pair, Mitrae the Wise and Loyeru Shieldbreaker, became Teacher's first disciples. Teacher remained in Ular Kel for a decade passing on the teachings that would become the Iridian Fold before walking back into the Grass Sea in 3799 AR, never to be seen again.1
The term szerik refers to the coupling of two male lovers into a single spirit, symbolized with binding chains and the phrase "shared mind, shared heart". Most szerik follow the template of the Teacher: one covered in veils from head to foot with only his eyes showing, the other close behind wearing creaking leather armor and clinking chains.2
The order only accepts men, and its holy texts claim that women are incapable of the necessary focus due to their ability to bear children. A sect named the Iridian Choir, which mocks the Iridian Fold's suggestion that women have a thousand voices inside them, secretly trains couples or groups of any gender in the same techniques.1
In the Inner Sea region
Among the people of the Inner Sea region, very little is known of the men who identify themselves as being members of the Iridian Fold. Their members are only ever found in large, cosmopolitan cities going about their unknown business.34
Centers of the Iridian Fold
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- James L. Sutter. (2015). Ular Kel, The Caravan City. Distant Shores, p. 62. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-787-1
- James L. Sutter. (2014). "Boar and Rabbit", Paizo Inc.
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). "The World". Campaign Setting, p. 198. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- James L. Sutter. (2007). Hand of the Handless (Pathfinder's Journal). The Hook Mountain Massacre, p. 74. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-038-4
- James L. Sutter. (2010). City of Strangers, p. 45f. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-248-7