You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: Treatises on the Heathen  (Read 866 times)

Lion El'Jonson

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Treatises on the Heathen
« on: November 09, 2022, 08:53:14 AM »
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Treatises on the Heathen

Introduction

For many years I have preached the word of Our Guardian In The Mists. In my travels I have oft heard the unfortunate phrase: "No, I serve another." Always this is a tragedy to me, for it not only makes them harder to save, but invariably serves to strengthen the Legions of the Night. Through machinations and lies, mortal men and insipid beings have misled many fallen souls into their service.

But as all who serve Ezra understand, regardless of Revelation, ONLY Ezra can provide salvation in this Hollow land. That is why it is our divine duty to liberate as many souls from the darkness of Legion as we can. Not only will we save innocents from the fate of eternal enslavement, but we will have strenghtened Ezra's will with one more loyal heart.

It is why today I pen the 'Treatises on the Heathen', to address the varied cults and churches who would seek to stray you, blessed reader, from Ezra's grace. Some may be missing from this work, but make no mistake, it is only Ezra that can protect you from the Mists of Death. Only she who manifests in her blessed followers the Shield of Ezra. No other religion can claim such proof of their sacred words as ours.

Inevitably, there will be a great many detractors who take offense to these words and those that will follow. To those I offer only this: Understand that above all, no matter how venomous the words you read may be, I seek to liberate you and deliver upon you the salvation of Ezra. I know with utmost certainty that Ezra will save you, heal you, and care for you, in ways that no other shall.

Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation
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Posted in the Vallaki Outskirts
« Last Edit: November 09, 2022, 08:59:50 AM by Cypher »

Lion El'Jonson

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The Lawgiver
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2022, 08:56:26 AM »
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Chapter One
The Lawgiver

I tend to avoid assigning rank to the opposition, yet even I canít help label the Lawgivers as one of the most pernicious, vile cults thatís been foisted upon the Hollow yet. A blatant scheme by the Vaasi to control their own populace, a faith rife with crimes against the common man, not to even yet address how they treat those of other races.

While any sensible Ezrite would be suspicious of an arcanistís abilities, the Lawgivers murder users of arcane and natural magic outright. Divine practitioners of other faiths will be eagerly harassed and imprisoned, if not murdered as well. They make no attempts of salvation, they care nothing for the blood they spill, only striving to enforce the status quo of their wretched faith. Any who threaten it on its home territory of Nova Vaasa are simply murdered. Despite this, in their eternal hypocrisy, they all but ignore the Red Wizards of Hazlan out of fear for their ruler. In truth caring only for the expansion of their faith and domination of the Hollow, with no actual investment in their supposed dogma of anti-wizardry (In reality, arcanists and their power are a threat to the status quo of Nova Vaasa, but cannot be challenged in Hazlan, and thus are ignored there.)

They believe the Lawgiver created a perfect world that they once all inhabited, before it was subsequently ruined. What is it that they say destroyed their perfect world? Disobedience and rebellion. Incredibly convenient for the Vaasi ruling princes and the repulsive Red Wizards. They have created a state faith that, even in the face of widespread famine, murder, and injustice, will inspire fearful obedience from their populace. The commonfolk of Nova Vaasa are some of the most miserable you will ever meet, some of the stories they tell in the safety of foreign nations could even make a Falkovnian feel lucky. (Though I have no praise to offer the atheistic, cruel dog known as Vlad Drakov.)

While the sensible Ezrite realizes that all of our souls are equal in the eyes of Ezra, the Lawgivers openly tout hostility against non-human races. They think of elves, dwarves, halflings, and similar as subhuman, they forbid fraternization and intermingling, they refuse them the privileges of faith often given to their own humans. I write with disgust as I recall the many practices of the Lawgiver, for every corner of their faith is built on lies, villainy, and domination.

I beseech thee, blessed reader. If you have been manipulated or coerced into this faith, turn away. Leave the shadow of a false tyrant and embrace Ezra's grace. If you are one of the fictitious Lawgiver's priests, for all that has value in this world, repent your ways and seek the light of Ezra. Abandon your cruel heathenry and learn the value of innocent or non-human life. For even those who have sinned greatly can be redeemed in Her eyes, as easily as accepting her into your heart. Any Anchorite of Ezra will see you baptized, then you may go forward, for the first time experiencing what it is like to serve a righteous cause. You will feel whole.

Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation
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Posted in the Vallaki Outskirts
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 07:23:38 AM by Cypher »

Lion El'Jonson

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The Eternal Order
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2022, 07:33:15 AM »
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Chapter Two
The Eternal Order

Let me be clear. I am both amused and exasperated that this faith still requires a chapter. The faith that so befrauded and failed Darkon still manages a scraping of its past followers in this day despite their insults towards the people that they should have served. What is there to be said about yet another blatant attempt to manipulate and control the masses?

The Eternal Order, backed by the wretched king Azalin Rex, once enforced through law the necessity for temple attendance every fourth evening in a temple of their faith. Most conveniently, it was preached that if they did not join prayer with their priests these evenings and did not tithe a silver piece each time, the undead would begin to overcome their defenses and would be closer to swarming over Darkon. (For frame of reference, the Church of Ezra asks only for ten copper pieces per year. The Eternal Order expected ninety-one silver pieces per year. This made them very well funded indeed, while the deception lasted.)

Of course, the fraudulence of their dogma and practices was made all too clear by the Requiem. A massive outburst of negative energy which was felt across the breadth of Darkon and absolutely annihilated the old city of Il Aluk, now known as the Necropolis. Darkonians en masse and The Eternal Order believed a sliver of the truth- that this 'Requiem' was the preclusion or the beginning of the Hour of Ascension, a common Darkonian belief that the undead would come to reclaim the domain. This is a fraction of honesty, for the reality is that this was an attempt of the Mists of Death to expel Our Guardian In The Mists, Ezra, from their rank. The Legions of the Night expanded in droves with the Requiem, the undead quadrupling their number in this event.

In the wake of the Eternal Order's embarrassment at failing to prevent such an event, as they had been claiming to do so for quite a long time, what was their response to the people of Darkon who looked to them in this time of strife? 'Tis your fault,' said the Eternal Order, 'the faith of Darkon was weak.' Oh, did I not almost weep with laughter when I heard this horrible attempt to cover their own deceptions. For I knew then, accurately as it so happened, how the people of Darkon would react to such arrogance. The Eternal Order is a shadow of its former self, for my countrymen saw reason and abandoned the cult en masse.

As it so happens, the people of Darkon did not appreciate being demanded to worship and appease 'Death' to avoid destruction at the hands of the dead, only for the dead to come anyways- especially not when the blame was then placed with them in the aftermath. Of all the horrors of the Requiem, in my eyes, the ONLY positive effects were the subsequent abandonment of the Eternal Order and that many people in Nevuchar Springs and Darkon realized the truth of Ezra's teachings.

To those leftovers of the Eternal Order, I beseech you. Abandon this marionette of a cult, abandoned by its string-puller, seek the truth of Ezra. Death is not to be appeased, but opposed. The Mists of Death will not be halted by silver tithes or snuffed lights. To my blessed readers, should a faithful of the Eternal Order seek to bring you into their ranks, I suggest asking them how much silver they need to prove your devotion, before turning and abandoning their presence as Darkon, Azalin Rex, and any of sound mind have already.


Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation

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Posted in the Vallaki Outskirts
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 07:23:27 AM by Cypher »

Lion El'Jonson

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Cult of the Morninglord
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2022, 07:23:13 AM »
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Chapter Three
Cult of the Morninglord

This chapter, I expect, shall hurt the feelings of some good-hearted Barovians and outlanders alike. However, it is my duty to be honest and truthful in my duty to Our Guardian, and thus it is my duty to be honest and truthful to you.

The Morninglordians are a cult of good people who have been manipulated into giving praise to a false idol. Unlike the Lawgivers and Eternal Order, its members are not malicious in their practices or preaching. However, this unfortunately makes them just as dangerous to the Grand Scheme, if not moreso. A message of goodness is much easier for the common man to embrace, but as has been addressed prior, only Ezra is able to save souls from destruction and misery at the hands of the Mists of Death. Thusly, those goodhearted men and women who embrace the Morninglordís dogma, while pure of heart, will not be saved.

Let us discuss the ĎMorninglordí himself. The nature of this Morninglord is inconsistently explained in their faith, with an unsettlingly sinister and peculiar appearance: an elven man with smears of blood around his mouth. The Cultistís interpretation of this seems to be that even the most good being can have a stain of evil, and even the worst evil may yet have some good. I find this explanation dissatisfactory, even more unreliable when you learn that the tale of origin for this cult is the claims of a man that, when he was a young boy, the Morninglord appeared to him in this form and protected him from the nights of Barovia. To me, this sounds too much like the warped perspective of an addled child more than a true vision or divine appearance.

There is also disagreement to be found in their dogma- for to say that even the worst evils may yet contain good is most certainly absurd. The only good that even the least dangerous of vile undead are capable of would be to immediately submit to execution, and I similarly fear that this mindset has encouraged the Morninglordians to spare those cursed by undeath or lycanthropy in their supposed interests of finding a Ďcureí. For those familiar, such monsters are deceptive and unforgivable- especially the natural born lycanthropes. Do not let this dogma draw you into mercy for such creatures, for any hope of salvation couldnít be more than extremely slim, but that dim chance they will use to manipulate you into staying your hand, only to make you suffer for it later.

To you followers of the Morninglord, I reach out. I see your intentions as pure of heart, but your devotion misguided. You will be welcomed into the faith of Ezra with warm, welcoming arms. If you are intent on being a stalwart defender against the horrors of the night, Her Fourth Revelation will welcome your shield gladly. If it is compassion and mercy you wish to bring, Her Second Revelation will be happy to have you. Seek the truth of Ezra and you will have the salvation you wish to bring unto others.


Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation

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Posted around Vallaki

Lion El'Jonson

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Outlander Gods
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2022, 09:33:53 AM »
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Chapter Four
Outlander Gods

For those familiar, you will know that outlander gods are far too numerous to be addressed individually, which is the reason for the briefness of this chapter. Unfortunately, it is also impossible to verify the information that has been provided by the various outlanders, regardless of how consistent their tales may be. There are some (including an Ezrite scholar or two, much to my chagrin.) who believe outlanders and their gods are mere fabrications of the Mists of Death. This position is beyond foolishness; astute scholars will recall that the Third Book of Ezra confirms the existence of other deific entities outside of the Hollow, the lands we dwell in now.

However, as is also stated, all of these deities have chosen to ignore us. Either in pernicious agreement with the Mists of Death, or outright fear of them, all gods beyond the Hollow refuse to aid us. Only Ezra, in Her compassion, came to the aid of those within.

What does this mean for those who outlanders who still yet believe in their gods? Unfortunately, blessed readers, it means that those gods have abandoned them. To said outlanders, I speak to you directly. No matter how dedicated of a patron you once knew, they have dejected you here. You were not sent here on a holy mission, nor is this a test of your faith. For whatever reason, the vile Mists of Death have wrought you upon these lands and your gods refuse to intervene.

No matter the dogma, the creed, the beliefs, all such outlander gods are unworthy of continued worship. Unworthy of faith. For even the so-claimed pure and valorous of these deific entities have failed to challenge the Mists of Death, failed to right any of the so many wrongs present here in these lands. Moreover, as the Mists of Death scour these very lands clean of our presence, it is only Us Faithful who will be spared, not out of mercy, but by Ezraís shield and protection. Give her your heart and you will be watched over in these lands, rather than left cold and abandoned by a long-distant patron.

Outlanders. Your homes are lost to you, for you I have only sympathy. But you must come to terms with this situation and seek your salvation. Ezra cares not the land of your birth, only that your heart is pure. Seek out her Faithful, by all means, even seek out myself. We will welcome you into the Light of Ezra.


Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation

Lion El'Jonson

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Cult of Nerull
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2022, 01:31:25 PM »
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Chapter Five

Cult of Nerull

Introduction

If you have not heard of the pernicious Cult of Nerull, blessed reader, know it is not a fault of your ignorance but rather the secretive nature of the cult itself. Indeed, already its members have threatened those who would share information with me regarding their nature. Fortunately, those of valiant heart and good morals are not so easily cowed by wretches who creep through the night. Thus I reveal to you in this chapter every piece of information regarding the Nerullite Cultists I could find.

Know that while Nerull is referred to by many names here in The Core, such as Erlin, the 'Tax-man', and Irlek-Khan, for the sake of simplicity I will be referring to the insipid entity as Nerull throughout the chapter. As the Cult of Nerull is also intensely more unknown (and dangerous) than many other faiths in the Core, I have dedicated more pages to exposing its nature than I have with other chapters.

History

The origins of this vile faith are complex, as it involves a great deal of misdirection by the line of Dukes who ruled Gundarak. The true faith of all Dukes of Gundarak was to Nerull, an outlander god known as the reaper, but through their efforts they had concealed this truth. Nharov the First, centuries ago, first began the deceptions by placating the many rioters and rebels he faced. Attached are transcripts of a page from his personal journal, translated to Trade as not to violate local laws regarding the Luktar language. You can see how the Duke conspired to merge the tenets of the demonic 'Irlek-Khan' (believed to be the patron of the Neureni at the time) and certain tenets from the 'Old Faith' (a vague and ancient faith from an outlander world). This is how the faith dedicated to 'Old God' was born.

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Through this act, Duke Gundar managed to keep the truth of Nerull and his faithful from the masses until things blew over. While many common Gundarakites began to practice the faith of this fabricated Church, the true Cult of Nerull would centuries later enforce the law of Gundarak with the rule of the most recent Duke Nharov Gundar. Like his lineage before him, this Duke was true to Nerull and used his priests to remind the people of Gundarak that he controlled their death and could will it at any moment. A tyrant like his predecessors, the Duke cared only for control, power, and death, aspirations which apply to all the vile cult's members.

Remnants of the old church, which the First Duke used to ease tensions, were barely present towards the end of Gundarak as a nation. Cruel and enforcing of the status quo, the Nerullites of the time were hugely unpopular among the local populace. So much so that, when Duke Gundar was assassinated and anarchy reigned, the faith all but evaporated. Their practitioners were slain en masse or outright exiled by their former victims (I applaud their spirit). Unfortunately, as this happened over four decades ago (and with help from the Cult themselves) this has been mostly forgotten by the modern day Gundarakites.

Rise of the Modern Cult

You may ask, blessed reader, how such a blatantly unpopular and hateful faith has managed to survive the times. The answer is simple: manipulation. Modern cult founder and leader Emanuel Maryszkas has intentionally painted this wretched faith as a genuine aspect of Gundarakite culture being 'tyrannically stamped out' by Barovians, when the reality is the pernicious cult was being stamped out by Gundarakites themselves in the past age. Note: Emanuel Maryszkas is bald, wields a wicked scythe (likely glowing red), and wears dark robes. He is still active to this day.

This is the narrative that they spin to this day, using it to manipulate young Gundarakites into becoming shadowy assassins and power-hungry occultists. In most recent times, one of the Cult's prized assassins, Erzsebet Varga, assassinated the leader of the most recent Black Army rebellion. One would think that the rebellious cult and the Black Army would be allies, but the Cult cares only for its own power and the Black Army favored Ezra. Thus, even their own people are not immune to the sharpened blades of Nerullite assassins. To Gundarakites tempted by this pernicious death cult or its members, I beseech you to instead abandon them and find peace through Ezra. The struggles of life matter not in the face of the ongoing darkness.

Dogma & Practices

Cultists of Nerull believe in and practice both selflish ambition and a hatred of life. They desire nothing short of ultimate power and control, the erasure of all opponents and religions, and the subservience of governments. Simultaneously, they revel in the act of murder itself. Most of their low-rung membership involve assassination and espionage, per a tenet they have retained from the Old God: "The Hunt is Sacred". Naturally, though, their usage of this tenet is perverted.

Though the exact details of their rituals are known only to their members, they all involve some form of sacrifice or blood rites. Symbolically they tend to decorate with skulls, however outside of the bounds of their secretive (and supposedly underground) church, they will do their best to blend in with the common man. It can be reliably assumed that they have a number of competent native spies who move about the public unseen, as their membership manages to leave scatters of propaganda, graffiti, and threats about the city of Vallaki and elsewhere in Barovia.

It should be noted that, in the wake of losing their prize assassin, the Cult has operated even quieter than usual. Perhaps it is that they have run out of cowards and miscreants to recruit, or perhaps it is that they have finally realized the folly of their villainous faith.

Closing

Usually I will end these chapters with some kind of remark as to what you should do if you run across one of these Cultists, or what you should do if you are one yourself. Whereas in many cases I would preach to abandon such an insipid faith and convert, it is clear to me the Nerullites are amongst the Legions of the Night. If you should meet one, I can only advise you to kill them, if you are one, I can only advise you to kill yourself.


Tiberius von Nevuchar
Her Fourth Revelation