Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dark Weavings - Appendix One: Elturgard


The Secret History of Elturgard

Before the Spellplague, the rise of the faith of Amaunator was in the hands of Daelegoth Orndeir. He was considered a heretic by the followers of Lathander - Amaunator’s predecessor in a sense - and was persecuted by same until the day he caused the Companion to shine in the skies over Elturel.

A miracle on this scale demonstrated the power of Amaunator and caused many Lathanderites to doubt. Over a period of two decades or so, the majority of Lathanderites converted to the worship of Amaunator and Orndeir himself became the Supreme Potentate of the Sun Lord.

The land of Elturgard was named by Orndeir and he ruled beneath the light of the Companion, the second sun he had caused to be created. Then, some 30 or so years ago, Orndeir was on retreat in Fort Morninglord, a noted bastion of the faith and the Supreme Potentate’s favourite place for study and meditation. A great beam of sunlight struck the fort at high noon and the inhabitants of the fort were seen no more. It was told that Orndeir was taken by Amaunator to be an exarch of the Sun Lord but Elturgard changed suddenly thereafter.

The church of Amaunator in Elturgard had long been allied with the church of Torm and the Tormites enjoyed a similar status to the followers of Amaunator within the borders of the Land of Two Suns. After the disappearance of Orndeir, high-ranked clerics of Amaunator met in secret with the senior clergy of the church of Torm. After that, the official faith of Elturgard was changed to Torm and the clergy of Torm replaced the clergy of Amaunator in all official positions.

It became part of Amaunatori dogma that this change not be questioned by the faithful. Indeed, all discussion of Orndeir, Fort Morninglord and the change in government of Elturgard became prohibited. Too much talk would lead to a visit by a church inquisitor and, it was rumoured, in some cases the disappearance of the one who questioned the church’s decisions.

The reality was that Orndeir was a heretic blinded by pride and tempted by the blandishments of Graz’zt the Dark Prince. The Supreme Potentate had captured a minor aspect of Graz’zt within a golden cage of binding. Rather than simply consigning this shard of the Dark Prince to eternal imprisonment, Orndeir revelled in his ability to command and control - to dominate - such a potent creature.

Graz’zt bided his time but was soon able to manipulate Orndeir to his own ends. He explained the history of Amaunator and twisted ancient Amaunatori teachings to show that Amaunator should be supreme on Toril. The Sun Lord should be the supreme lawgiver: he should even replace Bane as the deity of rulership!

Part of Orndeir’s pride was based on his deep knowledge of the Three-Faced Sun Heresy. He believed Amaunator to be one aspect of three faces of the sun: Dusk, Dawn and High Noon. Myrkul was the last deity to hold the portfolio of Dusk and Orndeir secretly sought after any information he could find on the Lord of Bones. He even visited the Mere of Dead Men and gathered some of Myrkul’s essence and traded with the yuan-ti for knowledge about the Crown of Horns, a malefic relic containing the last of Myrkul’s identity.

This heresy also became a topic of conversation with the imprisoned aspect and the Dark Prince also used this as fuel for his own blandishments. In due course, Orndeir’s fall was complete on the day he attempted to perform a ritual within the grounds of Fort Morninglord to absorb the essences of Myrkul and Bhaal (whose black blood still stained the [name] River near the Boareskyr Bridge) and to replace Amaunator but as the Three-Faced Sun.

At this point, Amaunator struck. A mighty blast of sunlight rent the sky and Orndeir was no more and Fort Morninglord became the blackened husk under the ban of Elturgard to this day. In reality, Orndeir was transformed into an undead thing - something like a skull lord, with three heads representing the three sources of power he now wielded - but, although not destroyed, the divine wrath of Amaunator consigned Orndeir to a darkened prison beneath Fort Morninglord with the caged aspect of Graz’zt his only company.

The Dark Prince was - and still is - playing a dangerous game. Ultimately he wishes to steal the portfolio of tyranny from Bane, the Black Lord, and properly enter the pantheon of the Realms. His masquerade as Waukeen, a result of the Time of Troubles, means he is already a member of the pantheon, albeit in disguise.

As for Orndeir, he waits beneath Fort Morninglord, a weakened pawn of the Dark Prince, for the day when someone might free him and he can return to his plans for apotheosis anew.

(Alternatively, I could replace the aspect of Graz’zt with a glabrezu in the service of Lolth. In 3.5E terms, it would have the fiend of temptation prestige class.)

The Present Day

“The High Observer is dead! Long live the High Observer!”

The highest-ranking cleric of the church of Torm has died and been replaced by [name], a Vigilant Seer of the Eye of Justice from Westgate.

The Eye of Justice arrived in Elturgard some three or so years ago. Introduced to the population as experts in combatting the Zhents, they soon showed their value by bringing many Zhent agents to justice and defeating a large Zhent force sent to secure the Boareskyr Bridge.

The leader of Eye of Justice is one of five Vigilant Seers with oversight of the entire order. He has been chosen as the new High Observer and promises a new era of vigilance and justice under his rule. However, things seem darker....

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