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Shofar
Mandorlin numai așa Akhen. ("Only the Mandorlin speaks Akhen's will.")

Vormundism is a religious group established in the country of Apicarta in 162 AYZ by the self-proclaimed prophet Dagda Vormund. It is considered a cult, and is widely condemned throughout Apicarta by both religious and secular institutions.

Defined by its "originalist" dogma, adherents to the faith are dedicated to fulfilling the ancient laws established in the Mandorlin, which they believe to be divinely inspired. Outsiders often see it as a reactionary movement to the loosening hold of religion on society, as well as the decadence of the Temple, corruption of the state, and amorality in society.

While he did not proclaim himself to be divine, Vormund professed to be the "mouthpiece of Akhen". He sanctioned a new translation of the Mandorlin based on ancient copies written in Old Exekian, with the aid of Kemet, an Exekian hunyadi and aisling.

The religion achieved some initial popularity among those who were disillusioned with the Temple and pacifists who were tired of the constant, costly wars with the Exekians. Many were drawn to Vormund's emphasis on peace, love, and brotherhood, as well as his upholding of the old laws and traditions.

Temple clergy and the media were largely against the movement. They depicted Vormund as a charlatan imposing his own sense of justice on his ignorant disciples. Public opinion of Vormund and his "cult" was divided, with some seeing no harm in the religious "revival" he spread, and others feeling threatened by his conservatism, anti-magic stance and "doomsday rhetoric" regarding the royal family.

However, when it was discovered that Vormund's "adopted son" Ethan was in fact the notorious murderer Daniel Zuse, public opinion of the cult soured. Vormund was charged with harboring a fugitive and found guilty by association in the murder of Sophie Rolfe. A trial for heresy was prepared by the Temple, but Vormund died in prison shortly after the initial hearings for the case were conducted.

History

Vormund was born a commoner of unknown parentage. In adulthood he was a wandering minstrel. He never married and had no children.

At the age of thirty-four, he began experiencing divine visions in which the god Akhen ordered him to preach a new faith of peace, compassion, and love for all creatures. Vormund initially ignored the visions, believing the people would not accept such teachings. The visions persisted, becoming more vivid and frequent, until Vormund was no longer able to work. He fled into the wilderness, where he claimed to feel the presence of Akhen. The encounter left him visibly aged, but he still retained his youthful health and strength.

While he was ridiculed at first by the crowds he ministered to, a few humans began to follow him. Eventually a small group of his followers began living with him in a cave near the river Antoi.

Cave

The entrance to the cave which Vormund and his followers used as a sanctuary.

Vormund's Downfall

Bishop Neil Lars orchestrated Vormund's downfall with the aid of the sorcerer Selca Ducani. Ducani used magic to disguise himself as various people, all with the aim of sabotaging Vormund; his greatest success was when he attempted to drug Vormund, but instead succeeded in drugging Ethan, one of Vormund's closest followers.

Shortly after, Ethan murdered Sophie Rolfe, the sister of another cult member. The murder led to the discovery that Ethan was in fact an infamous serial killer. Stricken with amnesia, Ethan had encountered Vormund early in the prophet's career. After being caught by the ranger Drusus Rolfe, who was pursuing Ethan, Vormund learned of Ethan's true identity. However, the prophet convinced Drusus to give Ethan a second chance, believing he could reform the man through faith. Vormund even went so far as to adopt Ethan as his son. However, Ethan was driven mad after a yignaal attack and killed again. Ethan, Vormund, and Drusus were arrested.

Word of this event spread rapidly, and higher courts became involved. Vormund was charged with accessory after the fact and obstruction of the law. After an appeal by the families of his other victims, many of whom were Dardani, Ethan was punished with an avorro. He was eventually killed by Drusus Rolfe in an act of mercy.

The Temple arranged for a heresy trial to be conducted against Vormund. Less than an hour after the initial hearings, Vormund was found dead in his cell, having apparently fallen victim to the plague.

Drusus Rolfe was later released, primarily due to the efforts of fellow cultist Lord Gavin Zosimus. He has since disappeared from the public eye.

Legacy

Despite the harrowing circumstances surrounding his death, Vormund's influence began to grow at an even more rapid rate. His followers eventually became known as "Vormundists"; today they number in the tens of thousands.

Due to persecution by King Tristan, a Vormundist terrorist group developed, founded by one of his original followers, Drusus Rolfe. They believed the Stirling family line was cursed and that as long as a Stirling was on the throne, the Vormundists would never be safe and peace was impossible. They gained notoriety when a few of their members managed to assassinate Tristan.

During the War of Succession, Prince Claudius promised to end the persecution of the Vormundists, and as a result many Vormundists chose to follow him, including Lord Gavin Zosimus.

King Aldous' wife, Queen Laura, was the daughter of Gavin and a prominent member of the Zosimus family. Her faith was believed to be the inspiration for her efforts to end the disastrous Fifth Exekian War.

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