The Wounded Land – The Cult of Tharizdun

 

Even in the days of the Empire, long after the imprisonment and humiliation of Tharizdun by the Primi, the Cult of Tharizdun, demon saint of the maimed and crippled, still persisted. The peculiar strength of the cult was much remarked on as a paradox by the scholars in that ancient time.

 

Little is known of the Cult’s secret rituals, and much of what was known was lost in the Devastation, and the later depradations of the Eldren. The little that remains forms the whispers of scholars and students of the arcane.

 

Ideology

-          The maimed are blessed, for life is at once dearer and less dear to them.

-          One can do no higher service to another sentient being than to maim or cripple them, though not excessively.

-          The rite of maiming is blessed, for its shows the recipient the truth of their spiritual and physical reality…the struggle.

-          The rite of maiming is profound, for it removes the mask of physicality, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the recipient’s inner being.

-          Those that are strong in heart and mind are always stronger than those who are physically strong…such strength is only a temporary condition.

-          The priesthood shall seek the maiming of the masses. On that great day when all masks of physicality are removed, the peoples of the world will finally realize their true worth.

-          The stripping of power through the rite of maiming is the only path to those who would understand the Truth of Worth

 

Rites and Rules

-          The Prime Law of the Cult is respect for the sanctity of life. To kill without great justification profanes both the killer and all of Tharizdun’s flock.

-          To banish a life that has not yet understood the Truth of Worth is the Ultimate Sin.

-          The passage of the soul to the afterlife is the greatest escape of all. Life is most sacred, so life must be preserved, no matter the suffering.

-          All whom the priesthood accept in their presence must be maimed in some manner. Only by the act of maiming is the Truth of Worth revealed to priest and parishioner.

-          The rite of maiming is an act of love, never anger or malice.

-          To maim excessively in search of the Truth is to hide it behind walls of pain and despair. The recipient of the rite must be left able to see past the loss of physicality and see the Truth of their Worth.

-          A Rite of Maiming which causes the death of the recipient, either in the short or the long term, is the Ultimate Sin.

-          All in the Cult must be wary of the Physical Paradox. As physicality is a false mask, to rely on the grossly physical in the Rite of Maiming is likewise false.

-          The deprivation of the senses, which force the maimed to look inward, is most holy. The deprivation of strength, which force the maimed to call on their other talents is also profound.


 

History

-          In the time of mourning at the dawn of the Devastation, Tharizdun awoke. The survivors wandered the land of smoke and ash, and many had suffered grievously. A group of refugees in a western province of the ancient Empire sought to cast the maimed ones out, proclaiming them a burden to their limited means. Tharizdun came to them. He took from their strongest an aspect of their physicality, and showed them the Truth of their Worth. Some could not accept the Truth, and perished by their own hand. Those with the strength founded the Cult, and spread the Truth far and wide.

-          The Cult grew strong in that time of pain, and followers flocked to it. The priesthood reveled in their success, and commenced to build a Temple, a center from which to spread the Truth throughout the land. The Temple was carved from the very mountain where Tharizdun first appeared.

-          In their pride at the height of their power, the priesthood of Tharizdun fell prey to the Physical Paradox. They became complacent, relying on armies and swords instead of the Truth. When the armies of the accursed Ambrose came against the Temple, the Cult could not resist their might and the priest’s armies were smitten from the world.

-          With their mask of physical power stripped away, the priesthood retreated to the Temple, which no army  could approach. There, they pondered the humiliating defeat. The First Knight of Tharizdun, commander of the army, told of the Truth he had discovered in his last words: “And as I saw our phalanxes crushed, and the knights of the fiend Ambrose charge through seas of our fellow’s blood, the lie…the lie I had forgotten burned in my eyes! The lie of physical strength! For no matter how strong the army we built from our flock, my brothers…no matter how well clad in steel…indeed, no matter how He smiles on us…there will always be another stronger in the lie. Only through the Rite of Maiming can the Truth of Worth be spread as he taught us…with love in our hearts, not avarice for power! When all know our love, when all know their Worth, then all will be equal, and power will have no meaning, as He taught us.” With that said, the Knight hacked off his sword arm, put out his eyes, and spent the rest of his days in meditation.

-          The holy example the Knight provided was not heeded. When Ambrose sent his strongest lieutenant, his son Ambrit, against the temple to bring it to dust a great battle was fought between the remaining priests and the forces of Ambrit. The priests were routed, and the last of them fled to the Temple’s heart…there he fashioned a gateway, and called. Tharizdun came. Looking sadly on his last priest, Tharizdun strode out to face Ambrit. He would not match the false one in lies, and was defeated. Ambrit banished Him from the land, imprisoned where none can reach him. But He is not forgotten.

-          The Last Priest despaired at what he had done. He had subjected his deity to the Physical Paradox, which He had warned them against so long ago. Now, his Lord banished, the Last Priest used the remains of his strength to open a gateway to the prison of Tharizdun. But he was too weak to free his Lord. Dying, he uttered the Prophecy and the Curse to his remaining followers.

-          The Prophecy stated that in the conflux of Time, one would come who understood the Paradox of Physicality, through experience, and that one would free Lost Tharizdun and turn the Paradox upon the followers of Ambrose.

-          The Curse stated that those who, wittingly or unwittingly, used the Paradox to further their power would be doubly damned in His eyes. The first…that they will understand in fullness the Truth of their Worth. The second…that they shall live forever with the Truth, and so be tormented.

-          In completing his tasks, the self-accursed priest left the Temple and the flock to wander until the Prophecy was fulfilled. When Tharizdun is freed, so shall he be from the Curse.

 

Raiment and Ritual Devices

 

Clothing – All enveloping robes of black, which mask all physical aspects.

Treasure – Brilliant gems, fine metals, artistic works. These items, beautiful in appearance, are truly worthless.

Orthodoxy – The follower of Him strives to be powerless. By controlling the expectations of others, true power is attained, and the Paradox avoided.

 

The Truth of Worth

Only Tharizdun knows for sure…