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 Die Glaubenslehre Ilmaters

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 58
Anmeldedatum : 17.10.13
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Ort : Dortmund

BeitragThema: Die Glaubenslehre Ilmaters   Sa 7 Dez 2013 - 18:26

The Church of Ilmater

The name Ilmater, along with those of Mielikki and Loviatar, were taken by Ed Greenwood from the Finnish mythology, as best summarized in the Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot (not in copyright, various translators and publishers). Of the three, only Mielikki retained something of her original character in the Forgotten Realms pantheon.

The Finnish Ilmater was female, not male. She was the spirit called the water mother. A teal's egg fell from her lap, creating the world. From her was born also the legendary Finnish bard spirit Väinämöinen.

The Church of Ilmater is fractious, which is surprising with its lawful and good nature. Ilmatari influence is strongest in southwestern Faerûn (Tethyr, Calimshan) and in the Bloodstone Lands of Damara, Impiltur and the Great Dale.
There are two main divisions among Ilmatari worshipers. The first is Orthodox and Traditiona. The second is the division of Issaqari (First Among Equals) and Trinitarians (Equal Among the First). There are many fringe groups such as the Flagellants, the Scourgers, the Penitents, and the Stoics. Each group has different goals and doctrine, separate holy days and symbolism, but all are still devout Ilmater worshippers. A worshipper can be classified according to any of the main axes as well as being part of the splinter groups. Important clergy and church leaders are not members of the splinter sects. In fact, most go out of their way to expunge these radicals from Ilmater's faithful. They tend to follow the teachings as outlined in Faiths and Avatars more closely than many of the lower clerics, and have the least radical leanings on either axis.

Orthodox

The Orthodox Ilmatari generally are from the southwestern part of Faerûn. They place a high importance on the veneration of martyrs and saints of the faith. The religion is highly organized and structured with elaborate rites and rituals. Every cloister, temple, abbey or compound has a patron saint that receives a high level of veneration and each complex has a different Most Important Holy Day based on the Patron.
They still have holy days in common (with equal emphasis otherwise) with their brethren at other temples, and even with the Traditionalists. Much of the Orthodox rite has descended from thousands of years of worship in areas that have extended a welcome to Ilmater's teachings. Orthodox Ilmatari do not welcome Traditionalists into their temples and consider them heretics. They often try to arrest known traditionalists and convert themback to the only true way.

Traditional

Traditionalists tend to be found in the Bloodstone region. Although they acknowledge the importance of saints, they tend to focus their worship on Ilmater with only a nod to his saints. They believe that one should strive to live as those that have been beatified, but not be worshipped instead of Ilmater.
The only saints' days they worship are All Saints, St. Sollars, and St. Dionysus. Most worship sites don't have patron saints or use symbols as identification of the orders they belong to. This rule is not hard and fast because they believe that rules should guide, not bind. They are annoyed by the attempts of the Orthodox Ilmatari, but harbor no lasting resentment (which infuriates the Orthodox even more). To the Traditionalist, this is another thing to persevere over to attain communion with Ilmater.
Another bone of contention has to do with the relationship of Ilmater to the other powers, specifically Tyr and Torm. Ilmater, Tyr, and Torm form the Triad, in which Ilmater and Torm serve Tyr. Ilmatari have a very different outlook on the interpretation of service and the triad's interpower relationship. Most worshippers tend to take the service of Ilmater to Tyr literally, i.e., Ilmater is a servant of Tyr in the overriding concern of law and good. Ilmater serves to promote the lawful good alignment and its ideals through this service.
There are two large sects that have a variant perspective that vexes many moderates in the church and clergy. The Issaqari and Trinitarians have found a foothold among the faithful and are preaching their version of Ilmater's service, much to the dismay of the organized church. The hierarchical clergy that count themselves among these believers do not advertise this due to the prejudicial treatment afforded by the church leaders.

The Issaqari (First Among Equals)

The Issaqari (First Among Equals) consider Ilmater to be the preeminent power in the Triad. They claim that not only is he the oldest power, he is the most wise and powerful. Ilmater guides Tyr and is like an older brother to Torm. They believe that a triangle is the most stable geometric form and that the triad was formed to increase the power of law and good.
Their teachings are such that they believe Ilmater in his wisdom went to the others to form the Triad. It took much time and effort, but the others eventually saw the way it should be. This is from an obscure text called the Strengthening of Ties penned some time during the Time of Troubles by a monk of Ilmater in Calimshan.
This unknown monk supposedly wrote this after having a long discussion with the avatar of Ilmater. Even the title itself supports their claim with ties alluding to his one-time symbol, the rack. They work to undermine the influence and plots of other Ilmatari who don't see things their way as well as Tyrists and Tormites. While not resorting to violence, they cause much trouble among supposed allies.

The Trinitarians (Equal Among the First)

The Trinitarians (Equal Among the First) consider Ilmater to be on equal footing with Tyr, not subservient. They also view Torm as an equal, thus having support among Tormites that have similar views. They don't support any dogma with Tyr situated above Ilmater in the Triad. They claim that it isn't possible to have a stable triangle with one point being unbalanced in terms of power.
Therefore, they say, it stands to reason that all three powers are equal and that Tyrists have attempted to take over their faith. They must persevere against these misguided oppressors. The major effect is that joint undertakings are often delayed among the triad's churches and a level of mistrust has developed in some areas.

It is only the radicals of these four factions that cause the most trouble. Most worshippers tend to lean one way or another, but have no strong feelings that reflect in visible manifestations of faith. Mostly, these are political views with implications for the clergy, their relationship with each other, and their relationship with followers of Tyr and Torm. If one axis would be tilted strongly one way or another by means of support among worshippers, the whole doctrine of the church on Faerûn would be altered.


Different sects also reflect the differing emphasis followers of Ilmater put on his portfolio:

Flagellants believe that Ilmater is best communed with when one is suffering. They whip themselves and each other willingly to gain a closer understanding of their god. They exhort people to suffer for their sinsand for the world to be saved from evil. They still heal, treat and care for others but make no attempt toalleviate pain. In fact, their cures tend to be very painful (but effective). Flagellants still use the bloodiedrack as a symbol.

Scourgers are a deluded bunch of Ilmatari worshippers who do not receive spells from Ilmater. They wish to extend suffering, martyrdom, and perseverance to others as well as themselves. It is thought that evilgods provide spells to Scourgers to undermine Ilmater. They are rare due to the extreme hostility they face from true Ilmatari, nobles and people mistreated by them.

Penitents stress the perseverance portion of Ilmater's portfolio. They see that life is something to b eovercome rather than lived. They deny themselves all comforts, whether they are spiritual, physical, ormental. Usually they can be found in hairshirts or chain mail with no padding. Ilmater to them is a stern god that strives against softness. They use no symbols other than the standard holy symbol.

Stoics look to the physical to find communion with Ilmater. They stress physical fitness and health as the gateway to Ilmater's kingdom. They never ride, only eat and drink enough to stay healthy. They give their wealth to others and deny themselves. Although the most moderate and popular of the sects, they still are considered near heretical in their single-minded devotion to endurance rather than the balance for which a more complete Ilmatari strives.

Nameless Sect – A small and vexing sect is one without a name that seeks to ally themselves with the church of Loviatar. Loviatar is an enemy of Ilmater. Both powers don't know how to handle this relationship. As long as the believers don't cross over to Loviatar, they receive their spells. Both churches, on the other hand, seek to eradicate these blasphemers in ways fitting to their respective religious beliefs.

Angels of Ilmater – This is a corrupted, mercy-killing version of the Ilmatari church developed by Erskine Fincher. Without being aware of it, this faction is, in fact, cut off from Ilmater and secretly receives its spells from Cyric.

Ilmater's worship is ancient on Toril. His is one of the most widely respected faiths. The dogma and doctrine are conducive to widespread support from all classes of people in all walks of life. Everyone experiences setbacks and illness, and Ilmater offers succor. Whether Ilmater arose native to Toril or was an import is lost to time. It is theorized that he is an import brought independently and concurrently to two different areas of Faerûn.
It is thought that Ilmater is the Faerûnian version of a power called Issek from a distant crystal sphere. This is supported by a number of facts. First, his pre-Time of Troubles symbol is a bloodstained rack. This is very similar to Issek's symbol. Secondly, in ancient elven texts found in Spirit Soaring Cathedral, it is mentioned that the elves who warred against Calim often heard the human chattel call out to Al Assaq Matar in Alzhedo Antiqua.
This is roughly translated to be The One Who Eases Our Burden. It was unknown to the elves what this meant. Third, the Imaskari mention in surviving texts that a group of slaves captured from a distant world seemed to spend much time praying to Issek Ilmater. They tortured these slaves to determine that Issek Ilmater was a pitiful ruined god named Issek and Ilmater was a title meaning broken or crying in their tongue. This knowledge caused much mirth to the Imaskari and they enjoyed giving these slaves reasons to call upon him.
His worship became popular among the surviving Raumathari who fled to the northwest, but he had few if any clerics. The common Nar worshipped Ilmater, because he promised relief from the oppression of the magocracy that ruled Narfell. It was this group that helped Ilmater rise to prominence in the Bloodstone Lands.
The mutual destruction of Raumathar and Narfell provided fertile ground for Ilmater to increase his influence in this area. The Netherese rulers also did not pay much attention to the gods, but the common groundlings began to hear about and worship Ilmater from connections to the south and east. The fall of Netheril saw the rise of Ilmater worship in the North and Heartlands as many people struggled through the era of darkness that followed.
It is known that Ilmater was worshipped in Calimshan during the First Age. Much of the time, his worshippers were persecuted by various Shoon emperors. It wasn't until Amahl Shoon V declared clerics of Ilmater to be protected that the faith cemented its power in the southwest. Ilmater received another burst of faithful during and after the Time of Troubles.
It was then that many people across Faerûn again suffered and looked for aid. Ilmater was one of the few avatars to attempt to help mortals rather than to worry about his own condition. He also changed his symbol from the rack to the bound white hands after his reinstatement. The imagery switch was favorable to many potential worshippers who didn't understand or appreciate the connection to the rack. He also allied himself more fully into the triad. This confederation with the other lawful good powers brought Ilmater further status and visibility.

Saints

The Ilmatari faith venerates saints, unlike most other Faerûnian religions. There are hundreds of Ilmatari saints but only three have become familiar beyond the church and its theologians. St. Sollars and St. Dionysus were responsible for the continued stability of the church of Ilmater from its earliest days, while St. Selimbrar was one of the church's great heroes in the time of the Narfelli empire.

St. Sollars first appeared in historical texts in the Shoon Imperium dating after the fall of Netheril. It was mentioned in the Codex Spirita that Sollars was a worshipper of Ilmater and that he had wandered through Faerûn before arriving in the southwest. It is written he was not a native of Faerûn, and his appearance suggested this. He was bald and pale, going sunburned without complaint under the hot sun. Sollars preached that Ilmater had given him a vision of this world before his death on another distant world. His symbol is a yellow rose. Sollars claimed that Ilmater had restored him to life without anyone else's supplication. His martyrdom occurred at the hands of a king, as punishment for aiding the lower classes and slaves. Sollars was a noble who forewent his station after receiving a vision and revelation.
He was to help the poor and suffering of the land even though such aid was punishable by death on the rack. When brought before the king for his sentence, he begged that the king put him to death in some other manner since he was unworthy of dying on his god's symbol of faith. The king gleefully fulfilled his wish by torturing him on the rack, but not killing him, then hanging him until he was half-dead and at last drawing and quartering him.
Sollars ran afoul of Bhaelros (an official WotC alias for Talos the Destroyer), who viewed Ilmater as a deific intruder in his rightful domain. He wanted to crush Ilmater by crushing his favored servant. He sent his three most powerful servants to capture and break Sollars. Sollars not only survived the physical punishment but the mental anguish as well. He died a second martyr's death on the rack in the Temple of Divine Truth in Calimport, however, the date of his death is uncertain. The confusion is due in part to the fact that the Ilmatari did not keep accurate records then, and that the ensuing riot over the manifestation of Ilmater's avatar wreaked much havoc on the city.
It is also believed by Candlekeep scholars that this event occurred simultaneously and coincidentally with another major catastrophe that rocked Calimport. After this setback, Bhaelros decided to ignore the Ilmatari and focus his efforts elsewhere. (see the Myth of St. Sollars by Brother Jarvis for more details on these events.)

St. Dionysus was a force in the Bloodstone Lands about 500 to 600 years ago. He was the opposite of the standard Ilmatari, being both forceful and martial. Dionysus gathered and organized the Ilmatari of Easting Reach, the Vast, the Great Dale and the lands around Lake Ashane. He was born a peasant near the city-state of Lyrabar in the first kingdom of Impiltur. In time, Dionysus joined the militia and served well for nearly a decade. His military experiences made him respect the power of nobility and learning. These would be important later in his illustrious life. While searching for an escaped slaver, he entered an overgrown shrine in the foothills of the Earthspur Mountains.
Here, he was given visions of Ilmater's glory and immediately was consecrated by the Broken God as one of his clerics. Dionysus found a poorly handwritten account of Ilmater's dogma that he kept ever after. This ancient text is called Dionysus' Chapbook, although Dionysus did not actually pen it himself. After resigning his commission, he proselytized to the peoples of the Impilturian city-states and beyond into the Unapproachable East. Quickly, he rose to prominence and developed a devout following that he organized into walled and defended cloisters, unlike the other faithful of Ilmater. While still caring for the downtrodden and sick, his followers also could defend themselves against those who wished to harm their charges and themselves.
It was one thing to die a martyr's death; it was another to be slain for herb lore and coppers or by wild beasts. Dionysus also stressed reading and writing among his flock, preaching that the passing on of dogma or lore orally, as was often the case, was not adequate to give the faith its necessary pillars. Dionysus formed a loose alliance with the clerics of Deneir in Impiltur and was often permitted to visit the secret Masters Library beneath Iron Dragon Mountain in the Earthfasts. At the Council of Keltar in the Year of the Alarmed Merchants (828 DR), Dionysus brought forth his ideas of defence and literacy to the Faerûnian church. Since this time, the Ilmatari have kept accurate records and have learned medicinal lore. They teach reading, writing, and weapons training as a rule now rather than as an exception. Dionysus was still a soldier at heart. He stressed that the Ilmatari owed fealty to their rightful lords as long as the nobles fulfilled their obligations to their folk. He argued that the Ilmatari should be spiritual aids and advisors, helping rulers to make the right decisions. The Ilmatari paladin Lords of Imphras II govern Impiltur to this date, and King Gareth of Damara also is an Ilmatari paladin.
Followers of Dionysus founded the Monastery of the Yellow Rose high in the Earthspur Mountains in the Year of the Yellow Rose (1236 DR), fulfilling one of the saint's own long unrealized goals. After defeating powerful servants of Auril who had stolen a globe from Ulutiu's Necklace, Dionysus was given a sign by Ilmater. As a result of the vision, Dionysus told his followers a monastery one day should be built in the Bloodstone Lands and be dedicated to St. Sollars, the man who embodied Ilmater's teachings most fully on Faerûn. Here, Dionysus said, the monks should specialize in genealogical studies. Dionysus thought that such a place of learning, politically isolated, would keep the true histories of men's lives uncorrupted by outside influences. This was due in part to his fascination with nobility and in part to his wish to maintain stable ruling structures by taking the conflict out of succession processes.
The tale of Dionysus' death is still retold in Impilturian legends. In the Year of the Wondrous Sea (863 DR), a small island in the middle of Easting Reach. The first explorers who went to the island never returned, but nothing else of note occurred for a season. When a tower appeared overnight on the island, Impiltur began to worry. Still, nothing happened. A group of Thayan Red Wizards then hired Impilturian servants to explore the mysterious island. Only two of the servants returned; all of the others, they said, had perished in magical traps or at the hands of extraplanar and undead horrors. The two survivors fled when a bloated monstrosity hurling black bolts of lightning attacked the Red Wizards. The two snatched a bloodstone encrusted crown off a waterlogged seat cushion and fled. Within days, lacedons, zombies, and skeletons began to come from the sea and attack Impilturian coastal settlements. Water elementals destroyed ships sailing upon Easting Reach. The rulers of all the cities receiveda message on tattooed human skin. The message simply read, Return What is Mine. It was signed Sevanoq, Master of the Tower Aquiarum, Archmage of the Circle of Narfell.
The populace named this threat the Water Demon. Searches were conducted for the two survivors of the island expedition and the bloodstone crown they had stolen. The men's bodies were in an alley in Sarshel, but there was no trace of the bloodstone crown. When creatures from beyond began to attack, the rulers called upon Dionysus to aid them. He mustered a formidable force of warriors and clerics to deal with the menaces that were attacking every day. The clerics were effective in countering the summoned elementals and lower-planar beasts.
The force landed on the island and fought through waves of undead and charmed pirates to the base of the tower itself. Sevanoq and another lich appeared to do battle with Dionysus. For an hour, Dionysus sustained grievous wounds as he dealt punishment to the physical forms of the liches. Dionysus knew he was dying. He called upon Ilmater to protect the people he had failed. At the same time, the other lich brought its magic to bear as Dionysus' last hammer blow hit Sevanoq. Those coming to the aid of the dying patriarch heard Sevanoq gasp part of a word, Zen! before Sevanoq dissolved into a foul puddle. The other lich vanished leaving the survivors to collect their dead and dying. Dionysus told his men to leave him where he lay. He said that he had more tasks to accomplish, tasks only he could perform. As their ships sailed westward, a localized earthquake rocked the island, causing Sevanoq's tower to collapse. The island itself then began to sink below the waves.
The departing ships saw a flock of white doves appear and circle the site, as a stream of white light struck the water. A planetar that wept yellow roses alit on the water for a moment, then left skyward. Those witnessing the events felt their weariness vanish and their wounds to be less painful. Since that day, many have searched for the remains of the Tower Aquiarum but to no avail. To this day, Impilturian parents use the tale of the water demon to bring unruly children in line.
Dionysus' death technically was not a martyr's death, but he did sacrifice himself to ensure the destruction of a great evil. His work in life and his valiant death sowed the seeds of light and good in this region.
After the fall of Impiltur's first kingdom, Dionysus' example served as the catalyst for the proclamation of Impiltur's second kingdom as a stable regime in a chaotic and dangerous area of Faerûn. Damara too has been freed from the yoke of Zhengyi the Witch King and again is under the sway of Ilmater and his faithful. The Ilmatari paladin King Gareth Dragonsbane rules and guides the land.

St. Sollars' symbol is the yellow rose. All church manuscripts of his faction include an illuminated yellow rose next to his name. All church sites dedicated to him use the yellow rose in their motifs. Also, yellow rose bushes are commonly planted at all Ilmatari sites.

St. Dionysus was very fond of the poppies that grew in the fields of the Great Dale and Impiltur, and after his death the red poppy became the flower associated with him. Since poppy juice can be used as a pain reliever, this is a good choice for an Ilmatari saint.

St. Selimbrar was a paladin serving the Ilmatari temple in the Narfelli capital of Heligonius. He was a ranking general of the Narfelli army and a hero in many of its battles against the devastating magic of the Raumathari battle sorcerers. In the Year of the Wrongful Martyrs (-188 DR), Sir Selimbrar was ordered to lead his regiments to put down an uprising of serfs from the Great Dale who had been forced to work in the Narfelli farm belt near Milthius.
Both the ruins of this Narfelli agricultural center and the once fertile fields that surrounded it long have been buried beneath the barren wastelands of today's North Country, having vanished after the fall of Narfell and Raumathar. Narfelli parchments safeguarded in the queen's library in Impilturian Lyrabar say that Sir Selimbrar was convicted of treason and for his refusal was sentenced to die, together with more than 80 serfs who survived another commander's putdown of their rebellion.
According to the Narfelli text, Sir Selimbrar and the serfs were stripped naked and whipped as they were forced to carry wooden crosses to a temple hill dedicated to Talona above Milthius, where death sentences were executed as sacrifices, to placate the goddess of disease and poison. When the death march reached the hilltop, the arms and legs of all of the condemned were broken and they were bound with ropes to the crosses they had borne, beginning the slow and agonizing death of crucifixion.
The Narfelli parchments say the condemned had been upon their crosses for less than an hour, and none had died yet, when a huge gold dragon flew in from the south and came to the hilltop. From the dragon's back stepped an emaciated man dressed in tattered rags whose body was covered by fresh wounds and the ancient scars of many whippings. The man pointed to the Narfelli legion and said, "A curse be upon you, but of your own making, and the curse you shall suffer shall also bring the fall of your degenerate land!" With these words, the Narfelli soldiers had been bound motionless to the place where each stood. The ancient man then gestured with his right hand, and Selimbrar and the serfs were freed of their ropes, and their broken bones were healed. They descended from their crosses whole men again.
At this point, the Narfelli accounts in Lyrabar and the teachings of the Ilmatari church begin to differ. After that, the Narfelli text claims, Sir Selimbrar mounted the gold dragon's back in shining armor, flew upward upon the wyrm, and directed it to swoop down upon Milthius. The gold dragon attacked the city time and again with its fiery breath weapon until nothing remained but soot and ash. Sir Selimbrar then directed the dragon toward the fertile fields of Milthius where the serfs had been ordered to work, and the golden wyrm bathed the fields time and again with its breath of weakening gas, according to the Narfelli parchments. After that, the fields lay fallow, and no seed would germinate in them nor would the least blade of grass take root within them, according to the Narfelli records.
The church of Ilmater claims that its painbearers were present at the mass crucifixion, bore witness to what transpired that day and passed the tale faithfully on within the church, where it is repeated correctly to this date. According to the Ilmatari, the Narfelli soldiers indeed were held motionless by the gestures of the old man, who they claim was none other than the avatar of the Broken God himself.
When St. Selimbrar, as they name him, stepped from the cross, he walked directly to the gold dragon and mounted it, then flew with the dragon southward. The avatar gestured to the freed serfs to follow, and they did so, miraculously marching through the sky behind St. Selimbrar and his wyrm. After the serfs, Ilmater's avatar followed. Only after all had disappeared were the Narfelli soldiers freed from the magic that had held them. At first, nothing occurred to them. But in the days afterwards, the first time any of the soldiers drew his sword, he immediately broke out with the laughing plague, according to Ilmatari accounts, which led most of the warriors at the crucifixion of St. Selimbrar to refuse to ever draw steel again. The Ilmatari deny that St. Selimbrar and his dragon did anything to destroy Milthius - an action that would have taken many innocent lives - or that he contaminated the farmland of Milthius, for it would be against the tenets of Ilmater to cause massive death, suffering or starvation. The Ilmatari say that there indeed was plague in Milthius in the Year of the Wrongful Martyrs (-188 DR), and that the plague and famine caused the city's fall, not fire. They also acknowledge that the fields of Milthius went barren in that year, but they speculate that these things were the poisonous breath of Talona, who felt that her temple hill was desecrated through the abortive sacrificial crucifixions in her honor that the Narfelli failed to execute there. Whatever the case may be, the Ilmatari claim that St. Selimbrar and the 80 serfs that he freed in Milthius continue to serve the Broken God and have indeed have done so seven times since the Miracle of Milthius, as they call it. The most recent event, they say, was the appearance of an armored knight atop a golden dragon, blasting a battle call upon a silver horn and followed by 80 marching men in serfs' clothing who were armed only with scythes during the Second Battle of Bezentil in the Great Dale in the Year of the Roaring Horn (1288 DR).
According to many who witnessed that battle, the knight and his gold dragon defeated the dracolich Nargustrandir in a mighty aerial battle over the Eastern Dale, while the serfs, seemingly unstoppable, mowed down archmagi and warriors of the Cult of the Dragon and many other evildoers. Neither the knight nor the serfs are said to have uttered a single syllable on that day. After completing their mission, the knight and his dragon flew southward, and the serfs simply marched upward into the southern sky, disappearing over the horizon behind them. The painbearers of Ilmater are certain that this was an appearance of St. Selimbrar and the freed serfs of Milthius, and few sages in the Realms doubt them.

Affiliated Orders

The Companions of the Noble Heart is an order of paladins that operates out of Cormyr, Sembia and the lands around the Dragonmere. The Companions use the red rose as their symbol to show their devotion. All their individual devices contain a red rose somewhere. The rose represents heart blood that the Companions are willing to shed for their beliefs. The order is more political than martial, but it does see action defending Ilmatari and their homelands.

The Holy Warriors of Suffering are an active force in the North. These paladins often guard pilgrims and caravans travelling through the wild lands. They demand no recompense for their services beyond a bit of food and an audience for their tales of Ilmater's glory. The bitter winters stretch one's endurance and increase suffering that the Holy Warriors willingly embrace, as one of Ilmater's faith should. They have small chapter houses in every major town in the North where they can exchange information with their brethren and have their deeds and tales recorded for posterity. They use the purple crocus to symbolize the end of a winter of suffering and the hope of spring and beyond.

The Order of the Golden Cup is based in the Bloodstone Lands. These paladins are usually of noble birth and look upon their responsibilities to the commoners as sacred duties. It is this order from which King Gareth Dragonsbane of Damara and most Lords of Imphras II in Impiltur come. The yellow daffodil is a symbol representing a golden cup, but the order uses the golden cup in its heraldry, either as the only symbol or part of the family device.

The Order of the Lambent Rose has for its symbol its eponym. This order is very evangelical and, some Ilmatari think, mercenary. It offers service for just causes throughout Faerûn in exchange for various favours. The favour could be anything from simply supplying food and basic medicinal supplies, to building monasteries or even conversion. The order tends to operate in areas with little or no other Ilmatari presence.

The Disciples of St. Sollars the Twice-Martyred are headquartered in the Monastery of the Yellow Rose and strive to maintain separation from everyday life. They treat anyone who reaches their cloisters, but usually make no effort to leave their holds unless there is great need. Such sites include the Nether, the Alimir, the Cloudpeaks and the Spine of the World Mountains. There are also compounds on the Pirate Isles, the Korinn Archipelago and the Nelanther.

The Followers of the Unhindered Path are a loose confederation of wandering healers who treat any and all. They are well received in many hamlets and slums across Faerûn. They started out of the House of the Broken God in the Year of the Blood Rose (1100 DR), but have broken all official ties. They use a broken crutch and sunflowers as symbols. The broken crutch symbolizes their duty as traveling healers. Sunflowers are often associated with roadsides in many areas of Faerûn, and many villages grow them for the seeds and oil. The Followers of the Unhindered Path are welcome in any Ilmatari site, but they rarely stay longer than the time it takes to pass on medical lore and replenish medicines and supplies.

The Disciples of St. Morgan the Taciturn are considered by many mainstream Ilmatari to be slightly crazed, but admired. They look to die a martyr's death as their eponymous symbol did. St. Morgan wandered the Moonsea region 250 years ago. He demonstrated his faith by action, not words. He spent much of his life preaching against the Moonsea tyrants and helped free hundreds of indentured servants, slaves, and prisoners from Mulmaster, Zhentil Keep, and Melvaunt. St. Morgan died for his faith without ever uttering a word during his lengthy torture at the hands of priestesses of Loviatar in Mulmaster. This is another sore point between these two faiths. The Disciples tend to operate in lands and cities where goodly faiths are unwelcome and/or actively persecuted. While putting themselves in harm's way, they do not act rashly to bring about their own deaths. They do not, for instance, spit on Lord Orgauth of Zhentil Keep, just so he will have them killed.

Sisters of St. Jasper of the Rocks are a rarity in the Ilmatari religion. They are exclusively female. St. Jasper was a cleric that saved many women and babies from death during childbirth. Most of these women are descendants of those whom St. Jasper saved. They have formed a (mainly) hereditary sisterhood that concerns itself more with easing female suffering than general suffering. The Sisters believe that females share an even greater burden of the world's suffering since it is females who bring life into the world. A blue lily is used as the symbol of their sect.

The Order of the Golden Maple is a branch of the Ilmatari church that began growing out of the Order of the Lambent Rose in the Year of the Bright Blade (1347 DR). The order shares many of the goals of the Order of the Lambent Rose but focuses almost completely on providing services to armies that are fighting against oppression. The group was first active in the civil war in Tethyr, known as the 10 Days of Eleint, but most of the clerics and monks in the order fell in that war. The survivors fled Tethyr, claiming to have heard Ilmater's call to  Damara, to aid in the front against Zhengyi the Witch King. Although relatively few in number, the clerics and monks of the Order of the Golden Maple won fame and praise in the war against Zhengyi and as a result, also a respectable number of followers. In the Year of the Turret (1360 DR), the order began buildings its first and only monastery on the outskirts of Dunfee on the border between Impiltur and Damara. Many members of the order serve as war clerics with the armies of the two countries. The order's symbol is an autumn maple leaf in shades of red, orange and yellow.


Holy Relics

There are a number of relics and artifacts of Ilmater's faith. Most are heavily weighted to law and good and are associated with a particular saint. The following list is not nearly inclusive, just some of the more remarkable items. The House of the Broken God alone has nearly 300 items of faith.

St. Dionysus' Chapbook - This relic is a small prayer book that has become more powerful over the centuries since St. Dionysus found it. The chapbook originally was a poorly hand-written account of an unknown Painbearer. St. Dionysus imbued it with many protective magics, and his faith turned it into an item of some power. It is immune to fire, water damage, and insects that eat paper. It radiates good, healing, and abjuration magic. It allows its possessor, if good-aligned, to cast all healing magics at maximum efficacy. Evil clerics cannot benefit from this item. It can also be used to cast Bless, Endure Elements*, Aid or Sanctuary up to three times/day at 12th level. Any attempt to destroy this item immediately summons an einherjar to take it. It is currently at the Monastery of the Yellow Rose.

*In AD&D 2nd Edition, Endure Heat/Cold.

Hammer of Dionysus - Dionysus' war hammer is a Hammer of Disruption +3 with a lawful good alignment. It is lost, believed to be in or near the ruins of the Tower Aquiarum, which have not been found.

Golden Cup of St. Ra'az - St. Ra'az lived and died in the Dalelands some 200 years ago. He perished at the hands of drow in Spiderhaunt Wood. The cup came from a ruined abbey in Sessrendale before Ra'az liberated it from a dark naga who had claimed it. It radiates good and necromantic magics. It is thought that Ilmater poured out a liquid into the cup from a jug of his for an unknown servant. Divinations indicate that it is located in an abandoned drow lookout tower in Spiderhaunt. The Golden Cup has the ability to cure insanity and disease, or neutralize poison in a person who drinks holy water from it. A good being can only benefit from the cup once for each power. Non-Ilmatari neutral beings can benefit once every tenday. Evil beings cannot touch the cup without suffering 2d6 hp damage per touch per round of contact. The Order of the Golden Cup has sent many of its members on searches for this holiest (to them) of relics. Many fall before they even reach Spiderhaunt. It's thought that someone or something knows of their quests and actively hunts down the questors.

Satchel of St. Beldarr - St. Beldarr was a follower of the Unhindered Path roaming the Western Heartlands throughout his long and hardy life. He was born nearly 1,000 years ago in the Duchy of Indoria of the Talfiric peoples. He spent much time curing the plagues that seemed to always sweep up from the hot, southern lands. A story of the church claims that an avatar of Talona appeared before him and challenged him to accusing/curing duel.
For a tenday, she would create a virulent disease, and he would find a cure from his immense stores of medicines and knowledge. Finally she won, mainly because he was so fatigued that he couldn't think clearly anymore. Still, Talona was so impressed with Beldarr's skill and determination that she banished her last plague and left him unmolested. Beldarr searched what is now the Wood of Sharp Teeth for new sources of medicines and catalogued all his findings. He died at the age of 110 after he walked three days and nights to reach a town (present-day Iriaebor) with a cure for a plague called Orc Killer. He caught pneumonia and died after he had used all his spells and medicines to halt the ravages. His belongings were sent to The House of the Broken God, including his empty satchel. The satchel was found to be a Bag of Holding with additional abilities.
In the hands of an Ilmater worshipper, it senses what is desired and that item will be found on top. It also produces a cure to any disease once daily if a prayer to Ilmater is said over it. It also has one application of Keoghtom's Ointment per week, available only to an Ilmatari. It includes a notebook of St. Beldarr's discoveries and observations that has 456 pages bound in oxen hide. The notebook can be removed from the satchel, but it always returns after 24 hours elapse. The satchel is kept in the reliquary of Keltar's temple and is used only sparingly so that it always is available for dire emergencies.

Scourge of St. Morgan - The scourge was used on St. Morgan during his lengthy torture by Loviatar's priestesses. It was spirited out by a daring Ilmatari worshipper after the priestesses tired of their game. It was said that the harder they struck, the more Morgan seemed to be comforted. The item has the ability to ease pain and suffering in any lawful good being through its touch (the person doesn't have to be scourged!), and to banish all fatigue and weariness. The possessor is immune to any debilitating effects of pain and spells that cause pain. The possessor is also immune to spells and effects causing fatigue. There is no need to sleep or rest, but every day a save is made with an increasing -1 penalty for fortitude (AD&D 2nd Edition: vs. death magic) to avoid falling into a coma for a number or hours equal to 20 minus the user's constitution score plus the number of days without rest. This also occurs if the wielder puts the scourge down or puts it away, no longer holding it in his hand. Evil beings cannot benefit in any way from this item. If the scourge is used as a weapon, the wielder is shocked for 6d6 hp damage, with a saving throw for will (AD&D 2nd Edition: vs. spells) for half damage. There is no total protection against its damage; the source of its power is divine. The lost hit points are transferred to the being struck, and the victim also is released immediately from any bindings, including magical ones. The scourge is in the Abbey of St. Morgan the Taciturn near Elventree.

The Weeping Bandages - These are a gruesome relic of Ilmater. They appear to be a set of used and bloodied bandages that are still damp. These items were taken from an unknown martyr slain by a follower of Garagos in Westgate. The Ilmatari had arrived to help stop the Inner Sea plague in the Year of the Dreamwebs (1323 DR). A Garagos-driven madman swept through town in a slaying frenzy. The Ilmatari stepped in front of him as he chased people through the streets. The madman struck the cleric nearly 100 times, but the cleric neither cried out nor collapsed from his wounds. The madman spent himself trying to slay the cleric and was killed by the city watch. The cleric cut what was left of his robes into bandages and went about curing the plague-ridden. When he and others were finished, the plague was under control. The cleric then fell over dead from exsanguination and his body was recovered by other Ilmatari in Westgate. The bandages that had been removed for preparing the body formed the shape of a man and began to weep blood. They were declared to be a relic of the church and were found to have holy powers. The bandages radiate good, alteration, and healing magics. When applied to a wound, they stop bleeding no matter what its cause was. The bandages also heal wounds at a rate of 5 hp/day and prevent all wounds upon which they are applied from becoming infected or reopening. However, the bandages constantly weep blood when being used and can be used on only one being at a time. The charisma of a person using the Weeping Bandages drops to 3 for duration of the bandages' use. Note that creatures drawn by blood do not disturb the user. This item is in the House of Ilmater in Westgate.

The Crutch of St. Pannas - This simple wooden crutch was the walking aid of St. Pannas of Luskan. He lived nearly two centuries ago and was born with crippled right leg. As he grew, he was tormented for his handicap. He cursed the gods for allowing him to be born and organized a criminal gang, targeting clerics and their possessions.
Upon one occasion, his gang accosted a cleric of Ilmater heading to the Ten Towns. The cleric had nothing of value, so the thugs beat him and took him to their master. Pannas taunted the Ilmatari cleric asking him what he could do. The cleric, who took his beating and abuse calmly, stated that Pannas' own folly had brought about a lifetime of disability. The cleric kicked out the crutch and showed Pannas that Ilmater allows people to endure their suffering. To the surprise of all, Pannas still could stand and the crippled leg held. Pannas sent away the
thugs and had a long talk with the cleric. Afterward, Pannas ventured to a remote abbey in the Nether Mountains for a pilgrimage. When he left, he was a cleric of the Crying God. He carried his crutch with him at all times to help remind him that Ilmater provides a way to endure, but the individual must use this help on his own. Pannas lived many years, wandering the North, and he died peacefully in his sleep in Yartar. He sponsored many pilgrimages to allow the sick and injured a chance to benefit from the out-of-the-way cloisters and abbeys of Ilmater. He was a founding member of the Order of the Lambent Rose. Upon his death, Pannas bequeathed all of his possessions to The Abbey of Winter's Endurance in the Nether Mountains. The crutch, which has a number of powers, is a relic on display there. It allows a crippled person to move with its help, even if both legs are destroyed or paralyzed. The crutch radiates permanent Sanctuary and Protection from Evil. Once per year, it can give a person of Ilmater's faith the ability Commune or True Seeing.

Rites

The Ilmatari religion has no major calendar holy days. It does have special saint's days devoted to the patrons of a specific abbey, etc. This is much more prevalent in the South than in the North. There also are a series of rites common to all Ilmatari, whether Orthodox or Traditional.

The Initiation - An individual expressing an interest in joining the clergy of Ilmater is taken on a walk with a priest who explores that individual's views on life. Then they dine, and the individual is given wine that induces a slight trance so that he or she can be explored with magic in order to determine if any deception has occurred, or whether this person is genuinely suitable for the faith.

The Turning - This rite is mentioned in WotC's Faiths and Avatars. It is essentially a deathbed conversion attempt.

The Passing - This ritual is celebrated at the death of a devout Ilmatari follower, whether lay worshipper or cleric. It is a solemn chanting service that commends the passage of the departed soul to Ilmater's embrace. No Ilmatari cleric who receives this rite can be brought back to life on Faerûn, unless Ilmater himself sends him back. Most clerics take this as a vow during their adornment ritual. They choose to forego all attempts to be brought back to life, should clerics of other faiths attempt to do so. Lay worshippers decide on their own whether to undergo this rite. Most devout followers of Ilmater do choose The Passing. It is celebrated at the first dusk after death.

The Welcoming - This ceremony is a blessing upon all infants who are helped into the world by Ilmatari. Folklore says that to have an Ilmatari preside over childbirth is a sign that the child will be healthy. Many people of all classes attempt to see that a cleric is present for more tangible reasons such as skill and medicines. The ceremony includes the spells Bless and Protection from Evil, when possible. This ceremony was created by St. Jasper of the Rocks.

The Binding - There are two types of binding rites, sacred and holy. Sacred Binding occurs when two Ilmatari clerics marry. Holy Binding is for any other pairing of worshippers who marry in the church. The only difference between the types is that Sacred Binding allows the survivor of a pair to unerringly find the body of the spouse if one dies separated from the other and in Ilmater's graces.


St. Sollars and the Journal of Brother Jarvis

As told by Brother Jarvis, wandering monk of Ilmater:

In the dark times after the Fall of Netheril and the Rise of the Inner Sea Nations, the common folk suffered immensely. Their outcries and pleas reached the god Ilmater, who desired no dominion or control of anyone or anything. To work his will, Ilmater sent his most trusted and faithful servant, Sollars, to Faerûn. Sollars was the epitome of Ilmater's teachings. In fact, he had been martyred for Ilmater's cause in a far off sphere, but in a sign from Ilmater, he was raised again to life, to show that suffering and death were not more powerful than perseverance, belief and compassion. Sollars' work among the peasants and the poor attracted little notice from most powers. One power, however, took offense at this interloper and decided to end the Ilmater's influence in new areas before it could take root. Talos the Destroyer sent three servants to deal with Sollars. They trapped him in an almshouse in Calimport and took him to mountaintop temple dedicated to Talos. Here, for an entire year, the servants tortured and tormented Sollars. They chained Sollars in manacles of unbreakable iron and conducted horrifying tortures and punishments. The three tried to break his will and make him doubt or renounce his god. But Sollars did none of these things; his faith was strong. The first servant took Sollars to the fledgling northern Inner Sea lands and showed him terrified peasants stalked by wild creatures. Sollars wept blood at the sight, but he was chained and could do nothing to prevent it. He prayed that civilization would come and ease the suffering of these poor souls, and asked that their suffering fall upon him instead.
Ilmater manifested his will by causing the chains to glow. Sollars heard the voice of his beloved god in his mind telling him that what he hoped for would come to pass in the fullness of years. In frustration, the first servant of Talos broke Sollars' joints. The second servant took Sollars to Chondath where a plague was ravaging the Vilhon Reach. The servant gloated, saying that suffering is in vain, because in the end, death would claim all. Sollars wept again; he prayed aloud that these people no longer would suffer and that he would endure their misery. Again, Ilmater manifested himself in a glowing of the chains. Ilmater caused the plague to be halted. In fury, the second servant spewed a virulent disease at Sollars, one which wracked his body with open sores and caused his hair to fall out. The third servant took Sollars to the Savage North where many survivors of the fall of Netheril eked out an existence in the face of numerous orc attacks. The servant showed Sollars an orc city filled with human slaves who were forced to work under the lash for these cruel masters. The servant said that pain and suffering were he lot of man. None could escape this agony. Sollars wept and prayed again. He asked that the pain and hurt be upon his shoulders for him to endure in their stead. Again, the chains glowed and the slaves were relieved of all pain and wounds. The now hale captives rose against their erstwhile masters and threw off their chains. The third servant scourged Sollars to the bone in rage. Since Sollars was unwavering in his faith, the servants decided to sacrifice him upon the altar to Talos. They chained Sollars to the altar and began to perform their dark rites. In front of gathered masses, they proclaimed Sollars a heretic and death to be his lot. Sollars cried aloud, Although you sacrifice my body to Talos, my soul belongs to Ilmater! With that pronouncement, Sollars willed himself to die. The servants of Talos were sorely vexed and decided to set his body up for the crows. As they reached for Sollars, the manacles on his wrists began to glow and the glow coalesced into an avatar of Ilmater. In front of the gathered masses, Ilmater declared, This man has given his life a second time in my service. He shall be first among my servants on Toril, St. Sollars the Twice Martyred. Know that all goodly folk who suffer, endure and persevere have my blessing and can be relieved of all suffering beyond this life. With a word, Ilmater banished the servants of Talos. He retrieved Sollars body and vanished. The masses saw the empty altar and believed the words of Ilmater. As a riot broke out, a convert made away with the chains and manacles that had secured Sollars to the altar. It is said that these holy relics are hidden away to appear when need for them arises.


Footnotes:

1. Ed Greenwood
2. Faiths and Avatars
3. Powers and Pantheons
4. FR9 Bloodstone Lands
5. FR6 Dreams of the Red Wizards
6. Volo's Guide to the North
7. FR Adventures
8. Empires of the Shining Sea
9. Sojourn
10. War in Tethyr
11. Ruins of Zhentil Keep , ESD download
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