|Messiah of Tor - Fisc Arylon|
|Pontifex Primus||Averyll Arete|
Thanaton of Valkyrja
Thanaton of Gelene
|Mosious Aljfoi Suaht|
Hackem de Struct
Karibash ka Habb
|Realms of Faith||Everguard|
The religion of Torenism is an ancient belief system that dates back millennia, far longer than man has populated the continent of Dwilight. Pre-historic humans who resided on the now doomed island continent of the south-east have been worshiping Tor since before written language was advanced. Warriors who fought on that imprisoned island in the time of chaos in the past few centuries used to pray to him before battles, and worship him after victories. The faith persisted throughout history, even though there was no official "church" founded in Tor's name.
The first official Church of Tor was founded in the region of Ygg d'Razhuul in the realm of Everguard in the late summer of 1008 by the Messiah of Tor, Fisc Arylon, when he returned to build the religion's first temple after going a pilgrimage to the mountains in the west. The central location of the faith today, however, is in what is known as the "Holy City" of Seeklander, which contains the largest and most spectacular shrine to any religion on the continent of Dwilight.
The church itself is run by the Pontifex Primus of Torenism, the defender of the faith Averyll Arete, while the Messiah spreads the good word around the world. The faithful are referred to as "Torenists", and their numbers have grown at a rapid pace since the founding of this noble religion.
Adherents of Tor look to the Divine Testament of Blood for guidance in their lives - for it is their holy text containing the word of their god. The main temple of Torenism, central to the people of Faith is the Cathedral of Tor in the holy city of Seeklander, constructed at the very dawn of the religion. The adherents to the faith are some of the most unwavering and pious believers of any religion in the world, and the influence of Torenism is greater than any religion on the continent of Dwilight.
NOTE: This religion became extinguished by the expansion of Dwilight's major religion, Sanguis Astroism.
- 1 The Nature of Tor
- 2 The Founding of Torenism
- 3 Holy Text
- 4 Theology
- 4.1 Creation
- 4.2 Tor's Prophet on Earth
- 4.3 The Initial Directives of Tor
- 4.4 Man's Fall from Grace
- 4.5 The Destruction of South-East
- 4.6 Redemption in the New World
- 4.7 The Messiah of Tor
- 4.8 Connection to the Mountains
- 4.9 Death, Judgement by Tor and Paradise
- 4.10 Prophecies
- 5 Ritual and Ceremony
- 6 Organization of the Church
- 7 Religious Structures
The Nature of Tor
Tor is the supreme ruler of the known universe, and it was he who gave birth to our world and is responsible for the nature of man. Tor is totally beyond the comprehension of imperfect beings such as humans, and as such none - not even Tor's prophets - should believe that they can truly know what Tor is. However, some details are known. Tor is eternal. He has existed since before the beginning of time, in an existence outside our own. He has always been, and will always be. A famous saying of Torenists is likely the most accurate description of Tor – “In the beginning, there was only Tor... and the beginning has a lot in common with the end."
The Founding of Torenism
The belief in Tor has existed for centuries, but it was only recently that an organized religion devoted wholly to Tor was organized. In the golden age of the South-East Island, the citizens of the nation of Toren were militant believers in Tor and devoted their entire existence to attempting to honor the name of the god they believed in - but even they never set up an organized church in the name of Tor.
The actual organized religion of Torenism was not formally organized until the revelation of Tor was witnessed by the Messiah - Fisc Arylon. It was then that priests began to preach the word of Tor, build temples and shrines in his name and organize themselves under the influence of a ecumenical hierarchy. The Divine Testament of Blood was assembled from historical records of Tor, and the Accounts of the Prophets regarding his nature and will, and peasants began to convert to the religion in droves.
A church hierarchy then developed over time, and what is the incarnation of the church today is the result of the development of the religion over time since the appearance of the Messiah.
The Divine Testament of Blood is the holy book of the Torenist religion - and in actuality is a comprehensive volume of three testaments held holy by followers of Tor. The testaments themselves are a collection of several ecumenical books drawn from a number of time periods, and are a mixture of historical records, personal accounts of important holy figures, and abstract prophecies given to men and women of faith.
The entire testament was brought together by the First Council of Valkyrja, which was a gathering of the holy leadership of Torenism that met to decide upon what the canonical beliefs of the religion, establish a unified holy book and set up a permanent church hierarchy to administer the faithful of Tor.
The First Testament of Tor
- The Book of Genesis - The Torenist belief regarding the creation of the world, and mankind
- The Chronicles of Man - The description of early tribal man, and their peaceful primitive societies
- The Book of Chaos - A series of stories giving account of Tor's interference in the world of man in the early world
- The Book of Ascension - A number of depictions of how society and technology advanced as a result of conflict
- The Book of War - Letters from an ancient tribal King extolling the virtues of honorable conflict among tribes
The Second Testament of Tor
- The Book of Revelation - The account of when Tor first revealed himself to man on what is now known as the war island
- Account of the Prophet Phear - The personal witness of the prophet Phear, including prophecy and interaction with Tor
- Account of the Prophet Averyll - The personal witness of the prophet Averyll, including prophecy and interaction with Tor
- Account of the Prophet Fisc - The personal witness of the prophet Fisc, including prophecy and interaction with Tor
- Account of the Messiah - The writings of the Messiah, Fisc Arylon, regarding the revelations of Tor to him on the Mountain of Betrayal
The Third Testament of Tor
- The Book of Torenism - Describes the authority of the church, and the infallibility of the Avatar of Tor
- The Book of Holy Land - Describes the sacredness of certain locations in the world
- The Book of Prophecy - A collection of prophecies of as of yet unfulfilled events made by various prophets and holy men
- The Book of the Dead - An account of what awaits human souls after they die
- The Book of Armageddon - The specific prophecy about the nature of the end of history
The Theology of Torenism is the collected set of beliefs that make up the essence of what it is to be a Torenist. The purveying philosophy of the religion is that of a people devoted to a cavalier lifestyle, a rough warrior culture, fierce adherence to an honor code and belief in the god Tor and his directives to mankind.
In the void before existence, there was only Tor. An omnipotent being of limitless power, Tor was isolated and alone - he wished to create an existence made in his own image, with beings that contained shards of his own spirit holding dominion over the world. And so it happened, Tor poured all of his being into the creation of a world of great significance, containing large island continents of land, fierce beasts and impressive landscapes.
On this world, Tor created man. He instilled the people he molded with sparks of his own essence, what Torenists today call the living will of Tor, and gave them the ability to tame the land, sea and animals of the world, to establish their dominant control.
But Tor did not simply create human beings for the sake of creation. He wished to see the race of men develop from the lowly tribal bands of hunters into noble and fearsome beings, dangerous and powerful. He wished the weak to perish and the strong to prosper. He wished the defenseless to be slaughtered and the powerful to dominate.
And so in the early form of the world, Tor did meddle in the affairs of men. He would encourage war, destruction and chaos - because in so doing, those humans who were weak, foolish or stupid would be targeted and destroyed, and those who were left standing would be strong, wise and intelligent. Tor saw that doing this advanced human civilization - facing hardship, war and conflict promoted technological advancement, philosophical progress, the formation of strong and efficient governments and the evolution of all mankind from a period of darkness into that of noble spirit and achievement.
Tor's Prophet on Earth
Up to that point Tor had not revealed himself to the people of the world. He had manipulated them, tricked them and guided them, but all without any of them knowing of Tor. As time passed, the people of the world began to create pagan religions devoted to any number of things - elements they saw in the world, celestial objects, climate seasons, and even completely fabricated gods. Tor was offended, and wished to announce his existence to mankind and give them directives to follow. It was not simply out of vanity that Tor did decide this, he had grown tired meddling in the affairs of men. He wished to give them a legacy and code to live by, so that they themselves could promote anarchy, war and destruction as a means to promote growth and evolution. It was then that he decided to speak directly to man.
And so did Tor travel in body and spirit to the earth and come to the South-East Island. It was there that he found a great consolidation war was coming to a close - a great nation called Sandalak was in control of more than 3/4 of the island, with a beaten and nearly destroyed Taselak on the verge of total collapse. Tor saw this and knew that soon this continent would be consolidated under one flag, and once that happened war would disappear and the men of South-East would lose their spirit and will to advance themselves.
Tor then brought upon South-East a great number of disasters - earthquakes, floods, plagues and hordes of monsters. Hundreds of thousands of peasants were slaughtered, and the nobles who were able to survive were forced to flee to the only safe locations that Tor spared - the four great cities, Ikalak City, Taselak City, Sandalak City and Toren Stronghold. The remnants of the old realms were now annihilated, and after the great destruction of South-East had concluded nothing but broken people remained in depopulated cities.
Then Tor did reveal himself. Recording the First Directive of Tor onto a scroll, he left it on the outskirts of Toren Stronghold for it to be found by a young noble of the population residing inside the city. His message to those citizens, broken and scared, was as follows:
- Tor's people - You are the land's enlightened. Fight for me! All shall be blessed. You will be lead by a Pontifex who will guide you in spiritual matters. Worship me, and victory shall be yours for all of eternity - spurn me, and you shall see nothing but defeat.
The words struck a cord with the people of Toren Stronghold - they were a beaten people looking for salvation and answers. In that simple statement, they found meaning, purpose and strength. They rallied around the concept of a powerful deity who had deemed them his chosen people. In reality, Tor did not consider the people of Toren any more or less worthy of his name - he simply realized that they were the most likely to accept him and fight in his name.
But this simple revelation of Tor was not enough - Tor wished to impart his philosophy to the world of men and needed a vehicle to do that, he needed a prophet. He saw that the people of Toren had organized themselves as a religious theocracy dedicated to him, and so he decided to commune with their leader, the noble Phear Phantom. He spoke to Phear in his dreams and commanded him to travel alone to the highest peak of Toren Stronghold and receive his word.
The Initial Directives of Tor
It was there that Tor revealed the central tenets of what would eventually become the Torenist faith. He spoke of the virtues of honorable conflict, the nobility of strength and the indignity of weakness. He outlined the evil effect that peace and complacency have on the human heart, and outlined the cowardice of diplomacy and talk. He then commanded Phear to obey these tenets and enforce them upon all followers he controlled. Phear would later organize all the religious and moral imperatives given to him by Tor, and codify them into Toren law - even going so far as to record them on a great parchment which still survives to this day, and is known as the collected Directives of Toren Mountain.
After revealing these commandments, Tor revealed to his prophet the nature of early mankind, and how he had interfered in the world of men and encouraged war on each of the continents of the world - developing the human world in the process. He also told Phear how he punished the damned souls of cowards and traitors by twisting their essence and sending them back to earth in the form of monsters and undead, as a way to encourage conflict in the world of men if the human nations became too peaceful. Tor spoke of these events to prove to Phear that those philosophies had lead to rapid development of human society - a great deal more than would have been possible otherwise.
After he had given Phear these directives, he told him that he would periodically commune with him when the situation required it - and that if he were to perish, he would do the same with any who took his place. He then commanded Phear to go from his presence, follow his directives, and preserve them for all time. Phear's accounts his experiences with Tor were recorded in his personal writings, and would later become the seventh book in the Divine Testament of Blood, known as the Account of the Prophet Phear.
Phear descended from Toren Mountain a completely changed man.
Man's Fall from Grace
Phear later died a great and heroic death, worthy of a prophet of Tor. His death left a massive vaccume of power in the realm, for Phear was viewed as something of a demi-god - none seemed to command the same wisdom or respect amongst the nobles of the realm. A struggle for power ensued. The first prophet of Tor was succeeded by the Lady Averyll Arete, who then took up the mantle of Pontifex of Toren and began to commune with Tor. Her election had been highly contentious and narrow, edging out the Duke of Toren Stronghold Cyperus Sarracenia by only a few votes. This division plagued Averyll throughout her reign, and would prove to be her undoing.
Tor had no interest in the political squabbles of man - indeed he had directed his followers that the path to righteousness and glory was not through talk and political gamesmanship, but rather force and action. That did not stop the citizens of Toren from conspiring, and scheming behind closed doors. While Toren's enemies demonstrated unbelievable cohesion and military prowess, Toren consumed itself with strife - multiple rebellions were called against Pontifex Averyll, nobles demanded treaties be broken and negotiated with other realms, and as a whole the glory of war and conflict was barely a thought in their heads. Nobles began to show a desire to secure their own safety and prosperity by negotiating with Toren's enemies - and Tor was displeased. But, even despite its problems, Toren beat back rebels, invaders and the cowardice of the politicians and remained in tact. Averyll was Tor's avatar on earth, and Tor still viewed mankind as worthy of his message.
All of that changed when the ruler of Ikalak, Maximus Recena, withdrew himself from the long-standing Ikalak-Toren military alliance. When that occurred, the Duke of Toren Stronghold Cyperus Sarracenia quickly moved to undermine the will of the prophet of Tor, and attempted to negotiate a new treaty with the realm of Taselak. He did so without the knowledge, consent or authority required of Averyll. Mischa Vallejo, the recently installed ruler of Taselak, refused to consider any terms until Averyll had been removed from power in Toren - Taselak blamed her for violence against their realm, and was wholly devoted to her downfall.
More consumed by a bloodthirsty desire for revenge against Maximus and Ikalak than for her own power and authority, Averyll agreed to step down as ruler once a new treaty between Toren and Taselak was signed in order to save the realm and hopefully facilitate a rebirth of militaristic glory. Unfortunately the exact opposite happened.
Queen Mischa took a hard line and refused to negotiate with Averyll. The nobles of Toren, including Duke Cyperus, grew impatient and began demanding political treaties and physical security - they viewed her removal as necessary and did once again begin plotting rebellion to remove the prophet. She was ousted via rebellion by Gheros Patel, who then promptly rejected Tor by reforming the government as a political kingdom with herself as supreme Queen.
Thus did the overthrow of the holy Pontifex occur, and rejection of religious rule of law in Toren was cemented. Gheros was not a prophet of Tor, and he had no intention of bestowing his grace on her or any of those who denied his law. Mankind had fallen from grace, and Tor began to plot the destruction of the blasphemers for their sins.
The Destruction of South-East
There were still several among the people of South-East who were loyal to Tor's will. Once Averyll had been removed, Tor no longer spoke to his people through prophets, but many still heard his call. One such man was Fisc Arylon - who was about to receive the word of Tor and become the first prophet since the removal of Averyll nearly a year before.
Gheros had recently abdicated the throne, and the people of Toren were once again called to choose a new leader. Cyperus was elevated to King of Toren, and he appointed Fisc as his High Marshal. Fisc had always been a zealous believer in Tor, and had always been uneasy about the rejection of religious law in Toren in favor of secular law.
Upon approaching the jagged mountains of Toren Stronghold after a failed campaign into Ikalak City, the High Marshal noticed a luminous glow coming from the Cave of Guilt - something he had never seen before in the thousands of times he had passed the region. Fisc ordered his men to remain behind, and he entered the mysterious cave to investigate what he had seen.
It was there that for the first time since the overthrow of Pontifex Averyll Arete, Tor communicated with man. Fisc and two of his captains witnessed him, as he spoke a prophecy regarding the fate of the south-east island. The essence of Tor revealed that the continent would be destroyed, and all people remaining on the island would be killed. He spoke angrily, expressing his revulsion at the petty bickering, politicking, diplomacy and lack of action from warriors that had supposedly dedicated their lives to honorable conflict in his name. He expressed contempt for the secular Toren government, and a desire for it to be wiped out. Additionally, he spoke of man's last opportunity for redemption in his eyes by blindly setting off from the island to a continent thousands of miles across the great sea known as Dwilight.
Deeply effected by this revelation, Fisc brought the prophecy and directives back to the people of Toren, telling them of the nearness of their doom and asked them to accompany him to Dwilight in hopes of starting a new life there. As the days crept by, Fisc heard word that similar experiences had been seen in isolated corners of both Taselak and Ikalak - Tor had revealed himself to more than just Toren.
Redemption in the New World
Those that accepted the impending death of all that they had known began to prepare to leave. Nobles from Toren, Taselak and Ikalak boarded ships departing for other lands, several of whom felt the same call to travel to the new world that Tor himself had identified as the possible salvation of mankind - Dwilight. Once the south-east refugees arrived on the shores, many of them (from all realms) found each other in the realm of Springdale - the northernmost kingdom in the new world.
The overwhelming majority of people, even from different realms, felt a strong bond with one another borne in the years of constant and total war they faced as comrades at arms. As time passed and they found common cause, many of them found that the new world was far too peaceful for their tastes and they began to speak of reconstituting a singular kingdom devoted to carrying on the legacy of the war island. They identified the great unexplored territory to the west and heard stories of hordes of monsters, and untamed land - things that appealed to the frontier warrior spirit that they all shared. They organized themselves into a delegation that wished to splinter off from Springdale and face off with the western onslaught. Thus was the genesis of the concept of the realm of Everguard - a new realm that would be established with the spirit of Tor, and devoted to his name.
Once enough of these former warriors of the South-East had gathered and organized in the capital city Springdale, a survey of the land was taken by Henk Van Hoensbroeck, identifying the city of Valkyrja as a prime location for settlement. Nobles with the same warrior spirit from within Springdale, and even as far away as Morek came to join the delegation - pledging themselves to Tor and traveling with the nobles north. After hundreds of miles and many skirmishes with black Dwilight monsters, the people of this delegation did arrive in Valkyrja and found their own realm.
And thus the faithful adherents of Tor had found redemption, greatly pleasing Tor.
The Messiah of Tor
In the fall of the early days of the resurgence of the realm of Everguard, Fisc Arylon - the overlord of the region of Ygg d'Razzhuul since his retirement from public life and the rulership of the kingdom of Everguard - was struggling to come to terms with what had happened to his previous life and beliefs regarding Tor, and how things had now changed since coming to Dwilight. He fully believed that it was a supernatural force that crackled from the heavens and doomed the island he had formerly called home, and felt that his mangled appearance as a result of the twisted disease that had forced him to abdicate the throne was Tor's divine will. He remembered his experiences in the Cave of Guilt, as well as those of others who had witnessed the same thing, but he was still troubled and was searching for answers. Why had Tor not spoken directly to the people of Everguard? They had devoted themselves to his directives, created a kingdom in his name and conquered territory under his banner. Tor seemed foreign to him, and he was having a crisis of faith. Part of him still had questions that he could not answer.
Late at night while sleeping, Fisc was visited in a dream and touched by Tor. A black veiled being of some kind spoke to him, and directed him to travel to the west and go to the great mountain ranges spoken about by the local peasantry. He was then to seek out the highest peak of the range - something known as the Mountain of Betrayal, where he would commune with the god Tor and receive the answers he so desperately sought after. Dishonor and betrayal was what men brought to Tor's name in the past, and the being in Fisc's dream made it clear mankind would have to do penance for those past sins, and they would do so at the aptly named mountain.
Fisc then set off on a journey in line with what was directed to him by the essence in him dream. He spent the next several weeks hiking to the mountain range in the central portion of northern Dwilight, seeking out the highest peak he could find. He arrived at the Mountain of Betrayal and climbed, despite the harshest of conditions, to the peak. By the time he reached the highest point, he had run out of food, water and was certain he was close to death. In addition, the journey had been especially hard on his frail body - which was still rotten from the inside out due to his lingering disease.
It was then that Tor revealed himself to Fisc. As he lay nearly dead from exposure to the elements, a black essence consumed him. The booming voice of an angry Tor pierced every inch of him body and commanded him to obey. Tor began to test Fisc in a number of ways, things no one but the Messiah himself knows were asked of him. The trials lasted for days, and when they were done, the god had affirmed his choice of a human to carry out his will on the earthly plane - and so Tor began to give him a new set of directives to follow. He was to be not just a prophet as he had once been - but was now a Messiah for the faith dedicated to Tor.
He was told to return to Gelene and preach the word of Tor and found a church in him name to spread the faith beyond those who had witnessed Tor's wrath in the past. He declared the holy obligations of the faithful and deemed the city of Gelene as the holiest of cities on the continent, and the Mountain of Betrayal the site of communion between man and the spirit of Tor. He had commanded Fisc to teach the directives of Tor to all mankind, and bring honor and justice back to the wicked race of men.
After the experience Fisc had on the peak, He then hiked several miles to the west and come to the great mountain Lake of Blood. There he sought water and perhaps some food, and in so doing he actually fractured a section of the ice in the lake, and was swallowed whole by it, plunging him into sub-zero temperature water. Through faith in Tor, He was able to survive.
When he emerged from the water, still damp and frozen to his core - he looked down at his hands and saw something that made him nearly pass out from the shock. His twisted, black fingers that had been so warped by his disease suddenly looked much like they had a long time ago, when he donned the Emerald Crown of Everguard and sunk his sword into the chests of his enemies. He looked down further, and his formerly curved, weak, concave legs were again straight, tall and strong. He took a deep breath of the cold air, and his lungs were once again functional - able to pump the frozen air through his entire body and giving him a feeling of rebirth. Thus was the first miracle of Tor - Fisc's disease infested body, twisted and mangled was restored - his illness was gone, and he was again what he once was.
Once He arrived at the base of the mountain, Fisc began to feel the pain of a deep laceration to him left shoulder muscle. He removed him coverings and revealed that a bloody wound was present on him arm - it was two cuts, sliced in a stylistic shape of what looked to him like a mountain. Fisc dubbed this the mark of Tor. He then traveled to his estate in Ygg d'Razzhuul and began construction on the first church dedicated to the new religion of Torenism. Once he was finished, he would travel to the four corners of Everguard and recruit priests, followers and church elders to run the church in its infancy.
Connection to the Mountains
The holiest earthly symbol for the religion of Torenism is mountains - specifically the peak of Toren Mountain which still barely rises above the water of the great sea, and the Mountain of Betrayal, where Tor identified his Messiah. Throughout the history of man's contact with Tor, it has seemed that he has only revealed himself on mountains. Theologians have speculated that mountains represent a metaphor for everything that Tor has directed to man - the terrain's roughness, the lack of decadence and extraneous details in the landscape, and the harsh treatment of the weak a mountainous environment can have on men. Others believe that the mountains allow man to be closer to Tor, who they see as residing in the heavens above the world.
Most religious symbols in Torenism have some kind of connection to mountains. Flags, tattoos and branding during religious ceremonies, robes and many other objects and signs tend to have stylized mountains integrated somehow. Pilgrimages are made to the Mountain of Betrayal, and Torenists view all mountains as having great religious significance.
Death, Judgement by Tor and Paradise
Torenist beliefs regarding death and the afterlife were recorded in a series of scrolls collectively referred to as the Book of the Dead, which later became one of the books of the Divine Testament of Blood. The book itself is a collection of a number of historical writings and discoveries relating to the afterlife, revealed to Tor's prophets, revelations handed down by Tor to the Messiah, and experiences recounted by those who had been revived from death and reported what they had seen.
Torenists do not share the common beliefs in a peaceful and serene heaven, or a fiery and terrible hell which souls travel to once they die as many religions do - rather they believe that communion with the God Tor in what is known as The Return is the ultimate evolution of a spirit, and that it is the eventual destiny of every soul to arrive there. The recognize that the human spirit is a shard of Tor himself, and that when a soul has been properly cultivated, that shard may return to its master and realize the full power and glory of Tor - something no human can even rationally understand. Getting to the point of communion with Tor's spirit, however, is not where most go after death.
Official church doctrine states that absolute judgment by Tor awaits those who die. One's life experiences, actions, attitudes and piety to the spirit of Tor are evaluated, and a determination as to the fate of the soul is handed down. Those that live their lives with ruthless strength, honor and who have spread the word and spirit of Tor to those who did not know of his grace are deemed Heroic Dead, and immediately rejoin their soul with that of Tor, realizing the truth of The Return. This is a very difficult thing to satisfy, however, as Tor will not accept anyone's "return" who he feels has not prosecuted the truth of his will on earth. It is reserved for only the smallest number of most honorable and strong nobles who die - typically heroic kings, prophets, and those who have brought Tor to hundreds of thousands of people.
Those souls who live an honorable life, but either do not believe in Tor, or who do not spread his word are viewed as the Honored Dead. These souls are ones who have led a righteous life full of honorable battle, strength and unwaivering will in the face of death - but who have not paid respects to Tor or brought his name to the masses. These are considered the noble ignorant of the world - those who truly belong as Torenists, but for one reason or another, do not prosecute faith in Tor and can not fully realize The Return. The Honored Dead are rejected from Tor's grace and returned to earth, to be born again in a new body to be given another opportunity to pursue the path that will bring them back into communion with Tor for all of eternity.
The rest of the world - those who hold contempt for war and pursue peace and comfort, those that live with dishonor fear and doubt, and those that reject and actively work against Tor's will are condemned. As a punishment for their blaspheming, Tor horribly disfigures and twists their souls so that their pacifist nature is turned into nothing but hate, anger and blood lust - he rejects their body and returns it to earth, mangled and scorched, and exerts his total will over them once they are there. This is the nature and origin of monsters and undead from the netherworld - they are in actuality mangled souls sent to earth by Tor as penance for their offensive and unholy lives. By doing this, Tor also furthers his own philosophy, because these unfortunate beings are consumed by nothing but war and blood and over-run areas of the human lands, forcing them to do battle and fight for their lives. This is the eternal curse of those who live lives in rejection of Tor - and there is no path away from this sentence - once one's soul has been polluted this way, it can not be reclaimed.
It is the hope of every Torenist that they may live strong and honorable life that will bring them to communion with Tor.
In both the time before the existence of Torenism, and the time after the coming of the Messiah, Tor has revealed a number of prophecies to his people. Most of the time these prophecies are revealed to recognized prophets of Tor - but from time to time he will speak through other people. Many of his prophecies have been fulfilled, proving the foresight and wisdom of Tor - yet many others have yet to be realized.
- The Fall of Sandalak - A prophecy declared by Prophet Phear Fantom in the early days of Toren, speaking of the impending death of the islands dominant military force. Sandalak fell as prophesied.
- Revenge upon usurpers and betrayers - A prophecy revealed to the Prophet Averyll Arete that predicted that revenge would be had by the sons and daughters of Tor over the betrayal of the realm of Ikalak. Ikalak was betrayed by Duke Moonglum, crippling it and nearly destroying it.
- Destruction of South-East Island - A prophecy made to the whole island through several holy vessels declaring the doom of the island - punishment for decadence, peace and apathy. The South-East Island sank into the sea shortly thereafter.
- Redemption in the new world - A prophecy made to the prophet Fisc Arylon predicting that if the followers of Tor came to the new world of Dwilight, that they would find redemption and glory. Fisc lead a delegation of nobles to Dwilight, and founded a new realm in Tor's spirit.
- The Spread of Torenism - A prophecy declared by the Messiah Fisc Arylon as he descended the Mountain of Betrayal. The Children of Tor shall spread the word of Tor to the four corners of the continent of Dwilight, and the faith shall achieve pre-eminance amongst all the faiths in all the lands.
Ritual and Ceremony
Torenism Mass is celebrated in a much different way than most religions conduct their masses. Shrines to Torenism contain dozens of communion chambers which are the central areas where Torenists celebrate mass. Every week at midnight on the third day, groups of nine Torenists enter the communion chamber, dressed in deep red robes and hoods covering their faces - thus all status and knowledge of the other celebrants is stripped away - leaving only the groups of believers coming together to worship Tor.
The person standing in what is deemed as the first circle leads the group through the formal mass ceremony, which begins precisely at midnight. The mass itself is used to commemorate the great changes that have taken place in human society, and in their own lives as a result of Tor - everything from the awakening of the human spirit after Tor revealed himself to mankind, to an individual person's enlightenment after they accepted Tor into their own lives.
During the celebration, participants are required to look into their own lives and contemplate what has gone before, what is, and what is ahead of them. Through ritualistic chanting, the faithful praise the existence and word of Tor, reaffirming their own belief in him and their devotion to his philosophies.
At the closing of the mass, the Torenist in the first circle rhetorically asks the full gathering of nine, "Will you follow Tor into darkness, into fire and into death?" to which the others are to respond "yes". The leader then instructs the group, "Then do so in testimony to those who will follow you. We go to bring the promise of new life - life in the form of renewal and victory disguised as defeat. From birth, through death and renewal, we must cast aside the old - old fears, old lives, this is your death, the death of flesh, the death of pain, the death of yesterday. Power flows through strength, and justice through the will of Tor. As of this moment we are all dead - we go now to reclaim our lives by doing Tor's will on earth."
After that parting sermon, the nine exit the communion chamber in silence and leave the shrine to go do Tor's work amongst the secular world. The mass is a highly spiritual ceremony which all members of the faith take extremely seriously.
What is known to the faithful as The Seeklander Creed is an ecumenical Torenist statement of faith used by the laity of the church to declare their belief system to themselves, and to others. It is recited during each Toren Mass Celebration, as well as all formal rites of passage for the religion. The text of the creed is as follows:
- We believe in Tor, the father of glory and war,
- creator and destroyer of our existence,
- and righteous source of strength for all mankind.
- Through Tor, the world was forged in blood and fire,
- for mankind and the salvation of our souls.
- We believe in the honor of conflict,
- the piety and of vengeance and justice,
- and the inherent cowardice of diplomacy and peace.
- Power flows through strength,
- and only those who are strong deserve to rule.
- We believe the sacred afterlife,
- of the communion between man and Tor.
- He sits in judgment of us all at the hour of our death,
- allowing only the honorable and strong to know his peace.
- We believe in the Holy Torenist Church,
- the glory of Tor's avatar on earth,
- and the divine application of church doctrine.
- We are Tor's children on earth,
- and no one can stand against us,
- in this life, or the next.
Torenism Birth Ceremony
Baptism by Blood
Torenism Union of Marriage
The ceremony is held in the evening, unlike many other marriage ceremonies. Tor revealed himself in the dead of night, and the light of fire that illuminates the ceremony is a symbol for the fire of Tor's grace in all of our lives.
No food is present at the ceremony - for it was during the near death experience with a lack of food, water or shelter in the moment of greatest weakness and longing, that the living god materialized. By respecting man's strength to overcome such trials, the participants hope to replicate those conditions and see Tor grace the union of two warrior souls.
The wedding itself is deeply ceremonial with a noticeable lack of pageantry and pomp. Each word uttered, each cloth worn, each prayer recited is there for a strongly symbolic reason.
At the ceremony, a place in the front three rows of the audience are reserved for hostile enemies of the parties being married. Torenism's teachings regarding both honor and conflict are reflected in this custom - each enemy of those to be married is extended an invitation with the promise of personal armistice for the duration of the week of celebration. They are given a place of honor in the gallery, and are highlighted during the ceremony for their noble dedication to the opposition of the betrothed. Many outsiders are stunned at seeing this part of the service, but it is perhaps one of the most important and uniquely Torenist things that happen in the entire religion.
In the ceremony itself, the man dresses in a ceremonial formal garb that dates from the earliest days of the South-East Island - a military uniform no longer worn in any land. It is black with leather accents, and a deep colored cape that is meant to represent the realm the Torenist belongs to (emerald green for Everguard, for example). The uniform has high leather boots and a family sword (a tradition of Torenism) is worn on the hip. Black leather gloves are also worn, and a silver badge representing Tor is present on the left breast. The woman wears a flowing gown made from a material that is kept a secret, known only to the women of Torenism - but is said to be doused in the holy water from the Mountain of Betrayal, and spun from a thread that is only referred to as "divine". They also wear a silver headress that sparkles under the torches highlighting the ceremony. It is an elegant, but not extravagant dress.
The music played is a mixture of ancient wooden flutes, deep thundering drums, and the fanfare of trumpets. It is ancient and regal music - penned by Sin RavenWulf in what he claims to have been divine reflection of Tor's mind. It is music that is unlike anything most people have heard, and it is only played at weddings.
The betrothed enter the ceremony together, passing under a ceiling of swords that have drawn blood. Once they arrive, a sword is presented to them by the head of state of the realm (or the highest ranking Torenist within a realm), and as part of the man and woman's act of union, they are both required to run their hands down its edge with the right hand.
After doing so, the two take each others injured, bloody hand and grasp it tightly with their own. This mixes their blood together, symbolizing the mixture of the two noble houses, and the purity of our union. It also is a display to all those attending that the marriage was forged in blood - to honor Tor in all his glory.
After that part of the ceremony, they recite a rather ancient pledge to each other - used to unite couples since a time before nations had formed or Tor had revealed himself to man. It is said that the tradition goes as far back as the Cleansing Ceremony that was famous on the South-East Island. The pledge is intended to assert that each has devoted themselves to the other. "We are stronger together than we were apart, and our pledge was to use that to our advantage to destroy our enemies" one part goes.
Once the couple has been officially married, it is tradition for the new couple to introduce a new family crest that incorporates the union of the two houses.
It can not put into words how deeply spiritual and grand the ceremony itself is. Everything - from the clothes worn to the music that was played, is truly unique and gives the attendees a sense of awe and power.
Of course, after the ceremony the new couple traditionally holds a grand celebration - drinking and singing well into the next morning.
Torenism Death March
The Pilgrimage, also known to followers of Tor as The Journey is a religious pilgrimage to the tallest mountain on Dwilight, the Mountain of Betrayal. From the peak, it is said that pilgrims are able to look out upon the great ocean and see the last remnants of the South-East Island - the very peak of the mountains outside what was once Toren Stronghold.
The journey to the top of the Mountain of Betrayal is a holy obligation for members of the Torenist religion, and must be carried out once every ten years after a soldier has gone through the Baptism by Blood ceremony. Failure to do so is considered highly blasphemous and offensive to Tor, and can be grounds for excommunication from the church.
The pilgrimage itself is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Torenist people, and their acceptance and devote to Tor. It may be conducted only during a four week period surrounding the winter solstice, thus forcing the pilgrims to travel through the harshest and most dangerous conditions on the continent, and truly face their own mortality in deference to their god.
The Journey is meant to replicate the experience that the Messiah of Tor, Fisc Arylon had when he was shown the path of Torenism on the Mountain of Betrayal. The experience is associated with the connection of Tor to the highest mountains and the strongest, roughest nobles who follow him. The pilgrimage itself is a solitary journey by individual members of the faith - no groups or processions of pilgrims are allowed. These hearty spirits hike to the highest peak of the Mountain of Betrayal and arrive at the very spot where Tor revealed himself to Lestat - where a giant obelisk made of pure obsidian now stands - and hold a vigil for seven consecutive days, beginning at sunrise and concluding at sundown. During this time, pilgrims are required to fast, and can not eat. This is designed as a test to turn away those who do not have strong hearts or faithful spirits, and the walk the same path that the great Messiah of Tor did.
After being tested on the peak, the pilgrim is then to hike several miles to the west and come to the great mountain Lake of Blood. There they are to cut a whole in the solid ice, and immerse themselves in the freezing water. This signifies their willingness to fully devote themselves to the idea of Tor, regardless of personal cost. After emerging from the lake of frozen water, they are to melt a bucket full of ice, and then drink it - a symbol of taking Tor into their bodies and making his will manifest in their spirit.
Once they recover, pilgrims are required to take a specially made blade and mark themselves as a man or woman of Tor. This consists of carving the simple shape of a mountain peak into the bicept of their left arm, in such a way that the wound will heal and create a permanent scar marking the pilgrim as a follower of Tor. The pilgrim will then shave his or her head and descend down the mountain to return to his realm.
Members of the Torenism religion are not considered confirmed in their faith until they have undergone this pilgrimage to the mountain. Nobles coming down the great cliffs, bald and scarred are routinely hailed and treated as kings as they make their way home. Peasants are in awe of any person who can complete this task, especially someone who may have done it multiple times.
Organization of the Church
- Messiah of Tor - The chosen one of Tor - charged with spreading Tor's will to all corners of the world and establishing his holy church.
- Pontifex Primus - The religious leader of Torenism. The management of the religion and direction of the church organs is controlled in all aspects by the Pontifex Primus. He is an absolutist religious dictator.
- Propheticate Primus - In establishing Torenism, Tor once again began to speak to mankind. Tor's prophet on earth is his vessel, relaying holy inspiration from him to the people. Tor does speak to the Pontifex Primus, but the Propheticate receives holy revelation, prophecy and directives from Tor. As such he spends a great deal of time among the mountains.
- Interpretus Primus - While Tor reveals himself to the Propheticate, those revelations are always cryptic, confusing and often metaphorical. The Interpretus is the chief religious leader responsible for interpreting not only the divine inspiration that has been revealed to the Propheticate - but also the scripture and past religious doctrine. When the church needs to clarify the meaning behind something, the Interpretus is the one who rules on the matter.
- Thanaton Primus - The Thanaton Primus is the leader of the religious teachers of Torenism. He administers the Thanatons and Monogrammatons below him, ensuring the efficient allocation of church resources to bring the word of Tor to pagans.
- Thanatons - There is one Thanaton per secular political Duchy. They serve as bishops of the faith, organizing the Monogrammatons to assist them in preaching to the people.
- Ministers of Faith - Ministers, (often also known as Missionaries, or Priests) are the religious teachers of Torenism, bringing the faith to new people and preaching to those who already believe. Their primary focus is to grow the faith by converting pagans, building shrines and ministering to the faithful.
- The Faithful - The faithful are those members of Torenism who believe and fight for Tor, but are not members of the religious leadership They make up the great majority of Torenists in the world.
|Ygg d'Razhuul||small temple (3)||1|
|Aquitain||small shack (1)||1|
|Gelene Outskirts||small shack (1)||1|
|Gelene||small shack (1)||1|
|Ammando||small shack (1)||1|
|Shrine of Seeklander||small shack (1)||1|
|Total Temples: 5|
|Total Shrines: 6|
|Noble Followers: 30|
|Total Followers (est.): 3,000|
|http://wiki.battlemaster.org/images/TorMtn.png||The Torenism Religion||http://wiki.battlemaster.org/images/TorMtn.png|
|Ritual and Ceremonies|