The Ebongleam, 4th book of the holy text of The Blinding Light (Tomes of Law)
In the religion of Pholtus, several sacred texts that are venerated by its followers. These books outline the history and teachings of the faith. They also describe the strict code of laws that must be followed and adhered to. However, these books were not all the tomes penned in the days the Oeridians made their migrations across the Flaneass. One of these tomes was later banned and declared heretical in nature. Today it is called the Tome of the Ebongleam. Among the devotees of the so-called Cult of Ebongleam, it is known as the True book of Law, and its followers refer to themselves as the Followers of the True Path.
To understand the Cult of the Ebongleam, and why it became hated, we need to look into the past when the Oeridians left their ancestral lands in the west and heading east. The tribes of the Oeridians that began their exodus were more akin to what we see today in the Nomads of the northwest and the Paynims of the dry steppe. As they moved east, however, they encountered not only the nature-loving Flan peoples but also the remnants of the great prehistory Flan civilizations. During this migration, the Oeridians began to refine their own culture, and the laws of their gods began to move from a spoken and memorized religon to one codified in texts and tomes. The teachings of Pholtus were one of these gods who's teaching the priests began writing down. As the god's laws took form on the page, the sects within the worship of this god began to push for their own interpretations.
Primary among the teachings of Pholtus is that to ensure order, the people must adhere to a strict code of laws. Without these laws, chaos will drive all that is achieved eventually into dust. While this principle is paramount in all forms of Pholtus worship, the texts considered to be those worthy of protection became a key topic of debate. As the Oeridians traveled across the lands of the Flanaess, they were not peaceful. In fact, the Oeridinas became increasingly warlike. They did not seek to live in harmony with the peoples already living in the lands they moved into; they conquered them. This warlike attitude was not the sole domain of the leaders and warriors. They looked toward their priest for aid and validation from their gods, and the church of Pholtus responded.
The doctrine of Pholtus, which used to be about the need for unbiased and stern laws applied to everyone who lived on Oerth, not just the Oeridians changed. Definitions of those that were of the light began to be written into the scriptures. The Oeridians became the champions of light, bringing civilization to savages. Those who did not believe in order become those that believed in chaos and dwelled in the darkness. This change in the philosophy caused a schism within the religion and some of the tomes and doctrine that had been a part of the religion since pre-cataclysm times became heretical and outlawed. The Fourth book of law thusly was deemed the Ebongleam and banned. The true believers of the faith's original doctrines were driven underground.
What does the Ebongleam Actually Say
According to the Prelate of the Theocracy of the Pale, the 4th book of law, now called the Ebongleam, fools followers into opening their hearts to perverse practices. They say that they try to align themselves with demons and devils to enforce their will. Turning away from the Blinding Light of Pholtus and embracing the darkness of evil instead. They are the ones who coined the phrase that is now attributed to the cult, "To know the value of the light, one must walk first in darkness." This is not a saying ever used amongst the Followers of the Truth Path as those that believe in the 4th book of law call themselves.
What the 4th book of law actually says and outlines is this; there is no good or evil in the world, only order and chaos. To ensure that chaos does not triumph and destroy everything, an orderly must prevail. And for an orderly world to prevail, there must be law. In the teachings of the True Path, all creatures are equal under the eyes of Pholtus and his laws. Orcs, goblins, dragons, Flan, Suel, Baklunish, and any intelligent being have the same rights under the True Faiths doctrine.
Because of this philosophy, priests of the True Path embrace light and darkness in equal measures because from the black and the white, you get the gray that is the world. Priests know Light and fires spells as well as darkness and cold spells.
The Bastion of the Faith
In all of the Flanaess there is one land that follows all the Books of Law from Pholtus, the Theocracy of Dimre in the Bandit Kingdoms. Followers of the True Path have dominated the Pholtus worship in this former Nyrond province since 342 CY, and openly declared themselves an independent Theocracy of Dimre in 350 CY. Dimre is considered a heretical society by the Prelates of the Theocracy of the Pale, who has openly tried to undermine them since then.
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