As I dive into one of my favorite places in the Bandit Kingdoms, and the Flanaess, I have to say that the history I put forth is one of my own devise. Much of what I have written here was influenced by the writings of Tom Harrison, Erik Mona, and many authors of the Living Greyhawk community. While I try to stay true to canon where I find it, I do alter some events slightly from the materials I find, most of which are not canon. I hope you enjoy this first installment as I take a look at The Theocracy of Dimre.
Out of the chaos that would birth the kingdom of Nyrond, also came the formation of the Theocracy of Dimre. While other lands were in the throws of transition from the rule of the neglectful Great Kingdom to independence, Dimre emerged a small but strong nation.
The seeds of what would become the Theocracy of Dimre were sown in the towns and villages of Wintershiven, Holdworthy, and Hawkburgh. In this area, the religion of Pholtus was growing and becoming more influential. Members of city governments and even lords were turning to this orderly faith. By 300 CY, tensions had been increasing for nearly a century, and the threat of a civil war was brewing. In response, the people who lived there turned to the ridged order of the religion of Pholtus for security. As the influence of the main sect of the cult of Pholtus, the Blinding Light, grew, the once overt repression of other minor sects turned into open religious persecution. Chief among these oppressed sects was the Ture Path's followers or the cult of the Ebongleam as their oppressors called them.
Business owners and officials with ties to the True Path were pushed out of office or had their shops and business looted and burned. Homes were painted with black circles so that followers of the Blinding Light, the dominant branch of Pholtus worship, would know that heretics lived there. This persecution of the Blinding Light against the Ebongleam quickly turned violent, and those who could leave heading westward. Word had spread that in the lands on the other side of the Pholstwood, was a small town called Marskeer that welcomed those of the True Path. Marskeer was in a frontier province called Dimre. There, a priest named Engel Boesch was said to be openly preaching of the True Path.
By 356 CY, war had broken out between the new state of Nyrond, and The Great Kingdom. Other satellite states began declaring their independence, and the Theocracy of the Pale was one of them. While they would not be able to become fully independent from the rule of the new kingdom of Nyrond until 450 CY.
Through Turmoil, the True Path gains Dominance.
Followers of the True Path had been living in Dimre since 200 CY. As the persecutions of the cult of the True Path grew in the east, more religious refugees moved there with the last wave arriving between 354 to 356 CY. During these early years, Dimre was an Earldom, owing it's allegiance to The Lords of Rel Mord. However, the aristocracy of Dimre was not followers of the True Path and thought little to nothing of the religion. Having learned harsh lessons in the past, the worshipers of the True Path practiced their religion quietly. By the time that Earl Wendelaine, the last Earl of Dimre, noticed just how dominant the faith had become in Dimre, it was already too late.
In a last-ditch effort to regain control of the province, Earl Wendelaine had the current Canon, the church's spiritual leader in Dimre, murdered. While Earl Wendelaine did not make public his involvement, the ears of the Church of Pholtus in Dimre are everywhere, and they quickly learned of it. Wendelaine attempted to then influence the appointment of the new Canon to no avail. Unanimously Canon Sagmered took office marking the end of Dimre an earldom and the dawn of the Theocracy of Dimre.
One of the first orders issued by the new charismatic Canon was the arrest of Eral Wendelaine and his family. The Earl was tried with heresy against the church, and then he and his family were burned alive in the town square of Falscheit. As the screams of Wendelaine and his family rang out through the square, Canon Sagmered declared their land was now an independent theocracy to a roar of approval from the crowd. The date of the Dimre's independence was 350 CY.
Favored in War
A popular saying in Dimre is that the Theocracy is always favored in war. The nation found it's birth in the civil war that created Nyrond. It was also because of the war in the east that kept Nyrond from reclaiming it. The wars between the bandit lords and kingdoms that saw the original earldom lose control of the silver mines in the Rift Canyon also benefited Dimre. For surely, if they still retained them, then Nyrond would have been compelled to try and recapture the breakaway province.
Dimre had always had a large militia for a kingdom of their size to defend against Bandit Kingdom raiders. When Dimre held the silver mines of the Rift Canyon, the Earl's wisely recruited, outfitted and trained local militias to complement the garrisons stationed there, which were few, by the Great Kingdom. Like the general population, these militias were full of worshipers of the True Path. They put to use the religious beliefs of a disciplined and orderly life to practical use there. So when Sagmered took control of the earldom, the militias seamlessly followed suit and declared their loyalty to the Canon.
This longstanding tradition of highly trained militias would be invaluable in the future. And in the future, the old saying of "Favored in War" will be proven agian.