The Holy Books (or Mandorlin in Exekian) are the collective religious texts held sacred to believers in the god Akhen. They consist of three separate documents: the Beginning, the Histories, and the Law.
The common version approved by monks and scribes during the reign of King Letholdus II is disputed by the Vormunds, who published a revised edition translated directly from Old Exekian in 162. A fourth document, the Book of Matta, appears only in the Vormund version.
The first holy book and the oldest, the Beginning recounts the creation of the universe by the god Akhen.
The common version of the story begins with Akhen's creation of a being called Zius, who is depicted as being equal to Akhen in every way including cosmic power. Zius aids the god in creating space, light, and the world, but Akhen alone fashions the Alucar from clay. Resentful of the Alucar, Zius turns on his creator and makes the Exekians, who enslave the Alucar.
In the Vormund version, Zius is only a spirit with limited powers. Angered that it does not possess the same abilities as its creator, Zius turns on Akhen and goes into hiding. Akhen then creates the Exekians, beginning with Embal and Azara, but is disappointed when their descendants pursue selfish desires and begin squabbling among themselves. He transforms Monaxia, the firstborn son of Embal, and Monaxia's lover Lostris into the first Alucar, thus introducing death and mortality into the world.
The Histories of Heroes
The second holy book begins with the tale of Skoga, queen of the land of Iskirra, and her lover Arkady. The couple get into an argument over which of them has greater wealth. As an heir of the nearby kingdom of Sylarat, Arkady claims the mighty Ferdia, a flying dragon-like beast which appears only once an era, as his property. To win the argument, Skoga assembles an army to take Sylarat by force, thereby gaining the right to claim the Ferdia.
Sylarat, known for it's peaceful nature and lacking military prowess, falls to Skoga's forces rapidly. When all hope seems lost, the Ferdia arrives to defend the city. Skoga's armies scatter in terror, and many are blown away by the beast's breath, which is stronger than the wildest wind.
One of the soldiers, Edric, deserts his fellows and flees into the forest. The Ferdia follows him, but rather than killing him, the beast sets down and bids him climb on its back. Confused and frightened, Edric complies, placing his hands inside the beast's neck. This links him to the Ferdia's mind.
Through their link, Edric reveals to the Ferdia his unremarkable birth and status as a bonded servant to the powerful warlord Sadon, who allied himself with Skoga. Sadon's soldiers are mostly enslaved mortals, but he does not trust them, so he employs his fellow Exekians as personal servants. Armed with this information, the Ferdia flies to Sadon's camp and frees the slaves. Despite the Ferdia warning them to flee, they attempt to overthrow their former masters and are slaughtered.
At the Ferdia's request that he spend the rest of his days in pursuit of peace, Edric becomes the first hunyadi, an Exekian warrior-poet.
The third holy book details various laws set in place by Akhen to govern the behaviors of Exekians and mortals.
Book of Matta
The fourth holy book appears only in the Vormund edition. It is set apart from the others in that it is written as a memoir, a first-person account of the life and times of the writer, an Exekian hunyadi called Matta.
During the rise of the Old Exekian Empire, Matta became renowned for his vast collection of books and quenchless thirst for knowledge. He dabbled briefly in sorcery, but denounced the practice after an attempt at magical flight nearly ended in his death.
While he managed to keep it a secret from his brethren, Matta was obsessed with mortals and carried on numerous romances with human women across the ages. He found them easier to understand and relate to, and eventually he began preferring the company of slaves to that of his friends.
One of his goals in sorcery (and later in alchemy) was to find a way to render a human immortal by reversing "Akhen's curse". After an alchemy experiment to that effect went horribly wrong, resulting in the death of his beloved, he began to descend into religious fanaticism and ultimately came to the conclusion that the mortals were in fact superior to the Exekians, having been permitted to die and achieve "spiritual apotheosis".
Upon revealing this radical theory, he was denounced as a madman and ridiculed. The humiliation became outrage, however, when Matta rallied the humans against their enslavers, leading an uprising. The rebellion had brief success, but then was rapidly squashed. Finally cornered in a ruined fortress, Matta wrote the Book of Matta, stowing it away with his other tomes, knowing that his death was imminent.