Vormundism is the second most widespread religion in the world. It is a branch of the ancient monotheistic faith known as Akhenism.
Founded by the Alucarsian prophet Xavier Vormund during the reign of King Tristan Stirling, the faith focuses on fulfilling the traditional laws and studying the holy books, which they believe to be divinely inspired. While he did not proclaim himself to be divine, Vormund did claim to be the "mouthpiece of Akhen". He sanctioned a new translation of the holy books based on ancient copies written in Old Exekian, with the aid of the Exekian exile Kemet, who had kept the documents in his possession for the last two hundred years.
The religion became popular among disillusioned Akhenists, and pacifists who were tired of the constant, costly wars with the Exekians were drawn to the faith's emphasis on peace and brotherhood. Rumors spread that Vormund was a madman imposing his own sense of justice on his ignorant disciples. Eventually the prophet was arrested, put on trial for heresy, obstruction of the law, and treason, and sentenced to death, but the elderly Vormund died in prison before his execution could be carried out. Rather than deter them, his followers began to grow at an even more rapid rate after his death, eventually becoming known as "Vormundists".
The Vormundists split over the issue of how to deal with the persecution they faced from the king. A terrorist group developed not long after the death of Vormund, founded by one of his original followers, Drusus Rolfe. They believed the Stirling family line was cursed and that as long as a Stirling was on the throne, the Vormundists would never be safe and peace was impossible. They gained notoriety when a few of their members managed to assassinate King Tristan.
Aldous' wife Laura was a member of the Zosimus family. Her father Gavin Zosimus was one of Vormund's original followers who managed to escape persecution due to his vast wealth and influence. Laura's faith was believed to be the inspiration for her efforts to end the disastrous Fifth Exekian War.
Vormund was born a commoner of unknown parentage. In adulthood he was a migrant worker, traveling constantly and working odd jobs as an unskilled laborer. He never married and had no children.
At the age of thirty five, he began experiencing divine visions in which the god Akhen ordered him to preach a new faith of peace, compassion, and love for all creatures. Vormund initially ignored the visions, believing the people would not accept such teachings. The visions persisted, becoming more vivid and frequent, until Vormund was no longer able to work. He fled into the wilderness, where he claimed to feel the presence of Akhen. The encounter left him visibly aged, but he still retained his youthful health and strength.
While he was ridiculed at first by the crowds he ministered to, a few humans began to follow him. Eventually a small group of his followers began living with him in a cave near the river Antoi.