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Vormundism is a fairly new religious group established in 162 AYZ by the self-proclaimed prophet Dagda Vormund. It is considered a branch of Akhenism.

Defined by its "traditionalist" dogma, adherents to the faith are dedicated to fulfilling the ancient laws established in The Holy Books, or Mandorlin, which they believe to be divinely inspired. Outsiders often see it as a reaction to the loosening hold of religion on Alucar society, as well as the decadence of the nobility, corruption of the state, and the commonfolk's growing obsession with sex.

While he did not proclaim himself to be divine, (and staunchly denied rumors he was the reincarnation of Edric) Vormund professed 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.

The religion became popular among disillusioned Akhenists and pacifists who were tired of the constant, costly wars with the Exekians. Many were drawn to Vormund's emphasis on peace, love, and brotherhood, as well as his upholding of the old laws and traditions.

Local commentators and the media were largely against the movement. They depicted Vormund was a madman imposing his own sense of justice on his ignorant disciples. Public opinion of Vormund and his "cult" was divided, with some seeing no harm in the religious "revival" he spread, and others feeling threatened by his conservatism.

Vormund's reputation was damaged when it was discovered one of his closest followers, Ethan, was in fact an infamous serial killer. Stricken with amnesia, Ethan had encountered Vormund early in the prophet's career; Vormund knew of Ethan's true identity, but chose to keep it a secret. Vormund even went so far as to adopt Ethan as his son, hoping he could reform the young man. However, Ethan gradually regained his memories and killed again. He was arrested for the murder of a prostitute in Hiberia, and Vormund was detained as an accomplice.

Word of this deception spread rapidly, and higher courts became involved. Vormund was put on trial for accessory after the fact, obstruction of the law, heresy, and treason; when he pleaded not guilty, he was tortured. Ethan was punished with similar beatings and lashings, before being hanged.

Vormund was also sentenced to death, but died in prison before his execution could be carried out. Rather than be deterred, 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.

During the War of Succession, Prince Claudius promised to end the persecution of the Vormundists, and as a result many Vormundists chose to follow him.

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.

History

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.

Cave

The entrance to the cave where the first Vormunds lived.