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 human prophet Vor during the reign of King Tristan Stirling, the faith revolves around pacifism, peace, and tolerance. While he did not proclaim himself to be divine, Vor did claim to be the "mouthpiece of Akhen" and warned mankind to make peace with other species (specifically the Exekians) or face chaos.
Vor originally had only nine followers, the last of which was Kemet, the sole Exekian among them. They all lived together in a cave a few miles south of Bodai. The site of the commune now features the Temple of Vor.
The religion became popular among disillusioned soldiers, widows, and orphans who were tired of the constant, costly wars with the Exekians. Rumors spread that Vor was a madman imposing his own sense of justice on his ignorant disciples. Vor was arrested, put on trial for heresy, obstruction of the law, and treason, and sentenced to be beheaded. Rather than deter them, his followers began to grow at an even more rapid rate after his death, eventually becoming known as "Vormunds".
The Vormunds split over the issue of how to deal with the persecution they faced from the king. A Vormund terrorist group known as the Insurrection developed not long after the death of Vor, founded by one of his original followers, Rolfe. They believed the Stirling family line was cursed and that as long as a Stirling was on the throne, the Vormunds would never be safe and peace was impossible. The Insurrectionists gained notoriety when a few of their members managed to assassinate King Tristan.
Aldous' wife Laura was a member of the Zosimus family, Vormunds who had managed to escape persecution due to their vast wealth and influence. Her faith was believed to be the inspiration for her efforts to end the disastrous Fifth Exekian War.
Vor was born a commoner of unknown parentage in a small northern village. 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. Vor initially ignored the visions, believing the people would not accept such teachings. The visions persisted, becoming more vivid and frequent, until Vor 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 numbering nine in total, Vor's followers lived with him in a cave near the river Antoi.
The madman and murderer Daniel came across Vor in the wilderness, and according to him the encounter cured him of his insanity, but Rolfe, a deputy in pursuit of Daniel, claimed to have been the first true disciple. Sofia Belgrade, a pregnant prostitute, was taken in by Vor early on; he delivered her son, whom she named Vormundus in his honor. Heather Babbitt, a widow, followed Vor out of grief, as her father, husband, and sons had all perished in the wars with the Exekians. Athanasi, a bard, appeared at the cave one night for reasons unknown and would play his guitar in accompaniment to their singing. Joshua Merriman, a stonecutter, and his daughter Lilia were likewise inspired; they created elaborate carvings in the cave walls honoring Akhen. Lord Gavin Zosimus, then only a teenager, was disillusioned with the life of a wealthy nobleman he had been born into and was moved by Vor's message.
The ninth and final disciple was an Exekian called Kemet whom Vor found bleeding to death in the woods. His hand had been cut off for the crime of stealing food from a farmer. Vor carried the Exekian back to the cave, where he was cared for by the community and eventually converted.