How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Eberron
During the Age of Demons, the couatl and dragon races searched endlessly for a means to overcome the rakshasa rajahs. Upon discovering the Draconic Prophecy, they began to see the lines of fate traced through the cosmos. Very quickly, the couatls saw that their role was coming to an end. The Prophecy spoke of a great sacrifice that would bind the demon lords indefinitely, and described this sacrifice as a “flash of light and song.” Couatls are radiant creatures, and their songs are the things of legends. The message was clear. With arcane assistance from the dragons, the couatl sacrificed themselves, creating a single energy that bound the demons to Khyber. This force became the Silver Flame.
In 299 YK, this power entered the lives of humanity in the nation of Thrane. Tira Miron was a paladin of Dol Arrah received a vision of demonic power in the west hills of the country, and rallied forces to meet it. After defeating local worshippers, she faced the ancient and powerful demon, but a couatl interceded. Tira watched as they struggled, and slowly, the demon was winning, but before it could deal the final blow, Tira leapt into the flame of the battle, merging with the couatl. All three disappeared into the flame, which suddenly turned silver. The flame persisted, and on that site, Flamekeep was built.
Worshippers came from far and wide, drawn by the story and visions of the silver feather serpent. Over the hundred years proceeding, the new faith became the dominant one in Thrane, and today, this power is worshipped by the followers of the Church of the Silver Flame, lead by Jaela Daran, the current Keeper of the Flame, and the Diet of Cardinals.
- There is one central tenet to the faith: the Tenet of Purity. “Burn the corruption and taint of evil from all Eberron. Other gods have begun the Creation, but it is the Silver Flame, by searing wickedness and darkness from their imperfect world, that must complete it.”
- Simply put, although the faithful acknowledge the other gods at work, they believe the Silver Flame is the one and only force that will destroy evil and make Eberron a paradise. Flame followers work to support the creation of good and the destruction of evil.
- While all evil must eventually be destroyed, the most pressing and dangerous evils must be addressed first, starting at alien evils like the daelkyr and rakshasa, moving down unnatural evils like the undead and lycanthropes, evil in groups like races associated with evil (medusas, illithids, etc.), chosen evil (evil choices by regular races), and the evil within every good heart.
- Death and the Afterlife: Unlike the bleak grey of the Host’s Dolurrh, the Purified believe in an afterlife where they join the Flame, adding to its power. The soul is not a piece of the original divine power of the universe, but a new addition every time someone is born. For this reason, Purified magicians rarely perform resurrection spells, because the action would prevent a person from entering paradise, traumatising the soul, as well as taking potential power away from the Flame.
- The Church claims nine events as the promises and miracles of the Flame, called the Nine Promises:
- Bringing light to the world
- Imprisoning demons
- Offering an afterlife beyond Dolurrh
- Granting some faithful magic power
- Bonding with Tira Miron
- Transforming Thrane into a holy nation
- Victory over the lycanthropes
- Victory in the Last War
- The end of evil and the creation of a better world to come
- Becoming a priest in the Church begins by assisting a current priest. the acolyte, after an appropriate period, petitions to be admitted to a seminary, the greatest being the Psalm of the Flame seminary in Flamekeep. The application process includes a rigorous probing of their values, past, and understanding of good in the context of their faith. The seminary term is at least four years, with a written test each of the first three, and then a real-world application of church teachings on the fourth. Retaking the fourth year has no great stigma, but any true moral failing will usually be revealed during that test.
- The Church is divided into three orders and the Council of Cardinals, technically equal (though the Council has the real power).
- The Order of Friars contains all the priests without a permanent church, namely missionaries, monks in monasteries, and pilgrims.
- The Order of Ministers contains all the priests who minister to communities, namely your average local priest, as well as the functionaries of the overall church, such as researchers and military chaplains.
- The Order of Templars contains all the priests who work actively to destroy evil in the world, including clerics, paladins, and combat monks. They also make up most of the Thrane military leadership.
- After ministering as a member of one these three orders, a priest can ascend to the position of Bishop, the administrative head of a city or spread-out region. A step above this is Archbishop, who oversees bishops, and a select few archbishop are nominated to the Council of Cardinals.
- Adherents of the faith call themselves the Purified. The symbol of the faith is a small flame, either colored silver or etched into a silver object, the most common of which is a spearhead or arrowhead, common weapons in the Thrane military.
- Priests in the Flame perform all of the same mundane tasks that Host and Vol priests do, such as leading prayer, mediating community conflict, and performing blessing rituals. The main difference is the Flame’s strong emphasis on evangelism. Purified clergy are expected to regularly go into the community to find non-believers and proselytize. A very basic vocabulary of draconic is also part of the priest’s repetoire, as it is the most holy language in the faith.
- Prayers come from a martial tradition, and include flame and light imagery, as well as calls for justice. While prayer is a common part of a Purified’s life, action is considered much more important. Minor rites include silver dust and Flame symbolism, including funerals, tending to the sick, and praying for the souls of dead adversaries. Everyday is also marked by three Masses of Cleansing Fire, an hourlong gathering to pray and celebrate.
- Each week begins with the Day of Cleansing Fire, a sabbath day of rest, fasting, and prayer, where little work is done and commerce is unofficially forbidden. The Nine Promises are recited and contemplated throughout the day. Weddings are usually celebrated on this day.
- Several Flame holidays are celebrated through Khorvaire, but a few are only publicly celebrated in Thrane:
- 14-Rebirth Eve: This winter solstice marks a the end of long nights, and the renewal of the year in the light of the Flame.
- 18-Bright Souls’ Day: This day without mundane or magical illumination commemorates the end of winter and the symbolic release of mourning for loved ones lost over the past year.
- 11-Initiation Day: The anniversary of the first priesthood that declared itself separate from the Host clergy. Church groundbreakings and seminary graduations are usually on this date.
- 6-Baker’s Night: This day of sweets and pastries has no clear religious connection, but is celebrated by the less puritan Purified every year, especially for their children.
- 9-Victory Day: The anniversary of the conclusion of the Silver Purge of lyncathropes across Khorvaire, with re-enactments of great battles.
- 25-Saint Valtros’ Day: A holiday commemorating the first paladin called to the Silver Flame (as opposed to paladins converted from another faith).
- In the face of near racial hegemony in Thrane, the Chalice of Blood works to promote non-human interests within the chruch and government, sometimes promoting worthy candidates, though rumors point to attacks on the most blatant human racists.
- Although the Church would deny it, the Ghaash’kala in the Demon Wastes clearly worship the Silver Flame, but outside the church’s control or dogma.
- Any group advocating holy crusades or reigniting war can usually tied back to the Knights Militant, a sect driven to bring the Flame’s light to the world by force. Their members sometimes overlap with the Puritans and Torchbearers, but their main goal is to use war as a tool to empower the Flame.
- The Order of the Radiant Flame is a peaceful sect which aims to encourage contemplation and meditation on the Flame and its virtues. Although monks make up a majority of this sect, it has members in every avenue of Thrane life.
- Puritans are the most vocal sect, advocating a much more fundamentalist approach to scripture. Their right-wing politics are a constant catalyst in Thrane politics, though they are a minority.
- The Silver Torch advocates the turning, punishing, and/or destruction of non-believers, making the most extreme public face of the Flame. They are often linked to lynch mobs or witch hunts that occur on a semi-regular basis. Their leadership keeps their identity secret, but most citizens suspect they are a few Torchbearers on the Diet.
- While all Purified follow Jaela Daran’s guidance, there are those who believe every word she says is sacrosanct and direct from the Flame. They call themselves the Voice of the Silver Flame, and are not taken very seriously, especially by the Diet.
- One of the most heretical and hunted sects are those of the Whispering Flame. Unlike most Thrane, the followers of the Whispering Flame believe the power in the mystical fire in Flamekeep is not from the sacrifice of the couatl, but derived from Bel Shalor, the demon bound under the cathedral, who they call the “whisper inside the Flame.” Captured cultists deny ever working with others, claiming “holy” visions directed them individually.