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The Church of Ilmater (pronounced "Ihl-MAY-ter" or "ill-may-ter") was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of Ilmater, the Crying God. The clergy dedicated themselves to providing healing and succor to all in need, whatever the cost to themselves, as they believed life was sacred and that suffering to preserve it was holy. Misunderstood and scorned by those hard of heart, the Ilmatari were yet loved and relied upon by multitudes of ordinary folk, and so the church had the widest and most faithful following in all Faerûn.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

DogmaEdit

BeliefsEdit

Followers of Ilmater were taught to help all who suffered, without regard for who they were or how they suffered. They were to heal and treat the wounded and the sick and give comfort to the dying. They also had to give kind counseling to those grieving or depressed, lonely or lost, and give shelter and alms to those who'd lost everything. They did what had to be done when no one else would. Thus a typical follower of Ilmater was generous and sharing, giving all they could to the poor, and they placed others before themselves.[3][4][5][6]

To the Ilmatari, life was sacred and suffering was holy.[4] They were to carry the burdens and pains of others, and were taught that the truly holy took on another's suffering. They were instructed to endure and persevere against hardship and pain, and believed that if they suffered in the name of Ilmater, then he would be there to support them.[4][5][6] Although many outsiders saw them as willing sufferers or they appeared reckless in their quests to do good, they simply cared about everyone, often without regard for their own safety. However, they did concentrate more on healing and aid efforts.[3][4]

Worshipers of Ilmater also believed that all injustices should be challenged and that they should defend and aid the causes of the oppressed and unjustly treated. They were to act for and defend those who could not do so themselves. They were to stand up to every bully and tyrant, and resist them in any way, both small and great. Ilmatari were encouraged to hold to their principles and keep to their causes if they were right and just, no matter the risk and to be fearless about it. Consequently, they believed that a death with meaning was not shameful.[4][5][6]

They advocated the spiritualism of life over materialism and the physical body. If they dedicated themselves to the service of Ilmater, they believed, then he would provide for them. They left the pursuit of wealth and luxuries to others, and sought only medicines and alms.[3][4][5][6]

There were regional variations to Ilmatari doctrine. In Tethyr, they held the standard view that Ilmater promised freedom from bondage and slavery. In Calimshan, however, it was claimed that Ilmater would remove a person's pain if their labors led them toward the Calishite ideal of a life of idleness.[8]

AttitudesEdit

The Ilmatari were often the most caring and sensitive of people.[4][5] They were also the most forgiving, known for accepting past enemies and endeavoring to repair past grievances.[9]

New initiates were often overcome by the suffering they witnessed as part of their work, and were driven to tears. Worn down, they could develop a cynical attitude towards life, but most persevered nonetheless, even when faced with hopeless causes. They simply had to help.[4][5] Thus cynicism and dark humor were not uncommon among the Ilmatari, but this was accepted by the faith. For such believers, "Today is the first day in what's left of your life," fitted well into Ilmater's dogma, with the addition of "So live it well."[3][4]

They did not believe in impeding the desires of others, nor did they judge them, even when those desires conflicted with their own duty to alleviate suffering and provide healing. For example, an Ilmatari would not stop an injured warrior from charging back into battle, seeking death in combat. Instead, they healed them enough to move and fight, and let them choose their own fate.[4][6]

SayingsEdit

There were a few sayings used by the faithful:

ActivitiesEdit

Alleviator

An alleviator consoles a distressed woman.

The Ilmatari dedicated themselves to helping and healing the sick and injured, the oppressed, the deceased, and the poor.[3][4] They provided healing, care, and treatment for those who suffered injuries or disease. Ilmatari also shared what they had with the needy, by donating food, drink, and firewood to the impoverished and starving, and providing shelter for the homeless. They offered moral support and counseling to those who needed it, and spoke up for the persecuted. In addition, they served as guides for those who'd become lost and buried the deceased. To fund their work, they toured the wealthy areas of towns and cities seeking donations to help cover the costs of the church.[4][6]

However, their primary focus was on healing injury and disease and they were known as some of the best healers in the Realms. They operated the greatest number, the largest, and best quality infirmaries and leper sanctuaries of any church. The Ilmatari were trained from the time they were initiated in the skills of healing and herbalism, learning to recognize and treat every injury, known disease, and other ailments. Senior clerics cast programmed illusions that demonstrated a variety of injuries and diseases so that junior priests could learn to accurately diagnose them.[4] They continually gathered herbs and prepared medicines to be ready for future need.[4][6] Many priests were also able to brew their own potions to sell and spread their healing further.[5][6]

The Ilmatari went where they were needed to reduce suffering, and so were often found in some of the worst possible conditions, areas stricken with poverty, plague, or warfare.[3][4][5] If war was impending, then the Ilmatari would gather supplies in order to treat the dying and wounded, with litters, tents, bandages, splints, healing potions, and shovels by the wagon-load, and the Ilmatari would flock to the battle.[4][6]

They also joined adventuring groups, where they were often the ones who took all the risks to save people in danger or perform other acts of heroism, putting the needs of others above their own, to the exclusion of their personal safety.[3][4] A few Ilmatari, on the other hand, went into seclusion as hermits in harsh wildernesses, such as on the island of Falconsrise.[10]

Although Ilmatari monks were commonly based in abbeys and monasteries away from the temples, some monks did reside in the temples. There they served as teachers of specialist knowledge, educating other Ilmatari, or they were defenders, using their martial arts to protect the temple and those who dwelled there.[4][6]

In those lands where orphans and unwanted babes were left at churches and monasteries, those of Ilmater were a popular choice. The priests and monks did their best to raise these children, and they grew up within the faith, sometimes adopting their views.[11]

OrganizationEdit

InitiationEdit

Initiation into the clergy of Ilmater was uncomplicated. A novice expressing an interest in joining went on a simple walk with a senior priest who, as they talked, explored that individual's views on life. Then they dined, and the novice was given wine that induced a slight trance so that their mind could be examined with magic. This was done with the full knowledge of the novice, and performed by various other clerics or wizards sympathetic to the Ilmatari. They closely examined their loyalties, goals, and true feelings and determined if any deception had occurred, or whether the novice was genuinely suitable for the faith. This practice was introduced to prevent false applicants from joining simply to learn the church's healing knowledge and steal their medicines, as had happened often in the church's early history. Deceit, a devotion to evil, or loyalties to another faith or to a secular organization or authority disqualified the applicant.

If found genuine, then the novice was accepted as a full member of the clergy. They were dressed in the simple gray robes and pronounced one of the Adorned.[4]

TitlesEdit

Adhan el Ilmater

A Revered Father of the House, Adhan el Ilmater.

The clergy of Ilmater were known collectively as "Ilmatari", which was also the adjective for the faith.[4][6][12] Other terms in use were "Ilmateran",[13] "Ilmatran",[14] and "Ilmat".[15][note 1] Ilmatari could also call themselves "Sufferers".[10]

Monks, clerics, and specialty priests in the Ilmatari faith were known as the Adorned.[4][6] Specialty priests of Ilmater were simply called "clerics" around 1358 DR,[2] but were known as painbearers by 1369 DR.[4] By 1479 DR, all priests of Ilmater were called "painbearers".[12]

The clergy referred to each other as "Brother" or "Sister". Senior clergy were called "Revered", such as "Revered Sister". Those who were leaders of temples, monasteries, and abbeys were addressed as "Mother" or "Father", and "of the House" was added to their title, such as "Revered Father of the House". No other titles were commonly used. The greatest of the faith were called "Saint", and often bore a unique title.[4]

Individual titles for important clergy were in use through the history of the church, such as "Archsufferer", "Exalted Sufferer", "Master Sufferer", and "Enduring Servant".[10][16]

HierarchyEdit

The Adorned had a fairly loose and informal hierarchy, organized around the Revered Father or Mother of the nearest large temple, monastery, or abbey. All Ilmatari in the region reported to this person, and were loosely ranked under them. The abbeys and monasteries, though usually located separately from the churches, were often linked to a specific temple, adding an extra level in this hierarchy.[4][6]

There was no overall leader of the faith or a governing council. Instead, a collection of senior clergy met on occasion in informal conclaves to make decisions.[6]

One line of clergy were the Sage-Priests. The senior Sage-Priest was the official historian of the church, and they adopted individual titles such as the Spontaer and the Keeper of the Old Faith.[10]

Saints & martyrsEdit

For a full list, see Category:Saints of Ilmater.
MartyredChampion

A martyred champion resists a whip.

The faith of Ilmater had many saints, unlike most other faiths of the Faerûnian pantheon.[4][5] Thanks to its practices and tenets, the Church of Ilmater produced a high number of martyrs and saints. It was the only faith to have a saint known as "the Twice-Martyred". Many Ilmatari hoped to follow this path, and the martyrs were highly revered, even venerated.[17]

As such, martyred champions—those who'd sacrificed themselves and returned to life—lay outside the church hierarchy, operating as free agents. Such people were heroes of the struggle against evil and suffering, and they were completely devoted to Ilmater's teachings.[17]

Notable saints included:

OrdersEdit

The Church of Ilmater included several affiliated knightly orders consisting of paladins and other warriors, as well as numerous monastic orders of monks. Most Ilmatari monastic orders had a symbolic flower that had a particular importance to them. Traditionally, this flower formed the name of their respective monastery, but this was not a rule.[4][6]

Priestly ordersEdit

  • Alleviators: A faction that focused on teaching people to cope with and endure pain and suffering.[18]

Knightly ordersEdit

Glory of the martyr

A paladin of Ilmater casting a spell in the midst of battle.

Monastic ordersEdit

Other ordersEdit

Cults & heresiesEdit

RitualsEdit

Clerics of Ilmater prayed for their divine magic once per day, in the morning,[5][6] following a period of meditation.[25] They ritualistically prayed to their god six times a day or more, every single day.[4][5][6]

The clergy observed no annual holy days and celebrated no regular festivities. However, an Adorned could make a Plea of Rest to Ilmater requesting a special dispensation for time off. The Rest was a tenday during which time they were freed from the rules laid out by Ilmater's faith. This was normally called for if the Adorned was emotionally exhausted by their work, but some exploited the time to perform deeds that Ilmater would normally disapprove of. Some church leaders depended on this tradition, using the Rest to send their best fighting or adventuring clergy out to perform deeds they could not normally do, such as covertly bringing down a tyrant instead of making an open confrontation.[4][5][6]

Clerics of Ilmater were duty-bound to convince the dying to pray to Ilmater, in a ritual of the highest importance called the Turning. If a dying person turned to Ilmater, praying for his comfort, then they would receive his blessing before they died. However, this did not change their patron deity or alter their destiny in the afterlife. Even in death, it was believed Ilmater's healing powers grew with greater veneration.[4][6]

A Suffering was a special occasion in which a priest of Ilmater willingly endured some manner of torment. From their First Suffering, an Ilmatari could go through a number of Sufferings in their life-time. For example, soon after becoming leader of the House of the Broken God, Althea the Abased underwent her First Suffering, in which she had herself bound to a rack and dragged by mules as she visited temples and shrines of Ilmater all along the Sword Coast. Whenever the mules were rested, she was beaten once and hard with a consecrated threshing flail by a non-believer.[10]

Priests of Ilmater reportedly regularly engaged in self-flagellation around 1362 DR, though this was typically a minor ritual. This and other similar rites were never intended to have any serious consequences or injury.[26]

An Ilmatran wedding ceremony emphasized that both partners would support each other through any hardship they might face.[14]

TacticsEdit

Clerics of Ilmater were able to turn undead like many other good and non-evil clerics.[4]

ClassesEdit

The Church of Ilmater commonly included among its ranks clerics, specialty priests known as "painbearers", monks, and paladins.[4][6]

A variant path of the cleric was that of the alleviator, followed by a faction of priests who focused on teaching others to cope with and endure their pain and suffering.[18]

Naturally, the church also included healers, divine spellcasters dedicated to healing magic. Ilmatari healers were, by and large, utterly dedicated ascetics, even more so than the traditional clerics and paladins. They almost never refused to help or heal a person, no matter now evil or tyrannical they or their kind were. However, this did not mean that they supported their views or deeds.[27]

The Broken Ones monastic order numbered swordsages as well as monks among its ranks. These swordsages performed good deeds and righted bad ones, but they were also ascetics detached from the world, without zeal.[28]

Paladins of Ilmater dedicated themselves to defending the helpless and using their gifts to heal anyone in need. They preferred to stop and help someone in dire peril rather than pursue the wicked and leave that person to die. Otherwise, they were ready to battle evil. Regular paladins cross-trained freely as clerics, divine champions, divine disciples, and hierophants.[29]

Crusaders of Ilmater were brave and fearless warriors, and staunch zealots of the faith. They were immune to magic that instilled fear, and were able to remove fear from their allies. They could not turn undead.[28][30]

The most prestigious and exalted agents of the church were the martyred champions of Ilmater, faithful who'd sacrificed themselves in accordance with Ilmater's teachings and returned to life to continue along the same path. They could arise from any branch of the Ilmatari, and could continue in the same vein, with added focus on resistance to suffering.[17]

BasesEdit

Temples & monasteriesEdit

The Ilmatari established their churches where they were most needed, in areas stricken with poverty or oppression.[3][4] Those outside the Church of Ilmater considered this to be a strategic positioning that guaranteed that the Ilmatari would themselves be persecuted for their deeds, such as in Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep.[2][4]

Temples to Ilmater were often located on well-traveled routes through the wilderness, where they could serve as waystations for tired travelers. They were usually named after Ilmatari saints. Many were built like manor houses, surrounded by protective walls and containing a chapel, a chapter house, a stable, and garden. It was common for these temples to contain an area for treating the sick and injured. They could also include a library and quarters for monks or barracks for a knight order.[6] A temple to Ilmater was typically a simple and undecorated structure.[31]

By tradition, though not by rule, many Ilmatari monasteries were named for a flower that symbolized something important to the order.[4][6]

RegionsEdit

In Calimshan, Ilmater was one of the most popular gods among the lower classes and slaves. Thus, almost every settlement had a shrine to Ilmater, whether formal or homemade, and a great many Ilmatari hostels, abbeys, and seminaries lay across the countryside outside the cities.[32] However, Calishite attitudes toward the ill and deformed meant that temples were not permitted within many of their cities.[4]

The faith was also quite popular in neighboring Tethyr, which had a long history of suffering under the yoke of tyrants or at the mercy of the forces of nature, and which left their mark on the national character.[33] The church worked to aid the people during the political upheavals of the 14th century DR, and so grew in importance. There were ten cloisters throughout the realm, placed such that one of the faith could travel from one to the next in a day's ride.[34]

The hardy Damaran people of the harsh and war-torn land of Damara and the neighboring kingdom of Impiltur particularly venerated Ilmater, as well as his champion, St. Sollars. Ilmater was central to both cultures, and most Damarans regularly offered a prayer to the Crying God or one of his saints. These lands were home to several Ilmatari orders, temples, and monasteries, and often ruled by paladin-kings of Ilmater, which made the Church of Ilmater the state church of both realms. Damaran Ilmatari used the bloodstained rack symbol of Ilmater or the yellow rose of St. Sollars.[8][13][35][36]

In Thay, the slaves and downtrodden lower classes actively worshipped the One Who Endures in a communal manner, hoping that their suffering under the Red Wizards would one day be rewarded. The wizards themselves suspected the priests of helping slaves escape and healing victims of state torture. Though there were no temples, there were number of shrines, mostly mobile, and the highest priest was a runaway slave who remained always on the move.[37][38]

As far away as Semphar, Caliph Abu Bakr persecuted the followers of "Il-mater", fearing the faith could rally oppressed peoples against his rule.[39]

On the Great Glacier, the Iulutiun people knew Ilmater as Ayuruk and the Angulutiun people knew him as Itishikopak. Like most priests there, they were considered eccentrics by the wider community, and were scattered and few.[40]

Even in the lightless Underdark there was the School of the Penitents, consisting of small groups of Ilmatari who chose to spread their faith to the subterranean world. From their enclaves, they gave aid to those who came to them.[23]

Notable locationsEdit

The greatest center of Ilmater's worship was the House of the Broken God, located in the center of Keltar, Calimshan. The huge monastery also formed the largest hospital in Faerûn, with a leper house, a sanitarium, and a temple farm. It was also the biggest center for the manufacture of medicines.[4][8] Another major temple was the House of Holy Suffering in Mussum in the Vilhon Reach.[10]

The Cloister of St. Uzurr dominated the city of Uzurr in Lapaliiya, and the Abbot of the temple also ruled the city. Uzurr took Ilmater as its civic deity.[21] Holy High Carathryn was another Ilmatari town that once stood on the Dragonstail peninsula of Tethyr, though it sunk beneath the waves in the Year of the Talking Spiders, 1132 DR.[10]

The End's Rest was a college for healers located in Heliogabalus, Damara, and managed by Ilmatari. These healers tended to the city's defenders, including paladins and recruits, as well as the sick and injured of the community and pregnant women.[27]

The Towers of Willful Suffering, a temple and abbey in the eastern Amnian city of Eshpurta, was notable just because it existed in a country that looked down on the faith as being of Tethyrian influence.[41][42]

SymbolEdit

Symbol of Ilmater

An iconic holy symbol of Ilmater.

The symbol of the church was the holy symbol of Ilmater. Originally this was a blood-stained rack, such as used to torture a victim by stretching. This remained in use until the mid–14th century DR. However, by 1356 DR, a new symbol had entered common usage: a pair of white hands crossed and bound at the wrist with a blood-red cord. After the Godswar of 1358 DR, this was used nearly exclusively. This newer and less gruesome symbol increased Ilmater's popularity across Faerûn.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The colors of the church, like those of the god, were gray and red.[43]

Equipment, spells, and relicsEdit

DressEdit

Priest of Ilmater

A priest of Ilmater wearing gray vestments and tabard, a red skullcap, a holy symbol of Ilmater on his chest, and a healer's kit at his belt.

For ceremonial occasions, the Ilmatari wore plain, solid gray vestments of tunics, trousers, and tabard, or robes. They also wore skullcaps, which were gray for ordinary clergy and blood-red for senior clergy, while unadorned novices wore none. The holy symbol of Ilmater was worn on a chain around the neck or as a badge pinned over the heart. Some older members of the clergy had a gray teardrop tattooed beside one eye.[2][3][4][6]

When out in the field or on missions, Ilmatari wore whatever was appropriate to the activity and the environment. However, over their clothes or armor, they often wore gray tabards with the holy symbol stitched over the chest by the left shoulder.[4]

Attending clerics during a battle were recognized by the coarse furred shirts they wore.[44]

EquipmentEdit

When out and about, Ilmatari always had their holy symbols about them, and carried a healer's kit containing bandages, medicines, splints and so on.[4]

In addition to typical priestly weapons, clerics of Ilmater could learn to fight with their bare hands (as favored by Ilmater),[2][4][6] or with a scourge.[2][4] The heavy aspergillum was a weapon unique to the Ilmatari of Impiltur.[13]

Magic itemsEdit

A faith token of Ilmater could produce a cure minor wounds orison twice a day, usually with the command words "Ilmater protect me".[45]

A hair shirt of Ilmater, although uncomfortable, provided the wearer with some protection and allowed them to heal others.[46]

SpellsEdit

Several divine spells, prayers, and other forms of magic were closely linked to priests of Ilmater:

RelicsEdit

There were a number of holy books, weapons, and other items sacred to the Church, including:

Books
Weapons
Artifacts

RelationshipsEdit

Relations between the various branches of the Church of Ilmater and its hierarchy were very good.[2]

Just as the gods Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr were allied in the Triad, so too were their respective churches, forming an organized force dedicated to goodness, law, and order.[50] Followers and priests of each god willingly followed the Triad as a whole.[51]

The Church of Ilmater was among the most popular in Faerûn, and had the most dedicated faithful. The poor, sick, and tormented of the land relied upon the Ilmatari's aid efforts, and the common folk loved and respected them immensely. The Ilmatari in turn received a great deal of support in their work. People of almost every faith and creed donated generously to the Church of Ilmater, knowing that they could need the Ilmatari's help themselves one day.[4][6]

However, some people did not understand why followers of Ilmater chose to suffer as they did. They were often perceived as willing martyrs, masochists, and intentional sufferers, and they were mocked, pitied and scorned, to the point of ridicule by some.[3][4][5][6] Among traveling entertainers, a common character was "Ill-Mater", a clown in gray that was always being whacked, beaten, and pushed over for slapstick entertainment.[2] Those who despised weakness or held wildly different views (tyrants, brigands, and other villains, for example) did not understand why anybody would turn to Ilmater, and they saw the church as weak and foolish. Ilmatari were often killed by such people, but they severely underestimated their strength.[4][6]

They were especially despised by followers of Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain, for their opposing views and because they seemed almost resistant to the pains they inflicted,[52] keeping up their good spirits or growing increasingly passionate in their faith. At any opportunity, the Loviatans sought to hunt down, torment and kill the Ilmatari.[15]

Other faiths stood against the Ilmatari. The church of Bane had a particularly strong rivalry against the church of Ilmater, among others, taking great efforts to murder Ilmatari priests and leave their grisly remains to be discovered by innocents.[53]

The church of Ilmater opposed the Monks of the Long Death for their focus on inflicting pain and death, and ranked them just above the followers of Loviatar. They were also angered that people often mistook the Monks, disguised as beggars, for Broken Ones. The Monks, meanwhile, endeavored to teach Ilmatari their creed.[54]

The Ilmatari church was the one that most struggled against the Twisted Rune cabal, as the Rune was active in lands where Ilmater was heavily worshiped, namely Calimshan. The Church had plans to wipe out the Rune, and a young paladin of Ilmater once had a dreadful vision of the leading families of Calimshan controlled by the forces of the Rune.[55]

Many considered it a great wrong to harm these priests as they helped ease suffering. Even orcs and goblins held them in esteem for ministering to their fallen people and not just humans.[44]

HistoryEdit

Rise of the churchEdit

Ilmater was an older god[5][6] and obscure in the 3rd century before Dalereckoning, but he came to prominence during Tyr's Procession of Justice in the Vilhon Reach. Tyr's deeds and sacrifices caught the attention of Ilmater, who allied himself with the Just God in the Year of the Rack, –243 DR.[56][57]

In the Shoon Imperium (later the lands of Calimshan and Tethyr), Qysar Shoon II (ruled 75107 DR) brutally repressed all religion across the empire. This saw the Ilmatari particularly harshly treated.[58] Although the faith of Ilmater went underground in Tethyr, it was popular among both slaves and free folk.[59]

In the Year of Sparks Flying, 138 DR, the murderous Qysar Amahl Shoon IV blamed the followers of Ilmater for fires that swept through several cities of the empire (likely ignited by pyrotechnics for his own birthday celebrations), claiming that they burned and killed thousands of people to end their suffering. He ramped up the persecution of the Ilmatari.[58]

This magic I work is solely a binding spell that would enforce our will. Hereafter, none shall raise a hand against a servant of the Crying God save if the servant attacks first. Harming a true Ilmatari, one of the Adorned of the god, will see such harm visited a hundredfold upon thee and thine. This curse, as some of you already believe it, is but an enforcement of our will: Ilmater's children shall be safe, as he and his made mine.
  — Amahl Shoon V[58]

However, his brother and successor, Amahl Shoon V (ruled 142204 DR), personally put an end to the oppression. When his daughter fell from a horse and injured her head, and court healers pronounced she would die, Amahl Shoon V sought an Ilmatari hermit, dwelling in a tiny hut in the Forest of Mir by the shores of the River Agis. Fearing the earlier harassment if he went to Shoonach, the hermit asked for the girl to be brought to him and duly healed her. Enormously grateful, Amahl Shoon V told his people of the beneficence of Ilmater and his priests, and decreed that none should harm an Adorned servant of the Crying God unless they struck first, else the perpetrator would suffer the same hundredfold. Then he worked a mighty spell across the empire to enforce the decree. For his actions, in the centuries since, the church of Ilmater debated the issue of canonizing Amahl Shoon V as a saint, though without resolution.[58]

During the 3rd century DR, the number of evil artifacts created under the reign of Qysar Shoon IV of the Shoon Imperium, such as Jaralth, Kuraltaar, and Morthinmar, concerned the Church of Ilmater. The Ilmatari realized they needed more than just prayer in their struggle against evil in southwestern Faerûn. To this end, Archsufferer Irmakul "Bloodthews", Revered Brother Filithan, Exalted Servant Volshur the Crooked and many other senior priests enchanted the sword Dornavver at Allyn's Anvil on the night of the Feast of the Moon in the Year of the Wrath Sword, 275 DR. The sword was entrusted to the Holy Warriors of Suffering.[16]

After Impiltur was overrun by fiends, the churches of Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater launched the Triad Crusade against them in Year of the Twisted Horn, 729 DR. Knights of the three faiths from as far as Amn and Calimshan joined the crusade, and vanquished the demon horde after two years of fighting. These knights brought their faith, and their rule, to Impiltur.[60][61] Among them was the paladin Sarshel Elethlim, wielder of Dornavver, hero of the Fiend Wars and later king of Impiltur.[16]

The TormentEdit

The Ilmatari received another great artifact when the Tome of Torment appeared on the altar of Ilmater in the church town of Carathryn in Tethyr in the Year of the Vigilant Familiar, 848 DR, reputedly placed there by Ilmater himself. High Priest Ilnger Obskoth proclaimed it as "the hand of holy Ilmater made manifest among us", and it swiftly became the most venerated sacred object in Carathryn. The Tome saw extensive use around the southern Sword Coast for some three centuries, and became the holiest book in the Ilmatari faith, despite several thefts, the sinking of Carathryn in the Year of the Talking Spiders, 1132 DR, and spending time in the possession of a Loviatan priestess.[10]

The Tome of Torment eventually came into the possession of the House of Holy Suffering in Mussum after the Year of the Shattered Altar, 1264 DR. There, the Spontaer, then the senior Sage-Priest of the church, sacrificed himself to render the Tome usable only by priests of Ilmater. But despite his explicit request that the Tome of Torment be delivered to the House of the Broken God in Keltar, Calimshan, the greatest temple of Ilmater, Shrymaun Beldaerth, leader of the House of Holy Suffering, refused to relinquish the Tome. Bloirt Waelarn, leader of the Keltar house, declared all those of the "degenerate" Mussum house "heretics" and called for them to be cast out and treated as mentally ill.[10]

What followed was a holy war and a shameful chapter in Ilmatari history. A few ambitious minor priests joined Waelarn and together they journeyed to the Mussum house, intending to "cleanse the filth". The priests of Mussum recruited the Companions of the Noble Heart paladin order to their defense, and attacked Waelarn and his followers, who were labeled "false clerics" and "subverted by evil". An angry Waelarn summoned three other knightly orders—the Holy Warriors of Suffering, the Knights of the Bleeding Shield, and the Order of the Golden Cup—to his side and vowed holy war against the "unclean ones of Mussum" and their allies. The war saw the violent clashes of Holy Hill Farm in 1266 DR and Bronsheir's Charge and Weeping Rock in 1267 DR. Finally, Lord Sir Jargus Holenhond of the Golden Cup declared an end to the bloodshed between true believers, insisted that the Tome of Torment be transferred to Keltar as planned, and blamed Bloirt Waelarn for the senseless violence, determining that he should be removed from office and sent into hermitage for the remainder of his years. The weary paladins accepted and carried out his judgment.[10]

Althea the Abased succeeded Waelarn as leader of the House of the Broken God, and, seeing the carnage wrought by the fight for ownership of the Tome, declared that no high-ranking member of the church was worthy of it. Althea said that Ilmater had given them the Tome for the "low and truly needy" priests to "further the will and work of Ilmater in the wilderlands and perilous places of all Toril", and recruit non-believers to the faith of the Crying God. Althea selected Blaermon the Blessed, a knight of the Holy Warriors of Suffering, to take away the Tome of Torment to those "wild places" and bestow it upon the first "needy and worthy" Ilmatari he met, someone who worked or fought for the benefit of the common people and their faith, not merely for wealth and adventure. In the Year of the Daystars, 1268 DR, Blaermon gave the Tome to Flaergon of Glister, who devoted his efforts to assisting miners and caravan-workers in the frozen north of the Moonsea. When Flaergon died in the Year of the Claw, 1299 DR, his devoted companion Daern of Hawksroost took the Tome of Torment across all of Faerûn back to the House of the Broken God to return it to Althea. Daern's devotion so moved Althea that she named him an honorary Brother of the temple and the Ilmatari remembered him in the saying "long and strong as Daern's devotion".[10]

Modern historyEdit

Guth-and-Waelarn

Sir Guth battles Brother Waelarn for his crimes.

Daern became Althea's personal bodyguard and carer, and when she passed on in the Year of the Gate, 1341 DR, he was given a new role as Guardian of the Tome, defending the artifact he'd once traveled so far to deliver. But within a year, Daern was murdered by the returned Bloirt Waelarn, who stole the Tome and escaped, journeying toward Mussum. Waelarn was finally confronted by Sir Guth of the Order of the Golden Cup, who challenged him to single combat before their god. Waelarn accepted, and promptly used a cairn spell from the Tome to bury Guth, then dismembered him. But Ilmater caused Sir Guth to rise from his grave as an unrelenting zombie, which tracked the rogue priest across Sespech. Waelarn finally collapsed of exhaustion and the zombie Guth strangled him as he slept. Guth hid the Tome of Torment then constructed a funeral pyre for both Waelarn and himself.[10]

Aided by divine visions, a young preacher named Kortolt Rushtyn discovered the Tome and used it in his work outside Hlondeth, until he was murdered by bandits in the Year of the Boot, 1343 DR. The Graycloak's Wolves adventuring company was requested to transport the Tome to the well-respected Master Sufferer Olbedan. However, Graycloak's Wolves were all killed by doppelgangers and leucrotta preying on travellers, and the Tome thought lost in the winter snows. In fact, it eventually found its way to Crimmor in Amn, to the merchant Beguld Thormon—also a doppelganger, as Ilmatari investigators later found—then to a Thayan crime gang. An Ilmatari strike-force assaulted their house in Athkatla, destroying the house and pursuing and slaying the Thayan band through the streets. Before the close of the year, Enduring Servant Elisker Hagathan carried the Tome of Torment in triumph back to the House of the Broken God.[10]

The Tome remained at House of the Broken God for nearly twenty years, during which time it was occasionally loaned to Ilmatari priests embarking on dangerous missions and monster culls with the Holy Warriors of Suffering.[10]

During the Time of Troubles in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, the Ilmatari helped many people survive those turbulent times. This in turn increased people's generosity toward the Church of Ilmater.[4]

However, the reputation of the Church of Ilmater was damaged shortly after the Time of Troubles when the Cult of Shared Suffering, professing to be Ilmatari, began inflicting suffering (on others and themselves), engaging in kidnapping and rioting. The Ilmatari suspected that these cultists were under the influence of Beshaba, Cyric or Loviatar. The cult was mostly eliminated by 1369 DR, following a hostile reaction from authorities and the nobility.[2][4][24]

The Tome of Torment was stolen again in the Year of the Helm, 1362 DR, and remained lost. Recovering it became a mission for all followers of Ilmater, setting them on a vigorous search across the Realms, and their probing efforts provoked conflict with those who wished their privacy or had something else to hide. A 40,000-gp reward was offered for the return of the complete and undamaged Tome. At least twice, fraudsters delivered fake Tomes to the House of the Broken God, and were punished for their trickery. The whereabouts of the Tome of Torment were still unknown by 1370 DR.[10]

In 1362, five priests of Ilmater were studying at the Edificant Library in the Snowflake Mountains of Erlkazar when it was afflicted by the Chaos Curse, which drove everyone to obsession and excess. The five disemboweled themselves in order to experience extreme pain, and died.[26]

During the Sundering of the late 15th century DR, a Chosen of Ilmater began a passive slave revolt in Calimshan against their genie masters. During this time, he disappeared mysteriously. Though the overlords were cast down, it was only by bloody means. Many humans still longed for the return of Ilmater's Chosen so he could complete the country's transition to a better non-violent society.[62]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. The term "Ilmat" only appears in an entry for Loviatar, and so may be slang or derogatory.

AppearancesEdit

Video gamesEdit

BGII cover This section is about elements from the game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
Video games are considered canon unless they contradict content in some other Forgotten Realms publication.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a male cleric of Ilmater appears in two different temples of Ilmater in Athkatla, one located in Waukeen's Promenade and the other in the Slums. Although they are likely two different individuals, they have the same appearance and personality. Each is humble, compassionate, and working constantly to help the poor and insane in Athkatla. He declares that there is a great need for the Crying God's compassion in Athkatla.

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