The Iron Lord
|Domain||Law, Order, Civilization, Strength, War|
|Ethos||Plan, Prepare, Study, Practice, Overcome, Dominate.|
|Typical Worshipers||Virtually all citizens in the Sybren Imperium, from peasants to the nobility.|
|Head of the Church||His Wrathful Presence, Rainar Dragorum|
|Demographics||95% Sybrenar, 5% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Worshipped primarily in the Sybren Imperium, but also in other areas of Aggradar to a lesser degree.|
|Holy Symbol||An iron mask.|
Guelrilath ("GOOL-ri-loth") is the god of the Sybrenar people. The Sybrenar see him as the master of their destiny, the architect of their civilization and the progenitor of their species. In all things, he is all powerful, all knowing and the penultimate being. He enforces law and order upon a world of chaos and disharmony. Through him, strength and perfection are brought to the Imperium.
Guelrilath is depicted as a tall humanoid figure dressed from head to foot in iron armor and wearing an iron mask. Because of this, he is often referred to as the “Iron Lord”. He is associated with the colors red and grey and with the red moon.
Myths and Legends
Guelrilath is one of the Ancients… the oldest gods of Aggradar. According to the teachings of this faith, the birth of the world was a time of chaos and war. Gods battled gods, angels fought with devils. The world shook with their fury. So too did armies of faithful clash in battle and sow the fields with their blood. Guelrilath slew many lesser godlings. Many fled in terror before the might of Guelrilath and now skulk in dark corners of the Universe. From the Chaos of those early times, Guelrilath brought forth adamant order.
When the battle fields at last fell silent, the Iron Lord gathered his most faithful and brought them to the lands of western Aggradar. These early followers became the Sybrenar. He taught them to cultivate the land, to build and to craft. And thus, the Imperium was born and civilization came into the world.
Overview of the Church
The church of Guelrilath is one of the major religions of Aggradar. It is tightly integrated into the culture and politics of the Sybren Imperium and he is their chief deity. The Sybrenar see Guelrilath has the penultimate model of their racial strength and individual moral values. He is not the maker of the world, but the master of it. He is not the father of the Sybrenar race, but does serve as an inspiration and example to which all Sybrenar aspire. The sybrenar work every day to please him and earn his blessing.
The Sybrenar Imperium is not a theocracy, but the faith and church is interwoven into the fabric of Sybrenar culture and the priests do hold considerable power within the realm. There is no doubt that the religion is deeply ingrained in custom and tradition here. Likewise, nobles, commanders and kings are not just political figures, but are also seen as spiritual leaders in a way. They are expected to lead by example. There is a belief that those who rule in the Imperium are granted their political authority by divine sanction.
Although the Sybrenar see Guelrilath as a complex god with many aspects, he is seen elsewhere primarily as war god. he is worshiped by professional soldiers, mercenaries and military officers throughout much of Aggradar.
The church of Sybrenar is strongest in the Imperium. Here, temples to Guelrilath are in every town and a shrine to Guelrilath can be found in every home. Smaller temples to the Iron Lord can be found in the Iron States and major cities in Aukaria and Magrakor.
History and Origins
Historical records speak of Gulrath, a god that was worshiped by craftsmen of the Tarzhen Legion of the Han Empire during the First Age. By the time the Kytohan Empire had risen to power, the worship of Gulrath had become transformed into the church of Gul’Rilth. He was seen as both a patron of blacksmiths and a warrior.
After the Sundering and the World Storm, there was much fighting. Leaderless armies, roving bands of mercenaries, bandits, monsters and more battled each other across the lands. It was a violent time with much bloodshed. Through the years, Gul’Rilth become a war god. Warriors prayed to him for protection on the battle field, to mend wounds, to strengthen the shield, to cast down an enemy and to find one’s way home.
The faith of Gul’Rilth was carried around the continent as soldiers travelled between battles and prisoners were transported. The strongest region of this faith was in western Aggradar where the fighting had been fiercest.
By the twenty second century, shifts in the language of Kytai had split into regional tongues. In Sybrenar, the name of the god shifted to Guel’rilath.
The church is focused on maintaining the “perfect” Imperium and expanding its order. Toward this end, the church advocates war with other realms, enslavement of non-Sybrenar species, exploration of the world and a continual expansion of the Imperium’s borders. This relentless expansion and conquest driven by the church has culminated in the Blood War, an ongoing conflict between the Sybren Imperium and its neighbors –primarily the Trossoli Dominion, the Iron States and Magrakor.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Temples of Guelrilath are impressive and ornate cathedrals of stone, decorated with a great deal of iron, brass, copper, silver and gold. Metal is considered holy in this religion , especially iron, and it is prominently displayed throughout the temple in both architectural flourishes, railings, statues and other objects of art. The most obvious example of this is the main altar, a massive and ornate table of iron and gold. A typical temple is home to a dozens of priests of various ranks and serves up to three hundred faithful.
Every sybrenar is raised with Guelrilath as a constant part of their education and culture.
Every follower of this religion carries a weapon at all times and this weapon is always made of iron or steel. This is know as their “unat” which translates literally as “second weapon”. The weapon is always kept close at hand. Most followers, especially craftsmen farmers and other non-soldiers, carry a simple knife or dagger as their unat. Professional soldiers, however, will make their main weapon their unat. Steel swords and iron hammers are particularly favored.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
Guelrilath is not allied with any other faith and many of the teachings of this church led the Sybrenar into conflict with other cultures and religions.
The faith of Guelrilath is many things. First and foremost, it is a faith of law and order. Disorder, anarchy, insanity, recklessness, idleness and laziness are all considered sins in this faith. One overcomes such things through cultivating a strong mental discipline. Will power is the most important tool in this internal battle. Followers are exhorted to live a clean, orderly and productive life.
Iron is valued both literally as Guelrilath is the patron of craftsmen, especially smiths, and also metaphorically as “iron will”. While a person’s sword or dagger is their “second weapon”, one’s personal resolve, or will power, is their first weapon. A common saying among the faithful is “my will is iron, my discipline, steel”.
Guelrilath teaches that one must always be prepared for that which one foresee’s and able to adapt to all else. One should always be in control of oneself, no matter the situation.
Guelrilath is indeed a war god. The faithful believe that every day, every challenge, every obstacle is a battle to be fought and overcame. Life is a war. The faithful are taught to ruthlessly take from life without mercy or hesitation. One’s moral code should be a guide, but never be a limitation. Mercy and compassion have their place, but the strong rule.
The tenets of the faith can be summed up as this: plan, prepare, study, practice, overcome, dominate.
The following laws apply to all faithful:
The holy book of Guelrilath consists of 12 chapters that outline the laws laid down by Guelrilath, the philosophies of the faith and the official history of the church.
Each temple has a single official copy of this book. A typical temple copy will be a huge and magnificent book bound between two ornate iron covers. The pages themselves are thin steel sheets with words and symbols inscribed by acid etching. For this reason, the book is known as the “Iron Codex”. A single temple copy is worth hundreds of gold pieces, but they are extremely heavy and difficult to carry or transport.
Each priest carries a parchment or vellum copy on their person and refers to it often for daily prayers , rituals and inspiration.
The symbol of the church is a stylized iron mask. It is believed that Guelrilath has no face, only an iron mask. The priests of this religion likewise wear iron masks for most ceremonies and rituals.
When the red moon is full, the faithful will gather. Sermons are given, stories are told and prayers offered up to the Iron Lord. During this ritual, the priests will perform the Kai Ju Mar. This is a mock reenactment of the many battles of the god war that shook the world in their first years. Many specific duels and battles are a part of the Kai Ju Mar. In this reenactment, Guelrilath is victorious over all other gods and, finally, he leds his people to a distant land and founds the Imperium, the first civilization.
During this monthly ritual, offerings are made. Valuable objects of crafted metal are typical. On special occasions, a prisoner or criminal will be sacrificed. Sacrificial victims are bound by iron chains, adorned with an iron mask and then impaled in the heart by an iron blade.
Every 38 days, the red moon Mektor is full and that night is considered holy. This is the night when the faithful gather.
The Iron Mask of Sidu Jelar. According to legend, Sidu Jelar was the first Sidu of the faith. The temple at Damogoth has held an ornate iron mask which the priests claim to be the one worn by Sidu Jelar. According to the legend, the mask was crafted by Guelrilath himself and given as a gift to Sidu Jelar. The mask is protected by guard, lock and spell in the deepest vault of the temple. It is purported to be ensorcelled with the most powerful magic.
The Staff of Bargreshukar is another potent item, crafted by a deeply pious Sybrenar wizard. This ornate seven foot staff is forged of many different metals. It was used by great warriors and priests during various battles centuries ago. It is said that he who holds the Iron Staff commands the power of Guelrilath and can not be killed by any mortal weapon.
Overview of the Clergy
Priests of Guelrilath are learned men and women, schooled in many subjects and skilled in a variety of weapons and fighting techniques. At higher ranks, they wear chest plates and iron masks and wield a variety of weapons.
Though skilled in martial warfare, they also wield potent magic which grows with their rank. The spells known to the priests of Guelrilath tend to have to do with: law, order, knowledge, combat and mental discipline. A number of spells also deal with metal. Their magic is particularly effective against chaos and disorder in all its forms.
The priesthood of the church of Guelrilath is divided into the following ranks:
The yudi are the lowest ranking members of the church. They are responsible for all the menial tasks of the temples. A single yudus (singular) may have to prepare meals, tend the stables, polish boots or run errands for any of his or her superiors. The yudi bear no armor or weapons and do not wear masks. They have no spell ability. After one to three years of faithful service, a yudi is promoted to the rank of gaith.
The gaith are the first tier of priests. These young priests spend a great deal of their time in study. They also serve their superiors in preparations for rituals, copying manuscripts, performing guard duty and a variety of other mundane tasks. They are taught in classes and begin to learn the inner mysteries of the faith as well as the foundation of the church’s magic. At first, a gaith’s spells are few and weak, but their magical skills grow with their years of service. A temple usually has several gaith in service but larger temples may have dozens. After several years of training, a gaith is promoted to the rank of oxar.
The Oxar serve as a variety of roles. Some serve as warrior monks, wielding iron armor and weapons in defense of the faith. These men and women go on missions for the church, escort dignitaries and stand watch over important rituals. Others serve as the spiritual leaders of smaller towns and villages, running smaller churches or serve the higher ranking officials at major temples. After many years of service, an oxar may be promoted to Kalduk.
The Kalduk are the high priests of this church. Most Kalduk have been in the church most of their lives and are grey bearded old men. Many of them rule over smaller temples and churches. Some lead large groups of oxar on important missions for the church.
The Sidu is the Archpriest, the leader of the faith. There is only one Sidu and he rules the great temple in the capital city of Damogoth.
In addition to worshipping Guelrilath, the Sybrenar practice a form of ancestor worship that is a part of the rank and title system used in the church. Certain priests of Guelrilath who do their duty very well and live pious lives are given the status of Vadak upon the death or posthumously and hence forth are worshiped. Vadak is seen as a “rank” that one can only achieve in death. Each vadak is responsible for a single element of life and is worshiped in that function. For instance, there is the Kronar the Vadak of Fighting Skill, Ixbolla the Vadak of Wealth, Shaharra the Vadak of Foresight, Brulltan the Vadak of Swords, Tanarra the Vadak of Mountain Climbing and so forth. There are hundreds of Vadak. Each is prayed to along with Guelrilath. Their names are written in the Iron Codex and they become part of the history and teachings of the Church.
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.