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The Book of Echoes is the holy book of Dorrod Muth, God of the Underworld. These pages present a sort of handbook for Loghec priests, explaining the proper process for funerary rites, funeral proceedings, and even the ritualistic fighting of the undead minions of Shol. Each priest was expected to carry their own copy of the book on them at all times, and to memorize the passages within. Even though Dorrod Muth is gone now, the Solemnus still mandates the same rules be followed, and the guidelines within the book continue to apply to Loghec society as much as ever.
Priests of the Patriarch of the House of the Dead, heed these words well. As you open this book, and fold back its pages, you not only unfurl the knowledge within them, but you also begin to unravel the mysteries that reside within your soul. Among the pages of this tome you will find many paths to Oleuct, calling for the righteous to walk in the steps of those before. Be warned: some roads through the darkness will be more trying than others. But as a true priest of Dorrod Muth, you know that the Long-Abiding is ever watchful, guiding you through the darkest abyss and awaiting you in the Hallowed future if you are true.
When the First Calling subjected each to their responsibilities, and the great Dragon spoke unto each of their new tasks, He rejoiced. For it was He who was most skilled in the ways of Death, and knowledgeable in the paths to the Underworld. As fragile mortal life has come and gone, even the mightiest man succumbs to Death, it was only He among the House of the Dead who has truly watched us in our passing. Ruling over life and Death, your Savior grants you safety, the beggar and the holy man alike, from the ravenous Mouth of the Void . The gnashing teeth are kept at bay only by Dorrod Muth’s fearful power, and you should take care never to forget this gift.
The code by which you must live numbers three parts, and none are to be measured against the other. Anglath Dew’th, Prid Leth and the Bedd Adin they are named, and the path to the Underworld requires each to exist in the heart of the solemn acolyte. Over the course of your enlightened life you will see many perish before your eyes; it is imperative to take care of all who would be stewarded beyond, as your Master has done, and to be his masterful hands upon this lowly mortal Plane. When the time for final passage is upon a soul, you must work quickly and diligently to ensure they are not lost to wander the Void forever, as our Master reaches to claim the Dead from us, and the Handmaiden seeks to guide them, but it is left unto you to prepare the soul for safe journey to Him. For those who fail, shall ensue His wrath.
Upon the eve of the Balanced Age, Char’ul stood by the shrine of the Hallowed One. Hands clasped together in prayer, he uttered unto the altar: “Oh Dorrod Muth, Long-Abiding, guide my actions in consoling the grief-stricken, and those who have passed from this life! Let it be that I would assist in their transition, as you would!“ And with those words, the undergrowth of the thickened wood began to crawl upon the wall before Char'ul, weaving bold calligraphy from nothingness. A gift from the Long-Abiding, the Anglath Dew'th, appeared before the humble priest, instructing him in the ways of Dorrod Muth. Meticulously were the words documented, upon a base piece of reed-paper, and it was upon this gracious day that the Triad of Teir Ts’uk began.
- Three acolytes of the House of the Dead must be present at the Anglath Dew’th, each representing the Patriarch, the Handmaiden, and the Mouth of the Void.
- Prepare the vessel in a dignified manner, as they would have themselves before their last breath. As humanity is brave in life, so too must it be emboldened for the journey ahead.
- The priest of Dorrod Muth must lay earth upon the forehead of the deceased, and then wash it away, breaking the mortal bonds of the soul.
- The deceased must be placed below the earth, preferably in a catacomb; the conduits to the Underworld, as created by Dorrod Muth in his domain.
- It is important to remain somber whilst preparing or enacting the Anglath Dew'th. Though the soul will not see your presence, you will be sensed in your care; show respect for the life that is sent to your Master.
The first priest came to sit beside Dorrod Muth. And so it was that the Triad began.
A blind beggar there once was, named Feindall. He would sit at the gate to the shrine of the Long-Abiding in the depths of the Teeth of Shol, tending to the garden there. Each evening he would lock the gates to the shrine, and upon sun's rise he would reopen them. More than one hundred years could be counted in Feindall's life, and in those many seasons not a single soul visited the shrine, and yet each day his duty was done without pause. One morning, as the day marked another year in the beggar's quiet life, a small white bird landed at the door to his humble cottage. The bird spoke unto him, bidding him journey to the Halls of the Hallowed One. Without questioning, Feindall locked the gates to the shrine one final time, and began his journey. Arduous it was for the elderly man, as he walked in the shadow of the Handmaiden, ignoring her gentle embrace at each turn. Mugged he was by his fellow man, and beaten, and spat upon, but he understood that his true journey's end would provide recompense for all grievances he had thus far suffered.
And so he traveled for seasons more until he reached the great shrine within the Halls. Neither majestic nor imposing was the site, but its significance was immeasurable. The great stone walls stretched from the catacombs below to the height of the mountain, a testament to our Master and Savior. A single soul inhabited the shrine; a tall, hooded man, shadowed in face but outstretched in arm. He spoke unto Fiendall: “Child of the Urth, though you cannot see, you can feel the measure of my words. Though you bear not the gift of sight, you bear the gift of devotion to the Hallowed One. Though you cannot witness, you can know unspoken truth.”
A surge of knowledge rushed through Fiendall, with every fibre in his mortal frame tingling with the Oleuct. Granted by Dorrod Muth himself, Fiendall summarized all that he now knew, all that he understood within his being, into rules known as the Prid Leth. They are the rules of life all priests must obey, each in his own turn, past and present.
- Show your devotion to Dorrod Muth thrice per day in prayer, and at every hour through action. You spread the power of the Hallowed One through your works.
- Benevolence is the key to Oleuct, both in life and at Death. All physical things turn to dust, but the soul endures for all time.
- You may not predict the future, but your actions decide it. Follow the path as Dorrod Muth has paved the way for you.
- Do not turn your mind from clarity while mourning the departed. Rejoice at their passing, as they do, for all come to meet their Master in time.
- Never lose your faith, even when the shroud night is darkest. The Patriarch will guard you.
In time, the second priest came to sit beside Dorrod Muth. Two thirds of the Triad was complete, with the third yet to be wrought.
There once was a mighty paladin named Salvath Sol, a battle-priest of the Long-Abiding renowned throughout the lands of the Dead. A man of decision, it pained him to live in a land without war, and so he waged war upon the undead. He found solace in the defense of the worthy, turning back the hordes commanded by the Mouth of the Void. Keen of mind and sharp of blade, Salvath would travel endlessly hunting the thralls of Shol. He sought no reward from his people, the Loghec people, for his actions; selfless he was in his battle. But even he had more to give, and it was early that the Balanced Age saw his greatest act. A monstrous beast had come from the depths of the land, preying upon the Masters children and terrorizing the settlements of the northern mountains.
At the shrine within the Hallowed Halls, the holy warrior Salvath prayed to his Patriarch, who saw fit to bless him with the holy blade Gwead Leth. It was as strong and sturdy as the mightiest tree in the land, with an edge sharpened upon the tombstones of heroes past. It could rend any mortally-woven fabric in twain, and it gave the paladin the resolve and strength needed to confront the creature. And so it was that he set about to end the thing, a shambling construct of undeath returned from the grave by a Tooth-Wizard, sword at the ready. Plunging Gwead Leth through the beast’s torso, it fell quickly, but not before mortally wounding the ivory paladin. Having confronted the blight alone, Salvath perished atop the mountain, with only the Hallowed One himself to provide the Anglath Dew’th. Before his Death upon the snow, Salvath had written one final note in his journal.
Priests of Dorrod Muth, I give you this message. Protect the living as you do the Dead. Forget not those in peril, innocents in need of your aid. Learn from my endeavors, my trials. Those who have been claimed by the Void have no pity, no remorse for the living. They spare not the kind soul, nor the gentle priest. Even those who seem familiar in their undeath will not remember you as you do them; they are mortal no longer, and their souls are lost. Even if the Undead eyes look upon you as a friend once did, you must fight to protect those who are vulnerable. I am with the Master now, and he will guide me, just as I hope my lessons will guide you.
And so the third priest came to sit beside Dorrod Muth in the Underworld. Completed the Triad was, to be taught to all pious men for eternity.