Date: Tue, February 07, 2006
Topic: Gods & Followers

"If any priest was more powerful than the renowned Dahlver-nar, histories do not tell us. The gods themselves gave special powers to him, and these have passed on to others by means of the great relics of Dahlver-nar."
- Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st Edition

By: rasgon
Posted with permssion. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

The century leading up to the Twin Cataclysms was a time of prophecy for the Oeridian people, a time when they moved across the continent in large numbers, seeking relics of power to fulfill what they saw as their imminent destiny.

The Bakluni, people of Fate as they are, have always set great store in true prophets. In the century before the Invoked Devastation, most of their prophecies had a doleful, ominous quality, though these were unfortunately ignored at the time. The prophet they remember the most, though, gave a message of hope.

The Flan have seldom set any great store in prophecies, but they honor their gods and those beloved by them, they respect heroes and people of power, and they abhor the name of Vecna.

The land known as Ket was then, as now, a crossroads of many cultures, and even then it was a place where Baklunish, Oeridian, and Flan commingled. In that place and time, there rose to power the most influential prophet-priest who ever lived. Given the circumstances, it is not surprising that all three groups have claimed him.

The Trial of Dahlver-nar

Dahlver-nar was a cleric of the god of sun and healing, the god whom the Flan call Pelor, the Oerids Sol, and the Baklunish Wahhaaj. He was born not long after the final ascension of Johydee, and is counted by the Oerids as one of her spiritual children. His birth parents are unrecorded, and it is believed he was an orphan raised from infancy in the church. As a young priest he discovered the bones of the dragon Incendax, who had been destroyed by, and in turn destroyed, thirteen Mages of Power centuries before the creation of the Orbs of Dragonkind. With these bones he found great power, but nearly at the cost of his soul. Consumed with the madness of Incendax he began raiding caravans and towns before retreating to a remote mountain lair. There he might have descended into lichcraft if not for the intervention of the gold dragon Rumaurioan.

Rumaurioan had been ancient even in the days of Incendax, and was unthinkably ancient in the time of Dahlver-nar. The great wyrm had become a powerful force for Good in the Barrier Peaks and the Banner Hills, guarding them against every evil incursion. Sensing the taint of his old enemy, Rumaurioan he sought out Dahlver-nar. Braving the barrage of fell spells and conjurations the former priest drew from his artifacts, the dragon entered the heart of Dahlver-nar's power and grasped his quarry in his talons. He would have killed him then, but - perhaps a sign from Pelor, whom Rumaurioan worshipped, or perhaps he sensed that beneath the corruption of the bones there remained the soul of a good man - something made him choose a different path.

The Baklunish claim that Rumaurioan took the struggling Dahlver-nar to the Pinnacles of Azor'alq, where he was purged of his evil taint. The Flan speak of a place of purification in the Yatils, a fountain with healing waters springing out of the ground high in the mountains. The Oeridians say it did not matter where Rumaurioan went, as the journey itself was what cleansed the fallen priest; Oeridian theologians have made much of the parallel between Dahlver-nar's draconic rapture and the long journey of the Oeridian people to the Flanaess from their homelands far to the West.

Under Rumaurioan's care, Dahlver-Nar recovered his sanity and sense of self, and Incendax's evil left him entirely (though it is said that even Rumaurioan could not destroy his rival's bones, and was forced to content himself with hiding them away). Rumaurioan, impressed with the clever young cleric as his lucidity returned, taught him many other secrets as well. When Dahlver-Nar left the dragon's tutelege at last, a decade later, he is said to have glowed with an inner light such that he needed to remain veiled to walk among common men. He did not return to his old order, but founded his own, and his prophetic pronouncements brought him increasing fame in the centuries to follow.

The Prophecies of Dahlver-nar

It is a fact that Dahlver-nar predicted the Invoked Devastation, though it was common in those days for most diviners of any worth to glean at least some inkling of the cataclysm, for all the priesthood of Istus' attempts to censor them for the sake of the Baklunish imperial government. What brought him renown were his visions of the dark time after. The Baklunish remember him as the one who predicted the coming of Al'Akbar and the gift of his talisman and cup. The Flan remember his prediction of the fall of Vecna's kingdom and the end of the reign of the Ur-Flannae necromancers of the east, and of his prediction of the Insurrection of the Yaheetes centuries later. The Oeridians remember his predictions of their people, that their wanderings were not yet over and that there would come a time when they would eventually found a kingdom that stretched all the way to the ocean of the rising Sol. He had many other prophecies as well, some clear and others vague, but he is believed to have known of his mentor Rumaurioan's death at the hands of the witch Iggwilv, of the brief Keoish conquest of Ket and the Brazen Horde before them, and anticipated even the birth and imprisonment of Iuz and the coming of Mayaheine and Philidor. Some of these prophecies would not become clear until after they had happened, some inspired orders of dedicated souls who desperately attempted to ensure or prevent the prophecies according to their wont, some were hidden away by minions of the Balance, and others were simply lost.

The Deeds of Dahlver-nar

Dahlver-nar was little known outside the order he founded during his lifetime, as he made little attempt to interfere with worldly politics after he was initially rebuffed by Istus' clergy. Still he had occasion to leave the mortal world on various occasions when his god inspired him, and the strange inhabitants of other planes remember him as the one who stole the Crystal of Ebon Flame from the magma tyrant Chilimba, who liberated the asura Absalom from his ancient prison, and who ended the reign of Orcus in the Abyssal layer of Woeful Escarond. He introduced the faith of Pelor to many other planes, leaving behind holy texts riddled with strange prophecies and paving the way for such figures as Mayaheine, who belonged to an order Dahlver-nar founded on another world. Despite these excursions, the majority of his life was spent on Oerth. In his old age he declined to have his life extended magically, and in his late nineties he was buried in a crypt beneath the temple he founded in Ket. In his last prophecy, he told the brothers of his order that his body would retain certain mystic powers, and that these would become clear in a future time of need.

The Theological Role of Dahlver-nar

The most faiths of Oeridian origin, Dahlver-nar plays a crucial role as the second greatest prophet of ancient times, after Johydee herself. Johydee directed her people to travel east; Dahlver-nar foretold their ultimate destination in the Flanaess. From the Church of the Blinding Light in the Pale to Church of Voll in Veluna, all honor Dahlver-nar regardless of what god they hold as their patron.

To the Flan, Dahlver-nar is primarily honored in temples of Pelor, Mayaheine, and Trithereon. The priests of St. Cuthbert honor him as an early opponent of Vecna and Iuz.

To the Baklunish, Dahlver-nar is a divisive figure. Some sects of Istus have always despised him, spreading tales of his early corruption and censoring claims of his later acheivements. The penitents of Daoud emphasize that Dahlver-nar seemed completely unable to predict anything of their patron's life; a certain passage of Dahlver-nar's writings has been interpreted as claiming that Daoud was destined to die unremembered. The Exalted Faith of Al'Akbar counts Dahlver-nar as a prophet, but grants him no special status. It is the True Faith that honors him the most, granting him the role of the vital intermediary between Azor'alq and Al'Akbar himself, carrying on the traditions of the former and predicting the latter while introducing crucial religious innovations that are part of the True Faith to this day. The issue of Dahlver-nar's status and legacy is thus one of the great dividing points between the True and Exalted Faiths.

Dahlver-nar's exact status and role is also one of the most divisive factors between Oerid, Flan, and Bakluni religions. Each claims he worshipped Pelor and the other gods the way they do today, each claims him as one of their spiritual founders, and each take contradicts all the others. More than one church has schismed over the issue of Dahlver-nar alone, bickering over whether he serves Pelor exclusively or all the gods together, whether he now has the status of a celestial, a quasi-deity, or a humble petitioner of the gods like any other soul. The temples of Trithereon claim he has become an eladrin; the churches of Pholtus place him as one of the great archons of the faith; the church of Veluna counts him as a saint. Some heretic sects of Pelor claim that Dahlver-nar and their deity are now one, or even that Dahlver-nar was an avatar of Pelor himself and never wore true mortal flesh, explaining the body he left behind as a miracle created by Pelor only after his departure from this world. To Oerids he was an Oerid, to Bakluni he was a Bakluni, and to the Flan he was a Flan. The gods have not seen fit to take sides on any of these issues.

The Teeth of Dahlver-nar

There are two sets of artifacts that bear Dahlver-nar's name, one of weal and the other of woe. The benign artifacts are the teeth of Dahlver-nar himself; when the growing realm of Tusmit first conquered the frontier of Ket, the priests of Dahlver-nar's order received a vision that they were to open their founder's tomb. They did, finding his body had turned entirely to dust, leaving only his teeth. The head priest of the order, who was old and toothless, put them in his own mouth and found they grafted to his gums, giving him the ability to speak with Dahlver-nar's voice, giving the order crucial predictions of the future and other divine powers as well. When the old priest died, his teeth were passed on to the next oldest member of the order and so on until the Keoish invasion. King Tavish II had attempted to mollify some of the objectors to his invasion by declaring a crusade to recover the relics of Dahlver-nar for the Oeridian people after centuries of ownership by the pagan Akbarites. Although Tavish II himself was of Suel descent and Keoland had no state church, conjuring the name of Dahlver-nar had a powerful affect among the common folk of Keoland and even in Perrenland, which sent many Quagfolk to add their strength to the crusade. A great deal of the support Tavish gained from this unraveled a few years later, when the teeth disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Many claimed that Dahlver-nar himself had recalled them because the Keoish were unworthy. Since then they have been reported in a number of places in the Flanaess, no more than a few teeth at a time, each moving to another mouth after the death of their previous bearer. The complete set has not appeared in the same place since the Keoish Crusade, though they may in fact have been scattered in part long before.

The other artifacts with the same name are in truth the teeth of Incendax, taken from Rumaurioan's lair by Iggwilv. She kept them with her until her battle with Graz'zt, at which point they, too, were lost to history. Perhaps they were taken by the demon prince into the Abyss, or perhaps they were taken by Iuz or another in the confusion. A few of Incendax's teeth were reported in Dyvers, though how they ended up there is anyone's guess. Incendax's teeth do not have to be grafted into their wielder's own mouth to work, and what would happen if the same person owned teeth from both Dahlver-nar and Incendax is unknown.

The status of the artifacts, like that of Dahlver-nar himself, remains under a cloud of mystery.


Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st edition (Teeth of Dahlver-nar)
Book of Artifacts (Teeth of Incendax, called the Teeth of Dahlver-nar in that tome after the unfortunate cleric who discovered them)

This article comes from Canonfire!

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