The Banished Phalanx Cult
This religious cult follows prophecies of a hero, Shadowsoul, who carries the Blood of the Abyss, reborn to honor ancient promises to the cult, to re-establish the necromantic traditions of the Prophet Glundir, to cast down the false gods of the Mataku Tribes and to drive all foreign tribes from Rath. The cult believes that necromancy was once an honored, respected practice that was based on the worship of noble ghosts and ancestor spirits, and that it does not deserve to be outlawed. Both the Temples and the Empire outlaw the cult, but it persists despite Imperial and Temple repression. Because it is persecuted, it remains a secret cult, and it is hard to judge how widespread it is.
The cult firmly believes that this hero will return to restore the glories of ancient Prophet Glundir. They say the Empire and the Temples have abandoned the ancient necromantic teachings of the Prophet, forsaking ancestor worship, and embracing the comforts of civilization that once corrupted the Drow. The cult states that one day, this hero, Shadowsoul, will unearth secrets of necromancy and restore the tradition across the Empire, with full support of the Temples and people.
Dream visions and prophecies are a respected tradition in necromantic culture. They take careful note of dreams and visions, and pass on the legacies of vision and prophecy to their successors. By contrast, the Temples, Guilds and the Empire are suspicious of mysticism and ghosts, and they regard interpretation of dreams and visions as primitive superstition.
The most common version of the Glundir Prophecy is BLOOD OF THE ABYSS. The verses are obscure, as are most prophecies. But two observations are in order.
First, many less-well-informed scholars assume that the phrase “blood of the abyss forever more” is just a cliche to suggest a magical bloodline or heritage, but the Shadowsoul of legend was known to possess a magical weapon named “Blood-of-the-Abyss,” upon which he is supposed to have sworn his promise to honor ancient necromantic traditions and land rights. If Shadowsoul is ever to return as per the Prophecy, he will perhaps also bear this legendary weapon.
Second, the reference to “ancient spirits bow to law” must certainly refer to the current status in the Empire of necromancy being an illegal and prohibited practice; this would imply that, if the Prophecy were true, its time for fulfillment lies at hand.
BLOOD OF THE ABYSS
When earth is sundered, and skies choked black,
And our ancient spirits bow to law,
To the Empire there comes a stranger,
Blood of the abyss forever more.
Though human-born to sire uncertain
His shadow marks his certain fate.
Undead rise at his command,
To his banner gravitate.
Many trials make manifest
The stranger’s fate, the curses’ bane.
Many oppose the shadow soul,
Many fall, but one remains.
Cult elders complain of Glundir’s prophecies which have been lost to memory due to the carelessness or ineptitude of earlier generations of necromancers. Suspicious scholars wonder whether these prophecies might have been deliberately forgotten or suppressed by the Empire or Temples. Three Shadowsoul prophecies in particular are said to have been lost: 1. Narvi’s Journal of the Scourge; 2. The Seven Curses; and 3. Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Shadowsoul. Perhaps these lost prophecies will someday be found, either in forgotten accounts written by literate travelers, or in the memories of isolated necromancers; if they were uncovered, the prophecy would be three steps closer to reality.