Cult of the Sacred Item
|Religion in Ermarian|
|Cult of the Sacred Item|
|Central Tenet: Acquisition of Magical Artifacts|
|Founded: Unknown | Centered in: Exile|
The Cult of the Sacred Item is a minor, radical religion that worships magical artifacts as divine gifts. Seeking to "purify" and protect these gifts from mundane influences, they have made it their holy objective to acquire as many such items as possible, usually through outright theft. The sect is thus usually counted among the more eccentric bandit organizations.
The Cult has a low profile as far as criminal groups go, mainly because of its very specific targets. However, the Cult gained notoriety in 833 IE for stealing one of the more famous artifacts held by the Kingdom of Avernum: The Orb of Thralni.
The founding date of the Cult is unknown, because it has never kept annals. Some suggest that it cannot have been more than a few years old, since it had acquired only a relatively small stash of items.
The Cult's first theft was likely the Wand of Unusual Results, a prototype created by X of the Triad some years earlier. The wand was not of considerable value, especially because of the highly unpredictable results of its use; its protections were relatively minor. The wand turned up missing during a routine inventory check in the Tower of Magi, and it was widely believed it had either been misplaced or accidentally disintegrated while being used. It was only years later that the thieves were discovered.
The theft of the Orb of Thralni must have been planned for a long time, for it was executed with uncharacteristic precision and skill. The orb had been moved to Fort Emergence as the early construction of the fortress was made considerably easier through the use of flight magic. Several months after construction had finished, the thieves used a portal to teleport into the chamber where the orb was kept (which was unguarded against such spells) snatched it and managed to teleport back - although one thief apparently was unable to teleport, resulting in his death when the alarm was rung.
However, the thieves had not taken into account the huge portal that now connected Exile to Upper Exile. Due to the nature of teleportation spells, any jump affects nearby objects such as portals: Seles, undoubtedly the most skilled teleportation expert of Avernum, was able to analyze the pattern changes in the portal to Exile, and adjust its settings to trace the destination of the thieves.
The Surface Explorers were able to follow the Cult members through this portal, and retake control of the Orb along with several other artifacts that the Cult had acquired, such as the wand of unusual results.
The explorers reported that the Cult's level of technology was abysmally primitive, which makes it all the more miraculous that the Orb's theft was orchestrated so successfully. The portal, it appears, was tremendously unstable, and had sent at least one cultist member to her death. Nevertheless, the Cult had apparently had high ambitions for the future: Reports stated that chests had been prepared for other items that had yet to be acquired, among them Demonslayer.
Although the explorers reported crippling casualties to the Cult, it is not known for sure whether it was in fact eradicated in the retrieval of the Orb of Thralni. The survivors might have rebuilt their headquarters, but so far, the Cult has not struck again.