The Silver Flame
When Eberron was overrun by darkness and the demon spawn of Khyber, the Flame arose to bring light to the world and to bind the fiends in the depths of the Dragon Below. But the Flame was too pure for flawed humanity, and the people of Khorvaire could not hear its call -- until Tira Miron set upon her righteous path. This noble warrior had devoted her life to the cause of honor and sacrifice, and in her the Flame found a worthy vessel. Guided by a glorious feathered serpent, Tira gave her life to end the reign of a demon lord that had escaped its bond.
Though she fell in battle, Tira's soul joined with the Silver Flame, and in so doing, she became a conduit -- a voice that humanity could hear.
Across Thrane, the pure of heart heard her call; and ever since then, the Church of the Silver Flame has stood against evil, whatever form it might take. A volcanic eruption in Thrane released a demon lord. But with the coming of the demon lord it also created a link with the power that kept it in check for an eon. The Power silver flame found a vessel in a young woman named Tira Miron.
Tira soon raised the forces of Thrane and drove the fiends back to the black mountain. With the demon lord and his army back in the vaults of Khyber, Tira went to the cave where the Silver Flame rose from the floor and jumped into her soul, making her a part of the flame. Tira now serves as the Voice of the Silver Flame, the intermediary between humanity and the divine. The Silver Flame is not an anthropomorphic deity. It is a celestial force comprised of a vast multitude of noble spirits.
It neither requires sacrifices of gold or spices, nor does it want praise in the form of prayer. Instead, it needs bold warriors and pure ministers who will embrace the light and use that inspiration to banish evil from the world. A typical worshiper of the Sovereign Host offers prayers in the hopes that the deities will help him; a true follower of the Silver Flame is interested only in how she can serve the cause of the flame.
The Church expects the faithful to trust the wisdom of those who stand above them, since those higher in the hierarchy stand closer to the Flame. Thus, most templars act without questioning their orders: If a cardinal authorizes an action, it must be in the best interests of the world.
Servants of the Silver Flame
This is especially true of the puritans. For many members of the Church, this noble goal justifies any means required to reach it. This manner of thinking serves as one of the sources of evil-aligned priests within Thrane. Such a priest may be good in almost all ways, but she has a willingness to employ evil tools -- such as torture -- when necessary to achieve a goal that furthers the Church's cause.
The templars act with ruthless efficiency.
Church of the Silver Flame - 1d4chan
In the case of lycanthropy, any lycanthrope can afflict a victim with a curse that alters behavior and alignment, and this makes the victim a threat to others and a new carrier for the curse. In YK, the Keeper of the Flame declared that lycanthropy afflicted the soul as well as the body, since it could turn the noblest soul to a tool of darkness. Even those lycanthropic strains that were not inherently evil still force a change of behavior on the subject, and were thus suspect; the Keeper declared that these still imperiled the soul.
If a single lycanthrope remained alive, it could pass the curse to others, and they could pass the curse to others, and within a generation the problem could arise anew. Thus all lycanthropes -- even those seemingly innocent and young -- must be destroyed. A handful of paladins found alternatives. Some helped werebears escape to Lamannia , while others sought to cure the afflicted.
Unfortunately, the process of breaking the curse is long and involved, and the Keeper of the Flame said that once the curse was set via changing alignment , nothing could save the victim's soul. And so the templars relied on their silvered swords, cutting out the cancer and praying for forgiveness when innocents fell at their hands. The Church is fighting a war, and it intends to win. Casualties are certain. Sacrifices must be made, and allies may fall to friendly fire.
But the Church will always act swiftly, decisively, and in a manner that serves the greater good -- at least, as the cardinals see it. The idea that good people can do evil and that evil people can serve the cause of good is a central theme of Eberron.
The History of the Silver Flame
The Church of the Silver Flame embraces this paradox. It has a noble cause. A few bloody clashes almost led to civil war before Joliana died suddenly and mysteriously before the second year of her reign had ended in YK. When Tira Miron sacrificed herself, the Flame was able to communicate to mortals. Tira is revered as the first prophet of the Flame and known as the Voice of the Flame. Her words and the words of the Flame are communicated directly to the Keeper of the Flame. The Keeper is not elected but is called by the Voice and once chosen serves for the rest of their life in service to the Flame.
All pronouncements made by the Diet of Cardinals are deemed to have come from the Keeper of the Flame and in turn directly from the Silver Flame itself. The most senior priests of the Church comprise the Council of Cardinals. Cardinals rarely conduct ceremonies of their own and have little to do with governing affairs in individual cities, as they are too busy running the Church itself. Most outside the Church of the Silver Flame believe that the Council of Cardinals refers to the governing body of the Church.
In truth, that body is properly entitled the Diet of Cardinals, and its members are drawn from the ranks of the Council.
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Because cardinals must be nominated and elected by other cardinals, the overwhelming majority of them come from the ranks of the archbishops, since the cardinals have regular discourse with few others. The doctrine of the Silver Flame has become increasingly zealous over the decades, although some say that this is more to do with the motivations of those making up the Diet of Cardinals than the direct wishes of the Silver Flame itself. The Church of the Silver Flame boasts a number of militant orders and rigid orders of templars who have over the centuries crusaded to spread their doctrine while purging evil from the world.
The Purified, as followers of the faith call themselves, are bound together by numerous rites and traditions, but by only a single religious doctrine, called the Tenet of Purity: Burn the corruption and taint of evil from all Eberron. Other gods began the Creation, but it is the Silver Flame, by searing wickedness and darkness from their imperfect world, that must complete it.
This belief that the world can only be made perfect by the Silver Flame and its followers embodies the height of arrogance in the eyes of followers of other religions, but it is absolutely central to the faith of the Purified. They acknowledge the existence and divinity of other gods, such as the Sovereign Host and the Dark Six and of the three great Progenitor dragons. The Purified even honor them, as they know that the Host is worthy of respect.
After all, the Silver Flame has never claimed to be a creator deity, and it has not even existed as long as Eberron itself.
Even so, the Purified believe that although the Silver Flame was not the first divine force to appear on Eberron, it will be the last. So long as evil exists, the world remains flawed and cannot become whole. By ridding the world of all evil, the Silver Flame will transform Eberron into a paradise without sin or pain. Then the other gods will fade, leaving the Silver Flame to hold dominion over all of Creation. The Purified maintain that the soul is a form of divine energy, but that it does not originate from the Silver Flame or indeed any god.
Rather, it coalesces from the energies of the world. Each person born adds a spark of the divine to the world. Those who are faithful to the Silver Flame join with it after death, their own souls adding the tiniest bit to its own near-infinite power. Only the Silver Flame can offer an alternative to Dolurrh, and that is proof to the Purified that the Flame will eventually be the one true god of Eberron.
When that day comes, the realm of Dolurrh will cease to exist, for it will no longer serve any purpose. Around YK, the power of the lycanthropic curse began to grow. The scholars of Aundair sought an answer in planar conjunctions or the influence of unknown fiends, while deep in the Eldeen Reaches shifter moonspeakers bemoaned the growing power of the unseen dark moon.
Evil lycanthropes, always the most numerous of the shapeshifters, became even more vicious, and many good and unaligned lycanthropes were corrupted and drawn down into the darkness. Afflicted lycanthropes gained the ability to pass the curse to their own victims for the first time, the curse normally limited only to those born with it, allowing lycanthropy to spread with terrifying speed. By the early years of the ninth century YK, packs of savage werewolves were roaming across western Khorvaire at will and wererats had established warrens beneath the greatest cities of the age.
Farmers lived in fear of wolves that walked like humans.
The Church of the Silver Flame
What was once a superstition used to frighten children was now a horrifying reality. Meanwhile, a sect within the Church of the Silver Flame, called the Servants of the Pure Flame, started questioning the reluctance of the church to do anything about the lycanthrope menace. These Servants, who called themselves Puritans, were more militant than their brethren; they enforced the ideas of forced conversion to the Silver Flame and the destruction of anything that remotely hinted of opposition to the Flame. To make matters worse, the Keeper of the Flame of that era had an agenda of his own.
In YK, Keeper Jolan Sol proclaimed that the curse of lycanthropy corrupted the soul itself and launched the Lycanthropic Inquisition to wipe out lycanthropes, which quickly became knows as the Silver Purge. The templars and militant orders of the Silver Flame began a zealous campaign across western Khorvaire.
Though the crusaders were instructed to hunt only those corrupted by the disease, the damage was already done; shifters were as feared by the communities of Galifar as much as their lycanthropic ancestors. Some shifters detested the Purge, while others joined the ranks of the Silver Flame to purge these evil creatures who besmirched their names.
As the tide slowly began to turn in the favor of the Church of the Silver Flame, the challenge became one of finding the lycanthropes hidden among human and shifter communities. Here again, many Puritans acted with overzealous aggression, harming the innocent in their desperate quest to eliminate the remaining shapeshifters. Ultimately, House Medani produced dragonshard foci that could detect lycanthropes and guide the templars to their true foe, and this heralded the end of the Purge. A large number of lycanthropes and shifters fled to the Eldeen Reaches, where they either continued to live their lives hidden from the Silver Flame, or fled across a manifest zone to the plane of Lamannia within the Burnt Wood.
Some lycanthropes fled all the way to the Demon Wastes, while others to what is now Droaam. In Droaam, a group of lycanthropes called the Dark Pack are almost entirely made up of survivors of the Purge, and a squad called the Beast Brigade served Droaam during the Last War. By YK, the Church of the Silver Flame withdrew its military forces from the Eldeen Reaches, claiming that the threat of the curse had finally been eliminated. The priests of the Silver Flame have always sought to spread their faith, and when word reached Thrane of the new city of Stormreach taking shape across the Thunder Sea around YK, the cardinals were quick to send ministers and templars to the shattered land.
Keeper of the Flame Tzandra Corus had a vision of a ministry that would bring the Flame to the drow and the giants and a bastion that would hold back any darkness that might threaten the city. Reality fell far short of the dream. Stormreach was founded by pirates and smugglers, and the priests of the Silver Flame received a cold welcome as they built their Keep of the Silver Flame.
Missionaries sent to spread the word to the dark elves rarely returned. It is thought that this drift of moderates may have been the beginning of the schism that would later divide the Church of the Silver Flame. Prince Thalin of Thrane unexpectedly rejected the rightful succession of his sister Princess Mishann, the governor of Cyre and the eldest child of King Jarot, to the throne of Galifar. Fueled by religious fervor, King Thalin believed his destiny was to rule far more than just Thrane. The people of Cyre, with their debauchery and their emphasis on fashion rather than wisdom, could not possibly be led by a woman worthy of the throne.
Even so, the Thrane nobles, the Church of the Silver Flame, and the people were divided over how to proceed. The group was much too shrewd and conservative to take such a bold step, however. Thalin decided that he must act first. He needed to improve his secret network of informers, and so he quietly appointed a spymaster. The newly proclaimed King of Thrane also asked his most trusted dukes and barons to significantly expand their feudal armies.
More publicly, he decided to strengthen his ties to the Church, so he underwent a ritual cleansing and vigil at the heart of the Church at its cathedral in Flamekeep. On the twentieth day, he experienced a vision of the couatl, enfolding him in silvery feathers, opening his eyes, and showing him a land where silver fires sprang up in the eyes, hearts, and minds of every soul. He knew then that it was his destiny to bring the Flame to all the people of Khorvaire.
Why did Javor Daran, a close family friend of the king and Keeper of the Flame for over twenty years, not experienced this vision? Others saw nothing amiss with the Silver Flame granting the king spiritual strength; war loomed, and divine aid was most welcome. The Church of the Silver Flame has long sought to embrace all Khorvariens, viewing such widespread faith as a cornerstone of achieving a living paradise on Eberron. The moderate Church emphasises teaching and voluntary acceptance to bring outsiders to its religious truths; the extremist Church stirs intolerant passions and mandates forced conversions.
The history of the Church of the Silver Flame is defined by the struggle between these two approaches. The mobs demanded that the Keeper of the Flame, Kaith Serrain, lead them and their nation instead, and that the Diet of Cardinals ensure a pure life for the Thrane citizenry by assuming legislative control of the kingdom as well.
In truth, the Church of the Silver Flame appeared paralyzed by these events, and it was several years before it acted in any meaningful or coordinated way as the new government of Thrane. As militant sects and orders sprang up, each strove to outdo its competitors. By YK, almost any stripe of religious radicalism and zealotry was accepted as normal.
Already divided over the Puritan slaughter of innocents during the Silver Purge, the Diet of Cardinals assuming theocratic control of Thrane proved to be another turning point for the Silver Flame in Stormreach. Both Church and Crown had roles to play in human society, the priests explained, and it was a mistake for one to supplant the other; it would only lead the Church away from its true purpose.
The Council of Cardinals was infuriated by this rebellion, but with the War of the Five Nations in full swing, the Thranes could not afford to send new forces to such a distant post. To this day, the Keep of the Silver Flame in Stormreach receives no support from Thrane, and the faithful are warned to beware the words of these heretic priests.
Although separated from the Silver Flame in Thrane, the powers of the Stormreach clerics and paladins are no less diminished, giving them comfort that though they no longer answer to the Diet of Cardinals, they are still every bit as much blessed by the Flame. In YK the elderly and well-loved Keeper of the Flame passed away. After an unusual delay the Voice of the Silver Flame indicated its will, a controversial choice was proclaimed.
Keeper Serrain was an odd choice to take that position due to his older age, his hard-line stances on Church doctrine and his provocative rhetoric calling for greater Church control over the state. At thirty-one winters, he was far older at ascension than any other Keeper in recent memory. Just over a decade later, Keeper Serrain assumed control of the nation of Thrane in the name of the Silver Flame in the theocratic uprising of YK.
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