Iron Cult of Leng
|Iron Cult of Leng|
|Official religion(s)||Benacian Bassaridianism|
|- The Cereberi||TBA|
|- The Six Teeth||TBA|
|Area||~ TBA sqkm|
|Population||57,700 (38.68 PSSC)|
|National animal||Leng spider|
|National tree||Pan moss|
The Iron Cult of Leng was first formally established in 36.81 PSSC by Normarkian followers of the Stripping Path who - as a result a decree by the Pentheros of the Dozan Bovic Church - were enslaved in the extensive iron mines which exist beneath the island of Leng. Originally established with financial support from the government of the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union, which channeled funds to the cult through investments in the Foreign Ports of the Stripping Path, the Iron Cult operated in near-complete secrecy in the darkest, hellish depths of the icy arctic island, until the early 38.40's, when the cult was allowed to gradually emerge from the underworld following the large-scale abandonment of Leng by oppressive SANE forces in 38.38.
In the late 40's PSSC, the Iron Cult of Leng fell into a period of chaos and turmoil after an outbreak of plague left the inhabitants of the nation's capital city unable to attend to their duties and rituals which were intended to prevent the escape of the fearsome, demonic entity which inhabits the so-called Black Cathedral. Following the escape of this entity, the inhabitants of Normaria were forced back into the mines which lie beneath the city, where the cult had originally been established. Eventually, however, the demon's wrath became exhausted, and a group of religious leaders - after days of battle - were able to drive it back into the Black Cathedral. Following the re-capture of the demon, the residents of Normaria were able to re-emerge from underground, and to begin tending to the chaos and destruction which had befallen their city.
While the inhabitants of Normaria had been pushed into the city's mines, the Elwynnese Republic expressed their intention to annex the area in order to unite all of Leng under their rule. In response, the Jingdaoese Empire and Alriggian Republic announced a joint military exercise would be held near the city. The Elwynnese launched their own operation, called Fälttåget Norrsken. Meanswhile, the Elw people would be rapidly blamed for the outbreak of plague in Normaria, and would be forcibly expelled from the city. Several notable Elw leaders, who had led the charge to annex the city, were imprisoned and ultimately sacrificed in the mines which run beneath Normaria. Any "Elw" living amongst the Bassarids at this point, the behaviour of their ilk being well attested by this point, only had themselves to blame. It is entirely possible that the victims of the pogrom were those Elfinshi dissidents who had sought sanctuary in Normaria after the occupation of the greater part of Leng by Elwynnese forces after the Kalirion Fracture; which would have made their plea for Elwynnese protection and their subsequent fate at the hands of their erstwhile hosts doubly ironic if true.
The Iron Cult of Leng maintains extensive control of the vast network of iron mines which runs beneath the surface of the frozen island of Leng. It also maintains a formidable, formal presence in the Screaming Mosslands, a region of western Leng which is home a species of giant moss, known as Pan Moss, that has evolved psychic defense mechanisms which render in living creatures a sense of utter, unspeakable terror, and to the fearsome Leng spider, which is the only species known to be immune to the psychic defenses of the region's giant moss. In some parts of the Screaming Mosslands, travelers may also encounter the Obsidian Spires, large conical formations of sentient obsidian which some believe represent an alien race which arrived on Micras aeons before the arrival of humans.
The capital of the Iron Cult is Normaria. The sky-line of this humble city, which sits surrounded by the dozens of mineshafts which provide access to the vast network of caverns in which the Iron Cult originally formed, is defined by the presence of an ancient, windowless cathedral constructed out of black marble which is said to be home of a powerful, wicked cosmic entity known only as The Haunter of the Dark. The culture of Normaria heavily reflects the fear and reverence which the people harbor regarding the terrible cosmic entity which resides in the black cathedral that marks the heart of the city.
The culture of the Iron Cult of Leng is defined by a variant of the Bassarid religion which centers around the worship of Dionysus Khthonios, the aspect of Dionysus who resides in the underworld, and who governs the dead. This variant of the Stripping Path differs considerably from the variants found in the southern Strait of Haifa and across the Bassarids, which center around the worship of Dionysus as the god of ritual madness and chaos, and from the Apollonian Bassaridian religion, which highlights Hermes as the primary focus of its worship. In terms of beliefs and practices, the type of beliefs espoused by the members of the Iron Cult of Leng are similar to the practices of the Alperkin worshipers of Tar. With this said, such similarities are mostly general, and are somewhat superficial.
The Iron Cult of Leng is an independent nation governed by a High Priestess of the Stripping Path known as the Cereberi, whose powers and responsibilities are in principle similar to those of the Basileusa of Zartosht. The Cereberi is represented in public by a group of six powerful political figures known as The Six Teeth, and by three high priestesses known as The Council of Tongues. The Council of Tongues is known to assemble in a radiant underground chamber, located several miles directly beneath the black cathedral which marks the heart of the city of Normaria.
Despite its political independence, the Iron Cult of Leng is economically dependent upon trade with the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union. In 38.68 PSSC the Iron Cult assumed control of the abandoned iron mines of Leng, formally adopting iron as its primary export on the Port of Vines.
The Iron Cult is represented on the Port of Vines as a constituent member of the Port of the Bassarid Kingdom of New Normark. Key industries in the territory controlled by the Iron Cult of Leng include the extraction and export of iron, and the cultivation and fermentation of the region's native, edible lichens. The Iron Cult of Leng is also a major employer of spies and mercenaries in Keltia - operatives representing the Iron Cult of Leng have historically played a role in all major conflicts in Keltia since the outbreak of the War of Lost Brothers. Iron Cult Operatives operate under the command of the New Zimian War League. Following the expulsion of practitioners of the Stripping Path from Kalgachia, the Iron Cult extended its support to roving Bassarid priests and priestesses in Benacia, who - working with members of the continent's ancient Dionysian cults - helped to establish and develop the religion of Benacian Bassaridianism,