The Book of Death
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Note by the librarians: Found in the South Quarter on 4 Eleint 1380
The Book of Death
By Ivan Lanster
A tome on death, the history of death, the gods of death religious practices and beliefs regarding death. Necromancy is discussed and fundamentally rejected. The only information in this book of any value to necromancers is a detailed description of the horrific fate they will one day face for their crimes.
Dedicated to priests who were true in their faith and devotion to their god, yet due to the cruel hands of fate, outlived them.
Any with questions may leave a letter for Acolyte Lanster at the city morgue, if he still lives.
1. The fate of souls
2. The history of Death
3. Jergal lays down his burden
4. Kelemvor-the current lord of Death and the Dead
5. Kelemvorâ€s commandments, explained. Jergalâ€s teachings, listed
6. The justice of entropy
10. Elven, dwarven and other beliefs on death
11. Necromancy and infernalism
Kelemvor has decreed that death is to remain a mystery no longer and it is not to be feared. The information most relevant for most readers in this book, is contained in this first chapter.
This is the fate of your soul.
One day, you will die. This is not a punishment, this is not cruelty, this is innately fair for in time, death comes for all, death settles all -debts. It will be an end to your pain and toil in this world, but it will not be, the end.
You will close your eyes and die. You are not your body. You, are your soul, an invisible thing of a spiritual nature which rests within your body. You are not your body any more than you are your hair or nails, you are not your body any more than you are a stage coach if you ride within one. Your body is no more than a vessel for your soul, you ride within it and look out through itâ€s eyes like windows, you feel with its hands, but it is not, you.
You will open your eyes. You will see a vast, endless, flat expanse, a see of white. You will look down and see your body. Your body will be solid, to you. You will see other newly arrived souls. You will see the souls of all live. Humans, Halflings, elves, orcs, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, from pixies, to dragons. You will see all these souls besides you.
You will also see the servants of Kelemvor, who walk among these souls and guide them. They will tell you that you have died and answer your questions, but they will not permit you to stay long in this place. They will guide you to the City of Judgment.
It will appear as a speck on the horizon, but then grow in size. A city of immense proportion, larger than Waterdeep, larger than any mortal city that ever has, or ever will exist. It has no defined spatial dimensions.
You will see the wall of the false and faithless which surrounds this city. You will see the souls of those who have betrayed their gods or honored no gods, who lay in eternal torment within the wall, as itâ€s brick and mortars. Your guide will lead you through a gate in this wall, even if you are false or faithless.
You will see an enormous tower in the center of the city made of transparent crystal, a tower which rises beyond the sky. The Crystal Spire, castle of the Lord of the Dead, created by Kelemvor to represent that death should be transparent and not hold mysteries.
You will be brought into the Crystal Spire and wait a time. You will then be brought to Kelemvorâ€s Court. You will see Kelemvor who sits upon the Bone Throne, his chief councilor and scribe, Jergal, who is at his right hand, other officials of Kelemvorâ€s court and messengers, there with business with the Lord of the Dead.
Kelemvor will then recite to you all that you have done in mortal life. He will certify that you have honored some god and he will certify that you have not betrayed those gods you honored, that you are not false or faithless. None but the false or faithless need fear Kelemvor. Kelemvor cares not if you were kind in life or unkind, wealthy or poor, powerful or weak, beloved saint or despised murderer. In Kelemvors unswerving gaze, all are equal. You will not find praise, nor condemnation before him, only those who are false or faithless need see him.
The Land of the Dead is a road, which leads from all earthly places and to all unearthly places. The Lord of the Dead, Kelemvor is a guide upon that road and it is his duty to bring travelers such as you, to their proper destination.
Then Kelemvor will then accept petitions from messengers of gods you have honored and wish to lay claim to your soul. If you did deeds of special note in mortal life, a god may appear in person, to lay claim.
Kelemvor will listen to these petitions. He will listen to anything you wish to say. Kelemvor will consult with Jergal. Kelemvor and Kelemvor alone will decide where your soul will go. He will listen to others, but the duty of judgment is his and his alone. Kelemvor will declare where your soul is to reside. The messenger of the god who has been given custody of your soul will then take you to the house of their god. Kelemvor is not simply a god of humans, he is the god of death and the dead, for all intelligent life. Kelemvor often sends the souls of non humans, to the courts of other gods, who then further decide the destination of the soul.
The nature of these places are at the whim of the god who rules there.
Most such places, are pleasant places, more idealized and perfect versions of the mortal world. These places reflect the principals of the god. In the home of Waukeen, the god of commerce and trade, you will find endless markets filled with delights. In the home of Deneir, god of scribes, you will find an endless library, where his faithful delight in the collection and studying of knowledge. In the home of the Mad One, lord of murder and madness, the souls will lay in torment and madness. In the home of Tempus, god of warfare, there will be endless battles of pleasure, feasting halls and all things pleasing to warriors and men of war.
Most men go to pleasant places, though not all. Consider well which gods you honor with your actions in life, for your limited actions in life will decide your fate in the finality of death.
Eternity in such places, is not guaranteed. If your soul is in the custody of a malevolent god, it may be consumed to fuel their power, drafted into their armies where they may find an end, or destroyed simply for pleasure. Still, it is better to worship even a malevolent god, than to be false or faithless. Those whose souls are in the hands of a malevolent god may hope to some day be destroyed, the faith and faithless have no such hope.
These places are not of equal size, Chauntea is worshiped the world over and lays claim to a great many souls. The Red Knight, goddess of strategy in warfare has few followers and thus, has a smaller home.
The history of death is the history of the world. Entropy, the primal darkness existed before the world began and it shall be there when the world ends. In the dawn of time, the gods made the world and each god chose to govern one aspect of creation, the gods argued over who would govern what, much as they do today. Jergal thought the combat of the gods petty and pointless and refused to fight with the other gods for an aspect of the world.
The world was created and covered with life as each god made their own creations. There was no tyranny, or strife, there was no death and the land of the dead lay empty. There was no change. There was immense suffering. All life which was born created new generations, yet the old did not die and shared the world with each generation of their descendants. There was not death, but there was injury, pain and immense suffering. That which was injured, remained injured and suffering for it could not die. In time, the world was filled with life yet all life suffered in agony and could not find solace or peace. This was the state of the world, for unknown, countless eons. There were no heavens and there were no hells.
The gods did not care for their creation but were petty and cared only for their power and position among their divine rivals. Perhaps some few cared, but they were held in check by their rivals and did not act. Except, for one. Jergal. He Who Is Without Pity. He watched impassively at all which has transpired and though they were not his creations, Jergal took pity on the living.
Jergal stood before the gods and decreed â€œYou have been unworthy of your creations and thus, I end them. I cast death into the world. Know that in time your creation shall end, yet I give them the gift of change, that they may find stability and peace, before they slide into the sea of oblivion. I claim the land of the dead and I shall judge all who pass before me and those souls which are worthy, I shall send to you.â€