The Blood of Vol
The Blood of Vol is an ancient religion devoted to the figurative and literal meaning of blood — the mysteries of heredity, death, and the undead. It consists of small groups of followers scattered across Khorvaire who believe that blood is the source of life and that undeath is a path to divinity.
The Blood of Vol is primarily practiced in two places within Eberron: Karrnath and the Lhazzar Principalities. There are also small isolated congregations of elves who follow the blood scattered across the continent. Within Aerenal the religion is considered blasphemy and is punishable by exile most commonly, though death (and cremation) is not unknown if the priest is using truly foul necromancy.
In Lhazaar the greatest concentration of those who were banished from Aerenal after the destruction of the family of Vol have gathered on the island of Farlnen in the foothills of the Fingerbone Mountains, and for thousands of years these elves and others attracted to the tenets of the Blood have lived here in relative isolation.
When the last War began Karrnath was beset by enemies on all sides, the first few years of the war were especially bloody for the nation. In desperation Kaius I made a deal with priests of the blood, making it the national religion. The religions focus on death as the ultmate evil and the wasteful spilling of blood fit the somber mood of his people, and the expertise in necromancy that they gained was a great boon to their ranks. While the average person may still venerate the Host most saw the Blood as an acceptable form of worship. This in turn drew the attention of many scattered worshipers of the religion across Khorvaire, and many with ties to the ancient house of Vol came to the countries aid. It also drew the ire of the followers of the Undying Court, however… at least a few of Aerenal’s Hunters of the Dead enlisted with Thrane, Cyre and Aundair as they learned of this shift. The Order of the Emerald Claw was also formed during this time as an elite fighting branch of the church.
When Kaius III came to power his first action was to try and throw off the iron grip that the priesthood of the blood had gained over the nation over the past century. The Order of the Emerald Claw had all official support withdrawn and was declared a terrorist organization and traitors to the Crown. While many priests of the blood were allowed to keep their positions those who practiced the darker aspects of necromancy were declared traitors as well, and many fled to join the order. Worship of the Host was reinstated as the official religion. The more benign members of the blood, however, were allowed and encouraged to remain within the nation, and the creation of Karrnathi undead remains in practice to this day. Today the Blood of Vol is a multifaceted religion. It includes hard working peasants who simply want to give blood each week and pray for their dead, power mad necromancers and corrupt intelligent undead.
The Emerald Claw is a group that has outlived it’s use, according to the Karrnathi crown. The group was formed to be an elite fighting force dedicated to both the nation and the Blood of Vol soon after the onset of the Last War. Over time, however, the group has undergone the worst of the corruption of members of the blood, and now it is little more than a fanatical group of thugs, still fighting a war that has been over for two years. The darker cults of Vol are the ones that most often associate with members of the order. It can also be viewed as a band of discontents of Karrnath, feeling that their king has sold out their country; a nationalistic force fighting for a land which actively denounces them.
The Lifekeepers of the Blood of Vol dedicate themselves to the honor of preserving the memory of those who have passed away. Like many worshipers of the blood they see unintelligent undead as a tribute to the memory of the fallen, and intelligent undead as an escape from the curse of mortality. The group holds its members to the highest standards. One of the great ironies of the religion is the fact that Lifekeepers are bitterly opposed to the Emerald Claw. Lifekeepers have a curious relationship with Aerenal Elves, and a rare few are intrigued enough to hold a dialog regarding the Deathless and Vol.
The blood of Vol believe that death is the ultimate evil and source of sorrow. Their methods are a dark mirror to those of the Undying Court, however. Most who die can not be saved, they have their souls worn away in Dolurth as they fade from memory of the living. The Blood advocates the raising of the body a undead as a reminder of to the soul. Intelegent undead are the most revered within the religion, but it comes with a deep understanding of the dark temptations that plague them. A vampire (or other intelligent undaed) with the will to resist their bloodlust who can benefit the community and pass down the teachings of the blood is the highest ideal of the church, a triumph of life over death.
Almost all followers of the Blood believe in the Sovereign Host, indeed many hate them. They believe that the gods cursed the living with mortality and death, but Vol found a way to fight back and the gods fled beyond the heavens in fear of her. Someday the vampire lords will be strong enough to bring their fight to the gods themselves in the realms beyond Dolurth, and after their victory there will be no further death and a golden age of peace will settle across Eberron.
The blood also holds a fascination with heredity. They have some of the most complete records of lineage within the world, and within the crypt cold stacks at the back of their temples lie dusty tomes with a record of history that approaches the great library of Korrenburg.