A Kind of Homecoming
The Church of Ilmater
Ilmater (pronounced ill-MAY-ter), also known also as the Crying God, the Broken God, the Lord on the Rack and The One Who Endures, and, in the Great Glacier, Ayuruk, is an intermediate deity whose portfolio includes endurance, martyrdom, perseverance and suffering. He seeks to offer words of comfort and calming to those in pain, oppressed, or in great need; he does so by seeking to endure any pain if it will lessen the pain of another.
Those who are opressed, sick or poor are likely to be worshipers of Ilmater and those who have a dislike of weakness (tyrants, for example) do not understand why anybody would turn to him. A typical follower of Ilmater is generous and sharing, advocating spiritualism over materialism. Worshipers believe that all injustices should be rectified and that a death with meaning is not shameful. Cynicism and dark humour is common. They do not believe in impeding desires of others, even when those desires conflict with their own duty to provide alleviation and healing.
The clergy of Ilmater are known collectively as the Ilmatari. During a war, the Ilmatari will gather supplies in order to treat the dying and wounded. Ilmatari also shelter the homeless and offer moral support to those who need it. They will tour the wealthy areas of towns and cities seeking donations to help cover the costs of the church. The Ilmatari wear grey tunics, trousers, a tabard, or robes, and, unless a novice, wear a skullcap, which is red for senior clergy and otherwise grey. The symbol of Ilmater is worn around the neck or as a pin badge, and some older clergy have a teardrop tattooed beside one eye.
Monks and clerics in the Ilmatari faith are known as the Adorned. Clerics of Ilmater pray for their divine magic once per day, in the morning, but must ritualistically pray a further six times per day or more. The cleric receives no holidays and celebrates no regular festivities, but may request a Plea of Rest – a tenday during which time he or she is free from the rules laid out by Ilmater’s faith. Clerics of Ilmater are duty-bound to convince the dying to pray to Ilmater, and it is likely that they are able to brew their own potions. New initiates are often overcome by the suffering they witness as part of their work, and many develop a cynical attitude towards life, but most persevere nonetheless, even when faced with a hopeless cause. Specialty priests of Ilmater are known as Painbearers.
Followers of the Ilmater are often perceived as martyrs and intentional sufferers, to the point of ridicule by some. However, they are known as some of the best healers in the realms often being found in some of the worst possible conditions, helping the oppressed, the diseased and the poor. In adventuring groups, they are often the ones who will take all risks to save a person in danger, putting the needs of others above their own, to the exclusion of their personal risk.