The Church of Anhur provides for the defence of the Empire of Mulhorand, maintaining the fortresses and providing a standing army that is the envy of most rulers in Faerun.
The Church of Anhur has oft been at odds with the Church of Horus-Re, advocating change while those in power preach traditional and eternal preservation. Unfortunately this vocal opposition has resulted in the Church of Anhur losing much of its political power and prestige.
Anhur has long been the commander of the armies of Mulhorand; orchestrating the strategy for the Orcgate Wars and the pincer attack between the empires of Akanu, Mulhorand and Unther as well as the tribal peoples of the lands far to the north, leading Mulhorand to victory against the demonic remnants of Narfell, and numerous other wars and battles uncounted.
When Horus-Re reformed the State of Mulhorand, the Church of Anhur was given the formal role of defending the empire, in the form of the Faramut Osemi; the Ministry of Defence.
Since gaining the prestigious Faramut Osemi, the Church of Anhur has had mixed success in battle when compared to its divine patron. The reconquest of the Netarand (modern: Thay) after the collapse of Narfell and Raumathar; led by the Oblaran Anhurtep, was very successful (the bulk of demonic forces having been destroyed by the godkings years before). The Legion of Dawn performed admirably against the unexpected invasion from Eltabranar when Kesanhur (wielding Hadryllis) the Oblaran of Anhur defeated Eltab and imprisoned him beneath modern day Thaymount (although Kesanhur and the entire Legion of the Sun were lost in the process), and has reconquered Semphar many times. However Mulhorand’s armies failed to quell the Thayan rebellion, and nearly lost the entire Taranoth region to Thay’s second invasion, similarly all Mulhorandi invasions of Thay have ended with a rout.
The victories brought much glory to the Church of Anhur, and the defeats have cost it much political prestige. The last few centuries have seen more defeats than victories, and as a result the Church of Anhur is in a much weaker political position than it has ever been since Horus-Re became Pharaoh.
In the last few decades since 1280 DR; when Thay invaded Mulhorand for a second time and sacked much of Sultim before being repulsed, the Church of Anhur has seen the loss of its major Precept of Sultim, and the Legion of Dawn being placed under the command of generals loyal to the Church of Horus-Re.
Headquarters: Sultim, The Blood Fortress
Members: 5,000 priests, plus an additional 6,000 active soldiers in the Legion of Dawn who have been trained by the Church of Anhur, plus an additional 5,000 trainees in the new Bronze Legion (which currently goes under name of a mercenary company known as the Sea Lions of Cimbar)
Leader: Hethhab Ramath (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Warrior 7). As the divine incarnation of Anhur, Hethhab is the titular head of the church, however, Hethhab prefers to leave the governing to his high priests and instead acts as a figurehead.
Symbol: A Khopesh, the blade bound in cord, with a hawks head pommel.
The Church of Anhur is synonymous with the standing army of Mulhorand known as the Legion of Dawn. The ranks in descending order are: Abalsaf (commander), Osemsen (defender), Lionclaw, Swordarm, Honour Brother, Warmaker, Bloodletter. All novice priests are enrolled in the Legion of Dawn after a year of training to serve Anhur, likewise all recruits in the Legion of Dawn are given the rank of Bloodletter and taught to venerate Anhur properly.
As a general rule, priests of Anhur ascend the ranks of the church more quickly than regular members of the Legion of Dawn, and although it is not unusual for able troops to achieve higher ranks in the Legion of Dawn / Church of Anhur, usually the upper echelons of the Church and Legion are reserved for the true priests of Anhur.
A more recent development (especially during peacetime) is that command of the Legion of Dawn has fallen to generals appointed by the Church of Horus-Re, these generals are sympathetic and obedient to the Vizier, they command the individual Legion of Dawn, but have no rank within the Church of Anhur (or the Legion).
The Church of Anhur is responsible for recruiting, training, provisioning, and (usually) commanding the Legion of Dawn, it performs these activities from Sultim, ensuring new and existing Legions are up to strength (the standard Legion being 729 soldiers, plus commanders and support staff as needed) and fully equipped, before sending them out to guard and patrol the regions of Mulhorand (or in times of war, to conquer foreign lands).
Promotion in the Church of Anhur (and the Legion of Dawn) is based upon achievement, reputation, faith, and familial connections. Brave and skillful warriors can find themselves advancing a rank or two based upon their achievements alone, those held in high regard by their comrades can achieve greater rank, those with influential family members will always find themselves of higher station than their patronless comrades, finally the upper ranks are reserved only for those who worship Anhur above all others.
The War Council of Anhur: This council of Abalsaf governs the Church of Anhur, meeting monthly at Sultim to deal with pressing business and decide upon how to implement policy as commanded by the Pharaoh (or more likely the Vizier). There are as many Abalsaf on the War Council as there are Legion of Dawn (so this council swells greatly during war time), but meetings are held only as needed and attended only as able.
Currently the War Council of Anhur is split by conservative factions that wish to prepare for a future war with Thay but only when that nation is weakened, and by radical factions that wish to launch a war against Thay or Unther or even Semphar as soon as possible.
The Lion Hearts: This conservative faction of the Church of Anhur is led by Commander Ralmier Ramatep and contains the bulk of officers in the Church of Anhur who have never tasted war and were educated for their privileged position rather than earning it in battle.
These officers believe that Mulhorand should prepare for a future war with Thay (and thus improve the defence of Mulhorand), but the attack should only be launched when Thay is at it’s weakest (preferably when the Imperialist and Researcher factions are at war with each other) to guarantee a measure of success against the magic of the Red Wizards.
The Lion Hearts have heard rumours of food and equipment being funneled north of Sultim, and that armed forces are being amassed on the Thayan border. Spies have been sent north to try and find evidence of an imminent (and unsanctioned attack), and they are even hiring adventurers to try and locate them.
The Order of Watchful Lions: The most accomplished and prestigious order within the Church of Anhur is the Order of Watchful Lions. Only those within the church who have performed daring acts of bravery (an act that must be verified by witnesses) are welcomed into the Order.
The Order is sent on the most dangerous missions by the Church of Anhur, and they are known far and wide as crusaders for good that venture to far off lands recovering ancient artifacts, rescuing those in need, and battling powerful monsters. Watchful Lions are always at the forefront of danger, often leading the vanguard of the Legion of Dawn in battle. Nearly half of the Abalsaf on the War Council of Anhur are part of the Order of Watchful Lions, and they have considerable political power within the church.
The Order believes that a lightning strike must be performed against Thay and soon, with the objective of taking and controlling foreign territory for a few months to show Thay that Mulhorand is still a power in the region, and to win prestige with the Pharaoh and restore the position of the Church of Anhur within Mulhorand.
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
The Church of Anhur is tasked with defending Mulhorand from its enemies both within and without. To accomplish this task they have been given the Legion of Dawn from the divine Pharaoh Horus-Re. The Church of Anhur are to keep Mulhorand’s armies at a state of readiness, and use them to defeat the forces of evil (such as Set, Thay, and legendary monsters like the Skriaxit).
In defending Mulhorand from enemies and from evil, the Church of Anhur has chosen to be like its patron (Anhur) and become paragons of virtue. Their members are to act with honour at all times, never to shy away from duty (even if it means their death), and to protect the good and the innocent. There are of course members of the church who fall far short of these values, but in general, a priest of Anhur will strive to be honest, brave, honourable, and good as often as humanly possible.
Daily activities for priests (as for the rest of the Legion of Dawn) include a strict regime of worship (of Anhur), training, maintenance and cleaning (of themselves, their equipment, and their environment), patrol, and rest. Senior clergy (and military commanders) spend more of their time planning and inspecting, but still try to fit in the regimen given to their troops as well.
Membership / Recruiting
Membership in the Church of Anhur / Legion of Dawn is open to all citizens that meet the physical requirements (although these are usually as simple as being able to walk, hold a weapon, and follow instructions). Prospective priests and warriors request to join the Legion of Dawn using form A-1 (obtainable from any temple of Anhur or Horus-Re), then deliver the request form personally to any temple of Anhur.
Those professing an interest in worship of Anhur, or aligning closely to the principles of Anhur’s worship, are trained as priests and officers, while everyone else are trained as soldiers (or support staff if they are unable to meet the requirements of a soldier).
Recent developments in government policy have meant that the Church of Horus-Re are actively recruiting mercenaries from Chessenta to fulfill specialized roles within the Legion of Dawn and also to fill the ranks of the Precept Pehtemi (militia). The Church of Anhur has spent considerable effort and resources attempting to convert the Chessentans to the worship of Anhur and is thus far having great success, for the Chessentans own war god (Tchazzar) has seen his following dwindle dramatically over the centuries since his ascension.
Like most organisations in Mulhorand there are numerous factions large and small that work towards particular goals to advance their power and station and that of their patron organization. Some of the more notable plots within this organization are below
The Dogs of War: This plot is organized by the most senior of the Order of Watchful Lions, with So-Kazar Ramath taking the senior role in organizing the recruitment, provisioning, and hiding of this new armed force in the making.
The Sea Lions of Cimbar are a false mercenary company hired out of Cimbar through Mulhorandi expatriates who hired the best weapons masters, tacticians, siege engineers, and sailors in Chessenta (a place wracked with constant warfare) to work in top secret conditions to create the best army ever seen in the Alamber Sea.
A secret training camp has been established in the foothills of the Sunrise Mountains, spanning the River of Dawn amid the supposedly haunted ruins of an old Mulhorandi outpost decimated by fiends in 922 DR. The ships are hidden in the cave tunnel where the River of Dawn emerges from the Sunrise Mountains. The Sea Lions spend their days training the slaves that will one day fight for their freedom, and pretending to be pirates while they navigate the waters and coast of the Alamber Sea preying upon the real pirates.
Supplies are delivered to the Sea Lions from caravans out of Murghom (not Sultim as suspected), bought through intermediaries by priests of Anhur to keep the operation secret.
Anheris Jashmalhab (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Human 1): Anheris is common born with no affiliations to any noble house. He joined the Church of Anhur a decade ago, but his club-foot prevented him from joining the Legion of Dawn as a soldier (instead requiring him to take a supporting role). Anheris has remained of Bloodletter rank within the church and has served as an administrator within the temple of Anhur in Gheldaneth.
Anuk Ibinis (Good, Human – Mulan, Expert 2, Magic User 3): Anuk Ibinis grew up as a cutpurse in the slums of Skuld. As an adult he was caught breaking into the Battlestorm temple in Skuld, but instead of slavery or maiming he was instead given a chance. After much training in combat and the magical arts, Anuk Ibinis was sent through a long forgotten portal recently found in the catacombs beneath the Shefalt Laren (Library of the Gods), his destination was the ruins of Delhumide and his mission was to spy on the nearby activities of Thayans (especially the Red Wizards). Curiously Anuk Ibin (as he is now known) enjoys his new life, he has found purpose, riches, and power, and a new found devotion to Anhur.
Brathes Sendem (Good, Human – Mulan – Warrior 4): A capable warrior and veteran of many campaigns against bandits and pirates despite his young age of 20 years old. He has spent the last few years as the personal bodyguard of the future Pharaoh Horustep, and has formed a fast friendship with the young prince (both are headstrong and of similar opinions).
Brathes has thus far been kept at a distance from the plots and factions within the Church of Anhur, but already the most senior Watchful Lions are eyeing his potential to act as a spokesperson to the next Pharaoh to voice the possibility of a lightning strike against Mulhorand’s enemies.
The position of bodyguard to the crown prince has long been an honour bestowed upon the Church of Anhur, and thus far has remained safe from the machinations of past and present Viziers. Rezim has his eye on removing the last remaining Anhurite influence upon current and future Pharaoh’s (except for their nominal presence on the Solar Council), he is looking for any failure to warrant the removal of one of the last positions of honour for the Church of Anhur.
Hethhab Ramath (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Warrior 7): Hethhab is the current Oblaran of Anhur, this makes him the titular head of the Church of Anhur. Hethhab has never been comfortable with his position since undergoing the Ritual of Oblaran, he dislikes being responsible for the life and death of potentially millions of people, and to make matters worse he knows that his skill as a warrior is good but not great (many believe other factors and powerful people influenced the choosing of Hethhab to be Oblaran). Still, Hethhab is as loyal and honourable as can be, and he has never run from battle or the chance to protect others, even if it meant his own defeat and dishonor, he survived the Ritual of Oblaran so Anhur must see something in him worth choosing. Hethhab is happy to be the figurehead of the church and to play the part of an honourable warrior, roaming from settlement to settlement, fighting evil, and righting wrongs.
Mithresh Kaldeiron (Good, Human – Mulan, Warrior 8): Mithresh Kaldeiron spent many years as a caravan guard before finally devoting himself to the worship of Anhur. His travels took him as far south as the Great Rift, and he is one of the few humans to have studied fighting techniques with the gold dwarves. He has brought these techniques to Skuld where as the high priest of the Battlestorm Temple, he is forming his own brotherhood (known as the Bladestorm Brothers) who are trained in using their specialised magical arts in the midst of combat as part of their fighting technique (known as the Gold Falcon technique).
Ralmier Ramatep (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Expert 7): Abalsaf Ralmier Ramatep is of the House of Ramatep, a branch of House Ramath founded by a second son of Anhur or Anhur’s children (history is not clear which). Ralmier is a capable general, able to inspire troops, predict enemy tactics, and organize and equip an army with equal skill (although his battle prowess is rumoured to be equal to a fisherman – when he is out of earshot).
Ralmier believes that to increase the glory of Anhur, Mulhorand must conquer Thay, but to do so Thay must be at its weakest. Ralmier is waiting and preparing for the various factions of Thay to erupt into civil strife before launching the attack through the Wizards’ Reach (he has made many secret friends and treaties with the rulers of Escalant Murbant, Thasselen, and Tilbrand to allow Mulhorand’s mercenary forces to land there before marching on Thay.
Ramas Fezim-Ret (Neutral, Human – Mulan, Warrior 3): Ramas is the fourth son of a minor noble family distantly related to the House of Ramath. To secure his future he enrolled in the Legion of Dawn and distinguished himself in personal combat against a number of bandit leaders along the Great East Trade Road.
Recruited to the Order of the Watchful Lion, Ramas Fezim-Ret is one of the few Anhurites allowed within the Solarium purely because of his noble background and training in etiquette and social customs.
So-Kazar Ramath (Evil, Human – Mulan, Expert 9): Abalsaf So-Kazar Ramath is a distant cousin to Hethab Ramath and has spent his life studying and training with the mesha (sword) and sitir (spear). His weapon skills are unparalleled in the Legion of Dawn and in single combat he is nearly unbeatable (although on the field of battle he is rumoured to be less successful against hardened warriors).
So-Kazar has spent the last 30 years battling pirates along the north coast of the Taranoth region, and his success has earned him the title of Commander. His familiarity with the land just south of the Thazalhar has been instrumental in allowing the plots of the senior Watchful Lions to progress this far.
Sphere of Influence
Battlestorm Temple: The temple of Anhur located in Skuld, led by Mithresh Kaldieron (Good, Human – Mulan, Warrior 8), who has studied fighting techniques in far off places such as the Great Rift and Luiren
Anhur’s Khopesh: This mighty blade was crafted from the melted staffs of several artificers of Imaskar that Anhur defeated in battle personally. Supposedly infused with the essence of Anhur, and enspelled by Thoth and Ra, it is an intelligent weapon capable of operating independently of its wielder, is noted as being particularly deadly to extra planar beings, and can manifest spells cast into it.
The blade has remained on display in the Solarium of Skuld (a place of great honour that also prevents the Anhurites from using the sword) for many centuries. In the past it was used by the pharaohs of Mulhorand to provide counsel (for the sword can speak to those who hold it), but has not been used since the time of Ramenhorus III.
Ashram: Ashram (the name is inscribed in Mulhorandi onto the blade), was forged around -1400 DR for Senusret Ramath; firstborn son of Anhur and champion of the armies of Mulhorand, in honour of his battles in the northern campaigns (conquering Semphar, Murghom, the Netarand, and beyond). This scimitar greatly enhances the speed of it’s wielder and was used to great effect during the Orcgate Wars (although Senusret ultimately perished wielding it).
It again saw battle during Narfell’s ill fated invasion of Mulhorand in 623 DR, but unfortunately was lost to the invaders and has never been seen in Mulhorand again. There are rumours of a blade matching the description of Ashram being part of the regalia carried by the retinue of King Imbrar of Impiltur on his doomed foray into the Giantspire Mountains. If the whereabouts and identity of this blade are ever confirmed, the Church of Anhur will greatly desire its return (paying a fortune in gold to secure it, or sending the Order of Watchful Lions to acquire it if necessary).
The Beacon of Light: This legendary artifact of Mulhorand’s antiquity (rumoured to have guided the Mulan through the border ethereal during their journey to Toril) is sacred only to the Church of Anhur because they are deemed responsible for its loss in 1280 DR when the Thayans launched a daring raid on Skuld itself, and stole the Beacon of Light from its resting place in the Bay of Shadows.
The Beacon of Light currently rests atop an abandoned tower on the island of Sarr in the Pirate Isles. Should the Church of Anhur ever discover it’s location, they will spare no expense to recover the lost artifact and the dishonor associated with its loss.
Order of Watchful Lions: This military order of the Church of Anhur is sent far and wide across the realms, battling great evils and enemies of Mulhorand, hunting down evil criminals, and securing Mulhorand’s treasures (particularly those of the Church of Anhur).
This order is part of the prestigious Guardians of Skuld, who are bound by tradition to guard the City of the Gods in Skuld. Veteran warriors from the Order of Watchful Lions are often sent to Skuld to join the guardians (although anyone can apply to join), but most realize the assignment is little more than glorified guard duty and it is not a popular posting within the order, even if it is an excellent way to learn information about rival churches (such as the Church of Horus-Re).
The Lion’s Head: This ornate bronze shield is fashioned into the shape of a roaring lion. Fashioned for one of Anhur’s firstborn sons, it was enchanted so that upon command, the lion could come forth from the shield and charge forwards, biting the first creature in its way within 10 ft.
The shield was last bore into battle by the divine incarnation Ramathanhur in 922 DR against the fledgling rebellion of Ythazz Buvaar. Ramathanhur and his forces were soundly defeated (although they were under-resourced as no-one expected the Shamulrand region to rebel) and his body (and the shield) was never found. In truth Ramathanhur fled in shame, taking the shield with him. He ended up in a long forgotten crypt in the Thazalhar (known as the Darkcrypt), where he still lives to this day, defending the lost artifact of Ra known as the Ankh of Life.