Song and Steel
Long ago, a new star appeared in the night sky. Unlike the other stars which shifted across the sky and vanished with the appearance of the sun, this star stayed in place and was bright enough that it was visible well into the morning and early in the evening. Pilgrims and researchers of various religions and disciplines flocked to the area beneath the stationary star. From its beginning, Honheim has been a fractured city due to the vastly different beliefs possessed by the people who all consider the area beneath the star to be of some spiritual or secular importance.
These divisions became even more drastic when a being of incredible power descended from the stationary star and altered the surrounding landscape drastically by waving its hands and commanding the earth to move. This being payed no attention to the inhabitants of the city, and one militant group of pilgrims that had recently arrived and set up camp outside of town was almost entirely exterminated as the ground opened up beneath their campsite and swallowed them up. The head priest of one of the groups drew near to the being and asked if his group could be taken up to the star above, and the being replied without looking away from his work “Gelathu sacaras kenari shuakta.” This was in a dialect of the common tongue considered ancient even at the time and has since been translated with many different meanings, as seen below.
Some of the major groups now living in Honheim are listed here, but there are a tremendous amount of interpretations of the star’s significance. Any attempts to chart the different groups looks more like a thicket than a tree of inheritance due to the tremendous amount of differing opinions and disagreement on what parts of the stories and associated writings are considered canon.
Note: The stationary star has recently exploded in a cataclysmic event, raining fiery debris down in a very large area around Honheim. This has caused tremendous upheaval in the already tumultuous town, and little is known of the current state of the area or the activities of the various groups.
The Penitent Order of the Twisting Thorns
This group uses the translation “Your blood is not worthy of my kingdom.” Mostly formed from an ascetic order of warrior monks who went mad in a frenzy of self-flagellation after they were deemed unworthy of heaven, the Twisting Thorns have since created strict regimens of penance to atone for their assumed sins.
Their translation of “You must purify your blood if you wish to make it suitable for my abode.” has lead these rather learned scholars to experiment with blood magics. Their use of corpses has lead many to believe them to be necromancers, and this persecution has, in turn, lead The Consanguinity into a culture of secrecy and subterfuge. Many members pretend to belong to other groups within Honheim to avoid the witch hunts and act as spies within those groups.
The Hope of the Harvest
Roughly translating the words as “Your blood is not yet ripe for my hearth,” this church of mostly peasant farmers believes the being in the sky is a great farmer who intends to eat them once it deems they are ripe. In general, they are quite content that this is the way life should be since it parallels their own manner of living.
The Glory of the Heavenly Body
After translating the being’s words as “Your bodies are not admirable enough for my palace,” this group came to believe the being would whisk them away to heaven if they became attractive enough. Exactly what the being finds attractive is up for debate since information on that is scarce at best.
The Crimson Cartel
Originally created by many of the town’s merchants, this loosely affiliated group translates the being’s words as “To be worthy of my palace, you must settle the debt of flesh.” These words have given the merchants an excellent excuse to enter into slave trading, and their varying interpretations have determined how they deal with those slaves. Some buy slaves just to free them, some hold great rituals and games of blood sacrifice, some form harems hoping to entice the being back down to the earth, and some just profit off of the general insanity of the town.