Seven Saints of Talis
Cult of the Revenant Lord
Center of Power: Hell’s Gate
Clergy: 1200 (Estimated)
Estimated Faithful: 145,000
Designation: Death Cult
Leadership: Grand Confessor Pietro Corteaz
Venerates: Shamm Ashutu (Justice), Ninur Adar (Hunting)
The Cult of the Revenant Lord is a conservative sect of the Imperial Creed found on the world of Talis. Though its existence dates back several millennia, it was considered a fringe group by the Ecclesiarchy until the forces of Chaos descended upon the world in late M40. When the Seven Saints of Talis were revealed, the cult gained prestige and infamy as an Imperial Death Cult, venerating the God-Emperor through their support and beatification of the saints Shamm Ashutu and Ninur Adar, personifications of justice and hunting, respectively.
The Cult of the Revenant Lord is a Death Cult, seeing mystic properties and religious devotion in the spilling of blood, notably that of heretics, mutants, witches, criminals, and other enemies of the Saints and the God-Emperor. Though comparatively few in number (as compared to the other sects on Talis), the clergy of the Cult of the Revenant Lord are frequently assassins, warriors and others of a violent bent, and are thus more than capable of defending their interests and enforcing their will upon the world. The violent tendencies of the clergy is often to the benefit of the scattered communities where they hold sway, for the cult takes a very dim view of bandits, mutants, witches and other intelligent predators of the wastelands.
The tenants of this cult are outwardly simple: venerate the Saints, uphold the law of the God-Emperor, and spill the blood of His foes. To their way of thinking, the coming of the Arch-Enemy to Talis is viewed as a test of their resolve and piety, a chance to earn their salvation, through the death of their enemies or their own. There is a very strong current of martyrdom in the teachings of the cult, culminating in the Rites of the Sin-Eater, which induces the clergy into the “inner circle” of the cult’s mysteries.
In practice, the cult heavily favors mysticism, leavened with a strict interpretation of the Imperial Creed. Blood, bloodshed and acts of cannibalism mark their practices and observances, for it is the belief of the cult that the blood of martyrs is sacred, the blood of the faithful is a blessed sacrament, and the blood of the sinful, the wicked and the profane is to be offered up in sacrifice to the Saints and the God-Emperor. The cult’s clergy follow a strict hierarchy, similar to a military order, with harsh discipline and punitive penances assigned to clergy and lay-worshippers alike for minor transgressions. Major transgressions almost always result in death by ritual sacrifice.
In the areas in which they hold power, the Cult assumes near-total control of the town, establishing laws and measures that ensure the town operates efficiently, brooking no tolerance of criminals, heretics, mutants and other undesirables. In return for their compliance, the populace receives the support of the cult, which defends the town from threats both external and internal, the hunting skills of the Sin-Eaters (which provides food to the town, as the Sin Eaters hone their skills on all manner of wasteland creatures) and a share in the bounty that the Sin Eaters may bring in when hired by worthy organizations for their skills as assassins and trackers.
Members of the cult live lives of moderation and temperance, eschewing alcohol, drugs and other pleasures of the flesh. They are, to a fault, law-abiding and pious. Many members of the congregation, and all of the clergy, are flagellants, believing both that pain cleanses the body as prayer cleanses the soul, but also believing that the shedding of their own blood is an act of religious devotion. Though clergy-members are permitted to marry and bear children, they are expected to be chaste until marriage. Extra-marital affairs are harshly punished within their communities, and prostitution is also strongly discouraged, though neither are capital offenses (by design, the sentencing may have unintended consequences). Within the Cult of the Revenant Lord and its communities, punishments for infractions are almost always corporal mortification, the sentence considered served when the priest or priestess administering is spattered with the blood of the transgressor. For serious offenses, death by flogging is the typical punishment and the heart of the criminal is eaten by the senior priest present, if a Sin Eater is not on hand.
The Sin Eaters
Within the inner circle of the clergy of the Cult of the Revenant Lord is an order of the most devoted members. These warrior-priests take it upon themselves to absolve the wicked and sinful of their transgressions by spilling their blood and eating their hearts, both symbolically taking their sins upon themselves as well as paying homage to the God-Emperor, to whom a thousand souls a day are sacrificed upon Holy Terra. Being inducted into this order is an arduous process, and only the most faithful and suitable of the clergy can hope to be accepted. Once inducted, the Sin Eater trains constantly, both in destroying the wicked, the Profane and the Unclean and in hunting down, and punishing, the Unjust.