The Book of the Twelve

Twelve came to the world when it was naught but endless chaos, intrigued by the potential present for great things. Each of them gave their blessings unto the formlessness, and in so doing the world was shaped. As chaos became order, as life began where none was before, the Word was spoken and time began.
— The Book of Twelve, Volume I "Crea"
  This writing is considered central to worship in the Rhyliss Empire, though there are few who have read through all the contents. It exists in four volumes, each one having a particular purpose and history of being revised over the generations. As a whole, the assembled volumes speak of the Rhyliss Pantheon's deities from the origin of the world to assorted fables and parables meant to illustrate the nature and personality of each member of the Twelve. Varied scriptoriums are responsible for creating copies of the Book of the Twelve from master copies provided by the various orders to each member of the Twelve. There is a single 'unabridged' master version which is kept on the Exalted Island, in the care of the high priests there.  

Content Summary

The first volume of the Book is entitled "Crea", but is more popularly known as "The Tale of Creation". According to the priests, this is the telling of how the world came to be through the efforts of the Twelve. There are various passages which detail which among the Twelve are responsible for each aspect of the world, and the interactions with others among the pantheon. The contents of this volume have seen more revisions over the centuries than others, and older versions are known to reference deities outside the Twelve as existing alongside them during this period of creation. These passages have been deemed as apocryphal by the high priests, and by order of the High Sun it is heretical to reference them as having any basis in truth.

Titled "War of the Heavens", the second volume is a telling of conflicts arising between members of the Twelve, and other deities which had come to the world with their own followers. Most of the story is told with broad strokes, focusing more on particular events between deities which explain various aspects of the world as it exists now. Scholars who read accounts from other religions regarding this time note there is rarely a dispute on these conflicts happening or whom emerged victorious. Such things are a source of curiosity, as followers to most other deities are eager to defy other interpretations - in this case most accounts tend to agree on the reasons and outcomes of these events, and only disagree on finer details.

The third volume, "Twelve Lords and Ladies" defines each member of the Twelve with regards to their chosen focus, commandments, and other details about their divine position in the world. There are portions of this volume devoted to speaking of the domains of each deity in particular, describing what loyal followers will find as their eternal reward. Of all the various revisions done to the entire set of volumes, this particular volume has seen the least amount of such done to it. The most notable revisions over the ages have been to add or alter known epithets regarding each of the Twelve in sequence, or to 'correct' names based on changes to the language of 'Imperial Common'.

The final volume is simply titled "Tales" and consists of selected parables and fables concerning each of the Twelve, meant to highlight the importance of following their commandments or the personalities attributed to each of them. This particular volume is the most constantly revised among the four, as some tales are removed and others added depending on the decisions of high priests at the time of revision. Each order compiles their own tales, sanctioned by their specific high priest, in order to avoid any important tale becoming forgotten through this process. However, scholars who keep track of the various versions and each order's own compilations have found some tales simply vanish - inquiries into the fates of such are often left unanswered or met with complete non-interest.

Document Structure

Publication Status

As important as the Book is to the worship of the Twelve, there are very few full publications available outside of major temples. Even shrines in local villages have a heavily abridged version pertinent to the particular order in charge. The high priests on the Exalted Isle strictly control the content of the Book's current format, along with when there are any fully-authorized copies being made. Unauthorized copies do exist, but the quality and accuracy can vary wildly depending on the skill level of the scribe doing the transcription. Most commonly these are crafted by followers of Ionis who chafe at restrictions from the Isle, and secretly disseminate copies to those willing to pay for the privilege (and risk). Any unauthorized copies which come to the knowledge of higher priests are consigned to destruction through fire,
Vellum / Skin


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