Tithe Binding Tradition / Ritual in Shadowfire | World Anvil

Tithe Binding

When a new community seeks the protection of the Lords of Fire, all individuals within it must enter into a contract with forces of the city. They pledge their faith to the Lords, as well as a regular tax from any trade that passes through their fiefs, and in return the consiiderable strenght of the Gleaming City is deployed against the many threats that come from the deep deserts of the Sunside lands.   The contract covers all people within the community, and any new people to the community, including children when they come of age, undergo a ceremony that includes them in the clauses of the contract.   This ritual is known as the Tithe Binding.  

The ceremony

The ceremony is performed by an Illuminator who visits the community whenever a new person needs adding to the community's contract. The Illuminator will bring the original contract from the archives in The Gleaming City, carved in long columns upon an obsidian tablet.   The ceremony involves a simple dance that the aspirant must perform while the Illuminator chants the terms of the contract. While this is occurring, the Illuminator draws forth the magic stored in the aspirant's body, and sends it into the tablet. This process culminates in the appending of the aspirant's name to the list on the contract using a bonescribe made from the finger bone of a dead ancestor of the new aspirant. Once completed, the aspirant is bound by the terms of the contract, and their magical faith bound to the Lords of Fire.  


The newly bound will be severely sallowed by the experience - their own magical reserves depleted nearly to the point of becoming a Soul husk. While rare, there is an inherent danger of that the weaker among aspirants will indeed succumb.  

The tithe

Once signed, the person's loyalty and faith is thereafter bound magically to the Lords of Fire, and whenever prayer and worship is performed, the magics generated by the process are channeled to the Tethered godlings of the Lords themselves.   In addition to this metaphysical tithe, the community is collectively bound by a more mundane taxation also covered by the contract. An ongoing stipend of all goods and materials produced, and a percentage of all transactions and sales made by, or through, the community must be sent to the coffers of Gleaming City.  

The protection offered

In return for the ongoing tithe, the Lords of Fire pledge to keep the community and its people protected from the dangers across the deserts - such as the raiding bands of warlords, or the Soulhusk Chimeras. This protection comes in the form of Deks of the Flaming Brand, who patrol the tradeways and get stationed at each of the communities who have signed a tithe binding contract.  

Breaking of a contract

A community that fails to pay their taxes, or somehow manages to stop the tithing of faith, will be severely punished - if not destroyed completely. The Lords will brook no dissent in this matter, and the Ruins of Damnation stand in stark warning to others if they attempt to break from their binding.
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Aug 10, 2022 20:35

Simple, effective, horrifing. Good work. :)

You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events
Aug 10, 2022 20:52 by Lumin

This is so cool! I have so many questions about how this sort of ritual has had an impact on funerary practices, namely regarding the collection of finger bones from ancestors for use in this ritual. Are bodies buried and dug up after decomposition for the bones? Are the hands not buried at all and just kept separately for the convenience, or do they ever employ something like dermestid beetles to hasten the process along? Do they select one or two individuals per generation and harvest all of their finger bones, or do they spread it out more evenly?

Aug 10, 2022 21:37 by Ononomad

Thanks Lumin, Good questions… the funerary rites I have touched on previously… in these areas, bodies are actually sold after death to become body servants. https://www.worldanvil.com/w/shadowfire-ononomad/a/bodyservants-species so the bones are n easy supply for the Lords.   The finger bone referred to is a form of bonescribe, known as a devilbone… and magically seals contracts signed with it… you can read more about them here: https://www.worldanvil.com/w/shadowfire-ononomad/a/bonescribes-item   Thanks for the like an comment… always great to see questions like this