St. Bronwyn and the Abominable Abbey
Starting in the early 1400s, an alchemical monk by the name of St. Bronwyn the Traveler began a series of studies on those who had previously undergone the Branding
but were saved, in effort to form a record on the experience. While many refused to talk about it, those who were offered critical insight that St. Bronwyn found fascinating.
In his books, St. Bronwyn made claims that the experience of the Branding had freed the minds of these young men and women, allowing them far greater "emotional range," a more "carefree lifestyle," and ultimately "experiencing a more joyous lifestyle". While his record refused to mention the names of how many people he studied, the reports were significant enough to warrant further study.
St. Bronwyn was granted funds and a small abbey in the Greyspire Mountains of Ardennais to continue study. He recruited a many young priests and attempted to convince them to undergo the transformation willingly. This led to many experiments, including beatings, tortures, and even animal mutilations in the area. St. Bronwyn successful transformed many young men into Branded, and even consumed in secret, writing his findings and sharing them with the officials.
The officials became horrified at Bronwyn's finding and declared him mad, his papers were burned and those who had undergo the Branding either underwent confession, salvation, or execution. Bronwyn was subsequently jailed and spent his last 47 years spreading his message that Branding would not trap them, but free them.
Around 1500, The story of St. Bronwyn spread throughout the church, leading to a divide in the church. On one side, the Divinites, who followed the High Council of the Divine Flame, and the Bronwynites, who followed St. Bronwyn. The Divine Council imposed many new laws against the research of the Branding, outlawing practices and even instituting policies at their universities against the teaching of it. This caused the Bronwynites to speak out against the Council and the Church, eventually leading to violent clashes between the two factions. A ten year period followed called "The Burning Decade", where mass executions and book-burnings were undertaken by the Church of Divine Light.
Rise of St. Tarian and the New Age Belief
Around 1540, as the Bronwynites reached their lowest point, a young priest began recruitment into a secret society known as "Sect of the Rekindlers". Advertised as "the true faith, as created and intended by Ilia.", the Rekindlers were modeled after old church laws and founded in the false principals. Documents written by St. Bronwyn arose, claiming to have been saved from the fire by "priests overwhelmed by the new knowledge" and were passed down until given to St. Tarian.