The following is excerpted from the journal of the priest Zachariah Fenn, an acolyte of the Temple of the Codex and former spiritual minister to the people of the Western Reaches. The journal itself was found by excavators, partially preserved within the sealed chamber of an altar at the ruins of Saint Francis Cathedral shortly after its destruction. The book is of considerable historical and religious value because its age places it shortly after the foundation of the Temple itself. Though portions of the manuscript were destroyed, our scholars have pieced together legible sections to present this, the most accurate and near-complete version of the original work. Needless to say, the author's use of language is obscure and makes references which are lost to modern scholars. The subject matter, a portentous fantasy dismissed as fallacy by the Temple's current administration, should be approached with understanding that the author was of advanced age by the time of his writing, likely suffering from senility. No factual evidence exists regarding the true identity of the Temple's founder, and in any case, we consider such musings to be squarely in the domain of the religion itself.
-- Coriolan Anzod II
Chief Advocate Curator
Cambrian Chamber of Historical Studies
Excerpt dated: Trinsday, 14 Callumnas Rega 425AC:
xxx/x/x...reads signals in their reactions, and with the impending completion of the Shrines comes the conclusion of my direct relevance to the leadership of the Cathedral. As of today, seven of the Eight stand finished, Humility reserved for the last as a gentle admonition to those who shall continue to serve as clergy. In this moment of tranquility I now find the chance for quiet reflection; freedom to inscribe a brief memoir of earlier times, most pressingly the secret tradition of Father Enoch Mazirion, our founder and teacher. To begin: In Aronas 402 a dark portal opened near our home in the desert, spilling a black oily liquid over a wide swath of the surrounding area. Thirsty, the sand took in the oil but left behind the fragile figure of a man in robes. He was delirious and lashed out at us, babbling incoherently about a Huntsman, a Precipice, and the Abyss. We bound him to a litter and dragged him to the healing circle where he eventually slept. A sentry remained to watch over the portal and nothing further emerged, however on the third night a cloaked figure came from the direction of Cambria and passed through into the nothingness beyond. We mourned the poor soul, because soon afterward the passage closed upon itself and disappeared.
Over weeks, the strange man recovered and began making an honest effort to contribute to the village. He was elderly, with a long beard and stooped posture, but gazed on our land with the wonder of a child. He rapidly learned our customs and assisted an herbalist in crafting an ornate distillery. I noticed he had a distinctly wistful and tragic demeanor; he disapproved of our kinsmen's petty squabbles and often placed himself physically between combatants at considerable risk to himself. One cold morning, we woke to learn a tailor had been robbed and murdered in the night. Father Enoch, for by then we knew his name, sat in vigil by the deceased and held to his chest a small totem he'd made from two crossed twigs, one of which ended in a loop. He called it an Ankh, and seemed shocked at our unfamiliarity with the shape. I remember, it was this moment when he must have truly understood our unfamiliarity with his religion, and he began speaking to us of the Virtues. Initially few truly heard him, but over time disdain melted before his steady words: all are capable of harmony, all must follow the path carved by the Avatar.
The remainder speaks for itself in the glory of our Temple's rise. Within ten years our Cathedral was completed, named not for our leader but one of his own early mentors, long-since martyred in a distant land. The project of the Shrines nears completion, and I foresee their grand importance in the dark times ahead. Without Father Enoch's arrival this land would still be unaware of the Codex, disarmed of our only weapon against the rising forces of evil. The man himself always remained cryptic about his origins, but on one occasion early in our history I believe I saw him reveal a clue. He had only recently begun to make missions, and we were traveling in procession along a new route when we passed by a mountain in the far south near Cambria. Father Enoch stopped mid-stride and stared open-mouthed, then guided us to its northern edge where a passage lay overgrown with vegetation. He entered alone and after a time emerged, shaking his head in amazement, saying only "By the Eight, it is so different... yet this is home...."
Of his ultimate disappearance I have little to add. I will say that by that time, he'd seen us become a self-sustaining community, with the Cathedral built and the project of the Shrines well underway. Perhaps there was no better time to lose him, but we felt it sharply when one day he simply failed to arrive at our morning gathering. We are forever indebted for his kindness and teaching, and as he wished, we will hide his name as our guarded secret. Perhaps he perished, but we are true believers, and consider him to have completed his Path at last.