Origin of Ornthas
In the time before the first comet, when a great empire spanned the world, Alric Tedronai was a mortal wizard. He was one of a hundred wizards chosen to perform an experimental ritual that would grant them new powers and allow even greater works of magic to become possible.
The ritual appeared to work at first, but then the gods of that age went insane with rage. The gods began to spread destruction across the land. Alric rushed home and gathered his 6 apprentices to defend his people from the attack.
With his apprentices support and the new powers granted by the first ritual, he was able to protect his town from the chaos spreading across the land. When it became apparent that the attacks would not stop, Alric began forming a plan to lead his people to safety. To do this he would need more power, so he attempted the ritual again, with only his apprentices to aid him.
The ritual worked and the seven were filled with arcane power. Using this new power, he tore a hole in reality and led his people through to an alien landscape, where islands floated through nothingness. Here his people could wait out the war between gods and mortals.
As his people settled in to their temporary refuge, the power began to burn inside Alric and his apprentices. It was too much for a mortal body to hold for long. He knew the power must be released, but worried his people would become stranded in this strange world if they did.
So Alric did something he did not fully understand. He combined his power with that of his apprentices, and together they channeled it into themselves, reforging their souls into something different, something new. A portion of the power latched onto these reformed souls and the rest was allowed to dissipate.
With this alteration, they were able to sustain themselves. When it was safe, they were able to bring their people back to the material plane in small groups. Once everyone was safely back to Candarion, the Ornthasians began to rebuild what they had lost in the cataclysmic war with the gods.
Over time they discovered other abilities brought on by the change. When they grew old and began to die, they discovered their souls would not move on. Instead they latched on to their closest kin, possessing the body and using it for their own.
Alric became the Nemara, and his apprentices, the Nemertingi. These new beings would continuously survive the deaths of their own bodies, their essence moving into the bodies of their descendants within each generation. They would become the immortal leaders and protectors of the Ornthasian people.
While the Nemertingi were always able to transfer into new bodies when they died, the experienced was generally violent and unpleasant to experience. The seven began to study the phenomenon whenever it happened to one of the. Eventually a ritual was developed to prepare their souls for departure as well as allow them to choose the time of their transference.
When the Nemertingi first tried the ritual and left their host’s body early, they discovered that the consciousness from before took back control and was able to continue living without the Nemertingi’s presence. With this ritual, it became possible for the Nemertingi to transfer bodies more ethically and it became custom that they would move on after about two decades in a body.
For their host’s remaining years, they are cared for by servants and allowed to retire into a life of luxury in return for the time they sacrificed to the Nemertingi.
An army of servants developed around this arrangement, caring for the Nemertingi and their past hosts, as well as setting up the transference rituals and generally helping the Nemertingi to run their realm. As the centuries past, the roles of the Nemertingi and their servants morphed. What began as a human soul, altered by magic, became a divine being in the eyes of the people. The army of servants became a Priesthood, with orders dedicated to each of the Nemertingi.
At present day worship of the Nemertingi is the primary religion in Ornthas, and is known as the Order of the Seven Divines.