|Clergy of Nergal|
|Alternative name(s)||Way of the Sword|
|Title of leader||High Cleric|
|Leader(s)||Yoshimuriko (since 1000 AE)|
|Base||Trinity Gask (Third Age)|
|Other strongholds||Etheril, Roost (until 1003 AE) (Third Age)|
|Region(s)||Western Libaterra, Southeastern Aison (until 1003 AE)|
|Member races||Humans, Elves, Dwarves|
|Enemies||Clergy of Hephaestus, Grand Alliance, Magicracy of Alent, Clergy of Mardük (1003–1006 AE)|
- "The only way to temper steel is to forge it with fire."
- —An old Nergalite saying
The Clergy of Nergal consists of worshippers of Nergal, the God of War. Its purpose is to use conflict as a means of an individual's self-growth as well as making the world stronger to face future hardships. The clergy has been responsible for several conflicts in the Land of the Living throughout history, and it has joined the Crimson Coalition during the Second Great War.
Nergal, the God of War, created the clergy in his image in the First Age, tasking it with spreading strife and conflict wherever the clerics walked. The clergy followed the God of War's orders and participated in many battles throughout the centuries while training some of the fiercest warriors ever to walk on the Land of the Living.
The clergy continued its preachings and influencing events in the world although little else is known about their activities in the Second Age.
In the Third Age, the clergy's Libaterran branch was responsible for sparking the Libaterran Civil War to hasten the fall of the House of Locken from the seat of power. The clerics, masquerading as Rebels, assassinated King and Queen Locken with only the royal couple's daughter Shyla Locken and the old valet Theo surviving the attack. High Cleric Fastholf d'Armagnac, who had been one of the masterminds behind the civil war, fought a duel against the later Rebel leader Yoshimuriko as a test of strength in 1000 AE. Fastholf lost his life, and Yoshimuriko succeeded him as high cleric after accepting Nergal's blessing.
Around the same time, the clergy's Aisonian branch led by Tcha Khan was the force behind the attempt on King Byron Kagawest's life during the Festival of the Ascension, assassinations of several prominent militay commanders, Grandmaster Vepar's Magestar conspiracy and the following Battle of Graves Hall, all of which served the clergy's ultimate goal to soften Aison, the bastion of Cardia's followers, for future large-scale assaults. The branch also provided High Cleric Distreyd Thanadar XII of the Clergy of Mardük with a large shard of Krystallopyr, which led to Distreyd casting of the Plague of Nightmares in preparation for the Yamatian Invasion.
The Aisonian clerics of Nergal were betrayed by the clerics of Mardük during the early stages of the invasion of Aison in 1003 AE. Several clerics from the Aisonian branch were massacred with the only known survivors being Hamish Hawkswing and Rastus Derelict. The two clerics subsequently sought out help from the Magestar, forming an uneasy alliance with the Fellowship of Maar Sul and providing the fellowship with information on the Cricket Ball of Magic which could counter Distreyd's global nightmare spell. The two clerics provided assistance to the Grand Alliance during the Great War although they did so mainly to stay alive and to hit Distreyd's allies.
After the Cataclysm and the subsequent fall of Libaterra into squabbling factions, the Clergy of Nergal was one of the few forces to thrive in the now chaotic setting. Yoshimuriko continued leading the clergy and eventually sided with the Rebels who were now being led by Glaurung Losstarot and eventually helped form the Crimson Coalition in the Second Great War. The Aisonian branch of the clergy never fully recovered from the massacre during the invasion years.
The clergy is led by the High Cleric. Smaller branches have high-ranking clerics acting as substitue leaders when the High Cleric isn't present to issue orders. Most of the clerics are warriors and discharged knights with a mage here and there. Red Capes are low-ranking clerics while Purple Capes are higher-ranking members.
- "May Nergal take your soul, oh child of the sword."
- —A cleric of Nergal to Gloracia
All initiates into the clergy undergo a painful tattooing process. Initiates are instructed to use the sap of the Dunraroo root as ointment to ease the pain for the next few weeks after getting a tattoo, or the mark of Nergal.
The Clergy of Nergal fights mostly with honor although they're no averse to assassinations and backstabbing their allies when needed if victory demands it. Higher-ranking clerics use their own judgement on whether to spare people who surrender or get rid of them as collateral damage. When faced with a skilled opponent who puts up a good fight, it's customary for the cleric, if they win the battle, to utter a noble phrase and use dirt or blood to sketch a flaming sword, the mark of Nergal, on their fallen opponent as a sign of respect from one warrior to another.
There's a long-standing animosity between the Clergy of Nergal and the Clergy of Hephaestus which stems from the rivalry between the gods Nergal and Hephaestus. Nergal's followers see Hephaestus's followers as preventing change and trying to shield the world too much from progress and from letting the strong inherit the earth.
The clergies of Nergal and Mardük have been in good standing due to the friendship between their patron deities and their similar outlook in life. However, the massacre of several Aisonian clerics of Nergal by the Clergy of Mardük has left the relationship between the two clergies sour since the Great War.
- Azazel - High Cleric (since 1017 AE)
- Fastholf d'Armagnac - former High Cleric (until 1000 AE) (dead)
- Hamish Hawkswing
- Rastus Derelict
- Tcha Khan
- Varalia Earthhaven
- Yoshimuriko - former High Cleric (1000–1017 AE) (dead)
|Fourth Age Factions|
|Andaria:||Birds of Prey · Church of the Golden Dawn · Goodfellas · High Legions (Ebon Blade · Emerald Legion · Ruby Legion · Sapphire Legion · Topaz Legion)|
|Trinity Gask:||Mullencamp · Vulfsatz|
|Valencia:||Holy Inquisition of Cardia|
|Zion:||Blue Ravens · Royal Company of Archers|
|Clergies:||Clergy of Artemicia · Clergy of Cardia · Clergy of Dionysus · Clergy of Ganesha · Clergy of Hephaestus · Clergy of Laverna · Clergy of Nergal · Clergy of Shakkan · Clergy of Tiamat|
|Others:||Bank of Wealthy Hands · Bold Brigade · Order of the Golden Lake · Red Sun|