Dominion of the Dead
There was no single “church” before the Darkness. In the old days of the Five Kingdoms people largely subscribed to a single monotheistic faith, founded centuries ago by Mada the Prophetess, Daric the Teacher, and Ylwen, founder of the first monastery. Religious colleges in Gyred, Mordan and Carodd trained priests who established their own, independent churches throughout the five lands, and while the greatest scholars were shown great respect, they had no direct control over the clerics in the countryside.
All of that changed during the Darkness. Many priests became leaders of resistance against the Abominations, while others were collaborators. When Gwyon the Great founded the Awrgawn Empire he gave loyal clergy the authority to weed out those who had worked with the enemy – and to appoint loyalists in their place. Eventually this arrangement was institutionalized into the hierarchical organization we know today.
Gwyon’s two Councils also established a new orthodoxy, with the Syawar at its center. A permanent Synod of the Faith was founded to resolve religious questions and oversee the scholars in the religious colleges. Gwyon also established the Keepers of the Crypt as an independent religious organization. The Keepers regularly commune with the Syawar and, in theory, they have the sole authority to crown the Lord Protector.