The Order of the Silent Anvil
The Order of the Silent Anvil is a monastic order with a monastery deep in the Mountains of Sorrow. The order is primarily, though not exclusively, comprised of dwarves. The dwarves teach that Thimil Telchark, the First, was a dwarven slave of the Empire shortly after the Ruining. He taught that what truly kept the dwarves enslaved was not their dark elf overlords but their own desires and wants. The First never gained, or even sought, physical freedom. But his teachings found a place in the hearts of many dwarves. Some Thimilist dwarves who escaped went on to build the monastery and found the Order.
Members of the Order believe dwarves, and all people, are slaves to their own desires. To free oneself from slavery is to reach sochd. Sochd is a state of silence and rest. Once a dwarven slave reaches this state, he is comfortable laying down his hammer, or other tools, and neither fighting nor obeying those who whip him. The desire to be free of pain is simply another desire one must release.
The Order in the Empire
In the slave pens of the Empire, many dwarves cling to some form of Thimilist thought. As they have no writings to pass to each other and Thimilism is strictly outlawed in the Empire, the dwarves have difficulty spreading the word as much as they would like. Still, their basic philosophy is not complex to communicate, and the idea has permeated the slave pits.
From time to time a slave reaches sochd and lays down his implements and awaits whatever consequences befall him—usually increasingly brutal whipping and then death. These martyrs are affecting the Empire. Some dark elves do their best to not see slaves in this state, leaving them to be the next elf’s problem. Other elves, so disgusted at the brutality offered slaves, have come to a new understanding of slavery and work to increase the comfort of slaves if not free them outright.
The martyrs also impact the other slaves. When a dwarf does nothing but meditate through a brutal beating, he shows others escape is possible and sochd is real. The surviving dwarves mostly shake their heads, thankful for their slave masters looking elsewhere. Some, however, take the time to reflect upon their own place in the dark elf Empire and how their desire to live continues to enslave them and perpetuates a cycle of slavery upon others.
The Magisters of the Arcanium have decreed slave masters remove slaves who stop working from a public area before whipping and killing them. The Magisters hope this will prevent the further spread of Thimilism. This measure has had partial success, but it is also exposing more dark elves to their own brutality.
The Monastery of the Silent Anvil
The monastery is run by group consensus, but the monks recognize the need for an administrator. The Second is the title given to the monk who has the duty of administering the monastery and ensuring basic necessities are met. The Second is elected by general consensus and serves as long as he wishes. He has the ability to instruct others to perform basic, necessary tasks, but his word is no more law than any other monk’s. The current Second is female dwarf Narvi Zirin. Narvi was born free, but she soon saw the price freedom took upon her kindred. She was drawn to the Thimilism, and once she joined the Order, she rose quickly through the ranks. She has now achieved sochd and is at peace. She spends her days managing the food stores and trade for the monastery, teaching students, or in quiet contemplation.
The Order does not teach that laying down ones life at the hands of oppressors is the end goal. Simply that if one is enslaved desire is what keeps one there. The monks do not desire death—they strive to desire nothing. Neither does the monastery teach students to lie down and allow themselves to be taken prisoner by Imperial Reclamation teams. Quite the opposite.
The monks see themselves as having a duty to spread the word of Thimil to all who are interested in reaching sochd, and they see the Empire as a foe of peace, understanding, and enlightenment. As such, they train constantly to be able to defend themselves from the arrival of a Reclamation team. As they have few belongings, the monks train almost entirely to fight without weapons of any kind. To a novice the idea of fighting a Reclamation team outfitted with slaveblades and dark elf chain with only one’s hands and feet seem ludicrous. They are soon disabused of this notion, as are the young dark elves who think a gaunt, empty-handed dwarf is no threat.
Some monks go adventuring out in in Vernlarum as a way of spreading Thimilism and learning about themselves. These monks sometimes come across magical items and great wealth. The Order has no strictures against ownership, though some members take vows of poverty. Most monks who return from a life of adventuring return as empty handed as when they left or give their possessions to the Order to use in its defense.