True to the nature of the god it represents, the canon known as “The Word” is always faithfully copied. No more than six transcription errors may occur (even if later repaired). Transcribers must destroy the copy, regardless of how far along they may be, once the sixth error befalls their work. Thus, while most religious canons transform slowly and perhaps inadvertently over the centuries, this is not so with The Word. Additions to The Word never occur, but a growing mass of commentaries outweighs such works for any other religion.
The Word consists of 12 chapters called Oaths. Paladins of all faiths love The Word because its verses clarify a great deal about the conflicts between oaths of fealty given to a feudal lord, a temple and the god. Monarchs also prize it because it encourages compliance with the law and active participation in society.
The Word contains a massive code of ethics, codified and commented upon in great detail. It espouses fairness to all, but stresses that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. One parable describes a town’s utter destruction and the loss of 1,000 lives as a welcome sacrifice, because it meant saving the kingdom (and there was no way to save both).
Honor is held most holy. Glory for the Lord on High in and of itself is good. The Word states in no uncertain terms that insults to the Irreproachable One, one’s family, the Hall of Oaths, the Keepers of the Word, one’s country, one’s place of birth, etc. (and in that order) should be dealt with immediately and harshly. Even violence is permissible in this instance, but only if no other method will or seemingly will suffice to rectify one’s honor.
Major violations of The Word include lying, deceit (lying through omission of the truth), disloyalty, adultery and oath breaking. Punishment includes public humiliation for minor offenses and lashings for greater offenses. In extreme cases, an offense calls for expulsion from the faith. Allowing intentional harm to come to The Word as a physical representation of your oath is a minor offense.
The Word costs 40 gp and the book (in Oath 9) requires it to be sold when asked. It also states that the person making the request should pay in coin or other commodity equal in value. The Word is available throughout most of Tellene, except in the Wild Lands, where it is uncommon. Surprisingly, the wealthiest of hobgoblins of Norga-Krangrel consider it a sign of prestige to own a copy and be familiar with it, so The Word is available there as well.