Everyone is summoned to the Temple of Compassion – the audience chamber of the Palace.
The courtyard in front of this section of the palace is comprised of smooth polished black granite. Stairs of the same stone lead up to the main building, rows of well-armored guards flanking the sides. A pair of solid oak double doors open up to a wide antechamber. There is little comfort to be found in this room. There is no carpet, and only a handful of uncomfortable stone benches resting against the walls between multiple side doors. Only two tapestries depicting scenes of worship line the northern wall, flanking another set of fine steel-reinforced oak doors. You hear someone calling out in the adjoining room, announcing the Princess Raspina and company. The doors are opened to reveal the throne room.
The polished black granite floor has one small pale blue carpet running toward the throne itself. Three stepped tiers lead up to a tall-backed militant-looking gray throne with a single white cushion for comfort. Everything feels stark and functional. Ten rectangular pillars flank the walkway up to the throne, five on either side, each of them with a tapestry depicting one of the saints. Behind the throne itself is large stained glass image of Moradin raising his war-hammer high – made to look as if beams of light are shooting from it. The tapestries and glass windows are the only real symbols of opulence to be found here.
In a small gallery on the left side of the throne sits a grouping of nine chairs, almost looking like a jurors box. Each chair has a symbol representing one of the Clerestories.
Linjal himself sits on the throne looking stern and solid. His wife Becka stands solemnly behind him to the right, hands folded at the front of her plain light grey dress.
Linjal is thin for a dwarf, and his face is lined deep with the concerns of his station. His once-black hair is now dull and spotted with gray. Still, his eyes keep their vigor, and project a sense of compassion – yet, a compassion that must be earned. His white robes rest upon him loosely, but his tall hat of station sits perfectly fitted to his head, bearing the symbol of the Runicstone Clan. He holds in his right hand a silvery-looking scepter of office, shaped similar to a warhammer and adorned with jewels and runes.
As you walk up the carpet, a wall of guards in between the pillars separate you from the rest of the court. Everyone’s eyes following you feels eerie. The murmur of the crowd echos slightly throughout the room, and the occasional cough breaks into the murmur. Two well-dressed dwarves, one male one female, stand to the right just before the throne. The woman’s eyes angrily scan the group, but instantly light up when she spots Trinjal. The man’s face is stern and unreadable. You later find out that these two are Trinja’s parents – brother and sister-in-law to the Hierophant.
After much pomp and ceremonial speeches, the Hierophant lovingly welcomes his nephew back home. He offers the proposed reward of 30,000 gold to the full party, and Raspina politely declines her share.
You see Dagvo within the Clerestory seats. For the first time since you’ve met him, you see him smile. Its not the most pleasant smile, but he seems genuinely glad at the turn of events. He whispers to the Hierophant, who then declares that the party be given full access to the city, and an additional request of whatever you wish, so long as its in his power.
Most people ask to visit the citadel
“Orcan” wants to submit his request later
Nuada asks for a magical method of reaching out to his family
Severath wants a powerful priest spell to take with the party as an emergency “just in case”
Pe-Ling wants to see the priestly baths
Faenya asks to study the underground plantlife with the alchemists
The court is dismissed, and everyone returns to the embassy. When everyone reaches their rooms, they find a few items sitting on their bed. The most notable item is a solid leather purse with a hatched pattern with blue and white thread embroidering its edges. It has a thief guard – a false snap on the front to make it appear as if the opening is there, when the opening is really hidden by a flat piece of folded cloth on the back. Each one of these purses contains 425 platinum. (Purse increases the DC any slight of hand checks by 10)
A simple tin scroll tube contains a formal deceleration with your name underlined at the top. It reads in both Dwarvish and Common:
“It is declared by his Holiness, the Lord Hierophant Linjal the 2nd, that [name] is granted full passage throughout the city of Morndinsamman, and the entirety of the region of Runicstone (barring Trirune Holy sites and other faith-only locations). They shall not be detained, fined, charged, or imprisoned so long as they meet all other requirements as otherwise dictated by law.”
The Runicstone symbol and signature of the Hierophant are stamped at the bottom.
A third item is a small nondescript pouch containing an additional 35 gold.
Before long, an urchin girl knocks at Severath’s window to get his attention. She taps him yelling “Tag! You’re it!” Provking him to chase after. A group of kids are playing freeze tag at the side of the open square. Guards are watching with some amusement, but don’t do anything to intervene. Severath gets frozen conveniently close to Maverick, who updates him on what he’s found so far. It sounds like there are several relics in the temple, and any reference to bones include the “skeleton” of the temple’s structure. The foundation and solid structure are referred to multiple times as the “Bones of Moradin.” They’re still looking into more beyond that, but so far it all feels like metaphor.
Tour of the Cathedral
The party is given a tour of the high Cathedral in the city. This is the equivalent of seeing a private tour of the restricted sections of the Vatican by someone approximately 4th status under the pope – Priest Gilar, who has Deacon status in the building.
The cathedral is an impressive structure from the outside. The first floor is windowless, and looks like its mostly used for service rooms or storage due to the small side doors that open from the north, south, and west sides. The second floor has multiple steps and staircases leading up to larger entrances, where more people can file in. This is where tall, stained glass windows can be seen embedded in its sides, reaching up 10 feet high.
The majority of the structure appears to be about 40 feet high, with a vaulted ceiling that rises as high as 50 feet. Its an amazing work of craftsmanship, and unlike anything else in the city save for the palace proper or embassy.
Floor 2 – Main Chapel
The foyer is lovely, and warmed by a light blue carpet. An oxidized bronze statue of Moradin stands in the center, his hands open warmly in welcome. Two stained glass windows are embedded at either side of the foyer – the north one depicting A large set of double doors Two stairs flank the double doors, both leading upwards.
The Nave of the Cathedral is a full 20 feet high at its walls, and 30 feet high at the top. One of the few pointed buildings in the city, its flying buttresses and soaring pillars arch beautifully toward the cavern ceiling.
The building is lighted by flickering light spells made up to mimic like candles dotting about the pews. Two large forges glow softly red in the distance.
A short marble pedestal sits a few feet from the entrance. On top of it is a silver brazier-like concave bowl about 3 feet in diameter. Its piled high with a mound of ash that is marred by streaked fingerprints. As dwarves enter one by one, each sticks a finger in the ash, then dots some on their brow.
The twelve stained glass windows in the nave all depict scenes of Moradin’s Glory. From the first ember of the forge (beginning of the universe), the forging of the first dwarf, Moradin’s avatar earning the Iron tablets, Moradin’s marriage to Berronar Truesilver, a battle with Grummsh, a battle with a hoard of dragons, Moradin’s journey to the plane of fire, and more.
Rows and rows of pews lead up to the dais and altar. Its a triangular-shaped raised platform that fits in line with the hammer-like shape of the end of the hall. On either side of its angles, long pews are lined up. These appear to be reserved for royalty or other priests.
The dais itself is beyond beautiful. Black marble steps lined with cream white carpets lead up to another platform. On it is the altar, and behind that is a podium and lecturn. The altar is a long white marble slab with deep grey runes etched into its edges. A delicately embroidered blue cloth drapes to either side, but its the item sitting on the cloth that takes your breath away.
Sitting on the altar is the most beautiful and pristine warhammer you’ve ever seen. Its handle is the same deep grey as the etchings on the altar, and its head is shimmering mithril. It glows faintly in the ruddy darkness and is covered in runes.
Vestment room – This is the room with the most information.
According to Priest Gilar, it holds vestments of all past Hierophants, beginning with Hierophant Alaxal Runicstone II. Nicknamed Alaxal the Savior, its dated from over a thousand years ago in 250 BDW. It was he who first broke from the past dwarven kings, seeing clearly the heresy and corruption within them. During the Dragon Wars, the Runicstone clan almost gave in to weakness and temptation. Hierophant Melaxal the Dragonslayer was killed in battle, and left no heir. His brother Lonax Runicstone fell in with devils, using evil magic to sway the people and accept corruption. He became known as Lonax the Fallen. He wanted to return to the old ways of Kingship and unite the clans to drive back the dragon hoard. While noble in thought, his actions were manipulated by Asmodeus himself. Lonax the Fallen only ruled for twenty years before his son was blessed by Moradin. Rising up, he overthrew his father and returned the Runicstone people back to the honorable path. Changing his name to Lonaxal Runicstone I, he later became known as Lonaxal the Martyr. Lonaxal the Martyr was a strong and pious leader, weighed down by grief and duty. After securing his son as the next in line, Lonaxal the 1st fell deep into his suffering from the betrayal of his father. While he did the right thing, betrayal of the family must not go unpunished. He stripped himself of all titles to wander the world as a vagabond until his death. He disappeared around 52 ADW.
Priest Gilar brings out Founder Farrim (a higher level priest) to answer more of your direct questions. He’s a bit more stern with his answers.
The party asks many questions about the vestments, underground tombs, and especially the Hammer of Moradin. Today, all members of Runicstone practice the tradition of cremation as an act of “returning to the forge from whence they came.” Before the Divide, Jarls of Runicstone past still entombed their dead. Therefore, there is a small catacomb under the temple holding leaders of the past.
The origins of the Hammer are a little more obscure. In some descriptions, its said to have been given to their first Hierphant, Alaxal Runicstone II, by Moradin himself. In other tellings it was forged by Alaxal II.
After the Tour
Mahkdoh prays for guidance from the Dead God. His prayers are answered in the form of a Commune spell, normally only available to higher level priests
His questions are as thus:
- Is the quest to acquire the bone token more important than respect to another diety. -
- Do you approve of sneaking into a rivals temple to take one of your relics. – NO
- Is knowing where the relics are good enough, if we’re not able to acquire them through other means. – NO
- We’ve been lead to the temple of Moradin, is the relic in the tomb? – NO
- Is violence okay in order to take it back? – YES
Maverick visits Severath this time, climbing in boldly through his window. He tells Severath that one of his urchins, Rega, who was previously on the inside of the Workhouse (the orphanage) has been sold to the baths. She’s only 12. The implications aren’t great. Severath promises to see what he can do. Maverick then tells him he found out that the Hammer of Moradin is also supposed to have some of Moradin himself in it.