I’m not an orphan. No son of Moradin is. Although, going beyond that, I should also say that I know my birth parents quite well, though I haven’t seen them in some time. Perhaps slightly over a century. Yes. I believe that’s right. Onyx, my birth father, took to the stone sleep at about that time. If I remember correctly, it was the year after my older brother, Creon, died in the battle of Doover Trench, when the Slaad launched their last significant campaign against the New Kingdom. He was a good dwarf, and I miss his counsel sometimes, especially when it comes to his knowledge fungal incense. Mine never seem to burn with the same savory odor as his did. Embral, my mother, left for the mines of Ch’traan about twenty years before that with her fifth husband. I believe their marriage contract expired some time within the last decade though. Yes, it must have, just as mine did with Adranna. We began our marriages fairly close together, and the hundred and fifty year terms would have expired within a year of one another. Frankly, I’d be surprised if she hadn’t put… What’s his name? Findarn maybe? To the stone sleep himself with all of her nagging. She was always one to keep an orderly house, but in the last couple of centuries, she’s made it an art form. I think she would have married Onyx again. My father, and not her third husband, had he not taken to the stone sleep. Perhaps it was more than my brother’s death that sent him to his tomb. Haha! And with that, this memoire will most certainly have to wait until such time as she decides to be forged again herself.
My intent here is more serious than perhaps the last paragraph portends. Essentially, I have been asked to document my career, and how I came to the head of one of the Three Orders.
The three orders are the Order of the Anvil of Light, the Order of the Hammer of Wisdom, and the Order of the Heat of the Forge. Each Order is tasked with its own domains under the lead of the High Priest of Moradin, currently Feldspar Silverweave.
Regarding the Order of the Anvil of Light.
We are a clerical order, rather than a priestly one, as the Orders of the Hammer of Wisdom (Hammers) and the Heat of the Forge (Smelters) are. Each represents a different phase from the story of The Becoming. I shan’t retell the story here. Greater wordsmiths than I have handled that great tale, and my duty here is to come up with something a bit more pedantic really. Regardless, the purpose of the Order of the Anvil of Light is to protect the dwarven people during times of war, which sadly has been the case for the entirety of my days. Occasionally, I am forced to wonder if perhaps our path has been twisted from what it was before the war with the demons and the deep elves came. I think that, perhaps, prior incarnations of the Anvils might have been a more defensive and healing Order. However; times have changed, and it has long been our duty to take the fight to the fiends below, so that our clans might live in peace in the New Kingdom.
In specifics, the Anvils are much like the various Paladin orders of the youthful race of humans, who have surely forged their churches by braiding together the practices of the elf and the dwarf. Our symbol, somewhat obviously, is derived from the anvil which Moradin used to forge the world, and which all other forging tools are but a crude shadow. Moradin’s anvil glowed with the light of his will in the beginning. In so doing, it was a beacon to the spirits of the dwarves which came from the ether of chaos and worked into diamonds, which he set in each of our hearts. Some few others were drawn out as well, and those he reserved for special times of need. (An example being Menozh, counted blessed among the dwarves, elves, moon-elves, and even some nations of humans. I shall leave his tale to my worthy apprentice, Hammer Rentyll Foebeard though, as he has a better way with the epic tale than have I. But I suppose such is the result of being the son of the head of the brewers’ guild.) As I stated before, it is our duty to protect the dwarven people. As such, there are stages which one must go through to become an Anvil. But I shall explain those later, after this overview.
Regarding the Order of the Hammer of Wisdom
The Hammers are primarily a monastic order, though their order is not a lifelong service as it is in other races. The Hammers today primarily consist of dwarven warriors who have served on the front lines, defending dwarves from grim threats. As their souls weary of constant warfare, these good priests, usually young and hardy (being usually of an age between 450 and 800 years), turn to the Church to repair the inevitably wear on their souls. For a person worn with the trials of war and combat, the peaceful life of a scholar can be a comfort. The duty of the Order of the Hammer of Wisdom is to preserve dwarven heritage. It lies upon them to care for ancient or holy places, guard the tombs of our forefathers, observe and record our histories (As I mentioned Hammer Foebeard’s treatises on the dwarf-brother Minozh.), and also to lead the sacred rights and high ceremonies of the faith. They are often expert craftsmen, and each Hammer records his other disciplines throughout his time in the priesthood. Typical service times are similar to that of the common dwarven marriage term of 150 years, though some few do commit to lifelong service to the Forger of Souls, great Moradin.
Regarding the Order of the Heat of the Forge
The Smelters are the teachers of the dwarven people. Working with the Hammers, it is their job to record and protect all of the written history of the dwarven peoples. Further, and most importantly I believe, theirs is the job of teaching the dwarven people. Many Hammers turn to the Order of the Heat of the Forge later in life, as they return to the church. With their knowledge from prior service in the Order of the Hammer of Wisdom and their knowledge gained in their long lives, these elders teach the young of their clan and lead their clans in religious service. The Order of the Heat of the Forge is a polytheistic group that helps our church bridge the gap between the Churches of Moradin and Scarn. With the direction of the Smelters, the direction of the future of the dwarven people is kept consistent and strong. Our churches will never always agree, but with this combined order, our people’s future is crafted with strength and wisdom.
Regarding the High Priest of Moradin
While this office is currently held by Feldspar Silverweave (a close personal friend of mine who brews a mean moss ale I might add), it has had 23 office holders throughout the history of the church. Seventeen of those are still alive, though sixteen are interred in various tombs in the depth of the stone sleep, and even five of those are in the tombs of Klendt, so who knows whether their bodies are left undamaged. The office of the High Priest of Moradin is exactly as it sounds. The dwarf who holds this position is the chief religious adviser to the Thane, rivaled only by the High Priest of Scarn. He is the treasurer of the church, it’s most experienced healer, and is the only elected official in the service of the Church of Moradin. The qualifications and requirement for this office are as follows, though the importance of each depends greatly upon the dwarven needs at the time:
· Religious Knowledge
· Service in each of the Three Orders for not less than 150 years each
· Must have served as a blacksmith for not less than 50 years, and attained the level of Master of the Forge with the Smith’s Guild
· Must have seen combat on behalf of the dwarven people
· Must have served as a diplomat for 75 years
· Finally, he must have been married at least twice in his life to women that will generally recommend him for his commitment to such an important endeavor as keeping the clans strong.
· Being of an incredibly wealthy clan can be helpful, but not entirely necessary.
Upon reaching 150 years in office, the High Priest is given the opportunity to enter into the stone sleep, using his desk and office as his tomb. If he chooses not to, he may continue on in that office for as long as he should like with the option to stone sleep ever-available. His Grace, Anvil Silverweave, has chosen twice now at his 150 years to hold his post. He knows that I am not ready for the post, and I am honored to say that the politics of this hour would swing my way, and I do not want the job. I would be tied to a desk. My war hammer would become a gavel. My shield, a serving platter to make my sedentary life one of sloth. Paugh! I’ll not have it. I am consent to advise my friend and take the resulting directives and put them into play. Fortunately, he was an Anvil just before his election, and I believe he still considers our ways the ones that will lead us out of these dark days, as do I. He also designates emissaries from throughout the church, on an as-needed basis, to take part in special missions of great political importance. The Thane shares these privileges with the High Priest, and both the religious and political needs in a task are addressed.
Regarding the whens, and whys and how I came to hold this office.
To Be Continued …