haela_brightaxe_symbol.jpg
Lady of the Fray, Luckmaiden
Pantheon Dwarven
Realm Dwarfhome
Portfolio Luck in battle, joy of battle, Dwarven fighters
Worshippers Barbarians, dwarves, fighters
Domains Chaos, Dwarf, Good, Luck, War
Favored Weapon Flamebolt (greatsword)

Haela Brightaxe

Haela Brightaxe is the patron of dwarves who love the fray, who wander the surface lands, who face unknown dangers, and who battle monsters. Although dwarves of all backgrounds venerate the Lady of the Fray, those Stout Folk who love battle or exhibit berserker tendencies tend to actively embrace the worship of the Luckmaiden.

Haela is well known among dwarves for her ready laugh, her booming voice, and her ever-cheerful nature. The Luckmaiden is charming, resourceful, and delivers gallows witticisms with a broad grin.

Through battle there is validation, liberation, and exultation. Trust in Haela to see you through the fray, and the monsters of the world shall fall to the sharp blades of your axes, regardless of their apparent strength and numbers. The Luckmaiden blesses those dwarves who believe in her beneficence, and she, through her faithful, will always be there for the beleaguered and the besieged. Rejoice the power of your swing in battle, the sound of your weapon smiting a worthy foe, and the challenge of the fray. If asked, show mercy on a noble foe who abides by a code of honor, but hold not your hand against the treacherous, the liars, and the honorless.

As Ardeep crumbled and the Fallen Kingdom splintered centuries ago, Haela's priests, along with many others, fought valiantly, if ultimately futilely, to preserve what remained of the Realm of Three Crowns along the banks of the River Delimbiyr. At that time, numerous halfling farmers made their homes in the verdant farmland surrounding Secomber under the protective aegis of the allied priests of Haela based in the nearby Firehammer Hold. In thanks for the vigilant axes of the Luckmaiden's clergy and the ready supply of weapons they shared, the Little Folk continually repaid Haela's valiant priests with bags of caltrops-typically three at a time. This practice is now both a joke and an affectionate tradition for both groups.

Haela is well regarded by shield dwarves, particularly wanderers, and her cult is slowly growing among the younger gold dwarves of the South. The Luckmaiden is well known and well regarded among nondwarven adventurers of the North through the near-legendary deeds of her followers, but she is commonly seen as nothing more than a dwarven god of berserkers-akin to bloodthirsty Garagos-by the more sedentary inhabitants of human and elven cities.

Temples of Haela are caves or underground rooms, sometimes in old abandoned holds or the cellars of human ruins. They are typically storehouses of food, small smithies, and armories crammed with odd weapons and armor, and are never guarded by less than a dozen priests (more often, 16 to 20 are in residence). There is always a highly destructive trap set somewhere in such a temple: If the dwarves are slain or forced out, no enemy of the dwarves will get the store of weapons without taking heavy losses. One famous temple of Haela, overrun by ores near Amphail, proved to have a trap of six separate blade barriers that came into being one after another and used the cached weapons of the temple as the whirling weapons.

Orders

Numerous religious and military orders have been founded by the followers of the Luckmaiden in past centuries, but few ever survive longer than a generation or two. Some of the most famous orders in existence today include Haela's Host, the Dauls of the Luckmaiden, the Shining Host of the Underdeeps, the Dancing Damsels of the Brightaxe, and the hippogriff-mounted Skyriders of Aglandar (as the Great Rift is known in dwarvish). Most orders are known for the valor and daring of their members, and such bands typically focus their efforts on reducing the population of evil monsters in the region in which they are based.

Priests

Priests of Haela wander throughout the Realms, aiding dwarves in battle. They wander because no priest knows where or when she or he will be needed-each relies upon Haela's guiding hand to position him or her as necessary. Blades of the Brightaxe aid beleaguered dwarves (and known allies and companions of dwarves) against creatures of all sorts by healing, casting spells, and fighting alongside them. Their objectives are to achieve victory for the dwarven side and to allow the maximum possible number of dwarves to survive. The priests wish also to make all dwarves comfortable with their own skills in combat-to Haela's worshipers, battle-skills are needed to guide the hands of all dwarves if the Stout Folk are to survive.

Priests of Haela are always heavily armed and are often skilled at weapon and armor repair. They freely give away the weapons they carry to dwarves in need but always keep at least one weapon for themselves, although it may be well hidden. They practice throwing weapons in a variety of ways, such as onto ledges, to cut ropes, and to land upright, points buried in the turf, beside those needing them.

The senior priests of Haela teach their juniors much concerning tactics, secrets, and hints for fighting specific monsters, and knowledge of their habits, lairs, and weaknesses. All individuals or groups aided by a priest of Haela are expected to pay for the aid with a spare weapon that the priest can give to some other needy band. Failing that, a shield, pair of gauntlets, or other armor or useful gear can be substituted. It is considered bad form to give the priest back a weapon she or he just gave you.

Novices of Haela, like novices of Clangeddin, are known as the Unblooded. Full priests are known as Blades of the Brightaxe or kaxanar, which can be translated as 'bloodmaidens' (even male clerics accept this title with no shame, for there is no stigma attached to the feminine title). In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Haelan priests are First Blood, Deadly Dirk, Stout Spear, Sharp Axe, Shining Sword, Flamebolt, and Brightaxe. High Old Ones have individual titles but are collectively known as the Hallowed Crimson. The clergy of Haela consists primarily of shield dwarves with around a quarter of the priesthood represented by gold dwarves. Before the Time of Troubles, the priesthood of Haela was all female; since then, some males have joined the clergy. The current gender mix of Haela's clergy is about 85% female and 15% male.

Priestly Vestments

Haela's clergy favor either armor or plain steel-gray rotes, with an overcloak of scarlet and crimson footwear, as ceremonial vestments. An open-faced helm is always worn. The holy symbol of the faith is a steel medallion embossed with Haela's symbol.

When adventuring, the Luckmaiden's clergy garb themselves in the best armor available-chain mail is preferred-and always seek to wield weapons of the finest quality. Helms are always worn, but they need not be open-faced. In honor of an ancient custom, priests of Haela are forever toting large sacks of caltrops around, hoping to get a chance to use them.

Ritual

The followers of the Luck maiden celebrate three holy days of note. The first such day of the year, celebrated annually on Greengrass, is known as the Time of the Spawning. On this day Haela's clergy prepare for the next wave of ores and other monsters to pour forth from the occupied holds of long-fallen dwarves to threaten the remaining Stout Folk once again. The Time of Spawning is marked by grim ceremonies of preparation for the coming onslaught and includes endless choruses of battle hymns, rhythmic chanting to the beat of endless drumming, and the ritual shattering of weapons and armor seized from previous opponents.

The second major holy day of the Haelan faith is known as the Axe Held High, a day that glorifies the valor of the Lady of the Fray and her role in defending the Stout Folk against their ancient foes. On this day of joyous celebration, ceremonies are held at midday, outdoors in the full embrace of the sun. The followers of the Luckmaiden hold that an unsheathed sword appears momentarily in the center of the solar orb at high noon.

Finally, the Feast of the Moon is celebrated by the followers of Haela as the Commemoration of the Fallen. On this day, those dwarves and nondwarves alike who fell in the defense of the Stout Folk while battling monstrous opponents are remembered by the recounting of their battles and the consecration of new armor and weapons in their memory.

On all such holy days, Haela's devout followers are expected to offer several drops of their own blood as well as the blood of enemies of the dwarves they have defeated since the previous holy day.

Most of her companions in the Morndinsamman respect Haela's lively manner. Haela makes sure she never acts against the wishes of the other accepted members of the dwarven pantheon, though she accepts only Moradin as her superior. Of her brothers and sisters, she prefers the company of Marthammor Duin and Clangeddin Silverbeard, who respectively share her interest in the surface and her love for battle. Haela is so focused on the dwarves that she has little time for gods outside her own pantheon. Abbathor, who is always interested in luck, has been sending more dangerous threats to her ever since she has gathered his interest.

  • deities/haela_brightaxe.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/01/13 06:46
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