Saturday, September 14, 2013

Taking the Stone

by +Brad Davies 

Except for the one or two rare instances, Clerics of Yrd are almost exclusively dwarves due to the extreme demands of faith Yrd places on his followers. A dwarf must freely choose to become a cleric, usually after years of service apprenticed to an older cleric of the order. The older cleric acts as a mentor and teaches their ward knowledge they will need as a full-fledged cleric. Most importantly, they prepare their ward to Take the Stone, an ancient ritual given to the dwarves from Yrd himself.

After a dwarf declares his intent to Take the Stone, he is giving 10 days to settle his affairs. On the 10th day, a great funeral feast is laid out before the ward and his kindred. During the feast, great deeds of the wards life are recounted. He is toasted and congratulated through tearful smiles as his family say their farewells to him. Just before midnight, the ward gives his final speech to a quiet mournful crowd. This are to be his final words of this life. After he is done, the crowd raises their cups and drain them silently. They place their closed fist over their hearts in last solomn salute to the ward and then turn their backs to him.

The ward is then taken by his mentor and the other clerics out of the hall. His is then lead down a series of tunnels deep under the Forge to tunnels said to have been mined by the First Dwarves themselves. There, they carve a hole into the side of the tunnel. The ward strips, climbs into the hole and lays down. The clerics say a prayer to Yrd and collapse the enterance to the hole. The ward remains there for 3 days. During that time, the ward is tested by Yrd. His heart and mind are judged. His intentions and aspirations are weighed.Some say Yrd himself talks to the ward. If he is deemed unworthy, he is turned to stone and crumbles into dust, never to live again. If Yrd embraces him, the stones part a pathway out to his new life. He has Taken the Stone.

The new Cleric of Yrd seems to look much like he did in his previous life. It’s subtle differences that prove he is not the same person.. His demeanor takes on a gravitas of someone with a great responsibility. Physically, his eyes have taken on a slate grey color and have a depth to them. He is cooler to the touch than most dwarves. His body is unnaturally still and all his movements seem to convey a purpose. Mentally, he remembers his cleric training vividly but not the person he learned it from. His past personal life is like a half remembered dream. He has no feelings towards his life before he became a Cleric, only an inkling that he had lived before.

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