~ Two months ago, in the realm of Domhan… ~
Three figures walked up to the temple in the middle of the plains. They had been traveling East of Brangmar for one day. The three of them were surprised. There were very few settlements outside the city and those that existed were far away, or so they had thought.
Doenranak Ironspeaker, a human in flamboyant clothes, shrugged. “Well,” he said in a very gruff voice, “looks like a temple to me. Anyone want to knock?”
Veviir, a male centaur, shrugged. “Well, why don’t we have the cleric of The Morrigan knock? She’s a priest, right?”
Mumbling, Morana SilverAxe walked to the temple door. Her dwarven sideburns blowing in the wind. “It’s a temple. Have the cleric knock. Every time.”
Doenranak glanced at Veviir. “So, you think we’ll make it to these Deathlands within a week?”
The monk shrugged, his shoulders rippling with cords of muscle. “I dunno. Last time I went out here we got lost for five days then gave up. We need to deal with those undead, though.”
Morana knocked at the door, the skeleton of her late brother standing next to her in a robe that fooled no one. “Be ready, brother. We may need you.” Her brother stood taller than a human. She never had the heart to tell him that he was adopted in life, and now, in death, it didn’t matter anymore.
The door creaked open slightly and an acolyte peeked his head through the crack. He saw the holy symbol around Morana’s neck and recognized it as the symbol of The Morrigan. He pushed the doors open wide. “Hello, priest of The Morrigan. Welcome to the temple.” The human looked over Morana’s shoulder to the human and centaur in the distance. “Are the bard and monk with you?”
Looking back Morana realized they had backed away when the door to the temple had opened. “Yes, they are.” She sighed and rubbed her temples, then called out to them. “Get your behinds over here! They’re offering to let us in!” She turned back to the priest and saw that he too wore a holy symbol of The Morrigan. “Will you let a fellow follower of The Morrigan spend a night in this temple?”
“Yes, yes. Of course.” He turned to another priest. “Go tell the acting high-priestess we have guests for the night.”
The two other adventurers joined Morana and her brother to enter the temple grounds. Nobody commented on the large skeleton that appeared to be under Morana’s control.
– – –
While Veviir was content to stand around and help a little with the daily tasks of the priests before bed, Morana and Doenranak started moving about the temple.
“So, you’re the acting head priestess?” Morana walked next to a human woman in a simple robe with a small amount of filigree on the collar.
“Why, of course. Nobody has risen to the rank of high priest or priestess since the last war. This temple to The Morrigan is more focused on the war side of the goddess. Only those who have served in war or shown valor in combat may rise to that rank.”
Morana smiled. “Does that mean I outrank you?”
The woman smiled slightly. “Only if you can prove to us you have been tried by combat. Perhaps you will have a chance to prove yourself, but in these more peaceful times I doubt it.”
In the shadows behind Morana and the high priestess, a dark figure passed from door to door. Doenranak was searching for papers important to the temple. He found a document room and slipped inside. He opened a few scrolls and came across some ancient, important texts. He pulled out his quill and some parchment. He copied a few scrolls and by the end his handwriting perfectly matched that of the scrolls.
Smiling to himself Doenranak pulled another scroll and read through it. This scroll mentioned a cave below the temple with a guardian of crystal inside. He copied that scroll too, and then left the room in search of the stairs below.
When he got down there he saw Morana speaking with the high priestess.
“So, only the high priest or priestess can go down there?”
“Yes, basically.” The high priestess nodded. “Only the true high priest or priestess can go down there. We haven’t had one for a long time.”
Nodding to himself, a plan formulating in his mind, Doenranak went back to the quarters the temple had provided for them.
– – –
Veviir was still standing outside the door to Doenranak’s and Morana’s quarters. He didn’t seem to have moved or breathed since the previous evening. He nodded at Doenranak as he left his quarters. Drawing in breath he greeted the human. “Good morrow, Morana’s already talking with the priestess. Shall we join them?”
“Do you ever sleep?”
“Well, let’s go then. We have a cave to search.” Doenranak walked swiftly towards the main hall, knowing Morana was expecting to leave.
“What?” Veviir asked, but Doenranak was already gone. “Ugh, humans and their impatience. Remind me of minotaurs sometimes.”
“So, we’ll be going. Trying to find out about those rabid undead in the deathlands.” Morana nodded to the head priestess.
“Actually, I’ve heard something about those caves.” Doenranak wedged himself into the conversation. “Can we see them?”
The priestess turned to Doenranak. “Only the high priest or priestess can. The official one, not acting. We don’t have one now. Nobody has seen war and risen to that station in nearly a century.”
Morana shook her head. She knew where this was going.
Smiling Doenranak motioned with his arms. “But we’ve seen war. We’re from north of the Mushroom Forest. War is always waging up there. We came down here for rest and relaxation.”
Sighing Morana nodded. “Yes, we’re from the north. We’ve seen battle.”
“Well, there’s still no reason to go down there, but if you wish Morana you can become head priestess here after your adventure is complete.”
Doenranak pulled a scroll from his pack and unfurled it. “Well, according to what I know about your order today is a holy day.” He pointed out a few dates on it. “See, that’s today.”
“Let me see that scroll.”
Doenranak handed the priestess the scroll. “Sure. It’s just something I found back in Brangmar.”
The priestess scanned the scroll. “Hmm…so it is a holy day today. May I keep this scroll?”
“Of course. I have made a rough copy of the information on it. I don’t need the original anymore.”
“Craig, would you kindly take our guests to the stairs. I need to store this scroll in the archive.”