Deathward


The VeilOfSouls Veil of Souls is housed in a mighty gatehouse deep underground. Around this gatehouse, a group of dwarves, blessed by Klik'chak, have erected a vast underground fortress, which they have named Deathward.

Deathward Fortress, the undercity

The Deathward Fortress is shaped something like a large horseshoe, with the gatehouse protecting the Veil located on the inside of the curve.

Once through the well-guarded entrance, a traveler stands in a long hall, 80 feet wide, lined with statues of heroes, kings, queens, and other people of import — all dead and all having passed through the Veil of Souls, both in body and spirit. Here, a great many ghosts pause, not quite ready to make the final passage through the Veil. These ghosts sometimes spend days or even weeks here, chatting with each other and the Deathwarden dwarves that pass through. They are obviously nervous about going to the Amensi land of the dead, for they know that after they enter, they cannot come back.

Once through this passage, characters come to the Veil of Souls itself. Within a massive gatehouse, it seems as though the well-crafted dwarven walls give way to an even more well-crafted passage filled with mist. Two Deathwarden dwarves stand at the point where the walls end and warn the living, “If you pass through the Veil, you will never return.” Nevertheless, the dwarves themselves pull carts of the deceased through into the mist. They never ask any hired hands to perform this task. No one knows exactly what lies beyond, and the dwarves who pass through never come back after unloading their cargo.

The rest of the fortress is a sweeping structure of tall, finely crafted chambers lit by ever-burning magical torches. Although they appear to have actual flames on their ends, these torches consume no oxygen, produce no smoke, and cannot be used to start fires, except on the ends of other magical torches. There are large banquet halls and meeting rooms throughout the structure, but there are never any festivals or meetings. It is a very quiet place, akin to a mortuary; in truth, that’s what it is, for the Deathwarden dwarves are really the ultimate morticians.

The dwarves have their own almost completely self-sustaining community here. It has its own water supply and its own food supply, and the dwarves farm edible fungus, although they prefer food from the surface when they can get it. Deathwarden craftsmen fashion beautiful but somber stone and metal objects here, although, for obvious reasons, wood is quite scarce. The dwarves seem content to carry out their duty and live their lives here, at the edge of death itself.

Deathwarden Dwarves
Most folk living in the surface city of Deathward will never see Deathwarden dwarves unless they go near the Final Portal, where the dwarves gather to escort dead bodies down to the VeilOfSouls Veil of Souls. Their mottled gray skin has paled to a near ghostly white while the stone whorls have darkened to a point at which they almost seem to drink any light which shines upon it; however, one not intimately familiar with dwarven clans would not immediately recognize the different between the Deathwardens and other clans.

The Deathwarden dwarves behave much like dwarves everywhere else in the world, though their mood is almost always somber and deferential, even more so than other dwarves. Jokes and humor are completely lost on these dwarves, and they view such things as frivolous and unbecoming. Deathwarden dwarves are always lawful, spending their whole lives in service upholding the laws of life and death. The dwarves are acutely respectful of the dead and of the mourning of loved ones.

Deathwarden dwarves generally follow a mixture of ancestor worship and reverence of Klikchak Klik'chak, who they view as a mighty, four-armed dwarf. The DeathwardenChanter Deathwarden Chanters lead both the religious and secular aspects of Deathward's society, as the two or inextricably linked.

Deathward, the surface city

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