A Day in the Life
The Calculating Engine
Darthiir's Test Hall,
a Shrine to Kelanen
The streets around the Great Foundry are some of the most grimy in the whole Lower Ward, lightly stained with the soft showers of soot from the great furnaces. Being so close to the headquarters of the Believers of the Source, Alehouse Row's taverns have a fair share of their tables occupied by Godsmen, both bubbed and sober. One of the most popular is the Red Pony, the local gathering place for the labourers in the Great Foundry, but lately the pub on the corner of Bladeling's Run has been seeing it's fair share of bashers with a more martial inclination.
See, just across the road from the Red Pony's there's a new training hall for cutters looking for some handy tips with a blade. The Darthiir's Test Hall, or as the local's refer to it -- Darthiir's, occupies an old warehouse that has been stripped bare to form a large training area filled with weights, assorted combat dummys and some more complex mechanical mannequins supplied by the mechanicians at the Hands of Time. The blood who runs the joint is the Darthiir (Proxy [Kelanen] / male valley elf-drow / F9, W10 / Believers of the Source / CN), a charismatic half-orc warrior with a large white serpiginous scar curling down the right hand side of his face and neck. For a prime, he's well respected by the Cagers, being a consummate weapon master with his preferred long sword and being a reliable cutter with any other type of sword. For anyone not using a sword as their main chiv though, Darthiir's is less useful as a source of weapons training. Now, the Darthiir's not just a sword master, rumour has it he's actually a Scarsaint of Kelanen, a warrior-priest proxy of the so-called "Prince of Swords" -- a fairly young demipower from some dying prime world called Oerth that's making inroads on the planes, especially amongst Godsmen warriors. The Darthiir neither confirms nor denies this barkle, but his assistants and as a consequence the various trainees, still treat him with a great deal of respect.
Now, the Darthiir is pretty low-key about his religious views, but it's common knowledge that he considers the training hall to be a Shrine to Kelanen and has all but admitted belonging to the priesthood, going so far as to mount the Sword Lord's nine sword starburst symbol above the main entrance for all to see. So far the few Scarswords (as the priests of Kelanen call themselves) that have openly visited the Cage, have all stopped in a the Darthiir's to pay their respects and are seen to be a fairly active bunch, less interested in preaching and converting than leading by example. It's difficult to keep track of just who's who among the Scarswords, as even the junior priests appear to be able to alter their appearance. A sober power dedicated to preserving the balance, the Sword Lord is a patron of warriors and mercenaries, and places a heavy emphasis on testing and trials. The chant goes that Kelanen was once just a clueless mortal blood that underwent a series of tests to rise to the rank of what the Godsmen call a quasi-power, someone on the verge of rising to full power status. In recent times, the Sword Lord has become more popular, to the stage where has become a fully fledged demipower in his own right. It is this story, which has not been verified yet, and the ethic of constantly testing and striving to improve oneself that has attracted the many Godsmen warriors to the Darthiir's Test Hall and into the Prince of Swords' following. Of course, there's also the ludicrous slaad-story, told by the bubbers at the Red Pony, that Kelanen's really an aspect of the Lady of Pain that broke away to form its own identity, but most consider that just plain screed.
The Test Hall consists of the large open training floor, with the Darthiir's office and bedroom at one end. Above the office, in a small loft area, is where the assistant trainers, a bladeling on leave from the Acherian branch of the Kelanenite church, Shiylon Sere (Planar / male bladeling / P8 [Kelanen] / Believers of the Source / LN) and a surly Sinker half-elf, Qubit'tal (Planar / female githzerai / P7 [Kelanen] / Doomguard / CN), have their personal areas. The bladeling and the githzerai have their fair share of differences but so far have kept it to an amicable rivalry. Qubit'tal's clients consist mainly of the younger Sinker recruits seeking initial sword instruction. She herself belongs to the temperate camp of the faction, an ideology that causes the least conflict with her Kelanenite dedication to neutrality.
A school of young tieflings has also formed around Darthiir's reputation and teachings. Calling themselves, arrogantly enough, "Kelanen's School", they consist mainly of a snotty nosed gaggle of young spivs led by a few experienced planewalkers and older tiefer cutters. More of a network than a truly organised band, there's always some of the younger bashers banging around by the Test Hall. Nobody's quite sure what the Darthiir thinks about the group, although several of the more serious youths have approached him about joining the ranks of the priesthood. So far, only "Spindles" Crigalli (Planar / female tiefling / P3 [Kelanen] / Believers of the Source / N) has shown any real dedication, but the rest of the school considers the Tintibulan woman-child their unofficial leader.
Training: The Darthiir and his two assistants will train single-classed and multi-classed warriors and rogues that use any type of sword for half the usual fee: 50 jinx per level per week [if the optional training rules from the DMG p49 are used]. The Kelanenites will not train priests of any sort, paladins or any other individual of extreme alignment or faith. Despite being priests, the Kelanenites will train Athar, although the numbers of the lost showing up for practice sessions is minimal since rumours of the Darthiir being a proxy have begun to circulate. Doomguard seeking instruction are referred to Qubit'tal, although occasionally the Darthiir provides training for the more skilled warriors.
Copyright 1998 by Jarkman
[Author's Note: In case anybody is wondering, I've designated the unnamed street between Whitesmith Street and Ironmonger Street that opens out onto Alehouse Row on the small circular inset map on p22 of the Factol's Manifesto as Bladeling's Run (the page with the map of the Great Foundry). I suggest placing The Hands of Time, mentioned earlier in this piece, further down Alehouse Row near the lesser gates of the Great Foundry, on the corner of Whitesmith Street on the same map. Kelanenite priests are my own creation, possibly to be detailed more fully soon.]