Forgotten Realms Wiki
Advertisement
Forgotten Realms Wiki
Split-arrows.svg It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple pages. (Discuss)
    Haela Brightaxe → church of Haela Brightaxe


Haela Brightaxe (pronounced: /ˈhlɑːHAY-la[7]) was a dwarven demigoddess of battle and luck, one in spirit with goodly dwarves who loved to fight and who lived to cleanse Toril of evil monsters. As a goddess of chance, the Luckmaiden took great risks in the battles she fought without hesitation, and when the hearts of dwarves joyfully sung with the fight's thrumming thrill, the Lady of the Fray gave a triumphant huzzah of support.[7]

Because it was there, and because I have always wanted to cut my way out of something's stomach.
— A Haelan cleric upon being asked why she attacked an ancient dragon.[7]

Description[]

Haela often appeared in a spectacular, albeit harmless, burst of sudden blue-white flames as a 6 ft (1.8 m) tall, heavily muscled female dwarf. Sometimes she was armored in fine dwarven scale mail or plate mail and at others she was clad only in her silver hair, a long, flowing mane and beard.[1][2]

Personality[]

Among the dwarves and their gods, Haela was well-known for her gregariousness and always upbeat attitude. The charming demigod delivered gallows humor quips with a wide smile and laughed readily and infectiously in her booming voice.[7][1] She had a love of no-holds-barred brawls,[10] but wasn't unthinking, proving herself rather resourceful.[1]

Powers[]

By constantly spinning and twirling in a battle dance, Haela could parry the attacks of her enemies and thwart those made against her nearby allies. Though incapable of stopping magical attacks, any attempt to cast spells was ruined by her movements. When fighting off an individual or pair of foes, they stood practically no chance of advancing or landing a hit on her, but the more opponents she faced, the harder it became to deflect all their moves, and flying foes were doubly difficult to fend off. If mobbed by more than eight enemies at once, her dance of battle would be insufficient to fend them off, but she could still fight bare-handed and could parry her foes just as easily disarmed as she could when wielding a weapon. The presence of the Luckmaiden would cause great exultation in the dwarves nearby, allowing them to fight even harder while watching her.[2][1]

Magical weapons were needed to injure the Lady of the Fray, but even these could be insufficient to harm her.[1] Once per day, for around nine minutes, Haela could make herself intangible to metal weapons, causing them to pass through her while also making her unable to pick them up or deflect them. Once this protection was invoked, she could transfer it to any other creature by her mere touch. Similarly, she could cast resurrection on a single being once per day as well, instantly restoring them to life.[2][1]

Manifestation[]

Manifestations of Haela's powers always involved an aura of silvery flames speckled with blue-white and amber sparks, although this was merely visual and lacked any actual heat. If her aura surrounded a dwarf, they would be instantly healed of all injury and magically imbued with her power, so much so that it extended to their weapons and gave them the properties of being both silver and enchanted. If she surrounded a weapon with her aura, it would become supreme never missing and always striking their intended opponent in the way that harmed them most.[2][1]

However, it would be counterproductive to use this on already magical weapons since their supernatural properties would be suspended (and therefore unable to be drained or tampered with) and would only be able to do physical damage until the power faded. Whether used on a dwarf or weapon, Haela's imbued aura would fade after about 2-5 minutes. She could imbue her aura from a great distance away and in the middle of her battle dances, though she couldn't fully focus on parrying then. She was also known to manifest her pleasure through the discovery of her favored gems and her displeasure when such items dissolved into puddles of blood.[2][1]

Possessions[]

Haela's typical weapon of choice was Flamebolt, a two-handed sword oversized for her height always encircled by tongues of spiraling, but harmless, flames when she fought. The sword couldn't hurt her, and she often hurled it into the air only to catch it by the blade, vaulted upwards to a high ledge or balcony with a hand upon its edge, or exuberantly slid down the sword itself. She could cause the sword to vanish or reappear in an instant, although it required a few dozen seconds to manifest after being sent away and vice versa.[2][1]

Every ten minutes or so, Haela could also call upon her titular Brightaxe, a shining throwing axe of silver as tall as a man. Within a minute, the axe would suddenly appear in midair before spending the next flashing through the air according to Haela's will, although she couldn't use any other magical powers during either length of time. The axe flew up to 140 ft (43 m), assuredly injuring whatever it struck and, if mortal, leaving the targets stunned and thus incapable of performing any voluntary actions, including spellcasting or activating magic.[2][1]

Realm[]

Haela's domain was in Brux, the perpetual evening layer of the Beastlands. Her personal "realm" was a pleasant grotto known as Findar Endar, hidden by the ever-present mists deep within the surrounding forest.[1][11] A simple cave served as her dwelling and she kept to herself, leaving the animals that dwelt within alone.[1] Finder Ender still existed in Dwarfhome, though her cave was a remote cavern tucked into the foothills of the divine realm.[11]

The cave was protected by seven Guardians, einheriars made from the souls of her favorite fallen dwarven warriors that were her primary servants. Though they wielded normal weapons, the Guardians had truesight, couldn't be turned and reformed 2-5 days after being slain and dissipating.[2][1]

Activities[]

Haela and Clangeddin driving off the foes of dwarves.

The Lady of the Fray was rarely found at home, usually going through wildspace or a world like Toril where dwarves were enjoying battle but needed help. She preferred making direct appearances to those she was assisting, only rarely empowering a dwarf or weapon without showing first when no other help would be needed or simply to help the dwarves hold the line until she could arrive while she finished business elsewhere. Once she appeared, she faced off against the foe of greatest ferocity or most dangerous to the present dwarves, battling for about four minutes and moving on to the second most pressing threat if the first was defeated.[2][1]

Rather than actually fight the enemy for those she was rescuing, her aid came in the form of a distraction, keeping the enemy busy with her battle dance while the dwarves regrouped and got the injured to safety. Haela healed dwarves only if she deemed it necessary, and customarily only revived dwarves that died valiantly in battle, although if begged to by the dwarves, she would aid nondwarven allies and companions as well. If the engagement took longer than four minutes to resolve, Haela would close her appearance by healing around 2-8 dwarves, striking a single blow in earnest, empowering a dwarf and/or weapon, and then vanishing with her hand held high, already racing off to the next conflict.[2][1]

Rarely did she stay in one place for long and she almost never returned to the same individuals or fights twice in a day. However, over the course of their lives, her favored dwarves, those of particular valor and boldness, might receive multiple visits from the Luckmaiden. Upon the death of such individuals, she would carry them away to become her Guardians and avenge them if they were slain by hunting down their killers, no matter their strength or how long it took, although she considered their blood price already paid if they were raised after she killed them.[2][1]

Relationships[]

Like most of the dwarven gods, Haela had always been in good standing with the majority of the Morndinsamman,[12] respected as she was for her lively manner and pleasant company.[7] She was thought to be one of the most recent additions, being the granddaughter of Moradin and Berronar rather than a direct descendent.[12] She made sure to honor her more established and powerful brothers and sisters in the Morndinsamman, in part because she was the only active and widely recognized dwarven demigod in the Realms, by never acting against their wishes, though she accepted only Moradin as her superior.[7][1]

Gorm, Clangeddin, Marthammor, and Haela (far right) after besting their foes.

Of her kin, she preferred the company of Marthammor Duin and Clangeddin Silverbeard, with whom her portfolio overlapped. Being a goddess of dwarven warriors that travelled far from home, she worked closely with the Finder-of-Trails, with whom she shared an interest regarding the surface world. The Lady of the Fray and the Father of Battles both had a love for combat and had good relations,[7][1] with Clangeddin regarding her as both a daughter and a protegee.[13][14] She also was one of Dugmaren's regular partners, assisting him in the exploits he so often got involved in.[15]

Berronar was somewhat cool towards Haela viewing her antics (as well as those of Dugmaren and Marthammor) with patient humor. The Revered Mother believed the younger dwarven gods had yet to set into the rules dictated by propriety, and anticipated the day when they and their followers would settle down to traditional clan life.[13][16] The greedy Abbathor, who was always interested in luck, had sent increasingly more dangerous threats to Haela ever since she spurned his interest.[7] Like most of the accepted members of the Morndinsamman, Haela was an enemy of Laduguer and Deep Duerra.[1]

Others[]

Haela was so focused on the dwarves of Toril that she had little time for gods outside her own pantheon.[7] Still, she could count several among her allies, including many from the halfling pantheon.[1] Brandobaris, halfling god of adventure and stealth, shared a role with her as one of Dugmaren's typical accomplices.[1][15] Arvoreen, halfling god of vigilance and dutiful defense, and Cyrrollalee, halfling goddess of friendship and hospitality, were also associates of hers. Others included Tempus, the Lord of Battle, Eilistraee, drow goddess of redemption and notable for her dancing swordplay, and Tymora, a goddess of luck possibly originating from the halfling pantheon.[1]

Aside from the more unsavory gods of her own pantheon, Haela had traditionally dwarven enemies in the pantheons of orcs, goblins, kobolds, and evil giants. Also counted among her foes were Beshaba, Tymora's counterpart of misfortune,[1] and notably Urdlen, the gnomish god of greed, though the mole hated everyone and everything.[1][15]

Worshipers[]

A cleric of Haela.

Dwarves of all moral and ethical alignments venerated Haela the Hard, but the active worship of the Luckmaiden was seen in particular types of dwarves. Battle-loving dwarves that wandered the surface and had to face monsters and unknown dangers, particularly in the North, turned to the Lady of the Fray. Her active followers often exhibited berserker tendencies and a chaotic or neutral good alignment (though chaotic neutrality and true neutrality was also seen among her clergy).[1][17][18]

Haelan clerics were called the kaxanar, which could be loosely translated as "bloodmaidens". The vast majority of her clergy (85%) were female, and before the Time of Troubles they were entirely so, though the male members didn't seem to have a problem with the feminine title, difficult as it was to try and emasculate a raging warpriest painted in a fresh coat of blood.[7][18] Novice members of Haela's faith, like those of Clangeddin, were called the Unblooded, while full priests were the Blades of the Brightaxe. In ascending order of rank, priests were known by the titles of First Blood, Deadly Dirk, Stout Spear, Sharp Axe, Shining Sword, Flamebolt, and Brightaxe, with High Old Ones of the church having individual titles and being collectively known as the Hallowed Crimson.[18]

Haela was particularly well regarded by shield dwarves, who made up 70% of her clergy, particularly those that wandered.[18] Her cult among the younger gold dwarves of South Faerûn (that made up about 28% of her clergy) had been growing steadily, as both males and females among them were favorably disposed towards her love of unrestrained fighting, they themselves enjoying nothing more than a good battle against their old Underdark foes.[10][18] Ironically, the other two percent of her clergy was primarily made up of the brutal duergar. Even among nondwarven adventurers, the Lady of the Fray was well-known and well-regarded in the North due to the near-legendary feats of her followers, though the more settled inhabitants of elven and human cities commonly perceived her merely as a dwarven berserker god little better than barbarous Garagos.[18]

The specialty priests of Haela, luckmaidens, were primarily found among shield dwarves and secondarily among the gold dwarves, though some members of nearly every dwarf subrace were known to show particular devotion to the Lady of the Fray. Only females could become luckmaidens, and other requirements included above average strength and dexterity, basic levels of common sense, and the ability to smith weapons. Luckmaidens, unlike regular specialty priests could train as fighters and were far more proficient in the skills of a warrior, both on and off the battlefield, than regular priestesses. They could perform elaborate acrobatics called tumbling, fight while blind, and use a wide assortment of weapons. The spells at their disposal included those like aid and shield at the lower ends and ones such as flame strike and heal for the higher tier.

Haela's clergy was evenly divided into thirds between her clerics, luckmaidens and crusaders, with half the members of the latter two groups training as fighters.[18] Kaxanar also frequently trained as barbarians, their rage engendering joyous destruction for them to savor.[7] Many religious and military orders had been founded by the Lady of the Fray's followers in centuries past, but few survived for more than a generation or so, known as they were for the daring and valor of their members and focus on reducing the population of wicked monsters in their vicinity. Some of the most recent and famous included Haela's Host, the Dauls of the Luckmaiden, the Shining Host of the Underdeeps, the Dancing Damsels of the Brightaxe, and the Skyriders of the Great Rift, the latter being a group of lance-wielding hippogriff riders.[18]

Dogma[]

It was the teachings of Haela that freedom and validation could be found in the exhilarating nature of battle, and to rejoice in the power of one's swing, the sound of smiting worthy foes, and the challenge of the fray. Haelan clerics fought monsters whenever they could find them, either to destroy the evil beast, or just for the thrill of battle, though a noble, honorable foe would be shown mercy if asked. Priests and priestesses aided dwarves by traveling Faerun looking for conflict, wandering since there was no way to know when or where they would be needed. They relied on the Luckmaiden to guide them where they needed to be, and trusted her to see that they made it through the battle regardless of the apparent strength or numbers of the enemies they were cutting down. Those that believed in her benevolence would be blessed, and the besieged and beleaguered dwarves would always be saved through her by her faithful.[7][18]

Haela's followers aided hard-pressed dwarves, as well as their known allies and companions, not only by fighting alongside them, but also by healing them and casting certain spells. Senior priests made use of their monster hunting experience by sharing great amounts of information regarding the tactics, secrets, habits, lairs, and weaknesses of specific creatures with their juniors and others who asked. Their goal was to ensure dwarven victory with minimal losses, and they wished to make all dwarves comfortable with their own combat skills, believing as they did that the survival of the dwarves would be dependent on their battle prowess.[19][18]

Rituals[]

Kaxanar prayed for spells in the morning, a ritual accompanied by the tracing of elaborate scars on their forearms that had originally been ritually carved there upon initiation into the order. Most scars were accepted geometric patterns, but a few iconoclasts among the "free-thinking" order used their initiation to carve profanities or lewdness into their skin.[7]

Haelan worshipers had three notable holy days. On each, her devout were expected to offer several drops of their own blood, as well as the blood of dwarven enemies, proportional to the follower's capabilities. Only one drop of blood per defeated enemy was allowed as sacrifice.[18]

The first ritual was annually celebrated on the day of Greengrass, a ceremony called the Time of Spawning, though the word "celebration" was used somewhat loosely. It was a somewhat depressing ritual where the kaxanar prepared for the next onslaught of orcs and other dwarven enemies to pour out from their long-fallen strongholds to threaten those that still lived. These grim preparation ceremonies included battle hymns sung in endless choruses, rhythmic chanting to the ceaseless beats of drums, and the ritual shattering of weapons and armor seized from the enemy.[7][18]

Haela's symbol

The second of these major events was the high holy day of Axe Held High, a day meant to glorify Haela's valor and protective role against ancient dwarven foes.[7][18] It was a joyous Midsummer event,[18][19] to which the kaxanar's allies were also invited, held outdoors in midday in full embrace of the sun. Followers of Haela claimed that at high noon, an unsheathed sword, Haela's Flamebolt, was momentarily outlined in the sun (although no members of other faiths reported seeing such a thing) and all good standing members of the clergy that participated in the ritual would be enveloped in Haela's silvery aura for the next twenty-four hours.[7][18]

Finally, the Commemoration of the Fallen was celebrated on the Feast of the Moon. During this ceremony, the kaxanar remembered those dwarves and non-dwarves alike who fell in defense of Moradin's children while battling monstrous foes. Their battles were recounted, and new armor and weapons were consecrated in their memory.[7][18]

Clothing[]

For ceremonial purposes, Haela's clergy typically dressed in plain, steel-gray robes or any kind of armor, preferably chainmail, with a scarlet overcloak, crimson footwear, and an open helm. Those planning to adventure donned the best armor available, again usually chainmail, the best weapons they could find, and a helm, though not necessarily an open-faced one. Priests and priestesses were always heavily armed and normally skilled enough to repair their own equipment, but they freely gave away excess weapons to dwarves in need while keeping at least one for themselves (potentially hidden). In honor of an ancient custom, between the Luckmaiden's clergy and the halflings of Secomber, part of an ultimately futile effort to protect what remained of the Realm of Three Crowns, Haelan worshipers constantly carried around bags of caltrops with the hope of using them, the practice being a kind of joke and affectionate tradition between both sides.[19][18]

Payment was expected for Haelan services in the form of a spare weapon, or failing that armor or useful gear of some kind, for the follower to give to those in need. They were practiced at throwing weapons so that they'd land on ledges, cut ropes, land hilt up, and in other ways to get them besides those who needed them. It was considered bad form to give back a weapon that was just bestowed. Priests carried their holy symbol in the form of a steel medallion embossed with the insignia.[19][18]

Temples[]

Main article: Category:Temples to Haela Brightaxe

Kaxanar cared little for dwarven tradition, flaunting precedent and building their temples wherever was most convenient to where nearby conflict was to be found. Temples were regularly built in caves or underground, rooms, such as the cellars of human ruins, abandoned dwarf holds, or even empty gnome warrens. Most temples also doubled as food storehouses, small smithies, and armories crammed with odd weapons and armor. They were never guarded by less than a dozen priests, more often 16-20, and all were set with at least one bombastically violent trap so that no temple could fall into enemy hands. This could take the form of an explosive, but one famous example was a temple in Amphail that, upon being overrun by orcs, was revealed to have six separate blade barriers set up that used the cached weapons one after the other to whirl and slice at the invaders.[7][19][18]

History[]

Death[]

Haela, along with Gorm Gulthyn, died in the Morndinsamman's battle with the duergar deities Laduguer and Deep Duerra in 1383 DR.[20] However, it was possible that she still had influence outside of Realmspace.[6]

The Second Sundering[]

In the wake of the Second Sundering, signs indicating the return of Haela in the Realms, as well as her duergar enemies, had begun to surface.[3] Circa 1486 DR, a party of adventurers might have witnessed a female voice with no discernable source utter a Dwarvish battle cry, while the eyes of a statue dedicated to Haela Brightaxe flashed on their own. This supposed event was seemingly a result of the adventurers showing their respect to the late dwarven goddess within the halls of Firehammer Hold, a temple dedicated to the Lady of the Fray which, at that point, had been recently conquered by a group of duergar led by a durzagon known as Nalifarn.[5]

Gallery[]

Appendix[]

References[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 67–68. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 24–25. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 22, 104. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  4. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rob Heinsoo, Richard Baker, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (July 2009). Divine Power. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 978-0-7869-4982-3.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 119–120. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  8. Hal Maclean (May 2007). “Seven Saintly Domains”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #355 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 26.
  9. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 169. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  14. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  16. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  17. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 68–70. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 33–34. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  20. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

Connections[]


Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat



Advertisement