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Fyreslayer Lodge

Fyreslayers pay respects to their lodge's fallen Auric Runefather.

The Lodge forms the core of Fyreslayer society. It is both a political unit and an extended family, with most members of the lodge - be they poorest labourer or the ruling Auric Runefather - claiming descent from the same legendary ancestors.[1a]

Origins

Many lodges claim descent from one of the mythical First-Forged Lodges, followers of Grimnir in the Age of Myth who became the first Fyreslayers in the wake of Grimnir's battle with Vulcatrix.[1a] Others came to the worship of Grimnir in the Age of Chaos rather than fleeing to Azyr to become the Dispossessed or to the skies to become Kharadron Overlords.[2b] However, whatever their ultimate ancestry, the immediate origin of most lodges is from following an Auric Runeson who departs his parent lodge due to not being named heir upon his father's death[1a] or, more rarely, a Runeson who is so ambitious that he departs while his father yet lives.[3a]

Holdings

Large lodges can have many thousands of members spread across many magmaholds, forge-temples, and lesser holdings across the Mortal Realms.[1a][3a] The smallest lodges are little more than a fyrd of warriors and a Runefather in a volcanic mine - or in a disused hall of their parent lodge's magmahold, waiting until they can gather enough strength to set out on their own.[1a]

Culture

While many outsiders find it difficult to distinguish one band of half-naked duardin berzerkers from another, there are clear differences between the lodges for those who know where to look. The most obvious Fyreslayer fashion, the distinctive hairstyle, can differ significantly between lodges, with each preferring their own proprietary dyes and tinctures to colour and stiffen their hair.[1d] There are likewise differing methods of ritual tattooing and scarification.[1e] Their clothes and helms bear different designs and runework, and even the fyresteel of their weapons and armour varies with the precise mix of metals used in the alloy.[4b][6a]

To the Fyreslayers, the most important difference between lodges is their history. Battlesmiths are charged with memorizing the tales of their lodge and are often called to recite some part of it. Such is the nature of Fyreslayers that some stories can take many weeks to recite in full as they catalogue each great deed of some legendary ancestor. The Battlesmiths are living repositories of the lodge's oaths, grudges, festivals, and customs, and sometimes are called to mediate between related lodges with their knowledge of common history.[1c][7a]

Relations

The primary interaction outsiders have with the lodges is via mercenary contracts, which can range from short-term agreements for a single battle or campaign to semi-permanent arrangements.[6a] However, relationships between lodges are rarely as purely transactional. There is a general understanding that Kin Lodges owe some loyalty to one another beyond what can be bought with ur-gold, and it is not unknown for a struggling lodge to request aid from its parental (or ancestral) lodge on the basis of kin ties. Like all families, these relations can be fraught with jealously and petty rivalries, especially when kin lodges interact frequently, and prudent Runefathers and Runemasters will attempt to direct this familial friction in productive directions.[5] In some cases, the calls for aid can become permanent vassalage arrangements, and powerful lodges like the Vostarg often have many minor lodges paying them tribute in return for support and protection.[3a]

Splinter Lodges

In some cases, a Runeson who departs to found a new lodge will not give the lodge he founds a new name, but will instead continue to use the name of his parent lodge. These splinter lodges are independent from their namesake and often have to work hard to earn the respect of the original lodge, even though the name is normally kept as a way of honouring the ancestor.[8a][8b]

Social Organization

Leadership

 
Fyreslayer Lodge Hierarchy.

A lodge is ruled by a single patriarch, its Auric Runefather. He is advised by an inner circle of councillors as well as the wisdom of the Zharrgrim priests.[1b][3a] The lodge's Runesons may be part of this inner circle or outside it, depending on their father's opinion of each, and long-lived and fecund Runefathers may even arrange their many sons in a private hierarchy of worthiness to determine whether their advice should be heeded.[3a]

The wife of the Runefather - known by different names among different lodges, such as Runemother[2b] or Hearthwife[3b] - often provides additional advice to her husband, but in many cases she remains outside the official council due to Fyreslayers' patriarchal social structure.[2b][3b]

Succession

The death of a Runefather is an important and often dangerous moment for a lodge. Only one Runeson can inherit the title and Latchkey Grandaxe of his father, and so it is vital for a Runefather to plan his succession to ensure that the lodge continues after he enters the stone-sleep.[1a] Traditionally, he will designate one of his sons his successor in secret and enclose this decision along with his other wishes for the lodge after his death in a Legacy Chest entrusted to the lodge's Runemaster. This will be opened in the presence of all his potential heirs following his cremation.[2c][5] When a Runefather sees many worthy sons, he may direct that a portion of the lodge's ur-gold be distributed to those who do not succeed him as head of the lodge in order to help them in establishing a new lodge.[5] Any sons who do not receive such an inheritance face a choice: they can stay with one of their brothers as an advisor, strike out to found a new lodge despite a lack of seed money, seek their purpose by becoming grimnyn, or erase their shame by taking barazakdum to become a Doomseeker.[1a]

However, not every Runefather can plan his succession, either due to indecision or the inherent danger of being a warrior-king. Fatally injured Runefathers might dictate their last wishes to loyal attendants such as Hearthguard or Zharrgrim priests so that they can enact his wishes and declare his preferred successor,[1b] but a Runefather who fails to either prepare his legacy chest or declare his wishes before he dies could find himself the last of his lodge.[1a] Every Fyreslayer knows the tale of lost Vosforge, where Runefather Thorgar-Grimnir's failure to choose a successor led to the fall of the last of the First-Forged Lodges and his twelve sons and their followers scattering across the realms.[3a]

Priesthood

Each lodge has its own high priest, an Auric Runemaster, who heads the local Zharrgrim and tempers the more impulsive tendencies of the Runefather.[1b][3a] The Zharrgrim stand somewhat outside the traditional hierarchy and accept any who show the necessary talents.[4a]

Military

Unlike the throngs of the Dispossessed and their Khazalid Empire ancestors, the fyrds are made up primarily of professional warriors. It is the Runefather's responsibility to ensure these Vulkite Berzerkers and Hearthguard are properly trained and equipped.[1b] This and other administrative duties such as deciding which mercenary contracts to take occupy much of a successful Runefather's time, often to their frustration.[2a]

Society

There are many guilds, fellowships, and professions among the lodges, often arranged along family lines. Though less glamorous than the exploits of the fyrd, these groups are vital to the functioning of Fyreslayer society.[4a][5] It is also from within one of these groups - the forge workers, smiths, and craftsmen - that the Battlesmiths are chosen to be the chroniclers and storytellers of their lodge, recounting history and legends for their fellows.[1c]

Sources

Fyreslayers
Units Auric RunefatherAuric RunesonBattlesmithDoomseekerGrimwrath BerzerkerGrimhold ExileHearthguard (Auric HearthguardHearthguard Berzerker) • MagmadrothVulkite BerzerkerVulkyn FlameseekersZharrgrim (Auric FlamekeeperAuric RunemasterAuric Runesmiter)
Characters AmsaralkaArngardBael-GrimnirBraegromChosen Axes (Fjul-GrimnirMad MaegrimTefk FlamebearerVol Orrukbane) • DhurganDurnir-GrimnirForgunFyrgrimGargum HalfaxeGrumgen-GrimnirGrunhildaHursgar-GrimnirLugashMarag-Or of the Golden EyeRumenar-GrimnirRygorn-GrimnirThorgar-GrimnirUlgathern-GrimnirVargi SornssonVaegorFlamespitterSkarung
First-Forged Lodges DrakendrengGreygrendGrymdarVostarg
Other Lodges AngastazAngfyrdAqshygahrAustargBaeldragBaeyrdBharnakBlackfyrdBrynbakBulderCaenganDostevDrongDrunbhorDunrDurmtargDurnhokEalrungEnfgaardFacetforgeFjordragForgestormFyrdhandGelvagdGreyfyrdGrumnirHermdarKavgadKharzmidKraghdharKrelstragLachadLofnirMjodorMolkhirNarlssonObsgrumSepuzkulSigyornSkarabrakSkarravornStorkharTangrimThungurThunwurtgazUlgaen • (Ulgaen-arUlgaen-dumarUlgaen-kumarUlgaen-zumar) • UlgrimUlrungUnbakUnbrogunVardhrazVolturungVostargVostargi WaycampWhitefireZharrthagiZhuffnok
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