Haela Brightaxe is the patron of dwarves who love the fray, who wander the surface lands (especially in the North), who face unknown dangers, and who battle monsters. Although dwarves of all alignments venerate the Lady of the Fray, those Stout Folk of chaotic or neutral good alignment who love battle or exhibit berserker tendencies tend to actively embrace the worship of the Luckmaiden.
Haela is well known among dwarves for her ready laugh, her booming voice, and her ever-cheerful nature. The Luckmaiden is charming, resourceful, and delivers gallows witticisms with a broad grin.
Haela's clergy are known as the kaxanar, a term loosely translated as "bloodmaidens." Female clerics vastly outnumber their male counterparts, who seem little bothered by their feminine title (it's difficult to make an emasculating joke about an angry warrior-cleric covered in a gallon of fresh blood).
Priests of Haela wander throughout the Realms, aiding dwarves in battle. They wander because no priest knows where or when she or he will be needed—each relies upon Haela's guiding hand to position him or her as necessary. Blades of the Brightaxe aid beleaguered dwarves (and known allies and companions of dwarves) against creatures of all sorts by healing, casting spells, and fighting alongside them. Their objectives are to achieve victory for the dwarven side and to allow the maximum possible number of dwarves to survive.
Priests of Haela are always heavily armed and are often skilled at weapon and armor repair. They freely give away the weapons they carry to dwarves in need but always keep at least one weapon for themselves, although it may be well hidden. They practice throwing weapons in a variety of ways to those who need them, such as to cut ropes or to land upright at someone's feet. Priests of Haela who attempt to deliver a weapon in such a manner gain a +3 bonus to their Dexterity checks.
The senior priests of Haela teach their juniors much concerning tactics, secrets, and hints for fighting specific monsters, and knowledge of their habits, lairs, and weaknesses. All individuals or groups aided by a priest of Haela are expected to pay for the aid with a spare weapon that the priest can give to some other needy band. Failing that, a shield, pair of gauntlets, or other armor or useful gear can be substituted. It is considered bad form to give the priest back a weapon she or he just gave you.
VestmentsHaela's clergy favor either armor or plain steel-gray robes, with an overcloak of scarlet and crimson footwear, as ceremonial vestments. An open-faced helm is always worn. The holy symbol of the faith is a steel medallion embossed with Haela's symbol.
When adventuring, the Luckmaiden's clergy garb themselves in the best armor available-chain mail is preferred-and always seek to wield weapons of the finest quality. Helms are always worn, but they need not be open-faced. In honor of an ancient custom, priests of Haela are forever toting large sacks of caltrops around, hoping to get a chance to use them.
HierarchyNovices of Haela, like novices of Clangeddin, are known as the Unblooded. Full priests are known as Blades of the Brightaxe. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Haelan priests are First Blood, Deadly Dirk, Stout Spear, Sharp Axe, Shining Sword, Flamebolt, and Brightaxe. High Old Ones have individual titles but are collectively known as the Hallowed Crimson.
TemplesClerics care little for typical dwarven tradition and often construct austere temples wherever seems most convenient to the nearest source of conflict. Temples of Haela are often underground rooms or cave, sometimes in old abandoned dwarven holds or human ruins. They are typically storehouses of food, small smithies, and armories crammed with odd weapons and armor, and are never guarded by less than a dozen priests (more often, 16 to 20 are in residence). All of Haela's temples contain at least one bombastic trap (usually featuring the most violent results imaginable) meant to ensure that no temple ever falls into enemy hands. One famous temple of Haela, overrun by orcs, proved to have a trap of six separate blade barriers that came into being one after another and used the cached weapons of the temple as the whirling weapons.
RitualsKaxanar pray for spells in the morning, a ritual-accompanied by the tracing of elaborate ritual scarring carved into the cleric's forearms upon initiation into the order. Most scars follow accepted geometric patterns, but a few iconoclasts (among an entire clergy of "free thinkers") take their initiation as an opportunity to carve profanity or lewd sayings into their flesh.
The followers of the Luck maiden celebrate three holy days of note. The first such day of the year, celebrated annually on Greengrass, is known as the Time of the Spawning. On this day Haela's clergy prepare for the next wave of ores and other monsters to pour forth from the occupied holds of long-fallen dwarves to threaten the remaining Stout Folk once again. The Time of the Spawning is marked by grim ceremonies of preparation for the coming onslaught and includes endless choruses of battle hymns, rhythmic chanting to the beat of endless drumming, and the ritual shattering of weapons and armor seized from previous opponents.
The second major holy day of the Haelan faith is known as the Axe Held High, a day that glorifies the valor of the Lady of the Fray and her role in defending the Stout Folk against their ancient foes. On this day of joyous celebration, ceremonies are held at midday, outdoors in the full embrace of the sun. The followers of the Luckmaiden hold that an unsheathed sword appears momentarily in the center of the solar orb at high noon.
Finally, the Feast of the Moon is celebrated by the followers of Haela as the Commemoration of the Fallen. On this day, those dwarves and nondwarves alike who fell in the defense of the Stout Folk while battling monstrous opponents are remembered by the recounting of their battles and the consecration of new armor and weapons in their memory.
On all such holy days, Haela's devout followers are expected to offer several drops of their own blood (one per level of the follower) as well as the blood of enemies of the dwarves they have defeated since the previous holy day (one drop of blood per foe, and one foe per level of the follower).
OrdersNumerous religious and military orders have been founded by the followers of the Luckmaiden in past centuries, but few ever survive longer than a generation or two. Some of the most famous orders in existence today include Haela's Host (see above), the Dauls of the Luckmaiden, the Shining Host of the Underdeeps, the Dancing Damsels of the Brightaxe, and the hippogriff-mounted Skyriders of Aglandar (as the Great Rift is known in dwarvish). Most orders are known for the valor and daring of their members, and such bands typically focus their efforts on reducing the population of evil monsters in the region in which they are based.
Through battle, you find validation, liberation, and exultation. Trust in Haela to see you through the fray, and the monsters of the world shall fall to the sharp blades of your axes, regardless of their apparent strength and numbers. The Luckmaiden blesses those dwarves who believe in her beneficence, and she, through her faithful, will always be there for the beleaguered and besieged. Rejoice in the power of your swing in battle, and sound of your weapon smiting a worthy foe, and the challenge of the fray. If asked, show mercy on a noble foe who abides by a code of honor, but hold not your hand against the treacherous, the liars, and the honorless.
Haela appears as a stocky dwarven female with dark hair and a wide smile. She is well known among dwarves for her ready laugh, her booming voice, and her ever-cheerful nature. The Luckmaiden is charming, resourceful, and delivers gallows witticisms with a broad grin.
Haela is served primarily by the spirits of fallen dwarven warriors who become her Guardians (einheriar), but on occasion other creatures of the Upper Planes, including aasimon (particularly agathinon), asuras, bariaurs, courage incarnates, hollyphants, quesar, and warden beasts act on her behalf.
Most of her companions in the Morndinsamman respected Haela's lively manner. Haela made sure she never acted against the wishes of the other accepted members of the dwarven pantheon, though she accepted only Moradin as her superior. Of her brothers and sisters, she preferred the company of Marthammor Duin and Clangeddin Silverbeard, who respectively shared her interest in the surface and her love for battle. Haela was so focused on the dwarves that she had little time for gods outside her own pantheon. Abbathor, who was always interested in luck, sent ever more dangerous threats to Haela ever since she spurned his interest.