|Volume I, Number 1||April/May 1999|
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The Mortuary is situated in the High Peaks, hidden away in a deep valley, it is a hidden temple of Velsharoon.
The High Peaks are the Western Spur of the Cloven Mountains. The peaks stretch as high as 10,000 feet among the most easterly mountains.
There is no volcanic activity in these mountains and there are not known to be any volcanoes either active or inactive. The mountain tops are shrouded in snow and avalanches are common occurunces. Deep valleys filled with huge trees are scattered throughout the peaks, their large canopies cradling huge drifts of snow that can prove dangerous to the unwary and often an inexperienced traveller has met their doom under a blanket of tons of snow.
There are two frost giant clans that make their homes in the High Peaks, as well as Rivenshield, the home of the Shieldbreaker ogre's, and a number of smaller goblin tribes that are still bickering over the failed war 20 odd years ago. A small number of Yeti, White Dragons, Remorhaz and Winter Wolves also inhabit the peaks.
The morgue lies in the south western arm of the High Peaks. It is secreted away at the bottom of a heavily wooded Valley that has a permanent wall of force protecting it from snow falls.
The Mortuary is made of shiny black marble streaked with red veins. It seems to absorb light and this has affected the surrounding vegetation, making it leafless and black, the ground is barren and the only animals that roam the area are those that have been created by the necromancers of the Mortuary.
The building climbs into the skies, twin hexagonal towers adjoined by a thick hollow hexagonal wall that houses students of necromancy and the priests of Velsharoon. Adjoining the temple is a huge graveyard littered with tomb stones all lying at various angles, no two tombstones are aligned the same way as they are so numerous as to be piled almost atop each other. Made more noticeable in the centre of the graveyard for the absence of tomb stones in the surrounding area is a building as black as the temple.
Surrounding the graveyard is a 6' high wall made of snapping skulls of various types; human, demi human humanoid and monster. The skulls are constantly snapping, their mouths making the area surrounding the Mortuary a chorus of clacking noises. The wall guards both from intruders getting into the graveyard and undead getting out, for the graveyard is the raising ground of the necromancers of the Mortuary.
Of the two hexagonal towers the one closest to the graveyard is home to the priestly order of Velsharoon and the other tower houses the wizard necromancers of his order. It is typical for a number of undead to be patrolling the temple grounds and the surrounding dead forest as well as skeletal snakes, rabbit's, birds and squirrels.
The Morgue has only been completed for about a year, now. Zalek, with the aid of Velsharoon, raised an army of skeletal craftsmen to build the temple, the craftsmen worked 24 hours a day and the temple was built in record time. In it's short history the temple has managed to become the seat of power in this part of the High Peaks and even the frost giant clans have been brow beaten into pledging fealty to Zalek and the mortuary.
The Mortuary houses a total of 65 living beings at the moment and 5 times that number of undead. The buildings can fit many more inhabitants but as the temple is only new and word is yet to spread to the ex-followers of Myrkul the number of necromancers and priests is quite small.
The living inhabitants are mostly necromancers using wizardly magic, only 12 priests make up the official order of Velsharoon at the moment although all the inhabitants of the Morgue venerate Velsharoon to some degree. A Draco Lich named "Kyzzialarkannum" lives deep within the Mortuary's bowels in a tunnel that joins with the outside world empties high in Skull Peak.
Soul Stalker Merkiel of the inner sanctum:
Merkiel (NE hm P (Velsharoon) 10) is an ex-priest of Myrkul that has leapt to the worship of Velsharoon with intense zeal. He tried out worshipping Kelemvor but was extremly unhappy with the results. He is a thin, short man with a long white beard that almost reaches his toes and long white unruly hair. His is very bookish and his only interest is Necromancy so much so that he will mostly ignore all other living things. He wears the rotted robes of a priest of Velsharoon although his are slightly more rotted than usual and covered in grave dirt and food spots. He reeks of the grave and rotted food as he never remembers to bathe or change his clothes. His robes are covered in the holy symbols of Velsharoon. Because of his aparent disinterest in the workings of the church and his lack of drive as far as undead conquest is concerned he is currently at the centre of a battle for the position of Soul Stalker.
Lord Avain De Hellinger, Commander in Chief of the Armies of Velsharoon:
Lord Avain De Hellinger (LE Death Knight F15) is totally dedicated to Velsharoon and Zalek. He is in charge of the armies of undead that the necromancers of the Mortuary conjure. He organizes the defenses of the Mortuary and any external operations that go on. Always dressed in his Black Plate Mail, Grinning Skull helmet and Velsharoon's holy symbol emblazoned on the chest piece he is as fierce as he appears. Quick to anger and always eager to test the steel of his long sword, Avain is a death machine, a master swordsman, he is keeping a wary eye upon the current conflict amongst the ranks of the Velsharoonian clergy.
Darkskull, the anger of Velsharoon:
Darkskull (CE hm Necromancer 11) is a very evil man. He was the sort of child that tortured small animals when growing up and commited his first murder when only ten. He practices every sin he can, and gets up to some horrible stuff with some of the undead he raises. He is the man that is leading the push for change in the top order of the temple hiearochy. He is obese and is wheeled around the temple grounds on a sleigh pulled by undead. He loves to wear expensive clothing and teleports to his tailer in Calimport once a fortnight to get the latest styles of clothing.
The Mortuary is a life of ease and study. Beside the daily rituals performed in the name of Velsharoon the priests and necromancers spend the rest of their time studying and raising undead. The undead raised are given over to the maintenance tasks of the Mortuary and the only real chore that anyone else has is the cook Beldrin and the Stores master Kelvin (who travels with Darkskull to Calimport each fortnight to buy the temples stores).
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