THE TEMPLE OF HELM AT THANDELL
The temple dedicated to Helm in Thandell came about not because of a god but because of a man. The last king of Thandell, to be exact; a man of quiet goodness and strength who was taken before his time. The last in line for the throne, he was christened Athelm and was raised to be a warrior. It was hoped by the royal family that the god for which he was named would claim him as one of His own, thereby lending divine strength to their newer generation of men.
Athelm was instead claimed by a woman, a cousin who was neither direct heiress to a throne nor the prettiest woman of the land. Aerell was a simple woman who was responsible for all of the females under her father's roof. Upon meeting the young Athelm, she began the most subtle courtship seen in ages. She wooed him with books and ideals. She called forth his true ambitions, which had less to do with the good of the heavens and more to do with the good of a small kingdom in Faerun.
The royal family at Thandell crumbled all too quickly. Sickness stole the breath of Athelm's youngest siblings. His older brothers perished in one of the mighty wars that seem to occur every thirty or so years in the area, and then the last two at the hands of Nesmean assassins. The king's heart gave way at the news, for he knew not whether Athelm survived abroad on his visit to Everlund, the home of Aerell. Left with only an aged and mourning queen, Thandell was left open to demoralization and attack.
Brave messengers flew out from the brethren of Helm and swooped through the perilous Troll Moors to find and protect Thandell's last living heir. Their steeds trod from night until daybreak, tiring but unwavering. It was said later that Helm himself fortified the horses, for it was only minutes before an attack that they came upon the unknowing prince. They saved the life of their sovereign in order to deliver the grave news, and they followed Athelm back to the kingdom. So too did Aerell follow, though expressly forbidden.
As Athelm rescued Thandell's soldiers from their own fears, Aerell dared to enter the territory of an enemy: Nesmé. Athelm routed the forces of Nesmé on the battlefield as Aerell met with Nesmean leaders to assure them that their defeat was at hand, and that Thandell would survive. Thandell would have a king and a queen in no less than a tenday, and thus the queen had arrived to discuss a truce. Given her importance to Everlund, Aerell knew that the Nesmeans would not harm her. Everlund's armies were strong at that time and while they were held back from impinging on Thandell's sovereignity, they would surely have fed the Nesmeans to the trolls had Aerell been mishandled.
The double-pronged attack met with victory; Thandell was saved and their new sovereigns put into place. In honor of his fallen family members, his new wife and his victory over Nesmé, Athelm ordered the grand temple of Helm to be built. While some expense had to be spared, the temple was made lofty and wide in order to accomodate the faithful, the sick, the travellers, and the shrines of gods friendly to Helm. From within its walls has come powerful warriors and healers. Both of the royal children of Athelm and Aerell were christened at the great temple, which is the most lavish in the Thandell of today. It has been given gifts of craftmanship and gold, from tithes as well as the gratitude of those transformed within.
The untimely death of Athelm was swift and unforseen. He succumbed in his sleep to natural death and it was his expressed wish to remain dead should Helm wish him thus. The grandest funeral north of Waterdeep was given for the king, beginning within the temple he had fashioned and ending in the royal cemetary.
Athelm had named Aerell as his next in line to the surprise of none, and she ascended the throne calmly. From several places in the temple, gold-rendered images of Athelm's face gaze down upon those who enter. The queen (who ordered them made and sanctified to the place) has been known to find each face, and to smile at them. The temple has remained in the graces of the nobility and has aided the academy at Thandell steadfastly, thereby continuing Athelm's work in the defense of the kingdom.
--So is the record of the temple of Helm at Thandell, penned by Korek, third priest in the service of the Vigilant One, Kythorn, 1376 the Year of the Bent Blade--
WHY DWARVEN HUSBANDS DON'T BEAT THEIR WIVES
"There once was a dwarven man who hit his wife every day, like humans do. He did this for over two human lifetimes. One day, he reached out to hit her. He didn't even look at her anymore, he just reached out and struck her. He always knew where she was. Well, this day, he felt like he struck a wall of stone. The bones in his hand crumbled and he was in such agony. The clerics tried to heal his hand but Father Moradin wouldn't let them. He had made the dwarven wife as hard and cold as she felt inside, which was harder and colder than her husband could stand. He was never able to use his hand again, and he never struck her again, either."
[This tale is widespread among the dwarven wives of Mithral Hall and has been found in other dwarven settlements. It has been recorded among dwarven wives in Thandell, as well. This particular rendering was recorded from Eliora Wyvernbane.]