Scales of War
For decades, even centuries, the temple thrived. Slowly, however, relations between Moradin’s faithful grew strained. Priests assigned to other, “lesser” temples grew envious of those at Mountainroot. Many of the dwarf faithful grew haughty, considering themselves Moradin’s “true” children, and sought to oust all others, or at least put them in lesser places, denying them access to the temple’s wonders.
Was it Moradin’s wrath? A curse brought upon them by the giants they’d so long ago escaped? Or simply a natural catastrophe without greater meaning? None can say. Whatever the case, some centuries ago, the mountain was struck by an earthquake. Portions of the inner tunnels collapsed, damaging several chambers of the Mountainroot Temple, destroying others entirely. Panicked, the priests and the faithful grabbed up their treasures and holy icons—at least most of them—and fled using the surviving magical portals.
Once they’d settled elsewhere, the bulk of Moradin’s priests decided that this way was better. By scattering from the temple, they would allow the dwarves to build their own shrines, without feeling constrained by the other races, and the jealousy that marred the priesthood would fade. Although they mourned the loss of the great cathedral, and those few treasures they’d been unable to save, they declared the quake to have been Moradin’s will and left the temple abandoned. In time, most faithful, even most priests save those most thoroughly learned in their history, forgot it had ever been.
Most, but not all. After a few decades, a small group of Moradin worshipers—mostly dwarves, but with members of other races as well—returned to the Mountainroot Temple. They cleaned it up as best they could and vowed to maintain it until it should some day become important once again. The most powerful of their number took on the title of Caretaker and lived within the temple, in a small structure built inside the larger reliquary. The Caretaker carefully attuned himself to the temple’s surviving magic, allowing him to control the constructs and divine defenses and traps that protected the structure from outside invasion.