Q: I’m trying to understand the purpose served by the stonesingers.
A: The easiest analogy would be to think of them as the Stonemasons; a secretive order without officially mandated power. Spiritual without being tied to specific doctrine, concerned with the betterment of its members and the outside community at large.
They saw themselves as the caretakers of a dwarven ideals and craftsmanship and the holders of what they held to be fundamental truths that the larger world remains somewhat ignorant about.
In Trunau, where craftmanship was mostly divided by clan, many keep secrets of their trade tightly within their clan, and sometimes within their own family. But most clans also incorporate members of other clans through marriage, so most clans embody a healthy cross section of the populace.
With the Stonesingers, it seems you’ve found an ancient order of dwarves who’ve been secretly collecting and archiving many of those same secrets for eons. Most likely why they remained a secretive order. What they were doing might have been considered wrong if not outright illegal. Maybe it makes the Stonesingers’ sacrificial transformation into menhir more clear; safeguarding the Remembrance from orcish hands was seen as absolutely critical. Even now, nine thousands years after their occupation of Koldukar began, the orcs don’t realize the Remembrance exists and is right on their doorstep.
Q: So the Orcs would have had to find one of the heartstones from a fallen earth elemental in the swamp to get into the Remembrance. Why do I think those stones were protected?
A: The menhir seemed to have been keeping them underground. That’s assuming the orcs figured out what the key is or even knew the circle was there. The menhir have been keeping trespassers out of the swamp forever. The orcs think the place is cursed and haunted; and they’re sorta correct.
It’s why it’s called “Ghostlight”.
If you’re an orc, the place is maddeningly terrifying. They’re watched by the silently glowing eyes of the menhir upon entering, led astray, turned around by shifting terrain, attacked by the earth itself and dragged down underground screaming never to be seen again. The bedrock underneath is studded with entombed orcs.
Q: I am curious to learn about (and preserve) the mysteries of the Stonesingers.
A: You’re in an odd position. You just discovered a secret nobody knew existed which you now realize is terribly dangerous if its existence got out.
The Menhir in Ghostlight swamp and Silverbeard have been keeping the existence of their respective gates to the Remembrance secret for 300 years or so. And, before that, the order had been struggling to keep it secure during 9000 years of orc occupation on their doorstep.
But, looking over the memories, you can see that many Stonesingers struggled with this dilemma themselves for thousands of years. Destroy the stone circle to safeguard the Remembrance while also loosing access forever for their people?
As is, the Stonesingers’ legacy is handing by a thread. Until you came along only Silverbeard (a now grown up infant) and the menhir (a bunch of regressive slow-minded elementals) were keeping the memory alive.
Q: In the Rememberance, have we seen any signs of stonesingers at the other sky citadels?
A: Not all the Stonesingers were from Koldukar; just many of them. Some were from other Citadels. Some of the other five crystal megaliths in the Initiation chamber supposedly connected (and may still connect) to other exit points in the real world. Some connections were lost when their circles were lost or purposefully destroyed. Connection points have been changed on some several times. Apparently that’s how the exit point in Trunau came to be; Silverbeard’s mother forged a new link just before her sacrifice so that Silverbeard could be whisked off to safety behind the border.
Since that would have been considered a big decision by the Stonesingers’ it seems likely she did so without express permission.
Silverbeard has been dutifully protecting it since though, and even seems to have taken a vow of silence.
But there do seem to be some branches of the Stonesingers still active elsewhere. Ingrahild said as much. She was sent by some elder Stonesigners in Janderhoff to try and find the long lost Remembrance; which some doubted actually existed. The Janderhoff branch seems to be focused around the Earthheart; a giant, mystical crystal formation near that Sky Citadel. If theirs is the Earth’s heart, then the Remembrance is its memory.
Q: You would think the two are linked, although that link might have been forgotten — is there any mention of the Earthheart that we’ve found in the Rememberance?
A: Not just mentions, but actual memories of it. http://pathfinder.wikia.com/wiki/Crystalrock
It seems to be more spiritual than mental; a sacred place of pilgrimage used by Stonesingers to mystically attune themselves with the rhythms of the earth. The memories of those who’ve spent years aligning themselves with it make it out to be a means to achieve a purposeful state of being akin to dwarven nirvana.
The tangible results are legendary feats of earth mysticism and craftsmanship.
Figuring out why the Earth heart’s rhythm is increasing was the impetus for Ingrahild seeking out the Remembrance. It’s a mystery the Stonesingers there are trying to figure out.
Q: What must Stinna do to perform the “Awakening to the Stone” ritual. And what does that mean?
A: I sketched out the details of the ceremony in my email I believe.
There’s usually years of apprenticeship, testing and challenges beforehand but, unfortunately, there seem to be a lack of venerable Stonesingers around to guide you through all of it.
The order didn’t let just anyone into their inner circle. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around to impede you either.
You’ve got the keys to the library, but no librarians around. The order’s past, future and its rituals will be what you make of them. You and your companions.
You may want to consider what Ingrahild represents. She’s not from Trunau, isn’t from any of your clans, and is from a foreign Sky Citadel whose leadership has its own agenda. She now knows where the entrance is and she’s been given a key.
She seems honorable enough now that she isn’t cursed but, by her own admission, she was also leading a group of Pathfinders in trying to find the Remembrance.
Food for thought
Q: We definitely have to talk about intentions. I don’t know if she wants to join the Stonesingers or not.
A: It seems she may actually already be an initiate of the Janderhoff order.
Q: Ah. Next game’s going to start a bit slow (while we wait for Shamus to spell-up), so it will give me a chance to talk to Ingrdhill. I really hope Robyn can make it.
I’d really like Tira’s help in crafting a recording for the Remembrance detailing our story thus far. And, also recording the process Stinna uses to join the order.
A: It’s appropriate. Studying the memories of other initiates, who were similarly confused or frustrated by the challenges of the Remembrance, are proving to be some of Stinna’s best insight into the order.
She’s been following several of their veins. Hard not to think of them as friends once you’ve gotten to live in their heads for a bit.
Q: For those that came from Paladin backgrounds, were vigils before joining common? Are there stories of doing something for the order before being aloud to join, or was it all about proving a strong understanding of some craft, lore or law?
A: There are occasional quests involved, but they were often long-term affairs such as seeking out and studying under a particular master for years.
But yeah, more than going on missions, joining the order was about displaying respect and adherence to the order’s doctrine, successful apprenticeship under a mentor, studying memories, relaying the insight gleaned, being entrusted with ever greater mysteries and proving prowess or craftsmanship.
Vigils, meditation and contemplation of the Earth’s mysteries and one’s role in them are cornerstones of the order. It’s a very slow, deliberate and contemplative order.
Some members would spend subjective years in the Remembrance simply learning and contemplating.
Especially those who awakened to the Earth.
The Earth does not rush.
Except when it does; then its usually pretty brutal. ;)
So it’s usually best to contemplate first.
Stinna’s to do:
#. Talk to Ingrahill regarding her intentions with the knowledge she’s gained.
#. Talk to Tira regarding coming up with a ritual that merges the old with what must be done to bring us into the StoneSingers. Ideally, record it as a rememberance that details the ritual as well as the state of the world.
#. How did Ewigga get into the Remembrance? If the orcs think it haunted and have been kept out by the menhirs; how did she get in? If she didn’t bring the invisible creatures we fought, how did they get in? Maybe we should keep Ewwiga’s body here so that we can question the dead at higher levels (or once we get a scroll).
#. Talk to the party. How do they feel about Stinna diving into the deep end and taking the sacrifice to become an earth elemental? This is far more than what her heritage would lead to. There are other options that are equally tempting, but the sacrifice seems to be what’s needed to better continue the order.
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