Temple Hill

Temple Hill by Drew Karpyshyn Read Free Book Online

Book: Temple Hill by Drew Karpyshyn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Drew Karpyshyn
    “No,” Lhasha replied, “he worships Gond. He’s a priest in the House of Hands.”
    Corin laughed softly, and rubbed his stump. “The House of Hands,” he whispered to himself, “how fitting.”
    The church of Gond Wonderbringer wasn’t actually on Temple Hill, but stood just at its foot on the western face of the mount. Corin had passed it many times on his repeated journeys up the hill, but had rarely given it a second thought. Compared to Lathander, and even Waukeen before she was slain in the Time of Troubles, Gond was a minor power. The god of inventors, blacksmiths and carpenters … hardly the deity Corin would have chosen to heal his grievous injury.
    Lhasha never hesitated at the doors to Gond’s church, but boldly walked right through. Corin paused. He was sick of churches, sick of getting his hopes up only to have them shattered by priests powerless to help him. But the half-elf’s enthusiasm was a refreshing change from the despairing malaise that darkened his mind when he was by himself. He expected nothing, of course, but he had come this far … he might as well go all the way. At least I won’t have to climb that damnable hill again, Corin thought as he followed Lhasha into the House of Hands.
    A priest stepped forward to greet them, at least Corin assumed it was a priest. He wore a leather apron, and tools of every possible description hung from the belt around his waist. The only thing identifying him as a cleric was a picture of a cog wheel—Gond’s holy symbol— emblazoned on the front of his smock.
    “Lhasha, welcome as always,” the man said by way of greeting. “I see you’ve brought a friend.”
    “Hello, Dergin,” Lhasha replied with a smile. “This is
    Corin.” The priest nodded in acknowledgement, and Corin returned the gesture. “Is Fendel in?”
    “Of course,” Dergin said. “In his workshop, where else? Go on in.”
    To Corin he added, “Feel free to examine any of the many inventions you might come across in the church, it honors the Wonderbringer when we take an interest in his marvels.”
    “This way,” Lhasha said, “in the back.”
    Corin still wasn’t sure about Lhasha’s faith in her friend, but he had to admit Gond’s priests were unlike any he had met before. Even the church was something of an oddity. Instead of the sounds of chanting, bells, or gentle harps one might expect in a house of worship, the air was filled with the clang of hammer meeting anvil, the sawing of wood and the roaring of great fires that Corin assumed to be coming from furnaces in the back. The acrid smell of smoke and burning coal wafted through the halls, reminding Corin of the many smithies he had visited to have his weapons or armor repaired during his years as a White Shield.
    Scattered about every room they passed through was an amazing collection of machines, gadgets, and inventions. The church was more a museum of technological innovation than a place of worship. Many of the larger rooms Lhasha led him through contained catapults, battering rams, or other machines of war, each uniquely— and often strangely—modified from the standard design. Other rooms had farming equipment and tools, each scythe or hoe improved upon in some way. Even the halls were lined with smaller devices and contraptions. Corin couldn’t even begin to guess the purpose of most of them.
    “It’s all a little … overwhelming, isn’t it?” Lhasha commented at one point. “Believe it or not, most of these things actually work.”
    They passed through the main building, and into the courtyard at the back. Half constructed frames of metal and wood littered the yard. The sounds of building—the pounding, sawing, grinding noises Corin could hear even in the main entrance of the temple—were much louder here, emanating from several large edifices haphazardly strewn about the grounds.
    The communal workshops,” Lhasha explained, shouting to be heard above the din. “Ever since Fendel nearly

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