Places:Uzdun'kal:The Hall of Anvils

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The Hall of Anvils is also called the Hall of Lords or even the Hall of the Hammers. It is the place where the seven lords of Uzdun'kal sit together in council and where all civil and criminal trials are conducted. The place is full of subtle Dwarvish symbolism. The room is vast, held up by two galleries of columns that run two thirds of the length of the hall. These columns are finely shaped and carved near the doors to the hall, but grow increasingly rough as they approach the three seats of audience and the seven thrones of the Artisans. The first line of columns glitters with protruding gems that were never cut to the shape of the column or polished.

Just in front of this row of columns, there are three seats, centered between the two galleries. These seats belong to those who stand before the Lords in council. No one can stand before or behind those in audience with the seven Lords. Before the three seats of audience are three anvils and two coal pits that are always kept red hot. The anvils are both symbolic and practical. By Uzdun'kalat law, any of the Ten individuals seated around the anvils can approach them at any time during the proceedings, either to ring them to call for attention or actively to craft appropriate items. At times, all ten individuals can be seen gathered around the anvils. This approach to law and justice has lead to the creation of some distinctively Uzdun'kalat expressions, like "A problem for twenty hands" or "A three anvil argument."

Each of the seven thrones belongs to a different kind of artisan. These artisans are elected privately by the various Dwarvish guilds of industry. The center throne belongs to the Lord of Uzdun'kal. This position alone among all the rest is hereditary, at least technically. A Dwarf who is entitled by blood but not by skill to the position of Lord of Uzdun'kal or High Artisan is never elected. The other six positions, listed in order of seniority, are:

  • the Gemthain
  • the Jeweller
  • the Hearth Mother
  • the Lord Armourer
  • the Master of Axes
  • the Mining Master.

Of all the six explicitly elected positions, only the position of Hearth Mother is restricted by sex. All candidates for the office must be females with two generations of descendants. The Hearth Mother is elected by the Tanners' Guild.

There is a final bit of symbolism built into the structure of the hall. The miners who built the Hall discovered that a small underground spring runs behind the back wall. In building the forges at the heart of the hall, the miners built several small courses for the water that feed cooling basins near the forges. These water courses run through the dais on which the thrones are built. They symbolize the Uzdun'kalat lordship over the many rives that flow out of their mountains.

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