War of the Burning Sky
Temple of the Healing God
This temple is a small, twenty-foot circular building of ancient design. Once there were multiple temples across the city, many quite large that served as hospitals and clinics for the citizens, but this simple building was considered the holiest of all those. Its veneration is related to the miracle of Tench Marber, an event that took place forty years ago during the Ragesian occupation.
Coaltongue declared the predominant Mercinea Church a heretical cult and attempted to replace the sect with the Ragesian Hospitalers. Within a month of the invasion, all the temples were converted to the Hospitalers, with the exception of the small Mercineum.
The head priest of the Mercineum, Tench Marber, was unwilling to relinquish control to the Ragesian clergy and simply sat on the center altar as the Hospitalers demanded he leave.
Tench declared that he would not leave; instead, he would stay on as a reminder to all that the Hospitalers were not truly blessed by the gods.
The Ragesian healers, outraged at his insolence, tried to rush inside the building and attack, but they were mysteriously blocked at the door. No magic or any other power could gain entrance, so the invading priests decided to wait until Tench either left or died before they took possession of the temple. Seizing an opportunity, the besieged priest made a proposal: if, after a year and a day, Tench was still alive within the temple, the Ragesians would acknowledge the god’s blessing on the Mercinea Church. They agreed, and the bargain was struck.
For a full year, Tench sat, neither eating nor sleeping, but he lived, and on the last day, the frantic Hospitalers waited until the sun set, which would mark the end of the agreed-upon time period. As the last rays of light slipped beyond the horizon, Tench stood up and walked to the exit, the bargain won.
From that day on, the Ragesians grudgingly recognized the church, and acknowledged the god’s blessing. It is suggested by historians that the downfall of Coaltongue’s control of the city started with this miracle. A few living resistance fighters agree, noting that the Mercineum provided a safe haven for the resistance to gather and plan, free from the probing eyes of the Ragesian priests.
Today, there are no priests of the Mercinea Church in Gate Pass. A new order, the Aquiline Cross, has been around for a decade and uses all the facilities of the old religion. There are differences between the old church and the new order, but most folk don’t notice.