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Elminster Speaks - Part 6
By Ed Greenwood
Voonlar is a farming community first and foremost; its primary faith is the devotion of Chauntea. Not far behind in local influence is the faith of Cyric, which recently supplanted Zhent-encouraged veneration of Bane.
The worship of Chauntea is practiced privately in many farmhouses and fields, as well as in temple services. The authorities may be outraged by offenses against the Black Sun, but common Voonlarrans will rise up in murderous wrath for affronts against the Great Mothersuch as burning crops, wasting food, poisoning water, and sewing the land with salt or despoiling it with magic.
The town is home to two temples: The Dark God Reformed, a temple of Cyric, is the one that has more official recognition. It was formerly The Dark Lords Hand, a House of Bane, though it held a number of similar names under various high priests. The Bounty of the Goddess, a temple of Chauntea, is the larger of the two churches.
Shrines to Lathander and Tempus stand on the verges of Voonlar, and the older, northwestward Common Gardens contain a stone-and-shingle pavilion where travelers of other faiths can pray. The Common Gardens is equipped with a bare block altar and braziers, but lacking walls or any place to sleep, camping overnight is expressly forbidden. Locals call this The Holy House. It has a simple privy, and a deep well that yields cool, clear drinking water that anyone can draw freely.
* * * * *
The House of the Holy Light
The shrine to Lathander resembles the Holy House all-faiths pavilion, except that its ceiling is set with sheets of mica affixed to angled stones, placed to capture the rosy rays of the rising sun and flash them out in all directions. It stands on the west side of the Dump Road, just south of the Three Elves inn. The House of Holy Light is tended by Gentle Father Erngar Narrowlea (NG hm P3) and several lay followers. Narrowlea is kindly but shrewd, seeing future implications of the smallest acts. He works covertly to confound the schemes of the Bron and the Cyricists, lends small amounts of money to Lathanderites for business ventures, and sells holy water and potions of healing to anyone to raise funds for the faith.
Narrowlea typically has six healing draughts (potions of extra-healing) in wax-sealed glass vials available and sells them for 1,100 gold pieces each. Holy water comes in larger glass jars, at 25 gp each, and the Gentle Father tries to keep over 20 on hand.
The shrine attracts a steady congregation of travelers (except in winter) and more than 40 Voonlarrans. Narrowlea is visited about once a tenday by higher-ranking priests of the Morninglord, who bring him fresh supplies of the coin-earning holies. A tiny bed of herbs and spices, which can be freely harvested by all, surrounds the shrine. The only rule regarding taking herbs and spices from the shrine is that no one may take the last shoot, sprig, berry, or leaf. Its written that anyone who does so shall incur the wrath of Lathander.
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