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Elminster Speaks - Part 7
By Ed Greenwood
The House of the Helm
The Voonlarren shrine to Tempus is an open pavilion standing on the west side of the Northride, just south of The Swampsbeg. It opens into grazing lands and a cart track that leads some miles through rolling pasture to a dell of bare rock on the edge of the Greentree, where charcoal burners keep their huts. No resident priest attends this altar, but its visited often by traveling clergy, who watch over it closely because of fears the Cyricists will profane and despoil it.
Perhaps the most attentive of these is Hammer of the God Beldryn Klynrin (CN hm P7), who travels with at least two veteran warriors and one or more underpriests from a base in northern Sembia. Beldryn the Bold is a blunt, fearless man who is well aware of the plots of the Bron, the Zhents, and the local Cyricistsand is not above openly confronting them and promising the disfavor of Tempus if he finds evidence of theft from offerings left at the temple. Of course, Beldryn holds the Bron responsible no matter who did the taking.
Built of massive stone slabs, the shrine consists of a raised floor bearing a central bloodstained stone block altar. The roof is made of a single stone slab supported on four massive stone pillars that splay outwards like the legs of an upturned milking stool. Smaller spindle pillars rise from the floor just inside of, and parallel to, the roof support columns, but end about five feet off the ground; these are used for the display of helms and other battle relics left as offerings to the God of War. Many raiders who strike at the Voonlarrans leave bloodied gauntlets or other battle trophies here as they retreata practice that infuriates the Bron, though he dares do nothing about it for fear of earning the wrath of the Lord of Battles.
The Bounty of the Goddess
Voonlars temple of Chauntea is known as an oasis of lush flowers, floral shrubs, and tangled gardens crisscrossed by winding flagstone paths and studded with small bench-bowers (lighted at night, when desired, by conjured dancing lights) and pools. The Bounty sells persimmons, quince, spices, herbs and healing herbal draughts, and seeds to both local citizens and passing travelers. They also have a few potions of healing, though these are sold discreetly rather than openly, and are in sparing supply.
A beautiful temple of slender bell-towers and extensive gardens, the Bounty maintains three guesthouses for Chauntean pilgrims and has been known to shelter adventurers on the run from Cyricists and the Brons justice. The guesthouses are linked by underground tunnels that are used to heat and pump water to several greenhouses within the walled temple compound.
Visitors can readily identify the gates of the Bounty Gardens by their circular shape, the mosses and flowers growing on the double doors themselves, and the wheat sheaf designs surmounting the doors atop the circular door surrounds or frames. These are made of living wood underlain with stout iron bars rumored to be of ancient dwarven-make.
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