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Elminster Speaks - Part 8
By Ed Greenwood
To Venerate The Great Mother
The walls of the Voonlarran temple of Chauntea were completed only a few years ago. There was fierce opposition by the Bron to the great wall project, but the Bron suddenly began supporting the project due, it is rumored, to an order issued to Buorstag from someone higher in the Zhentarim hierarchy who believes confinement and surveillance are easier where foes are enclosed within walls. Although the walls now encompass almost a third of the built-up area of town, local opposition among the common citizenry was almost non-existent. The temple donated their gardens north of Daerndrean Street to the town, in effect trebling the size of the Common Gardens that adjoin them. The Bounty also sold its outlying Northride guesthouse to a wealthy Sembian gold-merchant, Ornar Harlathar of Yhaunn, for use as a hunting lodge. This sale has delighted the Bron, who hopes that Harlathars hunting parties will put arrows through any "dangerous lurking brigands," such as approaching Harpers or raiders from Shadowdale.
The Bounty is led and governed by its Mother of the Harvest, Lady Immithra Shrae (CG hf P12), a tall, slender, raven-haired woman of soft voice and great beauty. Immithra prefers to be addressed as Lady Matriarch by non-clergy, and Young Matriarch by ordained Chaunteans, but she is otherwise a pleasure to deal with. She is assisted by two Trueseeds, the first of whom is the prim, quiet, watchful, rather plain brunette Lauratha Delrym (NG hf P5), who knows everyone in Voonlar and their every little doing, too. The second is Rolivar Brimbruir (CG hm P5), a loud, burly, and jovial friend-of-all and brewmaster popular with even the most ardent Cyricist clergy for his jokes and good barley beer. Rolivar possesses bushy brown sidewhiskers and a moustache that appears and disappears with the passing months, even as the hair on the top of his head slowly but steadily recedes.
Together, these three faithful lead a clergy of four Watchfuls. Watchful Brothers Erlan Faerlnar (NG hm P3) is an expert in matters of soil, compost, and tillage, and Lothan Maergh (LN hm P3) is a master of storage and tending of bulbs, seeds, and graftings. Watchful Sisters Ardethra Murmarand (NG hf P3) and Jhalanessa Brithlar (CG hf P3), the latter of which is known for her wild impishness and ardent nature, are the Bountys herbalists for both humans and livestock. There are also eight Close Ones (NG and CG P2s: three human males and five human females), of whom the best known is the temple carter and seed-seller, old and crag-faced Haronstin Leatherjaws Garulth known for his easygoing ways and prodigious capacity for drink.
The temple also has eleven lay servants, mainly mothers of active clergy, and 20 Harvestrods: farmers and drovers who are also trained and equipped as temple guards (LN hm F2s armed with broad swords, daggers, and maces, and equipped with both leather armor and chain mail), the latter retained primarily as a protection against Cyricist harassment, thefts, arson, and vandalism.
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