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Bard's Rumours

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Elminster Speaks - Part 9

By Ed Greenwood

Voonlarran Religious Politics

Lady Shrae works closely with her friend High Harvestmistress Glamerie Windbough (NG hf P9), a calm, longsighted woman who heads the House of Plenty temple of Chauntea in Shadowdale. Glamerie often warns Shrae of impending Dale raids, so the Bounty is ready to shelter adventurers fleeing the Bron’s forces or the Cyricists.

Their messengers are Trueseed Rolivar of Voonlar and Trueseed Anassra Velomyr of Shadowdale (a witty, sharp-tongued, and attractive NG hf P6, known for her skill at painting portraits and in identifying seeds). On journeys between the two temples, these and other ‘holy agents’ seldom have fewer than eight temple guards; such clerical parties are mounted, heavily cloaked, and travel only after receiving the Bron’s (grudging) acknowledgement of their right to passage.

For his part, Gormstadd of Cyric devotes his time to concocting and advancing schemes to hamper and harm all of his foes—and he’s a man governed by his hatred of all other faiths (the Chauntean clergy in particular), Harpers, Shadowdale, and ‘skulking profanities,’ by which he means all folk not under his command who work in or near Voonlar to advance their little schemes and plots.

Beldryn the Bold of Tempus can call on several adventuring bands of a dozen or so warrior priests of Tempus each who patrol the Moonsea lands striking at bugbear and orc raiding bands. These groups can be hurled against Cyricists or Zhents who grow too brutal in Voonlar. Many raids the Bron blames on Shadowdale (which is, after all, a farming community) have in truth been ‘chastisements of Tempus’ upon his hired mercenary troops. Whenever Buorstag moves to eradicate or terrorize Voonlarrans of other faiths, or dares to reach out at Yulash or Shadowdale with whelmed military might, "the angry hand of watchful Tempus will fall." This is typical of the Wargod’s rough justice in many frontier lands—but followers of Tempus are just too few and too busy to themselves become tyrants.

Finally, the small, wounded (missing a few eyestalks) beholder Xathcrism lurks in the woods near Voonlar, moving about often. For its own entertainment and hunger for power over others, Xathcrism has duped several brigand bands into worshiping it, calling itself "Bane’s Eyes" and claiming to be the manifestation of Bane

Now lesser in my divinity, I am more attentive to you, my faithful. Obey me, and you shall know great wealth and power as my favored. Work in the dark and in hiding against the false ones who turned from me to the ridiculous rituals of Cyric. Smash them here, and so begin holy work that shall not end until all of you have known what it is to rule a town, a city, a realm! As you grow, so too shall my dark strength, until we rise together to make all the Realms tremble!

This trembling begins, it seems, with raids on travelers and adventurers in the woods, not directly against Cyricists. Xathcrism has twice drifted out of hiding to fight with its faithful, and has even spit out weapons, coins, and potions of healing in steel vials to aid stricken servants. Beyond plunder and killings, its aims remain mysterious.

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