Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Symbol: Sunrise made of rose, red, and yellow gems
Home Plane: Morninglory, House of Nature
Alignment: Neutral good
Portfolio: Athletics, birth, creativity. dawn, renewal, self-perfection, vitality, youth
Worshippers: Aristocrats, artists, athletes, merchants, monks (Sun Soul), the young
Cleric Alignments: CG, LG, NG
Domains: Life, Light
Favored Weapon: “Dawnspeaker” (light or heavy mace)
Allies: Chauntea, Gond, Silvanus, Tymora, Lurue the Unicorn, Tyr, Torm, Ilmater, Sune, Lliira, Selune, Oghma, Milil, Deneir, Mielikki, Eldath
Enemies: Cyric, Talos, Shar, Moander (now dead), Bane, Bhaal, Myrkul, Ibrandul (now dead)
A powerful, exuberant god, Lathander (Lah-THANder) is known as the Commander of Creativity and the Morninglord. When Lathander is depicted, he is most often shown in a form similar to his avatar (see below) or as a mist of glowing, rose-colored swirls with two golden eyes at the center.
As the god of beginnings, Lathander traditionally receives prayer from many inhabitants of Faerun at the start of a journey or endeavor. Lathander’s name is invoked to seal alliances and start new ventures or companies. As a result, the god is very popular among the merchant classes. Though depicted as young, Lathander’s noble bearing and demeanor serve him well among the nobility, who also favor his worship in many places. Because he encourages his clergy to strike out and start new shrines and temples all over Faerun, Lathander’s broadbased popularity is rounded out by the many peasant folk aided by his clergy.
Lathander has a reputation for being sometimes overly enthusiastic, slightly vain, and given to excesses, all flaws very common among the young. He is also eternally optimistic and doggedly perseverant. His alliance with Chauntea serves them both well, since his interests in birth, nurture, and vibrant life dovetail well with her portfolio. The churches of Chauntea and Lathander have only grown closer since the Time of Troubles, and rumors hold that Lathander has been courting the favor of the Earthmother romantically as well as politically.
Wealthy and popular, the church of Lathander has opulent temples throughout the North, some of which push back the borders of good taste, as well as less audacious and more serviceable structures in most towns and cities and dotting all of Faerun. The main room of a temple faces east and is open to the horizon, at least in part, so that the faithful can see the dawn. The high priest or priestess of a shrine or temple is often called a prior or an abbess, although titles vary throughout the church.
Priests of Lathander call themselves morninglords. Clerics of Lathander call both themselves and their priest and crusader brethren dawn priests, ignoring any difference.
The Lathanderian religion has no overarching hierarchy from church to church and no central authority. When issues of doctrine or policy come up that must be decided upon, a conference is called at the church who initially presented the problem for consideration, and the issue is resolved. Regardless of rank or experience level, each Lathanderite priest is considered the master of the temple, shrine, or parish she or he is responsible for no matter the number of priests staffing the facility under him or her.
Novices in the Lathanderian faith are called the Awakened, and they gain the title of Dawnbringer upon becoming full priests. In ascending order of rank, the titles in general use by the Dawnbringers are: Dawngreeter, Dawnlord (the church does not use feminine form of titles often), High Dawnlord, Dawnmaster, Morninglord, High Morninglord, Mornmaster, High Mornmaster, and Sunrise Lord.
The charge given to most novice postulants to the faith of Lathander is: “Strive always to aid, to foster new hope, new ideas, and new prosperity for all humankind and its allies. Perfect thyself, and guard ever against pride, for it is a sacred duty to foster new growth, nurture growing things, and work for rebirth and renewal. Be fertile in mind and body. Consider always the consequences of thine actions so that the least effort may bring the greatest and best reward. Wherever you go, sow seeds of plants, tend the growing things you find, and plant seeds of hope, new ideas, and plans for a rosy future in the minds of all. Whenever possible, see each dawn.”
Lathander’s dogma is filled with stories of optimism and perseverance. It is important to feel good about an upcoming event or else it will naturally go awry through negative thinking. Favorite sayings of Lathander include: “From death, life,” “There is always another morning,” and “In the dawn, beauty reigns, and the way is clearer.” Far more importance is placed on acting in the service of Lathander by helping, encouraging, and aiding than in strict adherence to rituals, rules, and the dictates of superior clergy. This practical philosophy is shared both by Lathander and his senior clergy. Death is considered a reward for the clergy, since they are “going to Lathander” in the afterlife. Most clergy are not raised unless they are needed to complete a task.
Lathanderites seek to build anew, encourage the rebirth of barren areas and more productive growth in cultivated lands, drive out evil, and either restore civilization to heights it once had or lead it to new dizzying heights of interracial harmony, cooperation, and pursuit of the arts and progress. To do this, they battle monsters to nurture civilization; they plant seeds and new seedlings, they encourage and aid adventurers, travelers, traders, and pilgrims as the harbingers of culture; and they recover lost magical items, pieces of literature, and works of art. Lathanderites study, restore, and attempt to duplicate, emulate, or expand upon these recovered items and works when possible.
Temples and shrines also sponsor athletic events and competitions where people of all classes and races can strive together in non-hostile competition in wrestling, distance throwing, target archery, running, jumping, horseback riding, or any of a number of other non-injurious sports. Other competitions sponsored by Lathanderian churches are for honors in the literary and fine arts. Such competitions are usually for a prize, which may be money, a special item or piece of art, or even a work written about the victor by a famous poet or artist. Winning a competition sponsored by the Lathanderites brings great status in certain circles.
Temples and shrines of Lathander provide aid to adventurers and communities in their area as long as such aid is returned in good faith. Priests of Lathander try tirelessly to encourage those of good alignments to the more dedicated worship of the Morninglord if they are not already Lathanderites, but they do not insist on conversions or withhold aid if they are refused. Lathanderites are expected to make regular offerings of ideas, inventions, coins, discovered artifacts, or food to Lathanderian temples and shrines. Much more valuable offerings such as magical items or quantities of gold are demanded of nonbelievers in return for special services like rescue missions or raising from the dead.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
As may be surmised, most ceremonies of Lathander are held at dawn. Actions taken and contracts agreed to at dawn are considered blessed by the god. Marriages held at Lathanderian temples or shrines at dawn are considered especially blessed and so dawn is when the church most often holds such services, even if they are inconvenient for visiting guests. Funerals consist of a solemn, candlelit ceremony called the Going Down. This ceremony is followed by a wake that lasts until dawn prayers. Funerals are not held for those who are to be raised.
The most important ceremonies of worship are the daily prayers to Lathander at dawn, often held outdoors or where the dawn can be seen. This ritual is followed in importance by the twilight devotions. Some temples and shrines also add to these two daily ceremonies an optional prayer and song to Lathander at highsun. To these daily devotions are added special prayers said when offerings are presented at the altar and when priests call on Lathander for guidance or aid. These ceremonies are all joyful, but dignified, and usually involve prayer, song, and ritual drinking of well water touched by the dawn. On special occasions, on Midsummer morning, and on the mornings of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, priests of Lathander perform the Song of Dawn, praising Lathander with a blend of vocal harmonies and counterharmonies of beautiful complexity.
Major Centers of Worship
The Spires of the Morning in Waterdeep, headed by High Radiance Ghentilara, is the largest and probably most opulent of Lathander’s temples. The Tower of the Morning in Telpir, run by High Radiance Durneth Seafarer, is the second most prominent of his temples, though much simpler in design than the Spires of the Morning.
The church of Lathander has a knightly order of paladins, crusaders, and fighters known as the Order of the Aster. Members of this order protect temples and shrines, serve to lead large military groups levied as needed to serve the church, and roam the land seeking to do good in Lathander’s name and promote his worship. Individual temples and shrines of Lathander do not usually maintain standing military forces of substantial size due to their cost, although they often retain warriors and members of the Order of the Aster to guard their establishments in numbers that each temple decides are appropriate and affordable.
Priests of Lathander dress in bright long-sleeved robes of yellow, red, and pink. These are often called “sun robes.” Those priests with their own temples have their robes trimmed with ornately crafted gold ribbons. A sunburst headpiece, worn toward the back of the head to emulate a rising sun or radiant sunpeacock, completes the ceremonial garb. The ritual robes used at many rural shrines are simple cassocks with a color scheme by rank. Novices and postulants wear brown; adepts and underpriests wear russet and crimson. Senior priests wear scarlet, and subpriors and those of higher rank wear rose-red. The leader of the temple or shrine wears white. Holy symbols of Lathander are often made of painted wood, cut from rose quartz or similar minerals, or enchanted to radiate a dim, pink glow.
Adventuring Garb: Adventuring clerics usually wear more utilitarian garb, but prefer reds and yellows, to the point of tinting their armor those shades. Most priests of Lathander favor chain mail, and often the only obvious mark of Lathander they bear is a rose-red circle on their shields and helm brows.
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