Sune

Firehair, Lady Firehair, the Lady of Love

Symbol: Face of a red-haired, ivory-skinned beautiful woman
Home Plane: Brightwater
Alignment: Chaotic good
Portfolio: Beauty, love, passion
Worshipers: Lovers, artists, half-elves, adventurers
Cleric Alignments: CG, CN, LG, NG
Domains: Life
Favored Weapon: A silken sash (whip)

ALLIES: Lliira, Selune, Sharess, Milil, Lathander, Hanali Celanil
FOES: Talos, Auril, Umberlee, Malar, Talona, Tempus

Sune_symbol.jpg

Sune (SUE-nee) Firehair is said to be the fairest of the powers. When she is represented, she is shown as the most beautiful woman in the Realms, with sweeping, radiant, red hair and incredible charms. The Sunite faith is a popular one in large metropolitan areas and among the nobility. Those of a literary or artistic bent, as well as people falling in love or looking for lifemates, often venerate the Lady Firehair.

Sune herself is said to be benevolent and sometimes whimsical, alternating between deep passions and shallow flirtations. She has been romantically linked with many of the Faerunian powers in the myths of the Realms, although she has never borne any love at all for the gods of fury, Talona, or Tempus, since their functions posit the destruction of many beautiful things, both living and inanimate. Currently, she is rumored to have been rather smitten by the noble actions of Torm at Tantras during the Time of Troubles.

Sune is said to share the waters of the Evergold, a sacred pool, with the elven goddess Hanali Celanil, and a friendly but intense rivalry exists between the two over the innate superiority of elven versus human beauty. Sune abhors and actively opposes any force or deity that causes the marring of living beauty.

The Church

Comely male and female humans, elves, and half-elves serve the Lady of Love. Female clergy outnumber male clergy eight to one, but the men are all the more highly valued for their relative rarity. All clergy must possess an alluring or pleasing manner in addition to natural beauty, for high Charisma is essential for Sunite clergy. Ugly, physically imperfect, or marred beings are disparaged or pitied by devout Sunites, and an acquired imperfection that cannot be masked or healed by spells or other means of shapeshifting spells the end of a Sunite priest’s career. Other faiths tend to regard Sunites as flighty, vain, and rather superficial, but basically harmless. Sunites have an intense rivalry with the followers of the elven goddess Hanali Celanil.

The Sunite church’s organization is loose and informal, and its leadership changes regularly with the whims of its clergy. The most charismatic Sunite clergy are usually the high priests and priestesses. Little is thought of a priest dropping everything and going bounding off into the wild, particularly if the goal is some beautiful object or some beautiful individual, and such behavior creates little scandal in the church.

Sunite temples are either stunningly beautiful edifices of fantastic design or classically elegant structures strategically enhanced by sculptured landscaping. Many Sunite temples sport formal gardens with gorgeous flower beds, trellises and bowers of well-trained vines, and carefully pruned trees and topiaries. Fine sculptures and sumptuous fountains that play with soft, magical lighting provide focal points in most Sunite temple gardens.

Dogma

Beauty is more than skin deep, say the Sunites; it issues from the core of one’s being and shows one’s fair (or foul) face to the world. The followers of Sune are believers in romance, true love winning over all, and following one’s heart to one’s true destination. Fated matches, impossible loves, and ugly ducklings becoming swans are all part of the teaching of Sune.

Novice Sunites receive the following charge: "Love none more than yourself save Sune, and lose yourself in love of the Lady Firehair. Perform a loving act every day, and seek to awaken love in someone new each day. Respond to love at least once in a day.

“Encourage beauty wherever you find it. Acquire beautiful items of all sorts, and encourage, sponsor, and protect the artists who produce such things whenever and wherever you find them.

“Keep your own body as comely as possible and as attractively displayed as situations warrant. Let hairstyle and clothing best suit your personal appearance, striving to stir and delight others who look upon you. Moreover, hide not away, but always seek to present yourself to those around you in a pleasing variety of garbs and activities so as to move them with love and desire.

“Love those that respond to your beauty and all beauty, and let warm friendship and admiration flower where love cannot or dare not.”

Day-to-Day Activities

Sunites are aesthetes and hedonists, who actively seek out pleasure and beauty in all things. The pursuit of aesthetic enjoyment is their life. Sunite clergy buy beautiful items of art, sculpture, and handiwork whenever they find it, sponsoring good artists where necessary and overpaying for such items so as to drive prices up, create more demand, and so increase the supply of things of beauty. This is to be done as often as funds afford and subtlety permits, and in disguise if need be.

Whenever Sunite clergy must perform dirty tasks, the use of disguise is encouraged to protect the body as well as to conceal identity. The devout priest always hires or supports adventurers and others to destroy beings who vandalize beautiful creations.

All clergy of Sune also strive to create beauty in a personal way, preferably as a creator of static fine art (blown-glass ornaments, paintings, or tapestries are all fashionable), but as a dancer if one fails at all else. When one of them gains expertise in crafting things of beauty, she or he is obliged to pass on such learning by training others and turning away no one who shows genuine promise. Any moneys made through such training should be given to the church to further the growth of beauty and love everywhere.

Although Sunite clergy can rebuff unwanted advances, they should strive to build friendships and romantic feelings between themselves and others and in general wherever they go so that love may prosper everywhere in the Realms. As the lonely are in most need of such things (and the most likely to join in love of the Lady Firehair), they should be sought out by diligent clergy for friendship. Everyone, no matter how homely or disparate in faith from the path of the Lady, should be assisted by gifts of clothing, hair styling, cosmetics, and lessons in deportment, dancing, and manners to so as make themselves as beautiful as possible.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies

Greengrass is celebrated by Sunites with a great deal of outdoor frolicking, and Midsummer Night with night-long flirtatious chases through forests and parks, but local priesthoods can set the times of other celebrations to their own pleasure, as long as at least one Grand Revel befalls each month and at least one Feast of Love is celebrated in every tenday.

A Grand Revel is a dusk-to-dawn party to which outsiders are invited, dancing and minstrelsy dominate, and those of the faith seek to attract converts with fun and the exhibition of a few of a temple’s or shrine’s beautiful art objects or magical treasures. A Feast of Love is a more intimate, quiet affair, open only to the faithful, who lie on couches and indulge in the gentle sipping of liqueurs and nibbling at subtly flavored bitelets (as savory hors d’oeuvres are called in the Realms) and sweet pastries while lone dancers perform. These dances are interspersed with readings of romantic verse and prose and lays of love sung by skilled minstrels. Such rituals always break up into private gatherings, though bards are always on hand to relate tales of courtly love or mysteries of Faerun for those who do not feel like socializing more privately.

Sunites also offer personal prayers to Sune, always while dressed in beautiful ritual garments, standing in a pool or bath, and looking into a mirror lit only by natural light or candles. Those seeking guidance in life, entry into the faith, or atonement indulge in a night-long Candle Vigil. Sune sends guidance to them by visions visible in the mirror—often by altering the reflection of the worshiper in some way.

Major Centers of Worship

One Sunite holy house has recently outstripped the beautiful House of Firehair in Daerlun and the sacred parks in Everlund and Neverwinter to become preeminent in the worship of Sune: the Temple of Beauty in Waterdeep. This rich and important sacred site is a recently rebuilt house of graceful grandeur whose slender towers taper with exquisite smoothness as they reach up into the sky. Around these towers soft-hued driftglobes float, and their wandering light also illuminates the interior chambers of the temple. The temple is said to house chambers of great luxury where beautiful people gather from far across Faerun. It serves as a safe neutral ground for Waterdhavian nobles of hostile houses to meet and pursue romance together. The Temple of Beauty is also a favorite destination for tourists of all faiths, but non-Sunites must make handsome and expensive offerings to the goddess to be allowed entry.

Affiliated Orders

The church of Sune sponsors an endless slew of honorary orders that seem to change with every new priestess or priest to rise to the head of a local temple. These titular orders convey honors for excellence in various artistic pursuits.

The church also has a small affiliated knightly order of fighters, paladins, and bards who serve to guard temples and holy sites along with the clergy and who sometimes pursue quests or do good works in Sune’s name to promote her faith. (The gallant kit from The Complete Bard’s Handbook is especially appropriate for these bards if the DM wishes to allow it.) To become one of the Sisters and Brothers of the Ruby Rose, a candidate stands vigil in a church of Sune all night. If the Lady Firehair appears to the candidate in a vision during the night or somehow shows her favor, the candidate is admitted to the order. Members in this order are given to writing essays and songs of courtly love when not engaged in vital business, and often adopt a beautiful individual to adore from afar whether that individual would be flattered by such attentions or not.

Priestly Vestments

Sunites are not bashful about their bodies. The standard ceremonial garb of Sunite priests is monastic robes for men and habits for women, both cut to show off the figure of the wearer and dyed a deep crimson. Hair is normally worn long and allowed to fall free during rituals. At other times, priestesses wear attractive wimples with v-shaped crown pieces, and priests bind their tresses back with crimson scarves. While red hair is considered touched by the goddess, all shades of hair and skin are welcome, provided they are unmarred and lovely.

Aside from her face, other, less-common symbols of Sune are a winking eye (often seen as an animated illusion on the doors of Sunite temples) or a pair of golden parted female lips with the tip of a vivid ruby-red tongue just visible between them, slyly touching the upper lip.

Adventuring Garb: At light-hearted social functions, members of the clergy often wear the lips of the goddess painted on a shoulder or their midriffs. At such times, they don garments cut away to display the badge of the goddess. When fighting or adventuring, clerics of Sune prefer as much protection (magical and otherwise) as they can afford. It is not that they are cowards, but they want desperately to avoid scars or even the need for magical healing. Sunite clergy often wear oversized, ornate, heavily padded full body armor (such as plate mail or plate armor, or even scale mail or chain mail with full coifs, helmets, and shields) designed to afford the body maximum protection against visible marring. Often such armor is fluted, polished mirror-bright, or otherwise adorned so as to be as pleasing to the eye as possible.

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Sune

Tales of the Bloodstone Lands Autumnfyr