Sites of the Gods: The Enlightened Veil
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
The Enlightened Veil is to Neutrality what Istar was to Good and Neraka is to Evil. Possibly even moreso, as this is the only location on krynn to witness godbirth. For it is on this plateau, located in the Burning Lands to the west of the Bay of Balifor, that Sirrion created his consort, Shinare. Or so legend has it. Still, to this day, no other site on Ansalon radiates as much divine power as this location, given its importance to two major dieties.
During the daytime, this plateau is barren, cracked clay. However, as soon as the first rays of Lunitari grace the sand, liquid veils of light rise from the cracks in the earth, and reach for the stars, reaching peak intensity during high sanction. During these times, it is highly auspicious to conduct trades and deals on the plateau, and also considered great times to research new spells, brew potions, or, in the case of tinkers, invent.
The area is accessible only via a spiralling road that slowly inches its way up the side of the plateau, as all the surrounding area is flat desert. The burning lands are given the name due to the Aurora affect at night and the heat reflections during the day.
Atop the plateau are two small and ancient buildings, oriented along a northeast-southwest axis. Between them lies a huge plaza tiled with carved sandstone, and bounded by thin obelisks in a circular pattern. The obelisks are inscribed with ancient Khurman prayers and chants, written in a script predating istaran common. Throughout the plaza, irregular cracks and fissures wind their way around, but are forbidden to be repaired, as the Veil erupts from them. The center of the plaza has a small basin that is always full of clean water, said to come up from an underground wellspring.
On the Northeast side of the plaza is a Small unadorned temple, with scrolled columns guarding the entrance. The temple is made entirely of reddish-grey marble, with bronze doors. Within the temple is a small altar, and a Statue of the most beautiful woman imaginable. Said to be a replica of Sirrion's original creation, this statue is washed and clothed every day in a ceremony at dawn, and surrounded by sweet incenses and perfumes. A family of clerics has been serving this temple since the earliest days of humanity, as evinced by the ruins of ancient human settlements near by. The current head cleric here is Raud Ak'sartan, a 67 year old man with a friendly demeanor. He intends to retire soon, and install his granddaughter Saliya as the next Priestess. Clerical powers have never mattered much to this clan, compared to serving the diety for over two thousand years. Recently, however, their powers have started to return, but the family has not changed in regards to their willingness to aid in all mercantile ventures and trades. Those who leave monetary offerings at this shrine are granted luck in their dealings for the next week, and are made aware of the best bargains available, and are immune to being cheated.
Diametrically opposite the Shinaran Temple is a small, domed shrine. Designed to look like the high temple of Sirrion in Lantern, this shrine has open doors on all four sides, and a jet black onion dome at the apex. Inside is a simple bronze caldren with an eternally burning flame. No Cleric tends this fire, though many offerings of art and alchemy pile up in the corners. At the equinoxes, the eternal flame fills the entire temple, and turns all offerings to holy ash, which the devout mark their foreheads with. This ash provides a +10 circumstance bonus to all alchemy, performance, and craft checks, and if used as a material focus in potions, grants either an extended duration of 2 rounds, or +2 to relevant dice rolls.
Due to the contentious nature of the dieties in question, people who pray at both shrines are bound to find their luck deserts them, and their creativity is blocked.
Historically, the Enlightened Veil was a focus for the tribes of the Khur, as Sirrion gave their ancestors the secret of fire, and Shinare bestowed the secret of writing, allowing their civilization the ability to live in the harsh climes of the Balifor area, and conduct trade with other tribes. Each year, at the equinoxes, a huge market would be held by these tribes, with dwarves from Thorin, elves from Sylvanost, kender from Balifor, and tinker gnomes from their satelite colony of Hurim all coming together in the spirit of mercantilism and art. The Spring would be the huge trade fair, with goods and services from the entire southeastern portion of ansalon being available, while the Autumn fair was a showcase for creative talents, wizardry, and alchemical skill.
The advent of the Church of Istar started to put a damper on the whole market community, and the cataclysm put an end to the practice. After the War of the Lance, good feelings between the various races led to an attempt at reviving the market, but the presence of the dragonarmies put an end to that.
During the second cataclysm, the Flame of Sirrion blinked out for one full day, but started up again after the sealing of Chaos. Academics believe that the plateau was a font for pure sorcerous and mystic power, and that the flame was not the presence of sirrion, but more like a flue burning off excess power. Without the gods, the Veil had no reason to lift anymore, but every month, at the high sanction of the New Moon (Neulotari [a name that me and MLMartin came up with, since no one else bothered to name the moon]) the veils spring to life and reach for the stars. On these nites, any enchantments cast on items gain an extended permanency, lasting forever so long as they stay on the plateau, or lasting for two full cycles of Neulotari outside. Malys further diminished the power of this holy place, as she tried to completely drain it to further her land manipulations of the Dairly Plains.
In the Post WoS era, this site has returned to its former glory, lifting veils to the sky as Lunitari makes her nightly forays. While the market days of yore may never return, Semi-permanant settlements have started to spring up on the land surrounding the plateau, and Khurman tribesmen are resuming their pilgrimages to the heights of divinity.
Raud Ak'sartan (Clr 8 Shinare, LN, friendly and calm)
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