Shrines of Nature
The Shrines of Nature are an oddity in Waterdeep: a carefully cultivated grove of trees and wild-growing plants in the middle of the metropolitan Waterdeep. At either end of the green grounds is a shrine: one to Mielikki in the north end of the part (the larger of the two, thanks to the coin that comes from Mielikki's noble patrons), and the other to Silvanus, in the south.
The Dryad of the Shrines
Most Waterdhavians have heard the urban legend that a dryad dwells in the heart of the Shrines, an entity who shows the favor of the Oakfather and his daughter, Our Lady of the Forest. The clergy of the shrines are oddly cagey about the topic: they will not specifically confirm or deny the existence of this dryad, instead discussing her as an idealized spirit to which all the faithful ought to aspire, seeking a one-ness with the Holy Greenweald.
Still, many of those who have spent time in healing or in sanctuary in the shrines claim to have heard her singing from somewhere in the green shadows of the grounds, and some even claim to have met her. Those who claim this never reveal her name, however.
|High Ranger Faeruilin Onuskan|
High Priest of Mielikki • Rank 10
A kindly, fatherly figure, Faeruilin is practical, a hold-over from his own days ranging out in the North, aiding travelers and tracking threats to the woodlands. Though he answered Mielikki's Call to service, he has not forgotten his time as a simple man just working to help others, and that carries over to his ministry. Faeruilin is also an apt hand in dealing with the noble patrons of the shrines.
High Druidess of Silvanus • Rank 10
Mystic-minded and disdainful of the concerns of urban folk, Amithrel is a druidess of some skill and ability. She provides a significant degree of the druidic power to the shrines, and it is not uncommon for her to confer with powerful wizards and masked lords as part of her daily duties. She is also said to have an incredible network of Awakened animals who watch on her behalf. As a result, she always seems to know more about important situations than one might assume a woman who prefers to spend her days in communion with the trees of the shrine ought.
Priest of Silvanus • Rank 6
The half-elf Eldroth is one of the clergy of Silvanus who does not wield magic. His duties are primarily to help tend the grounds of the shrine, and to educate lay worshippers about the tenets of the Oakfather, usually after recruiting them to help him with some task or another in the greenways of the shrines. He is an avid storyteller, with a kindly demeanor; he is also known to be an incredible archer.
The Needles (Temple Guardians)
|Chief Warden Ossyl Arbreen|
Captain of the Guard • Rank 10
The tattooed half-elf Ossyl is a quiet menace, ever-watchful with hands near her dual blades. The only ones who typically hear much out of her are the rest of the shrine's Needles and the leadership of the shrines. Most others only hear her when she is barking an order at them, usually one focused on their safety, in dealing with a danger they have not noticed.
The Shrines of Nature provide the following services to the faithful.
- Caretaking of the Land: The faithful of Silvanus (and to a lesser extent, of Mielikki) are happy to help the faithful plan gardens and natural spaces within Waterdeep, whether the grounds of a noble estate, a rooftop garden, or even a simple collection of planers in a courtyard. They teach the faithful how to care for and nurture these spaces, and the animals who are drawn to them as a result. Though they frequently provide the faithful with these services – up to and including doing the landscaping and planting themselves – in exchange for donations to the shrines, but they do not require payment, particularly when the faithful are not wealthy.
- Healing: In addition to magical healing (Spells, below), the Shrines have healing spaces where those who cannot afford magical healing or those suffering from long-term illnesses or infirmity may rest and recover. Much of this healing is done in open chambers on the second floor of both shrines, with open windows to allow the green of the compound in, and are accompanied by walks and rest in comfortable bowers in the wooded grounds, where the clergy of the Shrines believe living creatures heal best naturally.
- Ritual: In addition to the celebration of holy seasonal rites, the clergy of the Shrines also provide their services to the faithful for the recognition of rites of passage such as births, coming of age ceremonies, weddings, and funerals.
- Sanctuary: The clergy of the shrines understand that sometimes living in the city is too much for those who are close to nature, and happily provide space for them to retreat to for a few days. Such sanctuary includes simple meals and accommodations (equivalent to Poor Lifestyle in quality), and the faithful are asked to donate to the temple in return for the service.
- Spells: The magicians of the Shrines of Nature will cast the spells indicated in the sidebar.
The shrines and grounds take up a small block along the Street of Whispers in the Sea Ward. The fencing around it consists of standing menhirs twelve feet in height, every ten or so feet, with bronze bars inset between them. The delineation between the streets of Waterdeep and the grounds is stark: muddy gravel one moment, and then wild, lush grass and forest ground-cover just past the menhir gate. The only actual entrances to the shrine grounds is through the shrines themselves: both of them have pass-through gates that are kept open during the day, with attendants who greet visitors and offer to help, though anyone is permitted to simply pass through and wander the greens for a while. These gates are closed at night after all visitors have been escorted out.
- The Shrine to Mielikki: A wide two-story structure, Mielikki's shrine is built around the tall hallway that allows access to the grounds, a corridor which takes up both levels. On the first floor, a doorway leads to the shrine to one side, and then to a sanctuary space where the faithful can gather in small numbers, often used by priests to sit with the faithful, or by small groups of the faithful to gather. Stairs from the central hallway rise to the second floor on both sides: on one side is the Healing Hall, where the sick and injured are cared for, with large windows that open out onto the greenwood below. On the other side are the modest chambers set aside for the clergy (though none of the clergy maintain permanent residence here).
- The Shrine to Silvanus: The passage into the grounds takes up only a small section of this shrine in the southwest corner, an L-shaped passage that opens quickly and efficiently onto the grounds. The rest of the two-story structure is a shrine space on the first floor, with an infirmary and priests' quarters on the second floor. There is also a modest apartment for the Oaksage of the shrine on the second floor.