Sharindlar, also known as the Lady of Life and Mercy, is the dwarven deity of healing and mercy. When a dwarf falls sick or is struck down in combat, he often utters prayers to Sharindlar. Her command of fertility expanded her clergy's influence over animal husbandry along with developing new varieties of crops.
Sharindlar represented an aspect of dwarven life rarely seen by others. When dwarves abandon their taciturn moods for an evening of dance, or when a hardened warrior softens to accept the vows of marriage to his childhood love, Sharindlar is invoked as a deity of gaiety, romance, and dance.
Sharindlar is invariably warm and caring with a kind word for all, both mortal and divine. She is given to shouts of joy, impromptu dances, and gales of uncontrollable laughter. The Lady of Life is an inveterate match-maker and true romantic who seeks to conjoin star-crossed lovers no matter what the odds. More than one favored dwarven bachelor or maiden has been swept up in a series of whirlwind affairs, thanks to the unceasing efforts of the Shining Dancer to provide the perfect mate.
Followers of Sharindlar came from all walks of life from dwarves struck down during combat to commoners accepting vows of marriage.
Clerics of the Shining Dancer are known as Thalornor ("those who are merciful"). They spend most of their time ministering to the needs of the sick or frail in dwarven communities, providing words of encouragement with a gentle bedside manner. When not engaged at the bedside, clerics of Sharindlar work to instruct youth on proper dwarven courting rituals, even going so far as to play matchmaker between two “compatible” youths. Of late Sharindlar’s command of fertility has expanded the thalonors’ influence over animal husbandry and developing new strains of crops. Concerned as they are with births, both from a medical and metaphorical perspective, most thalornor treat the Thunder Blessing with even more reverence than their brethren, often bending over backward to encourage thunder twins to join the clergy. Thalornor frequently multiclass as bards.
VestmentsFor ceremonial functions, Sharindlar's priests wear red robes with a blue girdle. The head is left bare except for a robin's egg blue scarf. The holy symbol of the faith is a silver disk embossed on both sides with the symbol of the goddess. It is often hung from an argent chain placed around the neck.
For obvious reasons, Sharindlar's priests prefer not to fight, but they will defend themselves and their charges, wearing what armor is appropriate, but using a blue scarf around the brow, upper arm, wrist or ankle to mark their faith. Although this is rarely advertised, thalornor usually carry a small knife so that they can mercifully end the suffering of creatures whose pain canot otherwise be alleviated and whose demise is imminent.
TemplesTemples to the Lady of Life are great halls, free of pillars or other architectural features. Serving as both chancels and grand ballrooms, they are well lit, often above ground or partially open to the sky, and typically hold fountains, pools, and formal gardens. The goddess's temples have numerous small guest chambers for visitors, of which there are many. Most of the Shining Dancer's temples have a small library that serves as a repository of runestones inscribed with dwarven genealogies, clan records, courting rites, descriptions of formal dances, astronomy charts, medicinal practices, herbal brews, agricultural and husbandry records, and the like.
HierarchyNovices of Sharindlar are known as the Chaste. Full priests are known as Merciful Maidens/Youths. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Sharindlaran priests are Dancing Tresses, Golden Allure, Healing Touch, Merciful Smile, Loving Heart, and Fruitful Mother/Father. High Old Ones have unique individual titles but are collectively known as the Sons/Daughters (Dauls) of Sharindlar. Specialty priests are known as thalomor, a dwarvish word that can be loosely translated as those who are merciful.
RitualsClerics of Sharindlar pray for spells in the morning. The worship of Sharindlar has been kept secret from outsiders, especially her fertility aspect. Dwarves in general refer to her as the Lady of Mercy whenever they know non-dwarves to be listening. Dwarven priests of any faith who care for the wounded or sick often pray briefly for Sharindlar's favor.
When the moon begins to wax (the night after the new moon), at Greengrass, at Midsummer Night, and whenever the moon is full, Sharindlar's clergy gather to pray to the Lady of Life. The more secret rituals of Sharindlar take place in hidden caverns, wherever there is a pool of water. Such ceremonies involve dancing, prayers for the Lady's mercy and guidance, and the sacrifice of gold. Gold is heated until molten, and dwarves let blood from their own forearms into the mixture, which is then poured into the water, as Sharindlar's name is chanted and the dwarves dance about the pool in a frenzy, armor and weapons near at hand but not worn or carried.
In the Deep Realm, Sharindlar's rituals take place around the Lake of Gold, a subterranean lake whose rocky bottom is streaked with gleaming veins of gold. The Lady of Life's dwarven faithful never take gold from the lake, whose bottom is now carpeted with the sparkling gold dust of long ages of worship resulting from rituals performed in an effort to raise the low birthrate of the race. Rituals in honor of Sharindlar's fertility aspect celebrated here always end with splendid feasts and courting chases through the underways of the Deeps.
Rituals invoking Sharindlar's healing strength enacted by two or more priests involve gathering over injured or sick beings. The Lady of Life's priests sprinkle vial of water gathered from the Lake of Gold, while whispering secret names and descriptions of the goddess. This ritual has a chance of aiding healing (the DM chooses the beneficial effect according to the circumstances). Even Sharindlar's name, whispered or repeated silently in the mind by the faithful, has a calming effect on upset or painwracked dwarves of all faiths, allowing them to sleep.
OrdersWhile Sharindlar has no martial orders dedicated to her name, about one in five other priests serve small dwarven communities as midwives, independent of the faith's more organized temple hierarchies. Members of this informal sorority are known collectively as the Maidens of Midwifery, and often extend their roles to include that of physician, matchmaker, and brewer of both aphrodisiacs and elixirs said to increase fertility.
Be merciful in speech and deed. Temper anger and hostility with constructive and charitable endeavor. The children of Moradin must live in safety to propagate. Embrace the gift of life with ebullience and grace. Maintain and encourage the traditional rites of courtship and marriage. Sharindlar restores the fertile seed of dwarven life, while Berronar protects the fruit.
Sharindlar appears as a slim, spirited, full-bearded and flame-haired dwarven maiden. She possesses arresting eyes that seem to change color often—different observers down the centuries have reported them as being of differing hues. To observers of races whose females do not grow beards (such as humans), Sharindlar's beard may seem to vanish, or appear and reappear like a flickering flame. Sharindlar never wears armor and is usually barefoot and clad in diaphanous gowns. Occasionally, she appears at parties wildly garbed in boots or high-heeled shoes, with rich gowns and ornate accoutrements. If Sharindlar is attacked, flames rise around her body to armor her inflame. Her clothing vanishes, reappearing unharmed as the flames die.
Over the millennia, Sharindlar has worked to establish good relations with her entire pantheon, including strained friendships with even Laduguer, Deep Duerra, and Abbathor. On many occasions, the Lady of Life and Mercy acts as intermediary between Moradin and those he has cast away when some calamity forces usually opposed dwarves to act in consort. In general, however, Sharindlar finds politics stuffy and boring, and prefers to speculate on the romantic futures of both mortals and the divine. She shares great kinship with Shiallia, whom many believe to be her daughter through a dalliance with a fey god.