Shiallia is a good exarch of Mielikki. She is the patron and protector of pregnant forest creatures, a planter of trees and nurturer of seedlings.
She rejoices in life and shields against death. She is said to be earthy and winsome, and when not taking care of their needs delights in frolicking in the woods and playing with the woodland creatures who are her charges. At times she seems giddy and carefree, but has deeper qualities and a more mysterious quality which differentiates her from the fey forest creatures such as satyrs. While she is fiercely protective of those she protects, she is unlikely to interfere with matters outside of her portfolio if they do not directly involve her.
Shiallia's followers are husbands of nature, spending their days planting and nurturing, calling upon the weather, and tending to the ill and injured. They are not purely oriented to forest creatures, though that is their focus, and they extend their philosophy and favors to nonevil humanoids who enter or live within the forest, as well.
Shiallia has few actual clergy, but many forest creatures venerate her name. Since the Time of Troubles, a few specialty priests have come to her calling, particularly in the southern reaches of the High Forest. In many ways her clergy as a whole are similar to druids, but Shiallia's church focuses very strongly on fertility.
Shiallia's clergy are sometimes known as the Silent Helpers, and tales tell how they watch over lost children and the foolish who wander through the reaches of the High Forest unaware of the dangers contained within. It is generally agreed that the only reason Olithard the Bard, of the Tale of Olithard's Tune, survived his meandering journey through the High Forest was by the secret shepherding of a trio of Silent Helpers.
Her clergy are usually female, and may be human, elf, half-elf, halfling, or korred. Prior to the Fall of the Gods, Shiallia's clergy was evenly distributed between clerics, who were often found on the edges of the High Forest, and mystics and druids, who wandered the deepest reaches of the woods. Since the Time of Troubles, most initiates to the faith have become the specialty priests known as woodwives, and the balance is now almost even between the four types. Her clergy do not often multiclass.
Shiallia's priests are somewhat migratory in their movements, following long paths that can take them hundreds of miles afield, though not necessarily in annual cycles. They go wherever natural life needs a helping hand, then move on when there is nothing more than they can do. They almost always return later to check on the results of their labor and perhaps to cultivate whatever they have begun—hence their seemingly migratory behavior.
HierarchyThe church of Shiallia is casually organized, with little in the way of a formal hierarchy. The clergy of Shiallia are commonly known as the Sisters of Life and Mercy, although a few Brothers of Life and Mercy are included in their numbers as well.
Shiallia's priests shun formal titles. Younger priestesses are addressed as Daughter, those of similar age are addressed as Sister, and senior priestesses are addressed as Mother. Males are addressed as Brother or Son or Elder Brother, but never as Father.
VestmentsPriests of Shiallia have little in the way of formal raiment. They always wear their hair long and unbound and festoon it with garlands of oak leaves and acorns. Most garb themselves in simple robes of brown and green. During religious festivities they wear flowing white robes and simple sandals woven from reeds. They wear necklaces made of golden acorns or holding a golden acorn pendant around their necks as symbols of their faith.
Priests of Shiallia do not wear the hides of animals or metal exposed to the forge. As a result, they are limited for the most part to padded armor made from heavy, woven clothes and sewn into a protective surcoat. If they feel it is necessary to arm themselves, most craft an oaken cudgel from fallen timber and cast a shillelagh spell on it. Some wield shears copied from the korreds. Shears inflict 1d4 points of damage against all sizes of creatures.
TemplesEvery priest has a favorite place to worship Shiallia in virtually every area along his or her trail, but there is no central temple of Shiallia nor any web of churches dedicated to her, aside from the Golden Oak in Silverymoon and the Glade of Life at the headwaters of the Unicorn Run.
RitualsClerics and druids of Shiallia pray for their spells whenever the moon is highest in the sky, for the moon governs the reproductive cycle. Days that mark the passing of seasons are the most important of the year to followers of Shiallia. In particular, Greengrass and Highharvestide are celebrated as holidays of birth and fruition, respectively. On all holy days (including Midwinter, Midsummer, and the Feast of the Moon) the faithful invite all friendly creatures to revel with them in feasting, singing, and dancing.
Weddings are welcomed and even solicited upon the change of seasons, and Shiallia's followers always enliven such occasions with as much faerie charm magic and romance as they can muster, creating a fantasy atmosphere under the stars. Therefore, many nonworshipers set their wedding dates on Shiallia's holy days in hopes of receiving her blessings and hospitality.
OrdersShiallia sponsors no military or knightly orders, but an order of female rangers in the church of Mielikki have sworn themselves to protect the Sisters of Life and Mercy. This elite sisterhood, known as the Shields of Hope, wanders the High Forest in groups of three escorting the clergy of Shiallia through dangerous regions of that vast woodland so that they can minister to the goodly creatures who reside within.
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The only true goal of any living thing is to procreate. Nature dictates the shape of the world, for good or ill, so the only concern of the creatures that inhabit it is survival. Death is not to be feared, for it is part of the natural cycle of life, but life, particularly the birth of new life, is to be encouraged and nurtured whenever and wherever possible.
She usually appears as a voluptuously beautiful female korred (fey that resembled small satyrs, and are said to be descended from warped gnomes) whose long blond hair is festooned with garlands of oak leaves and golden acorns.
Shiallia takes the form of many animals, all of them distinguished by their absolute perfection for their species. One of her favorite shapes, however, is that of a large but graceful doe. In this form she is often surrounded by multiple bucks who make no advances upon her nor fight amongst each other for her affections; they are purely hers to command.
Shiallia sometimes manifests as whirling, dancing motes of light that shine with green faerie fire. Contact with the radiance is warm and relaxing, has the effect of a heal spell, and eliminates any pains or complications related to pregnancy.
Shiallia is said to be the sister of Tree Ghost (the collective spirit of the High Forest and one of the beast totems of Uthgar) and the daughter of Tapann the Undying Lord of the Korreds (satyrlike creatures). She serves Mielikki, along with Lurue and Gwaeron Windstrom, and through her, Silvanus. Shiallia is also allied with Chauntea and Eldath.
She calls enemy most of those who the other deities of nature despise: Talos, Talona, Auril, and Malar. She holds a special antipathy for Talona, who always struggles to take away from her the new life Shiallia works so hard to nurture, and for Malar, whom she regards as an insane killer hopelessly outside of the balance of nature because he emphasizes only a small and aberrant nature of its whole.
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