Sheela Peryroyl (sometimes misspelled Peryroyal) is the halfling goddess of nature, song, dance, agriculture, and romantic love. She balances the concern for wild untamed lands and habitats with strong roles as a goddess of cultivation, seasons, and especially harvests. She oversee the dutiful toil of the fields, but also the joyful celebration when work is finished. Patron of song, dance, and romance, halflings send prayers to Sheela Peryroyl during courtship, galas, and weddings. She is also concerned with the pleasures of life - feasts, revelry, romance, and the general desire to live with passion. Her followers often wear a small flower in her honor and strive to work in harmony with nature and the earth.
Sheela is generally quiet, although she's rarely seen without a smile on her face and a dance in her eyes. At other times, Sheela is laughing and just generally delighted by life. Though she appears naive, even simple, she can wield great powers of nature magic. Sheela is sometimes credited with creating many species of flowers and has a strong aesthetic sense. When she sings she causes flowers to bloom, trees to bud, and seeds to sprout, and living plants to grow and flower in her wake as she walks along the earth. Sheela brings good weather to her favored worshipers but can easily send drought or floods to those who worship her poorly. Sheela dispatches an avatar to counter any main threat to halfling land (not just halfling people or homes). She is greatly angered by wanton despoiling of nature, and her avatar pursues offenders in order to punish them.
The church of Sheela is widely revered among halflings, nearly as much as that of Yondalla herself. While not all halflings are farmers, most share the Green Sister's reverence for growing things and appreciate the balance she works to maintain between untamed and settled lands. Dwarves, gold elves, moon elves, and gnomes generally work well with the church of the Green Sister, while many wild elves feel that Sheela's priests care more about new farms than preserving those wild spaces that remain. Humans tend to view the church of Sheela as a mix between that of Chauntea and Silvanus.
In the farmlands, Sheela's clerics and druids (known collectively as Green Children) mediate disputes between growers, sanctify marriages, free harvests from natural or unnatural blights, and protect the community from animals and beasts. Many priests tend gardens of their own, seeking to develop new strains of crops and flowers. Others protect wilderness regions from careless exploitation of their resources. Members of Sheela's clergy oversee the integrity of halfling lands, leading their inhabitants through the annual calendar of seed-sowing and harvest festivals. They also try to keep the wild creatures from running rampant through settled halfling areas by guiding them to travel, live, or grow around the communities, not in or through them.
Many of her clerics and druids multiclass as rangers. They turn rather than rebuke undead.
HierarchyNovices of the Green Children are known as Seedlings. Full priests of Sheela are known as Green Daughters and Green Sons. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Sheelite priests are Daisy Maid (or Lad), Seed Sower, Nature Nurturer, Plant Grower, Crop Harvester, Seed Pollinator, Sun Shower, and Watchful Sister (or Brother). High-ranking priests have unique individual titles. Specialty priests are druids and Greenfosters. Greenfosters concentrate on operating in and around halfling villages and farms, while druids go wherever they are needed.
VestmentsSheelite priests favor simple green robes festooned with garlands of vibrant hue and embroidered with flowers. In their hair they wear only flowers, and their feet are left bare so as to feel the earth from which Sheela's bounty flows. The holy symbol of the faith is mistletoe or a sprig of holly with berries in a pinch.
Members of Sheela's clergy avoid situations requiring combat, if possible. Few carry more than a blade of grass, trusting the favor of the goddess to allow them to create a reed staff and enhance it with a shillelagh spell. When conflict is inevitable, Sheelite priests favor armor made from natural components - leather armor and wooden shields - and weapons associated with nature or the harvest—clubs, quarterstaves, sickles, and slings.
TemplesSheela open-roofed temples appear to be woven into the surrounding landscape. Constructed of earth, stone, curtains of fine vines, and carefully balanced rocks and living plants, and they are usually found in the heart of agricultural valleys surrounded by wilderness. Interior rooms are overflowing with life, both animal and plant, and most are constructed so that streams meander through the central courtyards and so that summer breezes and sunlight bathe every chamber. Those used to the structured rooms of "civilized" regions often find the growth and life here chaotic and disconcerting, but Sheela's clerics and druids insist there are patterns in the wilderness, and that these patterns maintain a delicate balance.
RitualsGreen Children pray for spells at dawn. Every month, several of Sheela's faithful convene with their counterparts in neighboring communities to organize moonlight festivals known as Gatherings. All residents of the community are expected to attend and pitch in by bringing some bounty of the most recent harvest, either taken straight from the fields in the warm months or dug from the root cellar during winter. The sites of these Gatherings rotate monthly through local halfling communities, strengthening neighborly bonds.
The Gathering centers around a halflings tale. The story goes that a wayfarer comes to town that's suffering after a terrible harvest. After learning there is nothing to eat, the hungry stranger begins to cook stone soup. As the visitor boils his water containing naught but a rock under the watchful eyes of the incredulous villagers, he comments how much better it would be if he only had a carrot. After one villager reluctantly offers up a hoarded carrot, the stranger muses how much better it would be with some cabbage and a single head is found as well. The tale continues until every family in the entire village has contributed something to the soup, at which point the stranger pronounces it done and shares it with all the contributors.
The major festivals of the church of Sheela are usually celebrated around Greengrass and Higharvestide, although the starting date varies from year to year. The first festival - called the Seeding, New Spring, and other titles, depending on the region - comes at the traditional time of planting the first crops of the year. At dawn, Sheelite priests dispense seeds from the temple stores while giving homage to the goddess, and the entire community aids in the sowing of the fields. The second festival - called High Harvest, the Reaping, and other titles, depending on the region - comes at harvest time. At this time, offerings of seeds are made to the temple to be stored for the coming year, as are the fruits of the season's labors. Community-wide revelry is common at these celebrations starting in the evening when the work has been finished and continuing late into the night. The length of these festivals varies from area to area, averaging about 10 days.
OrdersThe church of Sheela does not have any affiliated knightly orders. It has firm connections to several orders of halfling warriors who serve Arvoreen by defending the fields and silos from those who would despoil or loot the fruits of halfling labors. Likewise, Sheela's church works closely with individual rangers, many of whom venerate Mielikki and whether they be human, half-elven, or elven, to preserve the wilderness as well.
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Living in harmony with nature requires a careful balance between the wild and the tame, the feral and the tended. The need to preserve wild growth is equal to the need to take in the harvest. While nature can be adapted, it should be evolved, never forced; work within the framework of what already exists.
Sheela is generally depicted as a pretty halfling maiden with brightly colored wildflowers woven in her hair. Lore states that she is quiet, though her face is smiling and her eyes are dancing. She may also be depicted as laughing. According to myth her singing causes flowers to bloom, trees to bud, and seeds to sprout, and living plants grow and flower wherever her feet have touched the earth. She is said to bring good weather when she is pleased, but may also summon droughts or floods if she is angry.
Sheela counts all her pantheon as allies, but is closest to the inscrutable Urogalan, appreciating his aspect as Lord of the Earth. All Toril's nonevil nature deities value her as a cool mind and level-headed thinker capable of disarming tense diplomatic issues with forthright honesty and warming smiles. Such qualities make her the perfect "celestial mediator" when tensions flare between such worthies as Silvanus and Waukeen. This role has transcended to the mortal realm, where even some nonhalflings give honor to Sheela Peryroyl before entering a pact or important negotiation.