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Tales Of Moonsea - The Herald of Chaos
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Talona
Cleric Alignments: CE, CN, NE

Talona: Lady of Poison, Mistress of Disease, Mother of All Plagues (Lesser Faerunian Deity)

Symbol: Three amber teardrops on a purple triangle
Home Plane: The Barrens of Doom and Despair
Alignment: Chaotic Evil Portfolio: Disease, poison
Worshipers: Assassins, druids, healers, rogues, those suffering from disease and illness
Cleric Alignments: CE, CN, NE
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Suffering

Favored Weapon: A scabrous hand (unarmed strike)

alona (tah-low-nah) is often depicted as a withered old crone with a scarred, tattooed face in religious texts. Where she walks, misfortune and death follow. She has the personality of a petulant, greedy child trapped in the body of a once-beautiful woman now scarred by horrific disease and ravaged by age. She alternately desires attention at any cost like a small child and becomes aloof like a wounded paramour who has been discarded by her love.

The church of Talona is organized in a strict hierarchy, but riven by factions and sects. Aside from selling poisons, antidotes, and medicines, the Talonites travel Faerun as quietly as possible, constantly seeking out new diseases and afflictions and spreading rumors so as to augment the reputation of Talona. What seems to motivate Talonites in the day-to-day behavios is a quest for respect: respect that is due Talona for her potentially devastating abilities and due them as her representatives in Faerun. Throughout their careers, Talona's clerics work with magic and study to build their personal immunities to various poisons and diseases. Thus protected, they treat the diseased, take employment as food tasters for paranoid rulers, wealthy merchants, and nobles, and bury those who have died from diseases. Whenever a realm or city-state casts out or punishes any Talonites, for any reason, clerics of Talona work to causes a plague in that place to exact "Talona's price" for such insults. Rumors have circulated that certain unscrupulous Talonites have occasionally chosen wealthy folk as targets for disease so that wealth and properties can be seized by the church upon the death of these wealthy owners, with the threat of contracting disease keeping rightful heirs and claimants at bay.

Clerics and druids of Talona pray for their spells in the evening, although they observe thrice-daily prayers to the goddess. Festivals are held every 12 days and are open to nondevotees, where such visitors are encouraged to pray and give offerings to Talona to spare themselves or loved ones from death, disease, wasting illnesses, and the like. A long symphony of rolling drums, deep-voiced chanting, and glaur, shaum, and zulkoon music proclaims the power and veneration of Talona throughout the day. Younger members of the church busily sell poisons (for eliminating vermin, or course), antidotes, and medicines during the festival, assisted by senoir clergy who diagnose conditions (usually with great accuracy) and prescribe treatments in return for stiff fees. Annually at the festival falling closest to Highharvestide, initiates of the faith are formally inducted into the clergy. Horrifying private ceremonies involving ritual scarring and sacred tattoos mark this ascension. Many clerics and druids multiclass as assassins, divine disciples, or rogues.

HISTORY/RELATIONSHIPS: Talona is one of the Dark Deities, having served Bhaal alongside Loviatar, whom she hates for her cruel teasing. Since the death of the Bhaal during the Time of Troubles, both Loviatar and Talona have slowly fallen under the sway of Shar. However, the return of Bane, who was Bhaal's superior, presages a conflict for both lesser goddesses' loyalty. With more than a hint of jealousy and bitterness, Talona loathes such benevolent deities as Chauntea, Mielikki, Silvanus, Suna, Lliira, Kelemvor, Tyr and Shiallia.

DOGMA: Let pain be as pleasure, for life and death are in balance, but death is the more powerful and should be paid proper homage and respect. Death is the true power, the great equalizer, and the lesson that waits for all. If it falls to you to drive home the tip of a dagger, so be it. The Mother of All Plagues works upon you from within, and weakness and wasting is her strength. Talona's breath is forever and always with you, whomever you or the rest of the world believes in or serves. Let all living things learn respect from Talona and pay homage to her in goods and in fervent worship. If they do so, intercede for them so that Talona will not claim them—this tim. Go and work in Talona's name and let your doings be subtle or spectacular, but make them known as the will of the Mistress of Disease.