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Anshar’s most well-known aspects are that of the Far Traveler, the Suffering Martyr, the Weeping Goddess, and the Guardian of Outcasts. Anshar looks after the destitute, the oppressed and the outcast, regardless of the reason for their situation. Due to this, a large number of dark-kin and gnomes join Her congregations. Anshar is unique amongst the Pantheon as She was unknown, even to Illiir, until the waning years of the God War, where She was instrumental in convincing Illiir that by devouring the elorii Elemental Lords. This has led some to speculate that Anshar holds a terrible secret and should not be trusted. These conspiracy theorists are normally ignored as rabble rousers by many who point to the good that Anshar and Her priests have done.

Holy Symbol: A crown or necklace of thorns worn on the head, around the neck or wrapped around the priest's forearm. Some among the Mother Church wear a small gold circle of thorns by a chain, like a normal holy symbol, but most see this as misunderstanding the symbol. The thorns are warn tight enough to dig into the skin.

Position within the Pantheon: Illiir’s youngest sister, the lost wanderer among the pantheon

Favored Weapon: Unarmed Strike, “The Touch of Pain”

Animal: Wild Horse

Color: Sky Blue

Appearance: Anshar appears as a worn and injured female weeping bloody tears.



Sphere of Influence

Given the loose structure of the priesthood of Anshar, it does not have a specific area of influence. Shrines and temples to the Suffering Goddess can be found in almost every city of every nation as well as the most remote places throughout the Known Lands.



Temple

Temples to Anshar are ugly buildings shaped like beehives. Inside, the temples tend to be claustrophobic and dark, with the smell of sweat and despair from those who find sanctuary here hanging heavy in the hot, moist air. These places of worship regularly act as shelters for the poor and outcast.

Some temples are large enough or centrally located to house a Portal of Anshar. These gates are usually found in a central chamber which is oval in shape. Here the marbled arch of the portal spans two spear lengths high and are wide enough for four people abreast to pass through. Inscribed about the portal are supplications and benediction to Anshar written in ancient Altharin. The secret of operating a gate is known only to the priesthood and the val’Inares.



Role of the Priest

No other priesthood of the Pantheon possesses the respect and good will that the Ansharan mendicant priests enjoy from the general populace. The poor and the down trodden turn to them for succor, comfort or even a few kind words of encouragement when they have no one else to turn. The Ansharan priests feel it is their sacred duty to help bear the load of those that society turns a blind eye. Whether it is easing mental anguish or the physical trauma of the crippled or wounded, Ansharans use the gifts of their Goddess to help their fellow man in coping with whatever tragedy they bear.

They teach that every soul has a certain amount of pain and misery that must endured before they are allowed to ascend into the Paradise of the Gods. Anshar speaks of paying this debt of sin as quickly as possible in life so that the times one must reincarnate here upon the Mortal Realm be as few as possible.

The helping of the unwanted also includes those who are mentally addled and insane. This has led to some conflict with the Nerothian priesthood who believe that the deranged are the cursed of the Gods and should be confined to asylums and cared for by them.

Yet it is not only the lower strata of society that venerates the Suffering Goddess. The nobility and others in power also give generously to Anshar, specifically to Her aspect as the Far Traveler. Anshar’s gift of portals that allow instantaneous passage across thousands of leagues has proven to be indispensable in maintaining communication to the furthest reaches of the Known Lands. Without these portals, the vast empires and nations of Arcanis would certainly revert back to warring city-states and nomadic savages.

The priests of Anshar are also unique in that a formal clergy does not exist. Most call themselves mendicant priests who teach anyone who feel the call of Anshar. The only official position that exists is that of Prelate as required by the Mother Church of Coryan.

The Ansharans enjoy one other benefit; an age-old superstition holds that harming one of the Weeping Goddess’ own will bring down a horrible curse upon the attacker. This superstition has not always saved Her priests from harm, but many an Ansharan has emerged unscathed from riots and battles that claimed the lives of many others.


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