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Shelyn


Shelyn
Shelyn's Holy Symbol
(Deity)
Titles The Eternal Rose; the Lady of Chrysanthemums (Tian Xia); Syriss
Adjective Shelynite
Home Shelyn's Domain, Nirvana
Alignment Neutral good
Portfolio Beauty, art, love, music
Worshipers Artists, poets, lovers
Cleric Alignments
Domains Air, Charm, Good, Luck, Protection
Subdomains Agathion, Cloud, Defense, Fate, (Imagination), Love, Purity
Favored Weapon Glaive
Symbol Multicolored songbird
Sacred Animal Songbird
Sacred Colors All
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Shelyn (pronounced SHEHL-ihn)[1] is the half-sister of Zon-Kuthon. She started life as a relatively minor deity of beauty, art, and music, but with the destruction of her mother (former goddess of love), she gained the very important portfolio of love and became a somewhat more-powerful deity. Shelyn continues to focus on beauty (and the related areas of art and music), and has expanded upon her mother’s relatively narrow view of love to include all forms of the emotion. Shelyn's ethnicity of origin is Taldor and her major centers of worship are Absalom, Galt, Sargava and Taldor.[2]

Contents

History

The goddess Shelyn, the Eternal Rose

The goddess Shelyn was born the daughter of Thron, “The Prince That Howls”, after the First Gods (including her half-brother by Thron, Dou-Bral) had imprisoned Rovagug and had agreed to leave humanity to its own devices. For a time, she and Dou-Bral shared the portfolios of beauty, love and the arts, and were worshiped by the early Taldor, until at some point they argued, and Dou-Bral abandoned Golarion for the far dark places between the planes.

When Dou-Bral returned to Golarion, he had become a god of mutilation, misery and torture: Zon-Kuthon. Believing that Dou-Bral still existed within Zon-Kuthon, Shelyn reached out to her lost brother, but he pierced her hand with his black nails. When Thron, their father, tried to welcome him, Zon-Kuthon captured and tortured the wolf-spirit beyond recognition. It was for these crimes, and for other terrible acts he committed against Shelyn and her works, that the gods of Golarion banished Zon-Kuthon to the Plane of Shadow, there to reside for as long as the sun hung in the sky.

Later, presumably after the Age of Darkness, the siblings quarreled again, he responding to her tears and pleading with violence, until she wrested his weapon, a golden glaive, away from him, and a tenuous peace of silence and avoidance was struck.

Ministry

Shelyn encourages creativity and inspires the world. She challenges her faithful to test their limits, share what they create, and delight in the gifts of others. Shelyn preaches (and practices) that true beauty comes from within, and she favors romances not based solely on lust. Clerics of Shelyn endeavor each day to create something of beauty, whether artistically or through unconventional forms, such as a gardener tending a flower garden. Paladins of Shelyn are rare, far rarer than those who revere no single deity, but there have been some, such as Saint Marcus Odeber son of Arn Odeber, first of the Odeber line. Her rangers and druids are usually the types who live off the land, content to watch over places of natural beauty or perhaps hire themselves out to lovers in need of a fresh start in a new place. (Gods/Magic p37) Aside from the humans of Taldor, Shelyn is a favored deity of gnomes, half-elves and halflings; many halfling bards worship Shelyn.[3] Storm giants worship her as Syriss, goddess of music, and believe she is the daughter of Sky-god Hyjarth and Sea-goddess Tourithia (both latter names being the storm giants' understanding of Gozreh's dual personality).[4]

Shelyn has been known to offer divine pacts to mortals who finally realize the importance of beauty in the midst of battle. In exchange for a small measure of her divine protection (see: Shelyn's Warm Embrace, Elves of Golarion, p25), Shelyn encourages these "foxhole converts" to give every living creature the chance to find the beauty within and leaves them strangely reluctant to strike the first blow in combat.

Clerical Training: Clerics of Shelyn occasionally (frequently?) begin life as artists or musicians and only later come to serve in her clergy. Those who don’t are taught to perform musically (whether on an instrument or just by singing) and are also taught an artistic skill (usually drawing, but sometimes painting, sculpting, or even acting or other performance arts). Weapon training, which only occurs for about an hour every other day or so, if at all, builds off motions learned from the acolyte’s art or music (paladins frequently practice calligraphy, as the movement of the pen mirrors that of the glaive).

Quests: Quests for Shelyn usually involve rescuing—whether ancient artworks from destruction or star-crossed lovers from their families. They also involve the spreading of art and beauty. Finally, sometimes Shelyn sends followers on generic quests that promote goodness, so she may free another soul from Whisperer of Souls.

Temples: As you might imagine, temples to Shelyn are filled with art and constantly (pretty much 24-7) have some kind of music playing within. They tend to be architectural marvels, and architects and builders frequently vie for the honor to build or repair a temple of Shelyn in order to show off their skills. Most settlements have at least a shrine or altar dedicated to Shelyn, but only the largest cities can really afford to house a temple dedicated to just her.

Rites: Rituals dedicated to Shelyn involve singing, regardless of the skill or tone-deafness of the participants. Only those who play a wind or brass instrument (or a chin-set instrument like a violin) are excused from singing. If a ritual can’t be held at a shrine or temple to Shelyn, it should be held in some place surrounded by beauty (natural or man-made).

Heralds and Allies: Shelyn's herald is a ghaele azata who has served her since she was merely the goddess of beauty, art, and music. When Shelyn became NG so too did her herald. Her allies include bronze dragons and some other critters (that I’m sure we’ll have to make up eventually).[5]

Dogma

Beauty

Before she became the goddess of love, Shelyn was flighty and shallow. Since discovering the capacity intelligent beings have for loving people and things that lack beauty, she tends to look for beauty in everyone and everything. “Beauty comes from within” is a relatively recent saying she introduced to Golarion, and it’s a philosophy she not only practices herself, but she requires from her clerics. In this way, it’s quite possible for a physically unattractive person to become a cleric of the goddess of beauty.

Shelyn’s is a unique beauty unparalleled in the multiverse. She is (now) beautiful both without and within; all who see her see what they envision as the most perfect beauty (meaning she appears different to everyone). Depictions of Shelyn, regardless of race or ethnicity, show her as a young woman barely out of her youth, with eyes of blue or silver. Shelyn's ankle-length chestnut hair bears several strands colored bright red, green, and gold. She always wears tasteful clothing and jewelry that accentuates her beauty without revealing too much of it. [6]

Shelyn focuses just as much attention on internal beauty as external, and she is considered also to have the most beautiful personality (which changed greatly when she became goddess of love, such to the point that some wonder if a little of her mother’s personality didn’t meld with hers). Thus, while lesser beauties might inspire jealousy in those who see them, she does not. Nor does she herself feel jealousy when a lesser beauty (i.e., any other) receives attention. She encourages the growth and appreciation of beauty, regardless of its source or admirers, and thus she is never jealous. She surrounds herself with flowers, colorful birds, artworks, and other things of beauty.

She doesn't use her beauty as a weapon (and she punishes that sort of behavior from her followers) and gently and kindly rejects all potential suitors. Some call her an eternal maiden (or sometimes, The Eternal Maiden), while others claim she is the lover of several gods, goddesses, and lesser beings. The truth, of course, is unknown. (Darker rumors put her in the bed of her half brother, but such whispered rumors never persist for very long, as Zon-Kuthon does not tolerate such things.)

Art and Music

As aspects of her role as goddess of beauty, Shelyn also promotes the creation of art and the composing and performance of music. The art or music need not be particularly well done, just so long as the creator puts in effort. A naturally-talented person who doesn’t try but still makes beautiful art is appreciated, just not as much as an ungifted artist who struggles for days but still creates something only mediocre. A naturally-talented person who doesn’t try and creates something mediocre is shunned by Shelyn (and by extension, her clergy). Clerics of Shelyn frequently are artists themselves, although those without any talent more often become art critics or collectors.

Shelyn herself has an extensive collection of artwork (mostly gifts from potential suitors or worshipers, and most of which portray her). She also has a massive collection of violins (she is likely the greatest violinist in the multiverse) and a secret one of glaives (given to her by Zon-Kuthon or his followers as a sort of dark joke).

Love

As the goddess of love, Shelyn encourages the proliferation of the feeling in all its forms. She is not the goddess of sexuality, lust, or fertility, and makes a very clear distinction between love and sexuality (although she does not in any way discourage erotic love). The few paladins who worship her practice courtly love, with female paladins attempting to win the attentions of attractive young noblemen (or sometimes, attractive young noblewomen). Shelyn and her clerics treat homosexual love as equal to heterosexual love.

Shelyn and Zon-Kuthon

An artist's depiction of the eternal conflict between Shelyn and Zon-Kuthon

When they first came into being, so very long ago, their mutual parent forced Zon-Kuthon to swear the Unbreakable Oath (better name pending) to the forces of Law. Zon-Kuthon swore that he would never harm Shelyn, nor would he stand by if others tried to harm her in his presence. In exchange for making the Unbreakable Oath, he received the glaive Whisperer of Souls (which Shelyn later stole from him… see below).

To this day, clerics of Zon-Kuthon not only don’t harm known clerics of Shelyn (doing so results in harsh punishments that don’t end with death) but sometimes actually try to protect such clerics if in danger (earning them rewards from their deity). For their part, clerics of Shelyn return the favor by looking the other way when they meet known clerics or cultists of Zon-Kuthon. (Except, of course, if the clerics or cultists are obviously harming innocents, defacing art, or otherwise being unforgivably bad in front of the clerics of Shelyn.) This arrangement might seem like a serious drawback for Zon-Kuthon, as other evil deities might take advantage of it to put him into uncomfortable positions. As it turns out, though, nobody ever really moves against Shelyn or her clergy.

Relationship with Other Deities

All other good and neutral deities (and creatures) like or love her - it’s pretty much that simple. They like talking to her (and occasionally trying to woo her), and they certainly like looking at her. The relatively recently ascended god Cayden Cailean frequently attempts to win her over (and always fails), and has contributed greatly to her art and violin collections.

The evil deities (and most evil creatures) are mostly neutral toward her, although she and Urgathoa frequently argue (and their clergies do tend to get into skirmishes). She and Pharasma tend to have long philosophical debates, which always end when Pharasma points out that beautiful things like flowers grow from dead things (Shelyn has no argument against this). For the most part, evil deities leave Shelyn alone (and by extension, their clergy tend to ignore her clergy). She is not a martial goddess by any stretch and tends to stay as far from battle as possible, thus she has built up no animosity from the evil deities or their followers. She’s mostly just there, and they mostly just ignore her. To this day, only Rovagug, god of wrath, disaster, and destruction can resist Shelyn’s charms at all times. He alone opposes her on any long-term basis (but only in that he opposes everything, and she is a thing).

Whisperer of Souls

So how does the goddess of beauty and love get a glaive as her favored weapon? Shelyn bears the glaive gifted to her half brother in exchange for him swearing the Unbreakable Oath. The weapon was crafted by the former god of smiths, who fell during the same murderous spree that claimed Shelyn’s mother. When he received it, the weapon corrupted Zon-Kuthon and convinced him to go to war against the other deities. It was during this war that Shelyn lost her mother and became goddess of love. When created, Whisperer of Souls was given the ability to absorb souls (hence its name) and once it absorbs 100 powerful souls (not just anybody’s soul will do) it will become a god in its own right and bring about an era of murder and death. When Zon-Kuthon received the weapon it held no souls. By the time Shelyn stole Whisperer of Souls it had almost all it needed. In the time since, Shelyn has been able to free most of those souls thanks to the help of Nethys and brave adventurers (a grand quest of goodness must be performed to release a soul). Much to the frustration of Whisperer of Souls, it can’t seem to corrupt Shelyn or influence her in any way (earning her the title "the Incorruptible"). Quite the opposite, in fact: when Shelyn first stole the weapon it was a nightmarish and hideous piece of craftsmanship, but in the millennia since, Shelyn has remade it into a beautiful piece of art. It still bears a few ugly bits here and there, but they become less pronounced with each soul she releases.

Church of Shelyn

Worshipers and Clergy

Knights of Shelyn are devoted to courtly love, but also are at the ready to defend the innocent. Many serve to ease their own pain of hearts broken from loss. They are willing to protect others from experiencing the same heartbreak.[7]

Holy Text

Melodies of Inner Beauty is the holy text of the church of Shelyn. It contains the history of the goddess, including her family, though drawing a veil over the nastier elements about Zon-Kuthon. It tells stories about Shelyn and discusses her church's dogma. Music is used throughout as many of the tales are set as songs and hymns. Other artistic ways of interpreting the words are also utilized, such as dance and poetry. Other divinely inspired works also exist, some going into more detail about Dou-Bral and Zon-Kuthon.[8]

A Paladin of Shelyn

Paladins of Shelyn

Paladins of Shelyn are peaceable promoters of art and beauty. They see the ugliness in evil, even when cloaked in the form of beauty, and their job is to prevent the weak and foolish from being seduced by false promises. Their tenets include:

  • I am peaceful. I come first with a rose. I act to prevent conflict before it blossoms.
  • I never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent.
  • I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed—and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty's answer to them.
  • I will never destroy a work of art, nor allow one to come to harm unless greater art arises from its loss. I will only sacrifice art if doing so allows me to save a life, for untold beauty can arise from an awakened soul.
  • I see beauty in others. As a rough stone hides a diamond, a drab face may hide the heart of a saint.
  • I lead by example, not with my blade. Where my blade passes, a life is cut short, and the world's potential for beauty is lessened.
  • I live my life as art. I will choose an art and perfect it. When I have mastered it, I will choose another. The works I leave behind make life richer for those who follow.[9]

Holidays

The church of Shelyn celebrates Crystalhue at the winter solstice.[10][11]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


Herald & Planar Allies

Shelyn's herald is the Spirit of Adoration.[12]

Shelyn has many blessed servants; two of note are:[13]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


Other

Shelyn was worshipped by the ancient Azlanti as patron of the arts. She would send lillends to devout communities to serve as muses.[14]

References

There is a major article about Shelyn in Night of Frozen Shadows.

  1. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 247. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  2. Mike McArtor. (March 8, 2008). A Duo of Deities, Paizo Blog.
  3. Hal Maclean and Amber E. Scott. (2010). Halflings of Golarion, p. 17, 20. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-278-4
  4. Jason Nelson. (2012). Storm Giant. Giants Revisited, p. 54. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-412-2
  5. Mike McArtor. (July 3, 2007). Gods of Pathfinder, Paizo Messageboards.
  6. {Erik Mona & Jason Bulmahn. (2008). Gazetteer, Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-077-3
  7. Gareth Hanrahan, Steve Kenson, Patrick Renie, Tork Shaw, and Jerome Virnich. (2012). Knights of the Inner Sea, p. 18. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-460-3
  8. Sean K Reynolds. (2011). Shelyn. Night of Frozen Shadows, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-366-8
  9. Hyrum Savage. (February 16, 2011). You Gotta Have Faith!, Paizo Blog.
  10. James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 249. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  11. Sean K Reynolds. (2011). Shelyn. Night of Frozen Shadows, p. 74. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-366-8
  12. Sean K Reynolds. (2011). Shelyn. Night of Frozen Shadows, p. 75 & 88. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-366-8
  13. Sean K Reynolds. (2011). Shelyn. Night of Frozen Shadows, p. 75. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-366-8
  14. James Jacobs, Kevin Kulp, Rob McCreary, and Owen K.C. Stephens. (2010). City of Seven Spears. City of Seven Spears, p. 47. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-274-6


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