|Titles|| The Bright Lady,
|Portfolio||patron of Venza, protection, sun, family|
|Cleric Alignments|| |
|Domains||Community, Good, Nobility, Protection, Sun|
Cortesia is the patron goddess of Venza and is much concerned with the protection and security of her people. She is the mother of the Twins, Sapo and Farino, the gods of knowledge and crafts, and wife to Dessano. She is a proud and (somewhat) loving mother always ready to defend her holdings and her young.
The Schism: Worship of Cortesia/Cortessa was originally made to a single goddess and old images of the goddess Cortesia are shown with two faces. A schism within the temple has resulted in the rise of Cortessa’s temples and the destruction of many of the old two-faced icons. Rivalry between the two sects is intense and sometimes boils over into violence though the peace-keepers of the city are keeping a close watch on the two groups to ensure this happens rarely.
The Balor War: Cortesia is known for her involvement in the war upon Hazagaroth, a Balor Lord. It is unclear if this happened before or after The Schism, although religious images inside the family tomb of Antonio Moretti suggest it may have been before.4
Several local saints make up Cortesia's court charged with protecting various segments of the Venzan populace. One of these, popular amongst fishermen, sailors, and others working on the seas, is Saint Ulthar. Another is Saint Harold Glass, whose popularity is strongest amongst glass-blowers and parents of young children.
The Cortesian clergy continues to have a less-than-friendly view of the Cortessans, with the most antipathy coming from the eldest members of the church. The High Priest Gui Vinezzo is outspokenly abrasive towards Cortessa’s church. Although younger clergy is less adamant about the issue, the top down negative view has a corrosive effect, and manages to taint relationships at every level. Some feel the friction with the Cortessans is the reason for the size and professionalism of the Cortesian guards.
Appearance and EmissariesEdit
Cortesia is usually depicted as being clothed in flowing robes or dresses. She has a calm, soothing visage and, medium allowing, is shrouded in a nimbus of light. She is often shown with a babe in her arms and a sword near and available, whether it be resting in a nearby corner, worn at her waist, or even held in her free hand. Images of her in battle depict her sword as burning with the brightness of the sun. Whether at peace or war, the hound Hinotheus is often included in her inconography.
Church of CortesiaEdit
The Church of Cortesia seems largely interested with Venza. As head of the Veneti, the goddess herself seems primarily concerned with her own people. However, a minority of church members see a larger role for Cortesia in the region, and feel she should be represented beyond the city’s confines. Only recently has a shrine been established out of Venza, end even then, it’s Venza’s closest ally, Tritower.
Worshipers and ClergyEdit
- High Priest Gui Vinezzo - Having held the highest position in the church for some 30 years, most are of the opinion he is ready to step down or pass on. They've been saying that for some time… so far, Gui is still running the church. His personality is notably nurturing, yet strict and he tends not to mince words.
- Priest Raleigh Scarpazzio - Not originally from Venza, priest Raleigh was given a Venzan family name early in life. He is of average height, powerfully built, middle aged, and possesses a considerably more silvered tongue than the High Priest. Priest Scarpazzio is also known for his pragmatic outlook, taking care of the church's finances. (He quite famously took issue with the congregation's affection for the Sugar and Spice Bakery.) A powerful and connected man, Priest Scarpazzio is the current Metropolitan of Venza and the understood successor to the high priest position.
- Anna Kallira - The newest priestess in the church, Anna is blind and has a strange healing talent allowing her to heal much more effectively than others of comparable experience, albeit only in extended rituals. She undertook a difficult journey to Tritower designed to encourage personal growth (she began her career wholly dependent on others).1. She was later present in Tritower, providing aid to the refugees outside Tritower during the Demon's Scream, where her powers were stretched to the limit and she suffered from Ghoul Fever.2. Naturally kind and compassionate, she has matured considerably since her introduction, but is still not above being led around by normally sighted individuals.
- Anton Torelli - The head guard. Years of experience and training have honed him into an observational and fighting machine. First appears hiring adventurers to escore Priestess Anna to Tritower.1. Later independently hires adventurers to save Tritower from the demon Xathan during the Demon's Scream.2.
- Galin Barron - A younger temple guard. He is young (19) and married. Not particularly well trained (Warrior.) Was originally slated to travel to Tritower, but was relieved of that duty upon hiring of more adventurers.1.
- Anzaldo Gheirano - A 50 year old mule driving veteran (expert) with years of experience in the Venza and Tritower areas. Has a sharp tongue and near inability to pronounce the letter h. Traveled to Tritower with Priestess Anna.1.
- Larin Cadalis - A good-natured 20 year old human priest, clean cut but with a mop of unruly short blonde hair. He is 5'8" and of strong build. Originally from Tritower, he heard the call of Cortesia while in Venza, and returned to his home town to serve at the newly established shrine there.1. He later appears in the refugee camp outside Tritower assisting Priestess Anna during the events of the Demon's Scream.2.
- Macabee (family name unknown) - Young, but combat skilled, Macabee is also a member of the White Cloaks, Incudine district. Travels with several adventurers and a dozen White Cloaks, under Commander Jacobson, to end the rat plague upon Venza. He is present when Jacobson reveals her checkered background.3.
- Charity - Originally a temple guard at the Cathedral of Glass, Charity has become one of the most notable traveling worshipers of Cortesia. She is known to have healing powers and introduces herself as a lay-healer.
- Iosef Tellus - Paladin of Cortesia, retired.
- Mandalo Chalybis - Paladin of Cortesia, retired.
Temples, Shrines and Holy SitesEdit
- The Cathedral of Glass (Incudine, Venza): The main temple Of Cortesia. Known for its impressive use of glass throughout the building.
- Skyward (Roses D'Avorio, Venza): The previous main Temple, still where the highest rank priests still run the church. Noted for circular design around an open central courtyard.
- Unnamed Shrine (Tritower): A small open air shrine is here with a very small staff, sometimes as low as one acolyte and one priest. Has seen some recent growth, after followers of Cortesia provided assistance to Tritower.
- Abandoned Temple (The Gulls, Venza): Long since abandoned, site of the Graznagul Gate (in the catacombs underneath). Temporarily rededicated to Skith, until discovered by adventurers and disrupted.5
- Dawn - The primary holy text of Cortesia, serves as the foundation for the worship of The Bright Lady.
- The Divine Ledger - Associated with Cortessa, and viewed with a combination of contempt and scholarly interest.
Holy Symbols and VestmentsEdit
- A simple, stylized sun symbol is all that is necessary for Cortesian clerics to channel the power of the goddess. However, a pair of cupped hands surrounding the image of a young child constitute a secondary symbol, although it is more commonly seen in church tapestries. Sometimes, Cortesians may trace a circle in the air, representing the sun, although no channeling power can be derived from doing so.
- Vestments vary, although robes are most common for the clergy. All vestments bear religious symbology and incorporate the colors red, gold and white.
The year is divided by Cortesians into an even progression of 4 religious holidays, based on the seasons. Taken in sequence, they represent a complete emotional cycle.
- Direction (Spring Equinox) - The time of where new paths are chosen. Services are upbeat and parishioners make secret promises to themselves. Known for feelings of hope and renewal.
- Sunbeam (Summer Solstice) - The longest day of the year, it is a day of festivities, gifts, song and dance. There is a religious undercurrent (and a message of looking forward to the Springs plans coming to fruition), but it is largely a big party. Services on this day are short and little more than a few songs. Associated emotions: Anticipation and Joy.
- Resolution (Fall Equinox) - A time where plans come to fruition… or fail to do so. Services often include calls to the goddess for divine backing of the hopes and dreams of the congregation. Known for feelings of Accomplishment or Failure.
- Remembrance (Winter Solstice) - The shortest day, a day of introspection and self-assessment. The faithful do not speak at any point during this day, and there is a special service with only music and gestures, where dealing with events with dignity becomes the theme. Known for the feelings of acceptance and release.
- The Guards - A very well organized and respected guard unit protects all Cortesian properties. They are led by Anton Torelli. Other (apprentice) guards include Galin Barron and Charity. Trained almost like a military unit, Cortesia's guards form fighting phalanxes when threatened, even when in small numbers. Seasoned guards usually stand the line, while apprentice guards support them with long weapons and bows. (Note: Cortesia's guards are only allowed to carry a longsword after their apprenticeship is over. Until then, the most common weapons wielded are Shortsword, Longbow and Glaive.)
- School - Education of children is available from a very early age. Although religious education is, of course, included, the Cortesian schools are well known to produce young adults proficient in a variety of subjects, including non-religious topics. In rare cases, the church has basically raised children. Judging from the student body's wide range of socio-economic standing, it is likely some sort of subsidy is present for the poorer church members, although it is not discussed openly. The youngest 'classes' are little more than a religious day care.