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by Brian Caraway

(Lady Blade, The Swordmistress, Bladeheart, Lady Fireheart)
Intermediate Power of Olympus, CG

Portfolio: Love, passion, desire, sensuality, beauty, arts, fertility, protection, swordplay, combat, charity

Aliases: None.

Domain Name: Sheathedsword Keep

Superior: None.

Allies: Beliaar, Cyrillia, Diulanna, Mealiden, Mirrah, Odin, Petra, Sif, Talimyra, Thor, Diulanna, Tarastia, Odin, Anhur, Bast, Isis, Nut, Tefnut, Chih-Nii, Fu Hsing, Kura Okami, O-Kuni-Nushi, Shichifukujin, Tsuki-Yomi, Angharradh, Corellon Larethian, Hanali Celanil, Melira Taralen, Tethrin Veralde, Eilistraee, Clangeddin Silverbeard, Haela Brightaxe, Marthammor Duin, Sharindlar, Gaerdal Ironhand, Arvoreen, Yondalla

Foes: Alphaks, Loki, Martokk, Loviatar.

Symbol: Sword with a heart-shaped hilt.

Worshippers’ Alignment: Any.

The Church

Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, mystics, fighters, paladins, myrikhans (NG paladins), garaths (CG paladins).

Clergy's Alignment: CG, NG, LG, LN, CN

Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: Yes, Mys: No, F: No, Gar: Yes, Myr: Yes, Pal: Yes.

Command Undead: C: No, SP: No, Mys: No, F: No, Gar: No, Myr: No, Pal: No

Dogma: Love is a precious, multi-faceted gem. To understand it, you must open yourself to it. Seek out love in others and help it to grow. Always look to preserve and protect beauty wherever you go, with your sword if you must. Keep yourself as beautiful as possible, even in the ugliest of situations. Always seek to help and lift up those who are less fortunate than you are.

Day-to-Day Activities: Valerias' faithful are fairly active in the communities they reside in. When not acting as counselors for people (ranging from smitten teenagers in love to married couples), performing marriages and the like, they are providing a place where couples seek to meet for trysts or a place for warriors to train. It is said that there is almost always something going on in a temple to Lady Firehair, and for the most part it is true. Those who do not adventure are always busy tending to temple duties in addition to worship and the maintaining of their own relationships.

Relationship with Other Deities and Faiths: As was stated before, Valerias and Frigga have a strange relationship. Sometimes its friendly, sometimes its adversarial depending on the situation. Valerias believes that Frigga is much too housebound and parochial to properly represent the institution of marriage, and that life is so much more than marrying the first person that will have you. Thus, they tend to come into conflict.

Valerias is in good standing with most of the other goodly-aligned powers (the male ones in particular, as one might think), and most of the neutral ones at the very least tolerate if not respect her. Vanya is her much more bloodthirsty, warmongering sister, and they also have a complicated relationship. Valerias, while never looking to confront her sister directly unless absolutely necessary, she does seek to at least minimize the carnage and damage that wars and conflicts in her name inflict on the innocent (Mirrah and Koryis are staunch allies in this effort). Though if the cause for the war is one she believes in, she will ally herself with Vanya. Recently, Valerias has discovered that there is a evilly-aligned portion of Vanya’s faith that seeks to incite a titanic war between Thyatis and Alphatia, and informed her sister of their actions and intent.

Major Centers of Worship:

Affiliated Orders: There are various orders of Valerias that only revere combat prowess, or the love and passion aspects of the religion. There is also a large amazon tribe in northeast Karameikos that worship her devoutly.

Priestly Vestments: All priests of Valerias carry a sword that has a heart-shaped hilt or pommel as their holy symbol. The metal the hilt is made of determines the priest’s temple rank. Low-level priests have pommels made of silver, mid-level priests' are made of electrum, paladins and high-level priests' are made of gold, and high priests who preside over a church are made of platinum. Clothing is always well made and made to accentuate and show off the body, with trim according to rank. Colors tend to vary widely according to personal taste.

Adventuring Garb: Most priests of Valerias will wear at least some article of clothing that is colored red (the color of love and passion, of course), though a good number of the priesthood deck themselves out in all red clothing, and some paint their armor as well. They usually will wear clothing and use gear that is of the highest quality that they can afford.

Followers and Strongholds: The followers are received at 8th level, and consist of three 3rd level priests and six 1st level acolytes, plus one 3rd level fighter and six 1st level fighters who act as temple guards and trainers for the priesthood, plus ten normal men and women, each with a non-weapon proficiency which is of use to the temple's functions (Artistic Ability, Etiquette, Local History, and Reading/Writing especially). The priesthood will pay half for stronghold construction at 8th level. The stronghold must act as a sanctuary for lovers who (for a donation) come to the temple for discreet encounters, or those fleeing the retributions of angry families, and also act as a center for those who seek combat training. For these reasons, temples and strongholds of Valerias are often built with a training hall and many secret chambers and quarters.

Other Limitations: Priests of Valerias must be or have been married by the time they achieve 8th level of experience in order to advance any further in ability and rank in the church. Furthermore, the marriage is to be an legitimate one, with honest love between the priest and the one he or she intends to marry. To marry solely in order to advance in rank and ability is to invite Valerias’ personal wrath.

All priests of Valerias receive religion as a bonus proficiency. Their temples are usually constructed in large towns or cities and possess many secret chambers to hide forbidden lovers and those wishing secrecy and discretion. They also are constructed with large training halls for weapons practice. Valerias' faith is one of the most open, with various races of both genders amongst her faithful, though a great number are either human (40%) or half-elven (35%) Most of the members of the clergy themselves are open and friendly if not outright flirtatious; they greet friends, lovers and strangers alike warmly if not passionately in some cases. They go through life searching for and seeking to understand the emotions of love and passion in their myriad forms of expression, ranging from brief, heated dalliances to long-term loving relationships, and revering Lady Fireheart every step of the way.

They revere and respect artistic ability in every manner, and usually either sponsor artists or art galleries or protect them in some way, and look to procure objects of art for preservation.

Specialty Priests (Bladehearts)

Requirements: Strength 10, Wisdom 12, Charisma 13, Comeliness 15.

Prime Requisite: Strength, Wisdom, Charisma

Alignment: CG, NG, LG

Weapons: Any, but must take a type of sword at 1st level.

Armor: Any armor up to chainmail, with shields.

Major Spheres: All, Astral, Charm, Combat, Divination, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic, Protection.

Minor Spheres: Creation, Elemental, Summoning, Sun, Weather.

Magical Items: As clerics, including all swords.

Required Proficiencies: One kind of sword

Bonus Proficiencies: Blind-Fighting, Herbalism.

Bladehearts may consecrate the sword that they are proficient in. Through a week-long ritual of purification, fasting, prayer and intense practice and training, a small portion of their divine power and life essence is infused into the sword. Not only does this sword become their holy symbol and a focus of their divine power, but it also becomes a part of them, granting them a special ability. At the end of the ritual, the bladeheart gains the fighting ability and THAC0 progression of a fighter of equal level when wielding that sword. A bladeheart may “trade up”, in that if he finds a better sword, then it may undergo the same ritual. Note that this only applies to a sword of better quality and/or magical ability (unless the original sword was destroyed somehow; if the sword was lost, the bladeheart must do everything in his or her power to retrieve the sword), and only one sword may be consecrated at any one time. When trading up, the bladeheart must donate the previously owned sword to a temple of Valerias at first opportunity.

Bladehearts can attempt to charm (Player’s Handbook, page 132) individuals of the opposite sex. They may attempt this charm once per day, but if the victim makes a saving throw versus spell, they cannot use this ability again until they have made proper offerings and meditations at an established temple or shrine of Valerias. The victim has a -1 penalty to the saving throw for every point of Charisma the bladeheart has over 15.

At 2nd level, bladehearts become increasingly immune to charm spells. They receive a +2 bonus when saving against spells of the Enchantment/Charm wizard school and the clerical Charm sphere. The bonus increases by +1 for every three levels the bladeheart gains, until 10th level.

At 3rd level, bladehearts may cast love bite (Faiths and Avatars, pg 151) once per day.

At 5th level, bladehearts can cast intensify sensation (Powers and Pantheons, pg 54) once per day.

At 5th level, bladehearts can determine the workmanship, potential magical ability and actual magic pluses (though not any other special abilities) of any type of sword, simply by handling it. This ability only pertains to swords and no other type of weapon the bladeheart handles. If the sword is cursed, the bladeheart will sense it immediately and be able to be rid of the weapon.

At 7th level, bladehearts make three melee attack every two rounds.

At 9th level, bladehearts gain one point of Charisma and Comeliness. They can also cast emotion (Player’s Handbook, page 157), one per day.

At 10th level, bladehearts become immune to charm effects of any type, as well as magical spells from both the clerical sphere of Charm and the wizard sphere of Enchantment/Charm.

At 13th level, bladehearts may make two attacks per round.

Special Spells: Love Bite, Intensify Sensation