Temple of Leesha
Deity: Leesha Roseheart
The worship of Leesha is not centralized, but all Leeshan temples do share common links and ties. The so-called “temple” of Leesha is far less hierarchical than its name suggests. Each individual temple-site is considered to be on the same level as any other. However, if a local temple were to transgress against the central tenets shared by the religion, it will be censured and perhaps even undermined or (in the most extreme cases) infiltrated and attacked!
The Temple of Leesha
While the various temples may not share any structure in common, they do share a corpus of tales and canon. All Leeshan temples communicate with each other, forming a network somewhat like that created by the Sacred Heralds. The stories, for example, of the Greensward (while varying in their details) are always generally the same.
The stories may not be written down, but the rites performed by the temple are. They comprise a group of manuscripts known as the Red Books (for the very first copy was written into a series of books with a red cover) and every temple must be blessed with a copy made from the Red Books of another “mother” temple.
The relationship between “mother” and “child” temples is one that is quite important in the order of things. Generally, culture and wealth flows from mother to child sites. This includes the Stouthearts, who are normally trained at their mother temples while a child temple is still getting onto its feet, sometimes a situation which lasts years or even decades.
Rites of the Stouthearts
The Dedication: The first rite any halfling experiences in the Temple is the dedication to the Roseheart. This occurs on the seventh day after birth when the young halfling is brought to the temple to be presented before the image of the Goddess. Traditionally, incense is lit and the babe washed in a laver. If the child cries, it is taken as a sign that the Goddess has blessed them.
Marriage: Marriages in halfling and gnomish communities are overseen by Stouthearts. While most of the actual ceremony and plans involve the vast halfling families and the agreement of the two matriarchs that the children can marry, the final sealing is done “in the eyes of Leesha.” This is usually out-of-doors beneath a tree or the open sky with the cleric officiating a brief exchange of marriage vows.
Death: Leesha’s clerics also administer to the death-rituals of a halfling household. Halflings are interred in the earth (not burned like most mannish rites in the north), generally away from the town and its farmsteads to prevent the bodies from being disturbed or the spirits from wandering back into their former homes.