Illus. Eric LofgrenTwo sister goddesses well known in Ptolus -- and the entire region of Palastan -- are Gaen, Goddess of Light, and Mirresh, Goddess of Laughter.

The worship of Gaen is second only to the worship of Lothian in Ptolus, although it is an extremely distant second. Her faithful number more than a thousand in the city -- so many that there is talk of building a second temple. However, the City Council has ruled that, although Lothianite chapels and small temples are located throughout the city, any other new temples would have to be built in the Temple District. Since there is little reason to place two temples of Gaen so close together, this has prevented the drive to found a second temple from gaining any momentum.

Gaen is Lawful Good and offers the domains of Good, Law, and Light. Her symbol is a blazing sunburst, and her favored weapon is the heavy mace. Her priests wear golden robes and preach fevered sermons on not just avoiding evil, but rooting it out and destroying it. "The light banishes the dark and cold from even the worst of places if given the chance," is their credo. The clerics and paladins (of which there are many) crusade against malevolence in its most obvious and basest forms: demons and undead (and all those who revere either or both) as well as evil monsters, slavers, murderers, assassins, and so forth. Gaen is much more focused on her Good aspect than on Law.

Gaen is depicted as a gigantic human woman, typically bare-breasted, wearing a golden helm and wielding a sword made of light. Her most sacred rites have a sexual component, as her priests -- male and female -- are her lovers. She grants them the light from her soul through sexual ecstasy.

Two of the most powerful clerics in the city, Barit Calomar and Melior Kalen, as well as the most powerful paladin, Steron Vsool, are all devotees of Gaen. The Temple of Gaen in Ptolus, a massive structure with a striking silver dome, is just off the Street of a Million Gods. The temple maintains close connections with the Knights of the Pale and the Keepers of the Veil (despite both groups' more obvious associations to the Church of Lothian), as well as the Knights of the Golden Cross.

Mirresh is Gaen's less popular younger sister. She is a goddess of laughter, frivolity, and pleasant diversions. Her priests attempt to bring joy and love to the hearts of her faithful, and in fact, to all people. To further this goal, they hold special festivals, parties, and parades throughout the year. They give away toys and create puzzles and games for children. They even dress up as clowns or put on comedic plays and puppet shows to entertain and spread happiness. Mirresh's followers learn that no matter what happens, one should always find time for laughter, even in the darkest times. They are not blind optimists or naïve children; they just believe that, regardless of how bad things can get, there is always something to smile about -- even if just for a moment.

Mirresh has few full-time worshippers but many give her prayers of thanks and honor her during celebrations of great joy, such as weddings, births, and coming-of-age ceremonies.

The Neutral Good Mirresh oversees the domains of Good, Protection, and Trickery. She uses a laughing (usually female) face as her symbol and the rapier as her favored weapon, although some priests of Mirresh take vows of pacifism. Her clerics have no specific garb, although they often wear bright colors, particularly when celebrating one of her many festivals or holy days.

She is depicted as an extremely beautiful human woman, laughing and dancing playfully, or as a cavorting young human girl. She is often shown with flowers and flowering plants, but she has no real connection to nature (and neither do her priests -- in fact, her temples are almost always found in large urban areas).

The Temple of Mirresh in Ptolus is on the Street of a Million Gods. Although small and fairly innocuous, it's a location that many Ptolusites know, as it marks the starting point for parades and spectacles and is the central focus for wonderful parties.