Waukeen (pronounced wau-KEEN[6][3] or wah-KEEN[8][9]) was a lesser deity of the Faerûnian pantheon known as the Merchant's Friend, Liberty's Maiden, and the Golden Lady. Her portfolio included everything related to commerce and the accumulation of wealth through free and fair trade, as well as the beneficial use of wealth to improve civilization. Those that venerated and appeased her included merchants from lowly peddlers to the wealthy owners of trading companies, investors, accountants, entrepreneurs, caravan guides, warehouse owners, philanthropists, deal-makers, moneylenders, and so on.[3][14]Waukeen was also the goddess of illicit trade[15] and the patron of many smugglers, fences, black marketeers, and "businessmen" on the shady side of commerce. Collectively, her worshipers were known as Waukeenar.[16]

Description Edit

Waukeen was portrayed as a slender, young woman with long, lustrous golden hair; always splendidly dressed. Some depictions included a pair of golden lions resting at her feet.[6]Her avatar was 10 ft (3 m) tall[15] and typically had eyes that appeared as solid gold. She wore a gown woven from strips of precious metals polished to a gleaming finish and sprinkled with all manner of gemstones. Her sash was of spun gold and her cloak was a lattice of gold coins. On her feet were boots of laced pearls with gold soles.[15][17]

On occasions where subtlety was more appropriate, the Golden Lady sometimes manifested as a sprouting of daffodils to give a sign of favor, hope, or inspiration. Often she would provide money in unexpected places, like a coin, face-up, to indicate the correct path at an intersection, or nuggets of gold, citrines, pyrite (also known as fool's gold—perhaps as a sign of disfavor). Slightly less subtle was a pair of golden eyes observing from a curtain of impenetrable darkness; or a large stack of gold coins that writhed like a snake, flying or wrapping itself around something or someone to which she wanted to draw attention before it shattered and scattered, often causing a scramble to collect them. All such tokens from the goddess were highly valued by Waukeenar as "divine essence of the goddess". When more interaction or aid was needed she could send creatures such as golden-colored cats, lock lurkers, golden lions, palomino horses, eagles (preferably golden ones), or extraplanar creatures such as ferrumachs and plumachs from the Outlands.[15]

Personality Edit

Waukeen was an active and enthusiastic deity who enjoyed the ebb and flow of goods via commerce and the rapid pace of business in a thriving marketplace full of spirited bargaining[9]—so much so that rumors of her presence at particularly intense negotiations involving one of her worshipers became legendary.[3] Her side always got the best bargain, but the other party usually walked away also feeling satisfied about the terms of the deal.[3] Waukeen was driven to accomplish a goal and move on to the next one and, rather than being frustrated when the usual business practices failed to work out a solution, she was willing to try alternate methods.[3] This manifested itself in her church sometimes allowing the ends to justify the means.[14] Her stubbornness and dogged persistence occasionally got her in predicaments and likely led to her imprisonment during the Time of Troubles.[3]

Abilities Edit

Although her avatar was not seen during the Godswar,[9] sightings before that time reported that she cast spells as both a wizard and a cleric, choosing spells from any school or sphere.[15] Her weapon of choice was a pummeling stream of gold coins that emitted from either hand (the coins did not disappear, so they could also be given as a boon). The coin cloud acted like a +5 impact evil outsider bane nunchaku.[17] In addition, she could either spit molten gold up to 6 ft (1.8 m) or call down a flame strike that resembled a conflagration wrapped in a rotating helix of gold coins (which did disappear afterward) on any creature within 200 ft (61 m). Rather than fly she chose to walk on air, levitating and appearing to take strides as she moved.[15]

After her return from imprisonment in the Abyss she was known to have added rogue skills to her avatar while still being a formidable cleric and wizard.[14] She could extend her senses seven miles (11.3 km) or perceive anything within seven miles of her temples, holy sites, worshipers, or objects, or anywhere her name or one of her titles had been spoken within the previous hour. Her awareness extended to include any business deal, contract, exchange, sale, theft, or destruction of a merchant's property that impacted at least five hundred people in scope.[17]

History Edit

Waukeen was a relatively late addition to the Faerûnian pantheon, joining sometime after Tyr[6] who first appeared in -247 DR.[18][19] Her popularity grew with the expansion of trade and the thriving merchant class across the Realms[2][3] where the combination of generosity, risk taking, and shrewd business sense made her church enviably wealthy and widely admired.[9]

Then came the Time of Troubles, when she nearly lost her admirers, her church, her divinity, her freedom, and her life.

When Lord Ao cast nearly all the Faerûnian deities into mortal avatar form and scattered them across the surface of Toril, Waukeen was among them, and like the majority of the fallen gods, wanted most to return home (and the sooner she could reclaim her realm and marshal her resources, the quicker she could influence unfolding events in her favor). As luck would have it, the first being she met was the avatar of Lliira and the two goddesses decided to stick together while they worked out a plan of action.[3][20]

The Golden Lady first advocated a straightforward approach: to climb the Celestial Stairway from its landing in Shadowdale and bribe Helm with his heart's desire to allow the two goddesses back into the Outer planes. Not known for her ambition, Lliira went along with the brash young deity's plan. They traveled to Shadowdale and began climbing the Staircase when Helm appeared and threatened them. Alas, nothing that Waukeen or the Lady of Joy offered Helm could entice the God of Guardians to shirk his duty, so they retreated to the Cormanthor forest rather than face his wrath.[15][20]

Being intimately familiar with illicit trade as well as legitimate commerce, Waukeen decided to smuggle herself back to the Outlands by way of the Astral plane and a circuitous route through the Lower Planes by making deals, calling in favors, and bribery. By doing so, she hoped to avoid detection by Ao's servants and sneak back into her realm.[15][21]

Through a twisted chain of contacts[note 1] she managed to call in a favor from Celestian, the God of Wanderers from the sphere of Oerth.[22] He agreed to transport her to the Astral plane as payment for the debt, but would not go so far as to include Lliira in the bargain, for fear of the added risk. When it came time to complete the deal however, he found that he could not budge her off her Prime Material Plane—Lord Ao had bound the Faerûnian gods to Toril with an unbreakable bond. Out of options, Waukeen gambled that it was her divinity that was tied to the plane and not the vessel carrying it, so Lliira graciously agreed to hold Waukeen's power and portfolio in stewardship until Waukeen could reclaim it. Once the transferal of her divinity to Lliira was complete, Waukeen became an ordinary human woman, but still armed with an extraordinary body of knowledge and formidable spellcasting powers. Celestian was then able to shift her into the Astral plane for the next leg of her journey.

Once free of Toril, Waukeen contacted some minions of an extremely powerful Abyssal lord named Graz'zt and negotiated[21] (or had previously arranged for[15]) safe passage through the Abyss to the Outlands. In return, Graz'zt was to receive the location of a number of secret treasure hoards on Toril and across the planes,[15] and even more useful information about the financial dealings of Graz'zt's rival demon lords—information that could give him an advantage in the eternal Blood War between the demons and the devils.[21] The Merchant's Friend was escorted to the Dark Prince's vast realm Azzagrat, which spanned the 45th, 46th, and 47th layers of the Abyss, to the sprawling city of Zelatar, and finally to the sixty-six ivory towers[23]of the Argent Palace; Graz'zt's seat of power.[15][21]

Graz'zt of course never planned on honoring the deal struck with Waukeen. Once she arrived in the heart of his realm he had no trouble detaining the mortal form of the Golden Lady and told her she would be his "guest" while they renegotiated the deal previously agreed upon, knowing full well she would not alter a closed contract. This manufactured impasse gave the Dark Prince time to work on his master plan: to find a way for his daughter Thraxxia to possess, control, or impersonate Waukeen well enough to fool the gods and elevate Thraxxia to be the new goddess of wealth.[24]

Until his plan came to fruition, Graz'zt had to keep Waukeen alive and under his control. He knew it was only a matter of time before her worshipers discovered her whereabouts and sent out rescue parties, so he began moving her back and forth between the Argent Palace and the city of Samora where his trusted servant, the succubus Maretta, Lady of the Counting-House, lived.[15][25] The truth was that most of the heavily guarded and slow moving caravans were decoys designed to lure potential rescuers out into the open and be destroyed.[24] But on one occasion Waukeen managed to bribe a guard and escape into the Viper Forest called Zrintor, only to be recaptured later by a search party that could not be bribed into assisting her; they had witnessed the fate of the traitorous demon at the hands of Graz'zt and their fear outweighed their greed.[15][21]

Luck was apparently on the side of the demon lord because no one, not even Lliira, knew what happened to Waukeen after she disappeared into the Abyss. All attempts at divination failed to reveal anything clear or useful. When the Godswar ended in the autumn of 1358 DR,[20] all other faiths resumed getting upper-level spells from their deity, but not the Waukeenar.[15] They continued to be limited to first- and second-level spells[4]and received no inkling of guidance from the Golden Lady.[2] By 1365 DR, the church of Waukeen was falling apart and Lliira decided to intervene to save what was left of it or there would have been nothing for the Merchant's Friend to return to. She sent her prophet to all of Waukeen's temples and announced that she would act as regent for Waukeen's portfolio and answer prayers for spells. Many of the distraught Waukeenar interpreted this to mean that their goddess was truly dead.[2][15]

It was twelve long years after the Godswar before the fevered dreams of Halanna Jashire, a promising young priestess of Waukeen stationed in the Goldspires temple in Athkatla, the capital of Amn,[26] gave hope to the anguished members of the Golden Lady's church that their missing deity was alive and being held by the Abyssal lord Graz'zt.[27] A daring band of adventurers set out climbing the Celestial Staircase, made it to the Abyss, and heroically rescued Waukeen from numerous minions of Graz'zt, returning her via the Staircase to her realm in the Outlands.[9][28]

When she finally strode down a lane between the tents and stalls of the sprawling open-air market that was her House of Barter, the cacophony of commerce fell silent as they slowly realized who walked among them. In front of her golden palace, Waukeen was joyfully met by her seneschal, a gynosphinx named Keelira, who proclaimed the return of the Goddess of Wealth in a voice like thunder as the crowd erupted in ecstatic celebration. Keelira was sent to fetch Lliira, and soon the Mistress of the Revels returned Waukeen's mantle of divinity. And there was much rejoicing.[29]

On the 24th of Nightal, 1370 DR, the Golden Lady revealed to her church and all of Faerûn that she had returned from her long absence, and that date became yet another festival celebrated by the worshipers of Waukeen.[30]

After the exuberance of the celebrations died down, there began a period of recovery for the church of Waukeen. During her long absence, referred to as the Interdeium of Waukeen, the church suffered an alarming amount of attrition and had to be built back up. Not one to avoid hard work, Waukeen set about revitalizing her faithful and combating the wild rumors and speculation that her disappearance and unusual return had generated, including the belief that she was dead.[9] One of the most damaging allegations was known as the Harlot's Coin Heresy inculcated by the League of Six-Fingered Gentlemen, a group that had insinuated itself into the church hierarchy. Their doctrine was that Waukeen had traded or sold much of her divine power to Graz'zt and that she was now just a figurehead.[31]

Relationships Edit

Waukeen's closest ally was Lliira, who was the trustee of Waukeen's portfolio while she made her ill-fated attempt to get back to her realm in the Outlands during the Time of Troubles.[15] However, when Lliira started answering the prayers of Waukeen's followers during her long incarceration, many of the Waukeenar assumed their goddess was dead and switched allegiances[2] and rededicated their temples to Lliira.[32] After Waukeen returned to power, she was jealous and upset that so many of her faithful did not return to her service, and this slightly soured the friendship between the two goddesses.[33]

The Golden Lady was one of the first to support Gond and his inventions over the doubts of most other deities.[3] Shaundakul was also an ally of the Merchant's Friend as his portfolio touched hers in areas such as long-range traders, and caravans.[14][34] Waukeen had no real enemies among the pantheon except Mask, the Master of All Thieves, because larceny is bad for business. She naturally had an unending hatred and thirst for revenge against the demon lord Graz'zt who broke a deal, took advantage of her weakened state, and held her captive during the Avatar Crisis.[14][15][35]

The Church Edit

Ornate temples to the glory of the Golden Lady were usually found in centers of commerce from Tashalar in the south, up through Amn, all around the Sea of Fallen Stars (Chessenta, Cormyr, Sembia, the Vast, Impiltur) and over to Thesk on the Golden Way.[36] Her clerics and other worshipers traveled the trade routes aiding merchants and caravans or worked in the opulent temples as hosts for wealthy donors, moneylenders, currency exchangers, venture capitalists, warehousers, fences (covertly, of course) and, most importantly, security guards.[14][16]

Harlot's Coin Heresy Edit

This heretical schism of Waukeen's faith taught that Waukeen had gradually sold off pieces of her divinity and virtue to Graz'zt in order to finance her church. They believed that it was for failing to pay her debts to him that Graz'zt imprisoned her during the Time of Troubles. These heretics taught that Waukeen earned her freedom only because she finally paid her debt to the demon, resulting in Graz'zt owning the majority of Waukeen's godhood. The heretics therefore believed that all who worshiped Waukeen were really worshiping Graz'zt instead, and they were content with that arrangement.[31]

Realm Edit

According to the Great Wheel cosmology model, Waukeen's home was on the neutral plane of Concordant Opposition, also known as the Outlands, in a shared realm called the Marketplace Eternal—a huge bazaar that covered many square miles/kilometers. The Marketplace Eternal was divided into four quarters and Waukeen's quarter was called the House of Barter.[note 2]Somewhere in the midst of her quarter Waukeen had an opulent golden palace that contained a portal to Lliira's realm in Brightwater on the plane of Arborea.[29][37] Shortly after Waukeen's return to power, the World Tree cosmologymodel came into favor and Brightwater was described as its own plane with the Marketplace Eternal as the center of the populated region, and Waukeen its sole owner. Surrounding the Golden Lady's demesne were four quarters, divided between Lliira, Tymora, Sune, and Sharess.[38][39]

After the Spellplague, Brightwater was no more and the Marketplace Eternal moved to the plane of Eternal Sunwhere it sprawled around Amaunator's Palace of the Four Suns.

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