The Temple of Old Night was a temple to Shar in the city of Calimport in Calimshan. By the late 1360s DR, it was known to be the oldest, the largest, and certainly the most arrogant of the places of worship of the Mistress of the Night.
This underground complex lay beneath a good portion of the eastern side of Calimport, encompassing the dungeons and dark areas below Caravans Ward, Hammer Ward, Maker's Ward, Quill Ward, Wizard Ward, and some sections below Hook Ward and Khanduq Ward—nearly one quarter of the eastern Muzad!
There were five entrances to the temple from the surface, each of them appearing as a simple, small shrine. They were found in the following sectors of the city: Osiir Sabban in Hook Ward, Pahlemm Sabban in Caravans Ward, Kirruk Sabban in Crypt Ward, Jhaapir Sabban in Quill Ward, and Sholeh Sabban in Khanduq Ward. The shrines were easily sealed off if needed.
The temple housed a massive statue of the goddess Shar.
Circa 1369 DR, it was dominated by the high priestess Irtemara el Eradsari, called the Dancer Before Dawn and the highest-ranking mortal servant of Shar (at least that anyone knew of). Her debauched revels and murderous habits made her notorious and caused six or more changes in government around Faerûn. In Calimport alone, she directly influenced a multitude of pashas and vizars—including her grandson Amun el Eradsari and son-in-law Kadan el Vyndahla—and ran a number of illegal businesses from the Muzad.
She was aided by three male priests, quite loyal to her and quietly scheming against each other. When, or if, she were to pass away, they would most assuredly burst into open conflict for control of the temple.
The temple was founded in the Year of Whispering Stones, −373 DR. In that year, there was a conflict between the clerics of Talona, who temporarily controlled the nearly abandoned city of Calimport in the midst of a great plague, and the clerics of Shar. The Talonites captured the Basilica of Night, the largest Sharran temple in the city, in the month of Eleint. In response, the Sharrans collapsed the temple on all the followers of Talona within, slaughtering them. Afterwards, the surviving priest and priestesses of Shar transported what treasures could be recovered from the wreckage and established the Temple of Old Night underneath the mostly ruined city.
After 1330 DR, some priests of the Temple of Old Night grew dissatisfied with their leadership and broke away. Moving to Amn, they formed their own temple, with more overt interference in politics and greater ruthlessness, called the Dark Embrace. Thereafter, the two rival temples competed for dominance over the Sharran faith.
Before 1374 DR, a grapefruit-sized crystal globe was plucked from the great statue in the Temple of Old Night. High priestess Esvele Graycastle had it charged with divine power by Shar herself, forming it into the Starry Gnosis, a centerpiece of their dark plots.
The clergy of the temple controlled at least a third of Calimport's eastern Muzad and was the largest of any of the undercity's power groups. The priests patrolled the shadowy tunnels much like an army.
The clergy of Old Night proclaimed, at irregular intervals, when the Kiss of the Lady ceremonies, or "Kissmoots", were to take place for all followers of Shar. These night-long festivities of killing and other wicked works were the most sacred of Sharran faith. However, the clergy of the Dark Embrace had increasingly taken to calling their own Kissmoots at different times in competition.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 138. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), p. 68. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), pp. 17–18. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 107. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 122. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 173. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 160–162. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), pp. 53–54. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.