Only the god Ilmater allowed entry to the Weeping Garden, and he allowed only a select and faithful few, those who demonstrated supreme dedication and selflessness in his name and were themselves in great need of relief. Such people were priests, knights, monks or other devout worshipers of Ilmater, and they had to be in a crisis or grim situation, such as facing overwhelming odds or too many people in need of help. Some examples were of an Ilmatari defending helpless people against an enormous force, or exhausting themself and expending all their magic to heal a plague, or standing against powerful followers of Loviatar, or travelling the length of Faerûn in a kind and just quest, all without regard for danger or self-advancement. At such rare times, Ilmater provided them with relief and sanctuary in the Garden, though ultimately no release from their task.
For the blessed Ilmatari, to be invited into the Weeping Garden was a tremendous honor as well a great responsibility. Ilmater did not choose them at whim or by chance, and no one was ever chosen twice.
The companions of the chosen Ilmatari were allowed into the Weeping Garden with them, even if they themselves did not worship Ilmater, as Ilmater rarely separated his faithful from their allies. But, in most cases, the group as a whole had to have performed good deeds in aid of the chosen Ilmatari. If one among their number was deemed unworthy, however, then none of them were invited, including the Ilmatari. If, while in the garden, anyone offended Ilmater's faith by deed or spell, then the entire band was instantly expelled.
Entry and invitation to the garden was provided by a temporary portal appearing beside the chosen one. This could occur anywhere, whatever the environment, even if there was immediate peril nearby. The portal appeared as a regular garden path leading through a hedge-arch before disappearing into a thick mist that glowed with warm, inviting light, as if from an afternoon sun. The group had the free choice to step through or not. Once one of them did, they were soon transported to the garden.
Upon arrival, visitors instantly knew the garden was a place of safety, and that this side-trip was for the greater good, and all that all was right and well with the place. The Weeping Garden was a place of essential serenity and soothing. The garden seemed perfect and peaceful. It was a sunny day with cloudless blue skies, but the temperate was mild and the light was not harsh. A gentle breeze softly rustled the leaves.
The garden was square, ~75 feet (22.8 meters) to a side, and bordered by a thick, 10-foot-high (3 meters) hedge. At the center of each side, in the direction of the four compass points, was a hedge-arch forming an entrance or exit, filled with the same thick, impenetrable mist as the portal. Peering over the hedge would show an endless mist beyond, giving the impression of sitting atop a mountain peak above the clouds.
Crossing the grassy ground and linking the four gates was a path of soft, loamy soil, leading to the ring of statues and the fountain in the center. The Statues of Lamentation were of white blue-veined marble and depicted humans, common folk in plain clothes, four female and four male, with genders alternating at the compass directions. Each wept genuine tears that ran down the faces and splashed into the path. Between the statues was a plain pool and fountain that sprayed upwards with pure, sweet water. It quenched one's thirst.
In each corner of the garden was a fruit tree, large and hale. Rather than a single kind of fruit or tree, however, they produced any and every kind of fruit that the guests might desire. Thus, they were appeared as a veritable cornucopia, overloaded with myriad fruits. They provided a healthy meal.
Anyone who both ate the fruit of the trees and drank the water of the fountain gained the benefits of a heroes' feast spell: for half a day, they were cured of all sickness and disease, immune to all poison, made healthy, their morale improved, and made fearless. Partaking only of water or fruit gave the understanding that both must be consumed for to gain the full benefit.
For as long as the guests stayed within the garden, all their magic and abilities were enhanced, especially for devotees of Ilmater, provided such magic or abilities were in accordance with Ilmater's faith.
Once they were ready to leave via the gateways, the guests were blessed with a greater heroism spell. They were made healthy, their morale improved, and they were made fearless, as well made resistant to many spells. This also lasted half a day.
Upon returning, they found that time passed differently in the Weeping Garden than on the Material Plane. It was a timeless place: no matter how long they stayed, not a moment passed where they had been before.
However they left, the portal deposited the guests right back they had been before, and at the same time. This would leave them in the exact same peril or crisis as they had been in previously, though now they were well rested, rejuvenated and strengthened for the task ahead. The portal disappeared behind them.
Those who survived their subsequent ordeal always remembered the Weeping Garden. But a sense of privacy surrounded their memories, and they would not openly speak of it, except quietly to close companions.
The history of the Weeping Garden was little known, for only Ilmater knew how long he had been allowing his chosen few to step inside, and those who visited the garden rarely spoke of it.
Rumors and legendsEdit
Very little about the Weeping Garden was actually widely known beyond those who'd been there and Ilmater himself, with only the most general facts a certainty.
According to legend, on very rare occasions, the gates out of the garden did not return guests to their original location. Instead, they cleared of mists and led out into the plane of the House of the Triad. However, these claims were not verified by any who'd been to the Garden and spoken of it.