Gods of Aetolia
The gods in Aetolia are powerful, enigmatic beings. They exist for their own reasons and you are well-advised to pay them the respect they are due. Unlike in many worlds, Aetolia's gods are played by individual human beings. They regularly interact with their worshippers, and provide guidance and advice. Though they rarely directly interfere, when they do, it is always with dramatic implications.
Each of the gods has a Divine Order. Joining a god's order is a way of actively declaring your faith and loyalty to that god, and a pledging of support to that deity's cause. Being in an Order is an integral part of many Aetolians' lives, and some find membership and participation in the activities of the Order to be the most rewarding aspect of their existence. It should be noted that each of the Divine Ones has their own goals and their own distinct methods of accomplishing them, but they nearly always act through mortal agents, rather than acting directly.
Offerings are the major way in which you as a devoted follower may gain your god essence. Many things that a Divinity might do cost He or She essence. In order to offer to your god, you must first find a location in which a shrine to that god has been erected.
Once you have done that, you must choose what to offer. You may offer gold or dead things. Be warned that offering gold will automatically offer all the gold in your hands. Simply type OFFER <offering> and you will send your offering winging its way to your beloved patron, who will be notified of your offering.
As you wander about the land, you will undoubtedly encounter shrines to various gods. These shrines have been erected by highly-ranked followers of gods as testaments to the glory of their god or goddess, and in order to provide more offering points for followers.
Those who have attained rank eight or higher in an Order may ERECT SHRINE. This will take approximately ten seconds, during which you may not do anything else. It will also sap half your willpower. It should be noted that shrines may not be placed closer than four locations away from each other.
If you wish to help strengthen a shrine, you will do OFFER <offering> TO SANCTIFY while if you wish to harm a shrine, you will OFFER <offering> TO DEFILE. In both of these cases, the god's essence will not be affected.
Varian, the Celestine
Varian, the Celestine is the origin of all Creation. All that is, was, and will be is thanks only to His Divine Will. Before the universe existed, there was simply Varian. He was Creation, and Creation was Him. In a desire to experience multiplicity and the complex interactions of individuals, He created the universe and this world.
Varian is generally neither a benevolent nor a malevolent god, choosing instead to observe and guide the actions of mortals and immortals, but is swift to correct those who attempt to violate His vision of Creation.
Haern, the Hunter
The Hunter was created by Varian shortly after the birth of Aetolia, seeing a need for a Divine realm to tend the cycles of birth and death in Nature. Haern finds virtuous the traits of strong will, severity and destruction, and seeks a balance of rhythm, rather than of stability. It takes courage to not fear dissolution and to know that all spiritual principles are indestructible. His realm encompasses all animals, and He harbors a respect for the prey as well as for the skilled hunter. He frees us from that which has become obsolete, and inspires us with the will to protect. Born in a time of great inbalance, He is intolerant of transgressions and is known to bring swift action against any creature that oversteps its bounds, or any abomination that has no place in Nature.
The Rhythm is the ever-changing, never static, flow of Nature. The Way of the Hunter is as complex as the Rhythm itself, but is known by three names - The Way of Defiance, The Way of Destruction, and The Way of Severity. This rhythmic balance is the realm of Haern, as He is the force that keeps the Rhythm in motion. The hunt is about sacrifice - clean and merciful, a conscious and deliberate choice of a greater good over a lesser good. Good, to the Hunter, is this application of force in the appropriate time, space and proportion. Evil is the misapplication of such force, or the unwillingness to act at all. It is a virtue to know one's place in the natural order of Aetolia. To allow another to dictate this to you is a vice.
The Hunter is an elusive God, rarely appearing to mortals in His true form but preferring to interact through other agents, often observing or testing mortals indirectly. His followers include a mixture of those who strive for a strict balance in Nature, those who value strife as an agent of growth, diversity and harmony, and those who see themselves as passionate advocates of the wilderness and the wild.
As fresh blood on the cold, pure snow, the colours of Haern are crimson and ivory. His symbols are a red bone claw on a field of white, and the open triad, a three-branched knot reminding of the Ways. The bear, the serpent, and the raven are held sacred by those who follow Him.
Severn, Lord of Artifice
Though not a destructive deity, Severn strives only for personal gain, regardless of the means. Usually quiet and detached, He observes and analyzes the goings on of the world from His throne while planning His strategems. Rarely does He leave His throne to manifest on the Material Plane, generally sending minions and manipulating others to carry out His will instead. Plotting for years, even centuries, He presents a calm and disarmingly magnetic personality - a mask of the fire within. None can say exactly what His true form is, as the reports vary greatly. Some claim he is a diminutive chameleon, others insist to have seen a raven or a nondescript human with black hair.
Iosyne, the Malevolent
After the Muse's destruction and dismemberment at the hands of Her Sister Omei, the remaining elements of Her form were reclaimed by the shadowy forces of the Black Keep. Llazuth, the Demon Spider Queen, invested her demonic power into reviving the Goddess, offering Her the mortal shell of Lachesis and fealty of the Dark Empire itself. Reborn into the abyss beneath Azdun, the Goddess immediately found refuge and acceptance among the most reviled and feared creatures of the realm. Reshaped into something monstrous and terrible, Iosyne embraced Her new form and allies, calling Herself the Malevolent and pitting Herself against the realm of the living Her Sister loves so dearly.
With the theft of Her heart and Her eyes, the Goddess has in turn rejected the need for either; Her blindness lends Her cold impartiality, while Her heartlessness has stripped Her of compassion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, She favors the undead and the Chiav - both often reviled and condemned - and considers them to be perfect.
She discards the subtler tools of manipulation and politics, finding them unsatisfying to sate Her need for violence and carnage. Her followers - sadists and killers, generals and warlords - are as driven and obsessed as She in demonstrating their application of brutality and savagery. Her tenets are merely a framework of rules to operate within.
Slyphe, God of the Sea
Water is changeable and adaptable, shaping itself to its container and flowing around obstacles in its path. Yet water can erode the mightiest mountain and reshape whole continents.
Slyphe represents both the slow change of a river cutting through a valley, creating a canyon through the years, and the abrupt changes wrought by fierce typhoons and pounding tsunamis. He is as changeable as the water that represents Him. He can be as moody and brooding as the darkest thunderhead, or as bright and cheerful as a babbling brook. Slyphe promotes change and dynamism in the mortal world, both of the physical world and of stagnant mortal political establishments.
Niuri, Goddess of Mystery
When one travels far, relentlessly searching for answers, he inevitably encounters the inexplicable. This glimpse of the unfathomable creates in him a guilty awe that makes him believe as though he was almost not meant to witness something so great. This awe, the mortal reaction to the source of mystery, is the essence of Niuri. She exists in all possibilities, in all things that have potential, and in all individuals who may one day become great.
The pursuit of knowledge that ultimately leads to revelation is the realm of Niuri. Scholarship is valued highly, and experimentation and philosophy are also prized. Such activities are not simply the key to enlightenment, however. Instead, they are tools that are used to aid oneself in the exploration of one's inner wisdom. The mysteries of the world can be accessed when one stretches the boundaries of both inner thought and outer knowledge. The path to these mysteries cannot be circumvented, and the answers to these mysteries cannot be revealed by simple discourse. Those who have yet to embark upon the path should be led to it, but not along it. The journey that is learning is as important as the destination of enlightenment, as information gathered while adventuring, speaking in passing with others, and even while in battle are all relevant. Scholars should seek out all topics that interest them, devour all knowledge accessible and make those subjects their own.
Ysmali the Sanguine
Born of the essence of two of the realms' oldest Goddesses, the Corrupter, Chakrasul, and Khepri, the Trickster, Ysmali is a force of unknown influence. Though only recently come into the realm, Her power has already been felt strongly.
Maintaining the tenants of Corruption on the one hand and Chaos on the other, Hers is a treacherous and oft confusing path to walk. Yet, those who follow Her claim untold rewards from the depths of darkest despair.
Taking the title of Sanguine, Ysmali claims stewardship over the Consanguine of Aetolia, shepherding their passage from mortality unto the eternal embrace of the night. Though others may dispute Her matriarchy, it remains to be seen whether the forces of the Imperium will rally behind Her banner.
Auresae, Goddess of Fire
Divine Auresae is an amalgamation of a small child and the great spirit of consumption, the elemental essence of Fire. She is the sovereign of Fire, Light, Faith, and Purity.
From Her roiling pillar in the Peshwar Delta, She watches over mortals with a munificent eye. Her interest predominates upon those with a strong empathy towards life and Light. She in no way condemns the experience of death, but She hates unnecessary devastation and senseless cruelty.
She is fascinated by those mortals that dedicate themselves to a cause greater than the sum of their corporeal parts and is a faithful Matron of the devout. It is Her Flame that grants purity in deed and heart, and those who seek Her are held to a higher standard than most.
An avid communicator, the Lady of Light is gifted with the curiosity of youth and the wisdom of great age, and advises those who seek with a mixture of childlike exuberance and timeless understanding.
Though She is patient, once angered She is a powerful force to be reckoned with. A Lady with many faces, but one voice, Her symbol is a firefly encased in amber: a metaphor for Her life-force. Her brother's symbol, the salamander, is also sacred to Her as is the shining angel.
Omei, the Dreamer
After untold years of enforced isolation, Omei, the Dreamer, emerged into the waking realms. Her garden lies beyond the veil of sleep, promising lucid dreams of every sort to those mortals curious enough to seek it. She names Herself sovereign of Emotion, blessing those that indulge in every
Sensation known to mortality and those bear insight into that which has not yet occurred.
The way of Dreaming is one of introspection. All knowledge sleeps within the soul, say the Dreamer's priests. All discovery is a remembering of the self.
Ivoln, the Earthen Lord
As Dhaivol brooded, and Dhar's thoughts turned ever to the Cycle that He had once abandoned, feelings of rancor brought about an eventual sundering that led to the return of Ivoln, the Earthen Lord. His renewed presence and physical form can only be attributed to a former host of Goreskrat valley, a faithful servant in Undeath.
As has been in times past, jurisdiction of the Earth lies solely with Him and His children - the Undead. It is through the Earth that those who serve Him, and those who would carry His gift, are given renewed life and strength. Those who seek to serve Him should not expect to be coddled by the Earth's embrace, but to be reshaped, molded, and taught to better themselves through His domain.
His symbol is that of a black marble egg: a metaphor for the vast differences between His Undead and the living. The wyrm of the Earth, a creature carved from His domain and known for its ferocity and strength, also finds its place among His favour.
Dhar, the Underking
All that exists must eventually come to an end, and all that truly lives must die. In death lies the ultimate justice, for all are equal there, and earthly possessions and status hold no sway on judgment. The followers of Dhar will often pride themselves in dispatching swift justice, and can always be sought to be a balanced judge. As a farmer harvests his fields to collect what the season has produced, so does Lord Dhar harvest the soul, and that which is produced in the season of life is reaped. All that has been done will be accounted for.
A solemnity is kept among His followers, and often they will be quiet but well spoken. The beauty of silence is studied and observed, for one can only speak what they already know; only when one listens can he learn. It is for this reason that disciples of Dhar are often known for their brevity.