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Offline Davin Ragal

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Faelyn
« on: August 04, 2016, 02:38:20 AM »
Faelyn the Merciful


In my realm, none who respect life shall have need for fear.

The Divine

Realm

Eldanar

Alignment

| Lawful   Good
| Neutral  Good
| Chaotic  Good
| Lawful   Neutral
| True     Neutral
| Chaotic  Neutral
| Lawful   Evil
| Neutral  Evil
| Chaotic  Evil


Spheres of Influence

Dawn, Birth, Mercy, Renewal

Persona

Despite being popular among women, Faelyn enjoys a following among both sexes. It is worth noting that Faelyn is much more popular among marginalized or oppressed populations, for reasons that should be relatively obvious. Whereas Aldaron is the champion of order and social duty, Faelyn sees to those that the social order may not always favor. Every culture has its untouchables and in the eyes of Faelyn every untouchable is still a worthy living being.

This makes her relationship with Aldaron a complicated one from time to time. When Aldaron goes to war protecting the righteous and the innocent, Faelyn offers her full support and cares for those trodden underfoot during the battle to free Aldaron for his task. His dedication to justice and mercy form the common bond between them, and it was cemented when he chose not to destroy Maedhros before casting him down. In this act perhaps beyond any other Aldaron served the ideals that Faelyn embodies.

Even considering this historic alliance, Faelyn is not blind to the suffering caused by even the best-intention of the other gods. The ideals that Aldaron fights for are not always shared by the goddess Faelyn, and on rare occasions she makes it clear. Faelyn is not by nature an aggressive goddess, but she can be an assertive one. She never truly denounces an allied deity such as Aldaron or Selune, but when she feels they are not upholding the ideals of mercy and compassion, she will work to curtail the damage she feels they are doing. Generally she stops just short of actually undermining them, but among the lower classes in some regions the most popular tales of Faelyn are tales of her intercession (and even interference) with the other gods on their behalf. Like all myths it is impossible to say whether these are true accounts or narratives that have survived only to give hope to devotees, but in light of their importance it may not even be relevant what really happened.

While it is no mystery to the goddess or her devotees that many people hurt one another intentionally, it is the intentional mistreatment of other beings that arouses the rare anger and offense of this peaceful goddess. Treating another person as a means to an end, manipulating and betraying other sentient creatures... these are the acts that Faelyn objects to, and there are more ways to mistreat another than with physical violence.

Faelyn's patronage of the oppressed stems from this ideological stance. If direct violence is not the only form oppression takes, then the other forms of oppression deserve to be staved off as well. It is in this area that she and Aldaron occasionally diverge. Whereas Aldaron believes that the weak must support the strong, Faelyn does not believe that the weak are always destined to be weak. She does not believe that one's worth can be determined by the station of one's birth, or the qualities of one's personality. Although Aldaron loathes tyrants, bullies, and others who misuse their power, it is Faelyn who has the least tolerance for it, and Faelyn who takes issue with inequity and oppression even before Aldaron. She diverges from Selune occasionally as well, since love can be terribly cruel even as it fosters personal growth. Faelyn occasionally offers her sympathies to those learning a hard lesson at Selune's hands.

Power

Faelyn does not lend her power to mortals for the purposes of violence. The last thing she wants is to assist in bloodshed and suffering, so Faelyn's faith magic is almost exclusively protective or nurturing in nature. No blasting people with righteous holy fire, for example. Physical healing spells are the most common and perhaps most practically useful variety, since many of the Sisterhood are called upon to do relief work during large-scale conflicts. However, abjuration and warding spells to protect the defenseless and the weak are also popular as they provide a nonviolent way to stop the suffering of the victims they feel may go unnoticed by other sects or bodies. The more socially- or empathically-inclined devotees occasionally make use of faith magic aimed at bolstering the emotional fortitude and outlook of the downtrodden, offering them the strength and determination to carry on until a real solution can be reached. What exactly the caster needs in order to further Faelyn's cause is between him/her and the goddess herself.

Iconography

Avatar

Faelyn is generally pictured as a mature woman (not a young girl), with her brown hair braided in a circle atop her head. She wears long, soft pink robes and is barefoot. In some images, she has four arms, with two hands folded as if in prayer and the other two spread out palm-up. One of these hands is pouring water and the other holds a globe of light. They are reminders of the solace and wisdom that Faelyn offers to all who seek her in devotion.

Symbols

Mistletoe. Water.

Colors

Pink in varying shades.

Sacred Objects

Faelyn does not lend her power to mortals for the purposes of violence. The last thing she wants is to assist in bloodshed and suffering, so Faelyn's faith magic is almost exclusively protective or nurturing in nature. No blasting people with righteous holy fire, for example. Physical healing spells are the most common and perhaps most practically useful variety, since many of the Sisterhood are called upon to do relief work during large-scale conflicts. However, abjuration and warding spells to protect the defenseless and the weak are also popular as they provide a nonviolent way to stop the suffering of the victims they feel may go unnoticed by other sects or bodies. The more socially- or empathically-inclined devotees occasionally make use of faith magic aimed at bolstering the emotional fortitude and outlook of the downtrodden, offering them the strength and determination to carry on until a real solution can be reached. What exactly the caster needs in order to further Faelyn's cause is between him/her and the goddess herself.

Sacred Objects: Most temples to Faelyn are modest affairs, as her followers often cannot afford great ornamentation and decadent enhancements. Out of respect for Faelyn temples even in poor, rough areas are kept clean and well-lit even when they are not heavily decorated.

The most notable exception to this is the temple to Faelyn in Elenion. The city's reputation spurred wealthier donors to enhance Faelyn's temple to an extraordinary degree. The floors are polished rose-hued granite with a pattern of mistletoe leaves and berries inlaid on the wall along the floor in semi-precious stones. The temple entrance is on the east side, the wide open doors letting in the light of the dawn. The walls in most places are white marble or alabaster to allow the sunlight to catch in the building itself, seeming to light it from within as the mistletoe inlay shines in the sun. The center of the temple is a wide courtyard for devotees to gather, and in the middle of it is a low fountain of drinkable water. This courtyard is almost always full of people milling about, occasionally standing or seated in huge groups together.

The lower level of the temple, away from the lively and social atmosphere of the upper courtyard, is more dimly lit and private. During the day shafts of sunlight penetrate through openings above the outer walls to light the carved stone subterranean worship areas. Here small candles are offered to devotees at cost so that they may place them before a larger-than-life bronze likeness of Faelyn. A typical four-armed rendition of Faelyn, two hands are joined under her chin, while the other two are spread out to her followers. One of these hands typically has a red candle in it, while the other holds a bowl of water from the fountain. The statue is often dressed in real cloth robes donated to the shrine by wealthy devotees in the city. This statue, more than the beautiful upper level, makes this temple a pilgrimage site for believers.

Temples to Faelyn are often used as places for devotees to commune with one another as a way to get closer to their goddess. After all, if it is in Faelyn's nature to be primarily concerned with the welfare of mortals, it's only fitting that they be primarily concerned with one another in their devotions. Council from clergy and other lay devotees is as much a reason to seek out a formal temple as direct prayer to the goddess herself.

Another important note is that temples to Faelyn occasionally serve as political sanctuary, sheltering repentant criminals or the unjustly accused. This is occasionally to the annoyance and discomfort of local law enforcement, but it serves as a valuable protection for those who are marginalized or persecuted because of their race or class. Such guests are expected to hold to the highest standards of behavior and penitents are often asked to participate actively in temple life to express their gratitude to Faelyn through action.

In private Faelynite residences, there is often a small tabletop or wallmounted shrine to Faelyn to bless their comings and goings. Formal temples are often placed on long, lonely roads. Her blessing on a long journey is considered highly auspicious, and while urban temples are common in depressed areas, they also feature prominently in rural areas where communal living and cooperation are economic mainstays. The rural poor often feel a deep rift between themselves and the urban dwellers, and as a result have less investment in the social order and political establishments of the cities. This sometimes leads rural peasants to worship Faelyn rather than the oft-politicized Aldaron or the cosmopolitan Selune.

Sacred Texts

The worship of Faelyn is grounded on sparing truly sacred texts, the main body of orthodox teaching being located in more secular philosophical texts.

Followers

Favor

According to Faelyn, it is the obligation of thinking beings to care for one another. Midwives and healers of all sorts are close to her heart. Midwives sacrifice an enormous amount of time and energy for the sake of women whose lives are changing in sometimes-frightening ways. Their care of children is also important to Faelyn, since they are the least able to defend themselves and most in need of nurturing and support.

Those who go to great personal risk for Faelyn's ideals (combat medics, for example) are often held in Faelyn's highest esteem. People who are vegetarian for moral reasons, accepting all the sacrifices and difficulties that come with the choice, also earn her favor. For most devotees this is an individual choice, though priestesses are strongly encouraged to abstain from eating animal products.

Everyday devotion does not need to be a showy affair, since time spent displaying one's faith to the world might better be spent exercising it. Action is devotion, and the finest form of prayer is to do Faelyn's work with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to serve one's goddess and fellow man.

Theologians are split quite vehemently on the issue of just violence. The majority of Faelynites feel that their goddess looks on the intentions of these righteous warriors favorably, but that bloodshed is never a real solution. There is, however, a notable minority of worshippers and theologians who argue that pacifism, while a superior option, is not always the wisest one. Then there are the others who are fully ready to choose violence if it seems the most expedient and efficient way to alleviate suffering for a particular group. What is to be done for people who cannot continue to endure oppression while they wait for those in power to come around? What is to be done for people in captivity who need assistance more than sympathy? Debates over the extent to which nonviolence should be applied in everyday life are more frequent among Faelyn's followers than within any other sect.

What does Faelyn herself advocate? That is for the goddess herself to say, but those who claim to speak for her still disagree.

Disfavor

Faelyn is hardly a wrathful goddess, and her devotees take great pride in the message of Faelyn to seek solutions instead of vengeance. She rarely punishes mortals for letting her down, but occasionally Faelyn has been known to offer some hard lessons of her own. Faelyn is occasionally credited when a hard-hearted man or woman goes through some life experience that teaches them the value of compassion.

The Faithful

The most glaring difference between an initiate of Faelyn and a layperson is a vow of nonviolence. This, depending on the rank of the cleric involved, can mean anything from only striking in self-defense to complete pacifism. Faelyn's body of clergy is overwhelmingly female, but men are not an unusual sight among her initiates. Many will wear red robes as a more masculine alternative to the pink ones favored by priestesses, but not all bother to reassert their masculinity in the face of threatening pinkness. To many it simply doesn't matter.

There is, however, a female-only arm of the church of Faelyn. The Sisterhood of Faelyn is an order of healers and diplomats often sent to strife-torn areas to act as neutral and respectful mediators between hostile parties while relief efforts help sustain the affected civilians until an accord can be reached. They are dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflicts large and small, and are revered for their compassion and empathy toward both sides of any conflict. This combined with their humanitarian efforts during peace talks make them a common recipient of charity from philanthropists who either wish to see their selfless works continue, or simply wish to seem dedicated to peace.

The Sisterhood also strongly encourages members to be vegetarian partly in keeping with their teachings of non-violence, but also partly to ensure that they are always viewed as separate parties to any negotiation. They wear different clothing than the combatants involved, they wear different ornaments, and they eat different food. It sets them apart. In imitation of the Sisterhood, many other clergy and devotees also practice vegetarianism, though it's obviously not required of them.

Prominence

Priests and priestesses of Faelyn commonly state that even if other deities are not obligated to seek counsel from Faelyn for every action, the fact that a good god acts with mercy and compassion (while an evil god is callous and often deliberately hurtful) suggests to one with a keen eye that even in her apparent modesty and passiveness, it is Faelyn that the other gods serve. It is she who symbolizes the aims they seek and perpetuate, and however they may act on this (through combat, proselytizing, or humanitarian efforts) it is Faelyn that an evil god betrays and a merciful god glorifies. She rules not by command or might, but by example. Her followers have called her "the conscience of the gods." Followers of other gods may understandably disagree with this, but few of Faelyn's hardliners will assert otherwise.

As the patron of beginnings, it's considered highly auspicious to obtain her blessing before doing anything. Even the faithful devotees of other gods will often offer a prayer to Faelyn at the start of a new venture, or even at the start of a prayer to another god. At the start of a journey those who have mistletoe will often burn half a sprig at the outset, finishing the rest when they are done. It is a reminder to them of Faelyn's watchful presence and serves as an active prayer to request such guidance before any important travel.

As a common patron of the poor and forgotten classes, Faelyn does not ask for material offerings of her followers. Devotees will frequently bring food, cloth, herbs, or whatever they have to offer their goddess, and the priesthood returns these offerings to the devotees with the blessing of their goddess. For example, travelling merchants will occasionally offer their shoes on the altar of Faelyn, and after the priest or priestess has led prayer the shoes are returned so that the merchant may carry that blessing on the road.

Quote

"Behind the justice of Aldaron and the passion of Selune, behind the balance of Hirin and her sister Livana, behind even the curiosity of Xanthe... is the compassion of Faelyn and her care for mortals. She is the conscience of the gods, and her example binds even the immortals to their duty. Even when she does not act, the goddess of mercy gives the others their reason for action. Without her, they would be without direction, without heart, and without unity."
-Bhanupriya Adani, Adjunct Negotiator to the Sisterhood


Credits

  • Original Concept and Write-up: Myrnal Shalienza
  • Revised Edition: Davin Ragal & Zyrphath
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 06:39:47 AM by Davin Ragal »

Offline Zyrphath

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Re: Faelyn
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 10:58:22 AM »
To the library with you D:
Tome of Darkness


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