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Offline Zyrphath

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Aldaron
« on: August 01, 2016, 10:46:26 PM »
Aldaron, Guardian of Eldanar


Aldaron, defender of Eldanar, broken not by shadow nor evil; ever bright is He.

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

Strength, Benevolence, Truth, Justice

Persona

Aldaron is one of the most popular gods in Entar's pantheon, known to bolster the strong and defend the weak. He is famous for his numerous clashes with Maedhros, his nemesis, and the eternal conflict between the God of Light and the God of Shadow has become a major fixture in Entar's literature, religion and art.

Aldaron is primarily seen as a protective entity, defending his worshipers from the forces of darkness either passively (through his unseen, divine machinations) or actively, through his earthly representatives in the Priesthood of Aldaron. Aldaron is more than a defender of the light, however- he is also the destroyer of darkness, and his priesthood frequently engages in crusades designed to purge evil elements (monsters, undead creatures, criminal bands, and evil cults) from Entar.

And although physical strength is highly prized by Aldaron, he is also very wise. Aldaron is a god of justice and truth, and he hands these ideals down to his followers. Typically, it is believed that in order to please Aldaron one should follow the laws of man, unless those laws happen to be unjust. If a law is unjust, it is better to change the law in question than it is to wantonly break it.
Mercy and benevolence are important aspects of Aldaron, and something he looks for and rewards in his followers. Basically, Aldaron expects the strong to protect the weak, and the weak to support the strong. The God of Light became an extremely popular figure in Entar after he stopped Maedhros during The Sundering, and much of what the people of Entar know about him today comes from his actions during that momentous event. He is particularly known for his final battle with Maedhros, and for subsequently casting him into the Abyss.

Aldaron could've destroyed Maedhros utterly, but he instead chose to simply imprison him. Followers of Aldaron refer to this decision as Aldaron's Mercy- a noble refusal to take the life of even one's greatest enemy. Those outside the Priesthood of Aldaron sometimes view the event differently, however. They point out that, had Aldaron simply slain Maedhros, he could've prevented the Fallen One's return. Also, the Gate created for Maedhros' banishment was the primary cause of the destruction of Loriath and the creation of the Wastes. Critics, therefore, sometimes refer to Aldaron's Mercy as Aldaron's Folly.

It is clear, then, that while a well-meaning and benevolent force, Aldaron can occasionally be blinded by his own ideals. It is in this way that the otherwise-perfect god reflects the frailties of the people that serve him. Some may despise Aldaron for his actions during The Sundering, but the majority of Entar loves him for it.

Power

Faith magic stemming from Aldaron is famously bright and brilliant. It is as if Aldaron's followers temporarily take on their god's likeness, inspiring either awe or terror (dependent, of course, upon the content of the individual spectator's heart). Despite all their flash, however, the magics are still primarily concerned with defending the caster and their allies. Aldaron's devout can create magical weapons, shields and wards to defend themselves, or summon light capable of piercing even the most vile darkness.

Due to the priesthood's tendency to diligently seek out and destroy evil, Aldaron sometimes grants his followers offensive abilities as well. Clerics and paladins of Aldaron can sometimes smite their enemies with a blast of holy energy, or blind them with the radiance of the The Defender.

If it is your goal to devastate the forces of darkness, you simply cannot have a better ally than the God of Light.


Iconography

Avatar

In religious artwork, Aldaron is usually depicted as a strong, unusually muscular high elven male. This is the legendary form he took during The Sundering to defend the elves of Loriath, and exemplifies his role as Defender of Entar. He is dressed in full platemail with long, flowing blond hair spilling out from beneath his helm. He wields a sword and shield, and glows with a glorious white aura of strength and righteousness. On his face he wears a stern, serious, yet somehow benevolent expression.

Symbols

A balanced white scale, a shield with a sword emblazoned on it

Colors

Pristine white and pale blue

Sacred Objects

The traditional swords and shields produced by the Priesthood of Aldaron are easily the most commonly-used religious objects. If a paladin, cleric or priest should break or lose his shield or sword, he will immediately request a new one. Any old sword won't do- they must be officially blessed by the priesthood, and without these items, a clergyman of Aldaron will not be permitted to perform his priestly duties.

All temples to Aldaron house an altar, and on it, a small statue of Aldaron made out of silver, gold, steel, or some other lustrous metal. This statue is usually regarded as the holiest object in the temple... unless that particular temple is lucky enough to hold a fragment of Luinár. Luinár was the divine blade Aldaron used in his battle with Maedhros. It was destroyed during The Sundering, but the elves diligently collected all the pieces, and kept them as a war trophy. Over the years, a few fragments have left the Elentári. One piece sits in the Temple to Aldaron in Elenion, while another rests on an altar in Míriel. The fragments of Luinár are said to hold exceptional powers, enough to save an entire city from destruction. They are very rarely used, however, both out of respect for the God of Light, and because of their propensity for creating martyrs.

Sacred Texts

Literally hundreds of books have been written about Aldaron since The Sundering. Aldaron's priests and clerics are prolific writers,  and they have produced many philosophical, artistic and religious works over the centuries. The Loriathian Chronicle, however, is by far the oldest book in their collective library, not to mention the most sacred. The Loriathian Chronicle was written during The Sundering, supposedly by three individuals who witnessed the events first-hand. The Chronicle is divided into three different "books", one for each author.

The first book was written by an unknown elven commoner who describes the early stages of the war, and the elven people's desperation in the face of the orcish hordes.

Book two was written by an Andúnë Calvary-commander named Atros Tilrin. It deals with Aldaron's appearance, his battle with Maedhros, the creation of the Gate, and several other important events that eventually turned the tide of the war. It is by far the most famous and celebrated book.

The final book was written by a soldier who served under Tilrin, and is primarily concerned with Aldaron's departure and the aftermath of The Sundering. It is generally regarded as the darkest book of the three.
For centuries, The Loriathian Chronicle was only written in Loresti. But over the course of the past two hundred years or so more and more copies are being written in Common or Elvish, languages the average worshiper finds much more accessible.


Followers

Favor

According to the teachings of Aldaron, the strong should defend the weak, and the weak should support the strong. This means that many people are capable of earning the God of Light's esteem, from the lowly, law-abiding peasant to the just, crusading knight. For your average denizen of Entar, living honestly and decently is more than enough to please Aldaron.
The Defender's expectations vary from person to person, however. Those with more individual power (whether it be physical, magical, financial, or political) are expected to do more to benefit their fellow man (or dwarf, or elf, or what-have-you). So, while a blind, feeble beggar may please Aldaron by simply being a good, law-abiding person, a powerful sorcerer or a mighty emperor is going to have to do more in order to earn the God of Light's esteem.

Basically, each person is expected to do all they can for Aldaron and the good of society. Therefore, a particularly strong individual should consider becoming a soldier or a paladin, in order to better defend his fellows. A particularly intelligent individual should consider becoming a mage for the same reason. A particularly creative individual should consider becoming a writer, creating poems and singing the praises of Aldaron, and so on.

Daily prayer is also a good way to please the God of Light. Prayer to Aldaron is never silent, or even quiet. Boisterous songs and hymnals are popular, but the Priesthood of Aldaron prefers something they call "moving meditation". The tradition of moving meditation began back in ancient times, prior to The Sundering, when the priesthood was better known as the Arm of Aldaron. The Arm had a strictly martial bent, and spent most of their time training the body and purifying the soul, preparing to do battle with Maedhros' looming army.

And although the Priesthood of Aldaron has changed immensely since then, the extremely physical method of their training and prayers has remained. Moving meditation is always extremely physical. Exact techniques differ from one region to the next, but usually include jumps, dances, dizzying twirls, or sword-fighting techniques repeated ad nauseum and set to a grueling pace. The whole ordeal is designed to train the worshipper's body while simultaneously inflicting a sort of exhaustion-induced delirium believed to make prayer more effective.

No matter how they gain it, those who attract the favor of The Defender can walk boldly into even the deepest darkness. Courage, success in combat, and general good fortune are considered to be sure signs of Aldaron's protection, as well.

Disfavor

Aldaron cannot tolerate those who exploit weaker individuals. He is the bane of tyrants, bullies and warmongers, and those that abuse the weak should not expect to enjoy his protection. The God of Light has no love for the self-serving or the greedy, and unless they somehow reform their ways, they will some day meet his wrath.

It should also be noted that Aldaron, being a very humble and selfless god, absolutely detests the vain and the arrogant. It is possible, then, for some one to be punished by Aldaron not because of his or her actions, but because of the content of his or her heart.

On the other hand, Aldaron also hates the lazy and the slothful- those who do nothing to support themselves or their betters. It should also be noted that the God of Light shies away from rebellion and wanton criminal activity. In general, he seems to believe that it is best if the commoners know their place.

Aldaron's followers also believe in duality- in ultimate good and pure evil. If you're not with them, you're against them, and the Priesthood of Aldaron is extremely intolerant of followers of the dark gods. Worshiping Maedhros, or even recognizing his status as a god, is considered heresy by the Priesthood of Aldaron, and they actively seek out and attempt to destroy Maedhros' servants.
Due to Aldaron's considerable influence over the mortal races, it should come as no surprise that anyone suspected of displeasing the God of Light will become an instant pariah. They will also lose the benefits of his divine protection, and become vulnerable to the wiles of the darker gods and their servants.

The Faithful

The Priesthood of Aldaron began as the Arm of Aldaron, a predominantly-elvish religious order created to combat the orcs during The Sundering. Aldaron galvanized the religious movement, however, when he appeared before his devout as an elvish lord and challenged Maedhros to a duel. The result, of course, was Aldaron's victory, which made him the savior of Entar and greatly expanded the Arm's appeal.

Membership exploded in the Arm of Aldaron, but since the orcs were severely disorganized without their dark leader, the group no longer seemed necessary. As a result, the Arm of Aldaron switched its focus from warfare to charity and sermon, and changed its name to the more benign Priesthood of Aldaron. Some still refer to them as the Arm, however, and they have maintained many of their martial traditions, especially the constant, ever-vigilant crusade against evil.

Official priests of Aldaron are divided into two major groups: the clerics, and the regular priests. They are equally important within the priesthood's hierarchy, and the one real difference between the two is the clerics' focus on combat. The priests are in charge of giving sermons and performing ceremonies and the like, while the clerics are expected to work with local law enforcement on defending the populous. No matter which order they belong to, the official priests and clerics of Aldaron all spend their days performing their priestly duties, and their nights reading, writing, and meditating on their lord.

Each temple is headed by an "archpriest", who may come from either the priests or the clerics. Archpriests serve for life, and when one expires, the next is selected based on age, seniority, and personal merit. Every year, the archpriests of every region convene to select a representative to represent them in the Council of Light. The Council of Light then meets in Elenion to discuss major matters in the priesthood.

The clergymen of the Priesthood of Aldaron (whether they be priests, clerics or archpriests), all wear clean, white robes with pale blue trim around the hem, sleeves and collar. Archpriests are differentiated from their subordinates with the large, blue and white epaulettes they wear.
All clergymen in the priesthood carry a sword and shield, no matter their age or even their capacity to use them properly. The swords are crafted within the priesthood, and are made by specialized clerics. The weapons are made of the finest steel, and blessed, causing them to inflict more damage on undead creatures and other denizens of the dark. Naturally, such weapons fetch a high price outside of the priesthood, and the Arm has sometimes resorted to selling off their excess weaponry when their coffers were low. The shield is a small kite shield with a thick, sky-blue band tracing its edges. In the center of the shield, a large, white sword is painted. The swords are ordinary-looking shortswords with small blue shields engraved on the hilt.

Official priests and clerics also speak a language called Loresti, which translates to "lore-tongue". It is the official language of the church, and many of its sacred texts have never been translated into any other language. In fact, a priest or cleric's training consists mainly of learning this language, and their training is considered complete once they are able to demonstrate fluency in Loresti.

Individuals who are faithful to Aldaron and can even wield some of his faith magic have the option of becoming paladins. Paladins are not taught Loresti, but are instead put through a rigorous, two-year training course which teaches them the finer points of combating Aldaron's enemies. Most paladins wield the traditional sword and shield of Aldaron, but they substitute the cleric's robes for heavier armor. The paladins are the priesthood's main fighting force, and when they are not busy actively battling the forces of darkness, they usually serve as temple guards.

And finally there are the crusaders. The term "crusader" was originally used to denote soldiers and warriors for the Arm who, unlike paladins, did not use faith magic to augment their fighting ability for one reason or another. And while a number of these old-style crusaders still exist, the term has broadened in recent years to include humble book-keepers, temple custodians, and even the average worshiper. As the clergy sees it, anyone who actively worships Aldaron is, in at least some small way, a crusader for the light.

Due to the priesthood's ardent belief in constant vigilance against evil, the average temple to Aldaron resembles a busy barracks more than a solemn place of worship. Temples to Aldaron are usually quite busy and loud, their white stone halls bustling with activity. The typical temple is divided into three main sections. First, there is the entrance, and beyond it, pews, an altar, and a podium. It is here that sermons are usually held- how often they are held depends on how busy the temple is (in large cities, sermons are sometimes held two or three times a day). Attached to the altar room are the private offices of the clerics and priests, where worshipers can go to seek spiritual advice or to request aid.

And there is, finally, the meditation hall, where the paladins, priests, clerics, and common worshipers can go to practice moving meditation. Moving meditation is the most popular vehicle for prayer to The Defender, and while different temples may suggest different motions, the basic idea is to enlighten the mind by exhausting the body. The worshipers repeat a series of simple sword exercises, or sometimes basic dances involving a great deal of jumping and twirling. As the faithful lose themselves in the motions of their body, it is believed that they enter a surreal state of being, allowing them to better comprehend Aldaron's tireless efforts to defend Entar.

Prominence

After The Sundering, Aldaron became an incredibly popular god. He is worshiped in virtually every land, especially in the Elentari and Andúnë. Consequently, the Priesthood of Aldaron has become one of the largest and most powerful organizations in all of Entar. This can be a mixed blessing at times, however- as the priesthood grows, sometimes less scrupulous clergymen slip through the cracks, and the Priesthood of Aldaron has had some major problems with corruption and scandal in recent history. Despite this, Aldaron is a widely-accepted god, and a comforting presence in Entar. Even the most vile and self-serving king would allow the Priesthood of Aldaron to operate within his borders. After all, the priesthood usually encourages the peasantry to support the laws of their ruler, making Aldaron's faithful quite useful for keeping the peace.


Quote

"And with the challenge so issued, the earth was split and sundered,
and from the dark bowels of the world erupted the Dark One Incarnate.
And the God of Darkness did make battle with the God of Light,
Battle most fierce- the heavens themselves twisted in the heat
of the Defender's radiance. Stars fell from the sky with a sweep of His arm,
Mountains cracked and trembled at His words of power,
Rivers stood still, so heavy were they with the Dark One's blood.
Finally, Aldaron pronounced a Great Benediction, and plunged
Luinár, the blade of the Divine Defender, into the skin of Entar.
And through Aldaron's Mercy the rocks and sky forged a magnificent Gate;
Maedhros was thrown into it, and Sealed, and the Dark One
became the Fallen One, and the fragments of shattered Luinár
pierced the night with Aldaron's Benevolence."
-Excerpt from Book II of The Loriathian Chronicle


Credits

  • Original Concept and Write-up: Two-Moons
  • Revised Edition: Zyrphath & Davin
« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 11:13:35 PM by Davin Ragal »
Tome of Darkness


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Offline Davin Ragal

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Re: Aldaron
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2016, 11:14:03 PM »
Looking good, scaled the image a little and fixed a typo