|Home(s)||Above A Churning Silver Sea|
|Portfolio||Indulgence, Desire, Revelry, Madness, Self-Destruction, Shamelessness|
|Worshippers||Courtesans, barkeeps and party-goers, the degenerately wealthy, the disgraced|
History in Avendar
After the Sundering which smote the ancient alatharya, the aelin were the first race to wax powerful. Their high culture, born of both divine ember and their keen intellect, established itself in the years following the Fall. During this period, two parent-gods emerged in the race's growing conscience: Aeolis, charismatic patron of the arts, and Alia, radiant goddess of the skies. Both were worshipped, and usually in concert; Aeolis exulted in the blessings of romance, while Alia was both cherished lover and muse. Many of the early aelin found some of themselves in these ideals, and the connection between the divine and the mundane was strong.
During the War of Fire, droves of aelin lost their lives as their cities were torched by the base armies of srryn and humans. Within the burning cities, the aelin clung to what hope they could, although their naive cultural dream of ideal lovers was dashed. To preserve that dream, many aelin set out with early humans to seek calm and healing amidst the destruction of the War, ultimately rousing Jolinn, Father of the Seas, from his long slumber. With so much lost, the post-War years were largely dedicated to restoring the aelin race to its former glory. Although the high culture of the aelin came to the humans in the form of the Republic, the heart of the aelin people remained focused on themselves.
Sensing the needs of the people, Alia descended from the heavens to soothe the weary minds of Her children. Along with Her came the servitor-god Serachel, who acted as intermediary to the blossoming faith of Jolinn. Aeolis remained aloof, the distant and idealized aelin man and father of culture. However, Serachel and Alia quickly found themselves lost amidst the pleasures of the flesh, wandering amidst the great cities in mortal form. As Serachel's corruption grew, so did Alia's immersion into aelin life. Ancient art depicts a masked, nude woman at the Fallen Angel's side; many scholars suggest this as Alia.
Alia's spiral into self-destruction continued, Her actions growing more and more outrageous. The stubborn pride of the aelin steadily became less and less accepting of Alia's shameless behavior, as She indulged further into addictions, lusts, and debasement. By the time Serachel's guile was unmasked at the close of the War of Night, Alia had entirely lost Herself, retaining only the scattered roots of Her divine heritage. Calling Herself Alil, She scantly resembled the aelin race's idealized woman. Her amorous, self-loathing nature had plummeted to legendary depths, bringing shame to even the most debauched of Serachel's disciples. In what He considered an act of mercy, Aeolis stripped Alil of Her mortal form and returned Her to godhood. However, unwilling or unable to resist the pursuit of new sensations, this sudden shift further fed Her insanity. Unscrupulous and starved for the sensation She so craves, Alil's insatiable desire has struck a new, if frightening, direction for the aelin soul.
Goals and Methods
Given the mercurial nature of Alil, defining Her goals is simultaneously as simple as to seek endless new sensations and as complex as unraveling the deepest possible depths of the internal world. Alil craves new pleasures and pains, with each growing desire a maw in which to feed Her past selves. She seeks, through both Her own actions and those of Her following, to strike at the heart of the mortal experience. Having indulged so greatly, She has long lost personally feeling "newness", and thus delights most heavily in followers and their "first times" in experiencing delicious, forgotten thrills. Although ostensibly female, Alil lives vicariously through her following, both male and female, to voraciously claim all facets of both genders. As a result, it is not uncommon to hear Alil depicted or described as a male aggressor.
Although Alil indulges in and consumes the experiences of all races, Her strongest affinity remains for the aelin, in whom her own self-destructive pride is rooted. The further they are alienated from Her, the more desirous She grows of their affection and adoration. As a result, the rare aelin followers of Alil tend to feel the strongest thrust of Her influence, Her madness suffusing them as strongly as the pleasures they together seek. Ideally, Alil would seek to one day return to the flesh, somehow bypassing the Compact and other divine restraints on Her insatiable appetites. Until that time, She covets and subsists on the lusts of mortalkind, ever hungering for Her triumphant and debauched return.
Organizations and Followings
Despite Alil's fickle whims, followings have risen and loosely organized in Her name. Those who seek the Lotus are as diverse as the experiences She so relishes, but the largest of her factions are as follows:
The Children of Indulgence
"One for her, three for me."
The most typical followers of Alil, Children of Indulgence tend to be self-interested, impulsive, and petty. Excess is not an ideal, but a way of life to these apparent degenerates; they seek out and consume new addictions as fervently as an evangelist recites prayers. They give little thought to property destruction, revelry or casual seduction, but these acts are not concerned with gains or losses from such encounters. Children of Indulgence are often discounted as hopelessly debauched and societal outcasts, but this in no way hampers their ability to cause trouble and wreak havoc. Humans are the most likely to be of this faction, although races who trend toward chaotic ethoi are not uncommon.
The Sensates of the Lotus
"Challenges come and go; my experiences are immortal."
Seeking the limits of both body and mind, the Sensates of the Lotus make up a curious portion of Alil's devoted. Like their brethren, they seek to experience all things, but reject senseless excess. They instead press their physical and mental strength to its limits, usually in performing suicidal tasks or seeking new depths of feeling or insight. Daredevils are frequently amongst the Sensates, but scholarly sorts find acceptance there as well (such as a barfly dispassionately writing the precise effects and potency of every sort of alcohol in the known world). Psionicists who seek perfection of their own bodies and to battle the internal ravages of excess are possibly the most stereotypical of the Sensates.
"Death to the impostor! Fair Alia lives!"
Possibly the most marginalized of Alil's ilk are Alia's Steadfast, who reject the shameless self-indulgence apparent throughout the faith. Largely predicated on the purity of Alia, the Steadfast claim that Alil is actually an usurper that has captured or imprisoned a defenseless Alia. As a result, they seek to restore the name of Alia and separate it from the horrifying excesses of Alil. The Steadfast are almost militant to a fault, largely reflecting the aelin desire to reclaim the essence of their ancient goddess and reset the hands of time. Those who take Alia's name in vain, or associate Her with Her transformation, are dealt with viciously and with remarkable prejudice. Many would argue this belief is predicated on a historical error, but some facet of Alia empowers them and their self-loathing purge of Alil's faithful.
Typical followers of Alil have complete eschewed anything that resembles a common morality, exulting in the basest of lusts without hesitation or compunction. This self-centered outlook does not necessarily require manipulation or greed, but they tend to come in handy to those seeking to live as if their lives end tomorrow. Her devoted tend to choose their own path in life and traditionally reject authority, but particularly the moralizing of evangelists. Their clashes with the law tend to center largely around outrageous behavior, but those trifles are as quickly passed as a morning hangover. Given Alil's capricious nature, this is not without exception, especially in the case of Alia's Steadfast, who embrace all of what Alil is almost certainly not.
Alil is commonly and casually worshipped as the goddess of revelry. This is most apparent on feast days, when some of Her following organize and oversee large, localized celebrations. Raising a glass to the Mad Angel is hardly frowned upon, even by non-followers, to lower inhibitions along with the copious alcohol that will no doubt be consumed. Even the proud aelin offer a toast to their fallen goddess, although perhaps more soberly than those of lower birth.
Those who find favor with the whims of Alil are marked with a lotus of varying shades.
The gods of the Light largely look upon Alil with pity or scorn, as Her spiral into madness is as much derived from Her own lack of self-control as the prompting of Serachel. Contrarily, the gods of darkness largely view Alil as both a pawn and liability, as her ephemeral whims often sabotage their designs as much as assist them. Lawful gods are largely indifferent to the disruptions of Alil; they rarely manifest in the dangerous ways of other chaotic deities, who gleefully watch the spectacle of Her actions.
Aeolis, in particular, has a strong interest in restoring Alil to Her former self. As the father of the aelin race, He longs for the return of His divine lover and muse and the cleansing of Her tarnished name. Conversely, Serachel seeks to complete the corruption of Alil and to claim Her as His prize. She, in turn, might become as He is, and usher a new era of the aelin race as at His side.