|Home(s)||A Windy Ocean Beach|
|Symbol(s)||The Shadow Mask|
|Portfolio||The Arts, Beguilement, Corruption, Betrayal, Nightmares, Politics|
|Worshippers||Aelin, Void magi, artists, sociopaths, demagogues|
History in Avendar
With the close of the War of Fire, the destruction of vast swaths of the aelin high culture took its toll on the proud race. Their dreams of an aelin cultural empire left in ruins, their racial effort turned collectively to re-establishing themselves throughout Avendar. Jolinn, taking pity on the aelin for their plight during His long slumber, sent the servitor-god Serachel as His emissary to the war-torn civilization. Little is known of Serachel's nature upon His arrival to the Prime, but many aelin scholars logically assert that His ideals were not far removed from those of the Father of the Seas.
The patron gods of the aelin, Aeolis and Alia, accepted the aid of Serachel, although Aeolis in particular resented the closeness the outsider had taken with His children. Alia, the goddess of beauty, felt great sorrow at the plight of the aelin. She and Aeolis quarreled, but She ultimately convinced Him that She should join Serachel on the Prime to help rebuild the fractured empire. Although He conceded Her this, He did not take mortal form Himself, leaving Serachel and Alia to trust in one another as they experienced the mundane world. Fragmented histories depict Serachel Himself as angelic and devastatingly intelligent, quickly finding a place of honor in high society's inner circles.
As the years wore on, Serachel and Alia enmeshed themselves more and more greatly into the intrigues of aelin life. Serachel Himself found great power, and His following blossomed rapidly. Their collective embrace of decadence became increasingly obvious, although they lauded this previously unseemly behavior as the just fruits of aelin racial superiority. What art remains of the period often depicts a masked, nude woman at Serachel's side, who is presumably Alia. Contemporary scholars debate the nature of Serachel's fall. Some speak of it as the corrupting influence of the aelin culture on Him; some believe that the lust born between He and Alia, and His subsequent role in Her self-destruction, darkened His soul; while others still maintain that He was always corrupt, but grew more overt along with His own self-confidence.
As the dark knowledge of the shuddeni leaked from their underground cities to the surface, Serachel's followers secretly embraced it. By the time the War of Night had begun in full force, Serachel advocated the aelin as a people understanding and mastering the magics of Void. This, He reasoned, would preserve the aelin from another horrific tragedy such as that which befell them during the War of Fire. The dark designs of Serachel were as vast and encompassing as His shocking intellect, leaving little to chance. Having chosen many of the brightest among the aelin, it seemed inevitable that His ideology would topple the aelin beliefs of old and ensure a new and monstrous legacy.
Serachel's political machinations were thwarted by the sudden arrival of Rystaia and the ch'taren. It is said that Aeolis, fearing for the future of Alia and His children, called upon the Lightbringer for aid. Through the magics of Spirit, Rystaia revealed Serachel to all for what He undeniably was, ultimately imprisoning Him in His Nightmare Realm for a millennium. During this long period of stasis, both His remaining followers and opponents alike sought to strike all record of Serachel's existence from written and oral histories. Try as they might, the decadent philosophies of the Fallen could never be excised from the aelin heart. He has again returned to the global conscience of Avendar with His release by the Coven of the Shunned, and once more makes the mortal tapestry the playground of His designs.
Goals and Methods
The precise goals of Serachel are as secretive as His following. With the purge of countless records after the War of Night, much of Serachel's historical character is the subject of conjecture. Educated guesses based on what little evidence remains have fueled a number of competing theories on His nature, and consequently, His aims. Apologists consider Him a tragic figure and possibly a scapegoat, claiming that He sought to preserve the aelin race while Aeolis abandoned them. Hard-liners of the Aeolian faith consider Serachel an irredeemable monster, whose goal is to claim the collective soul of the aelin as His own. Others still consider that the aelin people themselves are to blame, by allowing what they knew to be wrong to flourish while their own morality withered. With His release from the Nightmare Realm and the incorporation of other races into His web, Serachel's final objectives are doubtless more encompassing than ever.
Aelin scholars and historians struggle with the knowledge that Serachel grasped their racial condition more thoroughly than they themselves ever could. Truly, what He represents is as central to the aelin experience as the high moralism of Aeolis and the ancient, glorious heights of Alia. This makes Serachel's place in contemporary aelin society a troubled one. Many cling to His carnal and esoteric significance, their stubborn pride affirming His claims of racial supremacy. Public embrace of Him is met with similarly public scorn, despite the perceived pragmatism of His methods. Demagogues particularly raise Serachelian ideals where they will be most accepted, although for now, that element has remained on the fringes of widespread acceptance.
Organizations and Followings
Unlike many gods, followers of Serachel rarely work in concert and frequently avoid others who they know serve their Lord. As a result, "organizations" belonging to the Serachelian faith are largely described by outsiders retroactively, attempting to discern a pattern in His mortal designs. The three most prominent categories of Serachel's followers are as follows:
The Serpents of the Silver Tongue
"Trust in me, and you shall prevail."
Popular figures or powerful warriors find themselves amidst the Serpents of the Silver Tongue. However, the binding tie of this diverse lot is the force of personality they exert on others. Many in this category have particularly impressive command of language or thorough understanding of relationships, bending many to their will through politicking, seduction, or displays of overt force. It is these chosen who are most likely to find both success and cultural or military power, relying on their innate charisma or political instincts. There is some overlap with the upper echelon of the Coven of the Shunned, although this is hardly required; that is but one of many roads available to an industrious Serpent.
The Thrall of Desire
"I'm… not a bad person, I'm just misunderstood! Misunderstood!"
Many who aspire to become chosen by the Fallen Lord frequently are incapable of doing so. However, even those flawed supplicants can still become part of Serachel's greater designs. Obvious liars, disreputable salespeople, and appallingly corrupt politicians all fancy themselves as exceptional, to which consequence does not apply. Through them, Serachel masks His true intentions by allowing this unlucky lot to deflect attention and draw scorn. Many who are historically considered Thrall do not realize that they are such, instead becoming ensnared by their own delusions of grandeur. Serachel finds the collapse of their tenuous empires particularly delicious, and has been known to encourage them unto their ultimate and irrevocable undoing.
The Nameless Voices
"My voice is echoed in the words of the masses."
Not all followers of Serachel require coveted positions of power or struggle under the weight of their own ineptitude. The Nameless Voices are called such because they frequently act while concealed by anonymity. A rabble-rouser who seeks to destabilize a community or city-state so a favored group (or he himself) can seize control would be considered in this sect. Additionally, propagandists or cultural subversives could also be found under this aegis, seeking to guide public opinion into a favorable direction without providing an obvious target for rebuttal. Artists, especially, find themselves among the Nameless, using the beauty and horror they create to poison the hearts of those who embrace it.
Serachel seeks those who represent a natural aristocracy, usually in superior wit, skill, or understanding. Thus, those who follow Him frequently believe that they are the keys that turn the world. The degree to which this is actually true tends to delineate how they are viewed historically, if their intrigues are discovered at all. Secrecy is primary to those who keep the Serachelian faith, as their influence might wane if their goals or personal desires were known. Additionally, their senses are keenest toward others who are like them, whom they seek to undermine at every possible opportunity. Serachel's faithful often mirror the behavior of those around them and frequently to their undoing; the simplest way to be outed as a pretender is to be pretending.
Culturally, Serachel's worship is frowned upon in aelin centers such as Ilodaiya. In more human establishments, such as Earendam or Ashta Harrud, the public display of religious icons or symbolism is far more tolerated, particularly within especially lavish circles. Other races tend to avoid Serachel's worship, focusing instead on their own racial gods, or more broadly accepted religions such as that of Ashur.
Those who find favor with the Lord of the Fallen may be branded with the Sigil of the Shadow Mask, but due to its nature, such a mark cannot be detected by mortal senses.
Serachel stands high as a god of darkness, as His intrigues and successes outmatch many of His deific brethren. As patron of the Coven of the Shunned, Serachel's will is wrought through far more mortal hands than many of His evil counterparts. Unsurprisingly, He is hated, but grudgingly respected, particularly within the lower powers of the pantheon. Gods of law tend to rightfully distrust Serachel and His followers. Although His treachery is legendary, the devoted of Rveyelhi find common ground with His pragmatic mindset and power-centralizing methods. The neutral pantheon remains cautiously aware of Serachel's notorious designs, avoiding entangling themselves if at all possible. It goes without saying that the gods of the light revile Serachel, but especially the ch'taren deities, who espouse truth as high ideal.
Aeolis is Serachel's primary rival, and it is with Him that the Dark Angel battles for the hearts and minds of the aelin race. Serachel in many ways represents a warped reflection of the ancient worship of Aeolis, which only fuels the bitterness of their conflict. Alil is largely viewed by Serachel as one of the many spoils of His timeless competition with Aeolis, with the completion of Her corruption a final and demoralizing masterstroke.