|Symbol(s)||A teardrop, a mote of light|
|Portfolio||Hope, Sacrifice, Martyrdom, Poignancy, Memory, Insight|
|Worshippers||Ch'taren, Spirit magi, martyrs, researchers|
History in Avendar
Twin brother to the goddess Rystaia, Vaialos was worshipped by the ch'taren in their home plane. It is said that together, the Twins breathed life into the earliest ch'taren and nurtured and protected the fledgling race in its infancy. Much of the early ch'taren identity can be attributed to this era, and many still believe that it was by the grace of Vaialos that their natural intelligence grew to dizzying heights.
However, this idyllic existence was not to last. Cataclysm struck the ch'taren in the form of Tzet-Askhari, overgod and Bringer of Ends. Because the ch'taren home plane existed outside of the Compact, the Dragon ravaged and consumed both the Twins' world and creations. All seemed lost until the Twins uncovered the plans of Ashur and Its vile children. While Rystaia and Her priest, Shathalith, prepared the ch'taren for passage to the Prime, Vaialos confronted the Dragon of the Void alone. In a desperate attempt to buy time, He battled Tzet-Askhari, but was Himself consumed in the process. However, His sacrifice was not in vain: Rystaia and the ch'taren escaped certain annihilation during the struggle.
Although the ch'taren as a people found joy in their victories during the War of Night, the loss of Vaialos was staggering. Even in their grief, many of His remaining devoted scrambled to shield their siblings as they built a new life in an alien world. The soldiers who fought in His name began to call themselves the Aivei Lm'keh, and under the guidance of Saint Chalane Tyra, forged the primary defenses of the newly established ch'taren havens. Like Vaialos before him, Saint Chalane gave his life in defense of the ch'taren Haven of Wind, Ad'masteisa, and it too was ultimately destroyed.
Vaialos remains a profound symbol of the price of survival, and the significance of a life given willingly for the greater good. Many ch'taren adhere to the tattered remains of His faith out of a deep respect for His sacrifice. Although his following is primarily ch'taren, some races native to Avendar have been enthralled by the gravity of His actions and the enduring belief that has lingered so long.
Goals and Methods
Although the exact nature of His original worship is in dispute, many attribute to Him the Art of Availlae. This has led some scholars to suggest that it was part of His divinity which allowed the creation of the legendary metal, ch'lonin. Since His death and the transition to the Prime, the Art has been unable to be properly duplicated.
Without a living god to guide the faithful, it has fallen upon His believers to act as they believe He desired. Vaialos' devoted often seek to be where they are needed, when they are needed, to serve the highest possible good. Pursuant to this, they espouse a global understanding of the world around them. They travel extensively in search of the hopeless, regardless of personal cost. Although no follower of Vaialos would damn themselves for a cause, they will otherwise serve to the fullest extent of their ability.
Organizations and Followings
Many Vaialan ideals are deeply entrenched into the ch'taren psyche. From their earliest arrival on the Prime, ch'taren have banded together in His name to serve the common defense. However, being so long-divorced from divine guidance, Vaialos' dedicants often seek out others who choose to express their belief in similar ways.
The Order of Aenea
"Is good not good for all?"
Dedicated to a thorough awareness of the world around them, the Order of Aenea includes diplomats, researchers, and explorers. They visit locales both obscure and mundane to seek out threats to goodly people throughout Avendar. Their scope can be as broad as a civilization or as narrow as the smallest village. When they are able, the Aenea attempt to right wrongs they encounter, although their primary focus is on documenting and relaying major threats. They are not mere meddlers, though those aided by them may feel so; be it through strength of voice or strength of arms, the Order of Aenea seek the well-being of all they meet.
The Aivei Lm'keh
"None of our lives, ever, are taken cheaply."
The Aiveh Lm'keh are among the oldest organized followings of Vaialos. Since the coming of the ch'taren to Avendar, they have served in a curious dual-role: it is they who primarily defend the ch'taren havens, and also they who seek to stab at the heart of darkness. The Aiveh Lm'keh use their lives as coin to save those who cannot be saved in any other way. Although they do not seek death, it is the highest expression of faith to be martyred in the service of the greatest good. The Aiveh Lm'keh place utmost value on the preservation of life at high personal cost, leading many of them to battlefields the world over.
"A great man is again one with the Weave. Let us give thanks for all he has done."
The least martial of the Vaialan priesthood, the Zseania Saxeitu, or "Thought Holders" aim to preserve the memory of fallen heroes. It is common for those of this sect to practice the magics of Spirit, often communing with those who have gone before. Many also spend countless hours reading manuscripts or listening to oral history, to better understand the actions of the dead. Ch'taren in particular look to the Zseania Saxeitu to perform rites for their brethren who have returned to the Weave. However, they are not a sorrowful lot; contrarily, their aim is to celebrate the lives of the fallen and appreciate the gift of their memory. In some small way, the Zseania Saxeitu seek joy in the face of loss, and share their revelation with others.
In general, adherents of Vaialos contrast and complement the typical outlook of the ch'taren race. They are joyful, but there is a deep poignancy to that feeling; they most fully grasp the price paid for such joys. All are willing to give of themselves for the good of others, but they never do so lightly. They relish the hope that Vaialos' sacrifice has seeded and seek to nurture it in others. Those ch'taren who dedicate themselves only to Him are comparatively rare, as the majority revere both He and His living Twin, Rystaia. Ascetics are common among those who do, though, as it takes a particularly self-effacing nature to devote oneself to a departed god. When the final line is drawn, His devoted are unyielding to the last man.
Rystaia's following is most closely associated with the Vaialan faith. In the aftermath of the War of Night, the two groups worked side-by-side to defend the ch'taren refugees. Even now, the Aiveh Lm'keh find themselves deeply enmeshed with the Chosen of Rystaia. The warband of Calaera the Ishia is also counted among His devoted's most respected allies, although their methodologies often preclude joint efforts. Among the scholars of Vaialos, there are rumors of ties to the enigmatic Society of the Shelratha, but like their other machinations, this bond is shadowy at best.
Followers of Jolinn often find themselves allied with the servants of Vaialos because of their shared focus on defense and vigilance. The contemplatives of Alajial find common ground with the Order of Aenea in particular, as do Chadraln's Researchers of Avendar. In a broader sense, scholarly caladaran find some interest in Vaialos' faith, as it represents a true example of history shaped by time.
Many who do not appreciate the sacrifice of Vaialos find the continued adherence to a dead god both pitiable and disrespectful to those gods who still live. Additionally, there is natural animosity between Vaialans and the servants of the dark gods. Ashur's following, in particular, often seek to complete the work of their dread god; contra-wise, those who fight in the name of Vaialos are all too aware that were it not for the Dragon, their god would still live.