Alajial the Mild, Blossom of Serenity
|Home(s)||An Endless Field of Lilies|
|Symbol||A white lily|
|Portfolio||Peace, absolution, charity, reconciliation, optimism, solace|
|Worshippers||Spirit magi, missionaries, conciliators, gardeners, peasants|
History in Avendar
With the steady migration of the caladaran from their ancestral home in the Rirro Jagka, the young race became quickly enmeshed in the other civilizations of the Prime. This fertile intellectual climate helped encourage the rise of the Republic, ushering in its great Golden Age. However, for staunch caladaran traditionalists, this period was as threatening as it was illuminating. Knowledge of magic and its diversity challenged long held assumptions about the role of mortalkind; war-like races and their brutal proclivities clashed with basic caladaran pacifism; and the unending multiplicity of animals, plants, and climates uprooted aging notions of the Prime itself. Change, it seemed, had become the only remaining constant.
Most disconcerting of all, however, was the steady transformation of extant caladaran religions. The Seer's devoted increasingly divorced themselves from both the monastic traditions of old, and the restraint that accompanied them. In parallel, the Arbiter's chosen steadily acclimated to the notion of war, even going so far as to acknowledge it as a path to enlightenment. Fear of this growing interracial fusion spread throughout many of the generation's oldest sages. Their manuscripts and letters suggest that they longed for a return to the old ways, and in time, sought new divine attention. These conservatives grew distant from their Chadralnite and Jalassan cousins, deigning to stay within, or return to, the dangerous glades of the Rirro Jagka.
This caladaran splinter seemed destined to suffer, and struggled with the violent incursions of the alatharya, the kankoran, and the srryn. Many elders were slain, and their traditional records and settlements were put to the torch. According to legend, Chadraln and Jalassa gave birth to a new deity, who would preserve and defend the caladaran who had rejected the world of aelin and men. They named this young goddess Alajial, and Her influence was first revealed with the sudden spring of lilies from the barren earth of the ancient glades. Where these flowers bloomed, an aura of peace pervaded; here, the caladaran faithful found solace from the aggression which had so plagued them. Over time, optimism similarly blossomed within their hearts. Bearing the sign of the White Lily, Alajian monks eventually found the desire to again strike out into the world beyond.
The War of Night offered these missionaries great opportunity. As cities fell and armies clashed throughout the known world, Alajial's message of peace and comfort seemed like an impossible fantasy. Yet, simultaneously, these ideas spoke to the needs of the injured, the fearful, and the war-weary. While other caladaran traditions locked themselves away in monasteries or delved into forbidden mysteries, these sages bandaged the wounded and tended the sick alongside the Tower of Salyra's healers. Their unprecedented aptitude for soothing dark torments brought significant renown throughout the Republic. Alajial's faithful argue that it was She who first gifted the knowledge of Spirit magic, before the revelation of Rystaia Lightbringer and Her ch'taren. Regardless of the veracity of this claim, there is little doubt that Alajian monks were among the first to explore the sphere after the War's end.
In time, these monks and their successors would gain greater prominence with the development of a unified Spirit school. This influence gave their long-overshadowed religion a new and heightened credibility with the other races of the Prime. More importantly, though, it allowed the first serious dialog between Alajian contemplatives, cosmopolitan Chadralnite intellectuals, and the warrior-philosophers of the Jalassan order. In the modern era, Alajial has taken Her place as the third in the caladaran deific trinity. Her benevolence and affection grant solace to those who toil in dark times, and guide those who place others before themselves.
Goals and Methods
Alajial's ultimate goal is peace throughout Avendar and within the deific pantheon. Because of Her placid goodness, She is often both portrayed and understood as a caladaran god-child. This helps to frame the ideal which She pursues; founded on innocence, She challenges the pragmatism of adulthood. She is therefore capable of offering a whole-hearted and complete absolution to those who offer themselves to Her, without the tiresome requirements of Jalassan penance or Iandiric justice. True remorse, to Alajial, is the only price of admission into Her fold. Predictably, She expects those who work in Her name to extend a similar degree of succor to those whom they encounter, and those who wrong them in particular. It should be noted that She wishes more than an empty word of forgiveness; instead, She demands that Her followers do their best to reconcile their differences even with enemies. While this will often place an Alajian on dangerous ground, it represents a fearless commitment to Her creed.
The ways by which She and Her devoted extend this innocent goodness are many and varied. She finds value in contemplation and introspection, as She feels this helps reveal previously unknown common ground with others. Understanding, to Alajial, differs from its Jalassan cousin in that it is inherently more positive. While Jalassans seek to consider implications and the highest good, Alajians prefer to ruminate on feelings, possibilities, and interpersonal improvement. Alajial preaches charity, be it through time, money, or simply emotional support. While this can be as simple as a copper out of pocket, it can also extend to a patient listening ear, or protection of the frail and downtrodden. In all that She does, Alajial hopes to inspire an eternal optimism for what is to come, and expects Her followers to do the same, even in the face of adversity. Violence is one of the few tools that Alajial discourages, as battles often beget further and greater tragedies. However, She does not begrudge Her devoted for self-defense, or for protecting those whom they love.
Organizations and Followings
The service of Alajial is both personal and communal, explored within a single heart or a larger community. Monasteries and missions have been established throughout Avendar, although the simple life of a monk does not indulge the outgoing nature of most adventurers. Thus, the following of Alajial within the adventurer class is more likely to be a solitary affair supplemented by monastic support. Some common forms of Her followers are as follows:
The Seekers of Solace
"I'm just so tired of fighting..."
Many who are drawn to the philosophy of Alajial desire individual forgiveness or personal peace. Those who are haunted by their past wrongs, or have suffered some immense tragedy, may wish to become a Seeker. Often, these individuals have already been rejected by good-hearted communities in light of past cruelties; indeed, the violent, malicious, and dangerous often need the willing absolution of Alajial most. Regardless of his prior troubles, when a Seeker embarks on the road to renewal, he makes a binding promise to uphold Alajian ideals. He may choose to become a pacifist, or take a vow of poverty, or work for the benefit of others while he receives nothing in return. Those who attempt to disguise their intentions by appealing falsely to Alajial are punished by the gods of the light, to serve as a powerful warning to those who would play at redemption. Seekers of Solace include virtually all alignments and ethoi, excluding only the shuddeni. In the end, Seekers' souls are purified, making it a particularly appealing direction for older adventurers.
The Emissaries of Peace
"What troubles you, my friend?"
Some who are drawn to Alajial are not troubled souls themselves, but instead act as natural peacemakers. The Emissaries of Peace appeal to these supplicants, as they focus on improving the lives of others rather than searching their own hearts. An Emissary is a soft, often conciliatory, voice, who seeks to encourage friends and loved ones. When conflicts arise between those whom they care for, an Emissary takes it upon himself to smooth things over. He contrasts the Jalassan Adjudicator in that he does not primarily mediate for unaffiliated parties or seek some wider societal harmony; instead, his scope is almost entirely amongst friends. He is particularly adept at convincing others to accept compromise, even if he does so with private concessions or his own personal sacrifice. This creates an interesting, if inverse, relationship to classical Serachelian demagogues, who find much to hate about the Emissary's calls for concern, understanding, and forgiveness. Scholars and bards find the role of the Emissary to be a particularly natural one.
The Order of the Lily
"The best part of a thundershower is the rainbow after."
The natural world is a place of joy and wonder for the Order of the Lily, who dedicate themeslves to the cultivation of all manners of flora. In memory of the flowers which brought hope to the ancient homeland, the Lilies seek to ensure that the beauty of nature can soothe weary hearts. Rather than opposing the growth of settlements, a Lily will strive to bring nature closer to the people who live there, often in the form of verdant greenery. These efforts often cause them to run afoul of Rveyelhi's more fanatical adherents, who treat any incursion of the wild as a pointed slight. The Lilies differ from the forest-wardens of Elar in that they focus specifically on plants, and emphasize them as a gateway to emotional fulfilment. The most child-like of Alajial's followers, the Lilies always seek to spread their youthful wonder to those around them. They gladly participate in adventures, even when faced with the foulest of foes; the need for cheer extends beyond taverns, monasteries, and squares. While most Lilies are druids, many water and spirit scholars follow this path as well.
Alajial's gentle nature appeals primarily to peacemakers, the afflicted, and the troubled. They are bound together by a desire for stability, peace, restoration, and redemption. A follower of Alajial can be found in virtually any setting; he may be tending a garden alone, or he may be an adventurer seeking the company of others. When travelling, he will often focus on mundane actions or relationships, seeking to suppress discord between friends or help those in need. While he hopes for a world without suffering, his persistent effort is often rooted in some personal, internal struggle. A true Alajian seeks to give others more than fiery rhetoric; instead, he hopes to reveal the transformative power of forgiveness through both his conviction and action.
The worship of Alajial is most prevalent in rural communities and dedicated temples. She is most often venerated by caladaran, ethron, and humans, but allows all with pure motives to work in Her name. Warrior cultures, such as the kankoran, the alatharya, and the srryn, have little use for Her peaceful way. The nefortu find Her generosity particularly baffling, while the shuddeni gleefully mock Her pacific nature. Adventuring professions which frequently appreciate elements of the Alajian creed are water scholars, spirit scholars, druids, and bards. Within greater society, Her worship is predominantly centered on the lower classes, including peasants, artisans, and farmers. However, Her association with healing and redemption gives Alajial a foothold in the heart of the occasional elite. Those who are particularly devoted become monks, spending their lives in monasteries or as missionaries to distant lands.
Those who find favor with Alajial are marked with the Sigil of the White Lily.
Alajial is possibly the most subdued voice within the entirety of the Avendarian pantheon. Because of Her gentle character, She is defended most ardently by the Father of the Seas. Elar, the All-Mother, has a special fondness for Alajial, which manifests itself in Their shared love of nature. Ch'taren deities have a mixed relationship with Her; they have little regard for her abstinence from combat, but appreciate Her devotion to the magics of Spirit. Neutral deities vary greatly on the subject of Alajial. Iandir regards Her with a distant approval, as Her nature suits His notion of order; conversely, Dolgrael's contempt for Her is as infamous as His many storied followers. Of the chaotic gods, Alil finds her too childish to be of more than momentary interest, but Tzajai's endless games, at least when benign, share an unusual compatibility with Her eternal youth. Gods of darkness find Alajial appallingly weak, and regard Her as a non-entity in the grand interplay of their goals and designs.
Chadraln and Jalassa are the two deities most closely linked to Alajial. As She is Their child, it is unsurprising that common elements and themes bridge the three religions. Despite these bonds, Their respective angles are not wholly complementary, and highlight the great debates of caladaran development. Alajial shares Chadraln's fascination for coming possibilities, but does not separate Herself so fully from the present; She would rather ease suffering in the immediate future, than look for the most interesting ultimate conclusion. On the other hand, Jalassa and Alajial share a love for order and a belief in the utility of monastic tradition. However, Alajial rejects the impersonal nature of Jalassan transcendence, and favors the serenity found in peace, rather than the sword.