Lilune the Enchantress, Muse of Disaster
|Home(s)||The Border of Waking and Dreaming|
|Symbols||A full moon, a black orchid|
|Portfolio||The moons, blood, wonder, intensity, illusion, enervation|
|Worshippers||Explorers, inventors, witches, berserkers, the bipolar|
History in Avendar
The roots of Lilune's following date back to the earliest history recorded by humanity. Stories circulated among mystics of a dark-haired woman whispering to them at the hazy border between consciousness and slumber. Visions often accompanied these encounters, but those who experienced them were never the same. Fragmented histories speak of men and women claimed by a desperate inspiration, drawing or writing frantically on whatever was at hand. Some of those touched went so far as to open their own veins, anxiously trying to capture their mad fever-dreams. Others tore at their clothes and dashed into the primal wilderness, never to be seen again. They all shared one commonality, however: in their panicked wonder, they scratched, smeared, or screamed of a thereto unknown flower; a black orchid. Human scholars suggest that their peoples' ancient hieroglyphics can be tenuously traced to one such shaman, although the original, bloody markings have not survived.
With the coming of Dolgrael the Forgemaster, humanity could fully embrace its expansionist spirit. Armed with metal weapons, the wilderness lost some of its danger but none of its wonder. The myth of the black orchid persisted, especially on the frontier. Those who traveled at the far-flung edges of human reach would in turn add a new twist to stories of the mystics of old. The more coherent among them spoke of words coming from the faces of Avendar's twin moons. The silver face of Lunus filled some with the feverish desire to build, gather tribes, or assemble something greater; the red face of Rhos called for blood, any blood, to sate its relentless lust. As human expansion drew them into contact with the explorers of the elder aelin, a name was finally given to this driving force: Lilune. The name, some felt, could pacify Her furious whims.
The massive destruction of the War of Fire prevent modern historians from fully understanding Lilune's influence on the conflict. Some have claimed that generals followed Her inspiration in battle against the rampaging srryn, yielding both glorious, unexpected victories and violent, crushing defeats. Others have suggested that it was She who drove the earliest human fire scholars to uncover secrets that no srryn could. There are those, as well, who claim that it was Her mad inspiration which prompted embattled humans to first seek the Titans, and by extension, Jolinn. Although very little evidence supports exists to verify or dispel these notions, Lilune's witches always believe them with wild-eyed abandon.
With the close of the war, humans resumed their exploration and expansion. Many of Lilune's following, seeking great mystery, accompanied these missions into the wild. One particularly well-known record claims that a priestess of the moons accompanied Kaagn on the fateful expedition that uncovered the dark underworld of the shuddeni. Less verifiably, popular mythology amongst the Aklaju in Earendam holds that this woman would become the first human Void scholar, and one of the founding members of their dread Conclave. More fanciful accounts name Kaagn himself as one of Lilune's chosen, and that the Trap of Valandas was architected at Her whim. While the jaws of history remain closed on his motivation, his meteoric ascent and sudden (literal) fall are both consistent with Lilune's modus operandi.
In the modern era, Lilune's activities have faded from the limelight. The ancient strongholds of Her faith have vanished with the passing of time, displaced by newer, more broadly accessible religions. Some have poetically named Her waning in the global human consciousness a sign of the fall of the Republic. However, Her most die-hard chosen are unperturbed. The fierce grip of Her charms has led them to name Her the Enchantress, and claim that the moon always returns, as brightly as ever before.
Goals and Methods
Lilune's exact desires appear to be as capricious as the moons She is named for. Her most overt actions have been known to change the fabric of the world in which they have occurred; be it by driving humanity away from its timid, tribal roots, or Kaagn's devastating actions during the War of Night. The only goal that can truly be discerned from the Enchantress is for a moment of perfect, fragile beauty. The instant in which curiosity transforms into possibility is Her greatest pleasure, and She mercilessly drives Her chosen to find it. This contrasts Jalassan enlightenment, as that seeks a perfect state of mind, while the Muse craves the first breath of potential, or the last dying gasp before the end. This equally contrasts Aeolian creativity; a follower of Aeolis lives his life in search of beauty, while a follower of the Muse strives for legendary masterworks before his psyche breaks. Additionally, it does not much matter to Lilune if this moment is wholly illusory, driving Her target on a mad quest into oblivion. To know Lilune, always, is to flirt with legend and disaster.
Some choose to seek the Enchantress, seeking easy and elusive greatness. Others, She expertly selects, plying Her siren's voice at the fringes of their consciousness. She wrings all who follow Her dry physically, mentally, and emotionally. She extracts the whole of their talents, and they see expression of their brilliance in battle, business, and expeditions into the unknown. While Lilune is associated with progress, it should be noted that this is often a side-effect of Her actions rather than their root. Ultimately, if the actions of Her followers herald mass transformation or not is immaterial. The roar of Her voice within the minds of Her individual followers and the resulting dynamics are the playground of Her true power. With the interest of the Muse, nothing matters except achieving anything or everything; Her chosen is always the fool with one foot hovering over the edge of a cliff, or the great visionary pointing to a distant horizon. Or perhaps, both at once.
Organizations and Followings
Lilune's followers are not known for formal organizations, as the age of Her common worship has passed. However, those devoted who remain do follow some fairly distinct patterns. At times, one seeks the kiss of the moons; conversely, they may also kiss those who do not expect it. The furious grip of the Muse can be long or short, but it is always an exercise in intensity. Thus, crossover between types is possible, and at times, likely. They are as follows:
"I will make of myself whatever You will of me, if you only just listen!"
Some, knowing the Muse's reputation for conjuring greatness, seek Her of their own volition. This loose collective is known as the Moonseekers. They are often dynamic individuals with a broad range of fierce emotions, who rather than dream, demand greatness. A Moonseeker differs from a follower of Serachel in that he rarely has a specific dream; instead, he has a vague whim to be someone of renown but no ideal path to reach it. He often lacks the true qualities of leadership, but his persistent aspirations and often flamboyant whims always find their way to many ears. As well, his actual skill or prowess may be entirely suspect, lending him to "talk big" rather than act it. In the end, the inspiration the Muse may offer could take any, and often surprising, form. The Moonseekers appeal to virtually any profession, offering potential wonders to those who might become one.
The Blood Witches
"Then let the moon bleed."
Lilune has been often venerated by the wild people of the far frontier. The lasting legacy of their dark whims is represented by the Blood Witches. These followers look to Avendar's red moon, Rhos, and heed its calls for blood, aggression, and sacrifice. A Witch believes that all power and life is found within the blood, be it their own or that of others. Through it, they can appease the dread whims of Lilune; through it, they can support the ancient order which preceded civilization and grow closer to the gods. Witches often have disproportionate interest in the ancient alatharya, claiming that their heights were achieved through the adherence to this forgotten way. Women tend to be drawn to the Blood Witches more often than men, but the latter are not excluded. Druids, scholars, and barbarians are most often called to serve the red moon.
The Circle of Whispers
"I was no one until the night I heard Her."
Not all who serve Lilune seek Her. The Circle of Whispers represents those who are driven on by the siren's song of the Muse. A member of the Circle is most often one who possesses great potential but is unable or unwilling to realize it. Lilune seizes upon this, stirring them to build, create, or challenge what they alone would never dare to consider. This aspect of the Enchantress is most often associated with the white moon, Lunus, and appeals to a broader base than its bloody sister. Artisans, commanders, and philosophers have been known to be among the Circle, creating monuments, physical or otherwise, to the greatness of the Muse. Their rapid rise is often paralleled by an equally terrible fall, as serving Her whims is often ultimately a fool's errand. At least initially, a member of the Circle lacks confidence, and struggles without guiding whispers. Like the Moonseekers, the Circle of Whispers has known many walks within its ranks.
All who follow Lilune court disaster, but are rarely confused with the degenerate insanity of Alil. Her followers, instead, show incredible tenacity in the pursuit of their often inscrutable goals. The Muse's whisper always drives them to express it, and they themselves cling to whatever they can to survive the torrent of Her mercilessness. The character of Her following is frequently bipolar, leaping from high to low. When high, Her followers are deft, articulate, and intelligent, and show a vivacity rarely associated with darker paths. They drink deeply of life but resist its temptations, focused instead on the object of their fixation. When the glow of their pursuits fades, however, they are notorious for brooding. Having lost their own greatness, they again yearn for the Muse to fill their mind with Her wonder. They are often stubbornly happy in choices few could comprehend, and when low, no faith but in Lilune will suffice.
Worship of the Enchantress is most common in human settlements, especially on the distant edges of civilization. Her wonders have been known to inspire many races, although the ch'taren lack the darker movements of the soul which sing to Lilune. Similarly, the caladaran, both centered and content with their lives, often lack the drive to create which She savors. Her voice can be heard by adventurers of almost all creeds, assuming their minds are open to Her influence. Within mainstream society, Lilune is regarded with both appreciation and apprehension. Public veneration of the Muse is rare, with Her devoted toiling endlessly to keep Her interest. Shrines to Lilune are often not traditional ones, as each expression of Her followers' greatness is a monument in and of itself.
Those who find favor with the Enchantress are marked with the Sigil of the Full Moon.
Lilune's relationship with the rest of the pantheon is complex. Alil savors the Enchantress' madness-inducing voice, and Tzajai delights in Her caprice. Yet, the intense focus of Her victims ensures that neither deity's attention parallels Hers for long. While expansion and creation are always relevant to the gods of law, they often find Her inscrutable nature unreliable and untrustworthy. Jalassa, in particular, cannot abide Lilune's lack of discipline, and all the more for that it is intentional, rather than the uncontrollable insanity of Alil. Gods of the light condemn the Muse's ways. While many of Her works have served the greater good, they always come at too high of a price. Given Her association with the Void, ch'taren deities have particular dislike of Lilune. While no god of nature thinks highly of Lilune, Khanval harbors a passionate hatred for Her; to Him, she represents the driver of human imperialism.
Dolgrael is often associated with Lilune, in that both have strongly characterized the human spirit. His appreciation for war and Her drive into inevitable conflict cannot help but be complimentary. However, He regards Her as utterly honorless, while She finds the Forgemaster unbearably stodgy and dull. Her other strongest association is with Serachel, as both a point of alliance and rivalry. Her call hovers on the fringes of the Dream, and the two often find common cause in spreading Their debauched form of enlightenment. In the end, however, neither can abide encroachment upon Their own interests. What alliances form are often paired with veiled plots of betrayal, as only They could architect.