|The Rose King, Lord of the Bloom
|The Courtyard of the Gallant
|A rose, a silver sword
|Purity, nobility, verve, refuge, guilt, tradition
|Patriarchs, poets, romantics, duelists, protectors
History in Avendar
One of the earliest civilizations to rise in the wake of the Sundering was that of the aelin. Upon their characteristic wings, they took to the skies above the Ialiedae mountains and claimed a great, floating disc as the sanctuary of their people. This city, Ilodaiya, would become the epicenter for their emerging empire. Although they had great potential, petty in-fighting and social maneuvering threatened to strangle their civilization in its crib. This conflict of the soul drew the attention of Aeoleri, a thereto unknown deity. A servitor deity of Jolinn, he appeared at the center of their imperial court, and offered a solution to their struggle: guilt. This, he said, would guide their conscience true in the face of all adversity. Order came by way of his first chosen, and through their artifice laid the groundwork for the shame society which underpins aelin life.
Aeoleri himself emerged as a charismatic, unifying voice, and he encouraged the canonization of the aelin houses, the character of each based upon an iconic ancestor. Doing so, he told them, would create stable lineages to cling to. To facilitate this change, his chosen developed and popularized the arcane marriage process which persists to the present. Of course, the aelin had another, previous goddess, Alil, whose worship was thoroughly ingrained in the collective aelin consciousness; Aeoleri saw this as both a challenge and an opportunity. According to common mythology, he made overture after overture to win the affection of the goddess, to no avail. Finally, he lit the constellation Lavetiae above the high city, and when the goddess beheld her sign in the night sky, her heart was won.
The legend of their divine wedded bliss persisted until the War of Fire, when the srryn shattered their naive, pre-War notions with mystic flame. The aelin resolutely clung to their dreams even as they were incinerated, calling out to the heavens for respite. However, Aeoleri, unwilling to upset the Compact, assured his chosen that the return of Jolinn would be their salvation, and sent his great heroes and heroines to join humanity in the journey to Thaering Jad. Alil, however, was not content to watch the horrific deaths of their people. She flew high above the mountains and invoked her dread power, obliterating the entire province of Illata (and the srryn army within it) in the blink of an eye. Aeoleri's caution and abidance of rule was considered abandonment to many, and Alil's militant following laid claim to the imperial court and cast the Aeolian priesthood out by force.
However, much as Aeoleri predicted, the actions of Alil during the War's end invited the attention of a new deity, Serachel, ostensibly sent to make right the disruption to the divine order. Rather than chide the goddess, Serachel instead chose to rule alongside her, ushering in the fabled Dalae period. While revered in certain aelin religious histories, this was one of Aeoleri's darkest moments, as his priesthood had been all but marginalized, replaced by the hedonistic vainglory of the Serachelian and Alilean confluence. As the corruption of the aelin soul grew more overt, Void magic imported from the shuddeni underworld upset the balance of the aelin houses, and appeared poised to cement the perversion of classical aelin conceits as a new social order. While the Aeolians fought in what ways they could, the light of their dedication was nearly snuffed out.
The sudden arrival of Rystaia Lightbringer and the ch'taren radically reframed the War of Night narrative, and the banishment of Serachel to the realm of Nightmare provided Aeoleri sudden opportunity. Predicating his decision on Alil's violation of the Compact (which had yet remained unrighted), he separated Alil from the mundane world and bound her to the heavens. While a grave decision even to his following, the choice was seen as an unfortunate but inevitable consequence, and cast Alil herself as an object of pity and scorn, having been corrupted by Serachel's wickedness. However, the changes of the Dalae period could never be entirely undone, shaking the foundation of aelin society. From then on, the Aeolian priesthood became the sentinel of their ancient patriarchy, and the vehicle through which the social order was reinstated.
Aeoleri's following rose to particular prominence during the pre-modern era, with the coronation of Yesa Aea'ria as the Rose Consort. For the first time, his creed extended measurably beyond Daphoa, and factored significantly into the overall spirit of the Champions of Avendar. Graceful concession, righteous judgment, and romantic flair were canonized as Aeolian ideals, casting the mold in which generations of adventurers would spring. However, the moment itself wilted as quickly as it blossomed; while heroes and heroines of the Rose appeared occasionally after, they were long overshadowed by peers of other, more militant, religions. This, perhaps, motivated the Rose King to align himself with the Grand Federation of Merchants, to again wield his charisma to press the world toward a more ideal form.
Goals and Methods
Aeoleri's most well-known goal is the harmonious existence of the aelin people with whom he shares such affinity. This society is one in which people who fit together find one another; obligations and responsibilities are unambiguous; families are stable and happy; and children are reared with obedient care. He, and by extension his priesthood, seek to bridle and tame the dangerous excesses to which the aelin have at times fallen victim. The rigid social expectations, bureaucratic hierarchies, and paternalistic power structures all have some origin in Aeolian edict, ancient and modern. They deviate from the social spirit of Jalassa in that this cohesion is for its own end, as his concern is more for placid backgrounds than personal improvement. His presence as a patron of the Grand Federation of Merchants, for example, is read by his following as a steadying hand to guide them away from darker roads, as much as a way to advance social cohesion overall.
Romantic love is perhaps the most iconic of Aeolian methods, as its rich courtship ritual has contributed greatly to aelin artistic tradition. As such, love, and lovers in general, are often cast in Aeolian terms or with the self-same imagery. However, core to the function of this love is pure intention, and thus, guilt (and by extension shame) is often their constant companion. This internal barometer shapes the conscience, and only when properly tuned can it divine true love from false. While their Serachelian cousins also covet love as their own, it is guilt which directs it toward edification rather than ruin. Predictably, because of their reputation for (at times over-the-top) charisma, near all Aeolian functions and functionaries have some penchant for the dramatic, be it in specific flourish or general presentation. This spectacular style often smooths their way, exciting fellow believers and subtly intimidating their rivals.
Organizations and Followings
The pursuit of love and purity takes many forms, but for followers of Aeoleri, it tends to be divided into three broad categories. While many who walk in the light trend toward cooperation, those who walk the Rose King's path often seek to reimagine an ancient tale than create a new one. As a result, many of His devoted organize themselves in vast numbers, preferring to surround themselves with like-minded company. While this keeps their religious lineage strong, the priesthood's versatility has considerably waned.
The Artists of the Rose
- "Actually... I wrote this just for you."
Music, painting, and poetry hold particular value to Artists of the Rose, as these can illuminate feelings, truths, and insights that common encounters lack. Many travel Avendar in search of inspiration, as the experiences that touch their own hearts, in turn, touch others'. Often, these experiences relate to the art of courtship, infatuation, or the turmoil of interpersonal entanglements. Much as Aeoleri praised Alil's beauty and keen wit, so do Artists gravitate toward similar and extravagant expressions to their own of lovers. Some might describe them as hopeless romantics, although an Artist would rarely live any other way. Often eschewing conflict, Artists will still raise their swords if the emotions they seek to preserve are threatened. Popular among adventurers, most walks, including a spate of dove-like Champions of Avendar, have chosen this path.
The Order of the Silver Sword
- "Villain! Stand down, lest I make short work of you!"
The martial arm of the Litiryan Priesthood, the Order of the Silver Sword composed of gallant warriors and templar. Protectors of innocence, they often risk their lives for the good of others. This protection, however, comes with an almost storybook flourish; a typical member of the Order pays special attention to both his appearance, and perhaps secondarily, his actual skill. Silver Swords often find themselves keeping company with those for whom they have amorous intentions. Although common images often depict men protecting women, there is no real aversion to other sorts of pairings as well (as the aelin largely appreciate all forms of attraction). Although they will at times take up an active pursuit of evil, a dedicant of the Order is most easily roused to defense, especially when the subjects of his affection are involved.
The Magistrates of the Runil
- "Brothers and sisters! What a world we shall create!"
Charismatics of particular renown often find themselves regarded as Magistrates of the Runil. Named after the runil, a tool of aelin judges, the category has its origins in legendary justices of the ancient aelin courts. Colorful and upstanding, what separates a Magistrate from demagoguery is their unrelenting dedication to maintaining both professional and institutional purity; all things that they endorse are intended for righteous ends. More contemporary Magistrates are no longer confined to judicial rulings or aristocracies, and instead take the role of respected merchants and lawmen. Although they may work in concert with the Sons and Daughters of Jolinn, a Magistrate is far more likely to be surrounded by a cult of personality. As a result, those chosen officially have often proven resilient to even the most potent of temptations. To be named a Magistrate is typically considered the crowning glory in recognition of societal success.
Aeoleri attracts a surprising variety of supplicants considering the specificity of his cultural focus. What they share is the impression of being a grand figure in some epic drama, bringing a breath of the fantastic to the dreary and mundane. This storybook quality tends to empower them, giving them a sense of agency and courage, rather than helplessness, in the face of Avendar's many evils. Their variety of aesthetic pursuits, enthusiasm, and personal charm can make them polarizing figures, loved by those who accept them, and despised by those who judge them wanting. The purity of their intentions and the quick wit with which they express them are both their sword and shield; the looming shadow of guilt, both real and imagined, is their shroud. Generally speaking, Aeoleri's appreciation for martial traditions makes his banner attractive to protector and duelist alike. Conversely, his aesthetic ideals appeal to musicians, poets, and artists.
The worship of Aeoleri is most deeply ingrained within the aelin empire, including Ilodaiya and its surrounding provinces. There, his agents have a strong presence in history, art, politics, and public administration; his personal emissaries travel abroad at his request. Generally speaking, routine spiritual matters fall within the Aeolian domain, giving him a degree of primacy in aelin society even when compared to gods and goddesses with similar ideals. However, other cultures have taken to the worship of the Rose King, often introduced by his missionaries or by way of his affiliation with either the Grand Federation and the Champions. Humanity, in particular, has a fondness for him, and his imagery or philosophy is often used in their own, distinct marriage rituals. His temples are vast and plenty within aelin spheres, and sparse everywhere else, often as part of larger, communal shrines.
Those who find favor with Lord of the Bloom may be sigiled with his iconography.
Aeoleri is considered a dependable voice within the circles of the Light; his long-standing tenure as a patron of the Champions of Avendar has encouraged his popularity in those circles. Predictably, perhaps, it is for this same reason that evil deities despise him. However, his transition to the Grand Federation of Merchants has put him on closer terms with their fellow patrons, Chadraln and Ayaunj, than he might have otherwise. Generally speaking, his martial bent is appreciated but not overly lauded by more militant deities such as Calaera or Dolgrael, while much of the neutral pantheon abides him without particular note. Deities of law, such as Iandir, find commonality in his affinity for stability and social cohesion. His relationship with Jalassa is particularly fragile, as they largely align in method but deviate strongly in overall purpose. Conversely, deities of chaos find he and his following tiresome and repetitive. Tzajai, for example, found only the first Aeolian tale thrilling, and all successive ones boring and trite.
Aeoleri's most important relationships are with Alil and Serachel. Alil is a source of both guilt and consternation, in that he feels if he had been more diligent or responsive, they would not have suffered their long imprisonment before their unscheduled release. Serachel, on the other hand, is the focus of much of Aeolian ire, as it was his coming which nearly eradicated the Rose King's place in aelin society. Serachel's slights are many and his designs sweeping, fueling all manner of conflict between their religions; in Aeolian fashion, the legends of Aeoleri and Serachel's romantic entanglement are as legendary as their conflicts.