|The Heart of the Lotus
|A lotus, a butterfly
|Empathy, liberation, responsibility, spectacle, transformation, reaction
|Change-seekers, duelists, aesthetes, revelers, courtesans
History in Avendar
With the collapse of alatharyan civilization and the mass extinction of the Sundering, the earliest to fill that vacuum were the forebears of the aelin. According to legend, these progenitors were granted their emblematic wings by the goddess who dwelled atop the Daphoan Ialiedae mountains. This goddess was Alil, and when the Seven Sentinels claimed the giant disc that floated above the highest summit, they consecrated it in her honor. This became Ilodaiya ("destined clouds" in first era aelin), the cauldron of aelin society and epicenter of their future empire.
Of the Seven Sentinels, Alil marked Linayla the Open Heart as her first recorded chosen. Possessed of her white lotus brand, he founded the Alilean religion proper, focusing it upon radiance, glory, and empathy. The revelation of the divine power of transference created a rift between the early Alileans and their religious contemporaries, the Aeolians; the former championed it as a medium of true understanding, while the latter feared it as (at the absolute best) manipulation. Within their own sphere, the Aeolians cast Alil as the Rose King's divine partner, an idealized romantic couple. Outside it, Alilean sensibility greatly influenced early Ilodaiyan aesthetic, producing some of their earliest architectural movements.
While the War of Fire destroyed vast swaths of aelin civilization, it was the arrival of the Sythraki army in Daphoa which truly imperiled their survival. Alil, in defiance of Aeoleri's inaction, appeared high above the southern province of Illata and destroyed all life in it in a conflagration of light and fire. Resonant as she was to mortal emotion, their collective terror echoed through her, and by extension, her devoted. Mad with divine pain, Alil's organized following seized the imperial court, naming her the de facto head of state. Driven out by force, the Aeolians retreated to the fringes of Daphoan society, and with the coming of Serachel, the fabled Dalae era began. The roles of women in particular vastly expanded, and the traditional behavioral prohibitions of Aeolian culture were dismissed. However, growing turmoil from the emerging Serachelian faith and the shadow of the War of Night became the prevailing historical touchstones.
Conspiring with Rystaia Lightbringer, Aeoleri imprisoned Alil to keep her from protecting Serachel from Rystaia. Her entrapment severed the divine bonds between she and her following, leaving them traumatized and vulnerable. The cost was enormous; the estranged Aeolians led a pogrom against the Alileans, and after, set about casting her faith as mad lustmongers and degenerates. Millennia passed before Alil sacrificed one of their glorious wings, and in doing so, broke free of their planar prison. The clouds above Ilodaiya flashed with silver fire and rained bloody feathers on both the city and the mountains below. They appeared anew, transformed, their lost appendage replaced with undying flame, and shook the floating disc with the sound of their voice. However, their long exile left them incomplete, and their much-maligned religion struggled to take root for another eight hundred years.
The renewal of the Alilean faith began in earnest with the emergence of Feolne Ilaephos-Lenahiri as the first ruby lotus and the reintroduction of transference to Avendar. Conspiring with the last Rose Consort, they restored Alil's memory and broke the silver grip of the Aeolian faith on Daphoan political power. In doing so, the island of Aehiori was leveled, Alil was restored to their full prismatic glory, and the long stagnant order of aelin society began to reorganize. The Empath is again heralded as the first of the aelin deific triad, offering a bold direction for the aelin soul-- one free of limitation and conformity, and founded on intimacy and experience rather than dogmatic guilt.
Goals and Methods
The goal of Alil is deceptively simple: utter and complete autoliberation for themself and their followers. This means throwing off not only their physical (or otherwise) fetters, but severing the connection between what they want and their hesitance to pursue it. This dominance over their own internal space is paramount; the domain in which no one dares intrude without invitation or permission. The borders of this personal realm can be patrolled vigorously or loosely, depending on the individual's proclivity and what specifically they intend to feel, do, or achieve. However, Alil considers each of theirs responsible for their own personality, meaning their victories and defeats are theirs alone.
Alil achieves their ends through a heady mixture of empathy and specific, personal experience. It has long been posited that Alil does not simply read the minds of their following, but that they drink deep of their resonant memories. In this way, Alil knows the depths of their followers-- their glories and their failures-- in a more personal way than most of the pantheon. However, in the cases where their usual tools fail, they fall back to violent, necessary retribution; it is then that Alil's terrible fury is loosed to not just restore parity, but assert a long-forgotten supremacy. Ultimately, to challenge Alil is to beg the question of whose bloody feathers will litter the earth when the flames die out.