The ch’taren race clings to accounts of their idyllic existence on their home plane. It was there that they were born and nurtured by their twin gods, Rystaia and Vaialos. In this faded age, the core of the ch’taren identity was developed, as well as the lingering rudiments of their racial heritage. While the precise location of their ancient home is disputed, it was beyond the scope of the Compact forged by Avendar’s Overgods. Vaialos is often attributed by ch’taren to be the source of their tremendous intellect, while their hearts were the creation of His sister-deity, Rystaia.
As all dreams, this perfect existence would not endure. Cataclysm struck the ch’taren in the form of Tzet-Askhari, Great Dragon of the Void. During the lead-up to the War of Night, the Dragon’s array of demonic creations had expanded greatly, while the Dragon Itself devoured many planes unprotected by the Compact. In time, It would come upon the Twins’ world and its inhabitants. Even as their hope of survival dwindled, Rystaia and Her high priest, Shathalith, uncovered the plans of the Dragon and Its shuddeni children. While Rystaia and Her priest steeled the ch’taren for their passage to the Prime, Vaialos valiantly faced Tzet-Askhari. The staggering might of Ashur was too much for Vaialos to overcome, and He was, too, devoured. However, the gateway to the Prime was open, sending a storm of ch’taren to wartorn Avendar. This unexpected arrival would become known to the world as the Day of Two Dawns.
Rystaia’s power grew in Her new home, as did that of Her devoted. Shielded now by the Compact, the ch’taren and their goddess revealed the treacheries and corruption of the Dark Angel, Serachel, through the magics of Spirit. The Lord of the Fallen, unprepared for this sudden revelation, was defeated by Her and cast into His nightmare realm for a millennium. After the close of the War of Night, Rystaia’s influence spread rapidly throughout the indigenous races of Avendar. She was given the name “Lightbringer”, as She and Her ch’taren had become a symbol of hope even in the darkest of hours. Despite Her place as patron to the Champions of Avendar, Her following has since waned in modern times. Yet, during crises such as the War of the Eyeblight, soldiers and adventurers again rallied to the banner of the Lightbringer to vanquish evil.
Rystaia dreams of the scouring of darkness in all of its forms. She empowers Her followers to know no compromise in matters of tyranny. This concept applies as much, if not more, to the machinations of law, as well as those of evil. To Rystaia, a perfect world is one in which none are hindered by oppression, even that which intended for the greater good. This makes the Lightbringer’s place an interesting one, as Her will helped to save Avendar from its certain destruction; at the same time, Her free-spirited manner often is at odds with the civilizations She and Her children saved. The strain of this relationship, some suggest, have brought about the rise of more moderate deities, such as Calaera, who embrace at least some measure of the order so cherished to the races of the Prime.
In contrast to the Void, Spirit magic concerns itself with the Weave, the flow of life Jolinn produced from primal chaos. Much as the Void can be seen as a mechanism for “inverse transcendence”, the Weave represents creation’s natural resilience to such undoing. Those born into Avendar are infused with Being from the Weave, and upon their final death, return to it. Scholars of Spirit posit that this cyclical nature of life results in the return of old souls in new forms. Others still believe that this spiritual interplay causes the past, present, and future to be inexorably and interchangeably bound. Rystaia commands much power in the realm of Spirit, and the potential of the Weave is often a gift revealed to Her following. Eventually, the Lightbringer hopes that through understanding the nature of the Weave, the unlife of Tzet-Askhari will be permanently defeated.
While rarely organized, the followers of Rystaia often form fellowships with like-minded brethren. The sworn of the Pegasus see little need for rules amongst themselves, instead favoring to settle their differences as they see fit. Even when in disagreement, disciples of Rystaia always continue to pursue their dreams, with or without the aid of others.
“You are a stain upon the Weave… one your blood will wash clean.”
The Chosen of Rystaia
The Chosen of Rystaia are sworn to work against evil wherever it is found. Joy and zeal are intertwined in the heart of a Chosen, who delights in the improvement of the world by whatever means necessary. Little which is not attuned to the Weave is sacred to these passionate warriors, easily shedding alliances or laws that would restrain them. Their often flagrant disregard for both oaths and order make their path a lonely one. Conflict, perhaps, is the most constant of a Chosen’s companions, be it with allies or enemies; a Chosen will not suffer that which would stain the Weave. While many famous Chosen have served as Champions of Avendar, their devotion to their Goddess always trumps the vows of Aramril. As such, spirit templars and ch’taren are by far the most likely to walk this path.
“Rise, brothers and sisters in bondage! Cast off your yoke and fight!”
The Sunderers of Chains
Believing freedom the paramount virtue of all sapient life, Sunderers of Chains seek to ensure that none suffer the pain of oppression. While all Rystaians battle petty tyranny, Sunderers persecute them with devastating focus. Many called to this sect are former victims or slaves, often having seized their own freedom by force. This personal connection to the evils of bondage paint their perception, making enemies of all who rule by the sword. However, those who do battle with these faithful are afforded one extraordinary gift: a Sunderer will never imprison or bind his foes. Even the most vicious of tyrants may know freedom at their hands, even if that freedom comes only in death. Harrudim gladiators most often find solace in the way of the Sunderer, as they know all too keenly the pain of enslavement.
“Destiny reveals itself in the Weave.”
Literally “Weave-Prophets”, the Aetei-Lm’qua has its deepest roots in the ch’taren Havens. As a functional inverse to the Vaialan Zseania Saxeitu, these spirit-touched perceive glimpses forward in time, rather than celebrating in retrospection. Given to ecstatic visions, the Aetei-Lm’qua alternate between leading assaults personally, and guiding those commanders who are better suited. The strongest individualism is possible through this sect, which tends to attract only the most fervent of true-believers; after all, they are revealing the world that will be, if others listen or not. It should be noted that this faction differs from Chadraln’s Keepers of the Lemniscate in that the Aetei-Lm’qua focus on prophecy, rather than studious foresight through experience. Regardless of atmosphere, these prophets stir conflict with their bold claims and weighty words. As such, spirit scholars and occasional templars are the most common disciples of this sect.
Followers of Rystaia espouse lofty ideals and often imagine a grand, sweeping vision of the world as it could be. They often pursue their dreams with relentless vigor and are loath to compromise in any way. This fervor often puts them in violent conflict with those who do not seek similar ends; animosity toward evil is all but a given, but their zealous bent also antagonizes their more passive allies. It is not the Lightbringer’s will for the pure-hearted to come to blows with one another, but it is not uncommon for followers of Rystaia to refuse aid to tasks which are ultimately counterproductive to the better world they seek to create. Even amidst resistance, the heart of a Rystaian is a joyful one, delighting in the world around them and the insight offered by the Weave.
Rystaia’s worship is most common among the ch’taren, who regard Her as one of their twin creators. As such, Her hold is strongest in the ch’taren Havens, where the bulk of the race can be found. In cities built by the other mortal races, it is not uncommon to see at least some Rystaian imagery, as Her aid during the War of Night made Her a multicultural icon. As one of the patrons of the Champions of Avendar, Her religion is well-tolerated in Earendam, despite Her infamous opposition to Iandiric law.
Those who find favor with the Lightbringer are marked with the Sigil of an Alabaster Pegasus.
They often pursue their dreams with relentless vigor and are loath to compromise in any way.
Rystaia is considered a powerful ally to all gods of Light, as She tirelessly seeks to vanquish evil. She, along with Aeolis and the Overgod Jolinn, act as the patron deities of the Champions of Avendar. The neutral pantheon is largely either indifferent or opposed to the chaos that inevitably follows Rystaia’s involvement. Despite this, they often regard Her as a necessary counterweight to the gods of darkness. Dark deities hate and fear the Lightbringer, as both She and Her followers often wield tremendous potential to thwart them. Although hated by Serachel, Her righteous anger is reserved for the Overgod Ashur. To Her, the Dragon, responsible for the god-murder of Her twin and the destruction of Her home plane, trumps all other evil.
The Vaialan faith is by far the most closely linked with Rystaia’s, as the two religions worked side-by-side to secure the ch’taren race on the Prime. Even now, the Aivei Lm’keh, in particular, find themselves deeply enmeshed with the Chosen of Rystaia. Behind the Vaialan priesthood is the Warband of Calaera, whose divinity is rooted in the Lightbringer’s vast power. These three, in concert with the enigmatic Society of the Shelratha, form the bulwark which defends the ch’taren race from its many perils.
The deities of Avendar are immortal beings of great power, each with their own interests, purposes, and plans. Most take an active interest in mortalkind, and are even known to appear in avatar form and grant special sigils to reward dedicated followers….