The Pantheon of Ethera

The Pantheon of Ethera are the major deities of the 'Congregation of Ethera' and other splinter religions throughout the Empire.   According to the popular legend, the twelve members of the Pantheon were originally twelve mortals who were rewarded for their unwavering loyalty to the Eternal Mother, and for their part in defeating of the shadow of chaos.   Known collectively as ‘the Guardians’, they were each gifted with immortality in return for their servitude to the new world. Ethera gave the Twelve immense power to hold jurisdiction over aspects of the realm, so they could collectively protect the world from corruption.

The Original Pantheon


Solas

Solas is the Guardian of the Sun and twin brother of Lunaris. According to subsequent mythology, Solas rides a golden chariot of flames pulled by two Kirin, mythical chimerical creatures which are in themselves symbols of protection. He rides across the sky daily, bringing warmth, light and protection to the Continent of Elvara.   The Sun God is also credited for banishing Baelor, the demon lord of the Ebonveil, from Ethera the last time he attempted to claim the world for his own. According to the legend, Baelor tried to reap innocent souls from ancient Elvara in a purge which would curse them to remain servants of darkness for eternity. Solas however, armed only with a flaming trident, struck Baelor in his only eye, sending him tumbling back down into the realm of chaos.
 
Solas, the Sun Guardian

Lunaris

 
Lunaris, the Moon Guardian
 
Lunaris is the Guardian of the Moon and twin sister of Solas. She is revered by travellers for lighting their paths through the darkness and by some circles of magi for her powerful celestial magic.   According to legend, when Lunaris refused the call of the Demon Lord Zenykul, he cursed her children with his dark magic to live out their days as savage lupine creatures. Lunaris, though she could not remove the curse, used her celestial magic to limit its effects, confining its chaotic consequence to the one night a month when the moon was brightest. This was so Lunaris could better protect her children whilst they were in their primal states, guiding them through the cursed night.
 

Daghda

 
Daghda is the Guardian of mortal life and Goddess of fertility and birth.   Special thanks is given to Daghda following the birth of a child where it is customary for the parents of the child to make an offering to her for her ongoing protection. This offering usually takes the form of coinage or foodstuffs which are then taken and used by the local priesthood to support those in need.   However, she is also lauded for her healing qualities and for bountiful harvests, exemplifying that she is widely regarded as a preserver of life itself rather than simply a protector of it.

Daghda, Guardian of New Life

  The feast of Daghda takes place on the 1st day of every new year. The festival promotes charity and compassion by encouraging individuals to break bread with the needy. Revellers give thanks for Daghda’s continued protection. Dancing and entertainment are common place in the joyful celebration of life.   Daghda is the wife of Ogarr, the Great Scholar. According to mythology, the two guardians are thought to share one daughter together who is known as Brigitte, the cursed three faced god, and lesser deity of healing, poetry and blacksmithing.  

Belanir

 

Belanir, the Guardian of the Elements

Belanir is an androgynous deity, whose principal purpose is to maintain the elements of the material plane in near perfect harmony, so that life on Elvara can thrive.   Vast fluctuations in weather patterns, or natural disasters, are believed to be the work of the Demon Lords. Intent on bringing chaos to the material plane, the Demon Lords have an army of chaotic manifestations, known as Inimicals. These hostile elementals are charged with disrupting the balance that Belanir works so tirelessly to maintain.
  It is Belanir’s responsibility to challenge the demon spawn, and their raw divine power often puts paid to the Inimicals swiftly. This results in only mild disruptions to the elemental balance, effecting the weather for example.   In circumstances where a battle with an Inimical lasts for too long, disastrous consequences can ensue. This can result in ‘natural’ disasters such as a floods, wildfires or droughts.   Belanir was blessed with five daughters, created by Belanir and made in his image..   Four of these celestial daughters form part of a tighter pantheon, mostly worshipped by the remaining Elvish Tribes in Eastern Elvara. They are; Ada, the goddess of Fire; Aquira the goddess of Water; Daena; the goddess of earth and Nadea the goddess of Air.   Belanir’s fifth daughter was, according to legend, was stolen away from Belanir following her birth. Corrupted by the Inimicals, she is Callia, the frozen goddess of ice and snow, who lends her name to the cold season (Callenta). Often posing as an old crone, she covers the earth in her thick cloak of frost for three months a year, bringing death in her wake.   Along with a handful of the other guardians, Belanir is considered to be a therianthropic being, often electing to transform into an Eagle so that they may act as sentry for the region.  
 

Dunitrias

   
Dunitrias is the Guardian of the Hills and Mountains, who’s also associated with strength, courage and stoicism. Famed for his powerful bellows and battle chants, Dunitrias is a fierce warrior also credited for the existence of thunder and storms. He is a deity that can be called upon to ready troops for battle, as long as that battle is a ‘just’ one.   Due to both his prowess on the battlefield, and his association with the Jagged Mountains, some depictions of the guardians present Dunitrias as a Dwarven being. Because of this that the Malvarri Empire has replaced Dunitrias in state permitted religious services, instead giving thanks to Morrigantis, the Shadow goddess of war, conquest and death on the battlefield.
 
 
Dunitrias
 
 
 

Elvara

 

Elvara

 
Elvara is the Guardian of the Forests and Trees. She is perhaps the most honored deity of the pantheon exemplified as she lends her name to both the continent of, and the Forest of ‘Elvara.’   Elvara is a talented hunter and ranger and as a result she is also celebrated outside of Malvarron by the Elven tribes who have made the woodland their home. A plethora of shrines can be found amongst the trees, with the Elves giving thanks for Elvara’s constant protection. Some even believe Elvara is the Eternal Mother’s original daughter, though this is a belief which is uncommon within the Empire.
Like Belanir, Elvara is a therianthropic deity, often choosing to take the form of animals. These include, but are not limited to, Elk, Wolves and Bears. Some adventurers even claim to have encountered the goddess in deep, forested areas.  
 

Silvana

 
  Silvana is the Guardian of nature and wilderness and the daughter of Elvara. She is the youngest deity of the pantheon, though she should not be defined by this. Her power rivals every one of the elder guardians, and she played an equal role in the defeat of the Shadow of Chaos on Mel’aneth.   Championed by druids of the forest, she is a lover of all creatures, great and small, tending to those under her protection with absolute devotion.
Silvana, Guardian of the Wilderness
  Because of her talent for foraging and herbalism, she is a deity of associated with healing and alchemy. Her free-spirited personality has resulted in her becoming a symbol synonymous with the celebration of life itself, and she is deemed to be an untameable goddess of unrivalled beauty. According to legend, mortals who have seen her face have gone mad out of unrequited infatuation.   Like her mother, she often appears in animal form, adorned with a floral crown and bathed in divine light.  

Brigantis

Brigantis, Guardian of the Rivers and Streams
Another free-spirited member of the pantheon is the fresh-water god Brigantis, the guardian of rivers and streams.   In direct contrast to his brother Maranaan, Brigantis is a laid-back deity who is a symbol of prosperity, peace and tranquility.   According to mythology, Brigantis created thousands water nymphs, ancient fae-like spirits, to help him guard the abundance of rivers, streams and springs of Astaeria. Created to reflect Brigantis’ own image, these water nymphs often appear as beautiful men and women, tempting adventurers with a dip in the gentle waters of Elvara.
 
 

Maranaan

   
 
Maranaan, Guardian of the Sea
 
 
Maranaan, the older brother of Brigantis, is the guardian of the ocean and the deep.   Venerated amongst sailors, the capricious and fierce Maranaan is a brooding, solitary deity. He is a talented warrior preferring the use of tridents and spears in battle which he handles with a masterful elegance. He also commands an army of sea creatures, which he can call upon for support in times of need.
  Though amphibious, Maranaan rarely visits land. Some say he rides a magical chariot pulled by a mighty white whale, which can traverse the waves as easily as a carriage rides over a road. Others say he possesses a mighty ship which sails across the vast oceans in search of evil.   It is said that anyone who dies at sea falls into the care of the Ocean god, forming part of his ship’s crew for eternity.  
 

Arawyn

 
As perhaps the most compassionate of the champions, Ethera gifted Arawyn, guardianship of the dead and the lost souls of the world.   Despite her macabre charge, Arawyn is honored throughout Elvara as a protector of the departed. She is a gentle goddess, welcoming souls who have passed with compassion, shrouding them in divine light and escorting them to the heavens.   According to legend, she dances through the graveyards in the twilight hour, gathering and reassuring the lost souls who have been laid to rest the same day.
Arawyn, the Guardian of Lost Souls
  On the thirteenth day of the month of Arawyn, the dead return to the world for one night, where they join mortals in a celebration, giving thanks to the Keeper of Departed Souls and toasting her protection.   As a benevolent, lawful deity, she is locked in a timeless war with the Demon Lord Baelor, the one-eyed god of death and keeper of the Ebonveil. As a talented mage, Arawyn has defeated the Cyclops God many times, often accompanied by the celestial guardians Solas and Lunaris.  
 

Ogarr

 
Ogarr, Wise Guardian of Scholars
 
Ogarr, the husband of Daghda, is the Guardian of knowledge, scholarship and craft.   As a learned scholar, he often takes on a leadership role amongst the guardians offering tactical advice and was a key player in the Shadow of Chaos’ downfall. He is, also, the scribe and messenger of the gods.   Believers often depict Ogarr as a Gryphon, a rare and ancient creature considered to be a symbol of wisdom in Astaeria.   On the first day of Ogarr, the ninth month of the year, scholars celebrate the Guardian of Knowledge through a pilgrimage to the Temple of the Scholar in Bridgeport where followers recite poetry and leave offerings at Ogarr’s shrine.
  Bridgeport, the major trading hub of the Empire, is also known as the ‘City of the Learned.’ The grandiose Library of Ogarr is located here and remains part of the Guild of Scholars, though its contents since the fall of the Duchy of Tarryn has been greatly censored.  
 

Mathonir

 
  Mathonir is the most controversial of the original Guardians. Gifted with the mastery of divine magic and the arcane arts, he is the most powerful deity from the traditional creation story.   However, because of the hostile relationship with the Empire and the Magi, along with the restrictions placed on magical practice, Mathonir has become somewhat of an abandoned guardian, in terms of state worship. Vanguard forces even destroyed the temple dedicated to him in the City of Malvarron in the year 1331 A.E when General Augustas’ forces invaded the city in a military coup.
Mathonir
  Although worship of Mathonir has become forbidden under Emperor’s Decree, many still praise his name from the shadows. Mages that have escaped the scrutiny of the Empire revere him, and the ones who remain within the Empire pray to him for help and guidance.  

Variations


 

The Rise of Nocterra

 

Nocterra

 
According to some variants of the legend of the Twelve, Ethera appointed a thirteenth guardian, Nocterra, to keep watch over the people of Elvara as they slept. The existence of Nocterra, (known as the ‘Night Goddess’ and in some circles the ‘Dark Lady’) is disputed.   However, due to the Empire’s unfavourable view of magic, state led religious ceremonies have replaced the Guardian of Magic Mathonir* and have begun to celebrate the Guardian of the Night instead, calling upon her to guard the Empire from its enemies during the hours of darkness.
  Interestingly, Nocterra’s daughter Morrigantis has also replaced Dunitrias as the most celebrated God of War.  
  *Despite this, the twelfth month of the year remains ‘Mathonir’ after the God of magic. A fact which shows no signs of changing soon.

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