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Followers of Avandra

The Followers of Avandra is a group that worships the Goddess Avandra. Unlike other religions, it has no centralized location. After all, Avandra's domains are luck, change, travel, and the element of air.  

The Living Temple

Avandra's religion is a strange one in the sense of their place of worship. It was thought, for some time, that Avandra was not suited to having a stationary temple, as she was the Goddess of Travel and Change. So instead, they decided the temple would be something more... unique.
Halfer Ravengrove by Jarhed
  Instead of a building, they decided that the Temple would be the Head Priest themselves, like Halfer Ravengrove the Satyr Head Priest. The Head Priest would take on a special blessing when they were appointed, and thus become a living, walking temple.   This is the origin of the phrase:
"The body is a temple. Treat it as holy."
  Avandra's avatar, then, lives inside of the body of the Priest. For a follower other than the Head Priest to speak to her, the Head Priest must open their mouth or have a clear path from the follower to another orifice like an ear or nostril.  

Origins of the Church

It is said that Avandra's church originated from an Orc by the name of Shegi the Radical in -1766. She was able to read, which was something the Orcs valued, as it was not something all of them felt the desire to learn when they could be training to help their village instead.
Shegi the Pious by Jarhed
  Shegi found a deck of cards on the street one day: the Deck of Many Things. A holy item for Avandra that can create many miracles, or can destroy the life of whomever draws the card. It helped her fix up her village in a way that fighting never could, and due to that she decided to go the direction the wind was taking her.   Here, she found a pamphlet, only a singular page of something that was clearly multiple pages. The wind kept blowing her down the path, collecting more and more pages, building out what would eventually become the holy text of Avandra known as "The Brochure."

Winds of Change

Avandra controls the winds themselves, and therefore when there is heavy wind, her followers believe it is a sign from her. A sign that something is coming.   When the Winds of Change come, as they are called, then followers of Avandra prepare for everything. They hug their families, say goodbye to friends.   It could be something simple, like a payraise, or it could be something catastrophic. There is no way to know, but they know at least that change is coming. And that they will accept it, whatever it is.  

The Changing Tide

As the Church is not a building, it is difficult for people to find the Head Priest so that they can meet Avandra, gain a blessing, or simply worship in a place they feel is safe. Therefore, these winds of change will bring forth a way for one to get to the Head Priest.   The Winds of Change will blow an object that the follower of Avandra treasures towards the nearest port. The follower will then go here in search of the item and find it aboard a ship called "The Changing Tide."   The Changing Tide is carried by the Winds of Change, and will then sail to the port nearest the Head Priest. Then, the follower must once more follow the Winds of Change to the Head Priest. After this, however, it is up to the follower to find their way back themselves, relying on Avandra's blessings to travel and her luck to keep them alive. The winds have changed, but they are not alone. They have Avandra by their side now.

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Reading through this pamphlet, Shegi was able to understand the basics of what Avandra wanted of her, piecing together with her own beliefs a religion that helped her to summon Avandra and bless herself to hold Avandra within her body.
Fortuna by Jarhed
  Ever since then, the blessing has passed from Head Priest to Head Priest. These Head Priests carry on the teachings of Shegi the Radical, who is known by those of the religion by the name Shegi the Pious, as she was the most devoted to Avandra's teachings.   There is clear misogny embedded in Shegi's initial nickname, as many Orcs were insecure about her leaving and founding something on her own, and therefore made a name to demean her. However, the religion of Avandra teaches for all to treat everyone equal, as change cannot be brought about by a single group of homogenous people, but instead with diversity.  

Teachings

The pamphlet that Shegi found, "The Brochure," was reprinted many times, with additions made by Shegi herself working alongside Avandra. It features within it Avandra's teachings on her domains. These teachings are as follows:  

Change

Avandra teaches that changes is a normal part of life. One of the key phrases in her religion is:
"Nothing lasts forever."
— Avandra
  What this means for the followers is simple: they must be ready for anything. There is no status quo for them because life is an endless ball of possibility, and it could change with the wind. And it will.   Many followers of Avandra, then, become counselors who help people deal with the curveballs that life throws at them. They know how hard it can be to accept change, but they also know how rewarding it is to know that change is not something that is out of the norm. Change is the norm. The world and the people in it are always changing. That is life.  

Travel

Avandra tells of the wonders of travel. A change of scenery is a wonderful thing, to experience the sights and lifestyles of people from many different walks of life is to experience the truth in life. At least, that is what the Goddess of Travel says.   Avandra has a set of go-to tourist locations for her followers to travel to if they have never been, which are printed on "The Brochure". They include:
  1. Alzirgos- A city-state on the western coast of Elone, Alzirgos is split into four distrcts. The Holy District of Ishtar, the Military District, the Financial District, and the Foreign District for tourists.
  2. Omi- A Kamejin city on the Abral Islands, Omi is known best for being an amusement park filled with all sorts of attractions. Roller coasters propelled by wind magic, ferris wheels that are submerged in water and pushed along with water magic underneath the sea to spin, allowing guests to see the sea floor, and many other attractions. It also has Kamejin dressed up as mascots of all kinds of historical figures: past and present, good and evil, so that the guests can learn the history of Totania outside of the isolated Abral Archipelago.
  3. Lebalos- The capital of the Secci Gnomes, on the edge of the Uncharted Desert, it is home to the Bard College, Clown College, and the Tir Pyramid.
  4. Zephys- The floating capital city of the Draconians, home to the Magic College and center of the magical world and all advancements in arcane arts.
  5. Martinau- The tourism center of Humanity, Martinau is filled with cats and has wonderful beaches.
  6. Camor- The Elven capital city, Camor is made of pure gold from the poor streets to the castle at the center of the city.
  7. The Korvian City- The unnamed city where the Korvians are centralized, this is a place where one can go to see exotic powers on display from all sorts of different Korvians.
  8. Balberg- A Dwarven city where the famed sport Flingo Ball was made. One can go there, watch a game in the arena and even participate if they feel so inclined to danger.
  9. Stallbourne- The ringed city on the southwestern coast of Elone, Stallbourne also features a lake at the center with a tower known as The Marshal. It is home to the lawmaking body of the World Court, so one must be careful here.
  10. Deepwater- A former Nereid settlement on land, Deepwater is on the edge of the Great Dip, a large whirlpool. It is a dangerous city in the shape of a giant Nereid statue, and it rises and sinks beneath the waves with the tide.
 
Fortuna's D20 by Max A Milion

Luck

While many confuse this with Morrigan's domain of fate, there is an important distinction. Fate is something that was always meant to be. Luck, on the other hand, is pure chance. A roll of the dice.   Avandra tells people to go with the dice. To not seek out a certain outcome, but instead be happy even if the die lands on a 1. That luck will simply bring pain, and luck will too bring healing and happiness.   "The Brochure" says:
"There is no bad luck or good luck. There is only luck, and what you take of it. If you believe your luck is bad, it will be bad in return. If you take even the worst lot that is given to you by luck, and you find ways to turn that into gold, then you will have nothing but good luck. Luck is only what you perceive it as and nothing more. So perceive yourself as lucky. There is no harm in belief."
— Avandra
 

Air

Being one of the basic elements of life, as well as one of the most prominent and common elemental magical affinities, air is a part of everyone's daily lives.   Unlike many other Gods who have domains in the elemental affinities, like Melora and water, Avandra does not tell people to respect the air. That is simply ridiculous to her, as she knows they are aware of the fact that air is not alive.   However, Avandra asks of her followers that they treat air as they would their homes. If they spill something, clean it up. If they make it dirty, clean it up. It is not alive, but that does not make it any less of a gift. Her gift to them, so she wants them to understand that.   There is a common way to pray to Avandra that features air: breathing. Followers of Avandra make even the simple act of breathing into a task to show their devotion to her. They will take a deep breath, taking in air so that Avandra will be ready to hear their prayers. Then, they say their prayer with the air gathered in that single breath. If they cannot get their words out in one breath, then the remainder of the prayer is simply not heard. Therefore, priests of Avandra have incredible lung capacities.  

Priesthood

To become a Priest of Avandra, one must abandon their home and set out to travel. They must let the Winds of Change take them anywhere, until eventually they will meet the Head Priest and be given the necessary robes and training needed to become a Priest.   These robes will change when the Head Priest does, as they are the style decided by the Head Priest. Avandra embraces this change, and therefore all Priests must travel to the new Head Priest when a new one is named.   Priests travel separately, or at most in groups three, to wherever the Winds of Change take them. They love gambling and they help any who they cross paths with.   The duty of a Priest of Avandra is to see the way luck is going and help people deal with change. They will counsel those dealing with change, help aid someone in a situation that requires luck. But the main draw to being a Priest of Avandra is getting an endorsement to see the various, beautiful sights all over the world. Something that few others would be able or willing to do.


Cover image: dice by cocozi

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