History of Those who Came Before
History of the Pantheon and Avala:
Relatively little is understood or recovered regarding the beginnings of Avala and its Pantheon. What is known has been collected by the historians, scholars, and theologists of all races and compiled for analysis. All compiled knowledge is kept in the Library of the Moonspire in Skieholm. While a few points are contested, most of the following is unanimously accepted.
Avala, as it exists in the modern time, is a fractured world. Once, in the Eternal time, there were not three realms in parallel, but one consisting of everything. All light, shade, good, evil, magic and void existed simultaneously in one: the Realm of Spirits. The oldest and wisest spirits were six in number and ruled in balance over the others, the young ones. None of the mortal races yet existed, and the spirits did not resemble any specific physical form or being.
It is not clear whether the young ones are offspring of The Six, mirrors of them, constructs made by them, or preexisting spirits who fell under the rule of The Six. The only notable difference is that the Six are complete spirits, while all the lesser spirits in the realm have a counterpart.
The Six were two sets of three. the relationships are best described as the Siblings (Gefratoj) and the Promised (Promesin), though this is a simplification at best. As far as it is understood, the realm of spirits knew not gender, alignments, or relationships in the modern sense. The Siblings are commonly referred to as brothers. The Siblings are Chrayis the Brave, Raelerax the Stoic, and [Vanahe or Van’Hae]* the Just. The Promised are Sunia the Strong, Violika the Gentle, and Astraele the Wise. It is speculated that Avala, the Realm of Spirits, was given to The Six to rule as three pairs; or that the Six found Avala and took stewardship of it.
*There is no agreed spelling or positive identification of the third Sibling. It is acknowledged that Vanahe may not a name but a title, or even a placeholder word of some kind (the root of the word, Vana, roughly means futile or vain) There is precious little reference to him in any of the recovered material before the Leaving, and the third Sibling is never mentioned after. He is thought of as male along with the other Siblings.
The Siblings were each thought to be matched or paired with one of the Promised either by choice, decree, or destiny. The most commonly depicted pairings are Chrayis and Violika, Raelerax and Astraele, and Vanahe and Sunia. Depictions seem to represent Chrayis and Violika being central, Raelerax/Astraele on the left, and Vanahe/Sunia on the right.
Some time after The Six and all the lesser residents of the Realm of Spirits existed, The Leaving occurred. What catalyst prompted the Six to reorganize is unknown. Whatever the cause, it resulted in one of the Siblings, Vanahe, exiting the Realm completely. Some kind of strife or disagreement between the Siblings is clear, but the exact reasons are not.
[This is the most speculative aspect of Avala’s ancient lore and is hotly debated. The two main schools of thought are that A: Vanahe abandoned the Realm, left of his own accord. or B: Vanahe was exiled, cast out by the others in the Six. Reasons for either are not known and ideas vary too broadly for any to garner significant support.]
After the Leaving, the remaining Five attempted to compensate for the imbalance by categorizing all things in the realm into light and shade, Lumi kaj Ombro. Good and evil were not inherent in either. This division included the lesser spirits, but it is unclear how the Five decided on allocation. It is clear, however, that all lesser spirits would be of opposing alignment to their counterparts.
At first, the Five tried to rule impartially, but soon each fell into the alignment that included their preferences, ideals, and strengths. What resulted was Chrayis and Violika in true Lumi, Raelerax and Astraele in neutral Ombro, and Sunia alone in neutral Lumi. Raelerax challenged his brother, and was supported by Sunia. A war among the Five threatened the very existence of Avala before a solution was reached. Raelerax either resigned or was demoted to a lower station. He renounced alignment and walks the line between the light and the shade. Sunia’s alignment became true Ombro with Astraele as neutral Ombro. Violika identified as true Lumi and Chrayis fell into neutral Lumi.
After the war and the division of alignment, Raelerax was no longer part of the Five, the ruling spirits, but was still a greater spirit than any other in the Realm. Chrayis was not happy about the divide, but acquiesced in order to keep peace. It is in this era of documentation that Chrayis is first shown as the eldest or the most powerful of the spirits. Chrayis gathered together the Promised and decided to “bring forth ascendant spirits” with them, and took all three of the Promised as a partner (wife). The Spirits created from these unions were indeed more powerful and wise than the rest of the lesser spirits. They were 4 in number and became known as the Asendi. Along with Raelerax, they formed the Middle Council. At this point, Chrayis also declares himself and the Promised as the Alta spirits, and theirs the High Council.
[Whether the Asendi are actual offspring of the Alta Spirits, or simply the wisest and oldest chosen from the lesser spirits is unclear. Most believe the latter, since the Asendi are not complete and have a counterpart, like the lesser spirits.]
The Asendi Spirits have always been paired with their counterpart, and cannot exist otherwise. Meovar the Oseano Spirit (“daughter” of Chrayis and Violika) and Wyereth the Grundo spirit (“son” of Chrayis and Sunia) are counterparts, and were the first Asendi to be brought into the Middle Council. Barese the Flora Spirit and Xelen the Fauna Spirit (“twin children” of Chrayis and Astraele) are counterparts and have always been close. The Asendi each possess an item with which they focus the power and control over their domain. These objects were created by the Alta Spirits.
[A strong belief exists among the Lightseekers that these objects are what give the Asendi their power. If a mortal or another spirit were to gain control over one, they would take the Asendi’s place in the Pantheon. What happens to their counterparts, however, is unreconciled in this theory.]
The Fracturing of the Realm:
The hope in creating these objects, and assigning the strongest and wisest among the lesser spirits to possess them, was to spread out the workload of governing the realm. Briefly, the realm knew an idyllic ease of living. After the Asendi came into power, the lesser spirits began showing signs of unrest and jealousy. In a hasty attempt to appease the lesser spirits of shade under their rule, Sunia and Wyereth used his pickaxe Asunder to create an alternate realm beneath Avala, naming it the Sundered realm. Deep caves, murky depths, dark places where few venture, these are access points to the Sundered. Sunia carved an impenetrable fortress deep within the stone, where she can feel the vibrations of all in the Sundered and knows of everything said, and every being entering and exiting. Wyereth visits the Sundered often, but must maintain Avala’s soil and stone, as well as the access points to the Sundered.
Chrayis was furious at Sunia’s disregard to balance and fairness. He asked Violika to reflect the Sundered in Lumi to teach Sunia a lesson, and she resisted. Another, a voice of reason*, stepped in. He was able to convince Violika that this was necessary, that she and Meovar must fix the imbalance caused by Sunia’s hubris. She and Meovar pulled the Dawning realm from Avala in a great tsunami. [*Though he is never mentioned by name, it is assumed that this voice of reason was Raelerax.] The Dawning is a vast sea of untamed magic, timeless and infinite in scope. Islands dot the gentle waters, a great temple housing all knowledge sits atop one such island. Violika herself spends most of her time here.
Chrayis approved of the fractured realms, and named the original realm of Avala “the Median.” He put the Median in Astraele’s direct charge. She travels the realm constantly but rarely makes herself known to the lesser spirits residing there. Astraele organizes the weather patterns and the transitions of night and day. The twins, Barese and Xelen, created and maintain the flora and fauna of the Median.
Provenance and the Cycle:
The High Council conceived of an idea to allow lesser spirits to elevate themselves by gaining wisdom and experience on their own. The lesser spirits would be given a goal to become more than they are currently, and the possibility to possess some power and control over the realms. The High and Middle councils hoped to quell the unrest among the lesser spirits in this way.
The High Council agreed to create mortal vessels to be inhabited by the lesser spirits, that they may have opportunity to learn and interact with one another and the realms. The First Cycle began with each lesser spirit receiving a mortal, physical form. With Chrayis, each of the Mother Spirits created slightly different forms according to their preferences and traits. Sunia created the dwarves and gnomes, originating in the Sundered realm. Violika created elves of varying subtypes, originating in the Dawning realm. Astraele created humans and halflings, originating in the Median. At this time, each Mother took on a preferred physical form, in order to allow them to interact with their domains, when needed. While he is able to take physical form, Chrayis usually remains apart from the realms, and attends to the overall integrity of the realms and the interactions of the Councils. He traverses the In-Between, a vast network of corridors weaving around the three realms.
Raelerax was invited to join Chrayis wandering the In-Between as his Second. Raelerax instead chose to take on the physical form of a red-gold dragon, and became the Greater Dragon. He created dragons and dragonborns, and assumed rule over dragonkind. He wove the chaotic threads of arcane magic coursing through the Dawning realm, organizing it and allowing it to be used by mortals with sufficient intelligence and sensitivity. It was he who crafted the original spells and rituals, giving the knowledge first to the dragons.
The Altas and Raelerax then affixed each lesser spirit to a physical body, decided by location in the realms and affinity for either light or shade. [It is believed that race and gender was fairly randomized in assigning spirits to bodies, though each race has a moderate leaning to their mother spirit’s affiliation.]
Hereafter, these mortal beings reproduce themselves without the Councils’ interference. When a mortal dies, the departing spirit resides at the Hall of Rest (PaŭzoDomo) until a new body is created. The departed spirits wait in order of death to be reborn. If death rates are much higher than birth rates, the Hall of Rest may be a spirit’s residence for some time. If the birth rates are higher, and no spirit waits to inhabit a mortal body, the mortal child will be born “of the void” or without spirit. These children are killed at birth if a cleric is present to recognize the defect. otherwise, they live normally, not aware they are different.
[No specific location is given for the Hall of Rest, but it is described as nestled into the side of a cliff overlooking a vast shimmering ocean. Many take this to mean the Hall is in the Dawning realm. Others believe the Hall itself is part of the In-Between, and merely overlooks the Dawning.]
A few cycles pass, and some of the spirits were focused and knowledgeable to specific aspects of life and the realms. Since the lesser spirits exist as pairs, the only way to elevate beyond the cycle was as a pair. Only when a pair reside together in the Hall of Rest can they exit without rebirth and thus transcend the reincarnation cycle. Familiar spirits retain their final mortal name, race and gender when they elevate. Affiliation fluctuates little between rebirths, therefore an elevated spirit’s domain will fall under whichever affiliation with which they associate.
The first Familiar (Konateka) spirits to elevate beyond the cycle were the 4 Seasonal (Sezon) spirits, at the request of Barese, and with the assistance of the Mother spirits (who are said to have held the spirits back from rebirth until their counterparts arrived at the Hall of Rest, then guided the Sezon spirits through the Doors of Crystal, giving the spirits access to all the realms and dominion over a specific aspect of them. Zanen the Summer (Somero) Spirit, and her counterpart Dyrak the Winter (Vintro) Spirit; Rojs the Autumn (Autuno) Spirit and his counterpart Yaarana the Spring (Printempo) Spirit; The Sezon spirits were deemed fit to be given dominion over the change of the seasons of the Median realm, working closely with Barese and Astraele.
It was many cycles before any more spirits were ready and were aligned with their counterpart in order to elevate. The first of the Lower Council to join the Sezon were Mosaryn the Healer (Sanigi) and his counterpart Maradea the Death Steward (MortStevardo). After them, others came as the spirits were wise enough and fortunate enough to meet their counterpart in the Hall of Rest.
[The belief is held that there is no limit to how many Familiar spirits that may exist, and that it is the will of the Altas that all spirits eventually elevate past the mortal reincarnation cycle.]
The Modern Times:
After the Provenance and the beginning of the cycle, mortals marked the passage of time in epochs. An epoch is an indeterminate amount of time between the elevation of Familiars into the Lower Council. When a pair of spirits are added to the pantheon, a new epoch begins, in commemoration: The first epoch was the epoch of Provenance. When the first 4 spirits left the cycle, the epoch of Seasons began. Many years past before the next familiar epoch began.
The epochs since have been marked as follows:
Death and Healing
Peace and Battle
Protection and Voyage
Labor and Vine
Blood and Song
Love and Shadow
Flight and Focus
Luck and Treasure
Full dates are written as day, month, year within epoch, and year since Deveni (kd = kadukiĝi deveni “declining from origin”)
The symbol common to all temple ruins, texts, and relics has been generally recognized as the Insignia of Avala. Indigo field, circle in center (Avala) with 3 varied smaller circles (moons) in curved line to the lower right. all circles predominantly light blue, with red highlight on left side.