Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

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Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Anumaril » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:18 am

The pantheon and practices of the Ayleid altered, sometimes drastically, between city-states; however the traditional pantheon was that of White-Gold, which held to Eight Ancestor-Gods, roughly similar to that of their Alinor counterparts, and inspirational in the founding of the Alessian Pantheon. These Eight, known as the 'Edeis' included Merid-Nunda, Yfferath, Manir, Magnav, Syraath, Xagea, Syllden, and Aur-En; the defining feature of the pantheon, however, was the inclusion of two more Ancestors, 'Missing Gods', as it were, these being Auri-El and Lorkhan, who went unnamed in Ayleidoon. While unknown why they were referred to seperately from the initial Eight, it would seem these deities were recognized, though went without traditional reverence. In addition to these Ten were a number of 'Adais', seperate deities recognized often as patrons of individual city-states and bloodlines, or in a variety of cases, replacements for particular 'Edeis' held by White-Gold.

Edeis:
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Merid-Nunda: Spirit of Life, Light (In all non-magickal senses), and Energy, Merid-Nunda was the chief deity of the White-Gold pantheon, an interpretation of the Daedra known today as Meridia. According to the Ayleid, she was one of Nine Coruscations, ‘who followed the parabolas that led away from Magnus’. This passage identified her among the Magne-Ge, or ‘Star-Orphans’, entities that separated from Magnus when he fled the mortal realm. Some time after her fleeing, abandonment, or disorientation (Ayleid texts regarding the subject make this unclear), she bent the light of Magnus and carved a Daedric sphere of her own within Oblivion. Her place as chief deity likely stems from the Ayleids’ holding of Light as one of the four elements of creation, and the element many held paramount. Beyond these facts, little is known of the deity, aside from mention of her ‘stretching the dragon, at the other end compressing him’, a passage obviously alluding to the time god. What this means is uncertain, though may offer insight as to Auri-El’s displacement within the Edeis as well as lend reason to the tale of the Ayleid rejecting Phynaster’s gift for that of Merid-Nunda. Regardless, some link does exist between the two, as it can be no coincidence that her sphere of light often held a second, subtle allusion to time.

Yfferath: Spirit of Law, Song, and the Now, Yfferath is the Ayleid equivalent of Jephre, and ‘sings all that is true to be true’. Of second-most reverence in the pantheon of White-Gold, the deity stands to dictate the laws of nature as they exist in the present. It is said the god represents all living things, having given them identity as they identified the god. As such, Yfferath is regarded not as male or female, but as a many-faced amalgam, a reflection of all the god’s creations. Ayleid tales state that Yfferath was the first of the Ehlnofey, the very presence of the god giving rise to natural law suitable of it’s character. Looking upon that newly principled realm of possibility, Yfferath burst into a rhapsody of inspiring song. Resonating throughout the Aurbis, the chorus called upon others to lend their limbs and with they the god composed the foundations of the world. From the straining mountains, to the bountiful forests, to the mnemonic seas, all formed as that composition dictated. It was then the creatures of the world formed, and with them formed the ‘Boiche’ (Bosmer, the prefix ‘Boi’ implying animalistic nature) and the ‘Eshahi’ (Religious terminology seemingly regarding birds). While unknown, it is highly plausible that Kynareth of the Alessian pantheon maintained characteristics of Yfferath, merging them with the Nordic Kyne.

Manir: Spirit of Love, Fertility, and Tradition, Manir is the Ayleid equivalent of Mara; and as her name suggests, is strongly associated with the mother of creation, Nir. Through her nurturing embrace is found the sense and loyalty of kin and clan, and sewed into her robes the stages of their development. Upon her bosom was held the Rites of Naming, an important practice among the majority of city-states. While some aspects of her were maintained with the introduction of Mara, the early Alessian Temple faced ridicule for their provocative images of the deity, and many Ayleid simply discounted Mara as an offense.

"Two names are bestowed upon an Ayleid within their lifetimes. One when they are but fledglings, and another upon death. It was said that Xagea, with the wisdom of ancestors and skill of the Ayleid-tongue, held close to Manir; and through their copulation were born appellations of an exclusive breed."

Magnav: Spirit of Sight, Light (In a magickal sense), and Insight, Magnav is the Ayleid equivalent of Magnus, however, scholars debate the nature of this spirit, as it may have stood more as reverence to the great tear in the firmament or the tangible magicka flowing from it than it did to Magnus himself. While little evidence stands for this theory, the rough translation of the Ayleidoon ‘Magnav’ to ‘Of Magnus’ certainly leaves the matter open to assumption. Through Magnav, the Ayleid believed to have been bestowed the gift of magick, with more conceited Ayleid holding to the belief they were literally shards of Magnus themselves. These cults, while the minority, seemed quite vocal in their beliefs; with some scholars theorizing their egotistical worship of themselves as Magnus may have inspired certain aspects of the Alessian ‘One’.

Syraath: Spirit of Mastery, Apprenticeship, and Magic of a fleeting form, Syraath is the Ayleid equivalent of Syrabane. Her worship was held most dear to Ayleid scholars, who often made pilgrimage to Gyl Ge’loim (Believed to be the origins of Gwylim), the premiere pedagogy of magickal study within the Hegemony. Her protean origins are said to lie in the stars themselves, and as such, aetherial fragments such as Varla and Welkynd stones would often be directly associated with the goddess, some considering them fragments of her very sundered being. Unfortunately for modern scholars, worship of Syraath withered away in the years after the Alessian Rebellion, her image seemingly fading alongside the understanding of the aetherial arts. Attempts by modern scholars to propitiate the spirit have been met only with profane quietus.

"The last faithful of Syraath forsook their birthright and rejected impartation; choosing instead to swallow their unfledged apprentices and indulge in a stupor of reveriel insight, the same erudition that so aroused the Simian Usurper."

Xagea: Spirit of Ancestry, Knowledge, and Tongues, Xagea is the Ayleid equivalent to Xarxes, and was known as Xerxes in later ages. Similar to the god of their relatives, Xagea is said to have inscribed every moment of Ayleid history and every moment foreseen. Through him, the Ayleid recorded their ancestors and knew their origins. Their memory of Aldmeris and their inspiration for Ayleidoon was credited to Xagea, said to be the keeper of all words and their tongues. Xagea would ultimately be removed from the pantheon and replaced by Xerxes, as it was believed the spirit’s concept had been corrupted by Hyrma-Mora, the squalid Daedroth of forbidden knowledge. Thus, ‘that form was imprisoned within the shifting cogs of Yfferath, lending inspiration for Cyrodis-speak’. Tales surrounding the corruption of Xagea persist in the form of folklore and rumors surrounding the shadowed depths of Cyrodiil.

"Those of the Serceni were tasked with the preservation of their peoples ancestry. Bearing the light of Magnav, they wandered Cyrod, seeking to cleanse their clouding bloodlines and restore the Ayleid to their once-proud pedigree."

Syllden: Spirit of Benevolence, Mercy, and Experience, Syllden is the Ayleid equivalent of Stendarr, and stands as the ‘apologist of man’. Little is known of Syllden aside from one article impossibly surviving the Alessian Order’s destruction of Malada. This tale follows the story of the god, how he turned the Ayleid aside from their early slaughtering of Nedic tribes, teaching them instead that all life holds purpose and guiding them away from their bloodied past. Despite this seemingly peaceful visage, the god was most venerated as the ‘caster-of-chains’ and credited with the first act of slavery. Among his devoted were the vile Shapers and practitioners of Ayleid flesh-magicks, who utilized the teachings of Syllden as defense for their tortured vassals, long kept from the sweet escape of death. In spite of his worship by easily the worst of the Ayleid lords, Syllden was implemented into the Alessian pantheon as Stendarr, an amalgamation of his Nede-admired characteristics and that of Stuhn, the Nordic god of ransom.

Aur-En: Spirit of Sacrifice, Investment, and Resolution, Aur-En is the Ayleid equivalent of Xen, and is regarded as the god of effort, risk, and reward. Nearly every action in one’s life may be considered to be within the sphere of Aur-En, from the simple acts of purchasing food or waking each morning to complexities of historical reverence. His worship was prevalent throughout the Hegemony, although the many separate emphases of his worship throughout the castes of the Hegemony eventually led to his separation into multiple patrons, such as Xei, the popular patron of agriculture among the lower castes of the Niben.

Auri-El and Lorkhan - Note on the 'Missing Gods': The concept of a ‘missing god’ is no revolutionary idea to Tamriel, as even Alessia had incorporated Lorkhan as a ‘missing god’ in appeasement for Shor’s absence in her newfound Imperial religion. However, the idea that Auri-El, or any god of time for that matter, would go without official reverence is a concept odd to many, and blasphemous to many more. What led to this decision is unknown, as it is one of the few religious sects in history not to devote a time-god as chief of it’s pantheon, let alone remove it altogether. Many theories have arisen around the text ‘Exgesis of Merid-Nunda’ as to the Ayleids’ concept of time; however, the most popular theory on Auri-El’s disclusion lies in the interpretation that the time god is responsible for the elven imprisonment on Mundus, binding time and space so as to introduce law and linearity. This antagonistic view of the deity could very well have been the rationale behind the time god’s support in mankind’s rebellion against the Ayleid. Their attempts at escape could have proven disastrous for Mundus and the time god’s sphere.

Adais:
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Hyrma-Mora: Squalid Daedroth of forbidden knowledge, Hyrma-Mora stood as a great enemy to a number of Ayleid, and to their deity Xagea. It's worship was the only form strictly forbidden within the Hegemony, agreed upon as common law in the earliest recorded moots. However, eventually it would be claimed that Xagea was corrupted through dark knowledge-rituals and his libraries plundered by the Daedroth. In order to preserve their ancestry, the Ayleid abruptly threw Xagea from the pantheon and replaced him with Xerxes, a more traditional form of the elven Xarxes. Those city-states that reserved worship of Xagea were said to have drunk from the goblet of unknowable things, becoming insightful thralls of Hyrma-Mora, forever cursed to toil in the deep of Cyrod for lost understanding.

Mola-Gbal: Dark Daedroth of domination and greed, Mola-Gbal stood as the greatest foe of Meridian city-states within the Hegemony. Chief of his worshippers were the inhabitants of Lost Abagarlas, said to have been destroyed when they begged Merid-Nunda's wrath upon themselves. It's unknown as to what extent the Daedra was worshipped within the Hegemony, though multiple sites are known to have existed, such as Ninendava. Interestingly enough, his worship directly ties into known city-states of the Shapers, lending credence to the theory that Syllden's worship had been forsaken by a great many flesh-mages for the superior, yet dangerous, favor of Mola-Gbal came upon them.

Tor-Pol, the Lodestar: An Aldmeri explorer and famous poet said to have charted the entirety of Tamriel's seas, Tor-Pol was most revered among the Ayleid for his discovery and acquiring of the Eight Islands, inspiring the migration of the Ayleid people to what would become White-Gold. Regarded largely along the Niben and Topal Bay, his reverence largely came as a patron of city-states and the families of fishermen, though in rare cases he would be revered as an aspect, or replacement, of Aur-En.

Xei: Among the many late interpretations of Aur-En, Xei was one of the most prominent. Generally worshipeed along the fertile floodplains of the Niben and Lake Rumare, Xei was held to be a deity of agriculture and labor. He was said to provide ease for his faithful through appeals to Yfferath, begging short winters and long, fruitful seasons of harvest.

Qaith: Among the most mysterious of the Adais, with little more than worn stonework to remember the deity. Qaith is a matter of some debate among scholars, as it cannot be surmised whether the deity represents a physical being of ruling stature or a spirit among the likes of the Edeis. What can be known is that the Adai was recognized almost exclusivly in the Meritime states of the Topal Bay, states known to lack Sorcerer-Kings of their own. Though the origins of Qaith are obscured, it's said that 'worship was shared between Marmeldi, before washing ashore in the shed blood of Thras'. While lacking any evidence of appearance, it's said Qaith was as the waves, old and still at one moment, young and restless the next.

Dagon:

Namir:

Pyr-El:

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Anumaril » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:22 am

Been gone for a while, so thought I'd post what I've been working on for everyone to see. It's very much a work in progress, so I invite everyone to lend their thoughts on the Edeis and Adais. I could certainly use some opinions on which deities should be named among the known Adais; at least which should be considered important enough to dedicate the time to implement into Province: Cyrodiil.

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Infragris » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:46 pm

I'm really short on time/consciousness here, but I'll try to run through this and give my general thoughts. Apologies for the brusque rambling, I'm a bit tired.
  • The 8/10 thing: This doesn't really add anything. The Ayleid obsession with 8 is clearly spelled out in the source material, while the emphasis on 10 in new material is almost entirely due to the "Ten Ancestors" fetch quest in Oblivion, in which no special significance is given to their number, and no powers, identity or significance are attributed to them. It is my opinion that the 10 ancestor statues referred simply to ten actual ancestors, possibly the progenitors of great Ayleid sorceror-kings, or ten leaders in the Ayleid exodus from Alinor (in the reality framework which assumes the Ayleid are split off from larger elven culture, not magic birds). It should also be noted that, the way the Oblivion quest is written, it is implied that there used to be more than ten statues before the Rebellion/schism of the barsaebics.
  • tl;dr: I would prefer a solid eight Ancestor-gods, with the possibility of a subcategory of venerated ancestor-progenitors.
  • The difference between magical and non-magical light (or Merid-Nunda and Magnav): this feels like a really un-Ayleid distinction. The Ayleid worshiped light and understood it far better than any other, which is why they were capable of shaping it into stones, tools, and even servants (the Welkynd spirit). The importance of starlight especially means that they wouldn't see Magnus as sole proprietor of magical light. Imho it just doesn't feel correct that the ayleid would make this distinction, especially since they already discriminate between light and the more profane element of fire, which they considered a degraded substance. In my opinion, it would be better to make Merid-Nunda the sole source of magic/light and associate her with Magnus as his wayward daughter and as a kind of Promethean figure, stealing the light/the knowledge of how to wield it and giving it to the elves.
  • I like Yfferath.
  • Manir: I would just use the name Mara here; central to her nature is that she appears in every pantheon and is in certain ways universal in her appeal and role. I also don't see the association with Nirn bearing fruit in any way: it would place Mara much more central in the Ayleid cosmology, while they always struck me as more removed from her concerns: the appeal to purity, their longing to escape the mortal plane, the focus on the far exterior of the world as represented by the stars and Meridia, etc. Also, given Ayleid attitudes towards immortality and prolonging some vestige of life, the importance of fertility might have been lost on them.
  • Magnav:following on what I said about light above, might be better to typecast Magnus as an artificer god, a creator of devices, tools and (arcane or common) techniques of craft. An ambiguous figure, whose knowledge is not freely shared. Alternatively, it might be better to drop Magnus from the lineup and focus on the eight gods who would later inform the Eight Divines. After all, Magnus is first and foremost non-active, remote and indifferent to the world.
  • As an aside, I would not, under any circumstances, associate Magnus or any of the Elven gods with the Alessian One. Given Marukhati attitudes towards the Elves, it is extremely unlikely that these cults would inform each other. Also, an important aspect of the marukhati is that their faith is very strange, different and somewhat hostile towards local culture/reality. There should be no associations possible between marukhati and elven concepts of the world; if anything, they should be directly opposed in methods and conceits.
  • Syraath: sounds good, but Gwylim is a Breton institution, so would have been part of the Direnni sphere of influence. I would prefer there to be as little interference between the early Elven civilizations possible, if only because their mentalities are so radically different. Again, no mention of Marukh or his dealings should be made.
  • Syllden: very cool. One small remark is that "caster-of-chains" is a bit much, and doesn't really showcase what the Ayleid wanted to accomplish with their slaves. Something like Redeemer-of-unworthy-matter or Uplifter might be more appropriate.
  • Auri-El: should definitely be returned to his top place in the pantheon. Auri-El is key to the entire Ayleid "becoming/returning to be a bird" theme, as one of the ancestor spirits who did in fact retro-ascend to his origin glory. This interpretation is a bit too far into revisionism: while we have a lot of liberty in filling in the holes Bethesda left all over the place, we can't start overwriting the basic lore without a solid reason.
  • Lorkhan: just drop him. The human god should have no place in any of the Elven pantheon, apart from being a doomed trickster or distant historical abberation.
  • Mola-Gbal: very cool concept, but the name has to change. It's a very transparent change, not helped by the fact that "Molag" and "Bal" are common words across all elven languages. Imho better to just keep the name Molag Bal, otherwise it makes no sense that the Imperials would later start referring to him under his "correct" elven name. Not every spirit needs an ingenious nom de plume.
  • Tor-Pol: same as above. The concept is good, but the name-change isn't neccesary. Topal is already the Imperialized version of the older name Torval: in this case, Torval should thus be the original Elven name.
  • Maybe I'm too tired, but: who is Quaith supposed to be?

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Anumaril » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:40 am

Thanks for your thoughts, and no apologies necessary, this was a little lengthy. Most name changes were to tack some 'flavor culture' onto the Ayleid practices, and some more lazy ones like Mola-Gbal came from ESO; I imagined common NPC knowledge and reading material of the pantheon would use Imperialised names, while texts in Ayleidoon or direct translations might use the older Ayleid names for scholarly accuracy. I mean, they had an entirely different language, don't see why they wouldn't have different names for the gods as well; though perhaps if we implement name changes for older and scholarly texts, it may be beneficial to rely more on MK's Magne-Ge pantheon for even more separated-from-man naming conventions.

As for the 8/10 thing, that was based less on the fetch quest and more on some ESO lorebooks as well as some works by and conversation with IceFireWarden from reddit. It does betray original source material though, so I'll drop it.

Proposed Revised List of Eight:

Merid-Nunda
Auri-El
Yfferath
Syraath
Syllden
Daubella
Xagea
Aur-En

Ge Worship: This is going to be a separate post, but the gist is that the White-Gold pantheon inspired the Alessian Pantheon; they as well as Nedic and Nordic gods were blended by Alessia to create a pantheon that satisfied each group equally, though city-states on the frontier had their faiths largely ignored, and Merid was cast down and counted among the Daedra. Ge worship would be a VERY old faith that more-or-less died out before the Ayleid reached their zenith; though inspired the majority of their cultural and religious values. The oddest of the Ayleid city-states and more mystical ruins I would think should be Ge worshipers.

Auri-El: Will instate as a key figure in the pantheon, however, I would insist on Merid maintaining her position as their chief deity. Her apparent role in the more Ge-focused look at convention and the fact she's important enough as to introduce an entirely different element of creation to the Ayleid, lends credence to the idea of her being among the most popular deities, and therefore likely prime in the central pantheon of White-Gold.

Mara and Daubella: Removed Mara, as on second thought, she's far too based in Nordic faith to be of the Ayleid. Daubella, however, clearly likens to Dibella and counts among the Magne-Ge. Not to mention, as you said, fertility would likely be lost on them, as opposed to the physical pleasures throughout their long lives that Dibella's sphere provides.

Syraath: Having achieved Dracochrysalis, Syrabane retroactively became a god, so cultures would likely have different origins and explanations for his/her ascendance. Will remove the Gwylim bit, misremembered it for a college in Cyrodiil.

Syllden: Perhaps something like "Father of the Wretched" and giving him a shepherd-like persona; Nedes saw him as somewhat of a savior, a Good Father, but they were still locked within an oppressive Ayleid fence.

Magnus: I certainly see your point. Magnus seems more of a means than an end. Apparently Merid followed the parabolas that led from Magnus along with the other Ge, so he seems a progenitor-type of deity, a 'big bang' of sorts. He would, however, have a central position in more Magne-Ge focused city-states; As for the base pantheon, I'll include him only in flavor text about Merid, and hopefully we can utilize him to culturally distinguish Ge-focused city-states.

Lorkhan: Will drop entirely from the pantheon; his place in the Alessian pantheon will then be determined by attributes of the Nordic Shor and some Nedic interpretations.

Qaith: Just a bullshit name for a deity along the lines of Zeqqi and Orgnum. I figure nearly (obviously not mortal gods like Talos or the Tribunal) all deities would be recognized somewhere in the Hegemony, considering the Ayleid could watch creation play out through bending light and time; and water gods seem far too absent in Tamriel. This, like many of the Adais, would be a small, localized deity with evidence of worship in only a few ruins or mentions in books.

Maruhkati: I agree with your concerns, I'll ax any connection of them to the Ayleid pantheon.

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Infragris » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:14 pm

This all sounds very good. In general, I've found ESO lore to be more trouble that it's worth. When they have good texts, we should definitely incorporate them, but I don't think we should bother trying to redeem the scraps. Ge worship would be nice to reference, especially since there's a prefiguration of Morihaus in there if I remember correct. The absence of Kyne in the Yfferath shape could be used to prefigure her antagonistic role during the Rebellion.

I would like to represent Alessia's synthesis of the Imperial pantheon in a more positive light where possible. In Morrowind, the player's experience in the Temple faction is mostly played straight, even though the actual divinity of the Tribunal are questioned elsewhere. Likewise, a player involved in the Imperial Cult shouldn't be confronted with a blanket statement that Alessia created the pantheon for socio-political reasons; the truth should be negotiable. In the Imperial worldview, the synthesized Divines are closer to the unknowable truth of the Nine because they combine aspects of their human and elven interpretations, not despite of it.

I like Quaith. We might be able to make use of him (her? it?) to bulk out the number of "miscellaneous cults" worshiped in the Niben delta (gods not associated with any of the known aedra or daedra).

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Anumaril » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:48 pm

With you on ESO, I'll fight to the death for us to keep texts like 'Exgesis of Merid-Nunda', but there's a lot of trash filler-lore in that game. Those gods that aligned with man must be given some motivation to do so; Kyne's motivations may be explained in drawing natural comparisons between her and Yfferath/Yffre, but I'll have to take a closer look at Auri-El. Exgesis states "...thus does Merid-Nunda [ride? slide?] across the rainbow road from end to end, at one end stretching the dragon, at the other end compressing him....", so perhaps we can draw some interplay and competition between Merid and Auri-El; considering light being so closely associated with time, and the direction I've already gone with the long life of the Ayleid being credited toward Merid rather than Phynaster. Perhaps some line was crossed in Merid's manipulation of time; or the Akatosh idea was retroactively planted in Auri-El somehow, causing the god some crisis of self-identity.

The Imperial Pantheon should certainly be viewed more positively by the faithful and in Imperial histories, but of course the socio-political details would be given more credence in works by characters less biased and disconnected from the Cult and other Imperial institutions.

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Re: Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

Post by Infragris » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:40 pm

I believe Kyne's hostility towards the Ayleid is a part of her deal with Lorkhan - she appears to be a big supporter of the Endeavor, and caused the first rains to fall due to her grief over his death. My guess is that she backed the Rebellion and dispatched her son due to a prescience over the way the Empire would revive the Lorkhanic ideal. Or something.

Alternatively, the fact that she is the chief deity in the Nordic pantheon might have something to do with it. Maybe Kyne worship took root among the enslaved Nedes from contacts in Falkreath. There's definitely something important in the way Kyne's domain of the open sky and wild nature interacts with the slavery of the Nedes and the Ayleidic "constructed birds" aesthetic.

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