Pantheon and Practices of the Ayleid

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Anumaril
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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 most influential of religious institutions was that of White-Gold, the 'Temple of the Ancestors' as it was known. This central temple initially held to Eight Ancestor-Gods, roughly similar to those of their Alinor counterparts, and would come to be inspirational in the founding of the Alessian Pantheon. These Eight, known collectively as the 'Edeis' included: Merid-Nunda, Auri-El, Yfferath, Meyra, Magnav, Syllden, Xagea, and Aur-En. While the majority of these spirits are comparable with contemporary divines, Merid-Nunda remains as an outlier, an interpretation of the Daedric Prince Meridia manifesting Aedric qualities as a castaway Magne Ge. Over time various states of the Ayleid or their constituent castes would form distinct relationships with spirits outside or derived from this pantheon, which would collectively be referred to as 'Adais'. Whether by some form of intellectual drift, subversion by Oblivion, or mere cultural stagnation the latter years of the Ayleid Hegemony would see a massive expansion in the number of Daedraphilic states, whose patrons of Oblivion would be referred to as 'Moradais' and primarily subvert the Adonacyrean Heartland states.

History:
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In the early days of Summerset, new developments in theology and magickal studies would see the manifestation of less deterministic views of the gods, and ones more given to free will. For this school of thought, it was believed that mortals may be influenced by the gods, but practical magic would allow them to manipulate the boundaries of their world and destiny. This gave rise to spiritual distinctions such as that of the Ayleid, who claimed all ordered spirits within the Mundus to not be descended, but a part of the one great spirit of Anu, reflections of his Light which have been increasingly obscured by the material veil of the world and which ought to be united once again in Aetherius. In accomplishing this task, they would liberate themselves and like spirits from Mundus, starving it of that energy it relies upon. For the Ayleid, it was not enough to claim a linear bloodline back to the Aedra as the Summerset nobility did, and so believed their own spirits closest to the gods by virtue of magickal prowess and knowledge. In elevating their claim, the lords of the Ayleid would attempt to manifest the divine ideal of the Aedra, emulating their character so as to come ever closer to the realm of perfect ideas, Aetherius. Obscured in layers of ambiguity and implication, these beliefs would be protected from the compulsions of Crystal-Like-Law, with patronage from Magnus justifying their studies into the natures of obscure phenomena like Magicka.

This outlook on the world and their penchant for knowledge would lead the progenitors of the Ayleid from analysis of the qualities of Magicka via Magnus to contact with the spirit they would call Merid-Nunda, a fallen spark of the Architect wrapped in the chaotic veil of Oblivion, in whom they found allegory for their own mortal plight and inspiration for new methods of study focused on that Light of Anu trapped within the material bonds of the Aurbis at Convention. However, outright worship of this spirit would not evolve until their flight from the confines of Summerset, with so much as cosmological recognition of the wayward Magne Ge considered anathema by their Summmerset kinsmer, and studies into its nature greatly restricted. Further limitations on their works into the summoning of Daedra, development of Dawn Magicks, and discernment of the nature of such elements as Daedrons would see the official break of the Ayleid from Summerset; led by the Ten Ancestors who chiefly challenged the Alinor royalty's station, and their seeking new lands based on the charts of Torval the Pilot to study within and freely associate with spirits far from the restrictions placed upon them by Crystal-Like-Law. Here the greatest among them, the Sorcerer-Kings, would dedicate themselves primarily to one patron, and develop cities modelled after the cosmos, such that they may be the prime representatives of the divine on Nirn.

With the revelation of worldy Light having spread amongst the Ayleid, Merid-Nunda would go from being implicated in the worship of Magnus to being honored beside him in the pantheon of White-Gold, with the Architect's broad station becoming more strongly specified; though states characterized as Aedraphilic would maintain their practices from Summerset. With this, the most distinguishing feature of Ayleid spirituality became cemented, the conception of Light as not only an element of creation, but its prime Aetherial quality. This force was considered to be imbued in all things as creatia, and was generally split between two categories: Tam-Alata, or Light of the Dawn, that energy hidden within base matter and the forces of nature since Convention, under the station of Merid-Nunda; and Ada-Alata, or Light of the Gods, that energy that comes down through Magnav and the Ge from the realm of perfect ideas, Aetherius. These forces became central to Ayleid faith and their penchant for emulation, as they came to imbibe and surround themselves with the element seeking ever-greater closeness with the divine. With the revelation presented to them by Merid-Nunda, it would become the duty of the Ayleid to illuminate and redeem Mundus, as divinely-inspired stewards of lighted truth in a world of falsehood, just as the gods provided illumination for the Ayleid. For this reason the extraction of Tam-Alata from beasts and slaves as well as the harvesting of castaway fragments from Oblivion became a central function of the Ayleid faith and the primary station of the powerful Sorcerer-Kings, with the compaction of this Light into meteoric glass for both its practical and spiritual purposes left in the capable hands of the Adonai.

Early in their conquest over the natives of Cyrodiil, the Ayleid would come into contact with various lesser et'Ada they would call 'Adais'. These nature-spirits and manifestations of lower principles came to be inducted by the lower-castes of the Ayleid into their modes of worship, possibly due to the introduction of Nedic slaves into their environment. While this relationship with the spirits was focused in their case on redeeming the entities from their ties to Mundus, the structure of city-state faith would imply dominion of the Sorcerer-Kings over these Earthbones, essentially subjugating them and feeding into the complex of Kings. Likewise, while the initial reaction of the Ayleid to humans was one of absolute brutality, it being said that Syllden alone stayed their hand, recognizing that Man too betrayed a fragment of redeemable Light could only serve to bolster their power, and thus less intolerant practices were popularized like slavery. In their extra-liminal pursuits, many of these Kings would come around to forming pacts with the Princes of Oblivion, pledging favor in exchange for castaway light from the various realms. However, as the Ayleid grew decadent and their Sorcerer-Kings enamored by their own power, the focus was driven away from manifesting the qualities of the gods, and many Kings decided to make of themselves entirely new ideals. In this quest for unique divinity, the Sorcerer-Kings would embrace prismatic affections that blurred the line between qualities once clearly distinguished between Aedra and Daedra; and like Merid-Nunda, their own impulses would in the end wholly commit them to the degenerative forces of the Void.

With these developments the latter years of the Hegemony would see a great deal of religious drift among its already splintered belief systems and a massive expansion in the number of Daedraphilic states, whose patrons of Oblivion would be referred to as 'Moradais'. While relations with Daedra had not been a foreign concept to the Ayleid since their flight from Summerset, the Sorcerer-Kings enjoying the privilege of invoking them, these powers had been generally utilized responsibly as per the direction of Merid-Nunda and checked by neighboring states for abuse. However, as more direct reverence of once-taboo Daedra became normalized in the Adonacyrean Heartland, this practice would be disregarded, with Sorcerer-Kings in open competition for Daedric power and those kings adamant on reversing this trend being branded as enemies, such as the Auri-El faithful of Lindai. Despite these estrangements among their kin, the old ways of the Edeis would be preserved by some states, the majority of which being among the distant Lipsaculleic Ayleid and the Barsaebics. However, the latter would be forced into open revolt by pressure from their brothers further up the Niben and chased into the depths of Argonia, where they remained for a time before perishing.

Ultimately, Ayleid spirituality would survive only in its adaptation by other races and Merish powers, with Alessia incorporating Nede-admired aspects into the Imperial Pantheon and Ayleid emigrants influencing the regions they fled toward like Direnni High Rock and Valenwood by varying degree. Thanks in part to being embraced largely by lower-castes and slaves, as well as recognized on a much smaller scale, many of the 'Adais' would survive to influence minority cults across the Empire, thought to have been liberated from the tyranny of the Sorcerer-Kings. Likewise, the various Daedric cults of Cyrodiil may very well contain modes of reverence, practices, and relics that date back to the Daedraphiles; particularly worshippers of more involved Daedra like Meridia.
The Edeis:
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Merid-Nunda:

Spirit of Life, Light, and Magic, Merid-Nunda was the chief deity of the White-Gold pantheon and was well-regarded even amongst the Aedraphilic Ayleid as an allegory for their mortal condition, despite her having been an interpretation of the Daedra known today as Meridia. According to the Ayleid, she was counted amongst the Magne-Ge, or 'Star-Orphans', entities that separated from Magnus when he fled the mortal realm. Her place as chief deity stemmed from her gift of Light to the Ayleid, an element they held paramount, believing it to have held the key to their ascension into the realm of perfect ideas, Aetherius. Her discovery on Summerset through their studies into the nature of magick would set off the series of events that led to the Ayleid's exodus from their homeland, after which she would ascend from implied reverence under Magnus to chiefly honored deity amongst many established city-states save those that would later be known as 'Aedraphilic'. Various mentions of Merid-Nunda's interactions with Auri-El make allusions to some relationship between her sphere of Light and his of Time, in one instance lending reason to the tale of the Ayleid rejecting Phynaster's gift for that of her own. For this the Ayleid often honored the gods together, an awkward wedding between a contemporary Daedra and traditional Aedra over their apparent related qualities, with only the most driven of Sorcerer-Kings considered capable of manifesting the complex attributes of both. Merid was said to dwell within the Great Refractory, a possible name for her Colored Rooms, which bent the light of Magnav such that the Ayleid might distinguish the pure light of Aetherius from the deceptive, mixed hues of the Mundus.

Auri-El:

Spirit of Time, Sight, and Energy, Auri-El stood as the deity from which the Ayleid lords claimed their descent, as catalogued by Xagea. Prior to Auri-El's ascension, it is said that all was in chaos, forces and concepts and energies bounding against one another with no clear discernment of shape nor motive save that of their natural affinities within this primordial disparity. Amongst the chaos, Auri-El came into contact with the Magne-Ge Merid-Nunda, and with this spirit came to understand the nature of Light, and in checking the limits of each other's dominions, worked to bring order to the wild spectrum of the Dawn. By his direction, identity was presented unto the wild, young spirits at play, the first being Yfferath, who gave form to identity. Enamored by her most beautiful of forms, Auri-El copulated with Meyra, who would give birth to the first of Mer. By far the most common of deities the Sorcerer-Kings sought to emulate, manifesting Auri-El's station and uniting with the divine became an obsessive desire of the Ayleid, who modeled everything from their attire to breeding practices at Meyra's temples to reflect the god. Assisted by Merid-Nunda, their discernment of time through light and efforts to chart the chaotic events of convention would primarily be in effort to achieve this goal. Ultimately the Ayleid aspect of Auri-El would be wed with Nordic and Nedic conceptions of the time-god to form Akatosh. However, even less is known of this early marriage of concepts than of the Ayleid's own time god, as any elven influence on the Alessian time-god would be scrubbed away by the actions of Marukh and his Selectives, either by metaphysical tampering or radical reform and censorship.

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 high 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 first the goddess Meyra who formed, copulating with Auri-El to produce suitable leaders for Mer, 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 lower castes honored Yfferath by redeeming lesser 'Adais' from their essential material shackles, these spirits would, by laws of metaphysical hierarchy, fall under the dominion of the Sorcerer-King, whose command over the natural world and embrace of androgyny likened them to the god itself. In further emulating the role of Yfferath, these kings stood as witness within temples to Meyra, ensuring purity in the act and reflecting Yfferath's presence in Auri-El and Meyra's coupling. While unknown, it is highly plausible that Kynareth of the Alessian pantheon maintained characteristics of Yfferath, merging them with the Nordic Kyne.

Meyra:

Spirit of Purity, Prolongment, and Restitution, Meyra was the Ayleid equivalent of Mara, and whose worship was considered by many Sorcerer-Kings a necessary evil in prolonging the infinite Ayleid effort of ascension. However, her station of procreation would be embraced with great enthusiasm by those pledged to Auri-El, believing their ritual act of copulation within the Nascency Temples of Meyra would reflect the mythic acts of the god. Likewise, she appealed to the lower castes and slaves, the latter taking more of an interest in the pleasures of the goddess than reproductive qualities, given the born servitude of slave children. It was said that her copulation with Auri-El birthed the first Merish lords from which the Ayleid are descended. Handmaids of Meyra were exclusively female, and served as the primary breeding stock of this Ayleid nobility, in many cases themselves of high birth and seeking to emulate the role of Meyra at convention; with this spiritual female role having possibly led Ayleid society toward more patriarchal systems of governance. Those Sorcerer-Kings unaffiliated with Meyra were known to have had such little time nor concern for the act of reproduction that had they not ignored it, were known to visit her temple once in a lifetime and take dozens of partners for the sake of eventual restitution. However, as Ayleid society slid into decadence, the increasingly depraved Sorcerer-Kings would routinely sacrifice their fertility or even offspring to the Daedra for the sake of conditional immortality.


Magnav:

Spirit of Sight, Light, and Insight, Magnav was the Ayleid equivalent of Magnus, and stood as the patron of the studious progenitors of the Ayleid. Through their efforts in discerning the nature of magicka, his faithful would discover the spirit of Merid-Nunda, a wayward fragment of the god in whom they saw allegory for their own mortal condition. For a time Merid would be honored at the side of Magnus and implied in every prayer so as to obscure this heresy from the mandates of Crystal-Like-Law, her having opened the eyes of the Ayleid to Tam-Alata, that light trapped within the mortal world since convention. After their flight from Summerset and deeper engagement with spirits once restricted, Merid would instead be honored alongside Magnav in the pantheon of White-Gold, with the Architect losing his station as the sole god of Light for a great many of the elves, instead relegated to reverence for his providing of Ada-Alata alone, that Light which radiates from Aetherius. His dominion over Sight and Insight, while at face due to the clearness of day, was more in keeping with the central position of Magnus in Ayleid cosmology, acting as the center from which they uncovered the true form of the Aurbis and of spirits like Meridia. However, some Ayleid maintained the classic Summerset distinction between spirits like Merid-Nunda and Aedra such as Magnus, namely the Barsaebics, whose city-states had already been established prior to the construction of White-Gold and induction of Merid-Nunda into their worship. Whether due to the distinction made by White-Gold or some older revelation, Ayleid representations of Magnus were even more impersonal than those of their other gods, with even the name of 'Magnav' implying reference to the great tear in the firmament as opposed to the divine himself. Regardless, perhaps the most famous of sites dedicated to Magnav was the city-state of Ceya-Tar, where the palace of the Sorcerer-King featured a great central dome dedicated to the god; though much of what was once depicted on this dome was seared away by the Fire-King Hadhuul's employment of flame, an element considered degenerative by the Ayleid compared to the pure Light given by Magnav and Merid.


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 by revealing the light within Man and guiding them away from their bloodied past. Despite this seemingly peaceful visage, the god was most venerated as the 'Redeemer-of-Unworthy-Matter' and credited with the first act of slavery. Among his devoted were the most enthusiastic owners of Redeemed Servants, who considered their creations to be ideal specimens of redemption, and reflective of Syllden's own example. As the Ayleid grew decadent, many of these Sorcerer-Kings would become the vile Shapers and practitioners of flesh-magicks, whose tortured vassals and macabre designs displayed their ultimate domination over the material world. In spite of 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.

Xagea:

Spirit of Ancestry, Knowledge, and Tongues, Xagea is the Ayleid equivalent of 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 lineage and knew their origins. Their memory of lost magics from Aldmeris and their inspiration for Ayleidoon was credited to Xagea, said to be the keeper of all words, spells, and tongues. His devotees were among the most avid scholars and archivists, a font from which countless Ayleid discoveries into the nature of light, magick, and the Aurbis originated. However, 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, with those failing to correct themselves with devotion to Xerxes ultimately becoming blinded and trapped within the endless libraries of Apocrypha. Indeed many of these thralls would be shamed for the regrettable loss of invaluable tomes and scrolls now tucked away in the depths of Oblivion, though at least somewhere surviving Alessian censorship. Some remnants of Ayleid theological work on the subject postulate that one of their own had finally achieved unity with Xagea, becoming Xerxes, and the husk of the former merely possessed by Hyrma-Mora. However, contemporary knowledge regarding the displacement of the Edeis would lend more credence to this tale being a clever distraction from the truth, that Ayleid scholars merely gambled more than they could handle in their insatiable lust for knowledge.

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 relevance. Few Sorcerer-Kings would devote themselves to emulating this deity, but those who did were among the more directly involved rulers of the Hegemony, always keeping their populace engaged in great works long lost to time, such as the Floodguard of the Barsaebics, a series of great enchanted effigies of the allied kings of Telepe and Veyond that are said to have regulated the tides of the lower Niben. While the origins of the deity are somewhat obscure, scholars generally regard it as a myth-maze by which the early Ayleid captured, amalgamized, and reinterpreted aspects of more troublesome lesser et'Ada. Aur-En was prevalent throughout the Hegemony, although the many separate emphases of his worship throughout the castes eventually led to separation into multiple patron-deities regarded as emanations of his wide sphere of influence, though to what degree these emanations related to Aur-En or were merely the resurfacing of et'Ada thought to have been entrapped is unknown. Perhaps most well-known was Xei, the popular emanation of agriculture among the lower castes of the Niben. Among warriors, the emanation Adavar was honored to bring decisive victory, protection, and great spoils. Additionally, the figure of Qaith revered within the Topal Bay is presumed to have its origins as an emanation of Aur-En, with a number of its initiatic mystery-cults possibly having been established prior to the Alessian Rebellion. Even the historic figure of Torval himself was conflated with Aur-En amongst the states of the Topal Bay as the god became absorbed into the fisherman's cult of the Pilot. This wide division of Aur-En's spheres into greater and greater particulars would thus clearly leave the spirit vulnerable to mortal interpretation and debasement. Various emanations derived from Aur-En would have their character corrupted by Daedraphile imposition and in some cases be wholesale sacrificed by Sorcerer-Kings to Daedra inhabiting similar spheres to those the emanations were associated with.
The Adais:
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Xei:

Among the many late interpretations of Aur-En, Xei was one of the most prominent. Generally worshiped 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.

Torval, the Lodestar:

An Aldmeri explorer and famous poet said to have charted the entirety of Tamriel's seas, Torval 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 some cases he would be revered as an aspect, or replacement, of Aur-En.

Qaith:

A spirit revered today along the southern Topal Bay, it is said that Qaith is as the waves, old and still at one moment, young and restless the next. His origins obscured to all but perhaps those fully inducted into the initiatic cult, Qaith is presumed to be but one of the myriad of spirits once associated with the Ayleid, primarily due to recent excavations nearby the Temple of the Wave Fracture east of Leyawiin. Revealed were Ayleid tunnels presumably of Barsaebic origin, thought to have been sealed by, or more scandalously hidden from, the Alessian Order. Within were votives commonly associated with Aur-En, implying Qaith's standing as perhaps another of the various aspects the Aedra was split into, assuming a connection does indeed exist.

Sairaath:

An emanation of Aur-En popular amongst the magic-oriented Ayleid nobility, Sairaath was considered a spirit representative of mastery and rare magicks, who was symbolized by the broken firmament. Her worshippers were known to engage in biennial pilgrimage across the Hegemony in search of magickal innovations and as practice in honing their own skills within the feared jungles of Cyrod. 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. For these Ayleid, Sairaath was believed to work under the shelter of the Great Refractory of Merid-Nunda, obscured to the pure light of Magnus so as to prevent another sundering. Collecting the fractured portions of her form, she travelled across the realms of Oblivion and beyond, leaving these shards of herself in the protection of her faithful Ayleid. In emulating her quest, Devotees of this spirit would search endlessly for fallen meteoric glass to experiment with outside the auspices of the Sorcerer-King, with those of the lower-classes merely believing them to bring good fortune. Her worship, however, never caught on amongst the Nedic slaves, who regarded such fragments as little more than oppressive and cold, incapable of providing the warmth a fire might to their slave pens. 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.


Adavar:

Yet another aspect of the Ayleid divine Aur-En, Adavar was a spirit primarily associated with warriors, believed to bestow decisive victory, great spoils, and protection from harm. His reverence in the east among both the lower castes of Ayleid and their Nedic slaves inspired a sense of comradery within the city of Ondo that supposedly led the two groups to overthrow their tyrannical Sorcerer-King and take up arms alongside nearby Nenalata in assisting the Alessian Rebellion. However, the nature of Adavar was given to more darker interpretations as well, specifically in the case of Varsa Baalim, who fanatically took to the qualities of Adavar and would be led to forsake them for those of Mehrunes

Antumbra:

Translating to 'Old Shadow' from Cyrodiilic, the original Ayleid name for this deity has been stricken from record. Represented by a many-legged serpent, it's theorized to have symbolized the darkest depths of the jungle for the most part avoided by the Ayleid, in part due to its absense of light and another in keeping with ancient pledges to avoid trespass upon its realm. The spirit would eventually have its Ayleid connotations removed and its worship taken underground during the years of the Alessian Order, crippling its reach. However, it would see a revival in worship under the Reman Empire, when it became associated with Tsaesci fetish culture and would go on to be propitiated by Nibenese families into the Third Era.
The Moradais:
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Taken up by the Ayleid during their decline into decadence, much of what is known in regards to their associations with these spirits focuses on their decline and the darker nature of these relationships, in part due to the perspective from which its knowledge has been passed down, not to mention Alessian revision. However, with the liberties granted under the Septims, proper study into these subjects may again be exercised.

Azura:

Unlike many other Daedra, patronage of Azura was rarely sought for the direct purposes of exercising violence, but rather her almost prophetic station as a means to discern what was to come and best ready for it. Her mystery cults related her directly to Merid-Nunda, their stations working together in warning the Ayleid of night with the unique, magical displays of Dawn and Dusk; prophesized to come each day until the last. This focus on her prophetic character would see many Azura devotees among the first emigrants from Cyrodiil into Valenwood, long before the Alessian Rebellion, during which many more Ayleid would take the Daedra on as patron to better anticipate their enemy's strategies, however it would seem her quality of fate would see this efforts fail.


Boethiah:

Forsaken by many Ayleid as an ally of moral cowards and weaklings, the strength of Boethiah would prove greater than the pride of those Sorcerer-Kings in the use of cunning and complex schemes by some Sorcerer-Kings in imposing themselves over rival states and ousting problematic nobility. Though the particulars of how the Atataric Ayleid came to be subject to the Heartland kings is a contentious topic, sources by resentful residents of the region claimed cowardice on the part of the city-state of Mackamentain in subverting their political structure with the blessing of Boethiah, such that allied forces in the Heartland managed a rapid takeover of the states. Still, devotion to the Prince served to be a double-edged sword, as discontent, treason, and rebellion were fomented in those states which became dedicated to the Daedra.

Clavicus Vile:

Said to have visited upon Ayleid most drunk for power, represented by a shapeshifting eagle, Clavicus was considered patron only by particularly lucky or clever Ayleid. For most, the potential benefits of associating with the Wishmaster came at too great a cost. Many Sorcerer-Kings were humiliated or starved of power thinking they might best Clavicus Vile, and many more had his wrath visited upon them when their egotism led them to attempt cheating the Daedra at his own game. Little sympathy is due for these Mer, however, as they bartered everything from the souls of entire enslaved tribes in desperate circumstances to talking the Daedra down to their limbs, or faces, henceforth commanding a legion of mangled slaves. Although humorous tales of revenge still circulate the taverns of Cyrodiil to the objection of foreigners, such as the Ayleid nobles who offered their souls to Clavicus if he would take their children from their besieged city, an offer he took up, by dropping them directly in the Alessian camp outside.

Peryite:

Among the earliest of Ayleid contacts, Peryite was of particular interest due to his embodiment of natural order and dominion over Daedrons, chaotic creatia that react to mortal will and magicka, which kept unchecked by the Prince result in chaos among the already-confused realms of Oblivion. Naturally, the actions of this form of creatia was determined as being vital to some Ayleid in their conceptualization of the Aurbis. However, each time they'd come close to an epiphany, new tasks would come to the Daedrons that contradicted everything the Ayleid thought to know. Still they strived to understand, and remained engaged in their work at the behest of the Taskmaster, an irony perhaps only their own slaves could make out, when their mouths were free of the endless bile believed to be capable of cleansing whatever filth their masters saw in them.

Sheogorath:

Largely owed patronage by those Ayleid discouraged and driven to the brink in their fruitless pursuit of godhood, it was believed that only increasingly unorthodox methods might lead them to ascension. Thus they sought patronage from the lord of madness, who came to them under the guise of a scholar of equal pretention to themselves. Imbibing them confidently with lies regarding the structure of the Aurbis, these Ayleid would go on to spread falsehood across the Hegemony's most prestigious institutions. Delighting in the chaos, Sheogorath himself will proudly admit his convincing the Ayleid to forsake all they stood for. Sorcerer-Kings would grow afraid of the light or take on an uncharacteristic self-consciousness, scholars would rewrite their histories to credit men with the achievements of the ancestors, the Nascant Temples of Meyra would see females take on the role of Auri-El, and Magnus would be conflated with Merid-Nunda to the point of her supposed final renouncement.

Malacath:

Of little renown even amongst Daedraphilic Ayleid, worship of Malacath seemed almost nonexistent until the era following Alessia, when the Ayleid who remained within the borders of Cyrodiil sought any means to perpetuate the existence of their people. Among the greatest converts to Malacath worship were city-states previously aligned with Boethiah, and whose faith had been forced underground in the years following the founding of the Empire. Here they would cause trouble for a time, bending rules or displaying outright contempt for the impositions of mankind until the rise of the Alessian Order. With the last Ayleid exodus from Cyrodiil, their specific brand of Malacath worship was supposedly taken into the Valenwood, where they ruthlessly defended themselves from being integrated to the point of self-destruction.

Mehrunes:

Worshipped in large by fanatics considered dangerous even to other Ayleid, Mehrunes represented total victory over the world and weak elements of the Ayleid spirit. Devotees of the Daedra were known to purge all forms of decadence, weakness, and waste from their societies. Though unclear as to how, implications in surviving Ayleid texts indicate an intimate familiarity with this particular Daedroth, with references to his character existing within multiple tracts to Merid-Nunda as a pure ideal confused in layers of clashing hues. Unlike most city-states, those in service to Mehrunes were staunchly against slavery, believing reliance on lesser races and the light of Man weakened the Ayleid themselves, and so they took to slaughtering the Nedes as their ancestors did. Mehrunes worship was largely centered around the hardened far-eastern states along the Valus Mountaints, the most prominent being the lost Varsa Baalim, said to have been consumed by the mountains after its Sorcerer-King challenged the might of Mehrunes himself. These Ayleid were said to have manipulated Light to break down the boundaries of objects in revolutionary action, from which a new order ruled over by their own might come.

Mephala:

Well-regarded for some time as lording over secrets lost to the Ayleid, and more than willing to entice them into her web, the consequences of associating with Mephala became known to the Ayleid only when they had been properly snared. Generally approached by the devotees of Meyra, the embrace of Mephala would find reproduction to no longer be the primary focus of her temples, but mere pleasure, and the endless quest for increasingly debauched means of achieving this; Including everything from mass violation of Nedic slaves, to the murder of the resulting legions of children. Increasingly occupied with their quest for power, Ayleid Kings would visit the Nascant Temples no longer to breed, but to sacrifice their fertility and even offspring for the slightest advantage.

Sanguine:

As the Decadent Period approached, more taboo Daedra would be embraced by the devotees of Meyra such as Sanguine, transforming her resplendent, invigorating temples from places of spiritual sanctity to sites of depravity. The annual celebration of Myranal became more degenerate as the years went on, ultimately corrupting the very nature of the deity, and would rage without end. Of notable corruption is the Sorcerer-King Nirasryn of Wine, who imposed himself over the Handmaids of the lost Breeding Ground of Meldrielle and surrounding lands, demanding from his servants a tithe of daughters and sacrifice of sons to be given for the sake of realizing his ambitions. His city would disappear upon the outbreak of the Alessian Rebellion, supposedly finding itself within the Myriad Realms of Revelry lorded over by Sanguine. Whether this was Nirasryn's intention or he was driven for something greater, the pocket-realm of Meldrielle is but one example of the darker side of Sanguine's innocent and amusing exterior.

Namira:

Perhaps the most heretical of the Daedraphilic patrons, Namira worship seemed to stem from a wave of nihilism that came upon a number of northern states, the most notable of which being Anga. Here hollow altars remain filled with an empty blackness, where the spirits of forlorn Ayleid are supposed to dwell in eternal ascetic struggle. Those Sorcerer-Kings devoted to Namira were said to have forsaken the Light, considering it but an illusion in what began and will end in darkness. However it wasn't often this pitiable attitude inflicted punishment on the Ayleid themselves, with Men falling victim to purposeless circuses in which Mer competed for how long their restorative magick could keep one mortal victim to the insatiable insects of the Lady of Decay. Still a gentle gnawing is said to be felt by those who come too close to these sites, and tales of biting insects in the night are told to children in nearby villages.

Meridia:

While recognized for the majority of Ayleid history as the Magne Ge Merid-Nunda and imbued with Aedric qualities, the more esoteric and culturally relevant tale of Merid-Nunda's relationship with the Ayleid would grow increasingly shrouded over time, with her character subject to Alessian revision and worship of the spirit banned alongside other Daedric entities. Those Ayleid who fled their homeland no doubt carried with them the Meridian faith, but this appears to have declined rapidly upon their absorption by foreign cultures, the last strong Ayleid clans outside Cyrod recognizing the spirit purely by her Daedric characteristics and merely as 'Meridia'.

Perhaps the most notable of Meridian attitudes amongst the Ayleid diaspora were those of the Valenwood emigrants, who viewed Merid-Nunda in a wholly Daedric context. For them, Auri-El and Merid-Nunda worked together in bringing order to the restless Dawn, but amidst their realization of the nature of Mundus and the attempt to leave, Merid-Nunda became trapped in the Void when she remained behind her brother, afraid her nature might constrain the speed of the time-god. However, when she begged for aid, the gods looked at her corrupted form with scorn and shut her from Aetherius. Pledging revenge on the gods, she took the name Meridia and declared for revolution against time.

Nocturnal:

Revered largely in secret, Nocturnal was regarded by the majority of the Ayleid as born from some corruption of the spirit, festering in the places uncleansed by the light of Merid. Agents of the Daedroth, ravens were considered a perversion of Auri-El's image, and were known at that time to speak freely, only learning to hold their tongues when ritualistic slaughter of their kind began. Ayleid folktales and religious tradition regarding Nocturnal taught the elves to avoid the face of their shadow, which itself was believed to harbor some untapped and unclean portion of the soul. Lending credence to these tales, evidence from multiple excavation sites support the notion that a number of powerful Ayleid Sorcerer-Kings studied and practiced manipulation of the shadow, utilizing techniques similar in essence to the workings of soul mazes.

Hyrma-Mora:

While Xerxes would overtake the worship of Xagea, the latter would continue to be served by those either lacking knowledge of his corruption or utilizing the fallen deity as a proxy for the worship of Hyrma-Mora. Those who continued to worship Xagea out of ignorance would have their knowledge and memories slowly consumed into the libraries of Apocrypha, all recollection of their lineage having been lost. Similar tragedies would befall those Nedic tribes given over to Xagea by the Ayleid in exchange for lost knowledge. While unlike the fates that befell other tribes subjected to Daedric oblation, these Nedes would survive either for labor or to be sold to another city, however they'd suffer on with little to no recollection of where they came from or who they are. As opposed to the wholesale slaughter of other tribes, the rich culture of these Nedic peoples would merely be forgotten, the only evidence of their existence lying beneath the dirt or entombed within Oblivion.

Molag Bal:

Dark Daedroth of domination and greed, Molag Bal stood as the greatest foe of Meridian city-states within the Hegemony, and the normalization of his worship was considered the tipping point in Ayleid decadence by resident Ayleid within the Alessian Empire. Merid-Nunda was thought to particularly disdain the Daedra both for his relation to the undead (differentiated from Ayleid means of 'redemption' and thought to have trapped and corrupted the Tam-Alata within), and his repeated perverse assaults against her realm. 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 Molag Bal.

Hircine:

Although the name of Yfferath went largely unmarred to the Nedic tribes, legend exists of Ayleid who opposed the mono-form introduced by Yfferath and pledged themselves to the Daedra Hircine in exchange for a second skin. These Sorcerer-Kings allegedly thrilled in the hunt of Nedes from the sky, though all that stands to substantiate these claims are Nibenese and Falkreath folktales, not to mention the occasional sighting of perching winged elves in the trees.

Vaermina:

By the Decadent Period, the practices of the Shapers and the worst of the slave-masters had exceeded tolerances granted under Syllden, with many of these vile Ayleid abandoning the deity in favor of Daedra such as Vaermina. Her unique station allowed for means of torture far beyond anything the Ayleid might inflict on mortal flesh, and indulged their curiosities of what lied within the minds of mortals. In the best cases, slaves were left as drooling simpletons or at least capable of ending their own suffering, and in the worst they were trapped in waking nightmares unending.
Last edited by Anumaril on Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Post by Anumaril » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:46 am

Been insanely busy for a few months, but came together with ideas to fill out the pantheon. So far we have Merid-Nunda, Yfferath, Syraath, Syllden, Xagea, and Aur-En for the central White-Gold pantheon. Below I've my general ideas for the inclusion of Auri-El and Meyra (Mara). Let me know what you think!

Auri-El

Spirit of Time, Sight (in a spiritual sense), and Energy, Auri-El stood as the chief deity from which the Ayleid claimed their descent, as catalogued by Xagea. Prior to Auri-El's ascent, it is said that all was in chaos, forces and concepts and energies bounding against one another with no clear discernment of shape nor motive save that of their natural affinities within this primordial disparity. Amongst this chaos, Auri-El came into contact with the Magne-Ge Merid-Nunda, and with this spirit came to understand the nature of light, and through great conflict with the Thermal Spirit (whose very presence elicited discernment amongst the pigments) worked to bring order to the wild spectrum of the Dawn. By his direction, Auri-El presented identity to the wild, young spirits at play, the first being Yfferath, who gave form to identity. Prior to his flight from our realm, he gave one final gift through copulation with Meyra, ten 'greater spirits' in the form of young Ayleid, who would become the first Sorcerer-Kings and from whom all Ayleid are descended. After the establishment of White-Gold, the Ayleid would become obsessed with following the path of Auri-El, believing that through his ascension he laid a path for all his children to follow. Their manipulation of light and efforts to chart the chaotic events of convention were all produced in effort to achieve this goal. The infamous 'Umaril the Unfeathered' may have been the victim of some form of political/spiritual marring (by name, and rumor of his relation to Molag Bal) due to his denouncing of these efforts, believing Auri-El had not delineated reality for his children to reflect upon chaotic forces, but rather the forces of reality which they had separated themselves from.

Meyra

Spirit of Purity, Prolongment, and Restitution, Meyra was the Ayleid equivalent of Mara, and whose worship was considered a necessary evil in prolonging the infinite Ayleid efforts of ascension. It was said that her copulation with Auri-El birthed ten 'greater spirits' from which all Ayleid lords are descended. Her sphere guided the Ayleid in procreation, an act for which they had great disdain, and her sites of worship functioned more as extreme-selective breeding grounds than conventional sites of worship. Handmaids of Meyra were exclusively female, and served as the primary breeding stock of the Hegemony. It's unknown whether this spiritual female role or some other cultural factor led Ayleid society toward patriarchal systems of governance in the way of Sorcerer-Kings. Prestigious Ayleid scholars were known to have had such little time nor concern for the act of reproduction that had they not ignored it, were known to visit these grounds once in a lifetime and take dozens of partners for the sake of eventual restitution.

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Post by Infragris » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:29 pm

I like everything about Auri-El, although the step from his ten ancestors to the alternate/competing myth of the bird people and Torval is confusing. What I am mostly missing is the fall from grace which is essential in Elven myth: how the Elves lost their immortal, divine nature. The essential quality of the Ayleid is how, unlike the Altmer, they seek to regain their station and ascend by any means necessary ("Where the Altmer sought to focus on dracochrysalis, or keeping elder magic bound before it could change into something lesser (and act which ironically required aetherial surplus), the Ayleids harvested castaway creatia from Oblivion by entering a pact with the masters of the Void, the Princes of Misrule.").

Traditionally there is also the part where the Lorkhan or men is to blame, but in the case of the Ayleids I believe more and more it is appropriate to neglect mentioning him entirely. I have a working theory that the Ayleids tried to erase Shezarr from the mythos, similar to contemporary efforts vis a vis Talos.

Hmm, weird breeding cults. Auri-El/Meyra mirrors vulgar notions of Akatosh and Mara in some Nibenese religions, which is good. I'm not sure if the disdain Ayleids felt for procreation should not be class-based: as Nu-Hatta reminds us, "it should be noted here that it is always foolish to think of whole races sharing like minds. "Ayleid" is as much a metaphysical designation as it is a cultural one. Just like the earliest Chimer who orphaned themselves from the Velothi Exodites, but remain Chimer today, large numbers of Ayleids showed more interest in the immediate earthly needs of agriculture rather than the magical needs of concept-farming."

In other words, Meyra worship might have been genuine and heartfelt among the lower castes of Ayleids (who we never hear about anyway, and who left little earthly traces), but disdained by their almighty sorceror-kings. In fact, thinking about it the ability to procreate may have been one of those parts of their mortality the sorceror-kings routinely sacrificed to the Daedra in their quest for conditional immortality. So maybe their worship of Meyra focused more on her aspects of purity and prolongment (in the most literal sense)? Just thinking out loud here.

Have you checked Tristior's work on the Nordic religions? Might be interesting in terms of comparative theology.

Also I had this draft for a minority cult in the southern Nibenay, possibly based around the town of Moricta:
The Qaith Cult
Worship of the spirit Qaith, a somewhat obscure ocean god of presumed Elven origin. Qaith is worshiped along the southern Topal Bay: his Temple of the Wave Fracture can be found east of Leyawiin, and small wave-shrines are prominent fixtures near the mouths of mangrove waterways. While lacking any evidence of appearance, it is said that Qaith is as the waves, old and still at one moment, young and restless the next. Little is understood of the Qaithite inner mysteries, though some claim the cultists consider him exempt from Akatosh’ temporal dictates -- and, as such, a path to immortality. The sailors and fishermen of the Bay honor Qaith with perfunctory sacrifices of freshly butchered fish near his shrines.

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Post by Anumaril » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:14 pm

Inspired and finally with some time on my hands, I'm back to update my posts and share some lore I've had on the back-burner. I believe I've addressed most of your prior concerns @Infragris and have expanded upon all of the 'Edeis', particularly Merid-Nunda and her relationship with Auri-El and Magnus (who will be further detailed when I finish updating the 'Adais'). I've also touched briefly on Qaith in Aur-En's description based on your application of the spirit as among the minority-cults. Like always, let me know here or on Discord what you think of the changes.

Brief Preface:Show

The pantheon and practices of the Ayleid altered, sometimes drastically, between city-states; however the most influential of religious institutions was that of White-Gold, the 'Temple of the Ancestors' as it was known. This central temple initially held to Eight Ancestor-Gods, roughly similar to those of their Alinor counterparts, and would come to be inspirational in the founding of the Alessian Pantheon. These Eight, known as the 'Edeis', included Merid-Nunda, Auri-El, Yfferath, Meyra, Syraath, Syllden, Xagea, and Aur-En. Each of these deities, while comparable with many contemporary spirits, notably manifested both Aedric and Daedric qualities. Over time various states of the Ayleid would form distinct relationships with spirits outside or derived from this pantheon, which would collectively be referred to as 'Adais'. Whether by some form of intellectual drift, subversion by Oblivion, or mere cultural stagnation the latter years of the Ayleid Hegemony would see a great deal of religious drift among their already splintered belief systems and a massive expansion in the number of Daedraphilic states, whose Daedric gods would be referred to as 'Moradais'. While relations with Daedra was not a foreign concept to the Ayleid, the Sorcerer-Kings enjoying the privilege of invoking them since their arrival in Cyrod, these powers had been utilized responsibly and checked by neighboring states for abuse. As more direct reverence of Daedra became normalized in the Heartland, this practice would be entirely reversed, with the Sorcerer-Kings in open competition for Daedric power and those Kings adamant on reversing this trend being branded as enemies, such as the Auri-El faithful 'Heretic of Lindai'. In addition to this, geopolitical tensions ultimately led to portions of the Hegemony distancing themselves or outright revolting against their spiritually divergent brothers in the Heartland, the Adonacyrean Ayleid, who took most strongly to Daedraphilia. Despite these estrangements among their kin, the old ways of the Edeis would be preserved by few states, the majority of which being among the Lipsaculleic Ayleid. While the Barsaebics would cite their dedication to Ayleid tradition among their causes for revolt, they too had strayed from the Edeis by embracing the Aedric qualities of the pantheon, this Aedraphilia likely having been caused by their closer relations with Summerset and other centers of Merish power. Ultimately this pantheon would survive only in its application by other races and prior-mentioned Merish powers, with Alessia incorporating Nede-admired aspects of it into the Imperial Pantheon and Ayleid emigrants influencing the regions they fled to by varying degree. Thanks in part to being embraced largely by lower-castes and slaves, as well as recognized on a much smaller scale, many of the 'Adais' would survive to influence minority cults across the Empire, despite Marukhati efforts to root out these supposedly heretical faiths. Likewise, though few dare to collect evidence in its favor, the various Daedric cults of Cyrodiil may very well contain modes of reverence, practices, and relics that date back to the Daedraphiles.
The Edeis:Show

Stemming largely from the complex studies by the Ayleid into the nature of light, which they considered to be the most sacred of elements and particular to Merid-Nunda, the Ayleid 'Edeis' were among the more unique adaptations of the Altmeri deities. Whether out of some malevolent influence on the part of the spirit we now know as the Daedra Meridia, or true and divine revelation, the Ayleid had always balanced between the spheres of the Aedra and Daedra in their efforts to delineate the bright path taken by Auri-El and refined in subtractive secret by Merid-Nunda in the Colored Rooms, or Great Refractory as it was known. This inspired a pantheon of spirits whose characters reflected both Aedric and Daedric qualities, though consequently leaving these deities vulnerable to misinterpretation and influence both mortal and immortal.


Merid-Nunda:


Spirit of Life, Light, and Magic, Merid-Nunda was the chief deity of the White-Gold pantheon and was well-regarded even amongst the Aedraphilic Ayleid, despite her having been an interpretation of the Daedra known today as Meridia. According to the Ayleid, she was counted amongst the Magne-Ge, or 'Star-Orphans', entities that separated from Magnus when he fled the mortal realm. Her place as chief deity stems from her gift of Light to the Ayleid, an element they held as paramount, believing it to have held the key to their ascension. This revelation may very well be the cause for their persecution and subsequent flight from Summerset, although few records remain of Ayleid history prior to the establishment of White-Gold. Various mentions of Merid-Nunda's interactions with Auri-El make allusions to some relationship between her sphere of Light and his of Time, in one instance lending reason to the tale of the Ayleid rejecting Phynaster's gift for that of Merid-Nunda. Ultimately she would become separated from the Time-God when he ascended, choosing instead to remain behind as a means to guide her people along the same path. However this choice led her father Magnus to cast her from the station she once held, separating the constituent elements of Merid and Auri-El, causing their people to become disoriented and stray from the path set before them. Set adrift in Oblivion, she bent the light of Magnus and carved a Daedric sphere of her own out of Oblivion, slighting many Daedra while impressing her strength upon others. Those Mer with sufficient agency discovered Merid again in her new form, and while greatly obscured to them, they looked to the Great Refractory for enlightenment.

This more esoteric and culturally relevant tale of Merid-Nunda's relationship with the Ayleid would grow increasingly shrouded over time, with her character subject to Alessian revision and worship of the spirit banned alongside other Daedric entities. Known pockets of her worship remained in Cyrodiil primarily among the Lipsaculleic states, with her shrine at Miscarcand being among the few pieces of physical evidence in regards to her worship. Those Ayleid who fled their homeland no doubt carried with them the Meridian faith, but this appears to have declined rapidly upon their absorption by foreign cultures, the last strong Ayleid clans outside Cyrod recognizing the spirit merely as 'Meridia'.


Auri-El:


Spirit of Time, Sight, and Energy, Auri-El stood as the deity from which the Ayleid lords claimed their descent, as catalogued by Xagea. Prior to Auri-El's ascent, it is said that all was in chaos, forces and concepts and energies bounding against one another with no clear discernment of shape nor motive save that of their natural affinities within this primordial disparity. Amongst the chaos, Auri-El came into contact with the Magne-Ge Merid-Nunda, and with this spirit came to understand the nature of Light, and through great conflict with the Thermal Spirit (whose very presence elicited discernment amongst the pigments) worked to bring order to the wild spectrum of the Dawn. By his direction, identity was presented unto the wild, young spirits at play, the first being Yfferath, who gave form to identity. Enamored by her most beautiful of forms, Auri-El copulated with Meyra, who would give birth to the first lords of the Ayleid. After the establishment of White-Gold, the Ayleid would become obsessed with following the path of Auri-El, believing that through his ascension he laid a path for all his children to follow. Assisted by Merid-Nunda, their manipulation of light and efforts to chart the chaotic events of convention were all produced in effort to achieve this goal.

The infamous 'Umaril the Unfeathered' may have been the victim of some form of political/spiritual marring (by name, and rumor of his relation to Molag Bal) due to his denouncing of these efforts, believing Auri-El had not delineated reality for his children to reflect upon chaotic forces, but rather the forces of reality which they had separated themselves from.

Ultimately the Ayleid aspect of Auri-El would be wed with Nordic and Nedic conceptions of the time-god to form Akatosh. However, even less is known of this early marriage of concepts than of the Ayleid's own time god, as any elven influence on the Alessian time-god would be scrubbed away by the actions of Marukh and his Selectives, either by metaphysical tampering or radical reform and censorship.


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 high 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 first the goddess Meyra who formed, copulating with Auri-El to produce suitable leaders for the Ayleid, 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.

While the name of Yfferath went largely unmarred to the Nedic tribes, legend exists of Ayleid who opposed the mono-form introduced by Yfferath and pledged themselves to Hircine in exchange for a second skin. These Sorcerer-Kings allegedly thrilled in the hunt of Nedic slaves from the sky as a kind of were-eagle, though all that stands to substantiate these claims are Nibenese and Falkreath folktales, not to mention the occasional sighting of perching winged elves in the trees.


Meyra:


Spirit of Purity, Prolongment, and Restitution, Meyra was the Ayleid equivalent of Mara, whose worship was considered a necessary evil to the Ayleid lordship in prolonging the infinite Ayleid efforts of ascension. Lower castes of their kind held her in high regard, with many associating the deity with Aur-En rather than Auri-El, particularly due to the efforts and rewards pertaining to the raising of children. It was said that her copulation with Auri-El birthed the first of the Ayleid lords, from whom all Kings were descended. Her sphere guided the lords of the Ayleid in procreation, an act for which they had great disdain, and her sites of worship functioned more as exotic selective breeding grounds than conventional sites of worship. Focusing on her spheres of Purity and Prolongment, the lords believed that release of their libidinous energies on another brought strength to themselves, and made room for less carnal energies to be gathered within. Handmaids of Meyra were exclusively female, and served as the primary breeding stock for the lords of the Hegemony. Evidence exists that her veneration by the lower castes was by far the more traditional mode of reverence for the deity, her association with Auri-El and the opening of the Breeding Grounds being introduced to secure the lineage of otherwise-distracted Sorcerer Kings. Even granted such privileges, some lords were known to have had such little time nor concern for the act of reproduction that had they not ignored it, were known to visit these grounds once in a lifetime and take dozens of partners.

As the Decadent Period approached, more taboo Daedra would be embraced by the devotees of Meyra such as Sanguine and Mephala, transforming the Breeding Grounds from places of spiritual sanctity to sites of all manner of depravity and debauchery. The annual celebration of Meyranal became more degenerate as the years went on, ultimately corrupting the very nature of the deity, and would rage without end. Of notable corruption is the Sorcerer-King Nirasryn of Silk, who imposed himself over the women of the lost Breeding Ground of Meldrielle and surrounding lands, demanding from his servants a tithe of daughters and sacrifice of sons to be given for the sake of realizing the Lord of Purity's ambitions. His city would disappear upon the outbreak of the Alessian Rebellion, supposedly finding itself within the Myriad Realms of Revelry lorded over by Sanguine. Whether this was Nirasryn's intention or he was driven for something greater, the pocket-realm of Meldrielle is but one example of the darker side of Sanguine's innocent and amusing exterior.


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 engaged in biennial pilgrimage across the Hegemony in search of differing techniques of practical magicks and means of teaching. 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. Fallen fragments would be sought across the Hegemony by the light-obsessed Ayleid, with armed clashes between city-states having been fairly common over particularly valuable shards. Among the lower castes, the discovery of these fragments were believed to bring good fortune, though Nedic slaves regarded them as little more than oppressive and cold, incapable of providing the warmth a fire might to their slave pens. She was believed to work under the shelter of the Great Refractory, obscured to the pure light of Magnus so as to prevent another sundering. Collecting the fractured portions of her form, she travelled across the realms of Oblivion and beyond, leaving these shards of herself in the protection of her faithful Ayleid.

In the latter years of the Hegemony, Syraath would be thrown aside by much of the Daedraphile Ayleid, who regarded direct pacts with the Daedra as more expedient means by which to gather this castaway creatia than offering reverence for whatever shards may chance to fall upon them. Unfortunately for modern scholars, this led to the worship of Syraath withering 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.


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 'Uplifter-of-the-Lesser' 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 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.

By the Decadent Period, the practices of the Shapers and the worst slave-masters had exceeded the tolerances granted under Syllden, with many of these vile Ayleid abandoning the deity in favor of Daedra such as Molag Bal and Vaermina. In the worst cases, a slave might have found their way into the ownership of one brand of cultist after the other, experiencing the worst tortures of the body and of the mind that Oblivion had to offer. Having lost their initial inspiration, the Shapers abandoned their cause for contorting the flesh, instead indulging their curiosities and decorating their keeps in macabre living symbols of their power.


Xagea:


Spirit of Ancestry, Knowledge, and Tongues, Xagea is the Ayleid equivalent of 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 lineage and knew their origins. Their memory of lost magics from Aldmeris and their inspiration for Ayleidoon was credited to Xagea, said to be the keeper of all words, spells, and 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. Tales surrounding the corruption of Xagea persist in the form of folklore and rumors regarding the shadowed depths of Cyrodiil.

While Xerxes would overtake the worship of Xagea, the latter would continue to be served by those either lacking knowledge of his corruption or utilizing the fallen deity as a proxy for the worship of Hyrma-Mora. Those who continued to worship Xagea out of ignorance would have their knowledge and memories slowly consumed into the libraries of Apocrypha, all recollection of their lineage having been lost. Similar tragedies would befall those Nedic tribes given over to Xagea by the Ayleid in exchange for lost knowledge. While unlike the fates that befell other tribes subjected to Daedric oblation, these Nedes would survive either for labor or to be sold to another city, however they'd suffer on with little to no recollection of where they came from or who they are. As opposed to the wholesale slaughter of other tribes, the rich culture of these Nedic peoples would merely be forgotten, the only evidence of their existence lying beneath the dirt or entombed within Oblivion.


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 relevance. His worhsip was prevalent throughout the Hegemony, although the many separate emphases of his worship throughout the castes eventually led to his separation into multiple patron-deities regarded as emanations of his wide sphere of influence, such as Xei, the popular emanation of agriculture among the lower castes of the Niben. Among warriors, the emanation Adavar was honored to bring decisive victory, protection, and great spoils. Additionally, the figure of Qaith revered within the Topal Bay is presumed to have its origins as an emanation of Aur-En, with a number of its initiatic mystery-cults possibly having been established prior to the Alessian Rebellion.

This wide division of Aur-En's spheres into greater and greater particulars would leave the spirit vulnerable to mortal interpretation and debasement. Various emanations derived from Aur-En would have their character corrupted by Daedraphile imposition and in some cases be wholesale sacrificed to Daedra inhabiting similar spheres to those the emanations were associated with. In the case of Adavar, the deity would become associated with Mehrunes Dagon, whose followers were in large fanatics and considered dangerous even to other Ayleid. To these faithful Mehrunes represented total victory over man and weak elements of Ayleid society. Devotees of the Daedra were known to purge all forms of decadence, weakness, and waste from their societies. Unlike most city-states, those in service to Mehrunes were staunchly against slavery, believing reliance on lesser races weakened the Ayleid themselves, and so they took to slaughtering the Nedes they encountered instead. Mehrunes worship was largely centered around the hardened far-eastern states along the Valus Mountains, the most prominent being the lost Varsa Baalim, said to have been consumed by the Valus after its Sorcerer-King challenged the might of Mehrunes himself.

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Infragris
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Post by Infragris » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:23 pm

Wonderful work. Can you format the Preface with some paragraphs? First now it's a big block of text.
Likewise, though few dare to collect evidence in its favor, the various Daedric cults of Cyrodiil may very well contain modes of reverence, practices, and relics that date back to the Daedraphiles.
Remember, Daedra worship is legal and kind of blasé in Cyrodiil, so it's not (always) needed to treat it with a sense of dread.

I'm a little unsure about the outright mixing Daedric and Aedric elements in the main pantheon, mostly because these groups are the most strongly distinguished within the Elven sphere of thought ("our ancestors" vs. "not our ancestors.") Following on what you say about light and Merid-Nunda, it might be better to describe the Daedric qualities as color filters or prismatic affections, rather than outright aspects of the core deity - which gives the later decadent era a driven storyline as the sorcerer-kings begin to worship the color instead of the light, enamored by the personal power the Daedra grant them. In fact, color filter/daedric infection of a core light individual works also as a metaphor for the Ayleid sorcerer-kings themselves, who basically got sidetracked in their quest for ascension by mutating themselves with Daedric essence.
This revelation may very well be the cause for their persecution and subsequent flight from Summerset, although few records remain of Ayleid history prior to the establishment of White-Gold
Personally, I have always interpreted the Ayleids as a voluntary population movement, without a (strong) aspect of persecution. It should be noted that Elven colonization of the mainland was rather common in this era, with vassal-states springing up in Valenwood, High Rock, and along the shorelines of Tamriel.

The Ayleid were unique in this movement only because they penetrated the wild heart of the continent, fighting off the beastmen and nedes that held it previously. My personal take is that the Ayleids were a magically adept caste who left Summerset because they objected to restrictions on daedra association, dawn magic research, and their subservient role in the caste system (beneath the high nobility), leading to their own society with its focus on sorcerer-kings whose right to rule derives directly from their power/Daedric affiliation.

From this, we can assume that the further restrictions on the caste system and the taboo on leaving Summerset only developed after this era of migration movements, when the rulers of Summerset became aware of the danger the growing Camoran Empire and the Ayleid Hegemony posed. Which in turn leads to the failed attempt to stop Veloth's exodus.
After the establishment of White-Gold, the Ayleid would become obsessed with following the path of Auri-El, believing that through his ascension he laid a path for all his children to follow
This seems in conflict with what is said in the Nu-Mantia Intercept:
White-Gold Tower was made by the Ayleids, the Heartland High Elves that would have none to do with their isle-kind. Where the Altmer sought to focus on dracochrysalis, or keeping elder magic bound before it could change into something lesser (and act which ironically required aetherial surplus), the Ayleids harvested castaway creatia from Oblivion by entering a pact with the masters of the Void, the Princes of Misrule.
IMO the path of Auri-El is strictly an Aldmerish preoccupation, while the Ayleids seemingly sought to ascend by their own means and path. No doubt they took cues from Auri-El, but their methods (starlight harvest, experimenting on Nedic slaves to try and uplift them) are very different, almost scientific.

Maybe better to avoid Umaril here. His origins are about as out there as those of Pelinal, and tying them too closely to this mythos diminishes his status as a weird, out-of-context force.

I would suggest a more poetic term for Meyra's temples than "breeding grounds". It seems out of character for the Ayleids to be so clinical about this, regardless of their disdain for the carnal act, and current Ayleidophiles or scholars would also choose a more indirect term. Maybe something like a Nascency Temple or a Hatchery (to keep it birds).

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Post by Anumaril » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:44 am

Edited the original post with my completely revised work, please let me know if there's any inconsistencies, as I've introduced quite a bit and am bound to have missed a sentence or two in review. Additionally, below is my concept for the Ayleid caste system, which put me over the word limit lol

The Caste System:
SpoilerShow
Ayleid society was strictly structured around a caste system divergent from that of Summerset in that magickal capability and knowledge were held paramount as opposed to mere lineage, although this naturally would come to influence the social strata of the Ayleid as well. As such it was dominated by mages, from whose caste the Ayleid dissented to start with. Families were generally considered to inhabit the caste their head of household did, though in the case of the Sorcerer-King a special class was created to avoid any confusion of privileges. Few acts among the Ayleid elite were considered totally secular in nature, with so many of their practices and indeed everyday routine steeped in ritual that they cannot be entirely understood by outside observers without contextual knowledge. This air of esotericism helped in disguising their divergent faith from their kin on Summerset, however lack of codification and the decentralized nature of the Hegemony would lead to a great deal of disparity between city-state particulars, thus only the similar elements of early castes will be defined.

Arana:

Prime amongst the Ayleid and around whom the whole of the city-state was built, the Arana, or Sorcerer-Kings, were regarded not only as absolute monarchs, but personalized icons by which the Ayleid related to the divine. Their rule justified by power consistent with the will of the Aedra, they were seen as sustaining the life of the state and all those within it. While living unnaturally-long lives thanks to their own magickal abilities, these Kings still were not immortal, though the length of their lifespan is left to interpretation due to the fact successors to the throne would inherit the name of the previous King, a name stretching back to the founding of the city-state. It was the Arana alone who devoted themselves, and the city-state, to a particular divine, usually that which they felt most confident in emulating. Invocations of Daedra were the exclusive privilege of these monarchs as well, a privilege exercised since before their arrival in Cyrod, with this entitlement expanding to Pacts and outright worship of the Princes later in their history. Primary amongst the monarch's practical duties was the codifying of laws, however these weren't merely proposals being passed, but considered to be clarifications of those laws eminent in divine intent. Their every move ritualized, Sorcerer-Kings were seen as the city-state personified, thus it was seen that when the monarch connected with their own divine potential, they would redeem not only themselves, but the whole of the state. In the decadent age, Daedraphilic Sorcerer-Kings would toss aside all presentiments of channeling the Divine and demand personal veneration as they embraced the ideal of unique divinity.

Arpenai:

Largely dominated by the family of the Sorcerer-King, the Arpenai revolve around his every movement like a flock of chicks about its mother. While lacking in much direct political or spiritual power, they were closest to the monarch and thus had the greatest influence over his actions. With the King in most cases preoccupied with the metaphysical however, practical duties often fell upon the Arpenai who were expected at least able to present orders to the Adonai. Though publicly expressing the Aedric faith, many Arpenai engaged in forming exotic cults based around the Sorcerer-King himself, and some, the Daedra.

Adonai:

The noble caste from which most Sorcerer-Kings and Arpenai came to power, and whose actions revolved around the Arpenai, the heads of Adonai households served within the priestly-court of the Sorcerer-King, and while technically subservient to his family, were for all practical purposes above them in strict power. Exceptionally powerful mages, most practical duties maintaining the functions of the city-state were subordinated to this class, with particular families often keeping dynasties over individual industries or roles in the state until a King saw fit to remove them. These responsibilities having been distributed long ago, and offering great power and luxury to those Adonai in charge, there was little incentive within this caste for infighting until the Decadent Age. Added to this the strict standards of Sorcerer-Kings which acted to keep otherwise competitive families in check, only when the monarch failed in their station did the Adonai become divided to the point of conflict. While the Adonai were the only other caste with the privilege of summoning Daedra and utilizing limited Dawn Magicks, they were expressly forbidden to contact or worship the Princes. Always keeping to the outward illusion of exclusive Aedra worship, the Adonai engaged with similar spirits to the Arpenai, often joining the mystery schools and cults formed by the elite; always under the auspices of enlightenment, but more often than not to grow closer to the monarch.

Pelinai:

A noble warrior caste whose actions revolve around the Adonai, the Pelinai consisted largely of mages, artisans, and practical craftsmen, the three fields being strongly associated with one another. Considered the backbone of the city-state, the Pelinai not only kept the state safe, but exercised the orders of the Adonai in keeping everything running as intended. This caste in particular had great solidarity with those from other city-states, and as such were given to honorable exchanges in combat or outright dissent in cases of unnecessary brutality by order of the nobility, as was common in the decadent age. Despite this, they were the exercisers of most everyday brutality experienced by the Buroi, being the general keepers of the Sorcerer-King's stock. While Aedra worship was encouraged amongst the Pelinai, it was seldom reinforced, considering the caste had its share of upper and lower class individuals throughout and revered the widest array of spirits in any individual caste.

Ayleai:

The caste of commoners and traders, the Ayleai were made up largely of those lacking in magical capabilities and utilized for little more than maintenance of the city-state and distribution of goods, which were generally provided for by the Buroi. In states lacking slaves, the Ayleai took on the role of farmers as well, though were naturally treated with more respect. While the upper classes lacked much in the way of upward mobility, the path to Pelinai was open to those who displayed a particular penchant for magick, and in some cases the novice would be forced into the caste and put through training. Worship of the Aedra was strongly encouraged amongst the Ayleai, who took a particular interest in such spirits as Aur-En and Meyra, the former of which became occasionally associated with local lesser et'Ada so as to avoid notice. Trade between city-states was largely conducted by this caste and facilitated by the Pelinai, there being very little in the ways of developed roads within the Hegemony, largely being conducted by use of teleportation, levitation, alteration, or boat travel.

Buroi:

Caste specific to Ayleid vassals, Buroi were made up largely of Men and Beastfolk, who were considered the personal property of the Sorcerer-King. Generally maltreated by the upper castes, they managed to find some sympathy amongst the Ayleai, likely due to a closer experience and similar religious feeling due to encouragement of the Aedra. Despite this, the Ayleai were held to great restrictions in their association with Buroi, and as such had few chances to show any real compassion for them. As the decadent age approached, abuses grew so terrible as to turn even the Pelinai away, Sorcerer-Kings and the Adonai taking a direct interest in the torture of slaves for whatever ritual they conceived. Ultimately the Buroi would come to make up the majority of Alessia's army, in addition to the forces of Aedraphilic city-states and the Ayleai of those states who were vouched for.

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