“When the moon crosses sun’s flame,
Aravel will seek her loving claim,
Tidron will grant a moment of bliss,
And they will share a single kiss,
Then once again part ways,
Love known and deserving of praise.”
-From the Lay of Aravel and Tidron
Aravel is the goddess of the sun, valor, honor, truth, knights, courtly love, justice, and agriculture.
Titles: Everbright, The Shining Lady, Tidron’s Fair Maiden,The Even-handed, The Bountiful Lady, Matron of Motherhood, Mother of Song and Dance, The Unbowed
Holy Animal: Phoenix. Aravel, being one of the gods who dies and is reborn the most, the phoenix reflects her.
Aravel is one of the lesser gods aligned under Aranayan. She is a proud and noble goddess and her presence can only be described as radiant. Her beauty and force of personality are immense and command both respect and awe. Some who see her describe her as cold or aloof, but Tidron sees her for who she is: an awe-inspiring force for good. She is not as approachable or as personable as the other Lords of Light and this fact when coupled with her radiant beauty led to the worship of her from afar. It was thus that the idea of courtly love came about in Akzon.
Aravel rarely takes on a mortal form to walk amongst the peoples of the world. For when she does, it strains her relationship with ever-watchful Tidron. Though she loves him dearly, she chafes under his over-protective and loving care. She desires to fight with him rather than be protected. On the rare occasions when Aravel takes on mortal form she takes on the appearance of a tall woman clad in shining plate that is one moment steel and the next gold. Wavy hair the color of the setting sun falls to the middle her back. A blade is held in her hand, flames dancing along its edge. Despite this war-like appearance, her red-gold eyes shine with kindness. Though she is the goddess of agriculture, she has few trappings that reflect it. She is the sun that brings light and life and she is the sovereign and her faithful who plant are as serfs to a kindly and just king.
In addition to all of her other duties, Aravel is also the mother of the Twain. Tales say that Teel was born of her song, pure and joyful, and that Vanaria sprang gleefully from her footsteps. That is not the truth of their birth. Once when Tidron perished, Aravel found love with another. Twiggle, lord of chaos, was genuinely enchanted by her beauty, and for his part, cared about her. And she about him. Their children, the Twain, on the other hand, were the wedge that drove them apart. Aravel was overjoyed at the birth of the Twain whereas Twiggle was horrified at the chaos that he had wrought in his own life. Aravel truly thought that Tidron, her eternal love, was dead. However, instead of feeling anger at Aravel and her children, Tidron attempted to become as a father to the Twain, though the Twain were not happy about it.
As the mother of the Twain, Aravel has also taken on the mantle of being the goddess of mothers and motherhood. Many women will pray to Aravel when they are ready to become mothers themselves. Mothers will also offer prayers to Aravel to protect their children from harm.
Though Aravel is the Goddess of the Sun, she represents the benevolent uses of fire. The cleansing fire that cauterizes a wound. The blazing glory that sears away a lie to reveal the truth. The courageous flame that gutters, but will not give into the darkness. She hates that Belendor uses fire to destroy and it is said that many a rainstorm that douses a blaze is brought about by Teel’s love for his mother and his spite for Belendor.
Aravel and Tidron
The first Aravel and Tidron were brother and sister, born of the fires of creation and the Greater powers that had wielded them. However, they are the gods whose mantles are replaced the most. Only Enoth, the oldest Power, knows the true number of Tidrons and Aravels who have walked the planes. Sometimes the two are brother and sister, sometimes they are lovers, but Tidron is always the first to die leaving Aravel alone.
It is said that there are really only two Tidrons and two Aravels. A brother and sister souls, and a lovers souls. The stories go that their souls are reborn through the ages, so when Tidron dies, Aravel knows she is not long for the world and will see him again in another life. Sometimes Tidron and Aravel look for the birth of their replacements, knowing that it marks the near end of their time together.
There is also a darker story, one of the cycle being broken, where Tidron will not be reborn and Aravel will live an endless number of lives doomed to wander alone in her grief. It is said that during this time the sun will grow darker as Aravel turns her gaze away from the world. It is also the only thing that she truly fears. Even the Goddess of Valor, can have a fear so great that even thinking of it can unman her.
Followers of Aravel share the following basic tenets of the faith:
- Valor and honor are the true measure of a person. Those without valor or honor are not to be trusted.
- Just as the sun gives life, so too can it strip it away. Aravel’s displeasure is as painful as it is great when she is wronged.
- Truth in all things, nothing good begins with a lie. Truth is the essence of life, each lie told hurts the lives that it affects.
- A blade is not the only solution to a problem, and it should never be the first. Peace glorifies the Lady and protects those who till the fields.
- Mercy should be offered to all who seek it. Tidron’s harsh views on mercy are not suitable for followers of the Lady of Justice.
- Tending to the land of one’s lord is a sacred duty. Treat it with the same respect you would his body. If it is under attack, defend it. If it is ill, heal it.
- The rituals of courtly love should be followed by those who are noble of heart. Unrequited love is the truest form of sacrifice to Aravel, though she smiles fondly upon those who seek to emulate her love for Tidron.
- Justice is to be sought for all crimes. Your Lord’s laws, whether harsh or merciful are to be upheld. Seek to change laws that are unjust through wisdom and diplomacy.
Many of the followers of Aravel are knights or paladins, usually of noble birth, though it is not that uncommon for those of common birth to worship her, especially her agriculture aspect. Her followers can be found in both cities and smaller villages. In many places worshippers of Aravel can be found giving aid to those that are less well off than they are. Valor and honor are the true goals of every knight, before even prowess in battle. Love is an intricate dance that has many steps before even a chaste kiss is to be exchanged. The light of the sun shines down on the fields worked by those bound to their lords and helps the crops to grow. The sun itself is anathema to the most evil things that walk this earth.
Followers of Aravel willingly work with those who worship Aranayan or Tidron. They are less willing to work with followers of Nargoth, seeing them as too focused on battle, but they will if they see it to be necessary. Worshippers of Aravel oppose those who worship followers of any of the evil gods, particularly those who follow Belendor, Misigoth, Odara, or Etall. They will also, on rare occasion, come into conflict with followers of Dania who believe that the tenets of agriculture espoused by Aravel is harmful to nature.
Only one creature has been repeatedly connected to Aravel in tales and legends and that is the phoenix. It is described in many tomes as being one of her most powerful servants, with its wings of flame, and a life that can not be quenched. Paladins of Aravel often follow a strict code, even before they earn the title. Other times Aravel calls to warriors later in life, and they too will follow this code. Rituals and ceremonies done in the name of Aravel are often highly ritualized especially the ones involving marriage. Many followers of Aravel are inspired the tales of courtship between Aravel and Tidron. They follow the tenets of courtly love and are prone to choosing people that they have little to no chance of succeeding with.
Approbation and Displeasure:
Actions/ideas that please Aravel:
- Honorably fighting a duel
- Telling the truth though it may harm you
- Accepting an enemy’s surrender
- Aiding an ally that has fallen
- Tending to the land granted to you
- Defending your rightful ruler
- Protecting the weak or helpless
Actions/ideas that displease Aravel (and may result in loss of magical abilities):
- Striking an unaware foe
- Refusing to accept a surrender made in good faith
- Failing to tend to duties your lord has given you
- Failing to honor your ruler
- Telling a lie, particularly for self gain
- Using or learning Dark magic
- Not seeking justice for a crime or allowing a criminal to escape justice
Holy Places and Holy Days
Temples and shrines to Aravel differ greatly depending on where they are built. In rural, farming communities, they are warm inviting places with images of the sun and people toiling in their fields. In cities and larger towns, temples are grand affairs that only superficially resemble knightly barracks. The main temple of Aravel is in Maribor. Aravel’s temples are shared by the followers of Tidron. The only ornamentation or adornments that are specific to Tidron are typically by the entrance. This preserves the ideal of protection and ensures that they glorify Aravel. Tidron has never shown any displeasure and seems to favor the simple and often minimal shrine area that is set aside for him.
Aravel’s holy day is the first day of a week, as it represents the dawning of a new week. The holiest day of the year for her followers is Midsummer, also called High Sun. The day is filled with prayers and festivals in Aravel’s name. Living creatures are never sacrificed to Aravel, offerings are usually meals or tithes to temples or shrines. Lunar eclipses are also important days for her faithful, they believe that it is an important part of the courtship between Aravel and Tidron. Her priests tend to wear red and gold, to evoke a small bit of their Lady’s radiance.
Aravel’s faith has a long and glorious history. The greatest stronghold of her worship was once the Dragon’s Peaks mountains, but in the last century or so it has become less there than it once was. Many legendary paladin orders claim that Aravel herself had a hand in their founding: the Order of Shining Blades and the Order of the Ruby Crown, among a few others. In more recent times, paladins of the Order of the Ruby Crown have come to Maribor to offer their aid to the new king of the land. Whether their offer has been accepted or not is not yet known, but the paladins have already set about helping to rebuild the ravaged city and helping those that need it most.
Aravel and Tidron have a history that stretches back for as long as anyone can remember. Tales of the Shining Lady and the Argent Guardian vary greatly in the telling. Though one of the favorites recalls a beautiful woman who wielded a sword that shone like the sun who fell in love with a humble, unattractive man who stood watch outside her window in the moonlight. Another recalls the tale of a farmer’s daughter with long, red plaited locks and her brother, a plain and somber young man, who together stood against the armies of a long-forgotten tyrant in defense of the common folk.
During the Second God War Aravel experienced many losses. Teel sacrificed himself to thwart Twiggle, and Vanaria firmly aligned herself with her father over her mother. Tidron ascended to Aranayan’s mantle. He then held to Aranayan’s original law that no power could be involved with a lesser god, and so he offered that Aravel could relinquish her mantle and live by his side. She rejected Tidron-Turned-Aranayan and is seeking to win back her daughter.
Correct Worship and Rites/Rituals/Requirements
Followers of Aravel typically engage in:
- Small, quiet prayers at dawn and sunset, with a more elaborate prayer at noon.
- Asking for a token from a loved one before beginning a long journey or going on a quest that involves danger.
- Taking the time and effort to aid those that need it.
- Rituals typically take place during the day and involve fire and symbols of love or justice.
- Serving on a town watch or in a king’s retinue
- Aiding followers of the Twain in small ways that do not call attention to themselves. The Twain are Aravel’s wayward children and followers of Aravel are called to see that they do not cause too much trouble.
- Opposing Twiggle. Whether because he slighted Aravel and spurned her love or because he is the cause of the bad behavior and wayward ways of her beloved children. They aren’t violent in their opposition, they just seek to untwist whatever Twiggle has tangled up in his endless chaos.
- Putting down rebellions. As followers of Aravel rarely serve those who are unjust, the idea of rebellion, particularly the type that wrenches power away from nobles and places it into the hands of the common born, is abhorrent and distasteful.
Paladin Oath of Aravel
- My blade will be guided by my heart and faith, without my heart or faith it is but a deadly tool.
- I will honor the bravery of foes that challenge me.
- I will show the desperate the light and love of Aravel and be as a beacon of hope to them.
- I will not abide evil. I will fight it with words when needed and a blade when words fail, giving my life’s blood if I must.
- I will offer mercy to my foes if they so ask.
- I will seek to protect the weak from those who would prey upon them. Bandits, thieves, highwaymen, and thugs are a blight upon my lord’s lands and they bring harm to his people.