BRCS:Chapter four/Gods and religion/Avani

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Greater Goddess
Goddess of the Sun, Lady of Reason, Lightbringer, Lifegiver
Aliases: Avanalae (Anuire), Lana (Brechtür), Avani (Khinasi), Vani (Rjurik)
Symbol: A setting sun
Alignment: LN
Portfolio: Sun, reason, magic
Domains: Law, Knowledge, Magic, Reason, Sun
Favored Weapon: Ray of burning light (shortspear)

Avani (ah-VON-ee) is goddess of the sun, reason, and magic. Prior to her ascension, she was Basaïa's highest priestess and has replaced her as patroness of the Khinasi people. Avani can be a harsh and relentless goddess, as unforgiving as the sun that beats down on the Khinasi lands, or she can be warm and nurturing, enfolding her people in the glow of her divine radiance. The Khinasi believe that Avani appears to them every day with the rising of the sun. The Lightbringer shines forth her divine radiance, chasing away shadow and that which skulks in darkness. The Lifegiver brings the world alive each day. She is a great and beneficent goddess, and so gives this blessing to the entire world. As a result, for part of each day, she disappears from the lands of the Khinasi so she may bring her gift to the rest of the world. The ignorant among the Khinasi know that Avani will return in the morning to chase away the shadows that lie upon them. The educated realize that she comes back each morning because she set the world spinning so that her divine radiance could shine down upon the entire world. Her regular visits also protect her believers from incursions of the Shadow, for she denies the Shadow a place to build on Aebrynis. Instead, the darkness must hide in the dank places below the surface of the world.

The church of Avani is strongest in the lands of the Khinasi. Her priests and paladins are expected to represent themselves as if they were representing her. They must strive to be firm but fair in their dispensation of justice, must aid the poor and defend those unable to defend themselves, and must be merciful to enemies who she would deem deserving. Avani's temples are often libraries and other places of learning. Despite the reverence with which the Khinasi people hold Avani, opinions vary significantly as to what she represents. This comes in part as a result of the natural inclination among the educated to apply their reason to discovering Avani's true message. The inevitable result of these studies is a fragmentation of the church into regional holdings that sometimes fight each other as much as they do their traditional enemies. Many believe that Avani is wroth with her followers as a result and that the wastelands of Khinasi are places where her displeasure has taken form.

Clerics of Avani pray for their spells at dawn as they greet Avani on her return to light the world. The only official holy day of the church is the anniversary of Deismaar. To the Khinasi, the holiday is observed to venerate the ascension of their patroness, not to remember what was essentially a foreign war. Her clergy commonly multiclass as magicians or wizards and her paladins may advance without restriction in these classes.

Dogma: Avani is the sun, and she shines her divine radiance upon the world every day, protecting all people from the encroachments of Shadow and darkness. Her light brings food to the tables of her people, for crops need both rain and sun to prosper. Her warmth enfolds her people; she chases away the storms that destroy well-being. She touches her followers with her blessing every day, for each ray of the sun carries her divine benediction.

All knowledge should be gathered, be it empirical, experimental, conjectural, practical, or theoretical. Knowledge is the light by which darkness is held at bay. Knowledge, like fire, is both useful and dangerous. We must protect against those that would abuse knowledge. Access to dangerous knowledge must be earned through demonstrated determination, discipline, and self-control. Strive to seek wisdom and understanding, for knowledge is the root of all lasting power.

Allies: Nurturing Nesirie cares for all. Her way is not the way of the mind, but the way of the heart. This way is not sufficient to protect mankind, but it is one of the reasons that mankind is worth protecting. Laerme is our loving daughter who must be protected, nurtured, and cherished. As with all young, she may act rashly, but it is always with the best of intentions. Share your wisdom with the young, direct them, and help them mature in safety.

Foes: Eloéle is the herald of our Church's fate if we are not zealous in our work. She is the most dangerous of our enemies, for she seeks not the destruction of civilization, but its corruption. She is cunning, unpredictable, and ruthless, caring for nothing but herself. Kriesha hates the warmth of reason and would destroy all that we value for spite alone. She is a disciplined and cruel foe who listens only to the reason of scimitar and spear. Belinik possesses strength, but is a tiny-minded brute. Although the task appears hopeless, we must strive to bring him enlightenment so that he will one day know lasting peace.

Others: Our husband Erik watches over the bountiful earth in the knowledge that each generation must prepare for the next. Be respectful of Erik, for he values knowledge of the earth. That he takes little active interest in the affairs of civilization is cause for sadness, but not for scorn. Even as the moon brings light to the darkness of night, Ruornil bears the light of reason to guard against the darkest forces of the world. It is sad that he spends as much of his strength in keeping secrets as he expends against the forces of darkness. Haelyn is a puzzle. He works to foster civilization, and this is a worthy goal. He wrongly believes that civilization is created by the sword. Reason has always been sharper than the sword. Sera is selfish and shallow. She and her followers are happy to acquire knowledge that will be of use to them personally, but they care not for others. Short-sighted, they do not consider how their good fortune may be better used to prevent the misfortune of others. The unpredictable Cuiraécen possesses a noble heart, but lacks wisdom. He is overly found of warfare, but with our council can sometimes be lead from disaster.
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