Amlia, Steward of Paradise

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Portfolio: Disciples of Amlia are expected to help and heal people wherever they go. Amlia asks that her followers go wherever people need them, and do whatever is needed of them, in order to prevent harm and alleviate suffering.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Favored Weapon: Starknife
Domains: Plant, Healing, Protection, Good, Charm, Sun.
Worshipers: Healers, Midwives, Guards, Alchemists, Farmers, Teachers, Adepts, Shamans, Crusaders, Travelers, Halflings and most Good Peoples.

History

Amlia the Guardian, Amlia the Healer, Amlia the Feathered Goddess, The Lady of Birds, Amlia the Steward of Paradise. Many names and all the belonging to the most beloved and widely worshiped god of good peoples of all races. Though it is said she did not reveal herself to the people of Dunmeir first but in the ancient tales of the races of people who live in the Jordanian Islands. (AKA the Star Topics Islands). Long ago a great serpent-like birds with multicolored wings (Couatl) came to each island and told the people, elves, and gnomes of the islands about the planes beyond and bestowed upon each the knowledge the plants and their healing properties and the ways to use them to meet the Goddess of Love and Paradise. Over time the Shamans and Druids of the Islands came to speak to Amlia and each was granted dialog with the Lady of Birds who in turn was told of the glory of paradise and how to bring it about to Oearth. These Dialogs are collected in oral tradition and metal and stone tablets detailing the conversations on matters of healing, the spirit, the beyond, alchemy, life, faith, and all manner of wisdom pertaining to the dealing with and importance of furthering the goals of the Feathered Goddess to heal the ills of the world and bring the worthy and selfless to Paradise. These conversations are known as the Paradise Dialogs or the Mercies of Amlia and vary slightly from people to people, tribe to tribe, race to race, but all are found among Island races as well as Halflings, who having no goddess, are said to be under Her watchful eye as they are most kind and have the largest heart of all the races of the earth. Loose is the structure of Her priesthood as many are free wheeling healers and adepts as well as mundane herbalists and well intentioned adventurers who act in her name. Churches for her are everywhere but more often are re-purposed structures that function for meeting places for her priesthood and the island sentiment of her original disciples leads to a more loose network and the spirit of cooperation binds her workers who spread her teachings across the land. A series of island chains do hold the only official temples does exist on the Southern Cross. A series of islands that seem to line up with the constellation that most southern sailors use to navigate. These islands hold several settlements and temples including Amlia’s Mercy Knights, who are a small militant force who wander far, both healing and purging abominations and disease carrying demons and devils as well as bringing force of arms to protect the work of her acolytes. Her archivists who write down old and new Dialogs in all languages and are always being told and written and archived for posterity. Indeed it is said many tales are being added as she makes herself known to kind souls who seek her out and hold her talks with them. This serves as the most common way new Clerics are ordained. Her Undead Hunters who hunt the undead scourge and necromancers who shackle souls from passing into paradise, and the Paradise Font Temple. The Paradise Font is a Tiered structure built after the Half-Elf High Priestess Amelia the Divine, who is said to have been part Angel, gathered a score of those who had spoken to Amlia when the Coutal Heralds arrived. Taking these prophets they purged the islands from the mysterious evil that had used the Southern Cross island chain’s astrological significance to open them to creatures beyond the astral plane of evil and alien origin. Blessing the very temple foundation with the fallen allies of the purge, the rift was sealed and the islands were said to overgrow and animals from all around the islands swam and flew to populate the island with life as many who heard Amlia’s word came to construct the settlements. Since then the Southern Cross Temples are said to be protected from weather and pirates and raiders by Amlia’s power and by the spectral souls of those prophets had fallen during the reclamation. High Priestess Amelia stayed to gather the tales that make up the first 40 Dialogs and oversaw the building of the temples and settlements of the Southern Cross. Then either according to the testament of the Human Druid Tempesta who claims Amelia was taken to heaven in a cloud of tropical birds bodily or by the Gnomish Shaman Rowan Pai who says she left her medicine staff behind and journeyed alone to do Amlia’s will until she died and never returned. The staff exists still and is always carried by the High Priestess who is chosen by undertaking a vision quest and fasting with the staff and climbing to the top of the Paradise Font to await a Coutal to appear. As of now no Male of any race has been chosen to head the priesthood although many male clerics and Mercy Knights Exist. As of now the Lady of Birds is spoken well of and her disciples always welcomed into places for there helpful demeanor. Even in the Imperium where the Jordanian Islands are seen as a haven of Bohemian barbarians and backwards primitives or at least strange foreigners with overly idealistic views and a strange culture. Reports of Dunmeir origin Dialogs and Clerics being contacted by the Steward of Paradise is testament to a growing need for them or a great evil on the lands horizon or so say her disciples. Some say the Imperium is to blame and such it is said many a Mercy Knight has been sent to observe the growing empire.

Doctrine

Most of Dialogs, regardless of origin usually begin with Amlia revealing herself as a Goddess of of Healing, Protection, Animals, Plants, and Presides over the souls who wish to pass on into Paradise and reach their last rest. Then each conversation involves long queries into the nature of the beyond and philosophy of being the most at peace with the world and others. Some of the early Dialogs, the First 40 being called the “Chosen Dialogs” or “The First Mercies”, contain a trove of alchemical and plant and animal based lore on how to make medicines and the nature of the balance of nature and plants. Including very detailed instructions on growth and planting of herbs, vegetables and fruit bearing trees and medical procedures. The rest usually entail philosophical discussions about the nature of evil and good, how to best behave in one’s conduct to respect others and build community. In many of the Mercies some very insightful discussions on Amlia, and depending on her interlocutor, about that creatures culture and personal thoughts and actions and her knowledge of that questioner’s past and inner thoughts and her assurance that all failings are normal and expected of mortal creatures and most ill or cruel actions can be overcome with good works and will to make amends in this world. She also divulges the struggle of the Nine Hells and the heavenly hosts, the influence of the abyss and the existence of elemental spirits and that the earth itself has a mind. Although this is mostly poetic and lacks detail in all Dialogs it is of note that Amlia is the only being of Divine confirmation of what Scholars and Druids and Wizards had always suspected of there being other planes and spirit worlds. Much to the Dismay of Luxian Scholars whose God is Knowledge incarnate. Her advice and answers to the way in which Paradise can me made manifest is to further goals that, “Heal the sick, Feed the Hungry, Teach the Ignorant, Comfort Sadness, Shelter the Homeless. All Deeds taken in earnest to bring happiness and safety, comfort and knowledge, build a kind world. These are my Commandments and to you I entrust that your soul is pure and you know feeling in which I speak and that feeling shall Guide you.” – Dialog 2: 6-9. These commandments are vague and coreligionists of Ur and Ersu, who share goals with Amlia, often rankle at this lack of direction to her followers but being so selflessly well meaning few of her followers stray into harming things by this lack of direction. Amlia mentions also that as the animals and plants are not gifted souls like most creatures but that they must be respected in kind. That the world suffers by their plundering and one is not to take of it more then is needed and then instructed to refer to her guidance in agriculture and her subordinate god Pelor for guidance to the crops. The Mercies are constantly cited and referenced by her followers for inspiration when dealing with difficult problems and many take pilgrimages to the Southern Cross to update their religious texts which is better cataloged and the site where all new Clerics and Knights recount their Dialog’s with the Feathered Goddess.

Observances and Practices

The Cross to Paradise – Where Cleric or common Pilgrim Journey’s to the Southern Cross Islands. On the way they are expected to share food, help other Pilgrims, do good works on the way through towns, fasting on holidays and celibacy. (Only for the pilgrimage as sex is considered a divine act that creates life and bonds people together which includes homosexual activity and group sex but while observing certain rites to prevent jealousy.) Clerics who received Amlia’s Mercy and are thus called to service, are considered to fulfill Her doctrine while traveling and those works take priority. Even the retelling of their Dialog to the home temple is secondary to their work as a Cleric. Quite a few never make it the The Southern Cross often writing down there Dialogs by hand and passing them on to Pilgrims (which is considered a high honor which blesses the family of the carrier to ascend to heaven for that deed).

The Tea of Visions – An herbal tea mixture made as described by the Coutal’s and in the 3rd Mercy which invokes a sight into the spirit world and indeed into Amlia’s Rainbow Palace to glimpse Paradise and fortify one’s connection to the Goddess and the work of healing the many ills of the world. This is usually stricken from most copies now as frauds would make a similar but cheap concoction that substitutes the native root only found in the Jordanian Islands, and is expensive and rare to import, with one that may deeply sicken and kill lighter races and young and skinny people. A rash of sick and dead Pilgrims who were sold the faulty brew by a shrewd and heartless man that wanted to make coin off of the Pilgrims that took the brew on the holiday while fasting which allowed the brew to absorb quickly and end many trips for enough faithful that Mercy Knights were dispatched. The merchant was never seen from again and that holds testament that the often overlooked and underestimated Amlian priesthood can bring swift justice to bear to those who would profit off of cruelty.

The Giving of Self AKA Mercy Day – Often coinciding with the Jordanian Islands ancient Holiday of ‘Gifting Winds’ that often precedes the change to summer (and the Islands Rainy season) a random draw of names consisting of the town or villages populous randomly drawing a neighbors name with the goal to observe and secretly gift or solve a small issue for that person who may not be the one to repay your good deed. This includes fixing another persons home, leaving food for hungry families, coin, clothes, or showing up to help the elderly and beggars to a meal in your home. In the event that the usual practice in large communities of only the random draw among the same social caste (farmers with farmers, merchants to merchants ect.) Kings and Mayors have been known to forgive taxes, hold feasts, and even the Provence of King Landau of Wallincia has been known to command his lords and knights and merchants to till the fields for the week while the commoners feast.

Artifacts

The Medicine Staff – Once the personal focus of the High Priestess Amelia it now is the badge of office of she who is chosen to guide the followers of Amlia. A supple jungle wood staff festooned with bags of herbs and feathers it is said to guard the carrier against sickness and help empower the healing magics worked by she who carries it. It is said that some of the feathers are in fact those of the Coutal’s that were Prophet to those who received “The First Mercy’s” and if one was to pull and offer it to the sky it would indeed call the Coutal who it came from and it would offer it’s services to you. It has only been used this way once by the 4th high Priestess, the Sea Elf Mesarthim to carry her into battle against the Pirate Slavers of Captain Muldoon from abducting Pilgrims leaving the Southern Cross.

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Cloak of Feather – A multicolored cloak of feathers bequeathed mostly to stranded Druids and Witches and Healers in far off lands or shinning examples of upholding The Feathered Goddesses ideals. Many have speculated that it is made of the feathers of the goddess herself for it’s powers are varied and many. Both protection and the ability to change into birds and fly as well as protection from charms and mind control those who wear it are paragons of Amlia’s teachings. Many have tried to copy it’s magic in similar cloaks but only a true cloak dies with the wearer or fly’s off on it’s own when that owner has completed the quest or journey it was bestowed for. The appearance of one in a region is seen as a blessing as Amlia is surely watching the region closely to send such an item to one of it’s followers.

Amlia, Steward of Paradise

The Nation of Power. BlackSheepKnight