The Winged Mother, Lady of Air and Wind, Queen of the Avariel, She of the Azure Plumage, Bringer of Rain and Storms
Symbol: Cloud with the silhouette of a bird
Home Plane: Arvandor (The Aerie)
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Portfolio: Air, Weather, Avians, Rain, Fertility, Avariel
Domains: Air, Animal, Chaos, Elf, Good, Storm
Worshipers: Bards, Druids, Elves, Rangers, Sorcerers, Travelers, Winged beings.
Cleric Alignments: NG, CG, CN
Favored Weapon: "Thunderbolt" (Quarterstaff)
The ever-changing reaches of the sky are the great gift of the Winged Mother. Take flight into her windswept embrace, and gambol amid the clouds. Honor those who dwell with the Aerdrie and cherish the birds dancing on her tresses. Change is beautiful and chaos births new life. Ascend, soar, glide, dive, and ascend again and relish in the freedom that the Winged Mother bequeaths. The air is the breath of life.
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Aerdrie Faenya (Pronounced Air-dree-fah-ane-yuh) is the Elven goddess of the air, weather, and birds. As the bringer of rain, she is the closest the Fair Folk have to a fertility goddess. At one time, the Winged Mother's followers where composed largely of Avariel, much like Deep Sashelas was and is worshiped primarily by Aquatic Elves. However, unlike their aquatic kin, the Winged Elves have been nearly wiped out by the dragons before the First Flowering, and what was believed to be the last of the race in Faerûn flew westward before the star of the Crown Wars.
Today, Gold, Moon, Wood and Wild elves who desire certain weather conditions pay homage to Aerdrie. Her small church is also popular with Elves who possess flying mounts, such as Asperii, Dragons, Giant Eagles, Griffons, Hipogriffs and Pegasi. The Lady of Air and Wind is revered by all non-evil avians, particularly Aarakocra and other sentient avians, but their numbers are small and declining as well. She is also called on by Elves oppressed by overly lawful creatures.
Aerdrie is both an aspect of Angharradh and one of the three Elven goddesses - the other two being Hanali Celanil and Sehanine Moonbow - who collectively serve alongside Corellon in leading the Seldarine. Aerdrie maintains close relations only with those powers of the air who share a love of birds and freedom as deeply held as the Lady of Air and Wind. Aerdrie is particularly close with Syranita, the gentle goddess of the Aarakocra, and some theologians speculate the two may eventually merge if the bird-men continue their steady decline. Aerdrie is also close with the avian lords of the Beastlands, particularly the hawk lord. Since the Time of Troubles, Aerdrie has been romantically linked with her long-time ally, the human god Shaundakul, the Rider of the Winds, but this new twist in their relationship is undoubtedly little more than a passing fancy, at least on the Winged Mother's part.
Aerdrie is often at odds with Talos and the other Gods of Fury, for they challenge her control of the winds and seek to wield them for purely destructive purposes. The deep antipathy between the Winged Mother and the Auril the Frostmaiden stems from the war in Arvandor between the Seldarine and the anti-Seldarine forces who were arrayed against them. Aerdrie soundly defeated Auril in that battle, forever banishing the Frostmaiden from Arvandor, and the two goddesses have since continued their eternal war on the myriad worlds of the Prime.
Aerdrie is the Elven expression of freedom and impulse, and she dislikes being tied down to any one place for too long. Aerdrie delights in the sound of wind instruments and in creating unpredictable atmospheric conditions, including fairly severe or violent thunderstorms on occasion, but her primary joy is simply feeling the air run past her with the ground far below. The Winged Mother is a somewhat distant goddess who rarely involves herself in Elven culture, and she is far more chaotic than the rest of the Seldarine. Of all the Elven races, only Aerdrie takes a keen interest in the Avariel, and few of them remain in the Realms.
Aerdrie Faenya’s deific realm, the Aerie, is a glittering palace built on the clouds above a large mountain range. Aerdrie Faenya’s realm is the only thing in all of Arvandor that blocks one’s view of the clear, blue sky overhead. Her palace, made entirely of glassteel, is constantly abuzz with activity.
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Aerdrie appears as a tall, slim elf-like female with sky-blue skin, feathered, flowing white hair and eyebrows, and large birdlike wings whose feathers seem constantly to change color - blue, green, yellow, and white. The lower half of her body from the hips down vanishes into swirling mist, so she seems never to touch the ground. She favors wizard and priest spells involving air, weather, flight, electricity, and gas, although she can cast spells from any school except elemental earth and fire.
Aerdrie rarely manifests in the Realms, except through natural processes such as strong winds, rain showers, and even powerful storms. The Lady of Air and Winds manifests around Evermeet as great storms, vast cyclones, and winds of hurricane force that affect only nonelven ships. Her efforts also ensure that no ill wind or weather can ever destroy the Green Isle.
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The Seldarine call on Agathinon, Asuras, and ancient Treants as their preferred servants, but Aerdrie Faenya is also server by Aarakocra, Aasimar, Aasimon, Air Elementals, Aerial Servants, Androsphinxes, Asperii, Atomies, Avorels, Azmyths, Birds of all non-evil species (particularly eagles, falcons, hawks, kingfishers, and owls), Cloud Dragons, Cloud Giants, Crystal Dragons, Djinn, Eladrin, Faerie Dragons, Firetails, Fremlins, Frosts, Griffons, Gorse, Hippogriffs, Hollyphants, Kenku, Kholiathra, Ki-rin, Lammasu, Liliend, Noctrals, Opinicus, Pegasi, Pegataurus, Phoenixes, Pixies, Reverend Ones, Rocs, Seelie Faeries, Shedu, Silver Dragons, Sylphs, Spirits of the Air, Sprites, Storm Giants, Sunflies, Swanmays, Sword Archons, Talking Owls, Tempests, Tressym, T'uen-rin, Vortexes, Windghosts, and Wind Walkers.
Aerdrie Faenya has a single proxy, an Avariel by the name of Willim Fairfeather. Willim wanders the planes, doing the bidding of his mistress. Willim can be commonly found fighting for those who are seeking freedom from bondage. Aerdrie Faenya has given her proxy all kinds of abilities that manipulate the air and winds.
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The Church of Aerdrie Faenya
Aerdrie’s temples, known as Aeries, are constantly maintained by her faithful. Like Aerdrie herself, her clergy, as a rule, enjoy freedom and do not like to be confined to small spaces. Most are built on high hilltops, or mountaintops. As a result, only the most dedicated Elves actually become priests and priestess’. This is one of the reasons why her clergy is very lean, compared to those of the other members of the Seldarine.
Aerdrie Faenya’s clergy decorate her temples in manners that she approves of. Most have delicate crystalline spires, soft breezes, pleasant chimes, and colorful avian plumage. Some of her temples in the higher regions of Faerûns many mountains have created a very unique way of celebrating Aerdrie Faenya. They have carved out tunnels in the mountains they inhabit, creating honeycombing that would make a beholder proud. When the wind blows in these caverns, they produce whistling music, each note different, depending on the size and shape of the tunnel.
The priests and priestess of Aerdrie Faenya also construct small shrines in her honor, and place them in various parts of Faerûn’s mountains. These shrines, which are usually little more than consecrated and blessed ledges, are usually only accessible to those with the ability of flight. This usually ensures the sanctity of the shrines, since her clergy members do not always have to check them every single day.
Novices of her church are called Eaglets, or The Tethered. Full priests and priestess’ are called Winged Brothers or Winged Sisters, depending on gender. Each individual church usually has it’s own unique ranking system, however, that get more and more specific depending on power, prestige and duties. Some of these titles include Aquiline Hunter, Cloud Walker, Feathered Dancer, Rain Bringer, Rising Thermal, Silent Screech, Sky Diver, Soaring Spirit, Wind Chaser and Halcyon.
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Aerdrie's priesthood is primarily concerned with exploration and maintaining good relations with sentient avian races, such as Giant Eagles, or Aarakocra. With the decline of the Avariel, few Elven priests of the Winged Mother are capable of flight without magical aid. As a result, many Winged Siblings work to create new spells and items by which magical flight is possible, and a few of their more adventuresome brethren seek lost relics of yore that permit the same.
Similarly, members of Aerdrie's clergy raise winged steeds employed by the aerial cavalries of Elven realms and tend cotes of fanciful birds from far-off lands to dwell in formal Elven gardens and to supply the molted plumage employed in Elven fashions. As servants of the Bringer of Rain and Storms, Aerdrie's priests work closely with elves involved in agriculture and horticulture to ensure favorable weather systems for their crops. Winged Brothers and Sisters are also charged with destroying evil avians, such as Eblis, Perytons and Simpathetics, as the Lady of Air and Winds considers them perversions of nature.
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Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
The Dance of Swirling Wind is a semiannual festival held on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes to celebrate the changing seasons and to honor the Winged Mother. The winds are always strong on such days, no matter where Aerdrie's followers gather. Celebrants make offerings of beautiful feathers and join in an aerial ballet danced to the music of wind instruments played by some of the participants. Those who lack wings or magical means of flight may ride the wind as a gift of the goddess herself.
For the duration of the formal ceremony, recipients of Aerdrie's blessing are usually tethered by long ropes to others who can command their own aerial movements. Once the dance breaks up, however, wind dancers, as they are known, are swept across the forest canopy for miles in a breathtaking flight before settling gently in a sylvan glade not too far from their homes.
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Major Centers of Worship
According to legend, great aeries of the Avariel may be found in undiscovered lands far to the west of Faerûn, whose inhabitants are descended from Winged Elves who fled the relentless annihilation of their race by the great wyrms of the North during the Time of Flowers. Before they fled, the center of Aerdrie's faith was the Aerie, a great temple-city said to have been located amidst the Star Mounts at the heart of the High Forest. While some claim that the Aerie's last remnants are now inhabited by the great red wyrm known to humans as Inferno, more credible tales hold that Elaacrimalicros, an ancient green dragon who has savaged the surviving population of Aarakocra in the region, has claimed the legacy of the Avariel.
The Aerie of the Snow Eagles is a crystalline citadel built atop the peak of Mount Sundabar in the distant land of Sossal. The last redoubt of the Avariel in Faerûn, Aerdrie's preeminent temple has long been forgotten, even by the Fair Folk of Cormanthyr, Evereska and Evermeet. From the steep, icy slopes of Mount Sundabar, the Children of the Winged Mother take flight across the frigid skies of the Cold Lands, fishing in the freezing waters of Sossar Bay, hunting across the icy reaches of the Great Glacier, and engaging in aerial acrobatics across the northern sky. The temple itself resembles an inverted glass cone built to replace the sheared-off mountain top of Mount Sundabar. The Avariel believe the peak was removed by a Netherese archmage seeking to create his own floating sky city before the fall of Netheril, but in truth it may have been destroyed when white wyrms destroyed the remnants of the Dwarven kingdom of Dareth. The crystalline conical temple is nearly 3000 feet in diameter at its base and 3000 feet high at its peak.
Within the temple's glassteel walls, endless zephyrs dance hither and yon and tiny rain showers erupt out of thin air, a never-ending manifestation of the power of the Lady of Air and Wind. The temple floor is overgrown with tropical plants nurtured by the brilliant sunshine and regular rainfall to create a jungle paradise. Rare birds from the farthest reaches of Abeir-Toril gambol and caw while young winged elves test out their wings overhead.
Winged Father Aquilan Greatspan, an Avariel, loosely governs the Avariel community of Mount Sundabar, including the crystalline temple on the mountaintop and Winged Elven nests on the mountain’s flanks. Aquilan has lead the last remaining major enclave of Winged Elves for nearly five centuries, and his wise leadership has seen the Avariel survive, if not exactly prosper, amidst the ruins of the Ice Kingdom of Dareth. Like the Stout Folks who preceded them, the greatest threat to the Avariel is Hoarfaern, the realm of white dragons and their bestial servant creatures who dwell in the dwarf-carved halls of the northern Mountains of Dareth.
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The Wing of Plumed Kingfishers is an aerial military order composed primarily of Moon and Sun Elven fighters and rangers. The order is subdivided into aerial cavalry divisions by the species of their mounts, with Asperii, Giant eagle, Griffon, Hippogriff and Pegasi-mounted Plumed Kingfishers predominating. Before the power of Elven civilization began to ebb in Faerûn, this order patrolled the skies above most forests of the Realms, protecting the land-bound elves below from threats above.
Today only two major branches of the ancient order of Plumed Kingfishers survive, one based in Evermeet and the other in Evereska. The Wing of the Green Isle includes a division of Moon Elves mounted on Giant Eagles, a division of Sun Elves mounted on Pegasi and a handful of Moon and Sun Elven Dragon riders mounted on gold, silver and bronze dragons. The Wing of the Evereskan Eyrie includes a large division of Moon Elves mounted on Giant Eagles and a smaller division of Moon Elves mounted on Asperii.
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Ceremonial garb for priest of Aerdrie consists of sky-blue robes, with those of high rank wearing the darkest shades. Feathers are used in decorating their clothing and armor, and at least one feather is worn in the hair. The holy symbol of the faith is a feather of great beauty, willingly given after molting by a sentient avian that venerates the Winged Mother. A new feather must be found at least once per year.
When adventuring, Aerdrie's priests prefer light, flexible armor that maximizes maneuverability and minimizes weight and drag. Streamlined helms, carved to resemble stylized bird heads and padded to reduce concussions, are secured with leather chinstraps. Missile weapons, particularly javelins and Elven bows with flight arrows are commonly employed in combat. If at all possible, priests of Aerdrie who lack wings of their own obtain wings of flying or similar magical means of flight. At the very least, they seek to train a steed capable of flight, such as Asperii, Dragons, Giant Eagles, Griffon, Hippogriff, or Pegasi.
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