The Veneration Of Balanar

Introduction

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The religion of most of Miridor is known as the Veneration of Balanar the All-Encompassing. It is in a sense a faith that worships both a single deity and a set. There are seven ‘Divine Aspects’, each one representing an aspect of the ‘Unified Figure’, Balanar. Balanar is considered to be a single entity; each aspect is both a part of Balanar, as well as its own separate being. Although confusing at first, it is generally accepted by the masses. For example, one can pray specifically to Damane for his aid; on the other hand, one can also pray specifically to Balanar. In a sense, every prayer to Balanar is a prayer to all the Aspects, united, whilst a prayer to a specific Aspect is considered to be, perhaps, a prayer to an independent part –of- Balanar that does not include the other Aspects.

Each Aspect has its domains, and its servants and celestial attendants, each one led by a lieutenant known as an Exalted Eudaemon, an archangel of sorts that acts as a representative of the Aspect to mortals. Each Aspect also has an associated ‘Baleful Angel’; beings that were once Exalted Eudaemons who fell from grace and are now considered evil.

The religion itself originated in what is now modern Amency, and spread throughout much of the continent; now, it is the main religion in most nations west of the Endless Mountains.

The Unified figure is, of course, Balanar the All-Encompassing, the seven who is one and the one who is seven. The Seven Divine Aspects are below.

The Seven Aspects

1. Damane the Aspect of Protection

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-Domains: Protection, Strength, Good

Damane is the first and the oldest of the aspects of Balanar. Thanks to the peculiar aspect of the Veneration of Balanar and its history, Damane was actually a separate god before the creation of the Veneration; thus in some areas, cults dedicated purely to Damane still linger, but are generally not prevalent.

Damane is the Aspect of Protection, the Hearthkeeper, and the Shield against Misfortune. He protects people against misfortune and evil, and gives them strength against attackers and oppressors. He is the patron Aspect of soldiers, guards, and many assorted, less violent yet military-related organisations.

He is usually depicted as tall, armoured, and wielding a sword and shield, with flowing blonde hair and a stern look.

His Exalted Eudaemon is Ariemon, the Defender of Mortals, who is perhaps the single Eudemon most likely to involve himself in mortal affairs.

His Baleful Angel is Melchion, the Loveless General, a powerful, predatory creature who fell from grace after feeling overwhelming anger at those mortals who had become corrupt and wicked- his actions against them drove him into demonism.

2. Paraskas the Aspect of Love

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-Domains: Love, Hope, Joy

Paraskas is the second and amongst the most greatly venerated of the Aspects.

Paraskas is the Aspect of Love, the Bringer of Hope and the Herald of Joy. Her blessings flare in the hearts of mortals when they experience love and joy; to those stuck in despair she gives her love, and inspires them to break free of despair’s bonds. She is the patron Aspect of many entertainers, charities, artists and poets.

She is usually depicted as young, cheerful, gentle and beautiful, with rosy cheeks, fair skin and red hair.

Her Exalted Eudaemon is Jaffaelle Agapē, the Serenity of Love, who looks out for and cherishes loving couples, as well as looks after those lost in despair.

Her Baleful Angel is Roniona, the Lover Lost in Despair, who according to legend, fell in love with a mortal deeply and irrevocably, only to have the mortal spur her, which hurt and angered her so much, she fell to darkness in her rage.

3. Inmeldin the Aspect of Growth

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-Domains: Water, Life, Family

Inmeldin is the third Aspect, and considered the most ‘domestic’ of the Aspects.

Inmeldin is the Aspect of Growth, the Patron of Families and the Creator of Life. He represents the power of creation and the nurturing of that which is created. Due to the fact that his domains tend to overlap with certain other, older, less popular gods, many of the ‘fertility worship’ rituals often passed into Inmeldin’s traditions. As such he is often considered the patron saint of farmers and the like, as well as newborn babies, children, and parents.

He is depicted as tall, with browned, deeply tanned skin, a gentle face, and long brown hair.

His Exalted Eudaemon is Mayimion, the Peaceful Herald, who keeps watch over the farms and rivers of the world and blesses them, and protects children.

His Baleful Angel is Ephrael, the Mourner of Lost Souls. Generally considered to be the most sympathetic of the Baleful, and the only Baleful Angel to have retained a sense of his old grace and morality, Ephrael is opposed to the supposed inactivity of heaven, and fell when he condemned and left heaven forever for its inactions. Despite being essentially a demon, he still rises to the protection of children, especially orphans.

4. Manar the Aspect of Wisdom

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-Domains: Knowledge, Mentalism, Arcana

Manar is the fourth Aspect, and the one most patronised by scholars and teachers.

Manar is the Aspect of Wisdom, the Master of Knowledge and the Keeper of Secrets. He is a force of logic and reason, possessed of peerless foresight and has access to pools of knowledge barely glimpsed at by mortal eyes. He is an educator of mortals and the one entrusted with the many secrets of the Arcane. He is the patron Aspect of wizards, sages, scholars, teachers, scientists, universities and schools.

He is depicted with long white hair and flowing robes, his arms full of books.

His Exalted Eudaemon is Daramion, The Librarian of the Celestial Archives. She keeps stock of the books of the Celestial Archives, and protects fonts of hidden knowledge with the power of peerless magic.

His Baleful Angel is Liormal, the Humiliated Unrighteous One. He saw the growing arcane knowledge of mortalkind as an affront to the supremacy of Manar, and headed to the mortal realm to punish and destroy the greatest of mages. However, in the angel’s arrogance he underestimated the power of his foe; Liormal was broken and defeated by a mortal, and, limping back in shame to his domain, allowed bitterness and hatred to twist his soul. He eventually left, determined to gain vengeance on all mortals.

5. Isador the Aspect of Harmony

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-Domains: Healing, Civilization, Balance

Isador is the fifth Aspect, and the one most supported by doctors and governors.

Isador is the Aspect of Harmony, the Divine Healer, the Mother of Civilization and the Keeper of Equilibrium. She is the healer of the sick and infirm, the protector and nurturer of cities, and a force against imbalance. All diseases flee before her light, and any place can be settled upon if she blesses the settlers. Those who follow her creed are those who wish to see cities turn into bastions of hope and peace. She is most patronised by doctors, healers, some lawyers, and many working in the government.

She is depicted as an intelligent-looking woman with sharp green eyes and brown hair, often wearing the long white robes of a healer or the outfit of a governor.

Her Exalted Eudaemon is Marniel, the Divine Hospitaller. She walks amongst the sick and weak, giving them comfort and compassion.

Her Baleful Angel is Avanessael, the Scourge of Civilization. Avanessael was closest to Samana when Samana started down the path of darkness, and she willingly walked at his side. She supported his edicts and actions, and in the end, became as dark and as demonic as her master.

6. Miram the Aspect of Guidance

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-Domains: Fate, Life, Repose

Miram is the sixth Aspect.

Miram is the Aspect of Guidance, the Weaver of Fate and the Guide of Life and Death. She weaves and re-weaves the fates of mortalkind, and guides those within her fold. Fate is not set in stone, and can be changed, but for Miram, she can see all ends. She records the birth of every living thing and records their death, also; a neverending book of the cycle of life. She is the patron Aspect of the very young and very old, of funerals and of births, and of fortune-tellers.

She is often depicted as a dark, pensive woman, possessed of black or dark brown hair, with deep eyes, possessing equal amounts of joy and sorrow.

Her Exalted Eudaemon is Kurushiel, the Far-Sighted One. She watches for those trying to unnaturally disturb the course of fate, and imparts her wisdom to those who would seek it.

Her Baleful Angel is Hekaterion, the Unnatural Rebel of Chaos. According to legend, he stole a glimpse into the ultimate tapestry of fate and saw his own demise. Hekaterion had always assumed that he would be immortal, and was thus filled with dread and fear. He petitioned Miram, requesting that she change the course of fate. She told him that the course was in his hands, and that to stave off his own destruction, he would forget what he saw and continue to live as he had before. However, he lacked the strength to remain loyal to the task, and, full of fear, he fell, becoming an enemy of the natural order in a desperate attempt to secure his own immortality.

7. Emblan the Aspect of Justice

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-Domains: Law, Justice, Renewal

Emblan is the seventh and last Aspect.

Emblan is the Aspect of Justice, the Father of Laws and the Bringer of Peace. He educates mortals in the way of just and fair laws, adjudicates disagreements between beings and finally, brings peace to those who have been wronged. He presides over all peace treaties and enforces them. He is the patron Aspect of diplomats, lawyers, judges and some healers.

He is often depicted as a tall, fair-skinned young man with black hair and bright eyes, carrying a set of scales.

His Exalted Eudaemon is Adalia, the Righteous Law-wright. A noble and just angel, he prosecutes the guilty and protects the innocent, and witnesses all cases with impartiality.

His Baleful Angel is Nimael, the Tainted Prosecutor of the Fell Lords. Nimael was one of the Exalted who fell with Lord Samana, following in his footsteps in Samana’s quest to rule over the world- and thus, was doomed to darkness with his master.

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