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Eldorai Religion, the Force and Angelii

Anya Venari

Star Queen Tirathana VII
The Eldorai are polytheistic, and citizens are allowed to believe in whomever they wish. However, all Gods and Goddesses are subordinate to the chief of the pantheon, Ashira the Great Goddess. Ashira is the creator of the Eldorai in their religion and is also the one who empowers each Star Queen with her authority. The Star Queen is not just a temporal ruler, but the High Priestess of Ashira.

The major deities and their functions are listed below.

  • Ashira – Chief of the Gods and also Goddess of Light, Fire and the Air.
  • Valora – Goddess of War and Honour.
  • Tyth – Goddess of the Oceans and Water.
  • Ardarvia – Goddess of Law, Order and Justice.
  • Liorre – Goddess of Craft and Trade.
  • Ferrano – God of Agriculture and Fertility.
  • Kyran – God of Nature and Animals
  • Illyria – Goddess of the Underworld and Death.

Traditional worship dictated that the Eldorai were the only civilised sentient beings in the galaxy, a belief shattered centuries ago by the intrusion of off-worlders. Now traditional Eldorai beliefs are giving way to a less religious faith, or sole devotion to Ashira.

Anya Venari

Star Queen Tirathana VII
Sciia, Sciians and the Force

To the Eldorai, what those outside call the Force is called the Sciia, and those who can control it are called Sciians.
Eldorai are unusual in the fact that they have a higher percentage than most sentient species able to use the Force, and their method of using the Force is very different too. Elemental powers are especially prevalent amongst the Eldorai, to the extent that the Angelii have five ‘schools’ for training users in each of the four elemental abilities and one for telekinesis.
The lure of the Dark Side, or the Dashdae Sciia as the Eldorai call it, is well known. All Sciians undergo a vigorous training program when their abilities are discovered to train and control their abilities. After that time all Sciians who do not become Angelii are lightly monitored and can be called back into service if neeed.
Eldorai Sciians are also capable in the arts of healing and sensing, but lack specific Jedi and Sith powers.
Male Eldorai Sciians are recruited in the same way and this is one of the few ways where a male Eldorai can achieve significant status and prestige. Often a male can rise to high rank, one of the few non-noble, non-royal ways to do this.

The Angelii are a widespread unit of Force using Eldorai tasked not only with protecting the Star Queen, but also acting as frontline soldiers in the Matriarchy’s wars.
Not all Sciians become Angelii, but the best do, and are well paid and treated. However, they must be absolutely obedient to their superiors and the punishments for failing their duty – especially cowardice and treason – are excessive to ensure total loyalty.

Kaida Taldir

Ice Lady
For reference, the information after this section was copied from the Angelii's Codex sub. Credit for it goes to [member="Valiens Nantaris"]. It should be noted that though in principle the Angelii corps is 10, 000 strong, this pales in comparison to the regular army.

Angelii are the Eldorai's elite troops and spared deployed sparingly. You will seldom see more than a hundred participating in a battle, unless the stakes are extremely high. This thread is a good source on the Angelii's institutional culture, traditions and odd quirks. The Qadiri and the Xioquo have comparable elite units, the Anuyisa and the Janissaries.

'The Angelii

Name: Angelii, or the full translated title ‘The Heavenly and Wrathful Angels of the Great Goddess Ashira’. Some abbreviation is advisable as can be seen!
Intent: To codify the elite Eldorai Force using Royal Guard and shock troops. These troops have been in many, many battles in RPs and in the background for centuries. They are highly elite and now they are armed with modern weapons they are even more formidable.
Affiliation: (In order) The Star Queen, the Eldorai, Tygaran Alliance
Availability: Rare
Quality: B (Veteran)
Type: Elite shock infantry
Tactically the Angelii fight in small groups. They are rarely used for mass assaults. The basic tactical unit is the Squad, or Wing as the Eldorai call it. This consists of 6 Angelii, one which is a ‘Wing Leader’ or Corporal.
Four squads form a Company, this is led by a ‘Talon’ or Sergeant. (24)
Four Companies form a Great Company led by a Captain. (96 + 4 specialists)
Five Great Companies form a Legion led by a High Captain equal to a Colonel. (500)
Larger formations are rarely used, but there are 10,000 Angelii in total always. At least, in theory there is always 10,000, but in reality the number can range by up to 5% either way as new recruits are trained, or battle casualties are accounted for.
The Angelii are a curious mix of Holy Order, Imperial Knight and Priestess. Formed many centuries before during the early days of the Eldorai Matriarchy as a bodyguard for the Star Queen, the Angelii have retained a vital place in Eldorai society to this day.
The Queen who formed the Angelii is unknown, but it was definitely in place by Esterlea II (r. 1878-1714BBY) as she was sent off to them by her mother. Historical consensus places the creation in the hands of the very first Star Queen Tassaria I, who needed shocktroops to unite the Eldorai and defeat the Kar’zun.

Over time the Angelii moved from the informal retainers of the Star Queen to be the bodyguards, pre-eminent shock troops and prestige posting for all Eldorai. At times, especially during the Time of Troubles, their power became almost too strong when they crowned and dethroned Queens. The later dynasties until the present saw this and broke the power of the Angelii, distributing them in small groups so they could not use their combined strength to plot again.

The Angelii are entirely Force users, or as the Eldorai call them, Sciians. All Eldorai who exhibit Force sensitivity are taken for standardised training so they can control their abilities and/or be allocated to jobs which suit them. The best, the ones with the most powerful of abilities and the strongest, are sent to the Angelii. The catch is that all Angelii are female, another concession to the somewhat backward racial policies of the Eldorai.

After several years of gruelling physical training and mental conditioning the recruits are trained to use their abilities for battle. Primarily this means elemental abilities as they are the most common of the Eldorai Force skills. Those who fail either of these two steps are sent to the regular military or sent home. Those who pass eventually become Angelii.

The Angelii maintain a regulation strength of exactly 10,000, though as mentioned above the actual amount is more fluid depending on circumstance. These are broken down into four ‘Houses’, each with a name, distinctive colour and emblem and unit identity. Though this is of great use for building morale and a sense of unity, it can manifest in unfortunate ways as rivalry on the battlefield.

The leader of all the Angelii is the Grand Seraph, a position of enormous importance and trust. The current Grand Seraph is Aeda Shaytari, the (secret) cousin of the Star Queen. As the Grand Seraph commands and leads the Queen’s bodyguard she must have utter faith in her protector. Fortunately in this case the loyalty of Aeda to the Queen is unquestioned.

In battle the Angelii traditionally fought in a tight phalanx formation using the Taegis shield combined with Sarix, Sarzmigar and Staser. Once the enemy position is reached more open order fighting develops. Modern weapons have changed the armament but not necessarily the techniques of the Angelii.

Angelii fight in squads of 6, trained to fight in pairs. The concept of teamwork, unity and comradeship are of vital importance to the Angelii. In battle they typically form two ranks. The front rank uses their shields and melee weapons to protect themselves and their ‘sister’. The second rank uses her ranged weapons or Force abilities to strike the enemy. Either can take the front or rear rank, and during long battles they often switch. In more open battles or in rough terrain the Angelii fight in their pairs and squads and take down enemies together. Discipline, teamwork and courage are all valued; rashness, bravado and flash are not.

Each Angelii today is armed with a Cylix bolt pistol for close combat, a Sarix and wears duraplast armour. From there, armament is based on the mission, but usually one of each pair carried a Sarzmigar and Taegis whilst the other uses a Mk 2 boltgun with APE rounds. Sometimes the situation will demand that both carry a Taegis in which case they rely on their Cylix pistols or lighter blaster weapons. Sometimes the ‘sister’ of the squad’s Host Leader carries a heavier weapon like a missile launcher or heavy repeating blaster

Service in the Angelii is for 25 years, after which an Eldorai can elect to continue or return to normal life. Those who resign their commissions are eligible to emergency call-up though and undergo training each year to keep their abilities honed.

Recently a move to allow male Angelii has begun. So far it has been resisted by the more conservative Eldorai who fear that adding males would make the unit weaker and be a disruptive element. Some point to the common Eldorai belief that males are inherently weaker and more prone to emotions, whilst others point to the potential trouble of combined gender units. The debate is ongoing, though probably the Angelii will eventually join the rest of the galaxy, it is only the amount of feet-dragging required first.

One final group bears special examination; the elite bodyguards of the Queen known as the Sacred Band. This unit of 50 pairsare chosen by merit from the rest of the Angelii to be the personal guards of the Star Queen. Each of them are incredibly loyal and dedicated to their cause and the Queen, and receive incentives for good service.'

Present Angelii PCs:

Grand Seraph [member="Aeda Shaytari"]

Seraph Kaida Taldir

Talon [member="Elayne Saedaris"]

Wing Leader [member="Elincia Alanis"]

Honorary Wing Leader [member="Galina Kerrigan-Alcori"]

Kaida Taldir

Ice Lady
A few words on Eldorai Force beliefs (after speaking with [member="Valiens Nantaris"]):

Eldorai beliefs differ from Jedi and Sith ones in some views. Crucially, the Eldorai find the dualist views of both groups strange, which is why so few have joined either. They do not accept a Light and Dark view of the Galaxy and thus don't regard the Force as a duality. This is because the Eldorai believe that the Force is their own spirit, which they call Sciia. It is their own inner fire which allows them to wield supernatural powers. The more religiously inclined believe this is a gift from the Goddess Ashira.

And so the notion that you can 'go to the Dark Side' clashes with their beliefs. As mentioned above, there exists concept of 'Dashdae Sciia'. However, this is not the Dark Side in the same way a Jedi might understand it. It does not refer to a metaphysical, corrupting power that leads Sciians astray, but to a person who uses their power wrongly. The best analogy might be calling someone a traitor or a heretic. Often it comes down to rhetoric, political and moral viewpoints.

For instance renegades and rebels have commonly been labelled 'Dashdae Eldorai'; Dark Eldorai. Many undoubtedly have been, but then the Eldorai have a history of being ruled by despots, so a Light Side rebel would be labelled the same! Equally there are Dark Side people who serve the Queen, and thus aren't considered Dashdae if they obey the law. Things get murky because the Star Queen is officially seen as Ashira's governor, and so opposition to her becomes heresy, though the Eldorai have fortunately moved past the point where they persecuted 'unbelievers' due to the progressive reforms instituted by Tirathana the Seventh. Likewse, the notion of evil daemons exists in Eldorai religion, and they can act as tempters. They're seen as the spawn of Illyria, a traitorous goddess who turned on Ashira.

Eldorai beliefs are also the result of the fact that most of their Force-users have elemental powers. Most Jedi would consider lightning a Sith power, but it is also used by 1/4 of the Angelii, which means to them there's no connection between the power they use and their morality. Moreover, they are explicitly trained as warriors supposed to fight in the Matriarchy's wars, so the 'are we peacekeepers or soldiers' debate many Jedi Orders have would be wholly out of place.

Likewise they don't have a 'we use the Force for defence, never for attack' rule because from their perspective that would make no sense. Thus in battle they will attack with lethal intent, as any soldier would. That said, they are expected to adhere to strict discipline to prevent abuse of their powers, which also includes a Code of Conduct like in any military unit. They also have politico-religious Commissars in form of Ashiran and Ardarvian Priestesses. Renegade Angelii who turn on their battle sisters are treated as traitors and oathbreakers who must be destroyed, not as 'fallen brethren' who should be redeemed if possible.

Kaida Taldir

Ice Lady
Tygaran natives' views:

Since the elf portion of the faction is not solely about the Eldorai, but also the natives of Tygara, we shall have a few words on their beliefs, too. Admittedly these are already summarised in the species subs, but they're very long! Special thanks to [member="Valiens Nantaris"]

All elf cultures on Tygara have a positive perception of the Force, though there are some differences:

1. Vashyada

The Vashyada (Wood Elves) believe the Force is a blessing of nature. Their priestesses are all Forcers and focus on what could be considered Light Side powers, with a special focus on healing. Unlike the Qadiri and the Eldorai, their view of the Force is dualistic, as they believe in Light and Darkness. This means that those they consider darksiders would get a rough reception. There's another side of the coin, since Force-users have a disproportionate amount of power. Thus a child who's Force-sensitive is more likely to inherit than an older child who's not, set apart from gender inheritance.

Tylania, the Vashyada's demigoddess, does not rule herself, but acts as an arbiter who settles disputes and uses her prophetic visions to guide her people. She refused to take control because she wanted to avoid the temptations of power. The wood elves' Priestesses are strong Force-users and employ what would commonly be considered light side powers.

2. Qadiri

The Qadiri refer to the Force as Zari, which is the same word they use for spirit or soul. This is very comparable to the Eldorai's 'Sciia'. This may be no surprise since the chief goddess of the Qadiri, Kashara, and Ashira are linked! In terms of practical use, the Qadiri regard the Force as a tool. The Saoshyant, who is nominally acknowledged as the supreme prietess of Kashara, is always a Force-user, as only one of them can commune with the Goddess. Force-users, as soon as they manifest their powers, are normally taken in by either the temple or the state. The former become priestesses (female only), the latter warriors (both sexes). Sometimes this can lead to violent competition between both powers!

Only after thorough training are the Qadiri allowed to leave, but their jobs are determined for life. This is a mixed blessing for their families, since on the one hand they are well paid, prestigious and create influence, but also tear them apart. That said, Force-sensitivity is a way for slaves to escape their lot and gain their freedom, since they are taken in for training by either temple or state, and can later buy their families out of slavery. All large states include Force sensitive warriors, trained to use their elemental and other abilities in battle or to aid their comrades. This is one area where a male Qadiri can rise high. Much like the Eldorai, the Qadiri focus on elemental powers; fire, air, water and earth.

Noble families tend to prefer to pass on their inheritance to Force-sensitive children and only marry them off to similarly 'blessed' nobles. Inevitably this causes resentment, when a younger child is promoted instead of an older sibling solely because he or she was blessed with mystical power. There exists a notion of the Dark Side, though like with the Eldorai it is more a political and religious label, as those who have fallen are labelled 'heretics'. This is a vague term that has often been used to get rid of a political rival.

3. Xioquo:

The Xioquo take matters to the extreme. To them, the Force, which they call Faer, is just power. One could say that the elves' tendency to view the Force as a tool carries the dangers of the Dark Side, but the 'Dark Ones' are the only ones who openly embrace it. It is the glue that binds their society together and has become connected with it so closely that it is practically a requirement to rule. One could compare their warped culture with that of the ancient Sith species.

Non-Force sensitive children of nobles are often abandoned or forcefully swapped with others who have the gift, since the mundanes are seen as inferiors in the magocracy. Force-users automatically receive preferential treatment and are trained thoroughly. After this, providing they live and survive Xioquo politics, they become powerful members of their families. They have all the prestige and a younger female might rise to become the heir of a great house because she has the Force. Naturally this causes rivalries, resentment and rather cutthroat politics, which amplifies the volatile nature of Xioquo society. Like the other elves, Xioquo are adept at elemental manipulation, but they are also trained in what would be considered 'dark' arts, such as draining the life force of opponents or driving them into insanity.

The Xioquo never take Force-sensitive captives, preferring to kill them since they're not only seen as a danger, but also as demons. This is because their power is believed to be an aberration to the Goddess, who favours only the Xioquo.

General Summary:

All in all, the beliefs of the various elf races are defined by a combination of pragmatism and religious mysticism. The Force is often seen as a gift of the Goddess, a blessing even, but is also used as a tool. Force-users are less judged by the specific powers they use, but how they use. Being labelled a 'darksider' is less of a metaphysical label, and more of a political one, with the exception of the Vashayda.

Since as a faction the Tygaran Alliance also includes Jedi or non-elf Light Siders, this can lead to some interesting rping situations. After all, diversity makes things fun and can provide for some interesting conflicts. Firemane Industries itself does not discriminate, as long as Force-users in its employ obey its rules and aren't Sith.

Kaida Taldir

Ice Lady
Eldorai Creation Myth, Beliefs and the Church

In the beginning, Ashira was created by the sun, the moon and the stars to create a chosen race which would one day inherit the universe. She in turn created the pantheon, infusing part of her knowledge into each, and together they formed the Eldorai to be perfect creatures in her image.

The Eldorai believe that Illyria turned away from the path and led a rebellion against the forces of light. This conflict is called the War in Heaven. She was also the one who spawned the Kar'zun, with whom the Eldorai fought for dominance over Kaeshana for several centuries until eventually prevailing. The Eldorai do not like the earth and they don't like the Kar'zun because they were made of it. Thusly, the rock people are seen as evil demons. Hence the fierce and tragic animosity between both races.

Illyria and Ashira are believed to have fought in an epic battle, at the end of which Illyria managed to wound but not kill Ashira. As punishment, Illyria and her followers were banished into the abyss beneath the earth. Meanwhile, Ashira ascended to the heavens. One day she is expected to return and lead her people to glory. Since Illyria turned on the queen of heaven and spawned demonic creatures, she's an object of fear and revulsion. Those who transgress go to hell and suffer horrible punishment. By contrast, heaven is seen as a paradise for the faithful. Some sources claim that those who fall in battle battling the enemies of the Eldorai will be rewarded with wine fountains and comely maidens, though that might just be poetic license!

Originally, Eldorai theology only took Eldorai and Kar'zun into account since Kaeshana was isolated from the rest of the Galaxy. However, eventually they needed to explain the existence of other races such as humans when they came into contact with them. Traditionalists believe that only Eldorai are the children of Ashira, whereas the other, 'lesser' races were merely soulless abominations spawned by demons.

However, though Eldorai religion is extremely xenophobic, it is not wholly exclusionist. Humans who convert and accept Ashira into their heart may be granted paradise. Of course, the expectation is that they will submit to the Eldorai Matriarchy in the process, since only Ashira's children can rule. So far, few humans have been willing to convert. The recent upheavals have shaken the Eldorai faith and caused some profound changes.

Reformist cults are coming into being that reject or at least moderate the strong racist strand in Eldorai religion. Moreover, the fact that Ashira didn't appear to save Kaeshana from cataclysm has shaken the faith of many. Without the aid of foreigners, all of the Eldorai would've perished. Moreover, the Eldorai have had to come to terms with the revelation of their 'lost cousins' existence on Tygara. Opinions have ranged from regarding them as primitives who need education to seeing them as genuine siblings. Thusly, the monolithic, theocratic control of the Church of Light has been eroded to a degree.

Internal church politics tend to be characterised by intrigue and vicious power struggles on the highest levels, though many lower-ranking priestesses are renowned as healers and perform humanitarian works. Basically, the higher ones goes up into the Church, the darker one finds it. Those who have any ambition of helping others and performing good works best stay in a role where they can actually do so by being in contact with the common people. This doesn't mean that every high cleric is obsessed with power. Indeed, there are several noble ones, but they must still spend more time maintaining and securing their power base than is productive.

Officially, the Star Queen of the Eldorai is the head of the church as Ashira's viceroy, though the actual management is left to an elephantine bureaucracy and the high clerics. The Grand Chaplain acts as her representative and adviser. The highest clerics beneath the two are called Cennobites, who can be considered the equivalent of bishops.

The Church is a major political, economic and social force. It owns its own property, is exempt from taxes, collects tithes and owns various charities, hospitals and so on. Moreover, most of the healers are Ashiran Priestesses, who use a combination of Force healing and traditional remedies. Moreover, Ashiran and Ardarvian Priestesses act as commissars in the army and Angelii. Their powers have varied throughout the ages.

There were times when they could countermand the orders of an army officer and even order floggings, indoctrination or executions of soldiers deemed 'heretical'. This obviously led to abuse and strong disruption, so over time their powers were strongly reduced. At this point in time, they largely serve as religious instructors and battlefield chaplains charged with maintaining morale, public relations, counselling and sometimes acting as proper officers. The Angelii still have the practice of sending disruptive recruits to a Shrine or Temple of Duty dedicated to the Goddess Ardarvia for education. However, things are a lot less cruel and vicious now since the Queen is a liberal progressive who values her subjects.