After reading a numerous threads and posts on the forums and nearly four years as an administrator (boy, time flies!), I can say one of my greatest frustrations regarding New Celest is a matter of perception. Indeed, people look down on it, from the outside, and scoff loudly, while others from within offer-up hearty denials, though they near always centre around a question of ‘alignment’ – that being ‘good’ (as opposed to ‘evil’). It’s always an interesting debate to see play out, but it becomes tiresome – and, as I said, frustrating – when some within the org itself seem to have a poor perception or idea of what the Light is, stands for, and how that does (and/or should) transpose onto New Celest.
I shall stop now and warn – I know my own nature, and this is likely to be a very long post. I will do my best to condense thoughts into some semblance of completion, though when talking to a more greater, ‘meta’ subject, I have a tendency to blend everything together.
There, obligatory warning aside (that’s really just for you, Estarra, who always comments on my lengthy posts! Grumble!), I shall delve into the matter as fully as I may.
To prepare the topic properly, we must look at Celest as a history – culturally speaking, New Celest is only a teenager in comparison to what they were born from. Old Celest probably was close to a thousand-year-old culture, or even older, at the time of its demise – the capitol itself was on an island in the middle of the Crystal Sea, smaller companion to the Inner Sea. In its infancy it was probably birthed from a fishing town or some such, rising to greatness on the backs of a very advanced people. To truly look at the foundation of Celest, one must have some understanding of who the merian people are, and what they are innately like.
It is not uncommon for players to ‘overlook’ the advances of merian culture, and hold Hallifax up as the most ‘advanced’. In some ways this is true – particularly when we equate ‘science’ with ‘technology’. Still, merians were the first to construct an edifice of power, and raised many Vernal Gods – I can’t speak in terms of quantity, if ‘most’ Vernal Gods were merian or not – but I can say that of the last nine, three were merian – d’Varsha (also the first), Juliana, and Dionamus. Off-hand, such racial positioning and quality are the merians’ alone to claim. Of these races, one must note that none of them were renowned for their fighting prowess. Instead, they were known for their more benevolent natures – d’Varsha was also known as the Teacher, a brilliant merian who built a great structure and, through it, rose to become the first Vernal God. In lieu of hoarding this knowledge, or sharing it solely with the merian race, d’Varsha not only taught it to other races, but likely played a role in ensuring they were completed. Likely a trait of Meridian’s that is simply an aspect of the merian people – they are compassionate, protective individuals. Looking to Juliana, she was renowned for her judicious nature, an unparalleled negotiator, and not unknown for her tactical, intuitive nature. She convinced rivals amongst the Vernal Gods (who, were it not for the Soulless, probably would have came to blows) to come together and fight alongside one another. Such an example is Dionamus who, risen from the now-destroyed city of Alabellalum (the story of which is detailed in a book related to the Kelpie Maiden quest – a must for Cantors especially!), was widely hailed as a benevolent savior figure – paintings persist of him sweeping children out of the path of raging soulless and, legends claim, assisted by legions of fiery angels that fought against the Soulless with a righteous fervour.
Needlessly said, ‘good’ is simply an innate trait for merians. Of course, there are those who fall away from this – Ladantine, Shellma, and dozens of other instances come to mind. I note that they often only do so under the influence of an outside source (Ladantine was a brilliant scientist and scholar who, while haphazard, probably had grand intentions before coming into contact with Kethuru – Shellma has her own story, as does her family, with its own tone of tragedy). By and large, however, they are the personification of goodness given mortal form, complete with mortal flaws. Of course, there is a tone of racism, though, I note, it’s not the Jim Crow mentality of racism, but rather a sense of racial superiority (arguably a justifiable one), and so during the Holy Empire merians were the vast majority of the Celestines, Aquamancers and Paladins. The last being the exception – krokani, being viewed as powerful, faithful allies of the Empire, were allowed to join their ranks.
So, the Merians were not ‘behind,’ technologically speaking – they were pioneers of planar physics, the first ‘true’ mages and highly skilled with the manipulation of energy and power – which forms the basis of their technology. Who needs an elevator when you can just swim up an enchanted waterfall? Who needs TV when water elementals can take on the form of what they witnessed? And so forth!
Find any of this shocking? You shouldn’t! Everything I’ve said has been said time and time again, and I cannot express, fully, my frustration over how often I hear people ‘ooo’ and such at the rediscovery of this.
Now, history lesson largely over – and on to the Light. Particularly, the Supernals.
We all know there are five Supernals on Holy Celestia, five siblings born of templates and blossomed into half-formed beneath the hand, thought and song of Dynara. Tragically, Dynara abandoned the First World with her sister, Magnora, to seek out the Nameless Son – when they did so, the Song of Creation ceased. Despite the attempts of Elder Gods known as the Hamadhi, these half-formed entities on the creches would never reach their fullest potential. Over time they would change, adapt, and become a ‘part’ of their creche. Indeed, any half-formed that abandons their creche and is gone for any serious length of time would go mad. Such madness is difficult to describe, for one imagines it would vary, however a sense of maliciousness inevitably would settle in.
Why? Who knows – it could be that a part of their being is ‘linked’ to their Creche and so without its presence they begin to ‘deteriorate,’ it could be that some ‘tear’ has opened and so bits of the excoroperditio seep into them, I couldn’t say! As always, I find this topic terribly interesting, and so encourage those interested in doing so to write and submit scholarly pieces theorizing.
Yet I will return to the topic. Now we understand WHAT the half-formed are – who can fully say WHY they represent what they did. Needlessly said, the Holy Emanations of Shallmar and the Holy Supernals of Celestia were beautiful, benevolent beings who were revered for their wisdom, glory and goodly nature. They make for great poster children, and doubtlessly that was a fair factor in what drew people to them. Perhaps such benevolence was something simply imbued into them by Dynara, perhaps it is something they ‘adopted’ or ‘learned’ from Elder Gods, particularly the Hamadhi and the First Circle who worked with them (Amberle comes to mind, as she was of a similar disposition and I believe a First Circle who worked with the Hamadhi, much as Eventru does). Perhaps it was born of their struggle (for what does not kill us makes us stronger – and from adversity do we build character) and ‘affliction,’ for a gentler word for how they were in comparison to the Gods.
So, we come to the meat of it (three, four paragraphs later!):
- Raziela – A Supernal of Love, Beauty, Compassion. Raziela is the definition of child-like innocence, and this will never change. Likely had she matured into a full Elder God, she would have been as naive and idealistic then as she was in her proverbial infancy – she is idyllic in this way, and she holds only love for everyone. Some people corrupt this love to mean the execution of those permanently corrupted by the Soulless (indeed, Eventru has as much implied it, and I think Terentia has even outright stated it) – never in your life will you hear Raziela even contemplate the thought of killing anything. Likely in her mind anything can be saved, purified and be reborn in the Light.
- Shakiniel – A Supernal of Protection, Hope, and to some Devotion. Now I say ‘Devotion’ but I don’t mean worship, but I mean it in the sense of to a cause or a person – she gives her word and she keeps it. Shakiniel will never give up the thought of ‘hope’ (were she to even contemplate it in passing, she would never vocalize such thoughts). Shakiniel, physically, is a bit strange – she is blue, with short hair, and (at least in my mind), is not the depiction of femininity that Elohora is. She has short black hair, which glitters with starlight. She has great golden wings, and wears golden armour. If there was ever a Patron Supernal of Children, the Sick and the Weak, boy, is Shakiniel it. She would sooner die than know she has left a child in harm’s way. She is a defender – she would likely not advocate fighting unless it was a necessary course of action. Perhaps, to some, a stark contrast to…
- Methrenton– Boy. If there was ever a man I’d want my back in a barfight, that’d be Methrenton. Supernal of the Holy Flame, the Crusader, Warrior of Righteous Causes, he oversees the Golden Forge of the Holy Flame. Indeed, he is likely the armourer for all of Celestia, and is a powerful entity. Handsome, winged, armoured, tan, and with eyes of white fire, he is doubtlessly terrifying to find yourself before him. But not so for those of the Light. For one truly devout in the Light, they would only be comforted by his presence, for when Methrenton enters the field, hope is no longer needed – you have RIGHTEOUSNESS on your side. And if you’ve watched the scene from Lord of the Rings where Helms Deep is nearly destroyed and Gandalf appears in the distance, well, you’ve got a faint idea. Methrenton does not espouse the idea of genocide – while he might be fiery and strong-willed, and willing to fight those who go against the Light, he is by no means ‘bloodthirsty.’ Of course, there will always be a fine line between ‘valiant’ and ‘bloodlust,’ and it’s probably all relative to whether or not he’s on your side, for most.
- Japhiel – Speaking of Gandalf, I’m fairly certain Japhiel’s stole his beard. Every time I think of him, I think of this old stained glass of Saint Nicholas at the catholic church I went to as a child. Even-handed, genteel, elderly (looking!), Japhiel is probably the man you want in the Supreme Court. Judicious, he is the Supernal of Law, Mercy, Justice and Arbitration. I’m not really sure what more needs to be said – he’s not Judge Judy (who really needs to take a chill pill!), but he’s definitely a fair, even-handed being. Everything with him is weighed out before he makes a decision – and, aside from perhaps Elohora, he is the most ‘centrist’ of the Supernals. While you may view Raziela and Methrenton on the extremes, Japhiel would weigh between them and strike for a middle ground – he is by no means a pacifist, but if a fight can be solved without drawing steel, you can be sure Japhiel will seek it out.
- Elohora – The Lady of Eternal Light, the Throne of Brilliance, the Light given form – Elohora is the Supernal of Supernals. Her only flaw is her nudity, and with such a perfect body, I don’t think anyone really considers that a flaw. And if they DO, well, they should go speak with Methrenton… She is everything the Light SHOULD be – beautiful, perfect, ‘natural’, radiant and shining. She is compassionate, strong, protector of the weak and merciful without being naive. Divine providence and general gift-from-god type miracles are oft the province of this great Supernal. She is certainly the quintessential leader of a “lawful good” theocratic empire! Elohora is also now the least vocal of the Supernals – well, I would be too if my empire collapsed… (…FOR NOW!)
So! Boy, we’ve covered a lot. The thought of an ‘inquisition’ is a pretty dark one – that’s not to say one or more have not occurred in Celest’s history (at least one may have – check out Catarin’s book that’s in the Lusternia Historical Society section for some nifty history on the Paladins!), but they are not something necessarily condoned by the Light.
Alright, so, I’m tired, by this point. I shall call this blog post at its end, and resume at a later point, when the fires of passion have me worked up. We’ve covered the merian race and the Supernals, and in the future I want to address both the Saints of Celestia (no, Serenwilde, I will not tell you about the Burning Star! Sorry!), and precisely (well, relatively) what they are, and where they live. Yes, there’s near thousand year old merians chilling on Celestia in a far, far out-of-the-way place. In a manner of speaking. Similarly, I want to broach the topic of the guilds of Celest, and how the Light plays into each and every one of them (and if anyone suggests it doesn’t, I’ve got a belaying pin down on the dock to stick in your eye!)!
So, until next time.