- The Winged Mother, Queen of the Avariel
|Power Level:||Intermediate deity|
|Symbol:||Cloud with bird silhouette|
|Portfolio:||Air, weather, avians, rain, fertility, avariels|
|Worshipers:||Bards, druids, elves, rangers, sorcerers, travelers, winged beings.|
|Domains:||Air, Animal, Chaos, Good, Elf, Storm|
|Arelith worshippers' alignments:||CG, CN, NG|
Aerdrie Faenya (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 were composed largely of the avariel, much like Deep Sashelas was and is worshiped primarily by sea elves. However, unlike their aquatic kin, the winged elves were nearly wiped out by the dragons before the historical event of the First Flowering, and what was believed to be the last of their race in Faerun flew westward before the start of the Crown Wars.
Today, elves (especially sun, moon, and wild elves) who desire certain weather conditions make the most frequent sacrifices to Aerdrie. Her small church is also popular with elves who possess flying mounts, such as asperii, dragons, giant eagles, griffons, hippogriffs, and pegasi. The Lady of Air and Wind is revered by all nonevil birds, 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.
Like most of the Seldarine, Aerdrie serves Corellon; works closely with her fellow elven deities; and opposes the activities of the drow pantheon (with the exception of Eilistraee). She also works against the Gods of Fury (Auril, Malar, Talos and Umberlee). Aerdrie is allied to like-minded deities of wind, flight, rain, and fertility; including Akadi, Cyrrollalee, Isis, Lurue, Shaundakul, and Sheela Peryroyl.
Aerdrie appears as a tall and wiry elf, borne upon two massive brown wings. She is the elven expression of freedom and impulse, and it veritably shows in her posture: she is a bird ready to take flight at any moment, incapable of being held against her will. Her features are softly elongated, though her eyes darken and her appearance becomes sharper and more avian in the rare moments she is angered. However, she is more likely to take on the visage of a bird than an elf; and in truth rarely manifests at all.
Though rare, Aerdrie Faenya shows herself through natural processes such as strong winds, rain showers, and even powerful storms. The Lady of Air and Wind manifests around Evermeet as great storms, vast cyclones, and winds of hurricane force that affect only non-elven ships. Her efforts also ensure that no ill wind or weather can ever destroy the Green Isle.
The Winged Mother does watch over those Fair Folk who take flight into her domain, whether it be through magic or their own wings. If an elf or worshiper of any race somehow falls from a great height, whether it be off a cliff or out of the sky, the Winged Mother may manifest as a deep blue nimbus of flickering light that envelops the plummeting creature and enables him or her to slow his or her descent and make a gentle landing, similar to the effects of a feather fall spell. If a worshiper in flight is targeted by a land-bound archer, the enveloping nimbus of Aerdrie's manifestation confers a defensive shield to safeguard her worshiper from harm. While the Lady of Air and Wind rarely grants omens to her priests, when she does they manifest as whispering winds.
She demonstrates her favor through the discovery of feathers of any sort, hornbill ivory carved in the form of an avian species, psaedros, raindrops (a common name for cassiterite crystals), sapphires, turquoise, weirwood birdpipes, and wind instruments. The Winged Mother indicates her displeasure by suddenly transforming a gentle zephyr or little rain shower into a lashing storm; by causing flocks of birds to suddenly dissolve, each bird going its separate way; or by causing the offender's plumage - whether it be natural or a form of adornment - to suddenly molt.
Though the Seldarine call on agathinon, asuras, and ancient treants as their preferred servants, Aerdrie is also served by a slew of additional creatures: aarakocra, aasimar, aasimon, air elementals, aerial servants, androsphinxes, asperii, atomies, avorels, azmyths, birds of all nonevil species (particularly eagles, falcons, hawks, kingfishers, and owls), cloud dragons, cloud giants, crystal dragons, djinn, eladrin (particularly bralani), faerie dragons, firetails, fremlins, frosts, griffons, gorse, hippogriffs, hollyphants, kenku, kholiathra, ki-rin, lammasu, lillendi, noctrals, opinicus, pegasi, pegataurs, phoenixes, pixies, reverend ones, rocs, seelie faeries, shedu, silver dragons, sylphs, spirits of the air, sprites, storm giants, sunflies, swanmays, swarms of grasshoppers or locusts, sword archons, talking owls, tempests, tressym, t'uen-rin, vortexes, windghosts, and wind walkers.
Like all the Seldarine, Aerdrie is venerated by all elves save the drow. However, aside from those winged elves who remain, very few of the Fair Folk primarily worship the Lady of Air and Wind. The Queen of the Avariel is seen as flighty, even for the chaotic Seldarine, and somewhat distant, and the inclusion of the aarakocra and other avian races slightly diminishes the strength of elven devotion to her. Aerdrie's temples, known as aeries, are usually located on high hilltops or mountain slopes having a good view of the land around them and the open sky.
While the Winged Mother's shrines are little more than alpine ledges, accessible only to those creatures capable of flight, Aerdrie's temples are delicate crystalline spires bedecked with glass chimes whose ringing tones peal across mountain valleys, borne by swirling winds. Small open-mouthed caves, connected by short tunnels that honeycomb the peaks on which the goddess's temples rest, allow access to Aerdrie's glass-enclosed chapels and permit the wind to whistle through the heart of the peak.
Novices of Aerdrie are known as Eaglets or the Tethered. Full priests of the Winged Mother are known as Winged Brothers or Sisters. Titles used by Aerdrian priests vary widely from temple to temple, with many high-ranking priests having unique individual titles. Among the priest caste of the winged elves of Mount Sundabar, commonly employed titles include:
- Aquiline Hunter
- Cloud Walker
- Feathered Dancer
- Rain Bringer
- Rising Thermal
- Silent Screech
- Sky Diver
- Soaring Spirit
- Wind Chaser
Specialty priests are known as halcyons. At one time, the clergy of Aerdrie was dominated by winged elves; but her church today consists primarily of moon elves (40%), gold elves (38%), aarakocra (10%), and elves and half-elves of other subraces (8%). A handful (4%) of winged elves (including half a dozen or so half-winged elves whose wings are strong enough only for gliding) compose the remainder other clergy, scattered across the most distant and inaccessible reaches of the Realms. Although specialty priests compose only a small fraction of Aerdrie's clergy (20%), they occupy nearly all of the high positions within the Wind Mother's church. The remainder of Aerdrie's priests are either clerics (42%), air elementalists (30%), or mystics (8%). About 59% of Aerdrie's clergy members are female; the remainder are male.
The ever-changing reaches of the sky are the great gift of the Winged Mother. Take flight into her windswept embrace, and gambol amidst the everchanging clouds. Honor those who dwell with the Lady of Air and Wind and cherish the birds who dance on her tresses. In change there is beauty and in chaos there is the birth of 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.
Aerdrie's priesthood is primarily concerned with exploration and maintaining good relations with sentient avian races (for example, giant eagles and 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 not 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 Wind considers them perversions of nature.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies
Clerics and druids of Aerdrie Faenya pray for their spells at dawn, when the first hint of a breeze often drifts across the land.
The Dance of Swirling Winds 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, these wind dancers are swept across the forest canopy for miles in a breathtaking flight before settling gently in a sylvan glade not too far from home.
Major Centers of Worship
The Aerie of the Snow Eagles is a crystalline citadel built atop the peak of Mount Sundabar in the distant land of Sossal, north and east of Pelvuria, the Great Glacier. The last redoubt of the avariel in Faerun, 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 shearedoff mountain top of Mount Sundabar. The crystalline, conical temple is nearly 3,000 feet in diameter at its base and 3,000 feet high at its peak.
The Wing of Plumed Kingfishers is an aerial military order composed primarily of moon and gold elven crusaders and rangers. The order is subdivided into aerial cavalry divisions by the species of their mounts, with Plumed Kingfishers mounted on giant eagles, hippogriffs, griffins and pegasi predominating. Before the power of elven civilization began to ebb in Faerun, this order patrolled the skies above most forests of the Realms, protecting 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 based 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.
Ceremonial garb for priests 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 who 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 chin straps. Missile weaponsparticularly 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 an asperii, dragon, giant eagle, griffon, hippogriff, or pegasus.
- On Arelith, the restriction for D&D clerics also applies to blackguard, paladins, rangers, and divine champions