Aelonism, or simply the Faith, is an atheistic religious branch of both Maninism and Eastern Aitahism, founded by the proclaimed Fourth Aitah, Aelona, and continued through her daughter, the Fifth Aitah, Kintyra. The branch formed in the middle 6th century SR and quickly converted the northern regions of Athis. The Faith promotes the concept of the Light, as does Maninism, and the many Paths to the end of the world and the hopeful liberation of mankind from earthly bonds. Whereas Maninism promotes the concept of Haradim, Aelonism offers the Aitah as a powerful divine guide to correct humanity's course to the proper Path. Aelonism is widely known for its sensual and artistic proselytizing.
In the aftermath of the formation of the Cult of the Goddess on the Face of the Moon, a series of wars spawned from the new, militant religion backed by the Savirai nobility. Much of Athis was consumed in these religious conflicts, until finally reaching a high point with the War of the Empty Throne, in which the Savirai Emperor Khatai I launched an invasion of Gallat, in part to protect his vassal Tarena, and the Karapeshai Exatai retaliated against him.
During this conflict, in the immediate aftermath of the War of the Three Gods, the Cyvekt Kingdom had risen to princely status as an affiliated state of the Karapeshai. Here, Aelona cuCyve was born to the heir apparent to Cyve, Unger. Upon her father's untimely death in a failed military expedition ordered by the Redeemer Avetas, Aelona found herself out of the line of succession and prisoner to her uncle, Glynt. (ca. 535 SR) She was exiled to Lemdeh, to be held at the Birthstone by her cousin, Cuskar I. Cuskar proved to be supportive of Aelona, and made no serious effort to hold her prisoner. Cuskar saw increasing Satar influence over Cyve as a cause for rebellion and with Aelona's help could secure the throne and reverse the processes Fulwarc II had initiated.
In 541 SR, Aelona crossed the Giblok Channel with Cuskar's help. Her intentions were to secure the aid of Nech, whose king was her mother's brother, Katu, and to seek the assistance of the then victorious and powerful Khatai I. From Helt, Aelona organized a peace between Nech and Tarena before departing south. At the age of fourteen, she was recognized as a peacemaker in Pamala. Shortly thereafter, her party arrived in Edrim, at the Savirai war camps. Khatai, worried of the outcome of the war, was said to have experienced visions of a new Aitah. When Aelona appeared in his court unexpectedly, he declared her within the week to be the Fourth Aitah and a sign of his inevitable victory. They were married two weeks later.
Aelona produced the greatest amount of the works later compiled as Whispers while serving her role as the Fourth Aitah in Gurach. Here, she said the status of her divinity in the Savirai tradition troubled her greatly and through her work she explained that Aitah was not a god, but a guide. Her actions did not sit well with the Savirai notables, and soon after the assassination of Khatai I she fled north to the Stetin kingdom of Brunn, with her daughter Kintyra, the Fifth Aitah, in tow.
Fundamentally atheistic, Aelonism holds no belief in true deities. Supernatural beings residing in the heavens—the realms beyond the material world—are pretenders and disrupters, aiming solely to alter humanity's Path as set after the Making of the World. The Aitah is a heavenly being within the Light, not separated but not of the same origin, that serves as a guide to the correct Path towards the Light and the liberation of mankind from earthly bondage.
Making and the HeavensEdit
Aelonism believes, as the Maninists do, in the creation of the world, and many others, by the virtuous and knowledgeable beings, not gods, known as the Makers-of-Worlds. One said being, upon the realization of humanity's potential and similarity to itself, set it upon the Path. See: Maninist origins
Borrowing from Ardavan beliefs, Aelonism promotes the heavens as realms in constant flux and conflict. Whispers compares the conflict to a game of Kalis, where two sides battle for control. Aitah's role in these heavens is to deter humanity from following the incorrect Path, and in that way reduce the negative influences of pretend gods and false prophets. There are an infinite number of end Paths for the universe, all but one of which are detrimental to humanity. The conflict in the heavens spills over into the world, thus necessitating the rebirth of Aitah.
The Aitah is a being often described as a child within the womb of the Light. Aitah, in the heavenly sense, has no gender, but has chosen only to reveal itself to humanity as a woman. Aelonist theologians connect the femininity of Aitah to its status within the Light, of a nurturer and guide. The origins of Aitah are not known exactly. Aelona, the Fourth Aitah, declared the Aitah as a being removed from the flow of time as experienced by humanity, and thus incapable of being accurately dated by human hands. A common debate among leading Aelonist thinkers contemplates the exact origin of Aitah, with many agreeing she was born after the Making of the World. Leaning heavily on Ardavan influence, some Aelonists see Aitah as not unlike Taleldil, only far more successful and unwilling to compromise on the original Path. Whispers leaves the origins of the Aitah intentionally vague.
Aitah's status in the Faith is one of a supernatural guide of immense power, granted by her affiliation with the Light and the Path. Unlike foreign pretend gods, whose power and spatial status is limited, Aitah can live on the world as many pieces of the heavenly whole, divided to guide humanity wherever required whilst also maintaining an influence in the worlds beyond our own. Unlike beings who claim absolute power or seek said power, Aitah's purpose is solely to guide humanity towards the original mandated Path. In order to support the theory that each human is capable of attaining personal virtuous purity and finding the Path, Aitah is born a blank slate with no immediate understanding of who she is or where she originated. Aitah, as all humans, must then seek the Path herself, and only upon true understanding of her nature through personal experience can she find her purpose in the world. It's believed if Aitah must find the Path a million times over, so too can a lowly man find it once.
Aitah is often presented as a healer, mother, lover, and guide for mankind. Aitahs are known to come in specific roles. Aelona is often referred to as the Mother or Seer. Kintyra, the Fifth, is primarily remembered as the Immolator and born of conflict. Eri, the Sixth, is remembered as a healer. All accepted Aitahs share miraculous healing abilities as a sign of their status.
As of 910 SR, there are six accepted Aitahs in the Aelonist tradition. The primary contributions to the Aelonist religion come from the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Aitahs, though earlier Aitahs are revered all the same. Aelonist teaching claims the first three's teachings were corrupted or misunderstood by Orthodox Aitahism or Eastern Aitahism. The Sixth Aitah has substantially less influence over northern Aelonism than southern, Siran Aelonism.