Ilyara of the West
”The wind paints the earth as the breath of Ilyara.”– Traditional Greeting of the Ilyarians
Her Origins and Depictions
Ilyara of the West is a goddess whose worship arose in the early years of the May’kar Dominion, centered around the blended religious-philosophy of the Mahsai. Her worship is one of the appreciation and creation of beauty and art – she is seen as the patron of all artists, musicians, and anyone who prizes aesthetic beauty and harmonious creation. Her temples were places of great beauty – small, carefully designed buildings to catch the sun and stars to create beautiful patterns and changing designs on the walls, all building to a glorious altar for her.
Given the nature of her worship, it is no surprise that there are numerous depictions of the goddess – each of them different, but still hearkening back to their ideals. She has been painted, sculpted, and drawn in all manner of forms and depictions; whether she is a young girl holding her first paintbrush, or an aged performer still clutching her harp, all her depictions stress her nature as a loving goddess of creation and arts. Her followers tend to believe that it is the beauty of a creation, rather than the exact appearance, is the true depiction of her form, and it can even be found in natural forms.
Sites of worship and shrines to her pop up in areas of great aesthetic beauty – pure groves of graceful trees and babbling streams, a wind-carved rock with a feminine form, or even the edge of a great cliff. While her formal temples are often beautiful in their splendor, these tiny shrines were wonderful places as well – jewel-like objects of wonder, nestled in remote locations. As part of her tenants, any wandering artist may stay at a shrine or a temple for as long as they are passing through, so long as they offer the keepers some sort of beautiful work – a short song, a sketch of the land, a poem, or anything like that.
Her holiest of books, The Divine Mimesis, is always richly illustrated – a work of creation fitting for the legends associated with her. It details her follower’s beliefs, their legends, and other words of wisdom to the aesthete seeking beauty and grace. According to their stories of her work, it is her hand which took the newly-created world and made it beautiful – her breath shaped the mountains, her hand planted the trees, and her tears of joy at these new wonders filled the oceans and rivers of the world. Her hand is rarely felt afterwards – a flash of inspiration is seen as her direct guidance.
Various legends number her daughters and sons, who are given domain over other areas of creation and beauty, no matter how distressing they may be. While she has shaped natural beauty, it is understood by her worshippers that sometimes, acts of destruction may be seen as creating something new, and even the play of a blade in combat may be seen as a sort of savage beauty.
Worship of IlyaraHer followers find places of beauty to worship in – whether crafted by the hands of mortals or shaped by Ilyara’s actions at the dawn of the world. The time is immaterial – so long as there is something of aesthetic value to contemplate while praying, then they are allowed to worship and pray. This contemplation always takes place facing to the West – for it is the west wind that is seen as Ilyara’s breath caressing the world.
While meditating, her clerics must always engage in acts of creation and beauty – whether they paint, compose, or otherwise absorb themselves in tasks of material or ephemeral creation is immaterial to their worship. These objects of meditation are accumulated and displayed by her clerics to bring more glory to her name – in time, enough of her followers may find that an especially beautiful place has enough members there that they might construct a shrine or temple there.
Ilyara’s sole tenant is that beauty in every action is to be practiced. Her followers tend to eschew anything which might be seen as crude or ugly – it is their highest goal to find the beauty and grace of the world, which can take many forms.
For the healing of wounds:
”May the Western wind, the breath of Ilyara, caress and soothe you. What once was dead and broken is again made whole, what once caused suffering and discord is in harmony once again. May the beauty of this light, the beauty of this healing inspire and help you in all creation.”
For the protection of warriors:”Creation and destruction are both acts which are neither beautiful nor ugly – it is the grace with which they are performed that decides the nature of the act. Ilyara, cloak this warrior in your breath and grace, that they might fight beautifully in your name. Arrows, fly past and find your golden arcs. Blades, slide past, tracing silver arcs in the air. Slings and stones, skip and shatter that fine sand may come to cover. Warrior, Ilyara blesses your body that you might bring beauty to this world.”
For the blessing of a blade:”Shining light kisses this edge, a razor-arc to drive out corruption and evil. A warrior’s skill is one of grace and power – Ilyara, recognize the beauty in this act. They fight against the hideous forces which seek to ruin and destroy the art of your creation. With your hand, grip this blade and bring more strength to their arm. With your breath, may it fly straight and true to the heart of evil. All actions have shades – this is of the purest beauty and wonderment, that shines with the light of your creation and the art of those people who have found your inspiration.”