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ARIIANRHOD: THE MOONMAIDEN
A crowd gathered, newly arrived from Limbo. In a clearing at the edge of a lake they gathered, to hear the words of a God. Though it was night, a full moon shone brightly above them and drove the shadows away. Silvery threads glinted off the water of the lake. The water was still. Everything was still. No breeze, no sound other than the vague murmurings of the people gathered.
Priests standing before the crowd began to chant a prayer in unison: "Ariia the Foundation, shelter us from the maelstrom of Chaos. Be the bedrock of order upon which we may stand without fear, to build a better tomorrow. Ariia Shadowkiller, drive the darkness away with your perfect light. Give us the strength to seek truth, to better understand our universe and ourselves, to protect the bastions of Law that float in a sea of madness. Ariianrhod, Our Lady of Light, Moonmaiden, dwell within us now and forever."
A figure appeared, clothed in a cloak of pure light. The moon grew brighter as she approached, and a great sense of calm silenced every mouth. No crickets chirped. No wolves howled. It seemed as though the world hushed itself in deference to this God.
The figure raised her hand in a gesture of benediction and spoke with her eyes closed. “Welcome, my friends. Welcome to this island of Law. My worshipers and I have labored here tirelessly since the Schism that destroyed Earth, preserving the power of order, impeding Chaos, and reaping the benefits of peace and stability.”
“Many of you are humans without magical ability. If you choose to join with me, then know that your person and property will be protected by my laws. You need have no fear of thugs who come to rob your family or burn your homes.”
“Some of you have great magical talents. I urge you to join the Shadowkillers of Luna, an ancient order that I revived after the Schism. The foot soldiers of Chaos always seek to impinge upon our righteous pursuits. You wizards hold the power to drive them back, expand our holdings, and restore crystalline perfection to the frenzied ether that surrounds us.”
The glowing figure paused for a moment, dropping her hands to her sides. “Some of you may have already experienced the depredations of those who call themselves gods but seek only to prey upon your fears for their own gain. Know that I existed long before wizards began to use religion as a means to an end. I ascended to immortality more than 4,000 years ago. I have perspective that the younger gods lack. I have never seen those who worship me as a means to gain power. Rather, I see the religion that surrounds me as my worshipers’ route to transcendence.”
The divine figure held her hands in the air, palms turned upward toward the heavens. “I am Ariianrhod, called Ariia Shadowkiller, and I ask for your help in re-forming our world.”
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