Aerdrie Faenya, also called the Winged Mother, is the elven expression of freedom and impulse. She is a goddess of air, weather, freedom, impulse, fertility, and birds.
The Winged Mother dislikes staying in any one place for too long. She delights in the sound of wind instruments and in creating unpredictable atmospheric conditions, including fairly severe or violent thunderstorms on occasion, but her primary joy is simply feeling the air rush past her with the ground far below. The Wing Mother is a somewhat distant deity who rarely involves herself in elven culture, and she is far more chaotic than the rest of the Seldarine. Of all the elven races, Aerdrie takes a keen interest only in the avariel (winged elves), and few of them remain in Faerun.
Aerdrie is both an aspect of Angharradh and one of the three elven goddesses who collectively form the Triune Goddess (the other two being Hanali Celanil and Sehanine Moonbow).
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. 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. She is also called on by elves oppressed by overly lawful creatures.
The church of Aerdrie Faenya is small, with little communication or organization between its scattered temples. Aerdrie's clergy is primarily concerned with exploration and maintaining good relations with sentient avian races (e.g., giant eagles and aarakocra). With the decline of the avariel, few elven clerics of the Wing Mother can fly without magical aid. As a result, many Winged Siblings work to create new spells and items by which magical flight is possible, and 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 clerics work closely with the small groups of elves involved in agriculture and horticulture to ensure favorable weather for their crops. Winged Brothers and Sisters are also charged with destroying evil flying creatures. Many clerics and druids multiclass as sorcerers or rangers.
VestmentsCeremonial 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 weapons—particularly 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.
HierarchyNovices 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, and Wind Chaser. Specialty priests are known as halcyons.
TemplesWhile 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.
RitualsClerics and druids of Aerdrie Faenya pray for their spells are dawn, when the first hint of a breeze often drifts across the land.
Holy Days and CeremoniesThe 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, wind dancers, as they are known, are swept across the forest canopy for miles in a breathtaking flight before settling gently in a sylvan glade not too far from home.
OrdersThe 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 asperii, giant eagle, griffon, hippogriff, and pegasi-mounted Plumed Kingfishers 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 gold elves mounted on pegasi, and a handful of moon and gold 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 the Teu-Tel'Quessir mounted on asperii.
The ever-changing reaches of the sky are the great gift of the Winged Mother. Take flight into her windswept embrace, and gambol amid the clouds. Honor those who dwell with the Aerdrie and cherish the birds dancing on her tresses. Change is beautiful and chaos births new life. Ascend, soar, glide, dive, and ascend again and relish in the freedom that the Winged Mother bequeaths.
Aerdrie appears to be a tall, elf-like woman with feathered hair and eyebrows. Her back has a pair of large bird-like wings. Her feathers are constantly changing color. The lower half of her body vanishes into a misty whirlwind, so that she never appears to touch the ground.
The elven pantheon of gods (also known as the Seldarine) consists of the leader Corellon Larethian, as well as Aerdrie Faenya, Deep Sashelas, Erevan Ilesere, Fenmarel Mestarine, Hanali Celanil, Labelas Enoreth, Rillifane Rallathil, Sehanine Moonbow, and Solonor Thelandira.
Aerdrie Faenya is also great friends with Phaulkon and Syranita. She is allied with Stillsong.
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