Aeriel was a most vexing goddess. It was hard to get your arms around who she was and what she stood for. When the Primals made her, they intended her to be a goddess of peace and a free spirit encouraging the Elder Races to spread their wings of independence. As envisioned, she’d have fit right in at Woodstock. With her brothers, Deridean and Lindivar, Aeriel’s destiny was to form a triumvirate of light and good, but then Erlik smothered Lindivar’s light and those plans were put on hold.
With Lindivar dead, someone had to take over his duties and Aeriel volunteered, or was asked to volunteer, the details are a bit fuzzy. I have it on good authority that Deridean wanted to take up residence in Arra, but Finbardin talked him out of it. The golden one had other plans for Deridean (a small task, designing the Elder Races) that didn’t leave time to take on the god of light’s duties.
And so, Aeriel added “goddess of light” to her list of monikers, while retaining her other responsibilities. She soared endlessly through Esel on the back of Narandal, Lord of Eagles, free as the wind, with Galador, her brother’s silver-tipped spear in hand, trying to do both jobs justice, but it was too much for her. Something had to give and the peace side suffered. Given her choices, it wasn’t surprising. She rightfully took guardianship of Arra very seriously. Light flowed from the Flame to Arra to the Three Suns and nothing was more important than maintaining the Full Radiance. That was a responbility she couldn’t neglect, leaving independence and peace as possible sacrificial lambs, and peace lost out. I think it’s because peace wasn’t highly valued. In those days, peace, serenity, tranquility, whatever you want to call the utopia of the Elder Days was ubiquitous. There was a lack of conflict in the world, making a goddess of peace superfluous.
Obviously, this wasn’t sustainable. The Necessity could not abide a world without conflict, that would ignore the Balance’s basic tenet – no pain, no gain. If Erlik had been the god of war, Aeriel might have taken her job as the goddess of peace more seriously, but he wasn’t, he was the god of darkness and she, as the [replacement] goddess of light was his antithesis. As time wore on, Aeriel became less a goddess of peace and more a goddess of light.
Things came to a head when the Traitor broke the Stones and released the Dark Lord into the world. The first thing One-Eye did after winning free of Leyrantha was turn off the Suns, like you might flick a light switch. To the people of Sangrar, who had known only the Full Radiance of the Three Suns, the darkness was terrifying. They had never known night and now they faced an eternity of darkness, if they were lucky enough to survive.
While the Elder Races waged the Battle of Unending Night on multiple fronts, Numra was putting the secrets Spirit whispered to him as a newborn to good use by going beyond the Girdle into the Void. He returned with a spark from the Flame and used it to Rekindle the Suns, but the Dark Lord had left his mark. Darkness had tainted the Suns and they would never be entirely free of it. Thereafter, light and darkness battled twice every day for supremacy in Edda, Imma and Olla and it fell to Aeriel to marshal the legions of light. Talk about a tough job! Every dawn was a new and different battle to win and every dusk a chance to shut out Erlik for good.
Over time, people began to forget that Aeriel had ever been a goddess of peace and by the Age of Mankind, she was Aeriel the Dawn Mistress keeping her lonely vigil in Edda, Imma and Olla. Don’t think too hard about how she managed to be in three places at once, it can make your head hurt and there’s no good explanation for it except that Aeriel was a god and gods do as they please.
In Renk, Aeriel rose to prominence during the barbarian conquest of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries (Renk time). Pelavin and his descendents didn’t have much use for the gods and during their occupation, the best word to describe Renk’s religious leanings was apathy, but Aeriel offered the subjugated people hope. She was the Dawn Mistress, the one who stole back the Suns from One-Eye every morning and no one symbolized hope more than her. As the years of barbarian rule rolled on by, more and more of Renk’s people began following the dawn credo and when Murtav rose up in Deridean’s name to take Renk back from the barbarians, Aeriel’s followers had his back.
By the end of the age, Aeriel’s faith stood second to only Deridean’s in the city of Renk and her clerics held honorific spots on the city council, along with the Councilor’s. Gleeras Eaglehair, one of her priestesses, formed a knight order early in the eighteenth century, the Order of the Eagle, which fought alongside Deridean’s Knights of Abornis during the Renk-Bayor wars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.