Scales of War
Deity of Luck, Good Fortune and Victory
Avandra, or more commonly Lady Luck, is the goddess of good fortune. She shines upon those who take risks and blesses those who deal harshly with the followers of her sister, Beshaba. Should someone flee from her sisters’ mischievous followers or defile the dead, their fate would be decided with a roll of Avandra’s dice.
Avandra’s faith is one of the most common in the world, in particular since it caters most heavily to a highly mobile, relatively wealthy, and intrinsically powerful group who live by their wits and by their luck: adventurers. Avandra is fickle and playful and never vengeful or malicious. She likes a good joke and has been known to play an occasional practical joke on some of the more straight-faced deities. Though she inherited all the good qualities of her progenitor, she also retains much of Tyche’s romantic fickleness – she’s seduced dozens of deities and countless mortals, seldom staying with a single paramour for more than a year or two.
She likes merriment and festive occasions and rumors abound at gaming houses throughout Azolin of people who spotted her at the tables during one holiday or another, laughing and having a good time with all.
When manifesting on the mortal plane, Avandra often takes the form of a silver bird or a silver pegasus. She also sends servant creatures to aid mortals in these shapes, as well as those of einherjar, faerie dragons, foo lions, swanmays, and unicorns. When showing her favour for a particularly blessed gambler, she has sometimes been known to manifest as a silver glow about a gambler that is evident only to that person and not those around him or her. When this happens, something favorable will happen in regard to the wager, whether it is the wagerer being more likely to win or even the bets being forced to be called off, in cases where the bet was rigged by the opposition.
Commonly consisting of adventurers and others who rely on a mixture of luck and skill to achieve their goals, the Avandran clergy encourages folk to pursue their dreams. They are also dutybound to aid the daring by providing healing and even some minor magic items.
Shrines and temples of Avandra are widespread as the need of adventurers to be healed making the temples wealthy. These places of worship often differ significantly from each other in powers, manners and titles though, with little overall authority or hierarchy. The temples provide potions, scrolls or other little things like glowstones, often as rewards to those who serve Avandra and her tenets well.
The standard clerical dress varies from temple to temple, ranging from full habits and headpieces to simple robes. Blue and silver are colors are often seen. Personal taste of the matriarch or patriarch influences the dress code, as does climate (natural and political) and availability of fine clothing. The common item worn by all clergy is the disk of Avandra, a lucky coin, usually carried on a small chain.
The clergy of the Lady travel throughout the vales urging folk to take chances and pursue their dreams, and not spend all their days planning and daring nothing. (They do not, as some folk say, encourage folk to indulge in reckless whims and frivolity.) Having offered such counsel, Avandran clergy are duty bound to aid those who have dared with healing spells and other magical aid (sometimes surreptitiously) so as to reinforce the message of the good fortune one can win by trusting in Avandra.
According to legend, Avandra’s earthly avatar appeared in the ancient city of Seros (after her furious, drawn battle with Beshaba) and stayed in her temple there, which created a great sensation in Averlee. The fact that Seros was spared most of the destruction visited on the rest of Azolin during the Riftwars suggested to her followers that this was her chosen city.
High Priest Daramos Lalithyr now leads a growing Assembly of the faithful at the Lady’s House, the temple of Avandra in Seros. Daramos is attempting to codify and record a set of rules for the clergy, using his influence as the head of the temple Avandra dwelt in during the Riftwars. The rest of the Avandran clergy are strongly resisting any such restrictive regimen. Most agree to the wisdom and preeminent rank of Daramos, but not to a written set of laws. The are also strongly resisting Daramos’s claims that the seat of the Avandran faith ought to be the Lady’s House and it’s leader should head the church.
The church of Avandra has no set rituals, and ceremonies and duties vary widely from temple to temple – but the clergy headed by Daramos Lalithyr of Seros seem to be steadily organizing and imposing order on the previously freewheeling priesthood of the goddess.
Whatever their differences throughout the years’ the clergy of Avandra have always adhered to rituals of greeting, touching their luck coins to each other (and often embracing to do so) after watchwords of recognition have been exchanged. To unknown persons and beings they know to be worshipers of Avandra, but possibly laity, they say: “Life is short. Live it as She means it to be lived!” This is answered by: “Dare all, and trust in the Lady.” The watchwords between friends, or when both parties know each other to be clergy of Avandra, are simpler: “Defy” answered by "Dare much.
Myths and Legends
- The Fateful Coin
Old tales tell that Luck plays a crucial role in each person’s life. When each new-born baby enters into the world, Avandra flips a coin formed from the remnants of the original goddess of luck, Tyche. Beshaba calls it in the air – the moon (heads) or the cloak (tails). If Beshaba is right, that person is cursed with misfortune for the rest of his or her days. If she’s wrong, Lady Luck smiles on that child for the rest of his or her life. For some rare beings, the coin lands edge on – and these luckless few can forge their own fates, for they have more freedom over their destinies than the powers themselves.
Avandra’s faith teaches that one should be bold, for to dare is to live. The battle cry of the followers of Avandra is “Fortune favor the bold.” A brave heart and willingness to take risks beat out a carefully wrought plan nine times out of ten. One must place oneself in the hands of fate (meaning in the hands of Avandra) and trust to one’s own luck.
Avandran clergy are told that the Lady’s own luck never fails. If she appears to mortals as a victim of mischance or misfortune, she is doubtless causing this state of affairs as a deliberate test. Clergy members should know this, but not speak of it to those not in the Lady’s service. Priests of Avandra should bear and conduct themselves as their own masters, showing their good fortune – and acceptance of bad fortune – as a confidence in the Lady and in themselves. Lady Luck bids that each mortal chase his or her own unique goals, and it is in this chase that the Lady aids. Those who have no direction or goals soon know the embrace of the Lady’s dark sister, Beshaba’ for those on no set course are at the capricious mercy of misfortune, which is no mercy at all.