The Worship of Jaryae

Jaryae is a Demigoddess regarded as a Goddess by the people of Kedas.  Her worship is particularly strong in Odess, thanks to the large population of Genasi located in Glasswyn's Little Maelstrom district.  Jaryae is regarded as the Goddess of Joy and Transitions.  Many pray to her to ease the difficulty of painful transition, but others interpret her call to be one of finding the joy in transitions.

Jaryae was once a Genasi.  As Genasi are tied to the elemental planes, so too is Jaryae.  While her divine visage is not reflective of any one Genasi subrace (or Soul, as many Genasi refer to them), she does reflect them all.  True to her role as Goddess of Transitions, Jaryae is constantly in flux from one visage to another.  One moment, her hair might be fire, flickering and warm.  The next, her skin the color of granite, her voice grinding and resonant.  In another she hums with the energy of lightning and moves with the grace of wind.  Often she manifests features of two or more Souls at once.

Very rarely, Genasi are born with Souls that reflect the para-elemental planes, such as Ice or Magma, or the quasi-elemental planes, such as Ash or Lightning.  While some Genasi shun those with these souls as less pure, most worshipers consider them closer to Jaryae; they represent states of transition between elements, just as the goddess represents transition.  Some take this to the extreme, as well, regarding para and quasi-elemental Soul Genasi as the chosen children of Jaryae, though this is not a mainstream belief.  Still, cults have occasionally sprung up around particularly charismatic para or quasi-Elemental Genasi.

In her role as Goddess of Joy, Jaryae is often invoked at the beginnings of feasts and festivals.  She is said to bless music, plays, and sporting events, especially those which bring together large, happy crowds.  Many Genasi in the Maelstrom learn to sing or play an instrument as a part of their devotion to Jaryae.

Jaryae's most common symbol is a wheel of four colors: red, blue, white, and brown.  Each fades into the next.  Many of her worshipers fashion jewelry featuring rubies, opals, sapphires, and axinites.  While many of these pieces feature equal balances of the gems, some Genasi who are particularly proud of their elemental Souls will favor one gem slightly; rubies for fire, opals for air, sapphires for water, and axinites for earth.  Some quasi or para-elemental Genasi use other gems in order to represent their own elemental Souls.  Jaryae also has two lesser symbols; first is a harp and fife crossed atop a drum, and second is the laughing face of an androgynous humanoid.

Jaryae's main church has an order of Paladins and Clerics known as the Children of Transition or more colloquially the Transitioners.  This order often serves as the protectors of feasts and festivals, as well as funerals.  While many are not trained as bards, members of the order will often keep an instrument with them that they use to bring joyous sound to happy events.

The tenets of the Children of Transition are as follows:
1. Help loving joy to flower; do not allow those who delight in pain or suffering to take joy from others.
2. Ease the transition of those who are suffering.
3. Add to the song of life; do not allow the voices of the downtrodden to be stamped out.

There are small number of Druids who see their polymorphic powers as in line with Jaryae's perview of transition and worship her accordingly.  Similarly, a number of Half-Elves and good Half-Orcs (as well as other groups which mix two racial backgrounds) worship the goddess because of her acceptance of those who are between two states (or in their case, races).  Similarly, Jaryae is often worshiped by those who are transgender, genderfluid, or some other forms of genderqueer.  Jaryae is also sometimes worshiped by those undergoing puberty, midlife changes, or the decline of old age, hoping to ease or improve those transitional periods of life.


Alchos: Labyrinth

The Royal Library of Odess was a maze in the open areas and moreso in the restricted stacks.  But few had access to the deepest levels, which were a literal labyrinth, designed to keep out those who might try to penetrate the records of the Odess Intelligence Service.  Alchos navigated it with ease, barely paying attention to Zephyr, who had come to him saying that the librarians in the records department had information to share with him.

He knocked twice, paused, then knocked three more times.  Zephyr, had it had eyes, would have rolled them, but settled for pushing the door open.  Inside several figures hustled about, from research desks to the stacks, putting notes into tubes that would take them to the levels above, moving into rooms held private for magical sendings.  At one bookcase, a large figure with a complex braid stood with her back to the door.  Zephyr stopped at her side and hummed.

She shelved the book she was looking over and glanced down to the elemental.  Seemingly realizing why he was there, she started and looked around to Alchos.  The Genasi smiled and waved. "Hey, Tami."

"Oh, Alchos!  You're here, good.  I found something on what you'd asked me to research," the Half-Orc responded, smoothing her dress.

"Fire away," responded Alchos, smiling.

She paused for a second, unused to such glibness from superiors. "Ok, I looked into the few words you recalled from your encounter. They didn't come up in virtually any of the languages regularly spoken in Odess."

"So they're a mystery?"

"Not exactly. A couple were similar to Ignan and Terran. One may have been drawn from... From Yuan-ti."

Tami paused, her face carefully neutral. Alchos rolled his shoulders uncomfortably.

"Honestly, that's a shaky connection. No one really speaks Yuan-ti. No one sane or who isn't a Yuan-ti, anyways."

"Ignan, Terran, and... Yuan-ti. Maybe the Ignan and Terran had to do with the souls of the Genasi?"

"That was my assumption as well. The words themselves lethu and lej... In Ignan, lathun is 'servitors.'  Terran uses ladge for 'individuals.' They clearly share some ancestral root for 'people' with modifying suffixes, which makes some sense. It is said the elementals once shared a home..."

She paused, rubbing her hands together. "Kelur is a Yuan-ti word for 'god.' I was unaware that those creatures of madness had gods as we know them, but perhaps they created it once they encountered those of us."

Alchos grimaced. "Jaryae, let this pass. I'd much rather the snake-folk stay a tale of the past."

Tami nodded.  "In any event, it seems the whole thing was a sort of ritual.  Something about their souls and a god.   Nothing good if it is related to the Yuan-ti."

Alchos nodded in agreement. "Nothing good."

Silenced stretched for a moment before Alchos sighed. "Keep researching, Tami.  This only confirms that we need to know what's going on. But be careful! If things get weird, if you even get a whiff of the idea that someone is following you over this information, go straight to Agent Shenre.  Goddess' mirth! Go straight to Master Bevelford."

Tami looked irritated but nodded.  Under her breath, Alchos heard her whisper, "I'm an operative of Odess Intelligence, too. I can take care of myself."

As he left, Alchos made a mental note to ask Melechae to look in on her.  Something is seriously wrong and we can't let it get any further ahead of us...