Dark Lore on Demons, Blood Cults and Elven Children

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This research relates to the adventure A Civilised Ending.

It was commissioned by Clarissa d'Ornay and researched by Mortimer.

Last call for research to be done on Duesday 1 Frost (before meeting northern cousin Megildur at midnight) Andreww 14:20, 21 Jun 2009 (NZST)

The known origins of the Demon Orias, and whether there is any explanation as to why it is less widely known than many of its ilk.
Orias is not one of the better-known powers. He tends to work at a distance, tweaking events so that fate plays out appropriately, and as a master of future events, tends to avoid direct confrontation. Despite being perhaps the preeminent diviner of the future, he chooses not to promote himself, instead letting Avnas, Berith, Gremory, Gusion, Havres, Uvall, and of course The Prince of Prophesy, be known for their abilities. It is even unclear exactly what he did to ascend. It is speculated that he caused the original Moon of Blood, which rained searing elvish blood from the heavens for three days and nights during the height of the War of Tears, and this may be part of his ascension story. It is also possible that he merely manoeuvred himself to be in the right place at the right time, and needed little exertion to ascend.
A standard source on the Dark Powers says of Orias: “He is the Demon of Diabolic Astrologers and Diviners. He knows and teaches the virtues of the stars and the mansions of the planets (the influence of each planet depending on the astrological sign in which it is in a specific moment and the influence of that sign on an individual depending on how the zodiac was configured at the moment of his/her birth or at the moment of asking a question to the astrologer); he also gives dignities, prelacies, and the favour of friends and foes, and can metamorphose a man into any shape.”

What information is known regarding two sects of Elven Moon worship; the Cult of the Blood Moon and the Cabal of the Unicorn's Eye.
The Cult of the Blood Moon was an association of dark mages in the years during and subsequent to the War of Tears. Most sources claim it to be exclusively the preserve of Drow, but others say that ‘Drow’ was a later political label, and that these were merely elves. The resource Lost Celestial Branches says “The Fallen know no other history than that of the Blood Moon, the Moon under Shadow ... The taint of Blood thus lay heaviest and longest on those who walked the path of the Moon. Many were influenced by the newly-risen powers, turned to dark worship, and were lost to the People. More were hunted by the fearful survivors, and killed for their Moon-worship, whether they had fallen to the Ascended or no. The wise renounced the path of corruption and sought new ways of understanding. The remainder kept to the path of the Moon, and were tainted by its eclipses, and by the Blood Moon which is the Moon in Shadow.” In the turmoil and the chaos caused by the Kinslayer wars, the Cult gained political power in an out-of-the way locale known as Dakhini, and consolidated its followers there while engaging in all sorts of unnatural practises. It is believed that with the subsequent obliteration of Dakhini (see The Dakhini Cataclysm, the Cult of the Blood Moon was destroyed; certainly it has not been heard of since.
The Cabal of the Unicorn’s Eye is supposedly a secret society, much loved by conspiracy theorists, as there is no direct evidence of its existence despite several different Elven organisations having used a Unicorn eye as their symbol down the years. Some of the more speculative scholastic philosophers and astrologers have created as association between this rumour and certain celestial symbols:
“The Black Moon is depicted as two crescent moons set point-to-point with a dot in the centre – the Unicorn’s Eye. The Unicorn’s Eye is linked to notions of the intangible, the inaccessible, and to the overwhelming presence of absence, as well of a hyper-lucidity with agonizes by the very intensity of its strength. The Black Moon is something more than a hidden centre of repulsion, embodying a mind-boggling loneliness and a void so absolute that it is none other than the fullness of density. This immaterial power is also the black hole haloed by black flames which annihilates whatever it lights upon. It can transfigure the house in which is occurs, on the basis on sublimation or complete self-surrender. When it is the receptacle of evil influxes, disintegration is to be expected. The Black Moon symbolises the energy which must be mastered, the darkness which must be scattered and the karma which must be cleansed. It is always linked to utterly opposed phenomena, veering wildly between the extremes of repulsion and fascination. Whoever is marked by the Unicorn’s Eye would rather renounce the world, even at the cost of her own destruction, than fail in their frantic quest for the Absolute. However, should that person be capable of transmuting its poisonous properties into healing ones, the Unicorn’s Eye will give access to the ‘strait gate’ which open upon release and light.”

What is remembered of the lost Lunar branch of the Celestial College.
See earlier Research on this topic. Also, the notion of a College was not the same originally as it is now – there were different ways to do magic, and the effects were often influenced by the style, but in principle, almost any magic could be performed by a Mage who had almost any sort of philosophy and training. The codification of colleges to fixed effects based on a narrow and exclusive philosophy was a much later event. Given that, areas relating to light and dark, communication, cyclic change, and prediction would have been more natural areas for research and activity. Any modern practitioners of the college are likely to have knowledge not dissimilar to that of the other branches of the Celestial college, although their complete isolation may well mean there are a few surprises.

What relation a number of individuals referred to as "Inanna" might have to with these things.
Inanna is an ancient dragon, grand-daughter of Xanadu. She is sister to Eriskigal. Her powers lie in opposites and pairs of contending ideas. Her present whereabouts are unknown. More information is available in the article dedicated to her.
Inanna is also an ancient Drow goddess of Motherhood, the Moon, and Destruction. Inanna is also the goddess of Love/Desire and is one of the (many) Drow war deities. One Drow ‘hymn’ translates as “She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals. But she is also seen among people: When the servants let the flocks loose, and when cattle and sheep are returned to cow-pen and sheepfold, then, my lady, like the nameless poor, you wear only a single garment. The pearls of a prostitute are placed around your neck, and you are likely to snatch a man from the tavern.” Inanna is the daughter of Ninana the Lady of the Sky, and sister/mother to the sun god Utu and the rain god Ishkur. Her twin sister-self Ereshkigal is said to be her dark side, making Inanna one of the ‘nicer’ Gods of the pantheon. To the north of the Neverre River in darkest Raniterre lies a hidden underground Drow city dedicated to the Lady of the Sky.

The significance of children born on the Resonant New Year of the Phoenix.
The Resonant Year is 655±1 days, or a tenth of the Long Year of 18 seasonal years. See the references Calendars and Elven Calendars for further calendrical information. There are cultural and astrological significance to such birth dates. Firstly, the Resonant Year is not a standard Elven calendar, but an historical oddity. This calendar was used by a tiny minority since before the War of Tears, but has never been popular. A small number of very ancient Elven orders, and even a few small Drow communities are said to use this year. The year is uneven in length, and the calendar is only useful for partially predicting the *extent* of eclipses, not eclipses themselves, so it is impractical and arcane. The year of the Phoenix is an Elven designation for the 11th of the 13 Long Months in a Long Year of 18 years (also the 11th of 13 lunar months in a seasonal year). The current Year of the Phoenix started 5 Harvest 808 and will end 23 Ice 809 – see this conversion table.
Astrologically, people born on New Years of any kind are signs of change, new hope, or a fresh start. People born in the Long Month of the Phoenix are supposed to have features and personalities related to the Phoenix, as opposed to the Lion, Swan, etc. This appears to be a gross generalisation, but significant events occurring – and important people born in – a Long Month rather frequently relate to the relevant symbol. This obviously only applies to Elves –other races seem to work on a faster-paced Astrological system. Given the association of the Phoenix with fiery self-destruction and dramatic rebirth, and the New Year association of a fresh start, it would appear that a Resonant Phoenix would have a decided inclination for revolution or change. Indeed, several (regional) palace coups have been scheduled for this day, and at least two great ‘revolutionary’ thinkers have been Resonant Phoenix - Aistaraina Marya being one.
If anyone has done a comparison of the relative numbers of Elven children that might be born in the same region within a decade or so of each other before and after the recent Rites of Spring.
While no one has done active research into this area, it has been estimated by various guild parties that in the order of 50,000 elves will have given birth in the last month of Autumn 809, most within the province of Ladlaugh. This is in the order of 20-100 times more than the median annual births for Alfheim and up to a thousand times more than Ladlaugh usually experiences. It seems likely that, with various ennui and fertility curses lifted, the birth-rate might continue at above average rates, but hardly to the same degree as the last year. The expert in this area is Tangleleaf, an elven natural philosopher in Ladlaugh who is a well-published population theorist.
How Elves, in their infinite variety, tend to raise their children and what ages they are normally in groups of their peers.
Elves are as varied as the leaves of a tree, or snowflakes in the breeze. Most of them dote on their children, as children are relatively rare and almost never accidentally conceived. However, some fail to recall their own distant childhood clearly, and fail to understand the differing needs of children. Others are more interested in other projects, and leave their children to raise themselves, supplying little more than the basic requirements of existence. The steady supply of young, dysfunctional Elves to Seagate indicates that idyllic childhoods are by no means guaranteed.
The intent of the second part of the question is unclear, but if Clarissa means to ask between which ages can elves be grouped into toddler, children, adolescent, etc., and when they become socialised, then the resource Elven Aging may give some information. If she is asking until which point individual children may be stolen away without others noticing, then research on this point is conflicting and controversial. The rest is left to Mortimer’s experience with both Elves and children.

Subsequent Questions

What common and distinct features characterise the Drow goddesses Inanna and Eriskigal?
Inanna and Eriskigal are primarily custodians of life and fertility, and death and the afterlife respectively. However, they are both portrayed as fickle and violent, as Inanna is as much a goddess of war as of the harvest, and neither are portrayed as humble or demure. Eriskigal is notable for being the ultimate authority and dispenser of justice in her dark realm. Inanna has many offices (traditionally a thousand), and they tend towards pairs of sets of opposites. Eriskigal is a Goddess of Abyssal Darkness and Eternal Suffering/Angst/Grief. Inanna is a Goddess of action and change. Note that the philosophical motivations attributed to the goddesses are speculative, and draw upon interpretations of behaviour and history of the respective Dragons as well as the Religious Myths of the Drow.
Are there legends regarding their being aspects being split or reconciliation/reunification?
In some tales Inanna descends to the underworld to claim the ruling of it, but is imprisoned (killed?) by her suspicious sister and - for a period - life in the world above is consequently barren. An arrangement is reached, establishing the pattern of the (unmoderated) seasons and (quaint) necessity of a cycle of death and rebirth. Oddly, in traditional prayer and chants their names are sometimes substituted. This follows a common theme of a visit to the underworld followed by the creation of the seasons, with a darker tinge. Note the creation of a cycle of change by Inanna in the unchanging realm of Eriskigal.
Is there any information pertaining to Inanna / Eriskigal (other than as dragons) from the last 15k years of the Empire, up to a few decades before the War of Tears? Research from the library of an Inquisitor and investigator of cults and cult-like activity who was active during this period.
Various cults and mysticisms sprung up around the Dragons, with secret societies, Dragon-admiration societies, claims of prophets channelling the wisdom of certain dragons, etc. While these groups were never commonplace, and no particular Dragon (apart from Xanadu) was focussed on a lot, there was a certain persistence to the meme. Most groups were relatively harmless, or were merely added colour to political or intellectual movements, although there were a few Dragon worshippers, elves (?future Drow?) who wished to become Dragons, or have similar powers. Dragons were also symbols of wisdom, physical and magical power, and the creation, rather than the tending / growth / incremental change that elves were more suited to. Amongst these fringe elements there were many cults to Inanna with different purposes and agendas; cults to Eriskigal was fairly rare, except amongst mages of the Utterdark, and very conservative by nature. Of the demons, Bune (Necro, Green) and Volac (Namer, Red) are demons in Dragon form, while Asmoday (Mind, Blue) and Astaroth (Necro, Black) are seen to ride dragons, implying that tamed Draconic energy is a part of their demonic nature. None of these are celestial in nature, which is what one would expect from a demon born from a cult associated with Eriskigal; it is unclear whether a demon born from cult associated with Inanna would be Celestial or multi-faceted. More information is available on several score cults, clubs, societies, and knitting-circles associated with Inanna, and a few linked to Eriskigal.

How was the Moon of Blood incident during the War of Tears characterised? Was the source, reason, and focus recorded?
It occured during an initial 'plague' phase of the war. One of the afflictions that befell some of the Arcadian elves was a plague of searing blood that fell from the sky like rain, and burned like acid. It fell for the three days of the Full Moon, during which time the Moon glowed like a sapphire in the heavens. Entire provinces were affected, and would have been devastated except that various previous plagues had already seen to that. It was assumed to be caused by some of the Demonic/Ascended/Drow forces arrayed against Elvish civilisation. The effect in The Dakhini Cataclysm appears to be somewhat different, as it was foretold by comets and earthquakes, and no rain of blood was recorded.
Was the "revolutionary thinker" Aistaraina Marya involved in The Dakhini Cataclysm? Is Aistaraina known to still be alive, or otherwise contactable?
High Queen Aistaraina Vardhya Marya 'the Great' was the ruler of the Maryn Consociation leading up to the Cataclysm. It is presumed that she did not survive. She would be around 29-30,000 years old if she were still alive. She is also famed for the 'Edicts of Aistaraina', which allegedly brought peace, harmony, and vegetarianism to many mortal races, including Drow and Orcs. The Edicts, along with the earlier 'Arthas-Astra', written by her grandmother's girlfriend chief minister, are some of the standard philosophic source material for the early Bronze Age.