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 The origins and history of Leira?
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2024 :  14:35:39  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hi all.

I've always been fascinated by the idea of multiple gods of magic, and Leira is the one that has me most intrigued, largely because she's such an enigma.

Do we know anything about her origins? While one might guess she'd have been worshiped in Netheril, given their arcane culture, I haven't found any mention of her in any books about Netheril. So when did she appear in the Realms? How long had she been a goddess when Cyric and Mask (temporarily) killed her? Faiths & Avatars goes into a little detail about her church after her death, but doesn't talk about her history. Are there any other sources with more information?

TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
956 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2024 :  21:56:14  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think we know much. We know she was around when Nimbral was established so centuries at least. Perhaps she came about after Mystryl was reborn as Mystra, a fragment of the former Mystryl.
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2024 :  22:41:23  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like the idea she was a fragment of Mystryl - very cool speculation!
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11737 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2024 :  16:27:28  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Agreed with Tom... we have VERY little information... and honestly, I'd link her origins with Mystra as well.... especially with things like the fact that the being known as "Midnight" who became Mystra 2.0.... had a "truename" of Ariel... <holds up mirror> ... leirA ...

Now, HOW to link their origins is another question. Let's not forget that for a while there, MAGIC-USERS (i.e. wizards) were different than ILLUSIONISTS (a totally separate class). Also, there is a fact that the "shadow weave" enhanced illusion, enchantment, and necromantic magics. I'd personally go with something along the lines that illusion magic and enchantment magic (another kind of lie) were originally under Leira's control, but that she shared this with her "sister" or something like that. I'd also personally have it that Shar "tainted" and took control of the shadow weave only after Leira's supposed death.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4211 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2024 :  21:04:33  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Leira never died, her Avatar sent to the FR during the Time of Troubles WAS Midnight...and fooling everyone, she became a whole goddess again...?

<shrug>

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Agreed with Tom... we have VERY little information... and honestly, I'd link her origins with Mystra as well.... especially with things like the fact that the being known as "Midnight" who became Mystra 2.0.... had a "truename" of Ariel... <holds up mirror> ... leirA ...

Now, HOW to link their origins is another question. Let's not forget that for a while there, MAGIC-USERS (i.e. wizards) were different than ILLUSIONISTS (a totally separate class). Also, there is a fact that the "shadow weave" enhanced illusion, enchantment, and necromantic magics. I'd personally go with something along the lines that illusion magic and enchantment magic (another kind of lie) were originally under Leira's control, but that she shared this with her "sister" or something like that. I'd also personally have it that Shar "tainted" and took control of the shadow weave only after Leira's supposed death.


The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2024 :  21:48:26  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

Leira never died, her Avatar sent to the FR during the Time of Troubles WAS Midnight...and fooling everyone, she became a whole goddess again...?

<shrug>


That's the thing with that little trickster - almost anything is possible!

(I once ran the beginning of a post-ToT game where Leira was posing as a priest of Savras in order to bring about her own return to full divinity status.)
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11737 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2024 :  22:15:24  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

Leira never died, her Avatar sent to the FR during the Time of Troubles WAS Midnight...and fooling everyone, she became a whole goddess again...?

<shrug>

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Agreed with Tom... we have VERY little information... and honestly, I'd link her origins with Mystra as well.... especially with things like the fact that the being known as "Midnight" who became Mystra 2.0.... had a "truename" of Ariel... <holds up mirror> ... leirA ...

Now, HOW to link their origins is another question. Let's not forget that for a while there, MAGIC-USERS (i.e. wizards) were different than ILLUSIONISTS (a totally separate class). Also, there is a fact that the "shadow weave" enhanced illusion, enchantment, and necromantic magics. I'd personally go with something along the lines that illusion magic and enchantment magic (another kind of lie) were originally under Leira's control, but that she shared this with her "sister" or something like that. I'd also personally have it that Shar "tainted" and took control of the shadow weave only after Leira's supposed death.





I might go another path. Mystra, Leira, and Mask were in cahoots. Leira helped Mystra create the equivalent of a godly "simulacrum" in the form of Midnight ... something that wouldn't be easily revealed to be a container of Mystra's power because of Leira's aid...

Then Mask ... in the form of Godsbane .... didn't actually "kill" Leira... but helped her in an epic intrigue.... tricking Cyric into spinning a new body for Leira... in the embodiment of a lie that can affect a god... or rather, Leira became the Cyrinishad.

Now, is this goofy? Maybe, but it can be really interesting if Leira starts changing the world in the form of a book... maybe a book that can change its contents .... for instance, maybe becoming a book with another lie, like the Tome of Fastrin the Delver... crafting a story of some ancient king and realm that never existed... and a ritual of magic so skillfully hidden that it does something different than what people believe.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Fastrin#:~:text=History,life%20on%20Toril%20and%20beyond.

I present these ideas because I very much like the idea that Leira may have worked with Mystra and Mask in a conspiracy to turn the tables on Shar... knowing that Shar was about to try to gain control of all magic and wiping out other gods. I also like the idea that the ritual that Szass Tam was going to enact (which I still hold was because he was also under the influence of the curse from the death moon orb) was actually meant to release a large amount of magical energy for some purpose (perhaps reviving a god... perhaps starting a "resynching" of the world that occurs later in the form of the second sundering).

By the way... the idea that Fastrin's realm never existed is further enhanced by this (which I never noted while reading the novels)...

Unclean refers to the existence of Fastrin's kingdom during a time "not so very long after the fall of Netheril" whereas Undead states the fall of the kingdom occured "when Netheril was young".

which subtly could hint that its a lie. Also, the main being that we know of from that time is a "shapechanging ghost of a paladin" whose memories are all messed up.... almost like its memories are implants.. so many easy tie ins that can be done.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 26 Jan 2024 22:35:48
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2024 :  22:51:00  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's awesome, sleyvas!

(Now I want to write a short booklet about Leira for DMs Guild even more.)
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Athreeren
Learned Scribe

133 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2024 :  09:22:04  Show Profile Send Athreeren a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Agreed with Tom... we have VERY little information... and honestly, I'd link her origins with Mystra as well.... especially with things like the fact that the being known as "Midnight" who became Mystra 2.0.... had a "truename" of Ariel... <holds up mirror> ... leirA ...


Now that you point it out, it's quite clear that Leira's name was invented by reversing the name "Ariel" (maybe a reference to the Tempest?); I really should have noticed that earlier. Now, did the authors of the Avatar Trilogy or the people behind the Time of Troubles consider this when they named Ariel Manx, I don't know. But if so, there are not many other ways to think of this.

One thing though, when Elminster contacts Midnight in Shadow of the Avatar, even using her true name, he tells her that she is to become the new Mystra and starts preparing her for the task, until Ao intervenes directly. At no point does he make any reference to Leira. So either Elminster is as blind as me and he didn't know, or the names are a coincidence.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4211 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2024 :  18:13:00  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Before my post above, I had never thought about it.

Now, however, I'm rather obsessed with the idea that Leira...all along...was a Contingency of Mystra's to ensure her power was grounded in the world. She is the Goddess of the Weave after all...Leira having someone "Born" into the world when Ariel Manx was born just means a small bit of her power was placed into Midnight as a minor "Avatar" as part of the plan. Layers of Contingency Magic SHOULD be in place by a Goddess of Magic after all...

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!

Edited by - Dalor Darden on 27 Jan 2024 18:13:46
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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
956 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2024 :  18:41:07  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cool speculation Sleyvas!
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11737 Posts

Posted - 29 Jan 2024 :  15:50:02  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just to throw out there as well .... the Metatext ....

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Metatext

A "conceptual" text that Deneir "wrote himself into" in order to attempt to "save the weave" during the Sundering after Mystra "dies".... or rather in my version... her divine domain detached from Toril and went to Abeir. But, yet another "book" ... possibly misunderstood .... that might have been tied into this whole thing.....

Why might her divine domain have gone to Abeir? Well, maybe Ao isn't as powerful as everyone believes, and he has no power there... and he pushed the beings there as a means to protect HIMSELF.... so he sends a small army of gods there in weakened form to establish a foothold for himself to start influencing this world ... and if those gods die... oh well, they're "expendable" in Ao's eyes.

I really like the concept that Deneir and several others have become "helper" deities of Mystra. I don't want to say servitors mind you, as they may often report elsewhere or just be serving their own agendas. So, for instance, Deneir... as a god of books, is "technically" a form of wizard god, since they must use spellbooks. Finder, as a bardic god (and co-developer of Alias... a being that might be seen as something like the "being" that is Ariel Manx/Midnight if her memories are false), could also be seen as a helper for the goddess of magic in the form of bardic magic. To note, as well... the Alias clone was built with the aid of a powerful but weird being known as "Phalse" ... a kind of beholder with mouths instead of eyes... Leira avatar?

If you really start pursuing the idea that Savras knew things were coming ..... that Leira was actually helping him because it served her ends and the ends of Mystra .... that Cyric was a dupe of the gods ..... and that it was all meant to forestall Shar.. you get a really convoluted plot that NO mortal could ever fathom, but gods might.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 29 Jan 2024 15:54:47
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 25 May 2024 :  14:45:49  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bumping this thread as I'm working on my Leira booklet for DM's Guild now.

This is what I've come up with as far as the history section so far. Most of it is based on existing lore (such as pointing out how Leira was apparently unknown in Netheril but important enough to inspire her Halruaan followers to go into exile and settle Nimbral 500 or so years later) and some is my invention to fill in the gaps.

***

Leira has few known antecedents as far as human powers of illusion go. Even Netheril, a land perhaps more devoted to magic than any before or since, had none, and in those days, Shar claimed dominion over illusion (1). At some point during the five centuries between the fall of Netheril and the founding of Nimbral, Leira appeared in the Realms, and surviving records from the era often treat her presence as unworthy of significant remark, as if she had been there for much longer than 500 or so years – a presence utterly absent from any chronicles kept by Netherese sages or their counterparts in neighboring realms. The meticulous elves of Evereska, for example, make no mention of Leira or, indeed, any deity of illusion aside from Shar. (2)

A tale often told in Nimbral, allegedly one of great antiquity, makes the startling claim that Leira is the daughter of Shar and Selűne, born out of the same cosmic conflict that created her alleged sister Mystryl (an ancient predecessor of today’s Mystra) – the same story also says that Leira is somehow the child of Mystryl, too. For this reason, few pay it much attention except as a curiosity. (3)

Leira herself was treated much the same way, except by her small number of worshipers. In Nimbral her church was the state religion and she had a modest following among the gnomes of Lantan, but otherwise, only illusionists worshiped Leira. She made little mark on the Realms as a whole, with her church founding no great militant orders or engaging in epic rivalries with other churches. And then, in the wake of the Time of Troubles, when the gods themselves walked Faerűn after being cast down by a mysterious higher power, Leira died. Most accounts (of which there were many, the topic being popular among playwrights and poets of the day) are in agreement. Leira’s friend Mask, the god of thieves, betrayed her as part of a pact with the mad god Cyric, who slew Leira and absorbed her divine power and portfolio. At the time, Leira’s fate was debated – most of her followers laughed at the idea she could have been tricked and murdered so easily, and a few religious scholars raised doubts about some of the details of the stories. But within a couple generations, Leira’s faith had almost entirely vanished. Most took to worshiping other gods, some continued to claim Leira was still alive long after it was clear Cyric was granting the prayers of those who still prayed to her, and a few even openly pledged loyalty to Cyric. (4) And there the matter would have ended, with Leira just one more dead god like Auppenser or Ibrandul... except for one small detail. Somehow Leira returned. (5)

There was no great revelation or manifestation. Over the course of a considerable period of time before, during and after the Second Sundering, various illusionists across the realms were visited in their dreams by a mist-shrouded figure who called on them to revive Leira’s church. Those who refused were visited three more times and then left alone. Those who accepted began to do just what they had been charged with doing. At around the same time, Nimbral, once the foundation of Leira’s church, reappeared after being absent almost as long as Leira herself. The situation there is unclear, with some travelers insisting Leira’s faith is the state church as it once was, while others are just as certain the church was outlawed and its followers driven into hiding. Divinations suggest that both claims are true or at least honest. (6)

(1) Per the Netheril boxed set.
(2) Expanding on her absence in Netheril but her subsequent sway over the Halruaan splinter faction, per the timeline in Grand History of the Realms. Netheril fell in -339 and Nimbral was settled in 173. It's certainly possible Leira emerged late in the Netherese period and I allude to it, but we only know for certain that she's not mentioned in the Netheril 2E boxed set, which has illusion magic in Shar's portfolio and covers the entire history of Netheril, and she was worshiped by a significant part of Halruaa's population by 173 DR. This is the first time she's mentioned in Grand History of the Realms.
(3) My idea based on suggestions in this thread.
(4) My attempt to make sense of Leira's apparent death.
(5) dun dun DUN
(6) My attempt to make sense of Leira's 5E return which is (so far as I know) not explained anywhere.

Feedback would be much appreciated, as this is definitely a work in progress. Thanks!
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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
956 Posts

Posted - 25 May 2024 :  20:42:34  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You could also bring in the fragments of her death, the glamers from Dragon magazine if you are so inclined.
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 26 May 2024 :  22:31:29  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

You could also bring in the fragments of her death, the glamers from Dragon magazine if you are so inclined.



Oh - excellent suggestion. I apparently have that issue via Paizo. Thank you! Your write-up gives me a lot to work with.
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11737 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2024 :  19:37:41  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

You could also bring in the fragments of her death, the glamers from Dragon magazine if you are so inclined.



More info please??? Issue... article??

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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varyar
Learned Scribe

109 Posts

Posted - 30 May 2024 :  14:46:01  Show Profile Send varyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

You could also bring in the fragments of her death, the glamers from Dragon magazine if you are so inclined.



More info please??? Issue... article??



Dragon #299:

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Dragon_magazine_299
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