Yrian and Ylli
[excerpt from Encyclopedia Theologica: A Panoptic Primer on the Pantheon, Planes, and Patrons of Ylan, 5th ed., by the gnomish scholar Miriam Busslewickett]
Although worshipped by many as pure embodiments of the primordial forces of chaos and creation, and thus as personifications of the Old Gods Uberlin and Muriel, respectively, most scholars agree that the Patrons Yrian and his twin sister Ylli were historical figures, mortals who once dwelled on the Prime Material plane. They were known to be Elves, members of the House of Fhrey who lived in the earliest days of that House’s slave empire, twin children of Malmondun Miralyith himself. Some claim the twins split from the House in protest over Malmondun’s enslavement of their cousin races; other legends hold that the twins chose to make a home deep in the wild to practice their worship of nature free from interference; others suggest that the twins became lovers and were exiled when their illicit relationship came to light. Regardless of their motivation, a number of records chronicle the twins’ departure from the civilized realms ruled by the House of Fhrey.
Bards sing of the twins’ travels throughout the wildest corners of Ylan before building for themselves a fortress/monastery in high cliffs somewhere in The Reach, known as the Aerie.
They began to amass followers during their own lifetimes, primarily other outsiders devoted more to nature and wild spaces than to civilization. Tales spread of animistic rituals and sacrifices performed in the Aerie, particularly associated with the phases of the moon. The twins and their followers were said to have mastered and even advanced the shape-changing wild magic of ancient druidic shamans, thereby achieving a harmony with nature unknown before or since.
There are few records of the twins appearing in their elven forms outside the Aerie after its construction, though numerous apocrypha recount their appearances in various animal forms. One notable exception, however, was their infamous raid on the gladiatorial slave pits of the House of Fhrey. The twins and their followers are said to have slain scores of Fhrey warriors, liberating numerous magical beasts that had been held captive there and made to fight for the amusement of the Fhrey overlords. Legend has it the twins and their followers flew into battle astride a host of griffons, with giant eagles and even wyverns lending support. During the battle, Yrian was said to have assumed the form of a massive spider; Ylli, a mighty golden lioness. Many of the liberated beasts returned to the Aerie with the twins, forming the beginning of an impressive menagerie of creatures said to reside there to this day. The raid left human, dwarf and other gladiator slaves untouched, still locked in their cages as the dust cleared and the raiders fled.
Little is known of the twins’ passage from this plane to the next. They are said to have lived the last decades of their lives only in animal forms.
Legacy and Followers
Yrian and Ylli are commonly thought of as the Patrons of nature, and count among their followers many druids, rangers, hunters, and others who make their livelihoods in the wilds. However, the Twins have also come to be worshipped as pure embodiments of the primordial forces of chaos/entropy (Yrian) and creation (Ylli). They are said to have personally exemplified such roles in their lifetime, with Yrian focused on warfare against those who encroached on nature, and Ylli focused on nurturing wild spaces and homes for all creatures. As such, Yrian is sometimes depicted as the son and heir of Uberlin; Ylli, as Muriel’s daughter.
This dualism has been emphasized by many followers, with the Twins coming to represent various dual aspects of reality or metaphysics: e.g., the moon and the sun; the sky and the earth; night and day; etc. As their given names suggest, the two are often associated with the very land itself – “Yrian” likely being derived from “Erivan,” “Ylli” from “Ylan.” Some followers claim not to worship the Twins themselves but rather a harmonious synthesis of the two forces, a monism they call “Ummu.” Ummu-worshippers often include martial artists, monks, and other devotees of neutral alignment.
As one would expect, few proper churches devoted to the Twins exist in the cities of Ylan, and the Twins’ followers have established no organized religion as such. However, their followers can be found most anywhere, and sometimes maintain shrines in parks and other corners of nature in urban landscapes.
The Aerie is rumored to still exist as a functioning monastery, garden, and wildlife park devoted to the Twins. Many parties have entered the The Reach in search of it, no credible sources are known to have reached it and returned to describe it. The most famous recent expedition was undertaken by renowned Thaumatic Biologist Siggur Reed. The expedition never returned.
See also The Multiverse