"There is no God. I don't care if
I can see their puppets before me, waving their little symbols around inlaid
with gold, it's not really. A complete hoax. Designed to make money for
themselves... the stream of gold into the temples of Sigil is unparalleled.
There's a reason for this belief, and that's to keep the gold in the church.
When in such an existence as this one, people are eager to believe that if they
pay enough money to the right places then their souls will be lifted and they'll
be inspired to go on living. Yeah, right, is what I say. These churches are a
crutch for the weak that can't stand on their own two feet, and I'm here to make
sure that the common folk of Sigil aren't deluded by these people with flashy
clothes and spells that are obvious charlatanry."
"These beings that refer to
themselves as 'powers' are sadly deluded. They're following the wrong forces:
the 'powers' are not the real force in the multiverse. Instead, there is
something behind it all... remember, a true deity exists on faith. If these
'powers' exist on faith, then our knowledge of their existence precludes their
existence because knowledge denies faith. Therefore, they do not exist on faith
as they claim, but instead exist on belief. There is a large difference between
belief and faith, as anyone knows. And, in their desires to stay alive, they
siphon devotion and gold away from their followers to protect themselves. If
they is a God, which I'm not ruling out, it's not going to proclaim its
existence... it exists only on faith alone. Not from these flashy deities that
proclaim their superiority from the highest mountaintop."
Whether they believe the powers
to be a crutch that the weak lean on or a bunch of greedy beings that are just
on a different sort of existence, the Athar are a faction that house both the
worst atheists and the best theists of the planes. Both groups agree that the
current 'powers' of the planes aren't the be-all and end-all of theological
existence on the Planes. Some believe that there is something greater: a "Great
Unknown" lies beyond mortal and paramortal comprehension. Others say that it's
all a lie: nothing lies beyond what we can see and we should rely on our inner
strength instead of putting ourselves into the hands of a false upper being.
There are the bitter, there are the scholarly, and most of all there are the
sort of "anti-preachers" that take to the streets of Sigil to declare the
falseness of the powers. These "anti-preachers" are the most visible of the
members of the Athar, as they are usually in the Lower Ward shouting out about
the hypocrisy of the powers to all that would listen. They usually do their
preaching near the Shattered Temple, which is their headquarters in Sigil.
The Shattered Temple used to be
the headquarters of Aoskar, God of portals and doors. He was the unofficial
patron of the planeswalkers and symbolized Sigil to many... so many that the one
of the Lady's dabus took up the mantle of the priesthood of Aoskar. The wrath of
The Lady was swift and quick that day. The temple of Aoskar and all buildings
sufficiently near it were immediately decimated, and the once-great deity Aoskar
was broken on the Lady's Blades and cast into the Astral plane to die slowly.
Time passed, but nobody has forgot what happened to Aoskar. The Athar moved in
several centuries later, seeing the temple as a sign that the 'powers' are far
from unkillable. However, no other sane member of Sigil even does into the area
of the Shattered Temple: it remains taboo to open a shop or build there, for
fear that The Lady would strike them dead for the actions of Aoskar so far in
the past. Only the Athar travel there now. It is rumored that the ghosts of the
priests of Aoskar still haunt the area, leaving the Athar alone because the
massive disbelief that the Athar has for their very existence.
The leader of the Athar is Factol
Terrance, a former cleric of Mishikal who realized the falseness of his former
beliefs. He learned how to draw spells from pure faith in a being he refers to
as the "Great Unknown", one who's very existence is not proven. He is a kind and
wise man, one who wishes to temper the bitterness of many members of his faction
The more quiet of the Athar are
those that work silently to help citizens of Sigil realize their own strength
without relying on the guidance of the Divine. These are the intellectuals, the
scholars, and the theologians, that say, "Since the 'powers' are not Gods, what
is?" Some point to the Great Unknown, others point elsewhere. All have different
theories. The Athar is a faction founded on disbelief, and it's more common to
see them disproving and mocking anything than offering any constructive
criticism to situation at hand.
Many members of the Athar see the
need to tell the truths that they're seen: the powers are false and people can't
be fooled any longer. Some become scholars, figuring that when people are
exposed to the truth that they'll see the error of their false worships. These
are the people who write long treatises on the truths of the multiverse and the
mysteries of the Veil. Some, discontent with books, turn their pens to the paper
to churn out pamphlets and flyers that are distributed throughout the city. They
are always ready for new information to add to their opuses, and always ready to
engage in a scholarly debate on the true nature of the multiverse and the
'powers' within them.
Others are less content to sit.
These are the preachers, an ever-present factor in the Lower Ward and beyond.
They stand on their soap-boxes denouncing the 'powers' and their 'servants' for
all that they're worth. Usually they stay out of the Hive, as it is too
dangerous (or maybe is it the fact that nobody cares?), and the Harmonium don't
let them raise too much of a stink in the Lady's Ward or the Clerk's Ward: they
keep too tight a fist on those sections to let the Athar make such a ruckus.
They'll scream about the falsehood of the powers until their face is red,
usually using their powers of public speaking to sway large audiences to their
One could imagine that the Athar
run into trouble more than once during their controversial lives. For that
reasons, there are Athar dispatched as "troubleshooters", as they are
affectionately known, to deal with any situations that might arise. They guard
Athar highups and dignitaries, and deal with any situations that might arise
with the god-obsessed members of the Sign of One. Some are no better than
trained muscle that follows the leaders of their leaders. However, some of them
can think for themselves and have other, more normal jobs, in civilian life.
The Godsmen get
along well with the Athar, because both groups believe that the powers aren't
anything special. The Godsmen say that they've ascended up the karmic ladder,
and the Athar say they're complete phonies.
The Sign of One is the most
recent enemy to the Athar, but not because of basic philosophies. The recent
events of the Sign of One and the rumors floating around concerning the belief
that the Signers are going to imagine a dead god back to life.
Needless to say, the Aasimon, as
servants of the powers, don't quite get along with one another. There's even a
rumor that in the Upper Planes, there's a Planetar that's offering five hundred
gold per Athar head brought it. As a rule, the Athar try to stay away from the
Upper Planes. However, the other Upper Planar paramortals: Archons, Guardinals,
and Eladrin really don't have anything against the Athar (although for the
Archons it's shaky at best) because of their non-affiliation with the powers.
Priests of any sort will almost
never tolerate an Athar. An Athar should consider himself lucky if he manages to
survive an encounter with a priest of a power: while a priest might normally be
dedicate to peace, sometimes it's almost as if the priest's deity reaches out
through his servant to strike down the disbeliever.