The Yazata have existed in their current forms for at least four thousand years, and claim earlier origins. They concern themselves primarily with the concept of transcendence. As much as doing right by the World is necessary, everything is a part of the effort toward transcendence, individually or communally. Where others may focus on continuity of the World, social justice, individuality or other virtues, the Yazata are arrayed towards the uplifting of the World to a more righteous state.
Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity of the pantheon, accepts all other Gods that struggle against the Titan Ahriman as brothers in arms, at least nominally. On the other hand, no one has seen Ahura Mazda in over a thousand years. Some Yazata say he has withdrawn from the current struggle to more fiercely counter-pose Ahriman, an essential task now that the rest of the Titans are on the loose. Others claim Ahriman has won that engagement decisively, as Ahriman remains active.
Anahita AKA: Ardvi Sura Ardwisur Anahid, Anahid, Anahit
Anahita, Goddess of water, takes her many duties seriously. She has fertility to ensure keeping milk, wombs, and seed clean and pure people to keep safe, and waters to reign over. Still, Anahita also finds time for intellectual pursuits, both academic and practical. In her aspect as charioteer, she maintains interests in both war and weather, riding in a mighty chariot drawn by the four horses of Wind, Rain, Cloud and Sleet.
That Anahita still takes great pleasure in life is hardly surprising, since she is so closely intertwined with life and the making of new life. She always appears as a beautiful young woman of indeterminate ethnicity with a lush body and alluring deep-set eyes. Her clothing tends toward the colorful and expensive. Anahita has tried many walks of life: nurse in a maternity ward, R&D department head, social worker, military reservist, Peace Corps member, and even nun.
Anahitas Scions are well looked after by their mother, beginning with her high standards regarding their mortal parents. She takes great pleasure in watching her Scions grow up, and is always an active part of their life, even if they don’t realize the kindly librarian or minister is their mother. Like her, Anahita’s Scions are usually good-looking and gregarious, with a powerful concern for the wellbeing of their friends. Unfortunately, sometimes they befriend the wrong person, and their stubborn loyalty, more than anything, has led Anahita’s otherwise virtuous Scions astray.
Ard AKA: Ashi, Ashi Vanghuhi, Ashi Vanuhi, Ahrishwang
With a genial smirk on her face, Ard always gives the impression she knows more than she lets on. In charge of just rewards in both the physical and spiritual sense, Ard knows her duty is to reward the deserving. Her standard for “deserving” is, according to some in the pantheon, relaxed and fickle. Though she prefers to think of it as keeping up with the times, her association with fortune and luck gives her a capricious nature.
Whether youthful or elderly in appearance, Ard always moves with a lilting grace. Her forays into the mortal World have been many, as within it she is freed from the oversight of the other Yazata, especially that of her brother, Sraosha. Working as a cocktail waitress in a Las Vegas casino, she hand-picked new millionaires; as an EMT, she never lost a patient on the way to the hospital. Ard has roughed it as a hitchhiker, bringing good fortune to everyone who gave her a ride, enjoyed the easy life as a trophy wife whose husband couldn’t seem to fail at anything he did and worked as an agent for new actors, turning her favorites into stars.
Ards Scions can learn what they don’t know and get lucky when there isn’t time to learn, but the right attitude, Ard has found, is integral. The majority of her Scions are upbeat and positive, live a conspicuously lucky life, and tackle even the most divine problems with an easy confidence. Ard tends to send her Scions out with little in the way of directions, instructions, or advice, preferring to give them a few guidelines and let them figure out the best way. After all, with a little luck it’ll probably be in the right direction, even if they stumble.
Known for his prodigious strength and incredible good looks, Haoma still remains rather modest. He doesn’t feel the need to be the center of attention, and by far prefers to stay on the outside, continuing his work and helping out but never the central figure. This isnt to say he isnt proud of what he does or that he denies his accomplishments; he just refrains from boasting. His peaceful nature thrives away from the spotlight, allowing him to work without having to butt heads except when necessary. When roused, however, Haoma is deliberate and unstoppable, like the tree whose roots can crack a boulder.
In modern times, Haoma appears as a middle-aged man with intelligent golden-green eyes. He dresses in practical working clothes, even when his position in mortal society dictates otherwise, and his hands are often smudged with earth. In his excursions into the World, Haoma has been an environmental scientist, refinery worker, gardener, nutritionist and park ranger.
Haomas Scions rarely encounter their father after their Visitation. He prefers to contact them through intermediaries, leaving them to their own devices. His Scions tend towards physically intensive or outdoorsy work.
The Goddess of the Moon avoids the flashy displays of most divinities. She would much rather watch what’s going on and go incognito when it’s time to get involved. Glory is fine, but she’d rather be glorified in tales than have to wade in, powers blazing. In appearance, she ranges from a nondescript girl in her late teens to a wizened crone dressed in something plain. She’s the girl you didn’t notice until she walks up and introduces herself, but then she cannot be forgotten partly because of her keen intellect and partly because you think she has your wallet.
Mah isnt exactly a thief, but she is an opportunist. She keeps a keen eye on what is going on, and when a chance presents itself, she is always ready to take advantage. With a growing emphasis on intellect and the strong bent towards ruthless opportunism that capitalism promotes, the World is more appealing than ever to Mah. She has skipped through mortal life in a myriad of personas. She was the power behind the throne in a major crime syndicate, and then the cause of its collapse. As a nurse, she operated a “recreational” pharmacy on the side which, when discovered, brought attention to the corruption of the hospital. When she was a government agent, she blew the whistle on illegal government-funded operations. Wherever she goes, she performs well, stays out of sight, and keeps a close eye on what’s going on.
Mahs Scions are made of the same mold. They are alert and intelligent with a certain freedom from moral dogma. Like their mother, they’re usually proactive and helpful, but their help is more likely to be found as part of plea-bargain than a pardon. Her Scions often don’t know where the line is in doing a little wrong to accomplish a greater good, which gets them into trouble from everything from mortal to divine authorities.
Herss the de facto head of the pantheon, Mithra has shouldered a lot of responsibility since the disappearance of Ahura Mazda. And as the God of contracts and a preserver of truth and law, responsibility isnt anything new to him. Fighting Titans, conceiving Scions, and making and keeping allies on top of managing the pantheon is new and difficult, but Mithra is managing. He lets everyone see his confidence in the Yazata even if he doesnt always feel it himself. He administers judgment to the dead, protects souls on their journey to paradise, represents the sun and its purity, and is known for his talents as a warrior the Roman soldiers even had a cult dedicated him in his warrior aspect
Mithra always has a youthful body, lean but fit, with a calm, open smile on his face. He either is clean-shaven or fully bearded (never at some point between), with dark hair. As a God of light and the sun, his subdued smile radiates and ensnares the glances of passersby. He speaks in deep, soft tones that combine genuine sincerity and charm, communicating his meaning clearly and genteelly. In the ancient days, he wore traditional clothing of the region he was in whether he was dressed as a Roman, a Persian or a Turk was of little concern to him. In modern times he is always attired in a relaxed but unobtrusive outfit: In the office, he wears a suit with tie loosened; on the docks, hes barefoot and shirtless with once-expensive cutoff shorts; and at the community shelter, he’s the man whose worn clothes have been carefully hand-mended.
Mithra seems like a genuinely nice guy whose main motives are helping make the World a better place, but the truth is a bit different. He is the God of contracts, an arbiter not of morality, but of integrity. His justice isnt necessarily a fair outcome: Its the lawful one, regardless of who is hurt and how badly. When mortal, he is remembered as a man of his word, sincere and friendly, but with a core inflexibility that could quickly turn his smile into a disapproving glare and Mithras glare has a weight all its own.
Living up to his ideals in the modern world is a bit more difficult than it once was, but Mithra does his best. He has lived as civil rights lawyer, a member of Interpol, an advocate for refugees, a radical historian, a senior enlisted military man, and a motivational speaker. His presence engenders hope and he manages to bring out the best in others. Unfortunately, his winning personality acts against him (and his Scions), as their time is often jealously sought after by others, sowing discontent he must then mediate.
Mithra views fatherhood as a sacred duty, and while he can’t attend to each one of his Scions, many of them have had someone or something keeping an eye on them. More than one of his Scions has stories of a “guardian angel,” until they find out just who or what was looking out for them. His children are usually highly principled individuals that work hard to help others and the World. These innate ethical standards take a toll, as the World demands a certain level of moral relativism and compromise. That’s something that Mithra’s children often find they can’t do, and more than one child of Mithra has been brought low by their somewhat inflexible codes.
Sraosha, the God of obedience, is the zealot of the pantheon, filled with fervor for what the Yazata stand for. Where the other members have their own agendas and often prioritize their own desires ahead of the party line, Sraosha rarely does. He knows that his place is to support their worshippers and remind them and his fellow Gods of their sacred duties. This would be a tiresome role for anyone, but Sraosha has a single-minded dedication that is matched to his ability to empathize, keeping his passion personal. Although his epithet is the God of obedience, much of Sraoshas work is directed toward helping mortals, supporting and encouraging those that follow the principles of the Yazata (even if they don’t necessarily worship or know of the Yazata). The obedience that Sraosha strives for is not induced by threat of consequences, but by the benefits of collaboration.
In mortal guise, Sraosha is almost always a figure of community authority, whether it’s the town mayor or the most outspoken member of the local union. He was a member of the Inquisition until his reformist views earned his removal. As a politician, he ushered in several radical pieces of legislature that earned him his party’s enmity but endeared him to the public. Whatever role he takes, he has a goal in mind from the beginning and means to make a difference with his actions.
Sraosha does not shirk his responsibilities, and involves himself in all of his children’s lives. Scions of Sraosha are just as impassioned and noble as their father, even if they don’t share his exact set of values: The fight against the Titans is a perfect place for his Scions to direct that passion.
The God of rain and the star Sirius usually appears as a man with white hair and a melancholy smile on his prematurely aged face. That sense of peaceful melancholy is in his personality, too, as he tries to do what’s right, but people just don’t seem willing to help. It isn’t surprising he’s a bit disillusioned with mortals, since his best-known legend centers on his defeat by the deev of drought because the people wouldnt sacrifice to him. He will always fight for them, though, because it’s his duty.
In modern times, Tishtrya finds himself something of a patron of lost causes, willing to fight it out (metaphorically and literally) even when everyone else tells him to let it be. He has been a criminal defense attorney, missionary, farmer, oil tycoon, astrologer, and beach bum. Whenever he takes up a cause, he sticks to it with a single-minded conviction… until he returns to the Overworld, discarding it like the mortal shells he wears
Scions of Tishtrya usually grow up knowing they were a product of a passionate love affair. The Scions often exhibit the characteristic steadfastness of their father, willing to hold to what they believe to the bitter end. Of course, having that kind of obstinacy causes his Scions to develop the same cynical outlook as Tishtrya when, time and time again, they find that others cant stick it out. Despite being disappointed again and again, Tishtrya and his Scions always manage to keep hope that things will work out.
God of victory and aggressive triumph, Vahram is an athletic bully of a warrior. His violent nature is matched to a streak of raw stubbornness that can be seen physically in his form as a boar. He claims to have invented the preemptive strike, and while he won’t stab someone in the back, he is more than willing to run someone through before they know what’s going on to keep them from doing it first, of course.
However, it’s not that Vahram can’t be nice or that he’s all about violence. He just knows that there are a lot of people out there that are in desperate need of a thrashing for… well, for something. Those who can call Vahram friend know that, even if victory isn’t assured, he will hold the line to the bitter end so that others can live. The problem is Vahram’s assumption that just about everyone is in the opposing camp. Years of the decline of his patron empire, the slow fade to obscurity of his pantheon, and the dishonest bent of society have lead him to view the denizens of the World as being practically in league with the Titans.
Vahram has tried to make a difference in the only ways he understands: working as a mercenary, a black market arms dealer, loan shark, a corporate day-trader, and a war-hawk legislator. He isn’t averse to getting his hands dirty, as long as he scores at the end it’s all about victory. In the World, he most often appears as strong and fit man just past his prime, with a few gray hairs and crow’s feet gracing the corners of his eyes. When prompted to action, Vahram always makes the first move, and those who’ve dealt with him in a brawl learn what strength can lurk in his older frame. Of course, the God wears a younger form on occasion as well, but even then tends towards an age just after his prime.
His Scions tend to be aggressive, outgoing and confident to the point of absurdity. Vahram doesn’t usually take part in his offspring’s lives until their Visitation, letting them assert themselves of their own accord before their divine heritage is made apparent. Usually, they tend towards martial occupations, although some few are predisposed toward artifice, influenced by their father’s position as guardian of the sacred Fire (which is heavily associated with metalworkers). Either suits Vahram fine, as some of his epithets are “best-armed of the Gods” or “most highly armed,” and he’d like to hear the same of his children.
Vayu is the God of wind and air. He is the breath of life and hope, and fights alongside his pantheon in the war against the Titans. But he is also the last breath at death and is known as the strongest not for his physical strength, but because he makes such strength irrelevant. Prayers to Vayu are always specifically directed to him in his aspect as a benign force, but those prayers are half a request for help and half a plea to be spared his darker side.
Vayu is the bridge between the good and evil, the light and dark, and has an agenda all his own. Vayu’s relationship with the rest of the Yazata is somewhat questionable, as he has been known to work with the Titans in the past. He keeps his own counsel on this, but he still comes to the aid of the other Gods. He is the biggest element of chaos within the Yazata, but he claims the discord he brings necessarily keeps the pantheon and their people from stagnating.
Vayu is usually seen as a tall, tanned, handsome man in the prime of youth, flashing a bright smile. Sometimes he is a skinny, sallow teenager, lying and stealing his way from city to city. As a soldier, he single-handedly kept his platoon alive. He has worked as an anesthesiologist with a disturbing track record of accidental patient deaths. As a traveling minister, he reaffirms the faith of everyone he meets.
Like their father, Vayus Scions are changeable and morally ambiguous. The potential for nobility is present, but grim, selfish practicality is far more likely to rear its head in one of Vayu’s own. He lets his Scions make decision on their own as they grow up and rarely gives orders even after their Visitation. He chooses his Scions for their self-reliance and willfulness. He wants collaborators, not pawns other Gods’ Scions are good for that and he doesn’t want to have to hold his Scions’ hands and tell them what to do.
The Goddess of earth is a little atypical for her role; her purview is known as one of the first things created and yet she came to the pantheon later than most, a subject she tries to avoid. Unlike other earth-goddesses, Zam is seldom motherly and tends to be exacting and practical. Once set to a task, Zam applies herself and finds a way to get a decisive result. She is patient and methodical, perhaps even a little ruthless in accomplishing her goals. In the fight for the World, she forgives herself that ruthless streak.
Zam considers the World the place where all the real work gets done. The Overworld and all of its inhabitants have their place, but the War, shadowy and behind the scenes, has its front lines in the World. She generally appears as a woman in her mid-thirties to mid-forties, with an easy smile and hard eyes, and the rest of her appearance changes as the situation requires. Zam has lived as a political analyst, hardnosed self-help author, grassroots campaigner, and a corrupt official.
She often lets her Scions develop talents on their own; Zam isn’t looking for her Scions to mirror her temperament, but to be useful for the next set of goals she has laid out. She’s still their mother and while the mission comes first, her Scions’ welfare isn’t a too distant second. During the Visitation, Zam usually lets her children know there is a bigger picture and that they all have to make sacrifices for it. It is better they have some clue than feel completely betrayed and bitter later on when they realize just how expendable they are to their mother.