Philia the Matchmaker is the goddess of love, of all types of love. This is characterized by her tools, her priests and priestesses, and (as far as she is concerned) her own life. She claims that she loves everyone, and who will argue with a goddess about her own domain?
The goddess's main cover while she is among humans is that of a seamstress/tailor. She dresses primarily in simple clothing and carries a large seamstress's bag containing needles, thread (both mundane and specialty), her crystal sphere, and various other tools of her trades. Of course, she sometimes disguises herself as a noblewoman--she wants to wear pretty dresses sometimes, too.
A Long Life Edit
The goddess claims not to remember her early life. There was darkness, there was playing around with her siblings, and then everyone got bored. So they created the fae. Philia adored playing with the fae, her personal playthings. She manipulated them and moved them about until the Great War.
The war took the Matchmaker by surprise. She did not see it coming, did not see it reaching the climax that it did. The fae had overstepped, however, and she joined her siblings in arms to fight back. She took her skills to the battlefield and manipulated the fae emotionally. She would turn regiments against themselves, against one another, rather than participate in the fighting itself. Her skills did not lie there.
When the idea of banishment was proposed, she was immediately in favor of it: they were still her creations. They were still her playthings--even after she destroyed any trace of them in her workspace. After the banishment to Allutheria, she took to pretending they didn't exist. It was easier that way--on her memory, on her pride. There was still a lot of pain resulting from the Great War, and all that had ensued. Although she herself was not so specifically affected, she saw the pain it caused her siblings, and attempted to assist Sage in working through his losses. The Great War had also destroyed physical creations, such as the Coliseum in which the fae had set gladiatorial fights for years. The end of the war did not, however, end the destruction. Rather, Philia stumbled upon her nephew Achilles as he was destroying the coliseum, and approached him about their shared past. Surely something good could come of this violence.
Creating new playthings came with some misgivings, but she figured that the limitations they imposed were smart enough. The humans wouldn't turn on them, surely not. And so she found her new playthings. She got involved--such as by playing seamstress to the son of a rich man, a boy who needed some love in his life. She developed a ceremony to have the humans make it easier on her to keep track of them (she isn't omniscient after all), meddled with them as she saw fit, and played in their customs and designs as well as she figured she could. And all was well for a long, long time.
Until the Blight swallowed Caelum, and she could feel her powers fading away.
Philia's individual powers revolve around emotional manipulation--to the point that she was the one to gift Phoenixes with emotions (and to test-run the first occurrence of this). She senses emotions in others (including the other gods and goddesses) and is able to manipulate them on massive scale and to massive degree. For example, during the war, she manipulated whole regiments of fae to murdering their comrades or taking their own lives. Both of these have scaled back as a result of the Blight, and she now has to work on a much more individual basis. These powers enable her to forge the connections between humans that she calls love: according to her, love is not an emotion, but a connection, and she thus cannot force it.
She can, however, use her own aura to make up for this: most humans when around her feel at least a little drawn to her. How can you not love the goddess of love? She rarely uses this consciously, as she prefers to see how people react to her naturally, and it's one of the abilities that she has lost almost completely since the beginning of the Blight. She is still able to immediately recognize relationships that exist between people, as if she had strung their threads herself.
As the goddess of fertility and childbirth, Philia takes credit for all pregnancies, and can be called upon to bless them. Through this, she is always able to tell the gender and health of a child (an ability she fails to hold back even from her siblings, such as when Selene visited her at her temple), and to assist in maintaining the latter.
Tools of the Trade Edit
Philia uses several tools that assist her in her trade, though some of them are no longer available to her, especially since the fall of Caelum, where her workspace was. Her workspace was a large space, generally dark, but illuminated by two sources of light: 1) jars containing the souls of the reapers, for which she is supposed to care; 2) the millions and millions of threads connecting the dolls that hang from the "ceiling," the "walls," or lie on the tables and shelves scattered about the space; and 3) a large globe at the center of the space.
The Dolls and Thread Edit
The goddess asks that, when a child is born, an adult responsible for that child places a doll representative of the child at an altar or in a temple to the goddess with a prayer that outlines the well-wishes for that child's life of love. These dolls are collected by the goddess and taken to her workspace, where they are tied with thread to other dolls. She ties these threads to keep track of what relationships exist, or which she endorses for future existence.
The threads that connect these dolls are color-coded according to the type of love which they represent.
|Green||Servant and Master|
These threads have magical representations to Philia in real life, which are visible only to her unless she chooses to show another, as she chose to do for Florian Sartre to help him find his mate. However, as the Blight affects her powers, these threads have been fading before her eyes.
The Globe and Sphere Edit
She has to be able to see the people she works with, after all. As such, she created for herself a large globe that represented the real world, which allowed her to zoom in and spy on the individuals she was interested in seeing. The globe is as large as she is when she takes human form and the centerpiece of her workspace, floating about half a meter off the ground. This globe remains in her workroom on Caelum and has thus, unfortunately, been inaccessible to her.
When she originally created the globe, she recreated a smaller counterpart in the form of a crystal sphere that would fill her human hand--about the size of a softball. This acts like a portable version of the globe, with the same abilities but a narrow field of vision, which limits her perspective, but she still sees it as invaluable to her trade.
The Book of Love Edit
Some time ago, a book was published by a man claiming to be a priest to the goddess of love. He also made the claim that he had interviewed the goddess, and that the book contained his findings, being a transcription of her views intended to assist her worshipers in pleasing her. The book dictates the types of love that the goddess recognizes, how one should go about in pursuit of love, whom she believes to be worthy of love, an analysis of courtship and relationships, behavior expected during marriage and parenthood, as well as how children should revere their parents, and how to treat loved ones whose love may no longer be returned (whether due to death or moving on). Most temples now carry one copy of it for reference, however secretly that may be done.
Philia likes to think that she gets on fairly well with all of her siblings--she sees conflict as bumps in the road, as dips in the love that she knows they share. Being the goddess of every sort of love, she places a lot of weight and worth on the relationships between family members. As such, she values all of her siblings--in truth, they are some of the only ones she sees as equals. However, she is closest to Sage the Green Man and Lasciel the Destroyer, while holding a love-hate relationship with Selene the Moon Maiden. Her love for her family even extends to their children, such as her affection for Achilles. While he was in the Coliseum, she would pose as a healer to tend to his wounds.
Humans, in contrast, are mere playthings to the goddess, sources of amusement. This is why they are represented by dolls in her workspace--they are as dolls, though many get her attention. She likes to get involved with them and will gladly manipulate them. One of her favorite toys is Florian Sartre, though she doesn't see him as a toy so much anymore (she will refuse to admit this, however). She will go so far as to interfere in his love life for his sake rather than her own. Another toy she appreciates is Cwn and she has a tendency to send him on errands, even though he technically isn't hers. She even has a few favorites who represent her understanding of love particularly well. Some of these become her priests and priestesses, whom she gifts with various abilities, and who must prove their loyalty to the ideal that is love.
Although prostitutes and their ilk don't technically deal in love, their profession fascinates Philia for the way it interacts with love, and she finds it amusing to punish those who use prostitutes to break their vows to their partners. Sometimes, she will take interest in a particular person, though this is most frequent when the individual has a greater depth of love than it might seem--such as Elaine Corbin, to whom Philia has not yet revealed herself (and whom she enjoys toying with as well).
Generally speaking, Philia has friends, allies, and enemies. She takes few lovers for herself, though she is glad to help anyone else who might be in need of one (if she likes you, that is). She has even been known to do favors for people, sometimes even without being asked, when she feels particularly generous--though usually these people must have proven themselves in some way or form, such as Shona DunBroch has with her family. Philia was eager to do her a favor, though she was not particularly forthcoming about the details.
As of Late Edit
Shortly after the Blight took Caelum, Philia went on a hunt for her relations. The first she stumbled upon was Lasciel, who had apparently undergone something terrible. Philia told stories of their family in order to help Lasciel recover his memories. They ran into one another again later, when Lasciel... influenced a rebellious fight among refugees. But the Blight did not come only to reunions and pleasant get-togethers. Philia was also sought out by Desire as a result of an agreement that Epithumia had made with Aethenryke. A slight disagreement over the boundaries and usefulness of their powers made the meeting less than friendly.
Despite the Blight, the goddess of love still seems to be somewhat important, fortunately for her. She certainly seems important enough that the High Queen would seek her advice. Philia couldn't help but be flattered by it, though she doubts whether she was any help. Sometimes, doubts are all that you have, although Philia felt no doubt whatsoever when she decided to feed her niece a nice little treat.
In general, the Blight terrifies Philia. She does not know how to respond to the corruption, and even her attempts to comfort her father are more a show of courage than conviction.