"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 existance 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 charlatanery."
"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 moutaintop."
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 existance 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 symbolised 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 existance.
The leader of the Athar is Factol Terrance, a former cleric of Mishikal who realised 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 with wisdom.
The more quiet of the Athar are those that work silently to help citizens of Sigil realise 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 rucus. 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 cause.
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 affectionatley 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.
Mimir.net Factions Athar. The Mimir's own section on the Athar, with theories and visionaries.
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