Exalted: The Legend of Denandsor
Arilak the Unseen
The Goddess of the Eastern Jungle
Profession: Goddess within the Terrestrial Bureaucracy
Arilak’s natural form is as a beautiful woman with glittering green and gold scales and a moderately draconic countenance- not enough to be unattractive but enough to be distinctly inhuman. She moves with serpentine grace and never hides her long, golden talons. She wears an eerie black opal necklace and heavy robes that constantly shift in colour.
Arilak is a complicated goddess. She was once the goddess of predatory reptiles before receiving a promotion sometime during the First Age. She welcomed her new responsibilities but never quite gave up her old hobbies, and so she has associations with reptiles as well as the jungle. In keeping with the predators of the jungle, she also has associations with venom, stealth, and camouflage. Since reptiles can be extraordinarily long-lived, in addition to all that she also has associations with immortality and health. Like many of the Threshold gods, she lost much to the Fair Folk during the Usurpation, and hates the rakshasa with a passion.
Her worship is widely-practiced, but she has few temples and no monastic order or cult. Virtually all jungle tribes (including southern four of the Six Tribes) worship her in some context, as well all cities and villages bordering on the jungle keep a shrine to her glory. There are a handful of wandering acolytes who preach in her name throughout the Southeast, known as the Unseen Children by civilized humans, who are rumoured to be people who have pledged eternal service in exchange for immortality from the goddess. Interestingly, these Unseen Children practice a unique martial art based on the movements and attack patterns of Claw Striders that is said to have been originally devised by the goddess herself.
Arilak dwells in an earthly sanctum called the Rainbow Palace, an elaborate castle built out of stained glass and jewels somewhere in the deep Southeastern jungle. Here she attends to her divine duties, breeds new species of reptile, and entertains the handful of guests who call upon her at her abode. She deliberates hides the location of her home from mortal eyes, although legend says that if her children are frightened they will always run straight home, so scaring a reptile and then chasing it will eventually lead you to the Rainbow Palace.
Arilak encountered the Denandsor Circle when they journeyed to the Rainbow Palace to try and make amends for displeasing her when Denandsor began to clear jungle for fields. Arilak initially demanded that a marriage be arranged between one of her god-blooded children and a member of the Denandsor Circle, but after being sufficiently impressed by the Circle relented and allowed that she would send a pair of her children to Denandsor, to see if any relationships would form naturally.
Oddly, the god-blooded suitors that Arilak promised to send never appeared. Since no signs of the jungle goddess’ displeasure have been made manifest, it’s unknown whether Arilak is scheming for something in the long term or if she simply was distracted and forgot.