Referred to as the All-Father, Elgar'nan represents fatherhood and vengeance, and -- along with his female counterpart, Mythal -- leads the gods. Born of the sun and the Earth, he was the first of the gods. The sun grew jealous of the favor Elgar'nan showed for the things of the Earth, and burned them to ashes. In retaliation, he wrestled and threw the sun down from the sky, but his wife, Mythal, convinced him to free the sun, on the condition that it would be gentle and return to the Earth each night. Dalish elves will invoke Elgar'nan's name when they need to destroy or kill something.
Referred to as the Protector, Mythal represents motherhood and justice, and -- along with her male counterpart, Elgar'nan -- leads the pantheon. When Elgar'nan threw the sun from the sky, the world was covered in shadows, all that remained in the sky the remnants of that great battle: the stars. Mythal convinced Elgar'nan that the life on Earth could not thrive like this; no life could grow without the sunlight. Convinced, Elgar'nan went to the sun, and told him that he would release him if he promised to be gentle and return to the Earth each night. The sun, feeling remorse for his misdeeds, agreed. While the sun slept that first night, Mythal gathered the glowing Earth around his bed, fashioning the moon. Dalish elves will invoke Mythal's name when they require protection.
Referred to as the Guide, Falon'Din represents death and fortune. He guided the dead to the Beyond (the Fade) before Fen'harel sealed the gods off. He and his twin brother, Dirthamen, are the eldest children of Elgar'nan and Mythal. The brothers were inseperable, and both walked the Earth, admiring its many wonders. One day, however, they came across an old and sickly deer. Taking pity on the deer, Falon'Din gathered her up, and carried her to rest beyond the Veil. When his brother Dirthamen tried to follow, but could not find him, and was lost.
Referred to as the Keeper of Secrets, Dithamen represents them. As he attempted to follow his brother, he found himself lost in the shifting lands of the Beyond. He encountered two Ravens known as Fear and Deceit, who attempted to trick him, but failed, and he subdued them so they were now bound to his service, making them carry him to his brother. He found his brother, and remained with Falon'din, who vowed that he would carry all dead to their place in the Beyond.
An elven legend speaks of how Dirthamen gave each creature a secret to keep. The hares shouted their secret to the treetops, the birds sold theirs for gold, and the foxes traded their secret for wings. Only the bears kept their secret, and so the bear is considered sacred to Dirthamen.
Referred to as the Goddess of the Hunt. She is the creator of the Vir Tanahdahl (the Way of the Three Trees) and the sister of Sylaise. The hawk and the hare in particular are beloved of Andruil.
Referred to as the Hearthkeeper. She is the sister of Andruil. She gave the elves fire and taught them how to weave and use herbs and magic for healing purposes. She taught them how to ease the passage of infance into this world, and spin plant fibers into thread and rope. In praise of Sylaise, the Dalish sprinkle their aravels with fragrant tree-moss and pray for her protection.
Referred to as the God of the Craft, all crafts are dedicated to June. After Sylaise brought fire to the People, June taught them how to fashion bows, arrows, and knives so that they could hunt, how to cook the flesh of what they hunted, and how to clothe themselves.
Referred to as the Mother of the Halla, Ghilan'nain represents Guidance and Navigation. She was once one of the People, a mortal woman in the days before Arlathan, and the chosen of Andruil the Huntress. One day while hunting in the forest, she found a hunter she did not known, a dead hawk at his feet. She was filled with rage, and demanded the hunter make an offering to Andruil, but he refused, and thus she called upon the Goddess to curse him; she made it so that he could not hunt, could not kill. He was mocked for his inability, and swore he would find Ghilan'nain and make her pay.
He found her, and blinded her, then bound her. But he found that he could not kill her, so he left her for dead. She prayed to the gods for help, and Andruil sent her hairs to find her. They chewed through the ropes, but she was still wounded and blind, so Andruil turned her into the first halla. She found her way back to her sisters, and led them to the hunter, who was brought to justice. To this day, the halla pull the aravels of the Dalish, and are revered as companions of the People.
Fen'Harel is referred to as the Dread Wolf, the Lord of Tricksters, and Bringer of Nightmares. He did not care for the People. As the gods worked to benefit them, it is said that he kept to himself, plotting the betrayal of all of the gods. It is said that before the fall of Arlathan, the gods were fighting an endless war with others of their kind (known now as the Forgotten Ones). Fen'Harel could walk among both without fear. He told the gods that they must keep to the heavens while he arranged a truce, and to the Forgotten Ones, he said he would arrange for a defeat of the gods, if they would return to the abyss for a time. Both trusted him, and he sealed all away so that they could never again walk among the People.
A statue of him is present in every Dalish camp, far from the camp and facing away from it as a reminder that the Dalish may always be wary.
The Forgotten OnesEdit
There are references in elven mythology to another race of gods. These are gods of evil, with which the Creators fought an endless war. Now known as the Forgotten Ones, even the hahrens know little to nothing about them. According to legend they -- along with the rest of the elven pantheon -- were trapped away from the world at around the time of the fall of Arlathan.
"Only in dreams do we hear whispered the names of Geldauran and Daern'thal and Anaris, for they are the Forgotten Ones, the gods of terror and malice, spite and pestilence." - From the tale of Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf.
Vallaslin: Blood WritingEdit
When a Dalish elf comes of age, they earn the privelege of wearing intricate tattoos representing one of the gods. This is known the blood writing, known as vallaslin in the elven tongue. The actual tattooing is preceeded by meditation on the gods and the ways of the People, and by purifying of the body and the skin. The Keeper of the clan applies the blood writing, and it is done in complete silence. Cries of pain are a sign of weakness; if one cannot tolerate the pain, they are not ready to undertake the responsibilities of an adult. The Keeper may stop the ritual if they decided the person is not ready. This is not looked upon with shame, as all children are different, and the ancient elves once took centuries to come of age. It is unknown whether this is a way of old, or a more recent development.