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Azatas are a race of celestials native to the plane of Elysium, where the pursuit of freedom and goodness is paramount. Azatas are champions of these concepts, great bards, knights, and explorers who roam the planes in search of good folk in need of their help. Frequently described as the most elven or fey-like celestials, azatas nevertheless often have strange, inhuman shapes or can take elemental or eldritch forms. Most have some knightly or courtly title, such as duke, countess, or prince, apparently hereditary, perhaps from a celestial monarchy long abandoned and forgotten. Azatas do not exploit these titles to exert influence over each other, instead using them for personal identification or a bit of self-importance. They are deadly and resolute foes of evil, fearless and clever in battle.
It is not surprising that the three best-known kinds of azatas can all fly, for they rarely stay in one place for long and prefer the thrill of motion and discovery to creature comforts. Most azata “settlements” are little more than a collection of tents around a landmark, gathered over the course of a day to share news, stories, and perhaps good-natured duels, and then packed up again a few days later. Such temporary settlements are colorful and have a celebratory atmosphere, as azatas are quick to greet any of their kind as old friends. Although few can predict when and where an azata community might arise, some groups or breeds of azatas gather in cycles for traditional festivals and reunions. Such gatherings typically take place at a time of mystical consequence, such as on the evening of the lunar equinox, or during less predictable times, such as upon the wedding of two seers, and always in a place of pristine or stunning natural wonder. All azatas fundamentally know when and where the closest or next gathering of their people might occur, and while none are required or even expected to attend, all are welcome. These gatherings do not preclude more permanent azata holdings and communes, however, and the heights of Elysium endlessly ring with the songs of azata choirs.
While the stoic, homebound archons call their cousins flighty, azatas are driven by a crusading nature and feel bored when forced to stay in one place too long. This tendency also means they are unlikely to agree to serve mortals for an extended period of time, preferring to arrive, get the job done, and move on to some other quest or challenge. As much as they seek to spread the cause of freedom and joy, azatas realize that they cannot enforce such virtues throughout the multiverse. Without darkness there can be no light, and without struggle there can be no victory. Understanding this, these celestials remain removed from the majority of mortal conflicts, preferring to act as advisors in such situations rather than champions, granting goodly mortals ownership over their own triumphs. In cases where the forces of evil act overtly, however, and intrude upon mortal worlds, azatas are quick to rally to defend such realms and aid those who have no hope of defending themselves.
Azatas generally work together, but their powerful personalities and strong sense of individual freedom often see them disagreeing on how best to handle a particular situation. While both parties have the greater good at heart, these arguments can fester and grow into long-lasting grudges. In cases where a single azata is convinced his way is right, he might even enter a sort of self-imposed exile, abandoning the support of his kin so he can launch a one-azata crusade against the cruelties of the multiverse.
Most azatas originate from the untamable beauty of Elysium, created and nourished by the influx of goodly mortal souls. Like most other outsiders, they cannot reproduce with each other in the mortal fashion, and often tryst with mortals who prove charming and good spirited. Azatas dally frequently with their own kind, being quick to seek out feelings of love, joy, and companionship, but rarely feel bound or exclusive to merely one lover, regardless of its race.
Azatas speak Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal, but can speak with almost any creature because of their truespeech special ability. See creature subtypes for full details on truespeech and other shared azata traits.
Among the ranks of the empyreal lords, the divine champions of the Upper Planes, stand several unique and potent members of the azata race. While some of these unique celestials hold influence over vast realms and legions of followers, others are lone wanderers and questing heroes seeking only to use their guile, wisdom, and prowess to spread joy and freedom. The following list names several of the most famed azata empyreal lords known and revered upon countless planes and worlds.
Atonga, of Seas and Songs
Aizen Myo-o, the Red Wisdom
Cernunnos, the Stag Lord
Connla, the Wolfhound’s Son
The Forgotten, Free Even from Memory
Itzamna, Who Watches from Clouds
Lada, Lady of Dance
Maahes, the Guardian Beast
Muyingwa, the Seed Thrower
Ibeji, the Twins
Ogma, the Champion
Tsukuyomi, Prince of the Moon
Qetesh, the Sacred Lover
Vikramaditya, Wise and Valorous King