(azata, chaotic, extraplanar, good)
|Images of azatas|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 23
Azatas (pronounced ah-ZAH-tah) are a race of benevolent celestials native to the plane of Elysium. Azatas are champions of freedom and goodness, and choose to travel the planes helping creatures in need and battling evil. Azatas do not believe that evil can be completely destroyed by methodical campaigns, instead devoting themselves to showing up where they are needed most, do their best to help, then promptly leave.
Even though some think of azatas as the most elf-like of the celestial races, many of them have animal, elemental, or even stranger features and body parts. Many take whimsical forms, resembling the good fey with whom they are sometimes associated.
Azatas are formed from the joy and beauty of Elysium and the constant supply of goodly petitioners from the Material Plane, who often spend some time as a half-celestial before becoming an azata. Like most outsiders, they cannot procreate with each other or with mortals, but will happily engage in short-lived relationships with them. Azatas are always looking for those of kind hearts and light spirits, and seek companionship among them whenever they can, but never for very long.
Azatas build fantastic-looking homes across Elysium. Each maintains multiple homes and frequently moves to accommodate their constantly shifting alliances. They prefer their home plane over everywhere else, but can find inspiration in every place outside of the fiendish planes. They find the wild, primeval First World especially appealing, and maintain a small meeting ground called Amberhearth near the Evergrove. On the Material Plane, they are drawn to both wild areas untouched by civilisation, and large cities where creativity and innovation abound. They rarely reveal themselves, preferring to appear as mysterious, beautiful patrons to artists, whose homes they live in for weeks at a time.
Their archon cousins call them flighty, but azatas view this approach as more realistic. They are also independent creatures, and rarely travel in large groups. Instead, they prefer sating their social needs by gathering from time to time around a well-known landmark, where they set up tents, share stories, and sing songs for a few days before packing it all up again and going their separate ways. These gatherings are often spontaneous with the azatas seemingly just knowing when one of these meetings is about to occur. A few of the bigger gatherings do meet regularly but this is not the norm.
Azatas are passionate and competitive, and earn privilege through heroic deeds and creative works. Some pledge themselves to alliances known as courts, which focus on art, philosophy, music and personal taste. These courts disband as quickly as they form, and even the rare few permanent ones do not have fixed memberships. Non-azatas are almost never invited to these courts.
The primary goal of azata society is to promote freedom and joy throughout the Great Beyond. They understand that these virtues cannot be enforced, but must spontaneously arise, and therefore prefer to act more as advisors than take direct action to confront evil and unyielding law. This allows the people they are helping to achieve their goals on their own, and not depend on the constant aid of celestials. When the forces of evil, particularly fiends, become involved directly in mortal affairs, however, azatas are not afraid to get their hands dirty and fight for those who are unable to defend themselves. Direct intervention is rare, as azatas know that doing so too frequently will stifle mortals' tenacity and fortitude.
Because many azatas have strong personalities and believe in the virtue of free personal expression, they often disagree with one another about the best method to accomplish their goals. These disagreements can sometimes even grow into long-standing grudges, where an individual azata will refuse to help rather than abandon her strongly-held belief.
Many azatas hold noble titles such as "count" or "prince", but it is unclear if these are ceremonial or refer to some kind of ancient monarchy that was abandoned long ago. What is certain is that they use them primarily for identification or perhaps inflate their egos a bit, and never to pull rank over another creature.
Some azatas dedicate themselves to a single empyreal lord, but others only serve temporarily as needs dictate. They look up to their masters but keep their independent nature, as azatas are too untamed to unquestioningly submit themselves to a master for too long.
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