Ashava the True Spark is an azata empyreal lord who manifested from marsh lights that danced in Elysium for ages, achieving divinity in doing so.1 Legends hold that Ashava seeks out lonely ghosts who have become lost, leading them to safety at night. Graveyard shrines to Ashava reportedly give lost souls a place where they can rest.2
Among the numerous tales of Ashava and her followers protecting the common folk from will-o'-wisps, one stands out above all others. Long ago, when a hunter became lost, he beseeched the gods but was only heard by two beings: Ashava and Lady Rushlight, who is said to be the first will-o'-wisp. Both attempted to shine and lead the hunter in opposite directions, but he only sat defeated on the corpse of the deer he killed. In his despair, he sang a tune that he often hummed with his wife; in response, Ashava began to dance while Lady Rushlight grew brighter to distract him. The hunter found Ashava's movements much friendlier than Lady Rushlight's glare and allowed her to lead him to safety. Lady Rushlight, having expended so much power, never glowed again and later starved to death.4
Ashava makes her home in the Sparkling Fens at the base of the Mountain of Lingering Soulsong, Elysium's grand peak. Those that approach it hear a lifting melody that accompanies Ashava and her servants in their dances. Travellers cannot get lost, as floating balls of light spontaneously appear to lead them to their destinations. These lights are both servants and extensions of Ashava, and she can control them from anywhere in the cosmos as parts of herself.43
Ashava is often depicted as a seven-foot-tall Varisian woman with long dark hair and flushed cheeks who glows faintly from within. Her gown made of starlight causes Ashava to be partially obscured by shadows, except when under the light of a bright moon. Her flushed, olive skin is complemented by the wreath of moss she wears on her head. Artists often draw Ashava in poses of graceful movement. On Elysium, she usually takes the form of a ball of moonlight, guiding those who get lost to safety.41
Ashava's followers often find much in common with worshippers of Cayden Cailean (who are eager to join a dance), Desna (who enjoy studying astronomy), and Shelyn (who share their appreciation of music). They rarely have conflicts with devotees of other empyreal lords or good deities, but sometimes chafe under the restrictions of lawful ones like Abadar and Torag.5 Her followers share an interest in leading lost souls to the afterlife with Pharasmins and often cooperate with them to put an undead creature to rest. However, they might disagree with them on the methods: while Pharasmin inquisitors only seek to destroy wayward spirits, Ashava's followers wish to peacefully guide them with words.6
Ashava despises will-o'-wisps for spreading fear of the night and the wilds, both of which she loves.4
Church of Ashava
Ashava has a strong following along Varisia's Lost Coast7 and in the Varisian city of Magnimar.8 Most of her worshippers are Varisian humans. She is also revered by good-aligned natural werecreatures, duskwalkers, and creatures associated with the Moon.9
Temples to the True Spark are found in barrows, graveyards, wilderness areas, and isolated communities. Her holy symbol is the silhouette of a dancing woman in front of a full moon. Her most common minions include half-celestial werewolves, lunar nagas, and pegasi.1
Ashava's most devout worshippers spend an hour each day dancing in an isolated area in the moonlight. If the moon is not shining, or they cannot be alone, they pray for the lonely dead and leave a lit lantern for them somewhere dark.1
Some followers of Ashava known as Ashavic dancers use moonlit dances to guide and save souls who have lost their way on the River of Souls. Many of these performances can turn and influence the undead, speak to the dead and spirits, or ward against possession.7
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Lords of the Empyrean” in Chronicle of the Righteous, 8. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- Pathfinder 3, 23. Dynamite Entertainment, 2012 .
- “Bestiary” in It Came from Hollow Mountain, 85. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- “Ashava, the True Spark” in It Came from Hollow Mountain, 69. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- “Ashava, the True Spark” in It Came from Hollow Mountain, 70. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- “Ashava, the True Spark” in It Came from Hollow Mountain, 71. Paizo Inc., 2018 .
- “Ashavic dancer” in Paths of the Righteous, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Magnimar” in The Skinsaw Murders, 59. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Chapter 4: Bestiary” in Planar Adventures, 231. Paizo Inc., 2018 .