== Cult of the Howling Hatred == The followers of elemental air call themselves the Cult of the Howling Hatred. They worship the destructive power of wind and storms, believing that those who venerate elemental air gain the power to punish those who have wronged them. More so than the members of the other cults, air cultists see their beliefs as a means to an end. Destruction for its own sake isn't particularly interesting, but destruction as an expression of personal freedom or to earn things wrongfully denied? Thats a different story.
The Cult of the Howling Hatred appeals to those who deal in perceptions over facts: illusionists, spies, and assassins, for example. Predatory or fierce winged creatures of any kind, even non-sentient monsters that would otherwise resist training, perceive the air cultists as allies and cooperate with them. Hippogriffs, griffons, and giant vultures are frequently used as air cult steeds.
== The Sign of the Howling Hatred == The symbol of elemental air is an inverted triangle with three branching lines above it. Some believe it stands for the funnel cloud of a tornado, while others see it as the superiority of winged creatures over the ground. Some maintain it is an ancient rune that stands for the elemental lord Yan-C-Bin. Whatever their interpretations, the air cultists use the symbol as a secret password of sorts. By touching the thumbs and little fingers together and closing the rest of the fingers into a fist, an air cultist forms an inverted triangle that is a mark of membership in the cult.
== Tactics and Philosophy == Howling Hatred cultists are clever, impulsive, and creative. They usually see themselves as smarter, quicker, and more capable than others they meet. Howling Hatred cultists dislike open battle. They prefer to work in secret, using stealth and illusion to gain their ends with a minimum of force. Tactics of deception and ambush provide the air cultists with opportunities to prove themselves smarter and more resourceful than their opponents. The wind doesn't blow down a castle, but flows around and through it. Infiltration and indirect attack are clearly superior tactics.
Air cultists seek out high places for their strongholds wherever possible, although they value subterranean spaces with wide chasms or lofty vaults. Places where flying is possible are mandatory. The followers of the Howling Hatred understand that sometimes they must put secrecy above other considerations.
== Prophet of Air == The moon elf Aerisi Kalinoth leads the Cult of the Howling Hatred. Tall and slender, with illusory wings that gently fan the air, Aerisi speaks to her people in a whisper that sounds clearly in the ears of all in her presence. Aerisi regards her followers not as cultists, but as her noble subjects. Before them she is prophet and queen. Musicians and courtiers amuse and flatter her, and warriors mounted on hippogriffs serve as her knights.
Aerisi grew up in an enchanted castle in a remote part of Faerun, surrounded by tales, histories, and tomes of magic. She passed her early years playing games, practicing enchantments, and imagining herself as one of the avariel (winged elves) from her storybooks. Her parents' sheltered her from the conflicts of Faerun, and she came of age with a tender and fragile disposition.
Eventually her paren'ts decided it was time for their daughter to engage in elven society, and they brought her to the hidden city of Evereska. Her paren'ts then realized their grave mistake. In pampering and sheltering their daughter, they had raised not a young lady but a spoiled child. Accustomed to having all she desired, the princess erupted into tantrums whenever she was denied her slightest whim, and the moon elves of Evereska could hardly endure her.
Aerisi felt powerless among the moon elves. Although she had become a skilled enchanter in Faerie, her people were resistant to such charms. In her dreams she began to envision herself as one of the winged elves from her storybooks. She wished to control the wind and go wherever she liked, and to punish those who offended her. The childlike fantasies of her youth became dark visions where she ruled the storms and the air itself. She dreamed of an old mystic with brown skin and white hair, who promised to teach her all she desired to know-a vision of Yan-C-Bin, the Prince of Evil Air. Aerisi turned her study to elemental air, learning the secret of flight and escaping Evereska to follow the deluded visions of her dreams.
Aerisis visions led her to a strange altar in a cavern beneath the Sumber Hills, where she acquired the spear Windvane. Driven by Yan-C-Bin, she dubbed herself a queen and set out to find followers to rule. Her enchantments helped fill the ranks of the Cult of the Howling Hatred with initiates hopelessly devoted to her.
Traits.[edit | edit source]
No one can deny Aerisis grace, but she also possesses a violent temper that reveals itself whenever she is denied what she wants. Aerisi is prone to flights of fancy and impulsive decadence. She doesn't see herself as evil because she lacks the capacity to empathize with anyone else. Those who worship and please her are good, and those who defy her are wicked and must be punished. Her wish to lash the world with storms and destruction is, at its root, a temper tantrum against the elven society that dared to impose its strictures on her.
== Enemies and Allies == The cultists of the Howling Hatred find the Black Earth cultists to be coarse, rude, unimaginative, and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Most offensively, the earth cultists are bluntly unimpressed by the Howling Hatred cult and its achievements. Followers of the Crushing Wave are more flexible and inventive, but they are crass mercenaries and likewise too pragmatic to appreciate the finer points of the air cults philosophy. The Eternal Flame is the best of the lot, since the fire cultists share the decisiveness and creative energy of the Howling Hatred cult, even if they are overly proud and aggressive.