All of the gods and goddesses of the pantheon have at least some children. Those children, in turn, have had children, and so on, so that before the Great Fall the Nine Heavens were filled with millions of the gods' divine progeny. Most of these beings are now in the Dreamlands, where they continue the Great War against the daedra. Some, however, have made their way to the mortal world, where they often assimilate into human society.
There are a number of races or sub-types of celestials that have existed for countless millennia; these are detailed in the first section below. Since the Great Fall, other types of celestials have arisen from the interbreeding between the fallen gods and various mortal consorts; these are called Earthbound Celestials, and are detailed in the second section.
When a lesser celestial has proven itself worthy of greater power and responsibility, it undergoes a mystical process that transforms it into an archon. Archons are the colonels of the celestial army. They are brilliant tacticians and can wield divine power far greater than that of a deva or eladrin.
Archons rarely enter the mortal realm, but when they do it is an awesome sight to behold. Archons appear as glowing white humanoid figures surrounded by a brilliant yellow globe of light. No discrimination is shown between devas and eladrins when choosing archons, but the candidate chosen must show exceptional capabilities in all respects.
The most powerful and favored of the celestials are called celestial princes. These are the few children of the gods who have shown themselves faithful and skillful enough to be entrusted with their own minor spheres of influence. Such a sphere is always subordinate to that of the particular god or goddess the prince serves; for example, the weather god Dvalin might have princes beneath him with such titles as Master of Lightning, Mistress of the Winds, or Master of Floods.
In addition to the gods' "natural" descendants, some celestial princes are beings who were inducted into the Pantheon from the outside. These may include the gods of older religions, now long dead, or even former mortals who have been apotheosized because they were favored by one of the gods of heaven. Sakkan, Mistress of the Arts, is a celestial princess who falls into this category; see the section on the Muses for more of her story.
The devas are warrior-beings who specialize in doing battle against the daedra and their servants. The first devas were children of Kammoloth by Akkala, but they are now a celestial race in their own right. They can take on a variety of forms, but they most often look like humans or Elves with large feathery wings. Most devas encountered on Earth (about 90%) are female; it is unknown if this is indicative of an actual sex bias in the birth of devas, or if there is simply a difference in the assigned duties of male and female devas.
These celestials are the gods' counterpart to the balrog: fierce combatants who never back down from a fight. Devas, however, also have a wide range of spells and spell-like abilities to call on, which they use in addition to brute force. They are rigidly lawful beings, and their devotion to the Great War is unwavering. Often they will become so committed to defeating a certain evil that they lose sight of the collateral damage their battles are causing; thus, the celestial princes endeavor to keep them on a short leash.
The first eladrins were born to Velena during a short relationship (lasting only a few centuries) between her and Dokorath. Because all's fair in love and war, the eladrin have grown up with far more chaotic tendencies than their cousins, the devas.
The eladrins don't care much for open battle, although they are cunning and effective warriors when need be. Instead, they prefer to work alone, pulling strings here and there and working among mortals to fight the forces of evil and injustice. More than a few uprisings and assassination attempts against evil tyrants were the result of an eladrin's influence. In the Great War, the eladrins are the spies and special-forces operatives, building alliances with the native inhabitants of the Dreamlands while sabotaging the efforts of the Lords of Hell-in-Exile.
Eladrins can take a wide variety of forms to accomplish their goals, but their "truest" form is that of a tall, dark-skinned human with golden feathery wings. About 90% of eladrins encountered on Earth are male; it is unknown if this is indicative of an actual sex bias in the birth of eladrins, or if there is simply a difference in the assigned duties of male and female eladrins.
Most eladrins are committed to the Great War for emotional reasons, despising the daedra's mistreatment of the Dreamlands' inhabitants and fearing what would happen to that realm if the celestials were to abandon it. That having been said, eladrins are far more likely than devas to desert from the War if they find themselves being pulled into the Material Plane. Some feel like their particular talents can be put to better use in the human world, where war is not all-consuming and they can afford to spend years or decades working to reverse some great injustice or social evil. Eladrins have also been known to become attached to individuals whom they consider "special projects", working to turn them to the side of good. More than a few Plane-touched bloodlines have resulted from eladrins who fell in love with their mortal charges.
Nine powerful celestials who are believed to guide events in the mortal world, weaving the tapestry of the future according to the instructions of whatever higher voice directs them (possibly Iluvatar Himself). They are children of Samekkh and Nocturna, and are apparently neutral in the Great War. The true extent of their control over mortal destiny has been a topic of hot debate among theologians for centuries; the Ecclesia denies that they have any power to guide events, but the Meraist Church and many Universalists believe that they play a more active role.
The humblest of celestials, the glimmer appears as little more than a small, glowing ball of light, albeit an intelligent one that can speak to the mind of nearly any creature (assuming the creature has a mind). The other celestials use glimmers as scouts and messengers. Most young celestials born in the Dreamlands start out as glimmers, and advance to more powerful forms with age, experience and merit.
Those few archons who reach a level of achievement that is exceptional even among their own kind are elevated to the level of high archons. If the archons are the colonels of Heaven-in-Exile, then the high archons are the generals. They have only been seen on Earth on a few scant occasions in the entire history of the Lothanasi, and their appearance always heralds some great event in the heavenly realms. High archons appear as glowing white humanoid figures surrounded by a brilliant blue-white globe of light.
If a nymph gains enough power to influence a large area, such as an entire valley or forest, then she becomes a high nymph. At this point she is no longer bound to an individual host, which greatly improves her odds of long-term survival. Most trees, after all, do not live more than a few centuries, but a forest can persist for milennia.
High nymphs are widely regarded as having a rich wisdom about the natural world, and they can often call on the aid of many lesser nymphs (usually their own daughters). Most of the unspoiled wilderness left in the modern world has remained unspoiled because it is protected from mortal exploitation by high nymphs.
Kerubs are descendants of Velena and Kammoloth who are tasked with watching over mortal-kind and ensuring that those who are faithful in their devotion to love and beauty are appropriately rewarded. Their expertise as romantic match-makers is legendary -- as are their occasional misguided efforts, which can be both highly amusing and highly embarrassing.
The kerubs generally feel out of place in the Dreamlands War, and make their way to the mortal plane whenever possible. Many of them have become members of Velena's Hope Foundation, but some live unnoticed among the mortal races, quietly continuing the work they were born for.
Nine goddesses of inspiration, dedicated to the various artistic and creative pursuits. They are Samekkh's daughters, the result of a past relationship with Velena, but he does little to direct their activities. (He cares little for the illogical behavior of most artistic types.) The Muses' immediate supervisor is Sakkan, a goddess who some old tales say was a member of a previous pantheon that was defeated by the current gods and goddesses. According to the story, most of these subjugated deities sought to save themselves by swearing fealty to Lord Kammoloth and taking up low positions within the hierarchy of the Nine Heavens. Sakkan, Goddess of the Arts, was the last surviving member of the old pantheon to submit in this fashion, and she only did so in order to gain the help of the gods in saving her last worshipper from deadly peril. (Some legends also say that Sakkan was once a mere human woman who was apotheosized, but it is impossible to determine whether this story is true.)
Descendants of Wvelkim and Artela, the nereids are sea-nymphs that associate themselves with features of the undersea world -- coral reefs, underwater caves, kelp forests and deep-sea vents. They reproduce by mating with Maeril, and gain power in ways similar to those of nymphs.
Unlike other celestials, the nymphs have always been defined by their connections to the material world rather than the outer planes. Descendants of Artela and an unknown mortal, nymphs are always female; they reproduce by mating with mortals or Dreamlander natives who catch their interest. Each nymph is bound to a host, a particular feature of the natural world -- usually a tree, cave, lake or river. A nymph draws sustenance from the mana generated by its host, as well as any mana conduits that run through the area; a nymph whose host is destroyed cannot survive.
Because of their inherent vulnerability, nymphs are jealous guardians of the wild places where they live, and a mortal who injures or kills one nymph is likely to face retaliation from her sisters and cousins in the area. Nymphs are generally nonviolent, but they can cause trouble for mortals by altering local weather patterns or seducing and then imprisoning them, holding them in suspended animation within their trees, caves or waters. Many a greedy land developer has been forced to give up on harvesting in an old-growth forest simply because all of his employees went missing ... and heavy rains buried the machinery in three feet of mud.
A nymph draws some power from each of her children; dryads, or tree-nymphs, also draw power from each of the trees spawned from her host tree. If a nymph gains enough power in this way -- or by tapping into a strong mana node -- she can become a high nymph, transcending dependence on a single host and expanding her influence over an entire geographical area.
Nymphs resemble extremely beautiful human or Elven women, often with some features that resemble their hosts. Thus, dryads will have leafy hair, and cave-nymphs often have a stony appearance.
Children of Dvalin and Artela, sylphs are weather-spirits typically associated with cloud formations. Like nymphs, they draw energy from natural phenomena, but they are not bound to a specific host. Sylphs rarely interact with mortal civilization, but they have been implicated in sabotaging the weather-control spells around some large cities. They are also known to cooperate with their distant cousins, the nymphs, in retaliating against mortals that despoil nature, sending down heavy rains and the occasional lightning bolt to disrupt the destructive activities.
When one of the lesser celestials mates with a human or other mortal, the result is a Plane-touched -- a mortal with mild supernatural talents and a connection to the forces of light or darkness, law or chaos.
When one of the ex-gods themselves mates with a mortal, however -- or with a lesser outsider -- the result is something more powerful than a normal Plane-touched. Because these individuals are born in the mortal world, they tend to be more human in form and mannerisms than the races of celestials that originated in the Nine Heavens; however, they are still immortal, and as such they are considered true celestials and not mere Plane-touched mortals.
Earthbound celestials are classified by their parentage, and they generally display powers similar to those of their parents, though to a lesser degree. Dokorath and Kammoloth did not have any Earthbound children before they died.
Akkalites: Before the Great Fall, Akkala was faithful to Kammoloth, in spite of his numerous (and infamous) dalliances with mortals and other members of the pantheon. When it was revealed, however, that Kammoloth had seduced a human woman for the sole purpose of creating a living weapon, Akkala's patience finally ran out. She disowned him and chose to remain at Metamor while Kammoloth retreated into the wilderness. She would not see him again. In the years since she has had a series of relationships with mortal humans, who have given her a total of 37 children; however, she has never felt a strong enough bond to any of these men to apotheosize one of them. The Akkalites are active in a variety of organizations dedicated to health and healing, and many of them work with the International Red Spiral, the Imperial Department of Health and the Lothanasi. (Interestingly, two of them have joined Talia's Church of Eternal Brotherhood, assisting them in the development of blood banks and maintenance of a clean, healthy blood supply. While their motives were good, their association with the Vampire Queen has been a source of lasting tension with their mother.)
Artelites: Artela has not had any new children since marrying the king of Quenardya in 1453. Before that time, however, she had brief dalliances with at least three mortals, including an Elven ranger. She had four children as a result of these couplings, two sons and a pair of twin daughters. All four of them share the wanderlust and passion to explore the world that were once Artela's defining traits, and they seldom stay in the same place or profession for more than a few decades. They are a close-knit family, however, and stay in touch with each other wherever they go; because of this, they have often been valuable intelligence-gatherers for their mother, as they see and hear things that might otherwise never reach Quenardya.
Dvalinites: More than any other member of the Pantheon, Dvalin has scattered his seed far and wide. Charming, handsome and charismatic, he has endeared himself to countless lovers over the centuries; at any given time his harem numbers between two and three hundred, and he will quite readily lie with any attractive woman who propositions him. He has chosen to make his seed highly potent, and these couplings invariably result in pregnancy. He prefers human women -- perhaps because they require so little in terms of long-term commitment -- but he has been known to mate with Plane-touched, Silvaan, lesser celestials, and succubae, as well. It is even rumored that he has had a long, secret affair with Talia, the Vampire Queen, though the daedra lord remains mum on the identity of her children's father. All in all, the Dvalinites probably number in the tens of thousands; their appearances are as varied as those of their mothers, but they can be identified by their command over wind and lightning, their pearlescent, opal-like eyes, and their ability to fly with little more than a thought. They are, as a rule, beautiful, charming and passionate, and fearsome to behold when angered. Dvalinites can be found in nearly every walk of life, from the Lothanasi to the Church of Hedonism.
Rickkter's kin: Rickkter and Kayla have had several children over the last 1300 years. All of them have taken on the appearance of theriomorphs, even though they have full control over their appearance. They share their father's ability to enhance combat abilities -- both their own and those of mortals -- but they can usually be found assisting Rickkter in his efforts to prevent war rather than perpetuate it.
Samekkites: Samekkh is slow to show affection, and in the years since the Great Fall he has had only one love -- his Oracle and consort, Ophelia (who was transformed into something resembling a naga by Samekkh's divine power). He apotheosized her in 730 CR, the first of the pantheon to do so, for the power that had sustained her before the Fall had begun to fade. Samekkh could not bear to see one so wise and intelligent wither and die, and it was out of this appreciation of her talents that he came to find true love. She has borne him 15 children over the centuries, and their sound judgment and insight is a source of great pride to Samekkh and Ophelia both. All of their children have served as helpers and assistants in Pyralis at one time or another, but Samekkh does not wish for his children to labor too long under his shadow, and inevitably they make their way to other lands where their brilliant minds will be of use. The children of Samekkh are problem-solvers and tinkerers; where something worthy is being imperfectly done, they will study it, break it down and figure out how to make it better. Majestrix Kyia employs a few of them as researchers and troubleshooters for the Empire of Metamor. (Six of the Samekkites have chosen to follow their hearts rather than pure logic, pursuing interests in art, religion, drama, or other vocations where passion is crucial. Samekkh is somewhat perplexed by this, but he consoles himself with the knowledge that their formidable intellects will surely improve the execution of whatever matter they set their minds to.) All of Samekkh's children are fair-skinned, like their parents, and have naga-like serpentine tails in their natural forms (though they can shapeshift to a more humanoid configuration whenever they wish). They pass this ability on to their own descendants, which often leads to some confusion as to whether one is dealing with a naga of Rukilia or a Plane-touched descendant of Samekkh.
Velenites: On the surface, it seems almost inconceivable that Velena, out of all the gods, should be alone. Yet no member of the pantheon has been more unlucky in love than the goddess of love herself. To be sure, many have sought her affections over the ages, and have received them; the problem is that Velena gives of herself too readily. She has apotheosized a lover twenty-two times, often within a year of meeting them -- and each time she has been forced to accept that power back when her lover left her. The problem seems to be that the types of people Velena is attracted to will enter into relationship with her without understanding the heavy burden that comes with immortality. After the novelty fades, and friends and loved ones age and die, the world seems a sadder and emptier place, and many are unwilling to invest in the whole process of befriending mortals again when they know that the same thing is going to happen. It's also undeniable that Velena spends a lot of her time helping others, and some of her consorts have simply been unable to cope with sharing her attentions with so many other people. Despite the unhappy endings of each of her relationships, Velena has found joy in the children those unions have brought to her -- 73 of them since the Great Fall. Some of them work for the Hope Foundation, but others have spread throughout the world, following interests as diverse as humanity itself. Their powers are similar to those of the kerubs, only more potent, and their actions among humans in need of love are often similar...
Wvelkimites: Wvelkim has remained faithful to his longtime consort, Queen Neria, with whom he fathered the Maeril race. They continue to periodically bear new children, two or three every century, who serve as princes and leaders over the Maeril. They use their command over the forces and creatures of the sea to protect the Maeril and their environment from exploitation by mortal races.
Yajiiti: The gods and daedra lords all responded to the Great Fall in different ways, but only the sun-goddess Yajiit reacted with complete and utter joy. With her essence being fueled by an enormous fusion reactor, Yajiit had been unable to touch anyone or anything prior to the Fall -- the brush of her hand would turn mortal flesh to ashes, and burn even the celestial flesh of her fellow gods. When Merai drained her of the bulk of her power, however, that fiery aura faded away, and Yajiit was at last able to express the gentle, loving heart that had always been inside of her. She discovered sex within days of her transformation, and to this day there are few in the pantheon who engage in intimacy as totally and completely as Yajiit. Pregnancy, too, came as a joy like none she had ever known; having never had children during her years in the Heavens, she soon made up for lost time upon reaching Earth. Yajiit has had over 300 children since the Great Fall -- some by other Outsiders, Elves, Silvaan, and even a few good-hearted lutins, but most by humans. The Yajiiti, as they are called, tend to be soft-spoken but passionate, capable of childlike wonder and appreciation for the simple pleasures of existence. They are peaceful creatures at heart, but if they ever are provoked to anger, their wrath is terrible, as they can produce flames to rival the most powerful sorcerer or pyrokinetic. Yajiiti tend to have golden skin, bright blue eyes, and flame-red hair; they are surrounded by a radiant glow when they are happy, and a dark, roiling smoke when they are angered. They love people, but they prefer small groups to large crowds, and they will be found more often in towns and villages than in big cities like Metamor.