Dio, Lord of Angels

[Hermaphroditic, Lawful Good]
Dio, the creator and lord of all celestial beings, is the god of the heavens, but is worshipped by mortals and angels alike. He is responsible for the protection of lawful creatures with a noble disposition, is unflinching in his edicts and intolerance towards evil. Because of this he is also worshipped by a great many Paladins, whose views on morality typically fall under his teachings.

The Lord of Angels appears to have a masculine shape, clad in fabulous white metal armor that glows with the power of a burning sun. Beneath the armor, his true form and sex are difficult to discern, as his body is comprised of pure, solid light with no features to speak of. While Dio is capable of taking other shapes, he refuses to do this, feeling no need to make lesser creatures more comfortable in his presence. Strapped on his back is a massive tower shield made of a flawless, pale golden metal, and on his hip he wears a longsword comprised of blazing holy energy.

Dio’s ultimate goal is the destruction of all demons, and the eventual wiping out of all forms of evil in the world. Singular in his purpose, he does not compromise with any being who is less than devout, and channels his unflinching righteousness through all of his servants so that they may also be infused with the will to eradicate corruption in all its forms. While all creatures with a goodly nature may worship Dio, only the Lawful Good are allowed to serve as instruments of his will on the material plane. Those who do are often drawn into one of his many holy crusades, sometimes for their entire lives.
Portfolio: Lord of Angels
Spheres: Good, Law, Light, and War
Cleric Training:
Clerics and Paladins who enter Dio’s unending war against the tide of evil and darkness are trained side by side. Unlike other orders who tend to train these two professions with a different mindset, to Dio, their purpose is ultimately the same. Clerics begin their training with indoctrination at a young age. They are taught from the start to relentlessly look beyond the immediate corruption, and search for the root of evil. This is done by assigning a young Cleric or Paladin to an older, far more experienced member of the order.

The trainee accompanies their mentor through the majority of their missions and they are expected to serve as a squire of sorts. They serve and attend their master and in turn are given hands on training in the ways of Dio’s Holy Order. While this method is considered a bit extreme given the relatively young age that most children enter service, the hard lessons that they learn facing down evil at a young age are ingrained early. This ensures that a Cleric or Paladin who eventually graduates into full service is less likely to succumb to temptation when they know little other than piety, honor, and strength.

If a youth has survived this harsh training until the age of 16, they are taken back to the Church in which they were first inducted to undergo 2 years of hard study. During this time, their knowledge in the teachings of Dio and the better nature of angles is tested daily. Should the student falter in their studies even once, they are held back as long as needed until they can recite every passage in their texts with unshakable confidence.

Once this knowledge is demonstrated, they are soon graduated to a Cleric or Paladin of Dio. On rare occasions, these students may have their chosen role switched close to graduation day, but the source of this is said to come from on high, possibly from Dio himself.
The Bright Crusade
One of the most prolific undertakings of the Church of Dio, this quest has been taken up on over a dozen separate occasions throughout history. Known for heavily favoring crusades to deal with encroaching evil and corruption, the Bright Crusade focuses on the purging of undeath and chaos from the darker lands of Nexxen. Those with a specific hatred towards these two facets of corruption are chosen for this mission and are expected to delve into the heart of evil like a shining spear, piercing through the night alongside their brethren.

What makes this crusade truly special when compared to the others, is that the leader of the crusade, considered a high honor by itself, is gifted with a planar ally to accompany them for the entirety of the mission. The angel offers their insight, experience, and divine powers in any way the chosen mortal requests, so long as its power is not abused. Furthermore, any divine servant of Dio does not appreciate its time being wasted. If the angel detects that the crusade is wavering in resolve due to the incompetence of the individual placed in command, it is quick to replace them, by force if necessary. Being usurped in such a manner is truly disgraceful in the eyes of one’s peers not to mention Dio himself.

The specific location for the war that will take place is chosen at the time of the crusade’s launch, and is usually revealed as a celebratory event to worshippers and local citizens. Members of the crusade are treated with a certain amount of celebrity and enjoy a great deal of fanfare before leaving for an uncertain yet glorious fate.
Call of Dio
Stride forward through the darkness, shielded by his angels. Stand alone, but never without allies. Bear the Sword and Shield: the hand to smite, the wings to guard, soar to the heavens guided by righteous fury.
Hymn of the Pure
Bound by light, our essence connected
Piercing through darkness, evil rejected
Monsters within and without hold no purchase
For within our hearts we hold Dio’s purpose
Dio has many churches throughout Nexxen, but mostly these churches lie either in large cities for the purpose of amassing followers or as outposts built defiantly within domains of powerful evil forces, inviting conflict with the enemies of the Lord of Angels.
Omasus, the Tomb of Heavens, is a large temple of exquisite craftsmanship located within Systra, the City of Legends. This once served as a tomb built to house the remains of the angels who were slain in the defense of the city against a massive Tarnian invasion. Those parts of the celestials that had not been tainted by the Necrotoxin secreted by the lizardlike monstrosities were sealed in a large crypt far below the city, both as a sign of respect and as a source of divine power to be drawn on in the defense of the city. What the lords of Systra did not expect was that Omasus would draw the attention of worshippers of Dio and holy powers in general to the city, seeking to form a connection with the burial site. As the masses of followers came to reside on the streets before the tomb, the lords and the Church of Dio recognized that Omasus had outgrown its original purpose. Soon after, additional structures were built around the tomb, forming a grand cathedral featuring effigies of many of the angels who assisted Systra in their struggle throughout the outside of the temple. They stand there in great number along its walls, still guarding the city even in death.
Rites: All Rites of Dio must be performed by an anointed Cleric, Paladin, or Divine Servant. Attempting to complete a ceremony or ritual using Dio’s name without his blessing is considered to be a grave insult. Some mortals of a less than moral nature have even been smote for such offenses.

The rituals of Dio involve the burning of incense to symbolize the eradication of corrupting influences, followed by spreading blessed water over the surface of the area the ritual will be conducted in. On the rare occasion the presiding ritualist has a component of divine origin, such as an angel feather, bottled essence, or other such magical resource, these rituals may have their power amplified 100 fold. Obviously, due to the rarity and power of these ingredients, rituals involving their use are only conducted for the greatest of purposes, such as resurrecting a fallen champion or summoning an Angel to aid the caster in some greater purpose.

Common rituals without such expensive ingredients can still be conducted, although their power is somewhat limited. The one exception to this is a spoken prayer for aid in a place of absolute corruption. Dio always hears such pleas from his followers and only fails to answer their call if his power has been blocked somehow.
Burial Rites: The bodily remains of a follower of Dio are always interred in a grave closest to their place of worship. If they did not have a church that they frequented with regularity, they are taken to a large, local temple where they will be properly cared for. If the family of the deceased does not wish it, they are returned to their loved ones within a well made coffin provided by the church. The funerary services for worshippers of Dio are traditional in regards to most humanoid practices. The dead are brought to the church to be viewed by those who knew them in life and words recounting their life’s experience are spoken aloud for all to enjoy. If the deceased was a servant of the deity, such as a priest, their bodies are consumed in a blessed flame that carries their ashes to the heavens. It is believed that such a ritual will grant Dio and his angels strength as they absorb the holy energy that their servant has left behind.
Tithe: Worshippers of Dio are required to tithe 5% of their weekly income on every day of worship for the entire year. Servants of the church tithe 10%. Furthermore, spoils of war gained from Dio’s crusades are given in full to the church, excluding any gold or resources required to cover funeral costs and compensation to loved ones. Those without much money to spare are expected to contribute through labor at church services, such as cooking, cleaning, and repairing structures for their local temple.
Benefits: Both Paladins and Clerics are granted incredible power in eliminating the forces of evil and darkness. A goodly god who encourages war, powerful Clerics can grant great aid to their allies simply by being present, a supernatural confidence exuding from them that raises morale. They also gain the ability to snuff out darkness and chaos with light and law. Combined with the overwhelming power of pure goodness, they are even able to pierce through the magical defenses of those who would directly oppose Dio with relative ease. That is why, despite their somewhat abrasive nature, many find that there is no greater ally to have when combating the greater evils, such as Hellspawn. Those who remain faithful to Dio will rarely find themselves without protection from the supernatural evils that plague Nexxen. His angels are perhaps the most interactive with mortals when compared to other gods, representing the best aspects of divinity. In addition to normal church services designed to feed and cloth his children, his angels are considered another type of service that extends to those under threat of destruction from any evil. While they do not simply roam the material plane seeking to help mortals, they rarely ignore a call from a worthy and needy individual.
Herald and Allies:
Sera [Herald]
Sera, The Blue Dawn, acts as Dio’s Herald. The Blue Dawn is both a title and powerful gift granted to a Planetar of exceptional deed. Sera, a female angel of incredible tenacity, once stood against the amassed children of Hemotis when fighting in the Soul War, without any aid, preventing them from crossing the barrier of planes and entering the mortal realm. While this act almost cost her her life, she bought enough time for another wave of Dio’s angels to arrive and drive the invaders back. Her act of near martyrdom prevented a catastrophe that the gods themselves may not have been able to fix, and for this she was granted the power of The Blue Dawn.

She has blue skin as deep as the ocean, with golden eyes that sparkle with the light of the sun. Almost impossibly beautiful, her head is devoid of hair, save a tightly woven tail of silken blonde hair that shimmers with divine essence. Her great dove wings fade into a pale blue at the tip, and are as strong as steel. She is clad in a silver breastplate with Dio’s symbol emblazoned on its chest, a symbol that flares with righteous anger whenever Hellspawn are near. Her legendary greatsword, Daydreamer, is made of the same pale golden metal as Dio’s shield, featuring a bright blue grip and a large, bladed crossguard of impossible sharpness. It is said that the god stripped it from the massive defender and forged it himself as a gift to his most powerful ally.

Sera appears most often in response to a prayer to deal with powerful demons. With the title of The Blue Dawn, she exudes the sort of power that evaporates weak evil hellspawn simply for standing in her presence. When she arrives on the mortal plane, this power can be seen in the form of a visible golden aura that pulses out from her according to her will. If she is forced to wield Daydreamer, mere mortals are left unconscious by the sheer spiritual energy that explodes from every blow, while demonflesh is burnt like thin paper. When she leaves, the battlefield left behind is war torn and burnt by holy energy, however goodly mortals remain blissfully unharmed ...and well rested.

Dio has many allies on the mortal plane, most of whom are members of his church. Others see that while he is strict and a bit intolerant, his work is necessary in a world teeming with malevolence forever tearing at the seams.

Tolmas Riteseeker [Ally]
Tolmas Riteseeker, a Half-Elf Paladin of Torse is counted as a somewhat unlikely ally. It is most unusual for the servant of another god to call another god friend, however, the two shared an unlikely fate. Both Torse and Dio have a particular hatred for undead, and at one time in Tolmas’ life, he was considered the most powerful Paladin on Nexxen. As such, he drew the attention of Cain, the god of the undead. Amidst his crusade, Tolmas was outwitted by one of Cain’s great necromancers and his tie to Torse was suppressed as the undead hordes surrounded him. Despite the loss of his magic, Tolmas persisted through the undead hordes while nearly being torn limb from limb.

Dio, unable to provide Cain with any of his own power due to his worship of Torse, but seeing in Tolmas the spirit of a Planetar, sent his avatar down to the mortal plane to land side by side with Tolmas so that they might enjoy righteous battle together before Tolmas fell. None would have expected that Tolmas would not only accept this challenge, but even sacrifice himself in defense of the avatar. The Necromancer unleashed a horrid magical device that threatened to drain the essence from Dio, but Tolmas threw his frail mortal body in the way of the deadly magic as Dio stood helpless. Tolmas’ body was destroyed, but the energy was disrupted long enough for the god to recover and deal with the servant of Cain.

Afterwards, Torse’ connection was restored,and Tolmas’ body was resurrected. Finding a kindred spirit within a mere mortal, Dio placed his blessing upon Tolmas with Torse’ permission, granting the noble warrior the protection of two gods.
Relationships with other Gods: Sheld and Sul count themselves as allies to Dio, a relationship that was forged in battle when the three gods formed The Holy Triad. XXX

As the Lord of Angels, Dio has many gods that also despise him, chief among them is Hemotis. The Hellspawn King is the self proclaimed antithesis to Dio, and father of demons. All things Hemotis wishes to create seek to destroy all that Dio has built, and thus the two share a hatred for each other that is timeless. They have been in endless war with one another, with neither one able to gain ground for long, before the other side manages to push back to a more equal position. Theologists suspect that this war is less of a desire and more of a compulsion between the immortal enemies, as any other reasonable immortal beings would have looked for alternative solutions to this self-defeating struggle aeons ago.
A community of mortals and lesser angels known as Heavensguard exists outside of the more traditional factions of Dio’s worship. This fortified village is populated by a variety of mortal humanoids: humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, even some halflings and half-orcs. Their racial prejudices have been set aside for the greater purpose of uniting with the angels that have also taken up a semi-permanent residence there. Heavensguard is at the site of a small rift between the material plane and the hells located on the continent of Tyranok, and was built by followers of Dio wishing to seal the rift. While the rift has taken on a frustrating permanence of its own, so too, has the presence of Dio’s soldiers. Aiding the mortals who have bravely chosen to set down roots here, these heavenly warriors take 5 year shifts protecting the lands from demonic influence. They also ensure that no hellspawn make it through this rift on to other lands, patrolling and exterminating with zealous dedication.
Hellruin and Whiteheart
This pair of items are a Sword and Shield combination, powerful on their own, but nearly unstoppable when wielded together.

Hellruin is a sinister looking longsword with a divine purpose. It features a black blade, grey metal crossguard and grip in the shape of an angel, bound and bleeding against a spiked cylinder. It has the power to bring death to any hellspawn its blade cuts and draws their essence into itself.

Whiteheart is a pure white kite shield with gilded embellishments depicting doves with beautiful humanoid faces flying through the air. It has the power to convert any evil energy, vile or otherwise, into positive healing energy, as well as discordant holy energy.

When the two are wielded in tandem, the wielder discovers that they have the ability to pull the dark strength of demons from their bodies, and refuel their own with divine strength, allowing them to fight indefinitely, save the need for sleep and sustenance.

These magnificent items were first forged by mortal hands, then reforged by the hands of both angels and demons (the latter being forced into service). Lastly, the weapon and shield were brought before Dio himself. He placed his blessing on both weapons, ensuring that their power could never be corrupted or altered by Hemotis. Designed to contain the will of evil and reform it as a source of positive energy, they have also been dubbed, somewhat jokingly by the Clerics of Dio and Torse, as “The True Redeemer”