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"Paravians" is the term for the three semimortal old races which inhabited Athera beginning in the First Age. There are three types of Paravian: the Ilitharis, or centaurs, the Athlien, or sunchildren, and the Riathan, or unicorns. These races are the living link to Ath Creator, and cannot die unless mishap befalls them. "To stand in their presence is to know, unsullied, the unconditional love that embraces all things that exist"[1].

Paravians are physical beings carrying a conscious awareness that is beyond dimensional -- they do not percieve linearly, or inside of humans' concepts of time and space. No Paravian has ever been victimized by any type of Possession. Their natural state of conscious awareness would not allow this.[2]

In the absence of hope, Paravians can die very quickly from despair. Through song and motion, Paravians can also erase the imprint of a horrific event from the surrounding environment.


Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Ships of Merior.

The Paravians were created by Ath to heal the ruin of the great drakes' folly during the First Age. After near extermination by the Seardluin, the great drakes summoned the men who would become the Fellowship of Seven to ensure Paravian survival. Once the Seardluin had been eradicated, Ath Creator granted the planet of Athera to the Paravians. They existed in tandem with the human refugees who arrived at the beginning of the Third Age, but faded from the world when the Mistwraith invaded Paravia.

According to strands cast by the Fellowship, the Paravians still live somewhere in the world but cannot be found. The Sorcerers theorize that they may be hiding, or shifted to another frequency. Their prolonged absence has widened the schism between attuned clansmen, who understand the importance of the mysteries, and talent-deaf townsfolk who do not understand why mankind cannot inhabit the continent on their own terms.


The Paravian language is not widely spoken or written anymore. It has three forms[3]:

  • Actualized Paravian: The language of creation used by initiate mages, which carries and imprints the flow of prime power.
  • High Paravian: The language spoken by the Paravians, original to Athera, which "reflects" the flow of power from speaker to listener, but does not invoke actualized creation. It is known and spoken by bards as well.
  • Paravian: Commonly called the "old tongue" by the townborn. Clansmen are taught this language form birth.

Paravian has no connection to Earth languages - however, like Sanskrit, it would have sound and tonal connections to Athera's foundational vibration - a close parallel to the language of Ath's creation. It has been fairly extensively structured, but following no conventional earth language.

Many of the Paravian terms used in the story are compiled in a Language Dictionary on the author's website. Please note that this dictionary is copyrighted by Janny Wurts.


Paravians built many fortresses in the Second Age as defense against the drake spawn. These fortresses were linked via focus circles which were intersect points linking the resonant flow of the mysteries across the continent. The Paravians had begun to vacate their fortresses when mankind arrived in Third Age 1, and their stewardship were often passed to clansmen with the necessary awareness to inhabit them. The initial grants were given to individuals with the strongest heritable family traits. The Paravian fortress of Alestron was given to the s'Brydion family.


Paravian magecraft is wilder than Fellowship magecraft. It is described as older, more primal, and living.


At certain points in the story, humans have received absolution, or redemption, from a Paravian. This absolution is not "given" -- it is claimed by the individual, who will first have to arrive at the (self-imposed) limitation: that the Belief that they were flawed was a self-chosen state of mind. The change from that belief - would shift that person into the state called "absolution".

In the presence of a Paravian, it would be easier to shatter that belief of a flawed self and would allow the person to see himself more clearly and (by his own choice) break through his limited belief that a flaw in the self could not be healed or forgiven.[4]


  1. © Janny Wurts, Ships of Merior, p. 289 (US-Hardback)
  2. Author's FAQ
  3. Forum Post on October 19, 2004
  4. Author's FAQ