Illar refers to a transcendent realm of cosmological, mythological, or metaphorical conception. Among the peoples of Relance it is often a byword for paradise, and the question of its actual existence is widely debated.
The origin of the concept of Illar is ancient and unknown. Its oldest known historical reference, in an obscure Tanziban administrative record whose author used it as a euphemism for death, predates the Contemporary Era by over 60 centuries, and implies that the concept was universally known even then, and is thus older still.
Scholars agree that the word Illar itself derives from Te Illaruívnior, the Realm of the Gods as articulted in the Divine Locution—whose immutable phonemic nature likely explains (at least partially) Illar's longevity as a cultural idea.
The concept of Illar spans all of Relance, qualifying it as Knowledge of the Kind. At the heart of the concept, Illar is a paradise. However, the specific interpretation of this “paradise” varies considerably among and within cultures, subcultures, and individuals. It often carries the connotations of wisdom and rationality, at least nominally, and in many cultures is associated with Sourros, the God of Logic and Wisdom. In a few places the association is so strong that Illar is even conflated with the Depths of Sourros.
Nevertheless, being such a widespread idea, Illar usually has an earthy feel to it, existing in people's minds as an affirmation of their ethics and convictions, and as a reaction to the suffering brought on by the world. If one's own land is in famine, then Illar abounds with food. If one's children are sick, then in Illar sickness is unknown. Illar is conceived of as a land earned by honor, duty, love, and wisdom.
The best way, then, to understand Illar without contextual interference is to conceive of it as a metaphorical ideal, a “best possible world.” This Illar is devoid of injustice, illogic, and other external imperfections, and by so doing it contrasts with the real world to offer insight or relief. In everyday life, as well as in ritual, Illar is most often invoked in this idealistic manner.
Its other most common invocation is as a blessing, “To Illar,” for people who face an important journey: children, soldiers at war, newlyweds, the dead and the dying, and leaders entering office.
Rhetorically, Illar is frequently described as “the place of perfection,” and paired with its complement, Illum, “the state of perfection.” This relationship establishes a framework of externality and internality, or, alternatively, one of experience and volition, with Illar's province encompassing the external forces in one's life and the reality of sentience, while Illum encompasses the willful perception, thought, and action that one undertakes throughout life.
Together they are often said to form “true paradise,” which one cannot otherwise attain, for true paradise must be both physical and perceptual.
While virtually all cultures agree that the concept of Illar is aspirational, a best possible world into which people should strive to metaphorically enter, some people also believe that Illar itself is an objectively real place, into which a viutar or other entity could physically enter. There is no definitive physical proof nor divine answer on the matter, but a number of theories exist, some of the most popular of which are listed here:
Relance's two moons, Ishos and Eshos, hold deep religious significance in many Relancii societies, and many people believe that Ishos, or Eshos, or both moons together form the physical realm of Illar. To complete the theological picture, these myths often locate Te Illaruívnior itself in the Galaxy Ribbon, thus allowing the moons to both literally and symbolically serve as the gateway to the high heavens.
Some believe that the worldly seat of the God Sourros, known as the Depths of Sourros, is the site of Illar. Because the Depths of Sourros are mythical to most of the world's inhabitants, believed to lie beyond the edge of civilization, this myth enjoys significant currency across the world, yet in Gala, whose capital city sits on the very ground above the Depths, there is no such association between the Depths and Illar.
Few among the viutari have ever set foot inside the great City of Peers that sits at the center of the world, and virtually none who has ever breathed the air of Relance has glimpsed the full nature of that place. This makes the city a natural container for every kind of myth and supernatural belief, including the legend that the realm of Illar dwells therein.