A Story of Nalfaerishii
Written by: as told by ReeveSylvane.
Date: May 24th, 1005
It is the human name for the region that the Sylvan Elves once called home. Even the term sylvan is of human origin. The Sylvan simply call themselves elves. Even in their own tongue the word is the same. To them it means ‘free people‘. Sylvan comes from the idea of being in or of the woods. It is ancient, and the most ancient of texts point to a deity known as Sylvanus. But that god is a human belief, a human creation perhaps.
There are many stories told of the elder times when elves were one family and mankind was scarcely more to them than ogres are to us; barbarians on the fringe of the elven utopia. Physically, magically and spiritually the elves were certainly favored above all other sentient creatures bound to this world. But it was not given to them to perpetuate their kind and their way of life quickly. For any number of reasons the elves quarreled as humans emerged and some were chased or cast down into the underworld, whilst others were scattered far and wide. Wherever the seat of elven civilization was it was certainly not in Sylvane.
Some threads of elves live out their lives in the span of two thousand years or so. Some much less. And some are blessed or cursed with eternal life, provided they do not come to an end by violence, or bodily harm at any rate. The elves of Sylvane are of this latter sort. Their pregnancy and childhood is immensely long, children becoming young adults only after two hundred years. Growth of the physical sort mainly ceases after about five centuries give or take three decades. And then, as adults the only changes one can expect are of the mental and spiritual sort. Although, it seems that sometime after twelve hundred years of life some of the men begin to develop beards.
The years wash over these creatures like water over a stone in a river. But if the elves are to be believed the river of years will never wear down the stones that are their people. No disease may take root in their blood and bones, no illness finds foothold. Indeed, one would think that these creatures could endure for many eons. Yet they dwindle as they are inherited by new ages.
Nalfaerishii was what some people refer to as the Elven Home. While there are probably more than a few elves yet living who can recall exactly what it looked like none speak of it to human ears. It is a sacred memory, and one the elves wish we mere mortals never to touch.
The elven home was located somewhere in the region of Sylvane, though no one can or will pinpoint it. Sylvane is a swampland now, a murdered forest frozen in time as the water that floods it is frozen in stagnancy. In the ages before the destruction of Nalfaerishii the elves were a peaceful and sometimes even friendly alliance. A lack of mention in many of the suriviving histories lends to the theory that they were utterly autonomous, treating with the other kingdoms only seldomly. But they controlled the neck of the Crease, and northern trade would need to use their forests for roads. This may have been a serious problem for the mercantile nation of Quickmarsh and for Sothron as well. The dwarves never seemed to want for anything their endless mines could not provide. As for Tantarill, there are many accounts of support sent in both directions. And that is of key interest. There isn't a record of a dispute between Sylvane and Tantarill.
The elves were strong and proud. And their fall was swift and terrible.
In the eve of Sothron's demise while Cruen't was suffering its own troubles and Quickmarsh was overwhelmed Nalfaerishii lay quiet and watchful. Long, it seems, their stargazers had foretold of an age of evil. But no one can be vigilant against such things. One might as well guard against one's own birthday. And so it was that the waters of the Crease began to rise. Few, if any, may have noticed until the lowlands suddenly flooded with the salt water of the sea. And out of this water frightful things crept to drag off the unwary elf.
Nalfaerishii was ungoverned in the sense that man governs itself. They did not sit to a council, they did not vote upon things. There was no royal bloodline to defer to. The elves were governed, each of them, by their very sacred attunement to the Wood Spirit. This might seem like a fairly complicated matter, but most of their lives were directed to the concerns of life for the community, and whenever a dilemma reared its head they listened to this supernatural sense of the collective soul of the woods in which they lived. It almost sounds laughable. But I would counsel against such disrespect. Of their ways, their connection to the Wood Spirit, I will say only this: no promise, no bond, no tie I have ever encountered can equal it. It is not something of intensity, but rather of purity. And that is what was stolen from them.
The closest thing to leaders that the elves have are what we humans generally refer to as elf lords. Their connection is stronger than most, and as they grow older it strengthens. The extent to which the spirit of the elf and the spirit of the wood are entwined cannot be described. But I would liken it to what I understand of the Guardians of the Northern Wilds. It is not, however, hereditary. Nor is it solitary. Rather, there are some few who withstand the test of time and turmoil and hold fast to the way of the woods. I think the unknowing, thoughtless Wood Spirit is afforded a walking, waking, breathing home in these creatures, and in return they are afforded the formiddable strength of all that life. And these creatures, these elf lords are like holy men in their way. Feral, usually, even inhumane, they are nevertheless completely in touch with the spirit of the woods, and they become a synnergistic construct of will and power within a certain domain.
There is always one who may give over every shread of himself to this union. I can only express it like this: if the elf lords that exist are the entire population of the world's lovers, then the Ixxen Iredann is the one who is in true and everlasting love. There is no translation that befits this station. There is only ever one, for the Wood Spirit chooses one, and one chooses the Wood Spirit. Giri, perhaps.
As Tantarill was beginning to sense that war was about to boil over the Crease and into their lands the King, Dreyden Quinn, received one of but four hand written missives ever delivered into Tantarill from the Ixxen Iredann. In seemingly countless centuries the elves had seldom asked for aid. But now they did, and in writing. The elves never recorded anything in physical ways. Always it was story-telling, memory.
Things, the elf lord wrote, were coming out of the water. Things were coming from the woods to the south. Things not of this world. The wood spirit was screaming. And Dreyden Quinn, last King of Tantarill rode out from his castle with an immense host trying to keep up with him. His hope was to honor the plea of Ixxen Iredann Ney'l Otann'i. And in the region that we now call the Soft Woods Quinn was ambushed by an army. He wrote:
It seemed to me that a great mountain had been shattered where no mountains had ever squatted in human or elven memory. Always had those lands been fertile fields, but now were littered with stones. None knew what to make of it, but we dared not delay. So, with much foreboding I did order my men to skirt round to the east.
The wolds rose up, of course, when Quinn's left flank was yielded to them. It was the first record of wolds, but sadly not the last. There were enough of them to tie up the Tantarillian army for most of a day. Quinn mustered his men and they left the cumbersome earth creatures behind. But the Lord of Corruption's agents have ever played games with our hopes and needs. Quinn flew to Nalfaerishii, and all too late.
The Ixxen Iredann is said to have waged a six day battle with the things that came to Sylvane. Six days of depleting his power borne of marriage to the Wood. Six days of attrition for his people. Six days of diminishment. And the records are all hearsay. For the elves record nothing. So all that has been passed through the ages has been tainted with anger, fear and hatred. They say that Ney'l Otann'i, the last of the Ixxen Iredann, was broken when he learned that Tantarill had betrayed him. They say that he went mad with grief for his people and that he called up from withim himself the power to obliterate the enemies within his domain. And the waters receded, the trees died in minutes, and the earth grew rank and fetid. But all of the enemy were gone. No scout of the Nalfaerishii could spy anything but a withering corpse here or there.
Then the Ixxen Iredann took ill. As his lands were now dead or dying, so too was his own body. Disease, I think you know which, took hold in him. It struck him so quickly that he could hardly move. And so he sent one of his sons into the depths of the Elven Home, to the heart of the wood, they say. To retrieve something vital that their way of life might prevail. Ney'l Otann'i died, they say, with a curse upon his lips for mankind. And with him died the Sylvan Elves' ability to connect with the Wood Spirit and their prood against sickness. His son, one of many, never returned but the elves saw the vigor of the enemy return. So they fled. And it is said by more than just the elves that though the Ixxen Iredann lost a son that day the Lord of Corruption gained one.
King Dreyden Quinn arrived a day after the last of the elves had departed their ancestral homelands. All he found were diseased things that spat curses at him for a betrayer and attacked his men uselessly. His name is a vile curse now in Sylvan Elvish.
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 05-28-14 10:21 AM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 05-28-14 10:21 AM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 05-28-14 10:21 AM