© 2019 Songs of the Lost Islands

 

The Llewenti

 

A sub-group of the Elves known as ‘Llewenti’ in their language. ‘Llew’ meaning ‘Green’ and ‘Wenti’ meaning ‘Elves’ in lingua Llewenti. They were so named because their first Patriarch’s attire was green.

Their appearance is similar to humans, but they are fairer and wiser, with greater spiritual powers, keener senses, and a closer empathy with wild forms of nature. They are for the most part simple, peaceful, and reclusive beings, famous for their singing.

Thanks to their keener senses and perception, they are highly skilled in various crafts, especially when working with natural resources. The Green Elves are wise in the ways of the forest and the natural world.

 

Appearance

Green Elves’ average height is 5’ to 6’. Their build is thin, though those of noble blood tend to be taller and more built. While their skin is fair, their eyes are blue (sometimes green), and chestnut reflections emanate from their blond hair. They have no facial or body hair and are rarely fat or old looking. They consequently are perceived by others as androgynous.

They wear fine tunics, light robes or majestic cloaks when dwelling in their cities and favour green cloaks and leather boots when travelling.

 

Lifespan and death

Green Elves enjoy much longer lives than Men, living for five to six centuries depending on their bloodline.

They generally have few children, often with significant intervals between each child. Queen Llyoriane gave birth to six daughters, the most numerous progeny in Llewenti history. 

Green Elves are not vulnerable to disease and recover easily from injuries.

Those who die of old age make the choice to bind their soul permanently to a tree of their choosing. They become Forest Spirits, thus living many additional centuries in the forest.

The souls of those that suffer violent death are gathered by the deity ‘Eïwele Llyo’ in her great underground hall and are subsequently reincarnated into nebulous spirits that dwell freely. They take the form of dryads or other leafy, tree-like creatures.

 

Origin

The Llewenti are counted among the nine nations of Elves that awoke by the shores of the Inner Sea, in the centre of the Mainland.

In their earliest days, the Llewenti were a collection of wandering Elfin bands, lovers of the forest, which finally formed a tribe that decided to settle in the high trees of the Inner Sea Forest. They were initially hunter-gatherers with a relatively primitive life who could only be found in their homeland, a dense mixed primary forest, with vegetation adapted to the cool climate.

Their Patriarch, Llew the Green, participated in the Council of the Elder Kings. He decided not to accept the gift of immortality offered by the Greater Gods, thus the Llewenti were counted among the seven tribes who chose to remain free. Hence, they are considered part of those Elvin tribes known as simple ‘Wenti’ as opposed to the two nations of the ‘Hawenti’, the High Elves.

‘The Wenti’ may have several meanings depending on the context in which it is used. The literal sense means ‘Elves’ but it often implies ‘Free Elves’ or ‘Simple Elves’.

 

Early History

The Llewenti initially refused to depart from their native land of the Inner Sea Forest, at the centre of the Mainland, until when, around -2,950 LC, raids by monstrous creatures and demons around pushed them to wander the East of the world. Their Patriarch, Llew the Green, was killed, leaving no heir. The Llewenti evolved towards a matriarchal society, living in a community divided into clans.

After Eïwal Ffeyn’s meteorite hit the antipodes of the Mainland in -2,900 LC, they undertook a great march towards the way paved by the deity of storms. They interpreted the fall of the Star as a sign of their salvation, hence their continuous efforts thereafter to migrate south.

Finally, in -2,885 LC, The Green Elves discovered Essawylor and settled in the vast Forest of Five Rivers. The Austral Ocean and the Anroch desert blocked the way south.

For more than two millennia, the Llewenti lived peacefully in the vast forest, away from the chaotic turmoil of the Mainland. Becoming ever more reclusive, they developed a brilliant civilization of intellectual and spiritual splendour, extending considerably beyond the expectations of their original legacy. The Llewenti, who had always been hostile towards Men, only developed trade and diplomatic relationships with the Irawenti of the Ivory Mountains. The two Elvin kins remained loyal allies.   

This very long period of prosperity ended when a large horde of Men coming from the far North attacked the Green Elves dwelling in Essawylor’s western borders, marking the beginning of a long war known as The Wrath of the Trees (-132 LC).

During this troubled period, the legend of the fallen star became a singular obsession for the Llewenti, and the clans organized expeditions across the Austral Ocean to discover the Islands that were promised, that last refuge of the Elves. For over a century, Llewenti ships roamed the open ocean until their most fabled navigator, a lady called Llyoriane, discovered the lost Archipelago beyond the Austral Ocean. She returned to Essawylor and wrote the book of her tales. She was soon proclaimed Queen of the Llewenti by the council of the clans’ Matriarchs (-16 LC).

Over the next few years, a great fleet of long ships was built, and finally Queen Llyoriane led the Green Elves across the Austral Ocean.

Fleeing the devastation caused by the war with the Men of the Desert Horde, the Llewenti left Essawylor and migrated to the lost Archipelago, which was they named the 'Llewenti Islands' (Y 0 LC).

 

Language

The ‘Llewenti’ language is the mother tongue of the Green Elves. They speak no other language, except some noble scholars who are also literate in the ‘Hawenti’ tongue.

The ‘Llewenti’ lingua is the common tongue of the Lost Islands, spoken by all Elves and most Men.     

 

Political structure

Given their independent and free nature, the Llewenti have no overall unity, and are generally unwilling to submit to authority. Only twice in their history has one ruler managed to unite them: Llew, their first Patriarch, and Llyoriane, the only Sovereign they ever accepted.

Nevertheless, after Queen Llyoriane’s reign, her direct descendants, offspring of her love with two deities, were allowed a higher position in the clans’ hierarchy and granted a special status, denoted by the suffix ‘dyn’.

Clans form the basis of Llewenti society, but it is also structured into various cities and ports which are governed by Matriarchs, Warlords, Gwadori (unit commanders) and Gwadorsi (ship captains).

The Matriarchs, or High Priestesses, those who are wise in the ways of the deities, effectively rule the community. They are both judges and lawmakers. They gather their Council at the beginning of every season (the Llewenti calendar is split into three seasons) to decide inter-clan disputes, to devise new policies and set objectives for the Guilds.

The Warlords and their Gwadori and Gwadorsi are in charge of enforcing the decisions taken by the Matriarchs within their respective city or port. In times of war, they are responsible for defending their clan.

All Matriarchs and Warlords belong to the noble bloodline that descends from Queen Llyoriane. While they were more numerous in the early days, there are now only six Llewenti clans on the Islands. Their names are: Myortilys, Llyvary, Llyandy, Ernaly, Llorely and Avrony. 

The clans rarely deal with each other unless forging trade agreements or discussing matters of war. The ‘Council of the Forest’ is what unites the clans. They only meet when called upon in times of great need. This gathering occurs at a sacred place in the forest where religious rites and rituals can be performed to obtain the deities’ favour. The Matriarchs preside over these meetings, and final decisions are always theirs, but it is the Cities’ Warlords who address the crowd and argue their cases. In times of war, a Protector of the Forest is chosen and is entrusted with the command of a united Llewenti army.

The clans of Green Elves are hostile towards Men, who they consider to be enemies. Dealings with the High Elves are limited to trade and diplomacy.  

 

Social structure

They live according to ancient traditions and customs that date back to the early days before their long exodus to the Archipelago. Reclusive, with little interest in the outside world, the majority of Green Elves make their home in safe refuges, such as forests, caves or mountains.

Society is strictly matriarchal (with ancestral lines traced down though mothers), and female Green Elves are the cornerstones of Llewenti social structure. The moral standards are very liberal, and females choose their partners according to their will and requirements. It is not unusual for Llewenti females, especially the most powerful ones, to select several companions according to their merits. Marriage does not exist in Llewenti society. However, the childbirth is celebrated as the most important event in life. Llewenti mothers assume the task of mentoring the children. It is particularly true for those of noble blood, and even more so for those daughters whose bloodline promises a future full of potential.

 

Military structure

All males above the age of thirty are engaged in training with weaponry and possess skills in tracking, stalking and hunting. They make fierce fighters who are highly mobile and adroit. There is no formal army as such. The Council of the Forest can call upon the Warlords and the noble ‘dyl’ to provide fighters for the defense of the territories. The fighters regroup in small units called ‘Gwadi’, composed of twenty-five combatants and commanded by a ‘Gwador’ who leads them. The virtue of his conduct and the glory he earns in sport during festivals are the foundations of his authority.   

The Gwadi gather under the command of the City’s Warlord who sits at the War Council and is responsible for strategy.

The Protector of the Forest coordinates the efforts of the Warlords. 

The Llewenti forces, therefore, should be considered more like a collection of mobile troops rather than an army. Fighters are equipped sparingly, with leather or brass plates, their faces protected by helmets, their arms by long shields. They are a formidable force when faced with an enemy in wooded terrain.

The deadly arrows of the clan Llyvary’s archers, the lethal javelins of the clan Ernaly’s warriors, and the ferocious slings of the clan Avrony’s scouts are powerful instruments in forest warfare.

The riders of clan Llyandy are experts with short bows, famed across the Islands for their archery skills, whereas clan Myortilys troops are considered the most deadly in battle given their superior equipment, discipline and mastery of heavy crossbows.    

 

Settlements and Housing

The Green Elves live mainly in cities which have an associated surrounding territory of substantial size, for communities always utilize their fief’s natural resources. Only armed Gwadi venture outside of the clan’s boundaries to make contact with other cities or participate in extended hunting or fishing expeditions. These groups can tread the forest trails in safety, for they know its dangers and can avoid them. The protection of the forest is considered a blessing.   

The Green Elves mostly live in comfortable wooden houses which they call ‘Meoayi’. Each is painted with a different tint of green. Female Llewenti are the owners of these one-room structures made of beautiful fitted wood. Such typical buildings are raised above the ground by pillars or located on the lower branches of large trees. The cities, referred to as ‘Tios’, make an unusual setting where the houses are set up in tall, stout trees and built upon platforms of wood. The larger the house is, the most preeminent is the owner’s bloodline. 

The ports of the Llewenti, referred as ‘Lla’, have a different organization and rely on walls and gates for their protection. Wide streets are lined with tall wooden houses, among slender pines and flower gardens.

The dominating edifices of the ports are striking buildings made of wood, glass and stone, their architecture being fine and delicate. Thick green vines, interspersed with blue and yellow flowers, paint floral patterns across their front.

Clan Myortilys and Clan Llyandy developed different settlement patterns adapted to their own environments, after they were pushed off their own lands by the armies of the High Elves.

The Myortilys live in the mountains, and their largest city Mentodarcyl is located within the crater of an extinct volcano.  

The Llyandy live in large settlements where ice replaces wood as the main construction material.

 

Currency and Trade

No currency is used among the Llewenti. Gold, silver, coins, indeed currency of any kind, were all prohibited according to the ancient laws of the Llewenti.

Goods and services are available freely to each individual on the market of the city. In return, each Green Elf is a member of a specific Guild and may be compelled to work for the community. Every Guild keeps a shop or a stall in the market. The heart of every city or port is the market, where all the Guilds are located, and where growers and artisans also run stalls. Each Guild is responsible for producing what is required by the community. Every day, food, drink and raw materials, but also furniture, tools, weapons, and all sorts of other goods, are available at the market. The Guilds conduct their business freely, relying on the Council of the Matriarchs to arbitrate and find resolutions to any disputes.  

Precious metals are prized primarily for their value in making ornaments.

Gold and all form of currency are viewed as a pernicious way for some to elude their duty towards the community and avoid providing their share of the work.

The Green Elves only trade what they cannot produce themselves. Barter between the Guilds is the norm. As a result, commerce between the clans across the seas of the Archipelago is limited.

 

Diet

Fruits, berries, wild grains and various trees’ syrups are the basis for their diet. Fish is eaten on occasion, while game is served only during festivals.  

 

Worship

The Llewenti have knowledge of the Greater Gods’ influence. Though they do not worship them, they fear them and consider them a distant threat.

The God of Seas and Waters, Gweïwal Uleydon, is the only exception, due to his realm’s proximity with their Islands. The Green Elves offer him sacrifices to appease his wrath.

Ever since their coming to the lost Archipelago, the Llewenti have worshiped the deities of the Islands with fervour. The three sisters Eïwele Llyi, Eïwele Llya and Eïwele Llyo gave their names to the seasons of the Llewenti calendar and are revered as the deities of love, nature and fate, respectively.  

Eïwal Vars is the most preeminent figure of their pantheon, being Queen Llyoriane’s lover and the progenitor of the ‘dyn’ bloodline. He is worshiped as Deity of hunting, Divinity of war and strength, and Lord of forests and beasts.

Eïwal Ffeyn’s cult is also omnipresent. The Deity of winds and storms, and Divinity of freedom, rebellion and anger is considered as the Llewenti’s greatest ally, and also as the protector of their freedom, though his wrath is greatly feared.

Eïwal Myos’s myth has somewhat waned over time, after he was cast out into the depths of a volcano by Eïwal Ffeyn and Eïwal Vars for his crimes towards Queen Llyoriane. He who proclaimed himself Deity of illusions and shadows, and Divinity of poetry and pleasure is nevertheless fanatically worshiped by the first clan of the Llewenti, the clan Myortilys. He inspires mistrust and even fear among the five other clans.

His seat among the pantheon was taken by a newcomer, first called Lon the Wise, and after his disappearance as Eïwal Lon, Deity of light and wisdom. Little is known about his origins or the reason of his coming in 808 LC, but the Llewenti consider him as a demigod, offspring of the love between a mighty God who came secretly to the Archipelago, and a Hawenti lady of House Dol Valra.    

Each Llewenti city and port comprises temples, built on the main square, dedicated to the six deities. Priests but more often Priestesses serve in those temples. They act as healers and spiritual leaders. The Cults’s leaders make up the Council of the Matriarchs. This group of High Priestesses, capable of wielding great magic, maintains its power through rigid training and a deep bond with their homeland.      

The Irawenti

 

A sub-group of the Elves, they are called ‘Irawenti’ in the language of the Islands. ‘Ira’ meaning ‘Blue’ and ‘Wenti’ meaning ‘Elves’ in lingua Llewenti. They were so named because their first King’s eyes were the colour of tropical seas and azure reflections emanated from his black hair.

Their race is similar in appearance to the Green Elves but darker and wilder, with greater physical powers and a closer empathy with water. They are for the most part a free, joyful and adventurous people, famous for their navigation skills.

Possessed with a natural connection to rivers and oceans, they are at their most productive and skillfull when onboard ships. The Blue Elves are wise in the ways of the sea.

 

Appearance

Less tall and lordly than the High Elves, all tend to be slender, with wiry but muscular agile bodies. Blue Elves have an average size of 5’ to 6’. Their build is similar to the Green Elves, while their skin is darker, lightly tanned because of their preference for living outdoors in the sun. While their skin is dull, their eyes are the colour of tropical seas, and azure reflections emanate from their black hair. Blue Elves are invariably more handsome in appearance than their other Elvin brethren. Their senses are extremely keen, especially hearing, and they possess the rare ability to breathe underwater.

Highly resistant to the extremes of hot and cold weather conditions, their clothing is worn for decoration and modesty. They wear light garments or loincloths when outdoors and favour long togas when participating in ceremonies or important events.

 

Lifespan and death

Blue Elves live shorter lives than their green brethren, usually between four to five centuries. 

They tend to have multiple children, though generally less than four. Due to their carefree nature, they do not age in appearance, always looking like beautiful, careless youths until they grow very old and weary of the world.   

They are immune to disease and infection. They heal quickly and their bodies do not scar. They also recover easily from injuries.

Those Irawenti who reach an advanced age of more than four hundred years, hear the ‘call of the sea’ and will thereafter become obsessed with their last journey. When the time has come, they set out in a canoe or small boat, sailing their way down torrents and rivers until they eventually reach the sea. Their fate beyond that is unknown, but it is commonly believed that Gweïwal Uleydon reincarnates them into dolphins.      

Providing their corpses are returned to rivers or to the sea and appropriate offerings are made, the souls of those that suffered violent death are also summoned by Gweïwal Uleydon. The Greater God of all waters calls them to the depths of the Eastern Ocean, beyond the gates of sunrise. It is thought that they are changed into marine spirits, which will thereafter roam the oceans at his service.

  

Origin

The Irawenti are counted among the nine nations of Elves that awoke by the shores of the Inner Sea, in the centre of the Mainland.

At first, they too were a collection of wandering elfin bands, naturally drawn to river banks. They eventually formed a tribe that decided to settle by the shores of the Inner Sea. They were initially fishers and gatherers with a relatively nomadic life. The Irawenti spread into the Mainland, going up the rivers that flowed to the Inner Sea.

Their first Guide, Azuw, participated in the Council of the Elder Kings. He decided not to accept the gift of immortality offered by the Greater Gods, thus the Irawenti were counted among the seven tribes who chose to remain free.

They were counted among those Elvin tribes called ‘Wenti,’ as opposed to the two nations of the ‘Hawenti’, the High Elves.

‘The Wenti’ may have several meanings depending on the context used. The literal sense means ‘Elves’ but it often implies ‘Free Elves’ or ‘Simple Elves’.

 

Early History

The Irawenti were nomads and explorers who roam the plains of the Mainland along the banks of rivers and streams, until, in -2,950 LC, raids by monstrous creatures and demons forced them to find refuge along the torrents of the Ivory Mountains, north-west of Essawylor, where they settled in -2,906 LC. After the death of their First Guide Azuw in -2,306 LC, his numerous heirs formed the Irawenti aristocracy. Blue Elf society became clan-based: a community divided into homogenous groups.

When Eïwal Ffeyn’s meteorite hit the antipodes of the Mainland in -2,900 LC, they ignored the deity of storms’ call. They chose the familiar security of their mountains over the hypothetical search for the lost Archipelago beyond the Antipodes.

The Blue Elves broke out of their isolation in -2,885 LC, when the Green Elves discovered Essawylor and settled there. Trade routes are organized between the paths of the Ivory Mountains and the vast Forest of Five Rivers.

For more than two millennia, the Irawenti lived peacefully in their high valleys, away from the chaotic turmoil of the Mainland. They extended their realm into secret vales and along cascading rivers of the Ivory region, under the protection of their high mountains’ peaks.

Becoming ever closer to the Llewenti, they developed trade and alliances. Their culture, skills and crafts benefited greatly from contacts with the Green Elves. Discovering the Austral Ocean’s shores, they understood that their destiny was bound to the domain of the mighty Lord of all waters, Gweïwal Uleydon.     

This very long period of prosperity ended when a large horde of Men, coming from the far North, attacked the Green Elves that dwelled in Essawylor’s western borders, marking the beginning of a long war, called The Wrath of the Trees (-132 LC).

The Irawenti were sworn allies of the Green Elves during the first years of the war. In -129 LC, however, they withdrew behind the protection of their mountains, when they realized that the legend of the fallen star had become the Llewenti’s sole obsession, and that the Green Elf clans were organizing expeditions across the Austral Ocean to find the last refuge of the Elves.

For over four centuries, the Irawenti hid behind their high-mountain passes, until, in 268 LC, a distant heir of their First Guide Azuw, captured and tortured by their human enemies, was freed from his bonds thanks to an intervention from Gweïwal Uleydon. He returned to the Irawenti, wearing the insignia of his new charge as messenger of the Lord of all Waters. The Blue Elf hero took the name of Iraw and was soon crowned King of all the Irawenti clans (271 LC).   

Possessed by his new faith, he convinced his people to worship the God of Seas and to free the shores of the Austral Ocean from the presence of the repugnant Men of the desert (Y 301 LC).

The Irawenti warriors pledged their souls to the safekeeping of Gweïwal Uleydon, in exchange for victory in the war against the horde of Men (Y 314 LC).

In 315 LC, the Irawenti clans marched on Essawylor and destroyed the horde, driving them off into the confines of the desert.

King Iraw recognized twenty-nine children from relationships with his many lovers. These numerous heirs (both male and female) formed the new aristocracy of the Blue Elves.

The Irawenti finally settled in the tropical forests. Their domain was located in the tropical latitudes of the Mainland, by the shores of the Austral Ocean, along the banks of the Five Rivers to the peaks and secret vales of the Ivory Mountains.

After the death of King Iraw in 354 LC, the Irawenti shared the Realm of Essawylor between their twenty-nine clans. They adopted the Llewenti calendar and script.

 

Language

Irawenti is the mother tongue of the Blue Elves. It has both Llewenti and Hawenti roots, which makes it easy to understand for other Elves, but it is also rich and subtle. The script is directly inspired by Llewenti letters. 

The Blue Elves also speak a simplified version of the Hawenti tongue, although a typical exotic accent colours their pronunciation.  

Those few who settled on the Lost Islands are also fluent in the Llewenti, the common language of the Archipelago.

 

Political structure

Given their reckless and adventurous nature, the Irawenti have no overall unity and do not accept authority lightly. Only three times in their history has a single ruler managed to unite them:

   - Azuw, their first Guide, who led them safely to the Ivory Mountains’ vales; 

   - Iraw the Messenger, the only Irawenti King ever crowned, who earned them the protection of Gweïwal Uleydon and who bequeathed to them their clan leaders, who thereafter formed their aristocracy. His twenty-nine direct heirs, offspring of his numerous love affairs, and their descendants, were granted leadership over each clan and honoured with the title of ‘dyl’;

   - Aranaele Dor, the Hawenti Queen who introduced the Cult of Cir to the Irawenti clans.

 

The clan is the basis of Irawenti organisation. It is headed by a Guide, assisted by Priests, Commanders and Captains, mostly of noble blood (honoured with the title ‘dyn’). Noble females have influential positions as Priestesses, Seers and Keeper of Pearls. 

The Guide, a noble ‘dyn’ whose bloodline can be traced to King Iraw, effectively rules the community. He is elected by the clan elders. However, his influence is balanced by the council of the ‘dyn,’ whose prerogatives are to make new laws and pronounce judgments. Only a King or Queen’s authority can interfere with each clan’s internal affairs.

The Guide and the ‘dyn’ commanders and captains are responsible for the clan’s protection.

While there are twenty-nine Blue Elf clans in Essawylor, only one Irawenti group reached the Lost Islands. Clan Filweni achieved this great feat twice: Filwen’s sons, the dyn Filweni, led the fleet of the Hawenti Princes to Nyn Llorely in 529 LC, while Feïwal dyn took the Alwïryan to Nyn Llyvary much later in 2,708 LC.   

The clans rarely deal with each other, except when forging trade agreements and coming together to make military decisions. Their soverreign can summon all the clans for specific councils. They only meet when called upon in times of great need. This gathering must occur in a sacred place, such as the Temple of Cir or the Creek of Gweïwal Uleydon (the site where the God of Seas is said to have freed Iraw from the Desert Horde), where rituals are conducted. The sovereign directs the debate but it is the clans’ Guides who make the final call.  In times of war, the sovereign is entrusted with the command of the army.

All clans of Blue Elves are hostile towards Men, who they consider to be enemies, almost as dreaded as the Demons. Their admiration for High Elves led them to accept their tutelage and become their obligors. 

 

Social structure

Blue Elves still live according to ancient traditions and customs that date back to the early days, long before they dwelled in Essawylor. Their obedience to Queen Aranaele royal authority did not alter these principles.  

Adventurous, always inquisitive for the outside world, the majority of the Blue Elves are nomads, who make their home in tents or wooden huts. They roam vast territories, travelling in canoes and small boats along rivers. Others live on the sea’s shores and are great sailors, who have applied their nomadic instincts to the Austral Ocean.

Their clan’s society is strictly patriarchal (traced though one’s father) and the Guide of the clan is the undisputed leader. He relies on the noble ‘dyn’ of the clan for counsel, and will generally listen to the wise advice of a Seer, versed in the lore of the three stars.

The moral standards are very liberal among the Irawenti community, and both males and females are free to choose their partners according to their feelings within or more rarely out of the clan. The duration of these relations is most of the time temporary, but there are also examples of undying love across centuries.

However, children are sacred for these communities; both parents and the clan always take great care of their education and mentoring. 

 

Military structure

The organization during times of war is very similar to that of the Llewenti, who historically were their great allies in conflicts against Men. All males above the age of thirty are engaged in training with weaponry and are skilled at tracking, stalking and hunting. They make fierce, mobile and wily fighters. There is no formal army as such. The sovereign can call upon the clans’ Guides and the noble ‘dyn’ to provide fighters for the defense of the territories. The fighters regroup in small units, composed of twenty-five combatants and commanded by a commander or captain, who leads them into battle. The virtue of his conduct and the glory he earned in sport during festivals are the foundations of his authority.  

The units gather under the command of the clan’s Guide, who sits at the war council and is responsible for the strategy of his troops. The sovereign coordinates the efforts of the Guides. Note that Hawenti units directly serving Queen Aranaele operate on their own without comingling with their Blue Elf allies.   

Thus the army of Essawylor is organized into a disciplined, heavily armed central block, surrounded by many fast and mobile units able to strike at any moment and retreat as fast as they came.

Irawenti fighters wear small helmets and their light chainmail is covered in fine cloth. They are expertly built as warriors; there is a conscription whereby all Blue Elves of the Realm have to be given specialised training. They are educated in the rudiments of warfare and are skilled with the broad sword. Most of all, however, they are renowned as deadly archers. The short bows of the Irawenti are made from overlapping layers of exotic wood, taken from the tropical forests of Essawylor, which endow them with great flexibility and speed. Although the range of these weapons is limited, the archers can unleash accurate volleys of arrows down upon their foes with remarkable frequency. 

 

Settlements and Housing

The Blue Elves live mainly in tents or wooden huts and travel vast territories so that their communities can utilize natural resources across wide areas. Each band maintains a number of fixed campsites inside its territory which are each occupied over the course of the year. The rivers provide them with protection, as they can quickly load all of their possessions into their canoes and small boats to escape.  

Other Irawenti live in large ships which are most of the time anchored at rivers’ mouths, but who can also travel the seas or sail upriver depending on the season. Each is named after its respective clan, and constitutes a place of worship to Gweïwal Uleydon and a majestic work of art: a symbol of what Irawenti craft can achieve.

                                                                                  

Currency and trade

No currency is used among Irawenti. Barter is the norm. Precious metals are prized primarily for their value in making ornaments.

Sea Pearls, which are considered to be direct gifts from Gweïwal Uleydon, are the cornerstone of Irawenti valuation.

Each clan elects a ‘Keeper of Pearls’, responsible for allocating the clan’s pearls among those particularly valuable to the community. Irawenti are only permitted to wear the sea pearls at special occasions, such as feasts, contests or clan gatherings.  

Goods and services are available freely to each clan member. In return, each Blue Elf is compelled to work for the community. Every day, food, drink and raw materials, but also furniture, tools, weapons, and all sorts of other goods, are available at the camp. The Irawenti conduct their business freely, relying on the Keeper of Pearls to arbitrate and find resolutions to disputes.  

Precious metals are prized primarily for their value in making ornaments.

The Blue Elves only trade what they cannot produce themselves. Barter between the clans is the norm. As a result, commerce is limited.

 

Diet

Seafood, including fish and shellfish, from both fresh and saltwater, forms the basis of the Irawenti diet. Fruits, berries, wild grains and various trees’ syrups are also eaten, while whale meat is served only for festive events. Dolphins are considered sacred.

 

Worship

Gweïwal Uleydon, Lord of all Waters, has been their only God since the days of King Iraw, the Messenger. The Blue Elves consider him as their almighty father and offer him sacrifices to appease his wrath. They rely on his favours to provide them with sustenance and protection. They also consider him to be the caretaker of their spirits, responsible for reincarnating their souls into marine spirits or dolphins.    

The Irawenti have knowledge of the other Gods’ influence, but they despise them and consider them to be a distant threat. Since the days of Queen Aranaele, this sentiment has grown into fear.   

After the arrival of the Hawenti in Essawylor, the Goddess Cim, who fertilizes and illuminates the sea, appeared from the depths of the tropical ocean. She shines like a star, absorbing all light and transforming it into most unusual and luminous azure tones. Two other stars are worshiped as Goddesses by the Irawenti: Cil, the star of the heavens, and Cir, the star that is prisoner within the earth’s depths.

The Blue Elves firmly believe in the influence of stars over their destiny. They worship three in particular: Cil, Star of the West, high in the sky, divinity of hope and promise; Cim, Star of the Sea Depths, which dwelt deep in Essaweryl Bay, revered as the divinity of wisdom and regret; and, finally, Cir, Star of the Earth’s Core, divinity of despair and degradation. The wisest Irawenti, visionaries of the clans, know how to interpret their positions. The three sacred stars which, according to their beliefs, hold their destiny, are honoured and praised with ardent singing and fervent prayer.

The positions and the interactions of Cil, Cim and Cir are believed to set the stars of the heavens so that the future can be perceived in the night sky.

Cil, the symbol of hope that shines so brightly in the western night’s sky, is celebrated with effervescent fireworks.

Cim, gleaming light of the sea’s depths and dearest in the hearts of Irawenti, is venerated according to their ancient traditions. Enchanted shimmers of light cast from the deck of ships illuminate the surrounding waters, drawing many dolphins of the bight into a wild dance.

The deadly influence of Cir, divinity of despair and dark light of the earth’s core, is warded off by sacred fires that are lit on land.

There is no particular place of worship for the Irawenti’s different cults, with the exception of the High Temple of Cir, built by Queen Aranaele on the shores of Essaweryl Bay. There is no clergy to preach, lay down the doctrine or enrich the liturgy. Independent priests or priestesses celebrate their faith in natural surroundings within the clan’s territories. They act as healers and seers.

The Hawenti

The High Elves are called ‘Hawenti’ in the language of the Llewenti, as opposed to the ‘Wenti,’ those ‘simple’ Elves who refused the gift of immortality offered by the Greater Gods.

They are divided into two main groups, each ruled by their own kings: the Gold Elves (the most prominent) and the Silver Elves.

Almost every Hawenti living in the Lost Islands is of Gold Elf ancestry. The sovereigns who rule both in Essawylor and in the Lost Islands descend directly from the High King Melindro.  

The Hawenti have a greater depth of knowledge (especially regarding specific crafts) than their other Elvin counterparts, due to racial inclination as well as their extreme age. Their power and wisdom know no comparison, and within their eyes the fire of eternity can be seen. This kindred of Elves were ever distinguished, both by their knowledge of things and by their desire to know more.

 

Appearance

Hawenti tend to be beautiful, noble, morally upright and taller and stronger compared with humans or other Elves. Of substantial build, their average size is 6’ to 7’. They typically have pale skin, a severe gaze and dark hair, while their eye colour varies between brown, grey, blue and green. A hallmark of High Elves is their long and pointed ears.

They wear brightly coloured, elaborately trimmed tunics and robes of fine linens, cottons or silk. 

 

Lifespan and death

The Hawenti were summoned by the Greater Gods to live by their side, and flourished in stature, craft and lore. In exchange of their vassalage, they gained immortality. High Elves are immortal in the sense that they are not vulnerable to disease or the effects of old age, although they can be killed in battle, and may otherwise wither away from grief. Despite their longevity, High Elves generally have few children, with relatively sizable intervals between each child when they do. They are immune to disease and infection. They heal quickly and their body does not scar.

 

Hawenti who reach an extremely advanced age (several thousand years) can develop a form of tiredness of the world, which will induce isolation, affliction and eventually death away from their community.     

Others who suffer a violent death are cremated on a large pyre. It is believed that their souls are thereafter confined by the Greater Gods to vast underground halls where they will dwell until they have made amends for breaking their vows.

The Hawenti do not believe that there is life after death. Thus, their singular obsession is to leave the most memorable legacy possible, be it material or spiritual. The noble and courageous High Elves dedicate their lives to this goal with dignity and heroism.  

 

Origin

The Hawenti made up two groups of the nine nations of Elves that awoke by the shores of the Inner Sea, in the centre of the Mainland.

Their respective leaders participated in the Council of the Elder Kings and decided to accept the gift of immortality offered by the Greater Gods. Thus, in 2,958 LC, they submitted, swore an unshakeable oath and became vassals. They were thereafter counted among those Elvin kin called ‘Hawenti’ as opposed to the seven nations of the simple ‘Wenti’, the free Elves who remained free or were lost.

 

Early History

For many centuries, the Hawenti lived by the side of the Greater Gods on a secret island, at the center of the Inner Sea. During this long period, the Hawenti developed the most advanced civilization and received great knowledge and powers from their divine tutors, until, in -181 LC, the greatest of the Elves, Melindro, led them to rebellion.

Most of the Hawenti broke their vows and returned to the Mainland. In -167 LC, Melindro was proclaimed High King of all Elves and intended to dominate the entirety of the continental lands. He secured control of the North after a glorious victory over the Greater God of Fire’s scions in -162 LC. On that day, eighty Heroes were knighted on the battlefield by the High King. These knights would become the founders of the Dol Houses of the Hawenti. But soon after, in -158 LC, Melindro was murdered. His descendants, sons, nephews and nieces divided his vast dominion in the North into small kingdoms. Victims of the cursed manipulations of the Gods, the Hawenti Princes squabbled over who should take control, until, from -151 LC, they waged kin-slaying wars against each other. Their numbers diminished and they were gradually forced to abandon their vast dominions to Men.      

The First Age of their empire eventually came to an end, and, in 508 LC, they were banished from the North by the Gods as punishment of their treasonous crimes. After escaping the traps of the Equatorial Steppes, the greatest hardship imposed by the Gods they had ever overcome, the High Elves traversed the Anroch Desert, that driest ocean of sand and fire.       

Finally, in 517 LC, their diminished ranks reached the edges of the Forest of Essawylor, to be welcomed by the Irawenti clans.

 

Language

The lingua Llewenti is the mother tongue of the High Elves on the Archipelago and it is commonly used across the Islands between Elves, but also with most Men.

The lingua Hawenti, spoken only by the most ancient of the High Elves, is only used by scholars to write manuscripts of poetry or magic.   

 

Political structure

The Hawenti seek order and design in all facets of their lives. Their governments are dynastic monarchies. Nobility is structured with noble houses of three different ranking: the 'Dor' of royal bloodline, the independant princes the 'Dir' and the vassal lords the 'Dol'. 

The rule of all Hawenti structures, from the greatest realm to the smallest guild, is extremely hierarchical.  The kingdom is divided into provinces, ruled by royal or noble houses, and smaller dominions administered by stewards or regents. Each lord acts as a civil and military commander, but also as an ambassador to neighbouring communities.

 

Social structure

Descent is traced through the father. Marriage must occur within the Hawenti community and outside of the family. It is the most important celebration in any Hawenti’s life, given the significance of that everlasting bond. Typically, the Hawenti consider themselves the most purely good of all the races, and haughtily view all others as being beneath them, especially Men. More than any other nation of Elves, they value the renown of noble bloodlines, hence all nobles benefit from a privileged status. Dor nobles descend from royal bloodlines. Independent princes gave birth to the Dir lineage, while Dol Houses are composed of heirs from the eighty heroes, knighted by the High King after the first battle against the Gods' scions. Lastly, those Hawenti who perform acts of heroism or other glorious deeds are entitled to a second name, thus earning another form of nobility unrelated to their bloodline.      

 

Military structure

The organization of the Hawenti army is based on an elite, permanent army which constitutes the core forces of the sovereign. Battle formations essentially comprise heavy and light cavalry commanded by knights, but also heavy infantry and light archers. Long swords, lances and spears are the favoured weapons and silver chain, scales or plate mail are used to great effect in close melees. Charging to break the enemies’ ranks is the favoured tactic of the High Elf army, as no foe can rival the strength of Hawenti units. The Dor and Dol houses control their own warrior troops. Authority is delegated to sworn knights, who command units of fifty to a hundred troops.  

This field force can be supplemented by other High Elves from the various guilds in the case of open war. 

 

Housing and Settlements

The Hawenti dwell in bustling stone cities. They were careful to interweave their buildings’ architecture with their natural surroundings, creating beautiful and tranquil environments. 

These towns, whatever their size, are all fortified, and other settlements are sparse. Long distances separate the protection of these vast fortresses. They are all located beside military outposts or noble manors and towers. Common High Elves live in rectangular stone structures, several stories high, depending on the wealth of the family. 

 

Currency and trade

While barter will suffice for trade with independent communities such as the Llewenti clans, hard currency is mandatory for any kind of stable exchange with other Elves, Gnomes or even Men. Metal coins, cast with the effigy of the High Elf King, are the everyday currency of trade. The Hawenti kingdoms’ economy works on the silver and gold standards, which are accepted throughout most of the trading communities. Coins come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes. They are minted under a central control. On the Lost Islands, the College of the Ruby in Gwarystan has the monopoly of coin minting, while the Dol houses possess this privilege in Essawylor. Coins are valued for the metal they are made of and their weight.

Wherever they dwell, the Hawenti come to dominate other races thanks to their abilities as craft masters and merchants. High Elves excel in pure industry, craftsmanship and ancient magic, and they also command a different force that is perhaps more powerful still: commerce. The growth of prosperity and their influence in the lands they ultimately conquer is due to their ability at organize production and trade.

In the Lost Islands, merchant companies of the Dor or Dol houses dominate the trade of Gwa Nyn, Nyn Llorely, Nyn Llyvary, Nyn Llyandy and the Sea of Llyoriane. A merchant company buys raw materials or manufactured goods at their point of origin, transports them to the markets where goods will fetch the best price, and then sells them through company-owned trading posts.

Trade roads and sea routes bring the goods and materials of distant lands to Hawenti cities. Most regions produce their own products such as handicrafts, food and clothing, although most commodities can be produced cheaper and faster in specific lands elsewhere.

Laws and regulations controlling such trade are enacted by the king’s council, and the royal army is in charge of severely punishing those who would dare break Hawenti trading laws and customs.

 

Diet

Hawenti subsist on various fruit and vegetables, and their tastes are generally extremely discerning. They have strong preferences for delicate foods and wines, particularly those that possess a great degree of subtlety. High Elves require more food than simple Wenti, for they are taller and stronger. They often hunt, though they will seldom make more food than they can eat in a day. Whatever the portions, the food Hawenti prepare is the finest that can be imagined.

Hunting is the prerogative of nobles or prized fighters, and the only source of meat for the community; it is carefully culled from the excess animal population of their area and done in such a way that it does not disrupt the natural equilibrium of the land. Hawenti never keep herd animals. For drink, High Elves mostly subsist on mineral water from cold mountain springs. However, they are great consumers of wine and beverages of a similar nature, and many Elvin cities and towns cultivate the grapes and grains necessary to the brewing and fermenting of such refreshments.

 

Worship

The vast majority of Hawenti worship neither God nor Deity, and they spurn the teachings of all cults, leaving such exaltation to others since the day they broke free from their lieges, the Greater Gods. The Hawenti only trust in their own wisdom and powers. They abhor the unknown and the tyrannous.

However, there are certain Hawenti who came to the Archipelago for spiritual reasons, seeking the last refuge of the Elves. These High Elves do have faith in the six deities of the Islands. They are known as the Seeds of Llyoriane. In particular, Eïwal Lon, supposed son of a maid from the House Dol Valra, kindled their desire for greater knowledge and wisdom. According to their faith, the Lost Islands will be saved from the ultimate destruction of the world. 

The Morawenti

 

The Night Elves are called ‘Morawenti’ in the language of the Llewenti. The Morawenti are a subdivision of the Silver Elves, the second of the Hawenti nations. They are therefore counted among the High Elves as opposed to the ‘Wenti,’ or the ‘free’ Elves who refused the gift of immortality offered by the Gods.

All Morawenti living in the Lost Islands answer to House Dir Sana, the family who historically ruled in the Starlit Woods, north of the Mainland.

 

Appearance

Morawenti tend to be thinner and taller in size to Men or any other Elves. Their average size is 6’ to 7’. Their very pale skin, almost livid, characterises them while their gaze is deep and mysterious. They all have black hair, while their eye colour varies between dark grey and black. Like all High Elves, they have long and pointed ears. They favour wearing dark coloured tunics with grey or green shades, and robes of fine linens, cottons or silks. 

 

Lifespan and death

Initially forming part of the second Hawenti nation, the Morawenti first answered the summoning of the Gods to live by their side. They flourished in stature, craft and lore. In exchange of their vassalage, they gained immortality. Morawenti, like all High Elves, are immortal in the sense that they are not vulnerable to disease or the effects of old age, although they too can be killed in battle. However, they can wither away from grief or even choose to end their life by committing suicide. Despite their longevity, the Morawenti generally have few children, with long intervals between each child. Their hearts are dry and they are impervious to love or friendship. For them, only the feudal bond to their house has any value. Morawenti see parenthood as a duty towards their ruling house, to perpetuate their kindred. Like other High Elves, they are immune to disease and infection. They heal quickly and their body does not scar.

Morawenti who reach an extremely advanced age can develop a form of depression, which can induce affliction, madness or potentially suicide away from their community.     

Those Morawenti who suffer a violent death are buried directly into rocks in deep forests, as opposed to other High Elves who are cremated on large pyres. Like other Hawenti, it is believed that their souls are confined by Gweïwal Agadeon, to vast underground Halls where they will dwell thereafter to atone for breaking their vows to the Greater Gods.

The Morawenti do not believe that there is life after death. Their goal in life is therefore to create the most important material legacy for the next generation. Cautious and pessimistic, their life is dedicated to accumulating wealth that can be traded-off in times of peril. They will pursue this obsession without dignity nor nobility.  

 

Origin

The Morawenti are a sub-group of the second High Elf nation, the Silver Elves, who awoke by the shores of the Inner Sea, in the centre of the Mainland.

Their first leader, Prince Sindöl, did not sit at the Council of the Elder Kings, but obeyed the decision of his liege, the King of Silver Elves, to accept the gift of immortality offered by the Gods. Thus, like all other High Elf groups, the Morawenti initially submitted, swore an unshakeable oath and became vassals of the Gods. They were thereafter counted among those Elvin kin called ‘Hawenti,’ as opposed to the seven nations of the ‘Wenti’, the free Elves who remained free or were lost.

 

Early History

The Morawenti became Gweïwal Agadeon’s favoured students. Thus they acquired a greater depth of knowledge than other High Elves in specific professions such as smithing and jewellery-making, due to their mastery over the Amethyst Flow. Their knowledge of crafts knew no comparison.

But the Morawenti split from the two main High Elf groups after Gweïwal Agadeon revealed to their ruler, Sindöl, that the natural payment for Hawenti immortality was their souls’ perpetual imprisonment in the Halls of the Dead. The Morawenti broke their word and decided not to follow the rest of the Hawenti. The emotional upset was so great that the Morawenti’s hair and eyes turned black, as a sign of bereavement. They were thereafter called Night Elves, for they chose to favour the shadows of their woods at night rather than enjoying the clear sky of Gweïwal Zenwon, the crystal waters of Gweïwal Uleydon’s domains or the riches of Gweïwal Narkon’s realms. They chose Prince Sindöl to govern them and they settled in the Starlit Woods north of the Mainland.

During this very long period, the Morawenti developed their own civilization and shared their knowledge peacefully with the Gnomes, protégées of Gweïwal Agadeon, until the greatest of the Elves, Melindro, led the Hawenti back to the Mainland.

Melindro was proclaimed High King of all Elves and intended to dominate the immensity of the continental lands, but Prince Sindöl refused to bow in front of the new supreme ruler. The persecution of the Morawenti started with that insult to the powerful Hawenti High King. After Melindro was murdered, his heirs, brothers, sons, nephews and nieces divided his vast dominion in the North of the Mainland into small kingdoms. Victims of the cursed manipulations of the Gods, the Hawenti Princes squabbled over who should rule, until they waged kin-slaying wars against each other. The Morawenti contracted different alliances to survive the chaos, not hesitating to betray their past allies, but eventually Sindöl was captured and sentenced to death by one of the Hawenti Kings. While the number of High Elves diminished and they were forced into gradually abandoning their vast dominions to Men, Sindöl’s sister, Sana, was crowned Princess of Nel Anmöl. Eager for revenge, she decided to betray her liege, the King of Silver Elves. This treachery led to the ultimate kin-slaying war of the Hawenti and caused the end of their Empire. All High Elves were banished from the north of the Mainland by the Gods as punishment for their crimes. The heirs of Prince Sindöl’s bloodline took the name of Dir Sana thereafter, in memory of the princess who exacted revenge against her enemies. Due to the many honour killings they perpetrated, the assembly of the Hawenti noble houses finally denied their heirloom and rank as Prince of the Elves. The last few Morawenti who escaped joined forces with House Dor Ilorm, one of the few royal bloodlines that survived. Their organization was thereafter known as the Guild of Sana.

After escaping the traps of the Equatorial Steppes, the greatest hardship imposed by the Gods they ever overcame, the High Elves of the four surviving royal Houses traversed the Anroch Desert, that driest ocean of sand and fire.       

Finally, their diminished ranks reached the edges of the Forest of Essawylor, where they were welcomed by the Irawenti clans.  

The four royal Houses of the Hawenti ultimately divided and waged war against each other during the battles of Ruby and Diamond, until House Dor Ilorm led the majority of the High Elves across the Sea. Most Morawenti accompanied the Hawenti King, Lormelin the Conqueror, on the journey across the Austral Ocean. Only a very few Night Elves remained behind in the Kingdom of Essawylor and entered active service under the sovereignty of Queen Aranaele Dor Tircanil.

             

Language

Across the Archipelago, lingua Llewenti is the mother tongue of all High Elves, including the Morawenti,  and it is commonly used across the Lost Islands between Elves but also with most Men.

The lingua Morawenti is considered a dead language. Due to the Morawenti’s isolation during their early history and their allegiances with the Gnomes, it has very few similarities with other Elvin languages. It is spoken only between Morawenti and used during rituals and magic incantations.   

 

Political structure

The Morawenti’s obsession for survival as a community was engendered by the trials they have faced throughout their long history. They sought safety and secrecy in all facets of their lives. Their government is dynastic and based upon monarchical absolutism. Its principles were founded at the time of the Principality of Nel Anmöl and, after, within the Guild of Sana. 

 

Social structure

Descent is traced through the father. Marriage must occur within the High Elf community and outside of the family, and is the most important life event given the significance of that everlasting bond. Curiously, Morawenti males are encouraged to marry Ladies of other High Elf kin in order to enrich their bloodline. Fathers decide the life and death of their spouse and also of their children. This harsh rule is seldom applied but guarantees the solidarity of the organisation. Loyalty to the community most important Morawenti principle. 

Typically, the Morawenti suffer from a sort of inferiority complex before the might of those Hawenti who lived longer alongside the Gods. Nevertheless, they consider themselves being part of the most unique civilization of all, and view with arrogance all others, with the exception of the Gnomes, the children of Gweïwal Agadeon. Like any other High Elf nation, they consider the prestige of their sovereign’s bloodline as the greatest. Hence, descendants of Sindöl benefit from a quasi divine status, arousing fanatic fealty from their subjects.  

 

Military structure

The organization of the Morawenti army is based upon small, extremely mobile units able to act independently. There is no permanent army as such. Battle formations essentially comprise light infantry and light archers. Long swords, and spears are the favoured weapons for close combat, and silver chain mail has great protective properties in melees. Light crossbows and short bows are favoured for combat at a distance. The Morawenti are known to poison their arrows and bolts. Harassing the enemies’ ranks with harsh attacks followed by quick withdrawals is their favourite tactic, as only few foes can rival the speed of Morawenti units.

 

Housing and Settlements

The first Morawenti dwelled in isolated caves, hidden in the forest or protected by steep landscapes. They were careful to interweave their lairs’ architecture with their natural surroundings, creating beautiful and calm settings. 

Morawenti now inhabit the towns of the Hawenti, in order to benefit from the protection of their vast fortresses. They favour walled stone structures, which guarantee their privacy and can provide a quick escape route if need be. 

 

Currency and trade

While barter will suffice for trade with independent communities such as the Llewenti clans, hard currency is mandatory for any kind of stable exchange with other Elves, Men and Gnomes. Metal coins showing the effigy of the High Elf King is the everyday currency of trade.

Wherever they dwell, the Morawenti will seek to dominate other races thanks to their skills as craft masters and merchants. Excelling at pure craftsmanship and ancient lore, the Night Elves of the Guild of Sana always seek to accumulate riches and gold by creating monopolies over various trades across the Lost Islands.  

 

Diet

Morawenti subsist on various fruit and vegetables and their tastes are generally extremely discerning. They have a strong preference for delicate foods and wines, particularly those that possess a great degree of subtlety. Like other High Elves, they require more food than Wenti, for they are taller and stronger. They often hunt, though they will seldom make more food than they can eat in a day.

For drink, Night Elves mostly subsist on mineral water from underground springs. However, they are great consumers of wine and consider themselves as the most knowledgeable of all Elves in that field.

 

Worship

The Morawenti do not worship any deity. They trust only in their own wisdom and powers, and abhor the Gods. Religion and faith are signs of weakness and naivety.