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 Post subject: Elven history and culture
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:37 pm 
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Modern elven society of lost Carandor

*written in a rather dry academic style*

Based on the description by the High Bard Meliniel in the Lay of the Lost (and the experiences of the author). Here given in a short summary, unfortunatly loosing its original poetic splendor in the brief version. The volume where the original text can be found is kept locked away in the library of the lord and only trusted members of elven society is allowed to read it. It is however a truth many elves have heard, but very rarely speak of to outsiders. This summary is written by Valerian Servius, scribe of Darkwoods, for the purpose of educating our young ones who might not yet feel inclined to venture into the magnificent, yet somewhat lengthy, Lay of the Lost.

“If we forget our past we shall repeat the mistakes of our ancestors.”

The 7th generation after the Rising Star was much larger than the generations that came before it, and was to have a large impact on elven society in Carandor. Not only by its own actions, but also largely by the events that followed during the reign of the 8th and 9th generations. It is believed by many that the reason for this dramatic increase of the population was due to the prosperity created by the 6th generation in winning the War of Long Winters. But their larger numbers could not have come about without a new popular belief that individual freedom was more important than maintaining the Tradition of Preservation (described below). Some claim that this new belief sprung from the so called “Spring of New Life” that followed after the war, a popular movement where the joy of life was celebrated by all elves, high and low.

So many and so strong were the Free Speakers (the leaders of the Spring of New Life movement) of the 6th and 7th generation, that they in time came to control society, and started making what many of the Pure Ones (the followers of the Tradition of Preservation) saw as frightening and damaging changes to our society. As is the way of elven politics it was all slowly and very subtly done, using rethoric, diplomacy and lobbyism in a masterful way. But it backfired and the Pure Ones of the aristocracy used their military might to put out “The Flight of the Heart and Mind” as the Free Speakers called their teachings. It lead to the War of Sorrow, which raged unseen and unheard, hidden behind a semblance of peace inside the realm of Carandor for more than ten years. Brother was turned on brother and deep wounds was cut into the fabric of our society. What came after the war was an even stricter order, brought about by the Pure Ones’ overwhelming victory, if any victory could be said to be had in this conflict of brothers and sisters. It is the author’s belief that we all lost something in that war, a part of our dignity and self-respect perhaps.

As the 9th generation was being born our society had been structured into three castes; the ruling religious caste, which included the mages and the scholars, and the obediant warriors and workers. Those born into a caste would stay there for the rest of their lives, and their children would also remain within the caste, thus creating a ruling religious caste which was secure in its position of power, served by the lower castes. It was a society at peace on the surface, but the fires of resentment and the ache for freedom still remained, as The Flight of the Heart and Mind did not disappear, as the Pure Ones had hoped, but continued to be taught in secret to the children of the 8th and 9th generations.

As the rift into another world was discovered many took this as a chance to escape the rigid Carandor society and volunteered to make the dangerous journey, hoping for a life in freedom and joy. Thruth to be told, many of the Pure Ones were not unhappy to see them go.


The Tradition of Preservation
These ancient teachings has since times forgotten preserved the traditions, laws and customs of our ancestors, and made elven society look more or less the same, to the casual observer, for thousands of years. Among other things it teaches us about how the first Greater Souls came into being, and how a part of them are reborn into each and every one of all the elven children being born. It teaches us to be restrictive in giving birth to new life, since a too large generation would spread the souls thinner, and would lessen that generation as a whole. In Darkwoods a new teaching has sprung up that speaks of the Drow as all being offsprings of the same greater soul, which lessens them as individuals and as a whole. Of course the drow would probably tell a different story, should they ever decide to talk to us instead of fighting us.


The Flight of the Heart and Mind
Originally a collection of poems and songs expressing love for life, springtime and free wanderings in the woods, written shortly after the War of Long Winters had finally ended in triumph. These poems started a popular movement called the Spring of New Life (the name of the most popular song), which grew into a political movement, as described above. In short the political statement was that every elf should be free to do as he or she wished as long as not infringing on any other beings freedom to do the same. This was naturally seen as highly controversial by the ruling body of Pure Ones, since the teachings held little or no regard for the Tradition of Preservation. This subtle power struggle lead after several years to the tragedy of the War of Sorrow.

_________________

DM, Groggy Goblin

Retired character:

Lord Valerian Servius
Paladin of the Lady of Light
Retired Council member of Darkwoods
Retired historian and scribe of Darkwoods
Retired Commander of the Victorian Guard

“Life is water, not stone”



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:42 pm 
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Angaráto Singollo is an elven mystic and thinker who came through the rift with the expedition and still remains in the elven community, though he is very rarely seen, since he is said to spend most of his time in the forest meditating. He is famous for never giving a straight answer to anything, instead answering a question with a question, sometimes frustrating his young students into leaving his side. He claims that all answers we need are within each of us, all we need to do is discover them for ourselves. In giving another an answer we are denying that individual growth on his journeys through life. Angaráto is revered for his wisdom and by some seen as a holy man, by others thought of as an excentric with some wisdom. Young elves have in the past spent time with Angaráto, to learn from his philosophy.

Here is in short what his teachings are.


The 4 journeys through life:

The Journey of Earth
The Earth of Life is where our roots are, its where we find our food. We live with and off the soil, its fruits for us to enjoy, but in so doing we should offer something in return.

The Journey of Fire
The Fire of Life speaks to us with passion about joy, beauty and love. It symbolises life and how we live in the world.

The Journey of Water
The Waters of Life join us in our blood and the cycle of rain falling and mists rising. The waters are shared when living with others, and in creating families. It is also shared in all life, be they elven, animal or plants.

The Journey of Air
The Air of Life lifts us when we are ready to pass on. In walking the earth we are rain falling and touching nature around us. In dying we are mists rising, making way for new rains to fall.

In all journeys the answers should be found by the traveller, however Angaráto can help providing the questions.

_________________

DM, Groggy Goblin

Retired character:

Lord Valerian Servius
Paladin of the Lady of Light
Retired Council member of Darkwoods
Retired historian and scribe of Darkwoods
Retired Commander of the Victorian Guard

“Life is water, not stone”



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:45 pm 
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Valerian remembers:

"Our home was located deep in an ancient forest, the trees were hundreds of years old and high enough to reach the sky it seemed. Most of the city was located near the tree tops, and the arcitecture resembled the Tree City, but much more ancient and refined. When standing in our city looking past its splendid buildings and works of art we could see for miles in all directions. Looking east there were lofty mountains towering above us, its peaks always covered in snow. The sun would rise over the mountains, turning their peaks golden. The air was cool in both summer and winter time, which kept our minds clear and our thoughts calm. I hope my parents still watches the sun rise over those mountains."

_________________

DM, Groggy Goblin

Retired character:

Lord Valerian Servius
Paladin of the Lady of Light
Retired Council member of Darkwoods
Retired historian and scribe of Darkwoods
Retired Commander of the Victorian Guard

“Life is water, not stone”



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:47 pm 
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USAgreco66kg wrote:
Yavieba is one of the oldest and most sacred of the elven holidays. As the leaves turn brown with age and the trees seemingly die little by little, in preparation for the cold of winter, it seems an appropriate time to remember those that have passed from this world. Knowing that the winter season will bring hardships, bitter cold weather and such, many keep their thoughts on warmer, cheerier times. The Elven people have traditionally used this as the time for decision making, preparing for the regrowth and flourish of springtime. The weeklong holiday begins with a large festival, thanking the woods for a year of gifts and life, and a time of preparation for the winter to come.

Traditionally at the Yavieba festival, family and friends who have passed from this life into the next are remembered, and their lives celebrated. Not known as a time for sorrow, but a recognition of the changes in their lives, much as the forest of green changes colors to beautiful shades of gold and orange in their final days. In a similar fashion that youth, beauty and romance are celebrated and revered during Ehtele'mele (Elven Vernal Equinox), the wise and aged are especially consulted and revered during the week of Yavieba.

During such festivals, the last remnants of summer are celebrated, including the consumption of a rare elven liquor called elverquisst. Magically distilled from summer fruits and pure sunlight, this light and fruity beverage is enjoyed as if it were a gift.. a final perfect summers day within a glass. Much like the passing seasons, the beginning of the week is filled with song and dance to celebrate the passing spring and summer, the latter part of the week is spent in quiet meditation and decision making, much like the long quiet of winter to come, with many elves seeking solitude for reflection of the previous year, and preparation for the Yenearsira (Elven Winter Solstice, The Elven New Year)

_________________

DM, Groggy Goblin

Retired character:

Lord Valerian Servius
Paladin of the Lady of Light
Retired Council member of Darkwoods
Retired historian and scribe of Darkwoods
Retired Commander of the Victorian Guard

“Life is water, not stone”



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:19 am 
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Timeline of recent Elven history, compiled from remaining sources by Mithreas Elendaril

All dates are given in the Carandor Era. I understand that the Hall of Ancients was founded in 1CE.

Quote:

5019CE: Perendir Luciantil replaces Lilanca Isadair as Lord of Carandor and Leader of the Council. Lilanca is said to have died of old age. Perendir was a relatively young man who had enjoyed Lilanca's favour and was widely expected to be her successor. It is suggested, however, that the other members of the Council are less than happy with Perendir's ascension.

5024CE: Yvoring writes: "A dark mood hangs over fair Carandor. The Council spend their time arguing with one another, and no decisions are reached. Rangers on our borders are increasingly left to safeguard our borders unsupported by units of the Guard." This frank assessment is not uncharacteristic of Yvoring's writings and teachings, and though his words often seem dire there are hints in other works that provide at least partial support for his writings.

5025CE: The Speaker for the Ancients, Farmith Treesong, denounces Perendir to the Council, leading to an almost unheard-of sight. The spirit of Lilanca herself addresses the Hall to oppose the Speaker's words, while other Ancients speak up to support him. It is clear that the Ancients themselves were split on what should be done. Perendir resigns his seat as Lord of Carandor, and heads into self-imposed exile as a ranger on Carandor's borders. No new Lord is immediately appointed, and the Council seems to have been fallen into factions.

5026CE: Farmith Treesong is assassinated by person or persons unknown. Whether this materially affected the balance of power in the Council is unknown. Yvoring writes: "The people of Carandor increasingly find the Council irrelevant, and its decline is feeding a deeper spiritual malaise. The borders are quiet, and most these days seem to care for nothing beyond the City. The arts flourish, however, and there are new wonders to sample almost daily."

5030CE: Councillor Galandril Erminth is assassinated by person or persons unknown. The news does not seem to have caused a massive impact on the city, and there are only a couple of references to it in contemporary writings. This year also brings several high-profile competitions in various artforms, each of which selects a Master of the particular art. These Masters appear to have formed their own Council, known as the "Council of the Arts," though for what purpose none seem to know.

5031CE: The Council of the Arts declares a year-long Festival of the Arts. Though their decree has no authority from the Council of Calandor, it is enthusiastically greeted by the populace, and endorsed by several members of the ruling Council. It is unclear whether the Council itself backed the announcement: some sources say it did, others that it merely received tacit backing from individual Councillors. Whatever the situation, the Festival took place duting this year, and by all accounts was a truly astounding display of all forms of art. Rumours surround the Masters, some good, some much darker.

5034CE: Yvoring writes: "I was honoured by a visit from Councillor Maglor Windsong this evening. Apparantly a human mage has managed to open a rift to another world, and the Council is deciding how to react. Some wish to close this Rift - by any means necessary - while others wish to explore the world beyond, and a third group see this as a human issue and none of our concern.

"Maglor belongs to the second and largest group. There are some complicated politics surrounding this issue, for it appears the Council will nominate one of their number to lead the expedition. Their absence will hurt their position in the Council, but if the expedition is a success they will likely return stronger than before. Maglor wishes to take the risk, and he claims to enjoy the support of a significant number of other Councillors.

"Maigen wishes me to go with him on the expedition, to chronicle the events that occur there. While I was greatly honoured by the invitation, I believe age keeps me from taking such an active part."

However, later that year, he records: "I will be accompanying Maglor. I do not know whether the Lord of Windsong wishes to escape the city, or merely wishes to prevent his opponents having power over the future of this expedition. However, the mood of the city is expectant; something important will happen soon, it seems, and our seers are rarely wrong. I suspect I will find more rest on this expedition than I will in the City."

Other accounts also indicate that Carandor was expecting some great event. Cerathas, a seer in a popular play by Hillion Springdew written that year, utters the lines: "Now comes the time of tests and peril / Of omens dark and readings dire / I see a city torn by turmoil / I see a city's fun'ral pyre." Observers comment that Cerathas never mentioned a particular city, but there seems little doubt that Hillion's seer is referring to current events - or rumours thereof.

The expedition initially consists of two Clans - Windsong & Tane.

5035CE: News reaches the fledgeling settlement in Darkwoods of upsetting events back in Carendor. It is unknown what triggered the event, but open conflict appears to have broken out in the streets. The reports end as quickly as they began, and it is not known for sure whether this was a minor incident that was exaggerated in the telling, or a major event of which only whispers passed through the Rift.

Shortly after the reports Lord Windsong receives an order from the Council in Carandor telling him to prepare for the arrival of a third Clan - Nevarr’t’Lietan. I do not have access to the official records of the time, but Yvoring seems to have had doubts as to their intentions. In a letter to Gildor Eventide on the matter he wrote: "If there has truly been major conflict in Carandor, this Clan might arrive ready for battle. Equally, the Council might be attempting to exert more direct influence over our settlement. Or thirdly, the Clan may share in the ideals fostered here, and the Council's curt tone is an indication of their annoyance at our becoming stronger. In any case, I do not think we can trust the intentions of the Council of Carandor."

The Clan is thought to have reached Wilwarin before the portal collapsed, but it never reached Darkwoods.




This is called the Wolfsong, and you'll see the music to it is quite exquisite. One of my favourite pieces, it was taught me by Yvoring.


Quote:

In the dark of the night you can hear them
The wolves howling wild at the moon
If you walk in the woods you can watch them
They will come if you whistle their tune
For the wolves to the Elves are quite friendly
When we treat them with all due respect
They make good, loyal friends and companions
So the wolf song we'll never forget.

The way of the wolf teaches wisdom
It teaches us not to be proud
For though we have mastered much knowledge
And linger beyond Death's white shroud
The wolf is a master of Nature
He knows all the Mother's own ways
He'll teach them to you, if you let him -
And you'll honour his teachings always.



A copy of a brief speech made by Councillor Silvis Windstalk to an audience at the Hall of Music in 5031, during the Festival of the Arts.

Quote:

I am sure you will all join me in thanking Kilia and Gordin for their exquisite performances. Even in these times of superlative cultural achievement, I think we can all agree that the work of these two surpasses even the high standard of the day. I feel honoured to have witnessed such a perfect demonstration of skill and talent, and will happily offer either or both of them a personal commission should they wish it.

We live in a city of peace and plenty. None need for more than they have, and we are surrounded by those of exceptional talent who make every day a new and pleasurable experience. Truly, our noble City is reaching the pinnacle of its history; a time when all are free to pursue pleasure without worldy concerns to distract us. a time when each of us can fulfil the potential within us.

I would like to extend my especial thanks to the Council of the Arts, whose dedication and inspiration has made this Festival such a success.


I found this fragment hidden in one of Yvoring's old books. I cannot find anything to corroborate it, but if the events within are true it is more than a little disturbing.
Quote:

Old friend,

I write to warn you. Beware of the Masters. I was leaving a party at Sistil's last night when I was accosted by two individuals. One carried a pair of swords and the other no little skill with the arcane arts, and I was in no state to oppose them. I was rapidly rendered unconscious and awoke in a small chamber, little more than a storeroom. There was another there, seemingly a prisoner like myself, but totally without wits. He kept babbling about blood, and demons, and occasionally shouted "I will not!" before breaing down into tears. I stopped trying to get information out of him, and focused instead on getting out. Thankfully the wards placed on the room were weak, and I was able, with effort, to draw on the Arcane. Concealed by my Art, I left my erstwhile cell and swought a way out.

I found it, but not before I caught a glimpse of something I shouldn't. Niltor Ravenwing, Master of Poetry, drenched in the blood of tortured innocents in a room that had seen death.

If it is discovered that I have seen this, I will be killed or worse. There is little you can do, my friend, except be wary. The City is no longer safe.

~A.

_________________
The great thing about D&D is that stupidity is punishable by death. ~ Unknown

That which is eternal can never die.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:25 am 
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As related by Mithreas Elendaril to friends and listeners by the waterfront in the town of Delta, the following day.
Quote:

We entered a dreamworld, inhabited by the souls of the Ancients, and possibly other spirits. It was... unlike anything I have experienced before.
The dreamworld... we entered it through the abandoned hall on the hill in Darkwoods, by the Council building.

At first we saw what can only be a memory or dream of another, for all that it was familiar to me from the tales I have heard and texts I have read. A vast, cavernous Hall, beautiful and grand, intricate and overwhelming. A Hall that does not exist in this world, but in the world before. But the vision of the great Hall was only before us for a few moments, before we found ourselves in a forest. Not the inside of the building, as we expected.

However, we were not in Darkwoods. At least, not the Darkwoods of the present. The forest was rich and lush, full of colour and vibrant with life
We stood on a raised platform, a hill with no base, connected to the forest floor below by a lengthly ramped bridge. From our position we could look over the beauty of the forest... and hear the music that came from within. Such music! We had followed echoses of it to get that far... but there in the forest it was clear and strong, pulling at the very fibres of our hearts.
My memories of the time there are blurred, distant... but I remember singing, lifting my voice to sing words of sorrow and loss, a mournful song to suit the melogy. And I did not sing alone; my words were echoed from far below, by a chorus of unseen voices.

I felt truly at peace there, though sadness was everywhere. The song changed in meaning many times over the course of the evening, but in every case it was as beautiful as anythihg I have ever heard.

It took some time before we were ready to leave that place. We could feel the music calling us deeper intothe forest, but the beauty of the spot was such that even so it was hard to leave. In time, we approached the near end of the bridgeway. The near end was bathed in brilliant white light, and would not permit our passage. A moment after we first touched it, a spectral figure appeared and spoke to us. An Elf, relaxed and at peace, wearing none of the trappings of war and conflict. He spoke in the old tongue, yet we all understood. His voice was calm and bespoke of great wisdom and understanding, and his eyes were unlike those of any living thing I have seen.

He told us that we stood before the Bridge of Time, and that to cross the bridge we would have to tell a secret. The telling would forge a bond betwen us and the spirit realm, stronger the more powerful the secret.
The secrets we spoke will remain known only to those who were there. But in time we all passed through the veil of light and onto the bridge. The Bridge of Time was... as unique as the rest of the experience. To walk along it was to experience one's life in reverse, the memories we did not know we had returning to visit us once more. It is as if we had offered a secret, only to be told all those secrets that we kept from ourselves. I cannot truly describe what I felt on that bridge. All my moments of joy and pain, brought back to me in a sudden rush. We all reached the bottom of the bridge different people, yet, the experience was not without pain.

At the base of the bridge, the figure appeared to us again. He looked at our tear-stained faces, and told us that we had begun, and that we had to see this to the end. Then he quoted something that I did not recognise; about the voice of Loreselor. The name, or word, meant nothing to me.

Leaving the bridge we found ourselves in the heart of the forest. A stream trickled through the grassy floor, and on touching it I could feel the wetness of water, though the Dreamworld seemed more real to the mind than to the body. We heard the music again, a flute playing beyond the far bank of the stream. So we crossed, and gathered on the far bank.
We stood there for a few minutes, quietly discussing where we were. A brilliant white stag appeared off to one side, quoted words of wisdom to resolve our discussion, and vanished.

As it did so, the voices that had sung with me earlier sung once more, weaving a circle around us that we could not see, only hear. I lifted my voice in song once more, trying to encourage them to show themselves. They answered my call and joined their voices with mine, but did not reveal themselves. The others also lifted their voices, and each found their own harmonies - as if our very souls were echoed in that place.

The magic lasted for minutes, but in those minutes I spent hours. I do not know what the others felt, but I could have lived in that moment forever. The voices combined on a single note, then faded. The mist around us parted a little, and we could see the trees once more. We moved forwards once more, walking slowly through the woods.

The next encounter was a raven, that flew out of the mists and hovered in front of us. I reached out to it, and it came and sat on my shoulder. It was weightless, or felt as such. Just as it had seemed to fly more from force of habit than necessity; in that place the bird was no more weight than a dream. It seemed content to sit on my shoulder, and I was content for it to be there. So we moved on to a waterfall surrounded in lights, and a cave beyond. The spirit appeared to us once more, to warn us of the guardians. We prepared ourselves for conflict, though in truth I found it hard to believe that there could be any conflict in such a place.

Yet... the music took on a darker note, sounding more sinister. As it did so the mists seemed to draw in around us, and the peace of the forest seemed a little less restful and a little more... unnerving. Within the wall of light around the waterfall, spirits danced to the sinister sound. Spirits of little form, that seemed to flow from one form to another even as they moved to the music. Music clearly had power in such a place, so I lifted my voice once more, singing a ballad of courage and joy. The nearest spirits ceased their dance to the old music, and one emerged to speak with us.

This time, we were not asked for secrets, but fears.

Once more, however, I will leave the details of what occurred to the memories of those who were there. Suffice to say we were tested, and overcame. Once the tests were done the music started up again, peaceful and joyful. It clearly came from the cave behind the waterfall, spreading out over the forest. So we approached the cave entrance. The music was all around us, filling us all with a joyful calm.

After a moment we stepped in... and found ourselves back in Darkwoods, by the entrance to the hall once more. The music of the flute was still with us, however, until suddenly it faded. there was a flute lying on the ground beside us. And the rest of the story I fear I cannot yet tell, as it has not yet occurred.


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That which is eternal can never die.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:32 pm 
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On the subject of Carandor, I can only offer the tales I have heard, for I was born in Darkwoods. Here is my favourite, my mentor's description of the Hall of the Ancients.

Carandor was a city of beauty, but its centerpiece was the Hall of Ancients. Nestled in the center of the city like a spider in the center of her web, there the threads were woven that bound us all together. The meetingplace of the High Council, the spirits of those who had gone before also inhabited the Hall, offering their guidance and watching the world.

The base of the Hall was woven of the branches and boughs of the treetops, like other buildings in Carandor. Where the forest was thickest one might have thought that there was no more to it; that the Hall was simply a larger example of the city's architecture. However, where one could see to the sky, the spire of the Hall was visible from the whole city, rising majestically for hundreds of feet to scrape the very clouds and echo the mountain peaks around. It was a constant reminder to all that some of those who went before yet remained among us, a constant reminder of the traditions and history that had brought us to where we were.

To step into the Hall was to step into a living temple. From the moment you entered you could hear the voices on the air, sometimes even see images of the past flashing before your eyes. Around the outer parts of the Hall small rooms were set aside for communion and meditation, and most of us would visit them regularly. The inner areas of the Hall, however, were only opened on occasion.

At the base of the Hall lay the Great Chamber. The size of the Chamber was such that most of the populace could fit within it at one time - I say most, but after many of our people left to come here, I suspect all who were left would have been accommodated together. The floor sloped gently down towards the center, with a raised platform the focus. Above, the ceiling rose up the spire, punctuated by large windows that let in light to illuminate the proceedings below. Though in darkness the Chamber was if anything more spectacular, lit by sorcery. An unfortunate left outside might yet have gained some measure of recompense in watching the patterns of light radiating from the Spire through those windows.

The Chamber was decorated with all the art and beauty that generations of our people had been able to bestow. Words cannot describe the intricacy of even a tiny part of the walls or roof; as well as a temple to the past, the Hall stood as an example of our mastery of the visual arts.

The proudest moment of my life was to be a part of a concert held in that hall. I expect the same to be true when I die, and my spirit dwells among this forest, waiting for my people to find the inspiration to construct our own Hall.

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That which is eternal can never die.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:42 pm 
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((Contribution by Saturos (player of Har'Sul), and reposted here by his permission. Small edits by me for spelling etc, so any remaining mistakes are mine ;)

Written in Elven; Mith has prepared a translation into the Common tongue. This is the basis for the House of Winds. ))


An Oath to Freedom: The House of Winds

For the freedoms we elves so readily enjoy, for the freedoms all other races should take equal part. For those unable to defend themselves from the tyrany of excesive law. To those who feel they should be able to go wherever the winds take them. I write this doctrine, this oath to freedom, this oath to the House of Winds.

This house exists for the sole purpose of protecting and procuring freedom wherever it is in short supply. No duty, not even to protecting your own life is greater. For all the evils in the world stem from one source, this source is law. Law by definition only exists to punish those that would abide by such a common sense of dignity and self preservation. The only people that benefit from laws, are those who break them, and those who make them. For every freedom you deny to those that would obey you so willingly, you give a boon to those who would not, and would break your laws without a second thought. Every rule a law abiding citizen must follow, is a rule a criminal can exploit.

Internal Crime does not exist without law, with law comes a strict definition of right and wrong, a strict definition of how and if you will be punished for breaking of said laws. The difference between right and wrong must be made inside of a persons heart. In this and this only is dignity and honor forged. If something threatens a society the society will act and should be allowed to act as they will to a threat to thier way of life, case by case. A street urchin who has never had anyone to guide them and can only live by stealing should be taken in, not punished as if they were a methodical lifelong criminal with a truly evil heart. The will to eat, to live, is not evil, only the will and desire to make people suffer. A people should be allowed to discern which is which on thier own.

Unfortunately this is not the case, and sometimes the free winds that guide us must be made more tangible. Of all the winds that blow across the world, there are four that are particularly strong. These make up the cardinal winds of this House.

I have gathered today, such a group. Four warriors whose bravery and courage are matched only by their desire to help others and punish those who would abuse kind hearted people.

From the frozen reaches the North wind blows, steady and crystal clear; when this Wind is strong there is nary a cloud in the sky or a mirage on the ground. His intentions are never masked by a will to please, nor will he hesistate to disappoint by speaking plainly. He does what he does and all he does is observable by all. Straightforward and powerful, you, my dear friend Ilian, are the For'Sul, The Northern Wind. Your style of fighting, your personality, and even the two scimitars you carry with you, who share the biting cold of the north, will be passed down from For'Sul to For'Sul, each to the heir they see fit. The North Wind controls all habits of the animals; obeying the cold is vital to thier very existence and as such it is your responsibility to make sure none are forgotten.

From the Western sea come the storms, year by year their ferocity is only matched by the suddeness of their arrival. Though otherwise calm, it is never anyone's desire to provoke this Wind to action. She is a bastion of freedom, and the example by which all threats to freedom should be delt with. Sheila, may your bow guide the Rhun'Sul of every generation. The only thing safe from your fury are the vegitation and plants of all regions. You are their guardian, you give them water, you sustain their life, you are responsible for keeping their secrets.

To the East a dry harsh wind originates, as fiery as the temper of the repressed. Law can not exist here for law makes survival itself ineffecient. In the desert, inefficiency is death. You must be free to seize every opportunity you can, your village, your people, depend on this. Plants and animals are scarce, the only thing in any large quantity is rock, and ore. Denkar, the Numen'Sul, whose hammer has forged with such frequency that it holds the forges' flames themselves. Your steady determination and lack of understanding when it comes to the phrase "too difficult": these were how you earned your freedom, and how you will protect the freedom of others.

To the South the wind grows calm, passive, and pleasing, all forms of life flourish under its slow but steady workings, the life that exists under you is dangerous, often poisonous, but if left to itself can harm no-one. Live and let live is your motto, and you even in your calm state of mind are cunning, and quite capable of swiftly dealing with anything that refuses to let live. Your constant goal is peace and you are more than willing to defend it. Sal'nen, the Har'Sul, the dragon slayer. You risked your life to protect a village of no more than thirty people, from the horrors of a black dragon. This you made a testament to, your weapon is made from his horns. May you teach others such skill, and more importantly, such honor.

_________________
The great thing about D&D is that stupidity is punishable by death. ~ Unknown

That which is eternal can never die.
===
Ex admin-type
Mithreas - Elven sage, wandering bard


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