THE AHRHIM AVÁ'RÁNN AXIASTRAS

Axiastras, also called "Heila" by the humans, was the initially disputed First Ránn of the patriarchal Ahrhim tribe. Her upbringing in a peasant human family led to a rather unelven outlook on life. She also possessed human dogma and often self and tribal interest; rather than regarding elven people as a whole. Successor of Vená, she became the Avá’ránn in 160 b.S. She turned out to be an industrious and intelligent monarch and in her lifetime proved a powerful image of female authority, regal magnificence and challenged the tribal patriachal tradition and the dominance of the Quaelhoirhim at that time. The regime she established with the indispensable aid of the elven bard, Thiothor, and eventually enjoyed a considerable degree of popular support while achieving a stability and prosperity during the turmoil of the Third Sarvonian War. Under her rule the tribe enjoyed a "golden age" of achievement in art, music, literature and influence. However, despite what seemed to the elves a distinct self interest, her reign and ultimately her life were cut short by her own self sacrifice. She married the Móch'rónn, for tactical reasons, to save Sarvonia from the Móch'rónn’s threatened release of Coór'Mélor from the Grave of Can'doi where he was improsoned.

Axiastras

View picture in full size Picture description: Axiastra the initially disputed First Ránn of the patriarchal Ahrhim tribe. Image drawn by Wren and Faugar.

Biography. Following is a short summary of Axiastras life:

Skeletons in the Family Closet. Axiastras had a tough upbringing. She was the daughter of the ruling Rónn Axthis; a weak leader and not particularly popular with his people. He had also married from outside his tribe, Auenviere, his lifemate from the Aellenrhim and close friend of Aiá'merán. Many of his tribe felt that this was likely to lead to trouble in the long run. The Ahrhim tribe are a strongly patriachal tribe and in the tribes' long history the first child had always been male. But Auenviere had failed to bear the tribe a son and heir by her 150th year. In her 154th year (240 b.S.) she instead gave birth to a daughter, who could not inherit the leadership of the tribe. In despair, frightended of what might happen if the tribe found out and desperate to uphold tribal traditions, Axthis arranged for his uncle, Torntheis to hide the child so no one would know of her existence, and effectively disinherited her from the tribe. Torntheis knew that the best course of action was to make the child’s origins untraceable. He took the new born child that night to the house of a human family who had just been blessed with a baby boy. The child born of Auenviere was swapped with the human boy. The human boy was taken to the Ahrhim court and was brought up the elven heir, the parents taking great care to protect the childs ears. The child himself was simply told that flattened ears ran in the family (royal inbreeding will do that).

Only Axthis, Torntheis and Auenviere knew the true story of the child. While Auenviere was persuaded to keep quiet to save her own blushes, she found it hard to warm to the boy who had replaced her own daughter. She therefore left much of the parental responsibilities to the Rónn and died soon after childbirth. He named the child Kaěnthor and brought him up to be his heir.

The Birth of Axiastras. Axiastras was discovered that morning by the human parents. They recognized the changling immeadiatly, but felt helpless against fate. The villagers of Elsreth knew little of the elves, or the Lords as they called them, and did not know where to start looking for their son. They saw the replacement of their son as an unavoidable fate, though they mourned his loss greatly.

Axiastras grew up with the human name "Heila" and that was the name with which her closest friends adressed her for the rest of her life. She grew up with her human parents and their family of 16, 7 older and 9 younger siblings. While the family was protective of her she never really felt like she belonged, a stranger in their family and often her siblings used this against her. She was teased by local children, and villagers reguarded her with doubt and suspicion.

On his death bed Torntheis told his son Thiothor, a bard and like his father a key advisor to the Rónn, the truth about Kaěnthor and the existence of Axiastras. The bard felt the impending doom that the Rónn's deception would bring upon them and he waited until the day the Rónn became sick before traveling to where the child had been left.

When he found her she was just 14, but he felt that she was owed the truth, young as she was. Axiastras felt relieved, she finally knew who she was, but also very angry. She insisted that Thiothor take her to her father that very day. Thiothor was reluctant, but Axiastra's aggressive arguments persuaded him that on the Rónns death that she should return. From that moment on he felt a great responsibility toward the child, as he had altered her fate.

Thiothor gave Heila the elven name "Axiastras" and a rigorous education in languages, history, rhetoric, and moral philosophy. He was an outstanding tutor, and is said to have marked early in their relationship her fierce temper and headstrong manner. She was a quick learner and an able and dilligent student. However, of greater worry to Thiothor was the unconcerned, rather self-centred streak in the elf that he spent much of the rest of his life trying to conquer.

Axiastras as the Ahrhim Ránn. Four months later, the Rónn died and the 14 year old Kaěnthor became the tribe's leader. Axiastras arrived in the Almatrar three days after his ascension. She came before the Rónn, but he did not believe her claims and had her confined to an abandoned building on the edge of the forest. But the truth was out and the truth nearly ripped the tribe in half.

The tribe was flown into disarray. A brief, but furious, civil war followed between those who held she was the rightful leader and those who would not accept her leadership, nor tolerate her presence in the forest. The Ahrhim had never had a female leader, and the thought was to many in the tribe unbearable and there were many elves in the tribe who did not accept Axiastras as a legitimate daughter of Axthis.

A group of her supporters finally freed the terrified Axiastras from her captures and she went to confront her human counterpart. A long year of negotiations followed. Eventually, accepting the truth and fearful of what was happening to his tribe, Kaěnthor was deposed, leaving Axiastras to lead, finally as undisputed Ránn and he left the forest, in exile, for good.

Doubtless the experience hardened Axiastras and she was no longer under any illusions of what some of her tribe thought of her, despite her advisors trying to soften the blow. She was more than aware that there were those who would see her gone. She ordered Thiothor that he must never hide the truth from her again, and he kept to his word his whole life. Axiastras then simply got down to arranging the tribe to be how she wanted it. Being Ránn she reformed and reduced the size of the Talos or Privy Council from 30 to 19, partly to get rid of whom she felt she could not trust and partly to make the body more efficient. She appointed a number of talented advisors, the most skillful of which was always Thiothor and he remained her final council on any matter on which she had to decide. She reformed the tribe’s ways by teaching young elves of human currency and removing all barriers of trade between the two races that had been created by her father.

The Ahrhim were weak and poorly defended and had no standing army to speak of. At her first High Elven Council meeting she heard about the feared coming of some unspoken evil, and she made it her task to ensure that her tribe would not be beaten in combat. Axiastras arranged for elven children to be taught weapons, and went to meet with the Jhehellrhim, a tribe with which the Ahrhim were in the past forever unfriends, to ask those surviving the Great Slaughter, if they would join her tribe. The strategy was unpopular, and perhaps ill advised as the Ahrhim regarded the Jhehellrhim with great suspicion. Thiothor was notably firmly against the move, but the Ránn would not be dissuaded and few tried to reason with the imposing monarch. Many of the Jhehellrhim did however join the Ahrhim and provided the tribe with a well-trained fighting force and effective teachers. Despite initial grumbling from some of the Talos, the integration of the Jhehellrhim was a great success, and many of the Ahrhim’s preconceptions about the tribe were changed. The new arrivals quickly proved to be hard working and diligent members of their new community.

Axiastras as Avá’ránn. Axiastras was a hard-working monarch, though her motivations were more often than not to further her own reputation. She had no time for the arts, though they flourished under her reign. Her prime concern was military and financial success. And success she achieved. By the outbreak of the third Sarvonian War in 298 b.S. her tribe was well defended and among the quickest troops on the continent, well suited to stealth operations. Luckily Thiothor often tempered her ambitions. And in the year 161 b.S., it is said that he suggested that the Ránn should take a life mate. She of course was not interested. Thiothor tried a change of tactic, and later that year proposed to the Ránn - and to his great surprise she considered the issue for three months. Perhaps the headstrong elf truly did have feelings deeper than she ever allowed to appear at the surface. This will never be clear, however, for in March 160 b.S the Avá’ránn Vená was killed in a confrontation with the one of the four Móhhai, the servants of Coór himself, and his servants in outworking his purposes. Other elven leaders who admired her successes, and rather unaware of her faults, asked that she be the next Avá’ránn. Driven by ambition, she accepted, and rejected almost immediately Thiothor’s proposal.

This perhaps was her first mistake, and set in motion the wheels that would lead to her own downfall. Her second mistake was more fatal. In 135 b.S., after suffering huge losses that year against the darklings she allied herself and the High Elven Circle to Saban Blackcloak, a dark elf with a dislike for Coór’Melór, who unbeknown to the elves was Saban’s father. Thiothor distrusted Saban Blackcloak and ordered the Avá’ránn to end the alliance. She laughed at Thiothor. She did not need to pay him heed, for she was the leader and decision maker of the elven race. She saw the alliance as a risk, but an acceptable one. Thiothor, hurt and angry, turned his back on Axiastras and offered her no more help or advice.

In Saban captured his immortal father and imprisoning him in the now famous Sea Grave of Can'doi, secretly wooing the darklings to join his forces. Saban paraded the weak Coór'Mélor through the elven forests, even took him to a meeting of the High Elven Circle to show the world his power. The price that this mysterious elf demanded for his actions was nothing less than the Lordship over the elves.

Whether Saban ever realistically thought the elves would accept this or not is not clear. But, clearly he had another tactic up his sleeve. When the elves refused to recognize him as their leader (for there are truly no leaders among elves), Saban unleashed his second plan. He and his troops rode to the Almatrar forest to visit Axiastras. In payment for their alliance she would have to marry him. Failure to do so would result in their alliance being terminated and he would release Coór'Mélor. Axiastras was torn, half prefering to take her chances with Coór'Mélor than be wed to Saban. For such an independent monarch the idea of being nothing more than Saban's trophy wife was unthinkable. But, Axiastras swallowed her pride for the sake of men and elves, many tribes of whom were still reeling from the War. She agreed to marry Saban, writing one last letter to Thiothor before doing so. Hoping that perhaps he would have a plan, perhaps she was hoping he would save her as he always had. But there was never a reply.

In 125 b.S. the marriage of Saban and Axiastras took place. From that moment on Axiastras was Saban's virtual prisoner and political pawn. Through her Saban could demand what he wanted from the elven tribes and expect their co-operation. Angered by the poor treatment of the Avá'ránn, the Circle refused to recognize Saban's commands and elected another leader, the first male Avá'rónn, Anthioullsn.

Seeing that Axiastras was useless to him, Saban imprisoned her in Alvang, where he raped her. Her son she named Serveran. Serveran would eventually go on to guide an enormous army of joined forces of all races (the "Alliance") to the enclave of Alvang to put an end to the Móch'rónn's dark ambitions and lead a party to defeat his father, with the help of Saban's brother, Eyrin Fontramonn.

Such captivity was too much for the proud and independent Avá’ránn. Despite the best efforts of elves and men to free her from her prison, she died long before they could reach her in 110 b.S. She will be remembered as a strong leader who made a great sacrifice for the good of those around her.

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