This awe inspiring building is
perhaps one of the most interesting architectural structures of its time in
Sarvonia, if not of all ages passed as well, as it
is ancient and has much tradition associated with it. The Riá is the large tree
house of the Tethinrhim elves,
which provides a beautiful abode for the elven
rulers, the Rónn or Ránn as they are called, as well as other members of the
Tethinrhim tribe in the
surrounding urban trees. Located in
the Auturian Woods in the central region of
today's southern United Kingdom of Santharia, the
province of Manthria, the history surrounding this
large home is rich, dating all the way back to its first construction in
approximately 11.000 b.S. when the Spiritual Guide of the southward travelling
Ná’Pherán, changed all the trees in the
Auturian Woods to form a new kind of trees. These are called the
urban trees today, and the
elves christened their home "Riá Iú", meaning
"I want", in relation to Ná’Pherán famous
speech, where she described a famous future if the
elves would stay in these woods.
Humans tend to pronounce the word Riá often simply as “Ria" in regular Tharian, while the elves pronounce it Riá, with a stress on the "a".
Description. Note: many paragraphs of this description are taken directly from the journal of an unknown visitor to the Riá, and are thus primary sources concerning the actual appearance of this building.
Upon entering the capital of the Auturian Woods, the only visible building is a rather large delicately carved home, which intertwines with an enormous urban tree. On the edge, the trees seem of average size. But as you walk deeper and deeper into the forest, they grow in height and breadth, eventually reaching the massive Riá. Standing out majestic and grand even from a distance, the intricate structure entwined with the tree itself comes upon you suddenly. Your approach is apparently unnoticed, but after looking closely, you see powerful and fierce Kaierian warriors flitting from tree to tree. When you reach the base of the enormous tree, unseen details become apparent. The roots and base almost three peds up are heavily covered with greenbark moss and soft vines, creating a beauteous scene. Small fairy-like bugs fly about the tree and rays of light come beaming down through the small gaps in the treetops.
|Image description. The different levels of the Riá Building of the Tethinrhim. Click on the various picture parts to view the part in detail. Pictures drawn by Seeker.|
There are indents throughout the bottom of the tree forming small rooms and pathways while the rest of the building looks like it has grown out naturally. Ladders reach down to the ground, which are guarded by Kaierian guards invisible to the public, watching the scene closely from treetops. As you climb up the ladders, the dizzying sight of the top of the forest almost makes you fall at times. It seems to reach forever; an endless beauty. Only after a climb of about ten peds do you reach another landing. If your destination is a treetop home rather than the sovereign’s quarters, you might end your climb here and simply take one of the smaller ladders on all sides into the rest of the forest. If not, you quickly continue your ascent for another ten peds.
The ladder ends abruptly, coming to a larger wooden platform that is much wider than the lower one. It reaches out towards other trees, and has more connecting ladders that reach even higher up into the treetops. The trunk, which is about 15 peds in diameter itself, is hollowed out. The entrance to this large room is not covered by a door, but two guards stand on each side of a delicately carved archway covered with large leaves from nearby urban trees.
House of the Sovereign
Inside the tree itself the walls are a light green in colour. It's not a foul green, rather quite tasteful. After a small welcoming room there is a waiting room and then the main chambers of the Riá where the Ránn or Rónn is seated in a chair carved out of a smaller tree living inside the larger urban tree. The sovereign's life mate is seated to the right while a small group of children play further towards the corner of the room. To the sovereign’s left there is the chief Kaierian warrior, again further still is the Spiritual Guide. Each one dresses in their finest of clothes. There is a room to the right where the sovereign retires when he/she is tired of addressing matters in court. This room leads on to both the War room and the Peace room, each dedicated to the respectful Gods and Goddesses, Armeros and Eyasha. Spiraling through the trunk of the tree is a staircase leading to the private chambers of the sovereign and his guests.
Although the Ránn's or Rónn's quarters are by far the most aesthetically pleasing, this is only relative, as the surrounding homes provide a similar picturesque scene. These homes have been built not only on, but inside the urban tree, which embraces them. Everything is either green or brown in colour, ranging from dull to bright. Linked by large branches, ladders, bridges, rope swings, and even staircases are a wide array of pleasant abodes. Some have walls and a roof, while others are simple hammocks that allow the Tethinrhim to relax in the temperate summer climate found in all the elven woods in Sarvonia. This is, at least, until winter comes, at which point everyone moves to an indoor shelter.
Among the small bridges are quivers full of arrows and bows close at hand. Each of the arrows is expertly made. The entire top level is truly a maze; no one would be able to get from one point to another without knowing which path to take. To infiltrate this city would be almost impossible. One would have to know someone on the inside.
Function. The Riá
has multiple functions, besides simply being the capitol and main building of
This treetop home is the residence of the sovereign of the
The Ránn, or Rónn, depending on the gender, conducts all matters of government
from within this building.
The Riá also houses the rest of the sovereign’s family, except the Acrónn or Acránn, and any other young heirs to the regency. These are separated from their family at a young age for safety reasons. This tradition began when a human, possibly an Avennorian, though this is unconfirmed, kidnapped the second daughter of Ná’Pherán, at the young elven age of 34, and threatened through messages, to kill the child if the demands were not met. Ná’Pherán had to sacrifice her child for the sake of the tribe. Since then, all heirs to the regency have been considered the responsibility of the tribe and are looked after by the community, and are usually kept safely inside the upper reaches of the Riá until they are deemed able enough to defend themselves. This last is true for all children, of the Ránn and Rónn, or otherwise.
Naturally the Riá and the surrounding trees are also living quarters for much of the tribe, and throughout the upper branches many elves, including those not in the positions of power, make their abode. Sometimes houses are built actually within the tree.
Small children can be seen playing the common Ihanobe'todo game and running around throughout the Riá, and very few areas are closed to the public save the sovereign's private quarters and a few meeting areas. Elven families visit the Peace and War worship rooms connecting through the back of the large chamber where the Rónn or Ránn receives visitors.
Originally, Kaierian warriors not only guarded, but trained in the Riá. After successfully repelling the Avennorian invaders, marshaled by Anir, in the 804 b.S. attack on the Riá during the Age of Blood, the sovereign of the Tethinrhim issued a decree ordering a secret military camp to be established between the capitol and the enemy Avennorians. This military camp, known as Quel'avelyá, replaced the Riá as the training center for the Kaierian warriors. Nowadays, the basics are still usually taught in the Riá, but as soon as the trainee is deemed worthy to begin training in fitness of their body, the first step of their advanced training, better known as the Iteh, begins.
Lastly, when the first Spiritual Guide of the Tethinrhim, Ná’Pherán, died, her staff was lost from record. Some believe it was burnt with her body and strewn into the winds, but it is possible that it has been passed down within the Riá over long years. While we are unsure of the truth, this seems to be the most viable possibility, and local lore tells us that an object as powerful as the staff might actually still sustain the life of the urban trees, and thus the Riá. The Riá might actually contain what some would call one of the more powerful elven artifacts of all time.
Location. The Tethinrhim Riá is located in the heart of the Auturian Woods. It is found built off of a great urban trees, located in almost the exact center. The woods are located in the mid to lower regions of the southern Sarvonian continent, west of the human city of Marcogg, and northeast of the Gulf of Maraya. The easiest acess route is to take the path from Greywold past the village of Ealeron and continue on the path to the Riá. This is approximately a two and a half day hike assuming you reach Ealeron by the end of the first day. The Auturian Woods are a huge part of today's Santharian province of Manthria and form the Auturian Stýcal (land inhabited by elves solely), of which the Riá represents - among other things - the governmental center.
Myth/Lore. When the Tethinrhim arrived somewhere around the eleventh millenia b.S. in the Auturian Woods after the Great Sundering at the completion a long trek south, Ná’Pherán, their Spiritual Guide, decided they had eventually found their destined home. Using earthen magic the likes of which have yet to be recreated, she changed all the trees in the Auturian Woods to a new kind, known today as urban trees, allowing the Riá to be built. Although many elves felt the woods still looked jungle-like and uninviting, Ná’Pherán gave a speech that convinced them to stay. This speech was recorded by an unknown scribe, and can be found below.
companions, last night I had a vision. I was shown that the place where we
sought shelter this night is the place destined for us. I sense it in my
heart, my soul, at each step I make in these woods that these grounds are
sacred and have been a God's abode when the world was still young. I feel
the aura of the millenia here, future and past. I see the future
generations of my children, your children, our growing up within this
forest of beauty. I want us to settle here, to make this place our home.
This canopy of trees will shelter us from the summer heat, and eventually
bring back the beauty of winter that we see before us even now. I want
those children to see this, to hear this, to smell this, to walk upon this
ground and be humble for the Gods have blessed our path.
This speech provides us with insight into the origination of the word "Riá", as well as the season and appearance of the forest when the Tethinrhim first entered what we now know as the Auturian Woods. It is widely believed that the main city was actually called the "Riá Iú" (some sources also say "Ría'iú"), meaning literally "I want" for many more years before it was shortened to Riá, though exactly when this change took place is unknown. The name Riá is now a symbolistic word that is the name of this elven "city", as well as the name of the tree it is built of.