THE ZEIPHYRHIAN FORESTS ("BREATHING WOODS")

DESCRIPTION - LOCATION - PEOPLE - COAT OF ARMS
CLIMATE -
FLORA -  FAUNA - RESOURCES - MYTH/LORE - HISTORY

The Zeiphyrian Forests (also simply "Zeiphyr") consist of two large ‘twinned’ forests in close proximity to each other, south of New-Santhala and home to the Quaelhoirhim elven tribe. One of the tallest forest it is populated predominantly by evergreen species.

Description. The Zeiphyr consists of two large lush, and predominantly evergreen forests. They are notable for the the average height of the canopy, which is a good 30 peds higher than most other forests in Sarvonia. The forests in fact have several names. The word Zeiphyr (
zéi'phýr or zéi'phýr) means "breathing (living) woods" in Styrásh, for the elves believe that the woods were alive and therefore never claimed it as their own. The elves sometimes refer to the forest as "Yúlir" or "twins", with the western forest being refered to as "Yúlir’pardá" (western twin), or simply as "Lón’pardá" (western forest). The western forest is sometimes referred to also as the "Lon’únn" (the big forest), being larger in size by a small amount than the eastern forest. In fact the western forest was once considerably larger, than it is now, stretching as far west as Chyliklis and bordering the Vale of Brownies. Much of this extensive forest was destroyed during the First Sarvonian War and after by large scale flooding (in the 9th and the 8th century a.S.). The last remaining remnant of this larger forest is the Quallian, now separated from the main forest by open land of some considerable distance. Return to the top


Location. The forests fall in the province of Sanguia, south of New-Santhala. It is bordered to the east by the Auturian Woods, and to the west by the waters of the Thaehelvil river and human settlements of Brinsley and Vezash. To the North of the forest is the huge area of land known as the Elverground.  Return to the top

View entry on Santharia View complete map of Santharia The Zeiphyrian Forests The Province of Manthria
Map description. Location of the Quaelhoirhim's Zeiphyrian Forest in the Santharian province of Sanguia bordering Manthria and the Auturian Woods. Map drawn by Artimidor.

People. The Quaelhoirhim elves dwell in the Zeiphyrian Forest, but also on the forest's southern coast. Isolated members of the tribe live on the Elverground. The Quaelhoirhim are an incredibly diverse bunch of elves, the jacks of all trades, having learnt all sorts of skills from other elves and races. They are great traders and craftsmen, each village, town and city has its own speciality, while the capital is a thriving metropolis where these skills can be traded. Settlements deeper in the forest often home rangers and wood crafters.

Quaelhoirhim have a natural ability for magic and they use its to protect the larger towns and cities. However, unlike the Ylfferhim, for example, they do not keep people out but simply create another level, no less real, but not the real city, into which other races are admitted, allowing the Quaelhoirhim  to satisfy their elven need to some secrecy. Thus, the twin cities of Elving (the capital, in the western forest) and Salóh (eastern forest) exist on two levels, one which outsiders can enter freely, and one which outsiders are kept from. Certain parts of the forest, such as temples, are similarly protected.

Temple is a very rough term, the Quaelhoirhim do not really have temples in the human sense of the word, convinced that Gods do not exist inside buildings. Instead their religious sites are places of divine reverance. An enormous ring of standing stones northwest of Salóh is the temple to Urtengor, Nethor is worshipped in a great Tree Cathedral outside of Elving. Baveras is worshipped from a spot high on a cliff overlooking the sea, east of the Elving port.

Housing in the forest, like everything about the Quaelhoirhim tribe, is very varied. In Elving and the other main city, Salóh, buildings are grand and made of stone and clay and surrounded by huge city walls and very much like any human city, though cleaner and kinder to the land they are built on.

Other towns contain small wooden huts. Some members of the tribe live in wooden built houses. Near the coast the natural caves are converted into warm, comfortable homes. Those that back on to the cliffs also make strategic forts and lookout points. In the depth of the forest villages are very much like those found in the Quallian, a network of wooden dwellings on various levels, linked by wooden walkways and plating of the tree branches, in the trees and invisible if you don't know where to look. Return to the top

Coat of Arms/Sign. The Quaelhoirhim coat of arms is the standard to be found in the forest. However, there have been several variations of the years, and it varies slightly with location. The official banner of the Quaelhoirhim since the outbreak of the First Sarvonian War (806 b.S.) is a rather abstract affair depicting a gleaming sword engraved with the eye of Avá on a red field flanked by two frost dragons. The shield is based on the events prior to SW I when Maengolth's blood (symbolized by the red field) that the elves had hidden to prevent men angering the Gods and dragons, while the sword shows that the Quaelhoirhim were willing to fight to prevent the Age of Blood. Return to the top

Climate. The forest is very warm for most of the year. Winter is brief and mild, providing an almost continuous growing season. Thus, trees reach enormous heights. Rainfall occurs all year round, usually in the afternoon, but can be more prolonged in the winter months. The sky is usually clear, but overcast skies can linger for days at a time during autumn and winter. Return to the top

Flora. The Zeiphyrian shares much of its flora and fauna, as one might expect, with the Quallian, but also to some extent with the neighbouring Auturian Woods. The doch nut bush is commonly found in the forest, the urban tree can be found especially in the eastern forest, but is rarely seen in the western part. Perhaps this is because in the thinner soils of the western forest, the urban tree is simply out-competed by the common adlemir and its vigourous upward growth. The forest also is home to the peace pine and two species of tree related to the cloewen tree: The in’ilá (Styrásh: "climber", lit. to scale unmoving (rock/face)) is like its wild Quallian relative a sparse shrub, though this sub-species has a climbing habit, often found wound around the trunks of other trees and through branches. In Elving they are often carefully grown around doors and windows. The bejón’efér is a small tree, with a bushy, bright green crown with huge red and orange flowers, that resemble a tiny fire. It reaches no more than 3 peds in height and thus lives on the edges of the forest or in clearings.

The clearings are home to a larger number of species than under the canopy, which is so dense as to virtually obliterate all sun light. Only shade loving plants, such as ferns and mosses can survive in the thick of the forest. Alth'ho grass is common in clearings, as are various species of fungi and the kies flowers. Return to the top

Fauna. The Zeiphyrian Forests are noted for the residence in great numbers of wyverns, or lesser drakes. The forest probably has one of the largest populations of the creatures in the Southern continent. It is not a scientific fact; no one has actually gone out with the sole purpose of counting lesser drakes populations (for a start you would need to be certifiable to want do so), it is merely anecdotal. They are not a common sight, they are just seen more often than anywhere else. The frequency with which one happens upon a nesting site in and around the forest is far higher than is comforting. And several sources of literature note the frequency of wyvern sightings, for example in chapter 7 of the Avaesthoría, the narrator watching as the elf Serveran as he comes face to face with a great drake, notes "However, in the Zeiphyrian Woods, deep down in the south of the United Empire the flying reptiles or wyverns, as they were known in the local dialect, preying on their quarry in veritable bands, were an almost common sight."

Horned drakes, breeze drakes and gales drakes are most commonly seen overhead, while sea wyrms are often seen in the waters that lap the costal edges of the forest.

The Zeiphyrian Forests are also home to packs of wolves, vast herds of deer, as well as to large numbers of the Santhalian Black Hart. With all this wildlife about Quaelhoirhim elves have to be very careful where they tread! Perhaps this would explain the existence of the Zeiphyrian hunting hound, the Quaelhoirhim elves are one of the few wood elven tribes to keep "domestic" dogs, although they tend to roam around in packs much of the time, so perhaps may only be counted as semi-domesticated. The hounds seem to have their origins in the alliance with the dark elves in the First Sarvonian War (see the Eophyrhim elves). It is believed that the Quaelhoirhim elves manage to aquire several of these sought after animals. The Zeiphyrian animal is a slightly glossy version of the original, having been crossed with the wolves that wander through the Zeiphyrian Woods; with the Eophyrhim Hunting Hound's sleek, slender lines still in evidence, but the coat is far longer, grayish to black fur on their backs and sides, and are snowy white in the belly. It appears to be immune to the poison of the White Hart, suggesting that the hound has at least some lineage of from the Ashmarian wolf, from the Northern continent, which while being possible is not certain. Return to the top

Resources. Resources from such a vast area are relatively small. There is no end of wood of all types that can be used for anything from building boats or houses to making finely crafted bows. The East of the forest is known for yielding rocks containing iron ore (the soil here is often red, or in marshier areas, blue, depending on the ferric state of the iron). This is often taken to Elving or Saloh to make beautifully crafted objects. Sand from the coastline at the southern edge of the forest can be used for glass and building. Some amount of gold can be found in the western edges of the forest. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. There are many different versions of how the tribe came to be. One popular myth is the Cárpa'ál'wievóc, common also to the Ylfferhim. What seems to be certain is that the tribe consists of the descendants of light elves that were trapped in physical form after the burning of Eú'reóll, the Tree of Life, and chose not to return to the Thaelon to reclaim their wind forms, but to stay in the forests. Return to the top

Age of Silence

ca. 13000 b.S. First confirmed settlements in the Zeiphyrian Forests
12689 b.S. First buildings on the site of Elving
Proposed arrival of Vai'linai and Ioawlen. Vai'linai chooses to stay. She is not a Ránn as such, but a wise advisor to surrounding settlements.
ca. 10000 b.S. The City of Elving is a thriving Metropolis
The city is protected by the elves from other visitors by Quaelhoirhim magi who make the real Elving inaccessible to other visitors. Later this is extended to the emerging city of Salóh.
ca. 6000 b.S. The Settling of the Jhehellrhim Elves
In the far eastern part of the forests, three settlements, influenced by the Tethinrhim and unhappy with the Quaelhoirhim way of life leave the forest and settle further north, forming the Jhehellrhim tribe. For many years this offshoot of the Quaelhoirhim have little contact with their mother tribe.
3981 b.S.
- 3638 b.S.
Brownie Migration to the Zeiphyr
The Brownie LLaoihrr tribe migrates westward, soon reaching the Zeiphyrian Forests. They discover the Quaelhoirhim elves already living there, and so keep on gradually moving west, looking for a place to call their own. Following the coastline westward and then following the Thaehelvil river northward, they eventually reach the Quallian forest.

Age of Awakening

1067 b.S. Colonisation and cultivation of the Elverground
841 b.S. Gorm is found
A human child is found by a Quaelhoirhim merchant family abadoned on the Elvenground. It is raised as part of the family and named Wegerrand (later Gorm).

Age of the Blood

822 b.S. Wegerrand leaves the elves
Wegerrand, when in the Bolder with his adoptive family, receives knowledge of the location of the powerful blood of the once sacrificed Erpheronian sovereign Maengolth, who died from the sword of his own son. The blood had been taken away by the elves to prevent the humans of enraging the high powers, the dragons and the Gods. The holder of the holy blood of Maengolth within himself shall unite all the human tribes and lead the humans to domination over the world of Caelereth. Wegerrand leaves his tribe to retrieve the chalice, and returns to the humans.
819 b.S. The Coronation of Gorm
Quaelhoirhim desperatly petition Gorm to return the blood. Messengers are excuted. Elving and Salóh are heavily fortified.
811 b.S. The Assassination of Gorm
A Quaelhoirhim assassin manages to sneak into the king's palace and to lay fire on the bedchamber of the king. Just like Caein hundreds of years before him Gorm suffers a terrible death for his unceasable will to gain power.
806 b.S. Battle of Annihilation at the Zeiphyrian Forests
Five years after the murdering of Gorm a ruthless assault on the elven fortresses at Elving, south of the Zeiphyrian Forests, is initiated by Viginold Deresvungen. Although not all human tribes declare war on the elves, the strength of the human forces is gigantic. Some human tribes even join the elves and also dark elves support the elven cause, fighting especially the dwarves, who are promised to receive valueable mines for their help at the Rimmerins-Ring by the human leaders.The battle lasts for many months and thousands of soldiers of all races die at the brutal slaughtering, but no army can decide the enormous battle, which causes terrific destruction among both sides. Elving is destroyed completely and most parts of the Zeiphyrian Forests as well as the adjacent Auturian Woods are burnt. The first major Sarvonian battle at the Zeiphyrian Forests indeed is a cruel slaughtering which is unique in Sarvonian history so far, but it should only be a glimpse of even fiercer battles to come: It is the beginning of the so-called War of the Blood which will last nearly 80 years and which will result in lots of bloodshed but bring no victory to any of the fighting races.
806 b.S.
- 804 b.S.
Beginning of the First Great Flood
Extensive deforestation of large tracts of the Zeiphyrian Forest takes place as the area comes under repeated attack in the First Sarvonian War. The area is cleared by human forces to allow easy access, both on foot and by boat, to the fort of Elving, and to provide materials for fortifications and naval technology on both sides. The worst affected area is that around the stretch between the present border of the Zeiphyr and the Thaehelvil river. On the first day of the Avénni'modía (Month of the Awakening Earth) 804 b.S. the rains come. Heavy rainfall saturates the forest floors. Where trees once would have intercepted the water, rain flows straight into the Thaehelvil River. On the third day the river bursts its banks and floods a vast swaith of the land either side of the river, its immense power sweeping away everything in its path. The rain continues for three weeks, and the flood takes a further two to subside.This first flood clears vast tracts of the remaining forest around the Thaehelvil river, widens its course and its flood plain and creates the start of the delta with the Aetryam Sea, and creates the Aieryn river that today flows through the forest.

First Ránn of the Quaelhoirhim is declared
A centralized government is created. Settlements are still to some extent self governing.
796 b.S. The Second Great Flood
The elves often refer to this as "The Severing". The second flood occured in much the same way but affected a slightly lesser area, but it cleared the last remaining fragments of forest around the river banks, cleaving the Quallian from the main branch of the forest. It also widens the delta and deposits alluvial soils along its banks, making the whole area incredibly fertile.
760 b.S. Ylfferhim Independence
The Ylfferhim declare their independence from the Quaelhoirhim and pull out of the war.

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