Tribe of elves of the Bolder Forest in north western Santharia. The modern tribe is made up of many individuals from other tribes as much of the original tribe were killed in an orc raid in b.S 210. These ancient elves were responsible for the construction of the Great Library, which contained the Ó'dosía ("Everlasting Books"). The modern tribe consists of individuals both from the original tribe and from many other Sarvonian tribes. As a result their culture is very rich and their appereance very variable.
Picture description: The famous Aellenrhim elf Eratinalinfalah, gardener and shepherd, as well as subject of many Santharian fairy tales and good-night stories. Image drawn by Eratinalinfalah.
The modern tribe is incredibly heterogeneous due to the influx of
from other tribes in the years immediately
before Santhros’ ascension to the Santharian
throne. While height remains slightly shorter than average for an
elf, the tribe’s only other general
characteristic is the variability of appearance. Colouring of the Aellenrhim
varies from those with typically ‘northern’ pale skin and lighter colourings,
to those with black hair and very dark eyes.
The original people of the tribe were very distinctive, however, and many human and elven reports exist, due to their involvement with other cultures. Aellenrhim elves were slender and smaller than humans, standing about shoulder-high to a human, and weighing considerably less. They tended to be light in colouring, a peachy complexion and light-coloured hair being common; blonde and brown being usual. It was rare to find a member of the Aellenrhim with red or black hair. The Aellenrhim features are often described as being delicate and severe, and humans almost certainly found them too ‘fairy-like’ to be really attractive (hence there were little elf-human unions, despite the tribes proximity and involvement with Voldar and Nyermersys), though all races acknowledged the innate beauty of Aellenrhim elves. Their long time leader Aiá'merán was, however, reported among the most beautiful wood elf to live in the forests of Santharia. Her mother, however, Daltelár, was the eldest of the four and member of the Axhái, so perhaps this is no surprise. Aellenrhim elves tended most often to have green or blue or violet eyes, other coulours were unusual.
Elves of the Aellenrhim have always had an unusually long lifespan, even for elves. During the reign of Aiá'merán, it was reported that the elves in the Bolder lived on average as long as 800 years. This lifespan has gradually decreased however, as the tribe has embraced migrants from other elven tribes.
Coat of Arms/Sign. A single candle burning in the darkness, a symbol of knowledge and scholarship, but also of the tribe’s unquenchable spirit in the face of adversity.
Picture description: The location of the Bolder Forest, home of the Aellenrhim Elves. Map by Artimidor Federkiel.
Once upon a time these elves
could be found in many places outside of their native forest. Small
numbers use to live in both Voldar and
usually as teachers, archers, bards or scribes. Many
elves were employed
in gathering knowledge for the Ó'dosía, so many made their homes among other
tribes and races all over Sarvonia.
Today, however, the elves
very rarely leave the forest, and have little contact with the
towns around them, as the
orc raid and the great fires they
unleashed, led to much myth and stories of evil within the
Bolder over the
years. Many humans
will not go into the forest and few are happy in the company of an
elf they know to live within it.
A few Aellenrhim elves still live outside the Bolder, in the Thaelon. The tribe has always had a presence there. The Bolder’s proximity to the Thaelon and their relation to Daltelár means they have a deep respect and feeling of responsibility towards it. They protect and care for the sacred woods.
People. The Aellenrhim are a scholarly tribe. In times gone by the tribe were best known for gathering, spreading, teaching and recording knowledge on all sorts of subjects. The illuminated manuscripts of the Ó'dosía were said to be beyond compare, and their scribes were masters of their art. Which seems fitting as the Aellenrhim sage named Mira'Shijm collected all the runic symbols during the Age of Awakening, and the tribe's scholars were much involved with the creation of a dictionary of runes.
When the Library and centuries of work were destroyed, the elves lost much of their passion for gathering and spreading information. However, much of the information they collected was kept in circulation by oral tradition. Aellenrhim elves therefore still go through a very thorough education. On average, an Aellenrhim elf coming of age can speak all major languages of Santharia (though elves do tend to struggle with dwarven and orcish pronounciations) and are well versed in basic botany, healing and lore.
The Aellenrhim were the first tribe to make and use soap, an idea that quickly spread, happily, to neighbouring human settlements.
Housing. Traditionally the elves dwell in natural clearings in the forest, enclosures known in Styrásh as Ophá, which used to house one or two extended families, typically about 15 individuals. Many such Ophá exist in the forest, but not all are occupied. Within each enclosure small quantities of crops or vegetables can be grown and there are large roundhouses known as Seeán’feárn, a number of small timber storage houses and usually a building housing a large oven used for firing pottery or baking.
Image description: A typical Ophá of the Aellenrhim, consisting of several so-called Seeánfeárn roundhouses. Picture drawn by Quellion.
Seeán’feárn are circular houses with conical thatched roofs. They vary in size
from very small to gigantic. Walls are either constructed from granite (which
can be found in the North of the forest as you approach the Warnaka Mountains)
or more commonly by constructing a wooden frame which is filled by panels woven
from young tree branches. This frame work is then coated in mud and wild
grasses, which dry to give a very hard surface. Often small controlled fires are
lit round the base of the roundhouse to aid the drying process. The inside of
the house is partitioned using the same method, and each house usually contains
a family. It is common to find large frames which can hold looms within the
house for making fabric or tanning skins.
Within the forest there are now many Seean’fearn that are not within an enclosure, but within think woodland. This type of living habit is much more common today within the modern tribe. Roundhouses have an impossible air of mystery about them, looking as though they have always been there. They almost look as though they should be there, and have a oneness with nature that human buildings seldom achieve.
Ranndár is the centre of the forest. Here the buildings are all made of granite stone. Here can be found the council chambers and the old palace. A large temple to the Gods stands to the West. The ruins of the Great Library also remain here, a testament to the tribes turbulant past. The town was practically abandoned for centuries after the orc raid, but the elves now have the confidence to return, and much of the modern tribe now live here. Houses here are granite block in construction, and rather grand than those elsewhere.
Clothing. Fashion in the forest is a mishmash of styles brought in from all over Santharia. They favour, however, clothing of natural colouration, usually made from wool or skins. Aellenrhim often wear brightly-colored accessories, such as hats, scarves, or gloves.
Diet. As for eating, bread is an important part of any meal, and was made from wheat and barley ground down into flour using a quern-stone. The grain grown in an enclosure is also made into a kind of porridge and fermented to make beer. Other than cereal grains, they take from nature around them and that edible berries, leaves, flowers, nuts and roots would have supplemented the diet. Certain types of root vegetables are grown. Animals are also reared in larger enclosures. Dairy products are also available and so is beeswax and honey is available from wild bees. Near the ceiling of the houses is an ideal place for the drying and preservation of food. Smoke and heat from the constant fire smokes meat and fish, and the humidity would have dried herbs and other plants perfectly.
Weapons. All types of bows, short and long swords as well as daggers are the main weapons to be found here. The Aellenrhim tend not to wear heavy armour.
All Aellenrhim are taught to use all types of bow, and stronger individuals are taught to use long and short swords. Most elves are naturals with a bow, but individuals with exceptional ability are allowed to join the Elite Archers, for this is the second thing that the Aellenrhim are known for. They have five battalions of specialised archers, known to be the most talented archers in Sarvonia. Three battalions are defensive, the archers of the Thyrón, Ypheró and the Miés'efér and remain in the vicinity of the Bolder at all times. There are two Offensive battalions the archers of the Injèrá and the Sí’larnám. These are often posted away from the forest. One famous example was when the Archers of Injèrá were assigned by the Ránn and Avá’Ránn Aiá'merán to free the orcenhold of Orril under Pherán'Ephtaerín, Captain of the Bowers. During SW III the Archers of Sí’larnám were also posted away, first in the Calmarios Forest and then in the Almatrar. Each battalion has their own coat of arms, consisting of their representative of the element after which they are named, usually flown under the Aellenrhim coat of arms. These elite troops are well known and well respected, but are often deployed alongside and complement other warriors, such as Kaierian Warriors of the Tethinrhim.
Occupations. At present about 20% of all children are raised to be caregivers for the land (farmers, fishermen, hunters, carers for the Thaelon), 40% are trained as protectors of the Nation, 25% are trained in the arts of magic and its understanding, and the remaining 15% are trained for various other skills. Once the figures of bards, scribes and knowledge gatherers was far higher than any other classes.
Government. Originally the tribe was ruled by a Ránn, but upon the incarnation of Coór'melór, Aiá'merán delegated control of day to day matters to the Librarians, the elders of the tribe, wisest and longest lived among the tribe. However, after the orc raid of 210 b.S. there were so few Aellenrhim elves left that all decisions could be made between with all members of the tribe present. Since then numbers have slowly increased and the meetings are now conducted between the eldest members of each extended family.
Production/Trade. Once the tribe's people were great traders, mainly of information and woven fabrics. However, relationships with humans have tailed off, with there being much suspicion and legend surrounding the Bolder. The elves' main need is for salt, which is not present anywhere within their territory. This is now generally obtained from other elven tribes. They are, however, still fairly open and hospitable to outsiders.
Natural Resources. Granite is present in the north of the forest. There is a good supply of supple woods suitiable for making bows and such like. Honey is in ample supply from wild hives. Great amounts of information can be gleaned from the tribe. There is much the tribe still knows about Santharian/Sarvonian history that has been forgotten by others. Their skill with languages particularly makes them invaluable to researchers for the "Santharian Compendium". Some members of the tribe have actually joined the staff, and have been particularly helpful in all matters elven, especially dealing with the shyer tribes.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The first day of every month is a feast day for the God of that month, and to Avá. Family groups gather together and large meat meals are consumed. It is a day of rest, of learning and of lore, with stories of Sarvonia’s past being told in the evenings.
On the 18th of Chúh'querín September (Month of the Falling Leaf) is the day of the orc raid, the day of the burning. It is said that during the burning, every single Aellenrhim elf cried, whether they were present or away from the forest. Their tears flowed for an entire day. This day is remembered as the Day of Tears, and this is a solemn day of fasting for elves (dawn to sunset). It is not a day of celebration or festival, and no Aellenrhim laughter is ever heard on this day. Many elves feel a need to return to Ranndár in vidual for those who died. For a brief moment, every elf can actually see in their minds columns of smoke rising from the now destroyed Library. However, those migrants not directly related to the original Aellenrhim tribe, while respectful of this quiet day, do not tend to join in the vidual.
Information provided by Wren