The Cyrathrhim (Styrásh
lit. "Gentle Tribe") are the
elven tribe to have been wiped out.
elves of the Calmarios Forest,
the Cyrathrhim were possibly the oldest
Santharian tribe and certainly have the longest
traceable history of any wood elven
tribes. The Aellenrhim
have written accounts from the Cyrathrhim that date back nearly
8.000 years. They are exceptionally peaceful by nature
and a tribe of natural mages, exceptionally gifted in
the arts of
Calmarios was considered the best place to learn
magical arts. Their dedication to the creationalist
philosophy of xeuá
and to the Goddess
Eyasha, meant that they were a tribe of staunch pacifists, and the only
tribe never to participate either in the
High Elven Circle,
which they considered a "torch to the touch paper of war",
or in any of the Santharian conflicts.
Perhaps as a result they were unprepared and undefended when in 293 b.S.,
raiding party swept throught their forest and extinguished the tribe.
Appearance. The Aellenrhim, whose documents and memories of this now extinct tribe, remain our best clue as to what the Cyrathrhim were like. The reasons for this appear to be twofold. The Gremm, a tribe of gnomes who linger in the forest still, would probably be the best source of information, but as a tribe they are inordinately shy and tightlipped, distrusting anyone outside their own kind. Quite how and why they tolerated the Cyrathrhim presence in their forest will remain a mystery. Aellenrhim documents seem to suggest that this tribe of elves were not happy to stray too far from their homeland (more on that later) so few other peoples probably ever saw them, or knew they existed. The problems are compounded by the fact that they themselves appear only to have committed to paper major historical events and discoveries of importance (usually magical) and even these written accounts seem to be for the benefit of the Aellenrhim, who trust nothing unless it is written and dated. Everything else, it seems, belonged to an oral tradition, that some say still exists, though most academics believe such oral legacies to be a recent fabrication by groups of elves trying to create a familial link to this, now deceased tribe.
And yet, even with the Allenrhim's great tribal desire to document just about everything that exists, there are very very few accounts of exactly what the Cyrathrhim looked like. Perhaps they were lost in the Allenrhim's own orc raid a few hundred years later. Perhaps there simply never were any, to the Allenrhim, the Cyrathrhim were common place every day visitors. Why describe something you see everyday?
The only clue that remains is a comment in the personal papers of Mira'Shijm, an elven sage who lived during the Age of Awakening. He wrote:
"They (the Cyrathrhim) are both like us, and yet quite unlike us, in appearance. They are both our mirror but also our window to the far north. I would be unsurprised if those elves that dwell beyond the Tandala do not look something like them."
-- Mira'Shijm, "Speculation on Elven Kinship", p 20. Translated from the Styrásh by Monty Reandor, Voldar 1638
We can only guess the meaning
of the words. There was probably interbreeding between the Cyrathrhim and their
closest neighbours, and their is plenty of circumstantial evidence that the
tribe did, indeed hail from north of the
Tandala, even if they were
not, as their lore had it, exiles of
Fá'áv'cál'âr. So perhaps they were a little like their neighbours, with
their sharp, pixish features and slight frames, but perhaps taller like the
tribes of the north and fairer? This of course is meer speculation and perhaps
I sould have ended this chapter in the first sentence by telling you simply
that it is not a memory that any elf
carries and so has simply passed out of our spoken memory.
Coat of Arms/Sign. If one wonders through the Cyrathrhim Forest you can identify those parts once inhabited by the elves rather than Gremm. Look to the tree trunks! There is the identifier - the curious, and rather unique among Santharian elves - emblem of the Cyrathrhim. To call it a shield would be incorrect! For this tribe of elves never rode to war. The emblem was something that was emblazened on their cloaks, they wore as broaches on their clothing and carved onto their habitations and sometimes onto the body itself, to identify them as belonging to the tribe. Perhaps this is why it is so different to those of other elven tribes, not a shield at all.
The Cyrathrhim emblem is a distinct winged circle, the shape made up of interwoven lines, an echo of other tribes (particularly the Melad'rhim) north of the Tandala. Set on the centre is a circle, devoid of engraving, unlike the rest, except for the stylistic deer, that sits alone. It is representative of Arvins, God of the Hunt, but also God of the Fugitive and Exiled. It was to Arvins, or so the tribe's singers say, that the tribe's ancestors were most grateful when they found their forest home. When made rather than drawn the outer work is always bronze and the central area is usually made of horn, which is either engraved or inlaid. The sign is often set upon a black background of dark wood or polished flint.
Picture description: The location of the Calmarios, former home of the Cyrathrhim Elves. Map by Artimidor Federkiel.
The Cyrathrhim dwelt in the Calmarios Forest, the most northernly woods in
would never dwell anywhere else, nor leave it for any extended period, though
they had a great love for the high mountains that surrounded their lands and
could often be found walking in those high places of the world.
People. Cyráth (Cyráth) is the Styrásh word for "gentility" (or "gentleness", it is identified by context only). There is much debate as to whether this is actually their correct name, or one adopted for them by the Aellenrhim and communicated by them to the wider world. There are two reasons for this:
Firstly, and foremostly, the hardening of "Cyráth" to "Cyrath" is a peculiarity to the Aellenrhim accent. They have great difficulty with the sounds ásh, ách and éth as well as áth and are generally hardened in the Bolder when compared to Styrásh speakers elsewhere. However, there is no reason why the Cyrathrhim could not have shared this similarity of accent.
Secondly, and perhaps most compellingly, one of the oldest parchements the Aellenrhim own, a parchment known that has become popularly known as the "Book of Jhalán", and tellingly written by an unknown Cyrathrhim scribe, refer to the tribe both as Cyrathrhim (as is always the case in Aellenrhim documents) but also as the Helvosín (Helvosín) meaning simply "Exiles". Though, of course it is possible that this was the nickname the Cyrathrhim used for them themselves.
Either way, both names suit the tribe very well indeed! Documents from the Aellenrhim annals show that they believed themselves to be descendants of northern origin who crossed over the Tandala after fleeing Fá'áv'cál'âr and settled in the first unpopulated forest they came to, although they quickly came to realise that the Calmarios was not unpopulated at all, but that they shared it with the Gremm gnomes, who can still be found in the forest today. In this way they considered themselves exiled from the places of their ancestors; of their past lives.
The noun "Cyráth" is also and apt description for them it seems, no matter which way you interpret the the noun. The Aellenrhim records often note the force of presence elves of this line had, the posture and the nobility of spirit. However, the feeling seems to have been reciprocated, the Cyrathrhim regarding the Aellenrhim as wise and bold. The eldest parchment in the Book of Jhalán, dated, according to Aellenrhim verbal lore, to about 1400 b.S. records the pleasure the Cyrathrhim ancestors felt upon discovering that they were not the last of the elves:
"Alas we wondered, far from the lands to which we were bound. We streamed in all directions, never to return. Scattered in all directions, cut off from those who had been our neighbours, our friends and our companions for so many leaf falls. Many life spans of the elders did we walk to our forest. Across mountains we did walk, from which the dream stretched out below us like an eternal meadow, from which the forests we saw looked nothing more than flowers in spring. Dragons did we see and pass. We cannot tell you how long we did spend in that highest place of the world, or why we finally came to settle here; except that it was destined by the Dreamer and guided by She, blinded by the burning of the Tree of Life. And in all those lifespans of elves did we hear no word of others, of we who were born of the wind. We believed ourselves last of Avá's firstborn children. And yet here did you meet us in your wondering*. Showed us the secret mountain ways between our two forests and share with us all that you had and knew. If the Gods have shown us the greatness of the anger and spite at our rejection, they have shown us still the infinity of the benevolance with the friends that they have anchored us to."
* This is a best attempt to translate a Styrash play on words that denotes the Aellenrhim's love of travel driven by their thirst for knowledge. The closest (though not a good "word for word" translation) is therefore a play on the words Wonder and Wandering.
The tribe was fondest of the
Gods Arvins and
Eyasha, which seems at first a rather
odd combination and may require a little explanation. The
God of the Hunt is also
God of Fugitives, as told before. For
a people who believed passionatly that they had wandered in the wilderness
after expulsion by the Gods, to believe that even in that wandering there was a
God that became their patron was an example of the greatness of the Gods and
their thanks to Arvins for this
patronage unbreakable. The tribe's devotion to
Eyasha is a little harder to explain.
Perhaps this is something that predates their migration south to the Calmarios
and was lost, even to the tribe themselves. One might speculate in the
turbulance that drove them from their homelands they devoted themselves to
Eyasha in a prayer for peace. This
devotion was again long lived.
This love of these two Gods seems to have shaped the Calmarios society: it is divided roughly in half, those who belong to the earth (Nái'mód or Nói'mód, depending on sex, lit. "they of the Soil", though in general the feminine form is used) and those who belong to the sky (similarly this is the feminine form Nái'ypheró meaning "they of the Sky"). There was no real hereditary in which half and elf belong to it was determined sheerly on talent. Nor was it preferable to belong to one side or the other, both held equal status. Much of this social system will be discussed in the Government and Occupations section, but is so unique to the tribe and so shaped by their beliefs that I felt it nessesary to at least to introduce it here.
The Cyrathrhim's devotion to Eyasha also meant they were staunch pacifists. In this respect their similarities to the Ylfferhim is striking, especially given that the Ylffer also have some weak Northern Sarvonian links. Neither tribe were happy to leave the forest for any longer than nessesary and both tribes refused to fight in the first and second Sarvonian Wars. However, the Cyrathrhim never attended the High Elven Circle, nor recognized its authority.
Perhaps they felt that they were safe in the shadow of the almost inpassable Tandala, certainly no army could pass its high peaks. The biggest threat came from the northern orcs, who so often were fighting among themselves and the northern drow that they seldom bothered the Southern Sarvonian elves. They were also defended to the west by the high sided Warnaka Mountains. This left them only one front to defend, and often the Aellenrhim would deploy one of their archer units to protect this position. They were far removed from the threat of war by simple geography.
Apart from this the people of the Cyrathrhim were the most natural population of magic users that Santharia has ever seen. The proportion of elves showing that rare gift the Oh'mód'ál was said to be "more common than finding a child of raven hair in Voldar". Having never been to Voldar, I'm not exactly sure how common this is, but one presumes it must be failry likely. Their talent using xeuá (and this was the major form of magic practiced here - any other was a minority) was beyond compare even in the high towers of Ximax. There were simply none who could match their sheer skill. Perhaps this was because the whole population weas utterly devoted to xeuá's creationalist principles. Destructive magic was not permitted inside the bounds of the forest and it was frowned upon to practice ecuá in any form. Their mages were said to be the greatest healers in the world, augmenting their knowledge of herblore with their magic. It was said that they could "steal the scythe from under Querpur's Nose".
Memories of the past were an incredibly important part of Cyrathrhim life. Some of their stories were recorded by Aellenrhim bards and some are recalled in brief at the end of this entry. Every animal was sacred to the Cyrathrhim and to hunt and kill, but not to excess the will and the gift of Arvins. As such, every child was given a special animal, an animal that was indicative of their own nature, that animal that would guide them in life and between lives, in their walking and working. This belief is curious among elves. In explanation it is recorded that a Cyrathrhim bard pointed out to a curious Aellenrhim simply: "If all life is a circle, then surely one must have been an animal sometime? If all life is connected then the animals guide us as surely as we guide a filly to a pasture." The animal of birth was often taken as a prefix to birth, a sort of title, and used on formal occasions. The animal may also have been tattooed on the upper arm with the Cyrathrhim emblem, but their is no evidence for how common this practice was or if it was compulsory.
To pass from Childhood to adulthood a Cyrathrhim elfling would walk the Tandala Mountains for at least five days and nights, a difficult and dangerous task all by iteself, and a right of passage to be reckoned with! As such it is quite unlike the rite of passage practice by all the other elven tribes of Santharia, though there is documentation to demonstrate that this moutain wandering was later abandoned for the Santharian elven practice involving a pentagram and considering the old and the new, what was given and what to give. I have to say that I feel it a loss that a sacred way lapsed out of use, a way that paid tribute to their forefathers, to walk the way that they had done. It was a rite that pointed backward as well as forward as so many an elven celebration.
Housing. From the settlements that still stand abandoned in the Calmarios, those settlements from which the few survivors fled, we are left a pertinant picture of life in the forest before the raid of the Caoía Eferis (the "Children of the Flames", the orcs) at the beginning of SW III.
The homes of the Cyrathrhim reveal the fusion between their ancient northern roots, their nomadism that must have lasted many elven lifespans and their closeness to their Aellenrhim neighbours. Dwellings consisted of extened family groups whose homes were made within fenced enclosures much like the Aellenrhim ophrá. However, few of the Cyrathrhim enclosures seem to have been the open clearings one associates with the Aellenrhim. Nor were there large numbers of the great searn'fearn. Instead there would be only two, perhaps three roundhouses that were constructed, in the densest parts of the forest and they seem to have been used not for dwelling, but for storage, smoking, preserving and housing an oven, kept alive at all times and used for firing of metal works and waste incineration. The inside of the roundhouses were coated with great quantities of tree resin, and the external faces of the roundhouse kept wet, so that the searn'fearn acted as a natural fire break.
Cyrathrhim enclosures were also devoid of the agriculture that one associates with the Bolder elves. The Cyrathrhim's nomadic past asserted itself in their insistance upon hunting and gathering from their forest, rather than taking up the Aellenrhim's competent systems of agriculture.
But homelife takes shape in the trees, with dwellings being built in the branches, but always within the diameter of the floor fence, as though it created an invisible boundary that passed up into the sky. As one wanders in these deserted tree cities, it strikes you how similar they are to those in the lands of the Injerín, albeit far smaller in scale. The whole enclosure centers around one particularly large tree from which the diameter of the enclosure is measured. This central tree houses the elder matriach, who would make decisions for that dwelling and her immediate family. Other dwellings and buildings would radiate out from this central dwelling like the spokes on a wheel. And oddly among Southern Sarvonian elves, who tend to build at all levels of the forest, all the tree buildings would be on one level, just above the upper canopy.
Little evidence now remains, but the Aellenrhim talk about the whole forest following this wheel like design - with the largest settlement (of which there is no physical evidence remaining) at the centre, and all other dwellings radiating out from it like spokes on the wheel, with small communities of practicing mages and healers dwelling in those trees that formed the wheel's outer rim. It was their position on the outer edges ot the forest that made these settlements most vunerable to attack. Suffice to say that few of the Cyrathrhim's ledgendary magic users survived the raid on the Calmarios. The Aellenrhim called these rim dwellings áll (áll, lit. "aura") or zoúm'áll (zoúm'áll, lit. "Home of Aura") and seem to be places of incredible significance and wonder.
'In all the World, have I never seen a light that so echos that of the Thaelon. They [The aura sages] utter charms and prayers that have not been heard since the hiding of the Eu'reóll. They alone among all elves tied to the ground, have the ability to invoke the light that was lost with its burning."
-- Mira'Shijm, "Speculation on Elven Kinship", p 400. Translated from the Styrásh by Monty Reandor, Voldar 1638
Again this is difficult. There is little in the
Aellenrhim records, nor in their spoken knowledge that really indicates
style of dress of the Cyrathrhim. Perhaps this total silence represents that
clothing was not remarkable to the Cyrathrhim and therefore fairly similar. The
only fragments one can glean from the older parchments in the
Aellenrhim collection is that there was always a
torc worn around the neck - fashioned from metal or rock, whatever was close to
hand - the quality of its craft, not the value of the material it is crafted
from, a measure of status. The torc of the tribal Ránn was an intricate and
delicate object with the winged circle of the tribe upon it. The only other
thing one can say for sure was that the tribal colour was white, and overcloaks
were always this colour - for Eyasha,
with green braiding for Arvins. There
is some suggestion that certain colours of cloth were reserved for the Nái'mód
and others for the Nái'ypheró, but the translation and meaning of this one
particular fragment is hotly debated, as no colours are mentioned, and most
elven academics feel it is likely to be a
metaphorical gesture taken out of context (much of this document has been
Diet. The Cyrathrhim seemingly lived on a hunter-gatherer diet, living on nuts, roots, truffles (for which they had to carefully watch native wildlife who found them), berries and certain types of edible blooms that grew wild in the forest and on the foot slopes of the mountains. They were also hunters that would take deer, birds and rodents as part of their diet. In the southern forest, a network of rivers provided many types of freshwater, and a few larger types of saltwater fish. Fish was more often than not smoked in the searn'fearns, and meat salted, so that it could be stored for long periods or traded. They may have also supplemented this diet by domestic meat, dairy products, vegetables and grains grown by the Aellenrhim.
Weapons. Weapons were seldom used and those made usually had other purposes beside killing. Most weapons made for use were rather crude, usually being fashioned from flint or granite, which was in ample supply from nearby mountains. There are mulitple examples of flint heads from spears and knives that were obviously used for hunting or skining. Only ceremonial weapons were made from metals like bronze, iron or uruyant. For example, bronze daggers have been found in homes known to belong to clerics, while uruyant tipped spears are known to have been given as a gift to the tribe's hunters as a coming of age gift. Exceptionally ornate uruyant weapons have been found in zoúm'áll, which were obviously never meant for any practical use, the shape of the blade alone meant that such weapons would have been fairly usless in combat.
Unique among the elves perhaps, there is no evidence that long distance weapons, such as bows or slingshots were ever used. We have found no arrow tips, no evidence of bow construction. This perhaps doesn't mean they weren't used.
Occupations. As mentioned previously Cyrathrhim society was split in two, roughly evenly. When an elf was of age they would already have been primed for either the Nái'mód or the Nái'ypheró, though their actual profession as it were would not be determined until after the Coming of Age ritual. There was no preferential treatment of one side or the other, nor was it more desirable to be a servant of the sky rather than the earth, it was simply a designation that relflected one's talent and the God you had been blessed by.
Clerics of the Wind Gods lead the Nái'yphero, and highest among them the clerics of Eyasha, but perhaps "leading" is a strong word. It suggests that the Nái'ypheró were a guild, an organized body. This is simply not the case. To explain it in human terms is infinitely tricky - Cyrathrhim society was a complex sociological set up. All dwellings would have roughly equal numbers of Nái'mód or the Nái'ypheró, and each dwelling was to some extent self sufficient and governing. To the Cyrathrhim roots and family bonds were more important than which side of society you fell into. Perhaps an analogy will help: As an author of the Santharian Compendium I (Wren) am a member of a complete team that writes for this Compendium. Artimidor is the highest among us, because it is his brainchild. If I seek guidance he may provide it, because he knows the larger purpose of my talents and my job. He certainly does not represent me nor does my alligance to him or his project outweigh my reponsibilities as an elf to my Gods or to my tribe and my Ránn. So it was with Cyrathrhim the clerics of the Wind Gods, they were considered the highest among the Nái'ypheró, charged with a sort of pastoral care almost, but an indivdual Cyrathrhim elf would be tied first and formost to their family and extended family dwelling and then to their Ránn. I'm not sure that I have explained myself adequately and perhaps if I were to do it in my native tongue I would have performed better, but I'm not sure I can explain any more fully.
The Nái'ypheró consisted primarily of those who dealt with the arts and the Gods, one might consider them a reflection of the firstborn elves, of the Astyrhim. Again this division becomes slightly complex in that technically the clerics of the Earth Gods lead the Nái'mód, but they are the exception. All other clerics belong to this group. The Nái'ypheró also included the healers, the Xeuá Mages (those born with the Oh'mód'hál), the Dreamers who were heavily associated it seems with Seyella and could see the will of the Gods, what was and what was to come to pass. The group also contained the Painters who painted the trunks of their home trees with ornate decorations of significance to the family and may also have been responsible for tatooing within the tribe. Lastly it also contained the Singers of the tribe, who documented their history and passed it down for generations. Tragically the great majority of this oral legacy has been lost. But a few fragmented songs remain. The most famous of these is "Of Ages Gone By", because it became popular among the Aellenrhim as a lament, hymn and joyous memory of their much cared for neighbours after their destruction (see Music section).
Highest among the Nái'mód were the Earth God Clerics, particularly those of Arvins. Perculiar among clerics for fitting into this group, the rest of the Nái'mód are primarily concerned with the needs of physical life, a reflection of the choice made long ago by the wood elven ancestors to concern themselves with Aér'aí'chán (Caelereth) and take corporeal form. Thus Cyrathrhim society was careful to reflect the balance of what it was to be elven and exist in a world tempered by that balance. The Nái'mód consisted of the makers - those Smiths and Stoneworkers who made the intricate carvings and the torcs worn by the tribe, who made their clothing and their homes. They alone made up a large number of the Nái'mód. Then there were the Hunters, who were as close to a fighting force as the Cyrathrhim ever had and the Gatherers, who occasionally belonged to both groups by nature of being Healers also. Unlike the Nái'ypheró, it was possible to belong to several of these professions at once, as a Stoneworker would often show talents with woodwork or building. Some proved to be great with a bow or a spear as well as with a sewing needle.
Childcare and wellfare was a communal activity, shared between the extended family dwelling. A child would seldom leave this place for its whole life: The Cyrathrhim had journeyed far to reach their utopian forest. Only those bound for the zoúm'áll or those whose lifemate came from another settlement would leave the family setting. Mating outside the tribe appears limited to the Aellenrhim, but this appears not to have been uncommon. Though the Aellenrhim tell that to take a Cyrathrhim as a life mate was a large commitment, they would often point blankly refuse to move from the Calmarios to the Bolder, despite being less than a day's ride removed. For a tribe who travelled far and wide seeking all knowledge new, such behaviour must have been unfathomable, but endearing. The Aellenrhim Ránn Aiá'merán, wrote a letter to the Quaelhoirhim Ránn:
"As curious as their [Cyrathrhim] behaviours may seem sometimes, I often wonder whether we [the Aellenrhim and Cyrathrhim] are not more one tribe than two......Our geography as much as our philosophy dictates that our blood must merge as tributaries to the Thaehelvil."
What may be interesting to note was that the letter was written in an attempt
to mediate a truce if not an understanding between the
Quaelhoirhim and the
Cyrathrhim. We know little of Cyrathrhim politics outside of their staunch
pacifism and strong allegiance to the Aellenrhim, or of their relation to other
tribes. This letter gives us a glimpse. It tells us that while the
were close friends and supporters of the Quaelhoirhim within the
Circle (although they were late in the joining), the
Quaelhoirhim found the
Cyrathrhim's naiviety and bloodymindedness intolerable and Aiá'merán points to
the fact that the Cyrathrhim found the Quaelhoirhim meddling, quarrelsome,
arrogant, simplistic and equally intolerable! There was never a great
understanding between the two tribes it seems stemming from the Cyrathrhim
blank refusal to fight in the Sarvonian Wars or to join the
Government. Unlike many Santharian tribes, the Cyrathrhim never really established a centralised government. There was actually no requirement - as the tribe had no fighting force to co-ordinate, no system of tax such as humans do, and no "foreign policy" of any kind. These are the things for which centralised leadership is required, and things that the Cyrathrhim had no need of. They lived in a world that worked in tune with the Dream's balance, their society was full of it.
As mentioned earlier each extended family dwelling was more or less self sufficient and self governing. Hence trade with the Bolder was organised between the Aellenrhim and individual family groups. Each family group would be led by the eldest female among them, the elder matriach or Ciavsó (Styrásh Ciavsó).
The Ránn was typically the eldest female dreamer among the tribe. Her job was to function in order to settle disagreements that the tribe's population could not sort out for themselves and to make what few large scale decisions (not going to war, not joining the High Elven Circle) needed considering. Her decisions would be influenced by the Gods, the needs of the Nai'mod but also by her own insight. The Ránn herself may or may not have been a Ciavsó, but it would be her extended family group that would inhabit the central settlement, abandoning their own traditional outer settlements on one of the spokes for the length of her reign.
As such there would always be one empty settlement. It has been said that this empty settlement would then house the Council of Dreamers, essentially a council of all the Nai'yephro only held in times of need or when the dreamers were troubled by their visions. Such councils were, so say the Aellenrhim, rare and unwitnessed by Aellenrhim eyes.
Production/Trade. The Cyrathrhim conducted trade with only two parties. Despite their proximity to Nyermersys, the Cyrathrhim snubbed any human contact believing it best to let "those of the Water" deal with their own problems. It seems that trade with the Gremm was a matter of a certain type of symbiotic realtionship, rather than an economic kind of agreement, with the elves providing labour and materials that the gnomes were unsuited to. Quite what was provided by both parties is unclear though certainly this trade relationship would only have existed between those family groups living closest to Gremm inhabited areas of the forest.
It seems likely that there was a sort of trade relationship within the tribe as well, with certain members of family groups visiting others to swap localised resources. For example uruyant comes from the Warnaka Mountians, and so is only available to those family groups living within trekking distance of the range, or those groups with trade agreements of the Aellenrhim. Similarly, certain aspects of the Cyrathrhim diets only occurred in specific sublocations of the forest, such as clearings and glades. These dietry resources could also be swapped with family groups who lacked them. Often it seems favours would be swapped. A family group lacking singers or makers perhaps would trade resources for the services of one from another nearby family group for a period of time.
The Aellenrhim traded with individual family groups, and what they gave and received was dependant upon the indvidual situation of that group. The mages in the outer ring usually required large amounts of food, as well as magical resources that they could not source from within their forest. These would be supplied by the Aellenrhim in return for potions and healing mixes, charms and spells of various kinds. Often a song or a poem from the northlands were payment enough for certain Aellenrhim traders, and most of the volumes of Cyrathrhim history were compiled by these merchants.
Grains grown by the Aellenrhim were often used to substitute the Cyrathrhim diet and might be swapped for smoked meat fish from the rivers running to the south of the forest or metal ores - copper primarily - that generally went unused by the tribe. The Cyrathrhim were also great makers of pots and ornate storage ware from the clay soils around the rivers and closer to the coast. We know that both tribes held these pottery wares in high value and were sometimes traded. A great many survive in the Bolder and many pottery fragments are to be found in areas that were once elf settlements. The Rim Mages would also heal and cast charms and spells in return for a favour, either in terms of physical goods or a service rendered.
Natural Resources. The Calmarios Forest's greatest natural resource are the copper mines on its northern western fringes. The tunnles are so small that they must have been created either by the gnomes or by elf children. The network of these tunnels, while small by dwarven standards, stretch a league and could easily produce enough oxidised copper ore to supply most of the old kingdom of Erpheronia. However, considering the length of time for which these mines must have been worked they are rather smaller than on would expect, either signifing that they were abandoned at some point in the past, for whatever reason, or simply a reminder of the little use that the Cyrathrhim had for metal. Perhaps they mined only what they required for trade.
Hard rocks like flint and granite were available from the mountain ranges surrounding the forest, though the Cyrathrhim made less use of this material than their Bolder neigbours and prefering to use only the loose rock avaliable on scree slopes to make smaller items from. Certain areas, especially in the southern parts of the forest, had clay soils that were ideal for potting and molding.
This brings us to that last great resource a forest can always provide, wood. Wood was used to keep the family group ovens alight, these ovens were the heart of Cyrathrhim survival, allowing them to smoke meat, cook meat, keep warm in the coldest of winters, fire clay wares, melt copper, make and mold bronze, dispose of waste and a myriad of other uses. Wood that was fired once could often be reused as charcoal on smaller domestic fires in the tree level dwellings, reducing the risk of fire.
It was the overturning of many of the large ovens during the orc raids that led to the great fires that consumed the forest.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Like much else about the Cyrathrhim, and much like their rite of passage mentioned earlier, the rituals that the tribe in general followed showed northern roots, a diversification during their time as nomads and then finally an adoption of Southern Sarvonian practices, sometimes over their own ways. For example, the Rite of Return, not found anywhere in the North and certainly not practiced by the Cyrathrhim in the earlier sagas recounted to the Aellenrhim, appears to have shunted the traditional Cyrathrhim death ritual (consisting of a death pyre set in the outline of the sun to guide the soul back to the earth - quite unlike the Rite of Renewal) out of favour some time prior to the Second Sarvonian War.
Like the Injerín, the Cyrathrhim worshipped the sun rise and the coming of the daylight in songs of the Gods. Each day of the seasons would require a different tale of a different God, and a different lesson to be learnt. This ritual continued long into recorded history and was later supplemented by the Quaelhoirhim tendency to sing for the sunset also - a ritual that more than likely arrived via the Aellenrhim.
The elves also celebrated Kára'ecuá (Kára'ecuá, lit. "The Time of Disconnection") like the Artyhron - though its interpretation is considerably different to those of the Northern Sarvonian tribe. Ritually it is similar: it is a somber gathering, held during the night and wooden models of a city are set alight. To the Artyhron, these models represent the city of Parthenon. To the Cyrathrhim they represent the imbalance of Fá'áv'cál'âr and remembers their exodus from that place and their feelings of seperation from other elves not only physically but also idealistically. This lingering of a celebration between two tribes who are seperated by great time and distance suggests that this ritual must predate either interpretation of it, and be part of a elven legacy so old that its original meaning has been lost and adapted many times. It has been suggested that it may well predate Fá'áv'cál'âr. But such time past is the place of myth and legend. We will never know whether this is actually simple coincidence.
Like the Aellenrhim, the first day of every month was a feast day for the God of that month, and to Avá. Family groups gathered together and large meat meals were consumed. It was a day of rest, of learning and of lore, with stories of Sarvonia’s past being told in the evenings. As consequence the months of Dál'Injèrá and Chúh'Querín were especially revered. Dál'Injèrá was a time for setting relations straight and amending past wrongs. Chúh'Querín was a time to remember first the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr on the first night. After the first elf had spotted the star constellation of the Bow (it is rumoured that the first to spot the star constellation of the Bow on the first night of the Chúh'querín will be blessed with exceptional luck at the whole hunting season) the night would resound to songs of the Bone Queen and the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr. The second night was that of Kára'ecuá. The third night until the penultimate night of the month was dedicated in memory of the forefathers who walked through the frozen northlands and the mountains. Songs of praise were sung to Arvins who became their protector even in their shame and their exile. Praise was sung to Avá for the mountains and the food they provided. The hours of daylight became a fast time. Dairy foods, cultivated grain, domesticated meats (things usually gleaned from the Aellenrhim) as well as stored meat were not permitted to be eaten in this sacred time. The tribe would live off the land around them alone as their ancestors had done. They would extinguish their ovens (which had the additional advantage of allowing the stockpiling of wood for the harsh winter months), the only time of the year that this would occur. The penultimate day of the month and the final day were the breaking of the fast with a feast that would celebrate all the advantages that their new forest home had brought - the elves would invite the Aellenrhim and the Gremm to these feasts, their presence was not tolerated during the fast. They would use all the things they had been forbidden during the fast. They would sing for all the Gods and their benevolance and they would give thanks for their strong relations with their neighbours.
"Theme of the
Cyrathrhim Elves (Of Ages Gone By)", composed and performed by
Format: MP3, Length: 2:22, Original Title: "Dreaming of a Better Time" from the album "Fate Takes Your Hand".
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