The elves of the Zeiphyrian Forest. Numerically the Quaelhoirhim are the largest of the Santharian elven tribes. They are also the most friendly and gregarious of the tribes, with their settlements generally being open to visitors of all races. Their knowledge of current and past affairs makes them naturally wise, as such they often see themselves as the most important of the wood elves, and that arrogance often annoys many of the other elven tribes. However, they are closely related to the Ylfferhim, who were originally part of this tribe, before the Quallian was cleaved from the main forest by flooding. The Quaelhoirhim also enjoy good relations with their Tethinrhim neighbours and with the Aellenrhim, with whom they share much of their outlook on life.
Image description: Cárimuá Eaás, famous founder of the centralised government of the Quaelhoirhim and creator of the High Elven Circle. Picture drawn by Eratinalinfalah.
If one is lucky enough to see an elf
abroad, for contrary to popular myth, scare few people in this modern age ever
get to meet one, then without a doubt, that elf
would likely be of Quaelhoirhim origins. For of all the
elven tribes, the Quaelhoirhim are the
least shy of men, and the most open to other races. However, their natural
tendency to get involved in affairs of other tribes and races, often lead them
to become involved in conflicts more often than other
As a result the Quaelhoirhim are sometimes refered to as the "classic elves", for when humans speak or come to depict elves, they often show elves of the Zeiphyr, for few humans know of the considerable difference between this tribe and say the Aellenrhim, with their sharp features and small frames.
The Quaelhoirhim are thus elves of typical human imagination: With sharply pointed ears and high cheekbones, they are considered very attractive to human eyes. They are slender and tall in appearance, approx. 2 peds, the same height as a tall human male, though they are as a tribe slightly shorter and more well built than their Ylfferhim cousins. The Quaelhoirhim are also generally longer lived than their Ylfferhim kin, reaching the grand age of ca. 500 to 600. Male elves have an androgynous beauty, with graceful fragile features and little beard growth, which makes them difficult to discern from females. Both sexes usually have big, expressive eyes, usually ranging from deep shades of blue and purple through to deep green. What marks the Quaelhoirhim apart from the Ylfferhim is their colouring. The Quaelhoirhim are typically of golden or olive skin, and exhibit a magnificent range of marvelous hair colourings from jet black, through brown and bright red (perhaps due to some Tethinrhim influence) to Gold, though no lighter, and a variety of strangely glimmering, undefineable colours in between.
Hair is worn uncut and open, though while at work or in battle, elves commonly remove their hair from their face using ties made of string or flax. Female elves of the Quaelhoirhim often cultivate flowers to wear in the hair, which is often worn loose or with small braids.
Like all elves there is always light on the face of an Quaelhoirhim elf, light that he/she seems to draw, from the beauty of the surrounding nature itself, which is thus reflected in the elven features.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The vast population of the tribe has had several different coats of arms, and there have been many different coats of arms over the years. However, 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 (symbolised 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.
Picture description: The location of the Zeiphyrian Forest, home of the Quaelhoirhim Elves. Map by Artimidor Federkiel.
The Quaelhoirhim elves dwell in the
Zeiphyrian Forest, but also on the forest's southern coast. Isolated members of
the tribe live on the Elvenground.
People. 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, producing some of the most beautiful items of elven craft in Santharia. 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.
Like the Ylfferhim, the Quaelhoirhim have a natural ability for magic and like the Ylfferhim they use this to protect the larger towns and cities. However, unlike the Ylfferhim, 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. They have a rich oral and musical tradition.
The Quaelhoirhim are not a warlike tribe, but they have been hardened by their involvement in many conflicts over the centuries. The Quaelhoirhim are the politicians of the elven world, loving to debate and argue. As a result they have been involved in some conflicts that perhaps did not concern them and led them to be a little domineering at meetings of the High Elven Circle. Each settlement has its own defences and all members of the tribe are trained in long range weapons, such as the bow and arrows and slings. A main armed force is kept in Elving consisting of two contingents of archers and a mounted core.
The elves are the only tribe to have a standing navy, though that navy also doubles as a fishing fleet, depending on which boats are in use. The Quaelhoirhim navy are based at Elving.
Housing. Housing, like everything about the Quaelhoirhim tribe is very varied. In Elving and the other main city, Saloh, 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 energy efficient homes. Those that back on to the cliffs also make strategic forts and look out 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. The Quaelhoirhim are the only elves to dwell outside the forest, on the Elverground, isolated family enclosures can be found, which the elves farm.
Clothing. Fashion is very varied. The Quaelhoirhim elves have a taste for bright colours, though they are normally based on natural shades and exotic fabrics that they recieve through trade. Common fabrics are cottons, organza and silk which they recieve from northern visitors. Style is a matter of personal taste, though loose flowing clothes in lighter colours are generally more practical in the heat of the forest, though elves living in the trees find closer fitting clothes more practical.
The Quaelhoirhim are also well known for enammel broaches and jewellery. They gather sand from the shore and mix it with colourings that they trade for. It is common for such a broach to be given to young elves on their 30th birthdays.
Diet. What is consumed again depends on the circumstances in which the individual elves are based. In Elving fish is the main foundation of diet, though Elving also recieves many foodstuffs from other settlements and tribes. On the Elverground meat and vegetables are consumed and the excess sent to the larger settlements. Deeper in the forests, many elves are gatherers, surviving on roots, seeds, fruits and nuts to be found in the forest.
Occupations. Occupations are incredibly diverse, but seem to be governed by the location of the indvidual. In deep forest locations, elves are rangers, wood crafters or archers. On the Elverground, the elves are farmers, and provide food to nearby human settlements as well as to Elving. Within the twin cities, occupations are diverse. In the temple area one will find clerics, who devote their lives to serving the Gods, mages who maintain the multilayers of the cities, traders, craftsmen, fishermen, politicians, bakers, ect. There is no trade that cannot be found somewhere.
Government. The Quaelhoirhim have an exceptionally complicated governmental style in comparison to most elves. This is partly due to the fact that the tribe is so numerically large, while activities undertaken are so diverse, and partly because they have observed that some human methods of administration have exceptional organisational benefits.
Generally on day to day issues, Quaelhoirhim settlements are self-governing, most being small enough to do this in a community fashion. The two cities come under the duress of a City Chamber, consisting of temple elders, mages, military experts and the oldest members of the tribe. These meetings are headed by the Ránn or Rónn of the tribe.
Overall decisions that affect the whole tribe are taken by a Ránn, or rarely a Róonn. They are responsible for overseeing the welfare and interactions of all parts of the tribe, trade routes, as well as ensuring good relations with other races and tribes. Their power depends on prestige and the respect of their people rather than on family connections, as the settlements of the Quaelhoirhim are rather independent of mind and will not tolerate poor leadership. The best leaders of this tribe are those who are strategically and politically minded while being in touch with all the various settlements that make up the tribe - a big requirement for anyone individual in a tribe so large and diverse. As a result a Quaelhoirhim Ránn or Rónn may well employ many talented individuals from many different backgrounds as advisors. There may be as many as 60 advisors at any one time so the Ránn or Rónn's children, when old enough, are often required to take charge of these advisors and compile all the information from the advisors into conside proposals for the Ránn or Rónn to deal with. But ultimately decisions lie with the Ránn or Rónn.
When many tribes have only a single level and more equal way of governing policy, this may seem excessive, but it has provided the Quaelhoirhim with several advantages since the system was adopted midway through SW I. Until this point the settlements, while recognizing a certain shared origin and a need to cooperate, were seperate war entities. In the first part of the war the Quaelhoirhim suffered several heavy defeats, culminating in the annihilation of the Zeiphyr in 806 b.S. Elf for elf the tribe were more than a match for the invading humans, but part of the cause of these defeats was that they lacked the military organisation and - perhaps even more important - the administrative and logistic machinery underpinning the organisation which made human troops impressive. As a result in 811 b.S. the first Ránn was elected.
At first similar problems remained with logistics. War leaders employed to organize village defences tried to centralize and make armies more mobile, but found they could only keep warriors in the field, far from home, for at most a few weeks. After that they would be either starving, or bored, or worried about their crops, or families, and would simply go home. However, gradually, a human-like centralized army and navy evolved, which alleviated this problem.
Production/Trade. The Quaelhoirhim are known for their craftmanship, beautiful emammeled jewellry, beautiful and highly decorated armour and swords. They also produce strong functional wares. The superficial level of Elving is a trade centre for that area. Wares from all over Santharia pass through here. If something is required, merchants in Elving will probably be able to get hold of it.
Natural Resources. 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.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Quaelhoirhim believe in the High Gods (Avá/Coór) and the Gods, the Aviaría. There is an understanding in the tribe that each God is as important as the next, and that imbalance leads to disaster. But the Quealhoihim can't help but hold three of the Gods above the rest of the Aviaría. In the West, the tribe, like their Ylfferhim cousins hold the Seyella, Goddess of destiny and time, in the highest reverance. Nehtor is also held by the whole tribe in special reverance. Like him, the Quaelhoirhim believe they feel the greatest joy, the greatest sorrow and that they have the greatest responsibility for the welfare of Caelereth. In the forest settlements however, Arvins is also held in high reverence.
There are no specific Quaelhoirhim festivals. The temples are always open for elven meditation. Though "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 North West of Saloh is the temple to Urtengor, Nethor is worshipped in a great Tree Cathedral outside of Elving. Every sunrise and sunset is an important time for the Quaelhoirhim. Walk through the forest at night and the air is alive with the incredible beautiful song, as tales of the Gods and of times past are carried on the wind.
Information provided by Wren