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1  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: New external Santharian artist 5: Max on: 26 February 2013, 09:03:32
These are all gorgeously breathtaking! I'm loving all of these new external artists. All of their work is so inspiring and ideas immediately hit me each time I look at one of their galleries even if I can't properly use the picture with my ideas. I really like Swamp-Grat Rider. It looks very reminiscent of a Rat Brownie warrior. I'll have to file this one away in case I ever work with Rat Brownies or see a nice place this might fit.

I also wonder if Wayfarers might be able to be used as a Brownie pic somewhere, such as for the sea-faring Brownies that Coren and Rookie have vaguely mentioned over here (the massive teal text at the bottom of Rookie's post). The coloring of the would-be Brownies doesn't really match the current physiology laid out for the Race, but I'm sure a reason or alteration can be invented if cleverly done, like with Rookie's Darklings. I'd be very reluctant to ask about a recoloring at all. There appears to be a certain inhuman quality about them though, with the odd facial structures and limbs being unusually proportioned. I do think that perhaps the one on the left could possibly be seen as a very light brownbark, and the shorter one might be able to pass as a birchbark?

As they are in Nybelmar, I think the goggles can be morphed into a primitive eye protection from the water, Brownies being the wonderful little geniuses that they are. They could be construed as standing on a branch with the rising moon as their backdrop (although I worry that the planet in the image is too large to be considered a moon :/). That looks like it could be sunset.
2  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: New external Santharian artist 4: BKiani on: 25 February 2013, 09:24:12
Ooo Hello Stranger... might be wonderful for a future Brownie entry that's in the works. Of course, it's not even on site, so if someone else finds a nice place for it, I wouldn't be opposed at all. :)
3  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Masterwork permission for Eldor on: 19 February 2013, 04:37:54
Excellent! Now that I have your approval to work on them, I'll dive into rewriting the Milken. I expect this entry to take me a fair amount of time, but hopefully not an entire year. ;)
4  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón") on: 19 February 2013, 04:30:39
There we go, all finished! You're right, the Myth/Lore section looks much better with that paragraph relocated. Looking forward to seeing this one on site.
5  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Masterwork permission for Eldor on: 18 February 2013, 01:03:49
@Coren & Dek: Thank you both!

@Talia: I'm glad that I made a good choice then. :) I'm very excited for the prospect of working on this entry. The Milken have so many possibilities and blanks to fill in. I feel like this would be a very good transition entry for me, as they're already very established, but they will still require me to do a lot of homework and put work into them.

I very much hope Rookie can show up too. Her ability to think like a Brownie and help me out when my mind heads too much in the human direction is invaluable. Plus I really miss her.

I would very much appreciate you sending Curgan an email. grin If he's too incredibly busy, then he needn't come back, though.

@Seeker: Thank you Seeker!

Eldor smiles crookedly, and whispers something to a Brownie sitting on his shoulder. A mischievous grin crosses her pale, blue face. She then proceeds to hop onto a waiting kuatu, and scurries after the mysterious artist.
6  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Ardol on: 16 February 2013, 13:55:52
Heya Bryn! I was just poking around and glancing over the entry, and I really like what you have in here so far. I'm not really an authority on anything to do with creatures, but here are a couple of suggestions that might help you along.

Search for researchers, may be scrapped.

While finding existing researches that fit for this entry is excellent, it's not absolutely necessary if you just can't find one. You can definitely make your own researcher, and possibly use him/her in future entries if you decide to make more beasts. :) (if this comment was redundant and you already knew this, feel free to just shove a sock in my mouth. :P)

Thinking about splitting it into two separate entries, one on the Flat-tailed Ardol and another on the Eel-tailed Ardol. Thoughts?

I think that depends upon how different they are. If the differences exist only in the way of appearance and some other minor details throughout the entry, I think it would be just fine to leave them in the same entry. Generally, if they're very closely related and fall under the same name (Ardol in this case), having them in the same entry adds diversity and makes the overall entry more interesting and appealing in my humble opinion.

As I said though, these are just suggestions and opinions, and feel free to completely disregard them. :) This entry looks quite lovely so far, and I look forward to seeing its completion.
7  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón") on: 15 February 2013, 08:16:22
@Talia: Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed reading through it. :) I've recently attempted to contact Rookie approximately a week ago, though I haven't received a response as of yet. I can send an email to Curgan if you'd like. He may respond better receiving mail from someone that he knows, though. Perhaps you or someone else who knew him well could assist me in making contact with him?

@Arti: Thank you for the comments and the aura! Major changes have been made in gold, and I've combed through to entry in an attempt to make sure that I caught all of the capitalization (or lack thereof) and grammatical errors. If you notice any other discrepancies, please let me know. :)
8  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Masterwork permission for Eldor on: 15 February 2013, 07:18:10
Oh! Okay, I understand what you mean perfectly now. :) I do have an out of the blue trbe that mostly exists in my head and a bit on my computer, but that will have to wait for further down the line. I think it would probably be better until I have a bit more experience under my belt first anyhow.

I do have an entry in mind that fits the given criteria, though. I hope I'm not being too presumptuous in saying so, but the entry on the Milken Brownies looks to me like it could do with a revision, fleshing out, more details, etc. Rookie and I discussed the possibility of me undertaking this project in the future (which I guess is now because the conversations happened a couple of years ago), and her approval was given at the time. I've recently attempted to contact Rookie about a week ago via both PM and email regarding various Brownie things, and to see if she'd like to take a gander at my recent places entry. I haven't received a response yet, but hopefully she'll see it at some point and come around.

The entry itself is out of date as well due to my Milken Guilds entry. What I'd really like to do with the entry is not only highlight the close-knit relationship between the Milken and the Helcrani, but also to give the Milken a greater sense of identity, culture, and heritage that I feel they should have kept as part of their Browniin origin.

I do not, however, wish to step too much on the toes of Curgan and Greybark. My plan would be strike a careful balance between keeping as much of what they wrote intact as possible, and integrating new elements into the entry.

If ultimately you decide that I shouldn't rewrite this entry, I'd be okay with heading back to the drawing board. I would very much like to at some point, though; even if I'm extremely limited in what I'm able to do with it, I feel that it's necessary to at least reference the current changes that are in other locations.

Thank you,

Eldor :)
9  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Masterwork permission for Eldor on: 15 February 2013, 06:40:35
My first reactions: jawdrop and then  Big Grin

Seriously though: WOW! Thank you to Arti and the development team for giving me this opportunity. My mind is abuzz with excitement and ideas all tumbling around together. It's probably a good thing others can't hear my thoughts, or they might think that I am crazy...or can they?  shocked

Heheh, anyway, this is now at the very top of my list of enjoyable things to do, right under making the final corrections on the Grove of Embers (which I am about to do in a few moments). I have several vague ideas for what I might like to do for my Masterwork, but I do know that it will most likely revolve around Brownies in some way.

In order to help me narrow down my possibilities, am I limited in what kind of entry I'm allowed to write? For example, would I be allowed to write a tribal entry (provided that it's well-integrated and I gain approval from the appropriate individuals, etc.)?

And thank you for the congratulations Shabakuk and Talia! grin
10  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón") on: 13 February 2013, 13:09:13
Alrighty then! All finished we are. I definitely didn't expect this to be finished today, nor did I think it would be this long. I do like how it turned out though. Perhaps it sounds a bit sappy at the end there, but I figured there's enough sadness in the world already. How about a little light? :) In any event, comment away!

Note: I'm not sure if the location section is adequate. I feel like it should be longer, but I'm unsure what else I could put in it. Any suggestions?

Note 2: I'd like to actually write the hymn I mention in the Myth/Lore section. If anyone would like to assist me in doing this, I would more than appreciate it. Otherwise I'll be stumbling my way through the Elvish tongue. buck


11  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón") on: 13 February 2013, 06:01:21
Thank you both for the wonderful compliments! :D I'm glad that it looks alright so far. It's been awhile since I wrote an entry, and I was a bit worried that it would be a bit like me going back to square one. Glad to know it's more like riding a bike. ^_^

As for the the significance etc., I was definitely planning on elaborating. Experiencing writing research papers has helped me get a better handle on what needs to go into descriptions like this. Cross-referencing also does not seem so terrifying now that I know how to skim for details.  buck

My hope is that I'll have this one finished today or tomorrow (though don't hold me to that). I have a decent amount of free time at the moment.
12  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Site Update 10-02-2013 on: 11 February 2013, 00:23:48
Oh I see. I went ahead and just cleared the saved cache from my browsing history. It's fully visible now. :D I'll have to keep this in mind for future updates.
13  Organization and General Discussions / Announcements and Web Design / Re: Site Update 10-02-2013 on: 11 February 2013, 00:06:28
This might be just me, but I still see the January 20th update page. Is there any reason why this could be?

EDIT: The update looks right in Internet Explorer, but it doesn't seem to have changed for Google Chrome (which is what I'm currently using).
14  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón") on: 10 February 2013, 16:40:48
Link to pic: Lost Paradise

The Grove of Embers ("Náfrér'linlón")

Situated just east of Milkengrad in the Santharian province of Vardýnn, the Grove of Embers, or Náfrér'linlón (lit. "Ember Grove") as it is called by the Milken Brownies, is a lush, plant-filled area that is significant to the aforementioned group of Brownies. Teeming with life, it is also filled with the spirits of all of the Milken who think fondly of their connection to the Helcrani men. The Grove is a tribute commemorating the fateful meeting between the Helcrani and the Milken. The Milken annual Burning Festival is held here at sunset on the 10th Day of Burning Heavens, taking advantage of the glowing stones located in the center of the Grove, and at its entrances.

One of the most unique locations in the province of Vardýnn, the Grove of Embers is set apart from its surroundings-- literally! As one approaches the Grove from Milkengrad, he or she will pass through an assortment of trees (not dense enough to be considered a forest) and other plant life. After some distance, the trees disappear and open up into field covered in Centoraurian grass. The field is irregular in shape, having no concrete borders, and surrounds the Grove. One only needs to glance ahead to see the Grove waiting in the distance, inviting curious travelers to enter and wonder at its beauty.

As one moves closer to the Grove, its features become much more defined. Bold and elegant trees are closely packed and covered in vibrant, green leaves; their sturdy, brown trunks are rooted well into the ground. They range from mighty oaks to timid willows, each casting intricate shadows upon the grass just outside of Náfrér'linlón as the Injèrá makes its journey across the sky. At the edge of the Grove, in the north, south, east, and west, paths made of individual flat stepping stones open up leading to the center. Each path is flanked by two stone pillars, approximately two peds and two fores in height, and two fores across at their base. The stones generally taper inwardly, growing slightly narrower toward the top. Intricate curved lines are carved into each pillar, forming various swirl patterns. Each stone is unique in shape and pattern.

Following the well-worn paths, one passes deeper into the forest. Alongside the paths are various plants and trees, filling the air with rich, earthy scents. The floor the grove is covered in short grass and undergrowth. Vibrantly coloured flowers, lush shrubbery, sturdy trees,  and oddly shaped fungi provide appealing visual imagery. Small creatures dart across the forest floor, and birds croon their cheerful songs. Sunlight drifts through the canopy, painting the ground with splotches of gold. Natural springs well up and pool in various places throughout the Grove, creating small streams that flow inward toward the center of the forest.

Despite all of this beautiful scenery surrounding it, the center of the Grove is where the main attraction lies. The trees and foliage part and open up into a small clearing. There is a pool of clear, icy water in the center of the clearing, fed by the vast majority of the streams that flow from the natural springs. Various water plants float along its surface; fish and amphibious creatures move about freely in its waters. Surrounding the pool are thirteen stone pillars, similar in shape to those at the entrances to the Grove. The Milken and the elven Helcrani call these the Náfrér'galnós (lit. "Ember Stones"). As the sun sets each day, the patterns carved into these stones and the stones lying at the entrances begin to glow a vibrant orange color. Hundreds of tiny little emberglow flies flit about, creating a truly magical scene. The light of the stones linger well after dusk, eventually fading slowly well into the night.

The Grove of Embers is located in Southern Sarvonia, more specifically in the Santharian province of Vardýnn on the island of Efirhal. It lies approximately two strals east of the city of Milkengrad, west of the Thaelon forest, and north of the Aurora Plains.  

The Helcrani men and the Milken Brownies consider the Grove of Embers to be a special place, though the Milken have much more regard for it. In fact, the annual Burning Festival held by the Milkens takes place there every 10th Day of Burning Heavens. Some of the Helcrani, of course, also participate in this festival, though their turnout isn't that large. Every Milken is taken to visit the Grove at some point in their childhood, and many return periodically to visit the area. Skilled members of the Gardeners Milken Brownie Guild are tasked with the upkeep of the forest's varied plant life. They possess knowledge of every type of plant that makes its home in Náfrér'linlón. They are assisted by some members of the Rat Catchers Guild, which defends them from some of the more curious creatures that live inside of the grove. The Rat Catchers make it their mission to learn how to handle these creatures in order to make their job easier.

Much like the entirety of the island of Efirhal, the Grove of Embers enjoys a relatively temperate climate due to its proximity to a warm stream from the Dark Sea call the Mermaid’s Trail. The air is generally moist, and could be considered humid. Luckily, though, frequent cool winds blow in from the north. The spring and summer seasons produce warm temperatures, with the fall bringing about a significant cooling, transitioning into cold winters. However, an odd phenomenon regarding the climate of Náfrér'linlón is that it does not seem to affect the flora within the Grove at all, and nor do the waters ever freeze over. Though, the cold can still be felt, and the waters do become rather cold.  

Because of its region’s temperate climate, the Grove of Embers supports a myriad of healthy vegetation. It is populated by many different kinds of trees which vary in type. However, most of these trees are deciduous. Many different kinds of flowering plants, herbs, and fungi also make themselves at home in the grove. This is most likely due to the influence of the vast array of cultivated plants in Mllkengrad, and maintained and expanded by the Gardeners Milken Guild. However, there is something quite odd about these plants. Flowers and herbs never seem to perish during the cold season, and the trees do not shift in cycle. That is to say, the Grove behaves as if it somehow remains locked in spring. Should snow ever fall in the grove, the plants will live on, and behave as if it is not there. In fact, the falling snow behaves as a water source for the thirsty flora. Experts are baffled by these strange, inexplicable events.

Despite having a diverse menagerie of plant life, there are those that are more common than others. For example, oak, red birch, and willow trees dominate those plants that are arboreal in nature. However, one should not be surprised to find cedars and pines populating the area as well. In addition to their barren cousins, there are also several types of fruit-bearing trees. Some examples are the bell fruit tree and the meldarapple tree. Hungry travelers are welcome to pluck a few pieces of fruit from these trees in the spirit of the friendship that the Grove was created upon.    

Alongside the towering trees is a numerous myriad of smaller plant life. This includes flowering plants, such as the dalferia  plant and the injèrá'yránía. The jeshanna lily can also be found languishing along the perimeter of the Grove's streams and its small pond. The Grove is also home to some common and uncommon herbs and shrubbery, such as Dreamer's breath, the undertoe herb, the rosemint bush, and the doch nut bush. Various fungi such as the sulcho mushroom can be found tucked away beneath the shade of a tree. It is also worth mentioning that the floor of the Grove is covered in Centoraurian grass, much like the rest of Efirhal.

With a group of beasts to rival its numerous plants, the Grove of Embers becomes a thriving ecosystem teeming with diverse life. The trees of Náfrér'linlón provide an excellent home for various types of creatures, such as birds, rodents, and insects. One such example is the caladrius bird. It is found quite commonly throughout the different parts of the grove, making its home in the many different trees. The caladrius is responsible for the majority of the singing that is commonly heard as one ambles through the Grove. During the Burning Festival, they are often known to provide beautiful "mood music", as if intuitively sensing the importance of the event. Several other types of tree-dwellers can also be found in Náfrér'linlón; these include the wynd racer, the wood owl, and the infamous kuatu. The kuatu are almost seen as an infestation. Their evening chattering is quite irritating to the Milken, especially when it occurs during their festival.

Other life abounds on the floor of the grove, coexisting harmoniously with the tree-dwelling denizens of Náfrér'linlón. Among these is a small population of raoshir (lit. "grey fox") and arshir (lit. "red fox"). They make their homes in various burrows throughout the area. They enjoy hunting the field mice and the tarepi that also make themselves at home in the Grove. The starback deer can also be found in the Grove of Embers, as well as the odd relatively harmless snake. There are rumours of wild pig sightings in the surrounding area, and travelers are cautioned to be wary.

In terms of smaller creatures, the Grove most certainly does not disappoint. A tasty source of food for the Milken, and also for their Lloaihrr cousins, the blackbeetle can be commonly found throughout the grove. Individuals from the Slinger Milken Guild often make trips to the forest to hunt for these succulent insects, taking members from other guilds such as the Metalworkers for assistance. Also found in the grove are the common myrmex, small amounts of the fire myrmex, the whistling beetle, the flitter-twitch butterfly, the red diamond butterfly, and the white spiral butterfly. One fascinating specimen, the emberglow fly, is found almost exclusively on Efirhal, concentrated mostly within Náfrér'linlón. It is theorized that the orange glow produced by the thorax of these insects is how the Grove of Embers received its name.

Lastly, we have those creatures which make their home within the waters inside of the Grove. Found living in the streams of Náfrér'linlón are several different types of water creatures. Among these are a few different types of fish, such as the dominoore fish, and the yellowtail fish. The green frog and the hollup frog can usually be spotted in or around the water. On rare occasions, one might even see the elusive illoryn waterbird.

Origin of the Name: Some scholars believe that the Grove received its name because of the glowing stones erected within it, and because of the emberglow flies that flit about within its confines. Others believe that the name "Grove of Embers" was most likely chosen in part because of its connotations surrounding where it is located: the island of Efirhal, which literally means "Firehill". Further granting credence to this theory, the name of the tribe that lives on this island, the Helcrani, means "firedamned". The Helcrani received this name due to the belief that they were cursed by Tacunija, heir to the Goltherrhim regency; he was assassinated by Helcrani (then Kyranian) rogues, and cursed them with his dying breaths. The volcano Hèckra then exploded three times, as if sealing the curse into reality. As embers are left after a fire fades, it is speculated that some believe that the Grove is a blessing to both the Milken and the Helcrani, freeing them and those around them from this supposed "curse".

The Glowing Stones: Perhaps the most mysterious aspects of Náfrér'linlón are the glowing stones located at its center and at its entrances. The exact origin of these stones is shrouded in murky clouds of hearsay and lost within the folds of time. However, some scholars believe that, based upon their elegant craftsmanship, the stones are elven in origin. This theory possesses some credence because of the large part the elven League played in orchestrating the events that led to the Grove's creation. The stones are also quite obviously magical in origin, with magic of this nature usually being most closely associated with elves. Ximaxian scholars have speculated that the stones may operate by absorbing the light of the sun, and using its energy to light up the night. Piling onto this theory, others have claimed that the stones might even be some form of ancient sundial.

Significance to the Milken: Despite these tales of the Grove providing blessings, its true significance lies in what it means to the Milken Brownies. The Milken began as the Hawkfeather Brownie Band, a group of Brownies stowing away on a boat from Akdor. They were discovered and, by chance, brought before the League. The Council of the League was a secret elven society, led by its inspirator Artemidoreus, attempting to find a way to bring about the harmonious rule of the world. The Brownies were chosen to assist in an experiment, which required them to cultivate and care for the four Artapherana, or the Trees of the Elements. Each one of the trees represented one of the four elements, Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water; these elements are presumed to be a metaphor for the four main races of Sarvonia (the humans, dwarves, orcs, and elves). The few Milken who could use Life Magic bent the natural light that trees produced to hide them from sight.

This experiment was to attempt to determine if humans could become the catalyst to bring about the co-operation of the races. After a brief attempt to use the Erpheronians for this experiment, the League switched its focus to the Helcrani, who were then seeking solace from the disaster involving the volcano Hèckra. Then, because of a plague, the Helcrani sought refuge in Centorauria. As they arrived at the Northern coast, the Milken released their magic, allowing the light of the Artapherana to shine forth. The Helcrani, seeing the light, made their way to the Milken (lit. "the small ones"), and gave them their name. They later founded the city of Milkengrad (lit. "City of the Small Ones") The Helcrani and the Milken have coexisted together ever since. It is said that the Milken used their Life Magic, and constructed the Grove with the help of the Helcrani elves and their own magic. It would forever mark the day that the Milken finally found a place to call home, and an extended family with which to share it.

The Burning Festival: Every year, on the 10th day of Burning Heavens, the Milken hold a festival to commemorate that fateful day all those years ago when they met the Helcrani. Every Milken who is able gathers at the center of the Grove close to sunset, each carrying something that they hold close to their heart. They form a circle around the pool of water, and additional circles around that until each and every Brownie in attendance is in line. The Helcrani are are invited (and encouraged) to participate in the ceremony, and many of them do attend.

One of the Milken Elders, usually an informal "priest/priestess" of the elven High Goddess, Avá the Beautiful, steps forward and speaks about the previous year; the first segment of the speech centers around rejoicing over the triumphs of the Milken, and lamenting upon their shortcomings. His or her voice is almost always amplified by someone through the use of wind magic, so that all may hear. He or she will then speak of the initial meeting between the Milken and the Helcrani honoring the age-old love and friendship that exists between these two very different peoples. When the speaker is finished, there is a hushed silence, extending until the stones surrounding the pool of water begin to glow.

As if unified and connected by ethereal threads, the Milken will begin to sing a hymn composed in Styrásh that speaks of the friendship that Milken and Helcrani share. It was composed and written by the great Browniin bard Ooindohlao. Their voices blend together in a seamless harmony, leaving those who have never heard it awestruck. Those Helcrani that know the words lend their voices to the song. When it is finished, there is another moment of silence during which each Milken is supposed to raise their treasured item into the air, and say a silent prayer to Avá, thanking her for bringing the Helcrani to them, for they believe that they could not have what is most important to them without their cherished friends.

After the ceremony, the Milken and Helcrani return to Milkengrad, and have a large feast prepared by the Slingers Guild and Helcrani chefs. The feast generally has a higher turnout than the actual ceremony, but most of the Milken do not mind too much, although there might be some grumbling from the exhausted Slingers. They are content to share in the camaraderie that the Helcrani offer to them. The day is finished in celebration, with shared hope for the future, and a renewed promise of friendship.
15  Organization and General Discussions / Non-Santharian Stuff: Life, the Universe & Everything / Re: No Longer Wandering on: 10 February 2013, 11:24:28
@Talia: Alrighty. ^_^ I'll await your comments then.

@Shabakuk: Hey there friend of mine! Thanks for the welcome. :) You should have something to read pretty soon here. I'm periodically working on it when I have free time.
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