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Author Topic: Ylfferhim Update (incomplete)  (Read 1178 times)
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« on: 01 February 2004, 10:40:00 »

Soo sooo sooo Overdue!

The Ylfferhim

The Ylfferhim are named after a Star in the South Western sky - Ylffér. The name is derived from the Styrash verb Ylfferán meaning Alone, or isolated, but in the case of the tribe is more often translated to 'Independant'. The Ylfferhim are the smallest elf population of Santharia and perhaps until recent times one of the most isolated group of elves in Calereth.

The Ylfferhim dwell in the Quallian Forest. The tribe are related to the Quaelhoirhim at the nearby Zeiphyrian Forest and relations between the two tribes are close, if sometimes a little strained. They are unusual among southern Elf tribes of Santharia in that there is a considerable, but ancient, Northern Sarvonian influence, best seen in their language and apperance. The Ylfferhim prize peace above all things and are best known for their talent with Xeua, Prophesy and their exceptional singing voices. The Ylfferhim play only a very small part in general Sarvonian history, remaining neutral on almost every issue. Only in the most recent centuries are these elves starting to make their own, indvidualistic voice heard.

When humans imagine elves, they often visualize those of the Quaelhoirhim, as these elves are most commonly seen by the other races of Santharia. The Ylfferhim therefore closely follow the classical description of elves; being slender and tall in appearance. The Ylffer are, however, a little taller and more lithe than their Zeiphyrian cousins and generally a little shorter lived than the Quaelhoirhim. Hair is worn long and males plait or braid their hair, either in one plait, or in several braids to remove it from the face. The exception to this rule was the famous Ylfferhim Leias Anthioullsn, who was always curious in apperance among the Ylfferhim and wore his dark hair short and around his face.

Due to a very ancient connection with the Injerín tribe in Northern Sarvonia, the Ylfferhim are generally fairer than most of the surrounding tribes, with pale skin and fair hair ranging from Strawberry blonde through to ash white. It is very unusual to find a Ylfferhim elf with eye colours other than blue, green or grey.

The Ylfferhim are noted by surrounding tribes for their beauty. It is said that their innocence, their natural ability with Xeua, and their long isolation from the mechinations of the outside world means that they appear to almost burn with light when they are within the bounds of their own untouched forest from which they draw energy. Folk legend says that the first time that the impressionable young Allenrhim 'Rann, Aiá'merán, was so overcome the first time she met and spoke to a Ylfferhim elf she was said to comment:
'Ylffer? Naí! Ylfiár!'
Such a lovely word play is difficult to express well in Tharain, but literally the young 'Rann, herself noted to be of great beauty and purity, was casting doubt on the naming of the tribe. 'Alone. No! Perfection itself.'

It is said, however, that the easiest way to tell a Ylfferhim elf from the other surrounding tribes is to ask them to open their mouths. When they talk they do so with a characteristic melodius, sing-songy accent. This is because of the curious flow of their dialect known as the Cián'ál'már - or sound river which imposes some very unusual gramatical rules that one does not find in other dialects of Styrash and are explained later.  The Ylfferhim are also reknown for having beautiful singing voices.

Coat of Arms/Sign.
(Wreny note....Times they are achanging)

The Ylfferhim live in the Quallian Forest. Originally part of the Quaelhoirhim tribe the Ylfferhim became seperated in a fragment of a once larger Zeiphyrian forest, which once covered most of Midland Santharia, all the way to the banks of the Thaehelvil and beyond, to the western seaboard. The Quallian is the only surviving fragment of the Western part of the forest, the interviening land cleared and changed irrecovably by a series of heavy floods, caused by the deforestation of the First Sarvonian War. The tribe contains the desendants of a mix of the few elves who had been resident in the Western forest as long as memory stretches, Injerín soldiers fighting with the Quaelhoirhim (led by Ylopherdain) and Quaelhoirhim elves who fled from the area around Elving in 806 b.S. as the city was destroyed. The Ylfferhim are loathed to leave they're forest.It gives them life, sustains them, protects them - and besides which, the Quallian is stunningly beautiful. Why would they want to leave?

The forest is split more or less in half by the River Ai'eryn, which means literally 'Before Tides' in Ylffer, refering to fact that the Ai'eryn is the first and smallest of the branches from the Thaehelvil River as it begins to form a delta near its mouth and flows out into the Aetryam Sea, and the only one to remain fresh water all the way to its mouth. The river is prone to minor flooding, depositing alluvium along its course.

As I mentioned earlier the Ylfferhim have a higher natural ability for magic than any other living (the Cyrathrhim are now extinct)Santharin elf tribes. In fact the tribe has the highest natural propensity for magic of any tribe in Southern Sarvonia, with a much higher than average number of individuals demonstrating an ability for sensing Oh'mód'hál. Over the years the Ylfferhim have utilised their talents for magic to protect and cultivate their forest home and thus the Quallian is quite unspoilt. Very talented mages are sometimes sent to Elving or Salóh to recieve training and along with the Ylfferhim bards, the keepers of the Ylfferhim's rich oral and musical tradition, are the only members of the tribe who leave the forest.

Bards are held in great esteem in the Quallian. While the Quealhoirhim are masters of politics and current affairs, the Ylfferhim are introspective and mindful of the past. For them, the past is the best warning for the future. To know your past is to prepare for the future. The greatest among the Bards are usually appointed to advise the Monarch (see government) and also may travel between the Elven forests; reciting poetry, singing and telling tales of yore - to educate as well entertain other elven tribes. A Ylfferhim bard is a rare sight, however, and always welcomed by Santharia's other wood elven tribes.

It isn't just the past that the Ylfferhim pass on. The Ylfferhim are also the tribe of prophesy. They hold the Ionmis Globe, and their leaders are generally selected on the basis of their talent with the globe (see government). And aid to divination, the Ylfferhim use the globe to forwarn of forthcoming events. There are Five books of Ylfferhim prophesy, the greatest of which is considered to be that of Elothis, the only bard to wield the Ionmis - usually the globe is used only by the monarch. However, somewhat worringly, there is much in the books that is yet to be fulfilled, but as the bards often point out - even the best visions of Sayella are but one path among many - and not even the Goddess herself can say which road will we come to tread until the moment of the desision.

Since the Ylfferhim's seperation from their kin, the Quealhoirhim, and a substaintial period of complete isolation following SW1 and the death of Neve'mal, lasting until the destruction of the Cyrathrhim in the North, many obvious cultural differences have arisen. The most obvious is that the Ylfferhim speak a tongue which is very closely related to Styrásh, but different in various ways. Many consider 'Ylffer Elvish' to be simply an Archaic form of Styrash - frozen in time - as it contains many similarities with Northern speech, but closer inspection shows that the evolution of Ylffer is much more complex. Some scholars consider it a dialect, rather than a true language, though it is quite clearly distinctive and Styrash speaking elves have trouble following spoken Ylffer.

The first difference is that speech, while still melodious, has more gutural strains to it that are introduced by the three extra runes in the alphabet, representing the rolled double 'R' sound, the 'Kree' sound which eminates deep in the throat before rolling off the tounge and finally 'Chah' which eminates from the back of the throat before being brought forward on the breath. Ylffer also alters slightly the relative commoness to the runes, so that the rune that represents 'C' is far less common than it is in Styrash.

Perhaps the most important differences are grammatical. The first - and easier to grasp change for the Syrash learner - is that there are vastly simplified endings. It seems that following the fall of Elving the Western forest, that would become the Quallian, was flooded with refugees - those who had dwelt in the city, Elven troops from other tribes - and most importantly Injerin Elves under the Command of Ylopherodain. It seems that this mix of Elves could agree on the basic words, for example cár for life, dalán for the verb to rise. What they could not agree on however was the endings for the various declination of nouns and Conjugation of verbs. So rather as one finds in Tharian, this mixed population of elves stuck to what they could agree on, For example, Plurals were all denoted by the addition of í, masculine and feminine almost entirely abandoned, with the feminine form used for everything except male living beings. For a full comparison of these changes one should refer to the entry on Ylffer. Suffice to say that Ylffer is therefore the more gramatically accessible to the Tharian speaker as it has be rounded in similar ways.

But before you go thinking that Ylffer is the ideal Elven language to learn be aware that there rules of 'Tone', whereby the pitch of speech affects meaning - rather like one raises the voice at the end of a sentence to infer a question in Tharian. There are the rules of grammar in Ylffer that seem to have come from nowhere, and make little sense. Cián'ál'már, or The 'Sound River' rules govern the mutational nature of Ylffer. Basically, for the language to 'flow' it is considered that if a word ends with a vowel rune, then it must begin with a constant sound if it does not already. This pattern of vowels followed by constenants seems to have arisen in attempt to make the language less 'mouthy', to make it flow better from the lips and avoid the long trails of constants one sometimes sees in Styrash. For example consider the line from the Styrash song 'Awakening':
'Seliá er sá as'én eléyr fá sá ne’chán’cár iú.'
If one for a moment presumes that all the vocabulary is the same in Ylffer (which is not strictly true) then the line fwould read:
'Seliá fer sá has'én eléyr fá sá ne’chán’cár iú.'
The insertion of the constants simply make the words easier to say and they roll off the tounge more fluently. They look scary, but the rules governing it are really ver simple. A full list of the mutations that vowels undergo is listed in in the Ylffer entry.

Certain vocabulary has also changed, and some words added. The most common change is the slight change in words due to a different pronounciation. This kind of relationship between Ylffer and Styrash is best demonstrated by the word 'Quallian' itself, which is a mutation of the infinitive from the Styrash root "quael" (as in "Quaelhoirhim") meaning "bright". In Ylffer the root is therefore 'Quall', a shorter, more rounded sound than the Styrash precursor.

Settlement within the Quallian is divided into seven small clusters. One could call them villages, but as all of them are linked by many hidden walkways and none of them, excepting the largest among them, entirely self sufficient alone, one might consider them simply one extended settlement. None of them are more than half a days walk from even its most distant counterpart.

The largest settlement in the forest is Aer'Ylffér (sometime seen as Haer'Ylffer, due to the mutation that is often applied), which comes from the Ylffer word 'Aér' which denotes both a dwelling, but the dwelling of one with power and does not have a close equivilant in Styrash. Perhaps the closest Tharian word would be 'Throne'. The second part of the name, as has already been described previously is the name of a singular star to in the South Western sky. Thus, the name is best translated as 'Seat of the Lone Star'.

Aer'Ylffér is the administrative center, and geographical centre of the Ylfferhim, with the other settlments roughly encircling it. It is the seat of their monarch, the council and houses the only Stables in the forest, and never more than three horses are kept at any time. The population is made up of 7 extended families and has a population of about 300 individuals. Built in a large natural clearing, it is unusual among the Ylfferhim settlments in that much of the city is at ground level, surrounded by gated city walls, and looks a little like a mini Elving, but surrounded by the densest Woodland you have ever seen in your life. The Elves cultivate this impenitrable forest around their 'city'. Ylfferhim would use the forest top walkways to reach the 'city' and the dense undergrowth provides plenty of opportunity for an intruder to get lost or be heard some distance away.

In the centre of Aer'Ylffér is the Adím, the Council Camber. It is the biggest building in the Quallian, built of marble that must have been obtained, one supposes from Quaelhoirhim merchants who were invited to the Forest. Overhead are many levels containing housing and "businesses" of every nature, linked by walkways, beautifully sculpted from intertwining of tree bows, boarded over to give a level surface.

The next largest settlement is Fýthí: the Styrash for Lost.
Not that there is anything lost about the city and the name probably refers to a devestating flood that brought death and disease to the settlement early in the Age of Blood. It is the Quallian's port on the Ai'eryn River, built where the river has formed an Oxbow lake called Chardalá, which referes to the 'Bow' shape of the lake. It is here, and only here that the Quaelhoirhim come to trade and to seek council with their kin. It is the doorway to the forest for the Quaelhoirhim, but the door is firmly shut to unfamiliar tribes or other races. It wasn't always so. Fýthí was once as open to other races as the port of Elving is today. The settlment 'floats' held above the water level on long legs wooden. It can only be reached by boat, and be sure that if the ferry elves do not know you they will row quickly back toward their home leaving you to watch from the bank.

The five other settlemets: Drwsyl (Ylffer. Door), Adímaiáh'sala("Meeting of Ways"), Iysha (Ylffer Corruption of the Goddess "Eyasha") Dáth ('Place' - yes we know! Lots of thought must have gone into that one) and Thi'eryn (No one is quite sure where this word has come from. The meaning has been lost) and Meywn'pherán (Ylffer:"Single Tree") are hidden within the trees, and have no building at ground level.

Most Ylfferhim therefore live in Pherán'eárn - Tree houses! Usually the are essentially cylindrical in construction, surrounding the trunk, and other rooms branch off from this central room. Many levels of Pherán'eárn exist in each settlment, linked by walkways.Pherán'eárn remain well hidden due to the mainly evergreen nature of the fauna in the Quallian. Such a system would be unlikely to work in forests further north.

Clothing. Clothes of the Ylfferhim are made from furs, or cottons, organza or silk that they obtain mainly from the Quaelhoirhim. Style is a matterof personal taste, though females generally wear long flowing dresses, while males can often be seen wearing loose suits, with high neck lines. Capes are the most common overgarment, and usually hooded. Due to the secretive nature of the tribe, greens and browns are favoured, though a myriad of bright coulours can be found in the saftey of the hidden cities.

Diet. The Quallian is an incredibly ecologically diverse environment, and its richness is perhaps the reason why the tribe has managed to survive in isolation for quite so long. Meat is the principle constituent of the diet as while the soil around the Aieryn is fertile, it is not really suitable for crop growing, due to the Quallians dense undergrowth. Fishing is common around the Aierynsayl, the natural lake on the River, and also on the costal settlements. Fruit trees also grow in the forest in large numbers. However, much of the Ylfferhim's diet of grains and pulses must be obtained by trade. As a result this is the Ylfferhim's primary weakness, as their food supply can easily be cut off.

Weapons. Armour is very rarely seen in the Quallian, though short range bows and knives are the Ylfferhim's weapons of choice, perfect for use within the dense undergrowth.

Occupations. Occupation in the forests are many and varied, though many Ylfferhim become either rangers or bards. Magi are also found at a higher than average frequency among the population. Many magi, however, choose to leave for the Quaelhoirhim where increased external relations offer them larger opportunities or to come into the service of the High Elven Circle. Merchants who deal with outsiders on behalf of the tribe are very important, while others still are miners (a very unusual trade for an elf) for the Quallian's mineral wealth, providing the forest with the bricks and stone for working.

Government. There are no true leaders among elves, but decisions are made by the government or Council and meetings are traditionally conducted in Old Ylffer. Final decisions in most matters are made by a monarch, the Leias (usually female), following discussion. The Leias is selected by the council after long consultation, and traditionally they are individuals with an aptitude for using the Ionmis Globe. Since the founding of the council there have been ten Leias.

Production/Trade. The Quallian's mineral wealth is the Ylfferhim's primary source of trade. Limestone can be found within the southern areas of the forest and near the coast sandstone is quarried. The forest is rich in gold, gems and malacite. The clay soils around the Aieryn can be baked in moulds to form bricks.

Natural Resources. [...]

Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Ylfferhim elves are not ones for huge parties, however, most nights, are a celebration of sorts. If you are lucky enough to wander among the trees you will hear Salaen and songs of old on the breeze. However, in the month of Córt'ometrá the long night sky is illuminated by thousands of candles and the trees are aglow with tiny pinpoint lights created by elven magic. The forest echos with songs of Avá and of Seyella, and of the very earliest of times.

Religion. [...]

Settlements. The Ylfferhim have 10 Settlements in the forest. All but two have no buildings at ground level save military fortifications. Settlements are joined by overhead walkways or barely perceivable tracks. Without an Ylffer guide you are likely to get lost. Settlements are usually large, very extended family groups, excepting the capital. The settlements in order of size are:

There are two small settlements on the banks of the lake, named Arlinio (Elvish "Work of Art") and Thi'eryn (meaning lost), presumably named before the Yffler town distinguished itself from Elvish. Both towns run Ferrys to Yln'fain'tir, and are exceptionally beautifully crafted.

The name was mainly chosen because that's what it consists of. Smaller settlement in the Quallian. Much of the population are rangers, with no permenant abode. This forms a temporary encampment for them.

History. [...]

Information provided by Wren  

Anodd yw dwyn dyn oddiar ei dylwyth

Edited by: Wren at: 2/2/04 22:35
Bard Judith
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« Reply #1 on: 21 February 2004, 13:07:00 »

These look lovely!

Can we sneak in a little cross-reference to the Alinfa Lily?  I'll rewrite my entry to match whatever you put in here.  

The bloom is not necessarily associated with 'sadness' - more the classic elven 'melancholy' that arises from the weight of long years and an awareness of the shorter lives around them as well as the responsibility for their environment... am I making any sense?  

I just thought the slender grace of the flower would match the elven atmosphere, especially since we have that amazing picture to draw upon...  If these elves could use it in any way in their decor or ceremonies, that would give me some background and interest for the plant.

Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with for the Ylfferhim!



"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
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« Reply #2 on: 01 March 2004, 10:41:00 »

Working it in now :)  

Anodd yw dwyn dyn oddiar ei dylwyth

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