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Founding of Ethgan'tor

The History of the Founding of Ethgan’tor, city of the Esh'lahier Elves.


[top]In the Beginning

It is said that in the very beginning of history, the trees whispered. The suns were still young in their sky. The strongest river was but a babbling brook trying to find its way. The stars still shone with all the brilliance of the moment of their birth. The tallest mountains were yet unblocked as Telath was just beginning to stretch its arms, letting small blossoms break its surface and greet the shimmer of brightening.

In such times, the trees whispered to all that would hear.

We were but a young race at the time, only recently separated from our brethren, the Vysstichi. Our hearts still longed for the deep recesses of K’Terak – the ancient woodlands, the luscious beaches, the strong-armed mountains. It was a haven from hatred unearned and undeserved. It was the birthplace of our people. It saw the moment of our enlightenment. It was more than simply our home – it was our life, the very blood of our existence. It was the frame around which our lives, our people, our heritage was built.

Turning our backs on this place of our birth and home was a sacrifice equal to that of our forefathers, the immortal Ke’trala, when they descended from the plane of the gods and sought to dwell within the Material. It was turning away from everything we had known, everything that had harbored us from the very origins of our memories. Yet we knew that such a sacrifice was not only necessary, but also desirable – we were compelled by the holiest of wants to abandon our dark home and make out our own pure way in Telath in freedom. As recompense for our sins, this gift on the Aetherian altar was required.

[top]The Journey from K'Terak

So we left our very souls behind as we sailed toward the Medonian continent in search of a new home. Very few of our earlier expeditions had returned; the journey between the elfish ancestral lands and this new world of new peoples and surroundings was perilous, even in the brightenings before the Storm Barrier arose and made such a passage nigh on impossible. Still, we had heard enough of a rumor to be encouraged – there were fair lands for the taking. The indigenous races were still young, and thus our excursion into their territories could be conducted in secrecy and our inhabitances remain unknown.

But this new land was wide and long; finding a suitable place for our people to settle proved a much more difficult task than even the wisest of minds could have foretold. We did not number many, for the whispers of Meephos and Haya had reached but few of the Elfkind, and even fewer of that number had turned away from such Dark Masters and come back into the way of the light. Still, our numbers were large enough to make sustainable life a challenge, particularly if we wished to keep our existence invisible.

Why so many pains to ensure our mystery? We did not know how far the stories of the Great Divide had spread. Perhaps our Trelorean cousins had already converted these malleable races to their ideas of our taint and curse. But beyond that, there was intangible power in a secret. We could go about our lives without petty conflicts and malicious diplomacy. We had no need to interfere in lesser races’ affairs; why should they be a part of ours? Thus this secret of our very existence became the most guarded tenet of our lives – no true son of the Pale Elves would ever betray his people to the common world, for then he would betray his own soul and forever condemn himself to the evil ways from which we had run so far.

[top]Wandering the Medonian Continent

Our people began to spread across the country, as it was becoming clearly infeasible to hold all of us together. The country called Aelyria was still very young then and embroiled in its own conflicts, so we were left to our own devices. Some of our people wandered into what came to be named Enamoria and some into the Sherian. Others spread into Carmelyn and even as far as Eunesia.

And yet the desire for uniformity never left our hearts. Geographically, we may have been spread, but our souls were tied together with an inexplicable bond – we were one people, unable to be separated no matter the distance, time, or circumstance. A few of us remained as banded together as we could manage, loathe to leave our ancient leaders: the Triad, the three noble names that had brought us out of the shadows of our past and into the favored light of Aetheria. May the Lord Ioannes ever revere the names: Linelen Linalantava, Bel’thanan Yeranthas, and Aria Areth’ya. For their good grace, their divine wisdom, and their steadfast courage, our people have been forever saved from the grips of Aeternia and brought into the favor of the Ordered Gods. To them, every Esh’lahier owes their very existence.

The numbers of our people had dwindled after the sundering, but it had not stopped the Triad from their continual search for a suitable place of settlement. They knew that our people needed a place to truly call home. Our hearts had carried the hole left from our separation from K’Terak. We were not meant to wander. We were meant to belong. That is the deepest desire of our hearts – to belong.

[top]In Lauryl

Our group finally came to what had been named the province of Lauryl, although we were unaware of this term at the time. The Lord Linelen of Linalantava took his faction to the northern reaches of the province, scouting out profitable land while avoiding any possible interaction with the races already dwelling within the area. The Lord Bel’thanan of Yeranthans traveled west with the same intentions in mind and the Lady Aria of Areth’ya took the largest group, composed of all we who had remained behind, into the southeastern corner of the province, into the place where the trees whispered.

Later we were told that this place had a name – the Forest of Light. Now, such a title seems fully appropriate, for it was only by the direct favor of the Lord Ioannes that such a locale could have presented itself in such a prodigious fashion. But at the time, we did not realize what future this land held. We merely followed our Lady as the brightenings passed, our hearts becoming more downtrodden with every setting of the suns. For too long we had been without a home, a place to set our feet and rest our heads. The indeterminable travel had begun to wear on our spirits. Although it was shameful, some of our number did indeed consider the possibility of sailing back to our ancient K’Terak once more – Vysstichi or no, it did, at least, promise us a stable existence. Here, in this new land, we had only encountered hardship and questions. The Gods had seemingly abandoned us. Eras upon eras had passed, and, although but a pinch of time to an Elf, the unsettling of our movements had worn us out, and our hearts longed for nothing more but a place to belong once and for all.

It was at this time when our spirits sagged lowest that the trees whispered.

[top]Lady Aria and the Forest of Light

Even among our people this conversing was lost to all save one – the greatest among us, the Lady Aria. She had been the sole fire underneath us, the only inspiration in a dark and dreary world. Through her sheer strength of will had we been kept together throughout our wanderings, and through her own prowess as an orator and leader the Lady Aria had kept alight our hope, even against all odds. And it was she, again, who brought salvation to our people at the candlemark of our deepest need – a light against the eternal darkness. A hope against all hope.

It was a darkening like many others. We had settled on the edges of a wooded glade to pass the time of the sunken suns and had encamped as well as we could. Our meager supplies were beginning to run out – it had been a very long time since we had stopped in any one place to replenish our foods, and, since trade with other races was strictly disallowed from our people’s first creed, desperation was beginning to creep in. Yet with one word the Lady Aria was able to still hold us together, keep the peace, and keep our more cursed selves at bay to maintain what order and society she could. Still, all knew that her strength was failing – soon the void within our hearts would grow too great and even the lyrical words of the Lady would fall on deaf ears as our souls would turn back to the shadows out of the necessities of our bodies.

Yet it was in this darkening that the trees find a receptive ear to their whispers. Playing upon those of the Lady, it first sounded as a breeze…and then a murmur…and then a roar. The Lady Aria was immediately brought out of a deep sleep as the words resounded within her head, calling her forward, calling her inward. She was compelled to go, to follow the voices, for she knew they spoke true. They whispered that they knew the way of salvation for her people. They told her that they could bring forth every detail of her heart’s desire. They promised her that they would hold her and her brethren in their strong arms for forever and eternity and protect them against all harm.

And so the Lady followed, in darkening, in darkness. She walked further forward, further inward, as the voices of the trees continued to whisper. They pulled her far from her companions, still locked in the chains of slumber, as they tantalized the Lady with everything that she had awaited for so long.

Candlemarks passed. No one, not even the Lady herself, was sure of the exact time. And yet it was not until the suns began to finally sparkle over the furthest horizon that the voices stopped and stilled. The Lady Aria mimicked them, stopping in her tracks. A long look surveyed her surroundings, carefully taking every detail into account. She did not know where she was. They had not ventured this far into the woods. She did not know what region she was in or even what continent she currently stood in. Such knowledge had been wiped from her mind. All that the Lady Aria could grasp within her mind was the simple knowledge that this was home.

Home. This was where she belonged. This was where her people belonged.

The why did not matter. The how did not matter. But she knew that the who was she and her kind, the holy Esh’lahier, the Pale Kindred. She knew that the when must be immediately, as soon as feasibly possible. And she knew that the where must be here, and only here.

For it was here that the whispers led her – the trees had brought her to their very heart. They embraced her in their bosom and made it her own. Their home became her home, for she had heard their whispers. She had listened to their voices. They had found their protector and their protectorate. It was to the Lady Aria and her people that the trees would dedicate themselves to forever protect, forever defend, forever house. Their leaves would become their roofs and their trunks their walls. Their roots would become their foundation. Forever the destinies of the trees and this people, new to this world, would be tied – eternally and always.

It was to this clearing that the Lady Aria returned within but a few brightenings. Already the forest had a sense of familiarity to it, making her travel between her people’s camp and the chosen locale a trivial task. When she spoke to us of the whispers of the trees, our hearts lit on fire – we knew in our spirits that this was meant to be. This was our fate. All weariness, all confusion, and all dissent washed away like so much mud underneath a rain and we were left with only one clear thought – this was home.

[top]The Founding of the City

Immediately runners were sent to bring the Lord of Linalantava and the Lord of Yeranthas back to this location, as none other would ever suffice again. Though none but the Lady Aria could hear the conversation of the trees, we all knew for certain that the story was all true. All hearts were encased in a clarity of enlightenment that had been previously unknown. Nothing in all of our existence could have ever been truer. This place, though overgrown, full of rocks and stumps and bushes and looking nothing like a home, was indeed just that – our home. This was where we belonged and where we had always belonged. Our dwelling on K’Terak was but a foreshadowing of a dream, and this, this clearing inside the heart of the Forest of Light, was the true reality.

Time is irrelevant for an Elf, as it passes but slowly. Thus the generations spent upon the building of the city was but an insignificant sacrifice for the beautiful thing we had gained. As we settled into the clearing, the forest granted us yet another boon – hidden underneath the top layer of grass, the dirt held quarries of the purest white marble, a resource unlooked for and completely unexpected. Yet we saw it as but more indication that we had made the correct choice. The very forest was reinforcing our turn from the darkness of our pasts into the light of our futures. It knew that we were now set on the path of brilliance and righteousness and thus it gave to us the perfect materials with which to build the imprint of such a dream onto reality.

Our city, then, was founded from the very beginning with the treasure of the forest – white marble, of the purest, cleanest, most pristine variety found only within our home. It represented our hopes, our dreams, and our desires of a life of peace with both natural Telath and our fellow mortals as well as humble servitude to the Aetherians who had granted us so much favor. The pale walls began to border the outline of our abode; the white spires began to stretch toward the sky and cut sharply against the green of the background. And yet in all we did, we respected the sacrifice of the forest – for to welcome us to its heart, it must give up some of itself. Ancient trees were felled to clear room for our homes. Old streams were dammed and rerouted to build canals. Holy earth was dug and packed to make foundation for our streets.

But all was done with only the humblest of desires in our hearts, for we knew that we depended upon the forest as much as it depended on us. The whispers had led us here; the trees wanted us here. We were the patrons of the forest, the unseen guardians that would forever defend its heart and spirit. Few can understand the devotion and dedication that each Esh’lahier feels toward the Forest of Light, for few have ever approached the utter harmony and understanding that our people have achieved with the whispering trees.
Further Reading: Al'edat of Ethgan'tor, The Tale of the Esh'lahier, Ethgan'tor


Written by Charybdis.

Created by Charybdis, September 19, 2009 at 06:20 PM
Last edited by Charybdis, December 25, 2015 at 12:10 PM
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