Friday, May 31, 2013

May to Z: Y & Z

It's coming down to the wire. In the final hour of my self-imposed May to Z challenge I give you the last 2 letters.

Y had a lot more interesting names than I figured to find. I'll give you 4 of the 10 or so I drafted.

First up is Yldrum, derived from the Turkish word for "lightning". He is a devout worshiper of Thronndur, meaning he hardly ever leaves his forge and is happiest when the sparks fly from his hammer strikes. Some even believe he is a direct descendant of the forge god because he is one of the greatest living smithies in all dwarvendom. Since the collapse, aka the formation of the Quondam Kingdom, that buried all of the adamantite artisans, Yldrum could very well be the last in a great line of anvil pounders.

He is the father of Torr and grandfather of Torsun, whom the town of Torston is named after. It is so called because a large, unusual pillar of stone juts up from the nearby mountainside. For reasons unknown to man and dwarf alike, this natural obelisk is rich in iron, but not in a pure enough vein as to justify demolishing it for its ore. Yldrum called it Torr's Stone because on the night of his son's birth, just as the bawling babe was born into the world a tremendous crack of thunder peeled across the heavens and a blindingly bright bolt of lighting split the night, striking the pillar. Yldrum took this to be a blessing from Thronndur for the decades Yldrum had spent at his forge in worship. When a human village cropped up at the base of the mountain and trade began with the dwarf clan, the growing town came to be known as Torston.

Another dwarf of significance (because when are the stout, bearded folk ever insignificant?) is Yorgun of the northeastern clans. The name is Norse for George and means "earth worker." It is he who first introduced the iron plow to the humans of Highvale, who otherwise would have had a very hard time of growing enough crops to keep the kingdom fed. It is through his expertise of tilling the alpine soil that the kingdom knew the first great growth of population since the fall of the Atilaen sea culture. Some say that without Yorgun's magnificent invention, humanity would not have had the numbers needed to survive the subsequent fall of Highvale.

The last of the Ys are Yngvor and Yngvul, two battle-hardened dwarf brothers who take their names from the Norse god Freyr and a combination of "warrior" and "battle". These burly brothers are rarely separated and have a running competition for who can crush more enemy skulls or cleave foul spines. They fight best when back to back and outnumbered by almost uncountable odds. They have been surrounded by foes so many times that they have actually lost count. Yngvor claims to hold the high score of 4,382, while Yngvul argues that he is the current champion with 4,401.5 (the half point coming from a shattered shield). There has never been a set goal defined to actually judge which of the brothers is the final record holder. Other clan mates are growing weary of the boasting and bickering and think the final count should be the first to 5,000. However there are others in the unterholm that egg them on with the challenge of seeing if they can best 10,000 foes before they retire. What they have failed to establish is whether that is 10,000 combined or individually.

To bring the challenge to a close I leave you with the letter Z.

When I was digging for Y names, I came across Ylana, a Greek derivative possibly meaning "torch" or "the moon". And I also found that Yll is Albanian for "star". I decided to combine the two into Zyllana, the goddess of the night. While her realm is the darkness of the heavens, it is she who lit the night with the moon and stars. The desert-dwelling Grimalkin (a bipedal cat people) believe that the moon waxes and wanes because it is Zyllana's lantern that disappears and reappears as she travels the sky. They named her wandering "zudiya", meaning forever or endlessly repeating patterns. I made up this word from multiple parts, loosely borrowing from Lithuanian zydras meaning "blue", Zapotec zyanya meaning "forever", and Croatian zejah meaning "star". It is from zudiya that the Grimalkin develop their zodiac of rhythmic star patterns, the repetition of waves meeting the blowing dunes, and the ever intangible horizon of where the ocean never quite meets the sky.

They have also named the seasonal wind zfar - taken from Greek zephyr, meaning "west wind." Zfar is not just a general word for "wind", but rather very specific to the wet winds that blow in from the sea during the annual rainy season. Zfar in and of itself more appropriately means "a coming storm, building on the westward horizon." This refers to any eastbound troubles, be they rainstorms or some other foreboding.

And there you have it! May to Z challenge complete! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May to Z: W & X

W for wow! People must really like the 100 mark, or the letter V, because that one post generated almost twice as many hits as I've been getting. Thanks folks! That right there is what we bloggers call "incentive".

For W, I was originally going to post a name/character I just thought up because I liked the sound - Wymar the White. He was going to be a wandering, white wizard. But gosh, doesn't that sound a little familiar?

Then as I was cruising I just happened across Wynmar, which is Welsh for "white" and "great". I think that's a fitting name for Saia Kalan'gwyn's father, the elven king. I'm trying to decide how he'd look. Maybe long white hair, like really long, perhaps to just above his knees. He could have decorative braids and bits of limbs and leaves woven into it. I think a leafy crown might be a nice touch.

Or do I make him balding with about shoulder length hair and a waist long decorative beard? I was pondering the idea that his "greatness" doesn't come from the length/amount of his white hair, but his knowledge. He doesn't have a large cranium physically, but over the extended years of his life he's become very wise.

Other W names I batted around are a foreign warlords, perhaps the very same that Padraig palavered with. They are all Germanic names: Walthrud meaning "foreign strength" and Waldric meaning "foreign power" are the sons of Waldhur meaning "ruler of the army". Waldhur never crosses the sea with Padraig, but sends his prince, knowing that he can trust in the loyalty of his sons to report true on their return. The story could go that one of them, perhaps Walthrud, decides to stay and learn more of the new land while his brother returns home with Padraig. Or Waldric could grow jealous of his older brother and he decides to tell King Waldhur that his son was killed by the outlanders and volunteers to lead an army across the sea to conquer these new, rich lands. Dunno...I'll have to think on that.

X, I always expected to be a bit tricky. But I actually found a name I quite like to fill that place.

Xiomara, the feminine Portuguese form of Guiomar or Germanic Wigmar, meaning "famous in war"

She was an incredibly fierce elf maiden would took up a blade in battle - something that had never before been done - instead of remaining relegated to healing the wounded. There are now whole troops of Amazonian elf women who fight just as hard, if not harder than the males, to prove their worth in defending their homes. They never seek conflict outside the boundaries of the forest, but are certain death to any enemy encountered within the woods. These deadly bands are known as Xylians, from Greek xylon meaning "of the forest". 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May to Z: V - 100th Post

Coming to you bright and early from the Nerdatorium, I am pleased to present myyyyyyyy 100th post! And purely by happenstance, today's letter is V for Victoreus.

Victoreus, bearer of Dawnseeker the kingsword, and Savior of the Light.

He throws Dawnseeker into Lake Solara so no evil hand will ever touch it.

As Perceval drawing the adamantite sword from the shipwreck was the foretelling of the future of humanity, so is the sinking of it.
The faint glittering in the mud is symbolic - Perceval literally draws the salvation of humanity from the mud of the sunken past and turbulent flood waters. It is the new beginning and symbol - second only to the newly adopted rising sun - that people rally behind and embrace as the new hope for the future.

Victoreus is just a young, yet very brave, squire that crawls from beneath a pile of bodies on the torn battlefield - literally youth and hope arising from mass death and carnage. He sees Dawnseeker illuminated in a solitary ray of light, driven into the Blackburn Field.

When he returns to Highvale the temple is under attack. While an evil necromancer is focused on having his undead army of fallen soldiers attack and desecrate the temple, Victoreus is able to sneak up and drive Dawnseeker through his back and out his chest. All the zombie soldiers pause, look up to the sky, and fall. This act redeems/frees their souls into the light. The necromancer turns and falls to his knees in front of Victoreus - all he can see is the silhouette of an armored youth with a raised and bloody sword. Victoreus screams "for the blood of Highvale!" and beheads the foul priest of death. Victoreus, exhausted, falls to his knees and rests his head against the hilt, as if he's praying to the sword. An orc cheiftan, seeing a weak and vulnerable foe, advances and demands the shiny sword. Victoreus looks up at the reaching evil and in a last act of defiance and courage he heaves the sword end over end into Lake Solara. As the sword sinks, the orc drives a spear through Victoreus' lungs and heart.

Dawnseeker sinks point down in the bottom of the lake. Lucas emerges from the temple just as the full sun crests the mountains. The light is refracted through the water and the timeless sword is visible from the surface, pointing downward. He takes it as a sign to lead the people back down from the mountains to start over. Another significant new beginning for the sons of men is that, in their grief for their fallen kingdom and families, Fhionna Fireheart and Lucas New Dawn find love in each others' arms. They have a son, Arthur. It is he, The Descended King that settles the rest of the flatlands where humanity now resides. To this very day, Dawnseeker remains visible at sunrise, although it remains forever out of reach.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May to Z: U

Uldoric - inherited power or powerful heritage (Germanic)

Grandson of the great barbarian chief Ulfhert, meaning "wolf heart." He was so named because he wrestled the alpha male of a winterwolf pack into submission. Once he'd established his dominance over the pack, he was allowed to set up his village and longhouse in the wolf territory. For 3 generations now his descendants and tribe have dwelt amidst the pines of the Winterwood in the sheltered valley between the Snow and Frost rivers. 

Uldoric must take a wife before he can claim leadership because the tribe's way is that you must have strong sons to pass your things to, including title and throne and hunting lodge. Once a chieftain is named, he must have a son within 7 years or abdicate.

Thus it is that fathers want to marry their fertile daughters to a would-be chief so their family gains favor and status with the new lord.

To secure one's place at the head of the longhouse and be worthy of a wife, all the men must wrestle as Ulfhert did. Only when one is killed or submits is the match over. Howls of fury, screams of pain, and the snapping of bones are all common sounds in one of these no holds barred bouts. The spectators are everyone in the tribe, from the youngest children to their wedded and bedded mothers. Even the best of boyhood friends and battle brothers have nearly killed each other as they circled and clashed in the firelight. Young boys brawl and tussle routinely from the time their out of swaddling skins in preparation for the day they may challenge or be challenged. 

Uldoric had an older brother, Ulaf (ancestor's descendant), that was killed in a scrap with Jorulf (ice wolf). The death was not intentional, but simply bad luck from a clash of skulls. Jorulf and Ulaf both dove in a low lunge to topple the other man. When they came together, the top of Jorulf's head crunched with Ulaf's temple, killing him stone dead on the spot. Jorulf was unconscious for several days. When he woke he was torn between winning the challenge and killing a lifelong friend.

Jorulf reluctantly accepted the mantle of chieftan, but he has yet to marry. Now his younger sister, Eisulf (also ice wolf) has become a woman and drawn the attention of Uldoric. Uldoric means to secure his position, a wife, and avenge his brother by besting Jorulf who is larger, stronger, and a handful of years older. Jorulf does not want to fight him, but a challenge cannot be dismissed without at least an attempt to defend one's place and honor.

Because his son has so far refused to marry and be a worthy headman, Jaulf (snow wolf) backs Uldoric's challenge of his son. Jaulf wants his family to be notable and honored, even if that means his son loses the seat to a challenger and suitor of Eisulf. Jorulf's mother, Isuldr (ice battle), is a fierce barbarian woman and not so easily swayed. She feels her son should be giving his time of mourning as is custom for fallen friends and warriors.

Uldoric barks his challenge from the center of the hall. Jorulf climbs down from his dais in answer. 

The fires are roaring, the crowd is clamoring for blood, the men have stripped to their breechclothes, their muscles glisten with oil and sweat. They bare their teeth, raise their mighty fists and begin to circle. One shall be king, the other will fall like an avalanche. The fight commences.

Monday, May 27, 2013

May to Z: T & T

Sometimes I love it when I forget that I've already drafted something. This first T post is one I wrote about a week ago a whim. Then as I was writing up Nenaea's post the other day, this second one just came to me. T for 2 and 2 for T.

T #1
Thronndur the Deformed, or more affectionately, Thronndur of the Underforge.

The Forge God, from the word "thrawn" meaning twisted or misshapen.

Tolkien's Dwarves were known by many names:

In the Grey-elvish or Sindarin the Dwarves were called Naugrim ("Stunted People"), Gonnhirrim ("Stone-lords"), and Dornhoth ("Thrawn Folk"), and also Hadhodrim. In Quenya they were the Casári. The Dwarves called themselves Khazâd in their own language, Khuzdul.

Thronndur is like the Hephaestus and Thor of my world. He is born of incest between his godly parents and is malformed as a result. He has a twisted leg and turned in foot making him limp constantly. He has a severe humpback that makes it impossible to raise his left arm higher than his shoulder. He is incredibly near-sighted and cannot see in darkness as the rest of dwarves can. He can only see in strong, direct light. 

Because he is so atrocious to look upon, he is hidden away deep in the center of the earth. This pathetic god actually prefers it this way because, to him, all his infirmities go away when he's at work. He can see and feel the warmth on his face, like an artificial sun. His right arm is incredibly strong, because it has full range of motion to wield his hammer. His left arm is perfectly suited to draw iron from the fire and place it on the anvil. Because he loves smithcraft so much, he is constantly at his forge, hammering away. It is the only thing in his otherwise wretched world that makes him smile. This pleasure at the forge, despite everything else, is his gift to the dwarves. His blows echo up the mineshafts as thunder and sparks light the sky as lightning. Rare earthquakes are merely chuckled at by the stalwart dwarves because it is just Thronndur momentarily away from his forge and bumping into things in the dark. 

In the unterholms, deep within the mountains, earthquakes from the coast are felt infrequently, but thunderstorms crashing against the peaks are a constant reminder to the dwarves to be mindful of their forge fires and happy for their skills. To make up in fine smithcraft what they lack in stature is a fine gift indeed.
T #2 is for Thiamu, derived from Tiamat

Thiamu is the sea serpent that coils protectively around the world. He is the elder brother of Nenaea the earth goddess. When she caught the eye of Roa, which is quite a compliment in and of itself, he first had to humble himself to asking her guardian brother for permission to court her. Nenaea was first quite terrified to leave the tangible land and journey into the fiery and boundless skies of Roa. But her brother Thiamu swore to her that he would always be there to catch her if she should fall.

Thiamu was furious when Roa impregnated his sister with the dragon children, yet did not take her for his wife. The seas raged and thrashed for 1,000 years while Nenaea incubated the children in her breast. When they hatched and bore their father's gift of flight, Roa wanted them to join him in the sky. Mighty Thiamu disobeyed the will of the Eternal One and forbade the dragons from ever flying so high as to lose sight of their mother earth. Hence dragons have always been "children of the in-between". They are earth and sky, mortal yet very long lived, fierce and calm, wise and aggressive.

Thiamu also swore that never again would Roa touch his little sister. To this day, ages since Thiamu's oath, the sun never touches land. You could chase the sun all your life and never see where it touches the ground. Always you will come to the shore where the water keeps sun and earth separate.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May to Z: S

There were so many possible names to choose from for the letter S. Multiple cultures have great names with strong, profound meanings that begin with S. It was incredibly hard to settle on just one. So I went with one that I normally don't gravitate towards - Finnish.

S is for Saia (pronounced sigh-ah or say-uh, depending on your preference). It is a derivative of Sarah, Saija, and Sari - all of which mean "lady or princess". To this I am adding the second name of Kalan'gwyn, a combination of Old English and Welsh, meaning "beautiful flower" and "white, fair, blessed."

When King Perceval is leading his people inland/upriver from the coast, he enters the dense forest of Greenwood - I know, not a greatly original name, but it's my homage to Ed Greenwood. It is among the fringes and glades that Perceval sees a gorgeous elf maiden dancing with white flowers in her shining hair. Her gown shimmers and floats as she twirls and weaves about the trees. Awestruck he stops and gazes in wonder at the most beautiful creature he has ever beheld.

After a moment that seems to draw out for years, Perceval notices that he has forgotten even to breathe. As he draws a gasping breath, the maiden's keen ears catch the sound and she whips about, stunned at the presence of this intruder. She is so shocked by the sight of this scout that is like no other elf archer she's ever seen, she too can only stare in wonder. Their eyes meet only briefly before she turns and flees deep into the woods.

Walking as if in a dream, Perceval returns to his camp where he finds the vision exceedingly hard to describe to his people. They had thought that the forest was only home to monsters and boogeymen. They have a difficult time believing that Perceval alone has seen this angelic being, who is like them, yet so unlike them. They decide that they must investigate further.

Meanwhile, Saia Kalan'gwyn has run to the heart of the forest where she struggles to tell her own frightful encounter. Whereas Perceval tells that she is surely and literally the most breathtaking creature in existence, the princess describes him to her court as thick, brutish, and ungainly. Many elves are fearful of these trespassers and what it means to the sanctity of their woodlands. Some want to gaze upon them from a safe and concealed distance, some want to ignore them and hope they bypass the forest, and others want to forcefully drive them away - shedding blood if necessary to protect their home.

It is this confusion and misconception of differences that leads to the War of the Woods - a bloody entanglement of humans and elves that sets the tone of the two cultures' relations for generations to come. It is only through the curiosity and wise counsel of an already aged elf, Elmeryn, that the war is stopped. Perceval and Elmeryn strike and accord that is named after his meeting with the elf princess - the first time the two races ever laid eyes on one another - the Whiteflower Treaty.

Elmeryn re-enters the story later, becoming the mage and advisor (an obvious Merlin reference) to Perceval's grandson and heir, Arthur. When the humans abandon Highvale and descend back into the flatlands, it is Elmeryn that steps up in their defense to keep the elves from wiping them out, being that the terms of the treaty were that no human would ever set foot in the forest uninvited.

Elmeryn takes Arthur to the same glade where his grandfather first glimpsed Saia Kalan'gwyn. The clearing, ringed with young saplings when Perceval saw it, is now surrounded by the thick trunks of trees nearly 100 years old. Though it has been almost a century since Perceval's sighting, Princess Whiteflower is still amazingly youthful, looking to still be years shy of 30. When Arthur sees the legendary elf beauty, he is overcome and falls to his knees. He remains bowed with his eyes down, believing he cannot possibly be worthy to look upon elven royalty. She smiles at Elmeryn and gently raises Arthur's head with her fingers beneath his chin. She bows in return and lightly kisses him on the forehead. She then takes him by the shoulders and helps him to his feet. Looking directly into his eyes she says "Rise you up. This is a new beginning for both our people." She embraces Elmeryn warmly and whispers in his ear "Your path is to see him along his." He takes both her hands and kisses each in obedience to the future queen. At the edge of the trees, Saia Kalan'gwyn waves them farewell.

Arthur is the second and last mortal to ever lay eyes on her.

It's thought that without Elmeryn's wise counsel over many decades, humanity would not have survived at the level that it did.

His advice to Perceval and later his heir is to find what matters and hold it well. Whether it is love, good earth, your sword, gold and riches, or knowledge; find what means most to you and let it guide you. You must remain true to it to remain true to yourself.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May to Z: R

Roa - taken from Ra.

The Draken god of the Sky, the Sun, Fire, and serpents. Roa is so enormous that he takes up the whole of the heavens. The sun is merely one, burning eye of the great snake. Everything in creation falls under his gaze, but so very little on the earth is worthy of his consideration.

Draken strive to be noticed by the endless serpent. Their lives must be very laudable indeed to garnish even a fleeting glance from the Eternal One.

Humans lost contact with the Draken of the tropics for many many years following the rising of the sea that drown and devastated most of the Atilaen culture. By the time these two cultures met again, the humans had turned from worship of the sea to worship of the sun. Thus there was little dispute between the races on the concept of a sun god; however, they differed in their interpretation of this deity.

To the Draken, Roa is usually depicted only as a reptilian golden eye, ringed in red flames/scales, implying that he is a great red dragon. The humans, of course, see their sun god (Aelos) not as a serpent at all, but a man. To them he is a bald man with a beard of fire and an ageless face. The sun is always shown shining from his forehead, symbolizing the light of knowledge.

The Draken believe that Roa, the Eternal One, the Sky Serpent, is the father of all dragons via Nenaea the Earth Mother. It was Roa that gave dragons their wisdom, the gift of flight, and the ability to breath fire. They are not legless, like Eastern dragons, but have 4 legs that tuck beneath them in flight. There are also 2 legged wyverns, but these are far less common and seen more like reptilian vultures/raptors - nowhere near as noble as their quadruped cousins. The bipedal and wingless Draken race believe themselves - all reptiles for that matter - to be direct, yet distant descendants of Roa.

Whether one is a scholar or pit fighter, on down to the lowliest of lizards crawling the jungle, is dependent on how much knowledge and divine wisdom you are willing to accept from the sun god. If you show no interest in learning and live your life without looking up and beyond, then you are further removed from receiving Roa's grace and teachings. Some Draken believe Roa did not take Nenaea as a wife and accept their dragon children fully because in his infinite wisdom, Roa knew that the world needed dragons more. Others feel that there is some inherent unworthiness in the mixed dragon blood of their godly parentage and they must seek to overcome it through devout and righteous endeavors. "May Roa's light shine on you." is a common blessing among the Draken. This gracious prayer, willing wisdom and protection, is not just a casual saying - it is truly hopeful that one will be blessed and watched over by the Eternal One.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May to Z: P & Q

Mind your Ps & Qs. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Interesting factoid: there are many suppositions about where this phrase came from. The one I think most plausible is that typesetters using old printing presses had to be very mindful of how they arranged the letters for print, since p and q are mirror images of each other.

Now that's out of the way, on to the P & Q......Hey! That would make a great name for a tavern! It could be short for Pints and Quarts, or it could be the initials of the owners.

Padraig, the Irish form of Patrick, dates even further back to a Latin derivation from Patricius, meaning "nobleman." Made famous by Saint Patrick who Christianized Ireland.

It would not be hard to weave the story of Saint Patrick's enslavement, mission, and canonization into a fantasy tale.

I believe I'll use it as an introduction for the lands to the west of the main world map. See it here.

Padraig is a fairly well known nobleman of Roseby. He is an explorer and intellectual that spends much of his fortune on educational pursuits. He is approached to fund a wild and risky sea voyage to see if there is anything to the west. The ship meets with misfortune and storms and other perils a la Odysseus - many stories of their own could spin off this.

Padraig is taken captive in the new lands, but his obvious stature as an educated and important (aka wealthy) man saves his life. He is taken into the court of a foreign ruler where he spends years learning and teaching and laying diplomatic foundations. He returns to Roseby decades later and brings envoys with him. This is what re-introduces sea worship. But when has a difference of religious opinion not caused wars and problems?

Padraig realizes that his house has fallen during the years and years he was away. He himself has nearly been forgotten, as most assumed he was lost at sea many years ago. He is so disheartened by the fact that much of his previous work and teachings have been dismissed, and crestfallen at what his return with new knowledge has done to his homeland and people, that he leaves again forever. He becomes an adopted pilgrim of the lands in the west.

************** that's a tricky one, as I expected it would be when I began this May to Z challenge. There aren't many names that start with Q. My wife triumphantly threw out the name Quendar (she even did these odd, tiny gladiatorial fists with it.) How adorably supportive : ) Yet, to me, Quendar sounds like an elf barbarian...and I just can't get my head around there being elf barbarians.

So it left me pondering: Quentin - derived from Queen Town, Quinn - from the Irish Conn, meaning "chief", Quintus - Latin for fifth/five, and Quinlan, coming from the Gaelic word for "slender".
Quinlan it is then. It fits nicely into my world. There is well-watered farming area called Longley or Longleigh - meaning "long field". The river that flows through the region is simply known as the Long River. I could easily surmise that the founder of this bountiful land was named Quinlan DeLong, son of a tall wandering ranger with the oh so original moniker, Long Walker. Quilan was the fifth son of this very slender and lithe family. It was he that first charted the miles and miles of the twisting, Long River.

And, as a bonus, it just so happens that immediately west of the Longley area is the collapsed tunnels and ruins of a once great dwarven unterholm. It was in fact the unterholm. The single greatest and richest kingdom in all dwarvendom. It was here that King Dain Richheart ruled over the entire Southern Sea, made powerful by his hold's rich veins of adamantite - the adamantium/mithril of my world. This exceedingly valuable metal was only found in the southwestern tip of the continent. I say "was" because there has not been an active adamantite mine in 1,000 years. Not since the Great Fall, a cataclysmic collapse that buried the entire kingdom and a resulting tsunami that scoured the once rich lumberyards of the ship-building Atilaens. It was this "crumbling downfall of the earth" that nearly wiped out the human race and buried a good portion of the dwarf race. This area is now known as the Quondam Kingdom - Latin for "former". The aforementioned Ironheart descendants of King Richheart only survived because many had already moved northward into the Richmont unterholm, where gold and silver are said to run like water. Had Oro and Oda not begun the tradition of seizing marriage profits, the Ironheart clan as we know it today likely would not exist at all. It is only through the surviving tales of distant relations that there has remained knowledge of the once great king and kingdom. Many adventures are now ready to take place in the ruins of the richest kingdom that once was.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May to Z: N & O

N is for Nenaea - derived from Inanna

Nenaea is a Draken earth goddess of fertility and snakes. Generally speaking, all serpents are her children. She was the consort of the Sun/Sky Serpent, Roa - taken from Ra. More on him will come with the letter R.

These two gods existed before time itself began. Dragons are the ancient children of Roa and Nenaea - they are demigods of the Draken. Today's dragons are the great (to the 10th) generation of the first children of earth and sky. They are forever creatures of the "in between", sharing traits of both parents. This shared heritage of sun and earth is why all reptiles are cold-blooded and must be exposed to the sun to live; otherwise, they fall dormant into a centuries long hibernation. Dragons live for many millennia. Even to the Draken who can live for several centuries, the age of dragons is almost incomprehensible.

Nenaea was so beautiful that she could not help but attract the attention of the great sky serpent. At first she was terrified that one so humble and unnoticeable as she could ever draw the gaze of one so vast and eternal. But her older brother, the sea, vowed to always protect her. He will be covered by the letter T.


O is for Oro and Oda Ironheart. They were the twin children of the ancient dwarf King Dain Richheart.

Their father's dying wish was for them to divide the monumental family fortune and use half of it to improve dwarvendom for all the clans. They followed it in their own way. They each took half for themselves and figured they'd do lesser dwarf families the favor and honor of letting them marry into the richest imaginable clan. Thus they earned the new mantle of Ironheart.

When a family did marry with them, the new king and queen would seize all of the family's holdings, adding to their already avaricious coffers. This ensured that the Ironhearts got richer and richer while the new members of the clan had basically sold themselves, and all they owned, for life. If the offspring did not continue to enrich the family, they were summarily sold to other clans for a pittance.

The Ironhearts are now the most wide reaching and interrelated clan of all dwarvendom. They own legions of armies and readily hire mercenaries of other races to do their bidding. None dare trifle with the Ironhearts because it would not simply mean a gruesome end for the individual, but also anyone and everything they hold dear. In the past, the Ironhearts have destroyed even far flung lineages of other dwarf clans many times removed from the actual offender. This means lots of fearful bowing and boot-licking to the most cold-blooded clan to ever dwell within the mountains.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May to Z: M

Morrigan the Raven. The glossy haired wife of Beorngardt and mother of Fhionna Firehair/Fireheart.

Derived from the Gaelic name Muirgen meaning "born of the sea" and/or the Irish Morrighan meaning "great queen". Muirgen is said to have been a mermaid for 300 years and reborn on land as a human. Morrighan was a goddess of war and death who could take the form of a crow.

Her true birth name is unknown, even to her. She suffered amnesia after her vessel was attacked and burned by pirates.

When she was just a small girl her fisherman father called her Blackbird because her glossy hair reminded him of ravens' wings. Many other sailors in their small island village refused to set foot in the same boat with them because they saw carrion birds, like ravens and crows, as bad luck. Thus she and her father usually fished alone from their small boat.

One day, tales began to spread through the fishing fleet than a shipwreck of treasure had been found in the area of the Shattered Shoals. Much of the valuable cargo was still intact because it was made from nigh indestructible dwarven adamantite. However, it could not be collected because the incredibly clear water was much deeper than it appeared. Little Morrigan was a strong swimmer and her father devised a way that she could fill a hide air bladder and breathe through a small tube, allowing her to dive deeper than even grown men. Suddenly every sailor wanted her aboard their ship so she could haul in treasure for them. So great was their greed that they failed to guard their tongues and soon the tales had spread to many other islands. 

The fishermen turned treasure hunters figured they'd be safer in numbers and could recover more treasure all at once with a single larger ship, rather than the smaller fishing boats. However this also attracted more suspicion than a fleet of smaller ships would and presented a larger target.

Morrigan began diving for treasure early in the red dawn of morning, and continued to haul in armloads of wealth all day. As the sun was setting, the crew egged her into one last dive. While she was down, scrabbling for treasure in the darkening water, a pirate shipped sailed out of the sun and attacked her boat. Even if the crew hadn't been greedily peering over the rail and picking through their horde, they never would have seen the sea-rats coming with the sun behind them.

As an exhausted Morrigan kicked for the surface, she could see a flickering light above the waves. It was the remnants of the burning hull, picked clean and drifting. All the crew were dead. The pirates pulled the weary girl from the sea and stole the last of what she'd recovered. They threatened to kill her if she didn't reveal the location of her village, which held even more loot. Desperate and shocked by the violence, she told them. They then struck her a heavy blow on the head and dumped her overboard, believing she'd die in the dark water. Instead she washed ashore while the pirates turned north to plunder her home.

The fishermen that found her named her Morrigan because she was "born from the sea". Now an adult she only remembers flashes of her childhood: the cry of gulls, visions of blackbirds in flight over a village, a shipwreck in southern islands, glittering treasure beneath the waves, and rising through dark water towards fire. The last thing she can recall before washing up on the beach is a red sunrise and red sunset.

Now grown with a family of her own, she longs to find where she came from. She wants her daughter to know her grandmother on the off chance that she's still alive. She tells Fhionna what little she can remember. After the fall of Highvale and the birth of Arthur (Morrigan's grandson) he decides to see what truth there is to his grandmother's tales of sunken treasure and ventures to the southern coast looking for the shipwreck that took her memory.   

More Savings from Banners on the Cheap

Yet another promotional deal from Banners on the Cheap.

This time you get 15% off ALL items until June 3rd.

I think I'm going to get me another battle mat. Since I now have a 2x2 maybe I'll spring for a 3x5 or a 3x6.

May to Z: L

The lovely Lady Lucia is the wife of Perceval and Queen of the kingdom of Highvale.

She is known as the Lady of Light because she is very devoted in her worship of the sun. It is she who names the nearby lake after the sun, calling it Lake Solara.

Because she is very beautiful, second only to the ageless elf maidens. And with beauty comes jealousy from others. As such, it is whispered that she is having an affair with the fierce and golden-haired knight, Leonhart. When the prince Lancel the White is born he favors his mother's fair hair, which only fuels the rumors that he is not Perceval's son. And that he's named for the lance, a favored weapon of knights - Leonhart in particular - helps not at all. It's worsened by the fact that Lancel longs to be the squire of Leonhart, whom he idolizes. Leonhart does not call Lancel "my prince" because such honor is not fitting for a mere squire. Instead Leonhart calls him "son." Tongues continue to wag throughout Lancel's life that he is not a full blood prince

Perceval's second son, Lucas, is unquestionably his. He looks like his father in every way, but instead of sharing his older brother's penchant for fighting, he is pious like his mother. Lucas spends much of his boyhood in quiet study with the priests in the temple of the sun. People are more willing to accept Lucas as the future king because he is noble and devout and doesn't seek glory through battle.

Because Lucas is well on his way to becoming the next high priest, he does not participate in the Battle of Blackburn where his father, brother, and over 80% of the knights are killed. He survives because he's is favored by the sun god. This blessing saves the temple from falling to the dark army because Lucas prays for light and valor to be shone on he who bears his father's sword, Dawnseeker. He meant this prayer to protect his father, but because Perceval is already dead when Lucas voices this, it passes to the next to carry the king's sword. But that story doesn't come until much later with the letter V.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May to Z: K

Kalana, derived from Kalpana - Sanskrit for " imagining, fantasy." How could I pass on a name like that on a blog like this?!

I don't like the way the P breaks it up, so I dropped it for Kalana. I imagine she'd be the benevolent goddess of dreams and reveries. She is depicted as a free spirited maiden, dancing in the starlight. She sees the physical world as being full of work and strife, and not enough fun and merriment. Thus she grants the escapism of dreams. Her gifts are always joyous and delightful, never frightening or worrisome. Doubt, drudgery, and disquiet are what she always seeks to dispel.

Some believe dreams are dangerous because one can become so enamored, especially if the Dream Maiden herself is glimpsed in a nightly vision, that those who see her are said to never fully wake again. These people are simply known as Dreamers. While they make the best poets and storytellers, and even inventors, people regard such bards as being aloof and likely to stumble into problems because they are always wandering with their head in the clouds.

I think I'll have to create a dark brother or sister to act as her opposite and sew seeds of darkness and discontent.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May to Z: J

Johandra, meaning "strength of men", is the mannish and burly mother of two strong sons, Jhorn and Jhan.

Johandra is a simple dairy maid, but she is known far and wide for her great size and fearlessness. The story goes that she was helping a cow birth an extremely difficult calf and the herd's bull would not stop harassing the mother. Every time she'd lie down, the bull would circle, pestering and prodding her to get back up and move. After 3 times of this, Johandra became angry with the bull and pummeled him with a stone in each fist until he fled. This thunderous act of valor on behalf of a single milk cow made Johandra famous throughout the county.

From then on, would be suitors tried to court her to bear them strapping sons, but she wanted nothing to do with them. Her heart already belonged to the quite man that owned the hay farm in a neighboring village. Erwyn, meaning "green water", and his sister Idella, meaning "work or labor", mostly kept to themselves and tended their fields with a few hired hands. They were kind and comely, but spoke to outsiders very little except when trading their hay crop for other goods. Johandra had only ever spoken a few words to Erwyn, but it was Johandra that was desperately called for when Idella was in need of an "assisted birth."

Ultimately, Idella did not survive the crude surgery that brought her son into the world. Johandra was racked with guilt thinking it was her rough hands and "blundering" that had killed Idella. But Erwyn knew the truth of it was that both his sister and nephew would surely have died if Johandra had given up, or not come at all. Over time Erwyn is able to convince Johandra that he does not hate her for her heroism, in fact he'd like her to come be his wife and share his home. His nephew Hendarson was in need of a mother figure, even one so manly as she. Within a few short months Johandra was pregnant with a son of her own. Few were surprised when hearty Jhorn came into the world, bawling like a newborn calf. He and Hendarson were fast friends and inseparable from the time they could toddle the barnyard together. Another sturdy son, Jhan, was born to them in the following years. The three boys grow up as brothers and love the hard work of farming and raising cattle.

Tough and solid as they are, Erwyn and Johandra absolutely forbid the boys from joining the army of the dying king (Hendar) when his liver begins to fail and the lands are threatened by invaders looking to seize control.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May to Z: H & I

Hendar "home ruler"
He is the rich and philandering ruler of Halmond and boasts descent from the great King Hammund that settled the rich farm county by driving the goat-herder dwarves from their mountain halls. His title was actually taken through marriage to the queen, Harietta (also meaning "home ruler"), a great-great-grand niece of the mighty king.

Hendar becomes bored with feasting in his high hall and hunting wild hare among the hills, so he decides to accompany his tax collectors on their annual passage through the farms of the lowly Hayden Valley. It is on this hunt of a different kind that Hendar's eye becomes fixed on the lovely farm worker Idella.

She wants nothing to do with the brash and oft drunken lord, but he threatens to seize her family hay farm, driving her brother Erwyn and all their laborers into starvation, if not having them thrown in his dungeons. To save everything she's ever known destroyed, Idella submits and allows Hendar to bed her. Because he is exceeding drunk when he finally comes to her, the boastful king's performance is lackluster at best. Afterwards, Idella cannot stop weeping and Hendar casts her out believing she is weeping at his failure to perform. He swears that if he ever lays eyes on her again, he'll have her tears silenced forever.

Even sadder still is that his brief passion was not as much a failure as one would hope. Idella soon finds herself with child. She is so ashamed of the one dreadful night with the king that she never leaves the farm once her pregnancy begins to show. Her brother Erwyn is terrified that rumor will spread back to the sot of a king and he'll kill Idella and the baby to hide his indiscretion from the queen. As such, Erwyn is forced to slander his sister and tell townsfolk that she has lain with several of the farm hands and does not know who the father of the child is. When Idella goes into labor and the baby has not turned, she must have an "assisted birth." The only one in the area that knows how to do such a thing is the cattle herder Johandra in the next village. Erwyn rides through a torrential rain to fetch the birthing woman and save his sister. Johandra is too large to ride a horse and thus runs the 15 miles from her ranch to Erwyn's door and saves the baby. Idella does not survive the procedure. Brokenhearted as Erwyn is, he believes it best that she not have to raise the child that she didn't wish for and who is so clearly the king's son. Johandra is not afraid of the stumbling despot and, amidst the screams of Idella's labor and peels of thunder, gives the boy his name: Hendarson.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May to Z: G

Today's character is one that a friend and I created for her to play on the rare instances that we get together to game. Mostly we just chatter back and forth at work.

Megan was reluctant to "be" the only dwarf in the party at first, but as we developed her story more, she really took a shine to it. I didn't have to ask many probing questions before we were off and running crafting her persona.

Her character is the jilted Greta Glitterstone. 

While wealthy by human standards, her family is barely considered lesser nobles among the dwarf clans. As such Greta was betrothed to Rikkur of the more powerful Silverbeards. At the very young age of 60, she left her own meager unterholm (under home) for the maidenhall of her fiance's clan where she was to abide until she came of age (around 75-80).

King Ordig Silverbeard was not very keen on the idea of marrying his son to a lower house, but he agreed because the "young" Glitterstone clan had founded a gemstone mine that showed some promise. However, he broke the pact (something unheard of in matters of dwarven honor) when he received a much more lucrative offer of payment from the filthy rich and much older Goldfist clan. He and King Solaf Goldfist struck a secret accord to marry Princess Solda to Prince Rikkur.

Greta's parents, Glimur and Gelda, have no idea that they've been cut out and their beloved daughter shamed into waiting in the Silverbeard maidehall barely hoping that decades from now perhaps some middling cousin of the clan may ask for her hand. After spending nearly 25 years with the clan, Greta is so ashamed and humiliated that she flees in disguise and escapes the hold with a trader caravan. 

She can't return home because when her father learns that she was rejected and the betrothal broken, custom dictates that he would have to go to war to avenge his daughter. But the Glitterstones couldn't possibly hope to win a war against the alliance of the Goldfist and Silverbeard armies. She now wanders alone and heartbroken, not daring to go home and endanger her family. 

But dwarves are not a race known for forgetting or forgiving an insult.

The dwarf kings Solaf and Ordig, who besmirched Greta, fear that she knows of their greedy plot. If word gets out it would surely lessen their standing in the eyes of all other dwarves. It may even drive others to join the Glitterstones in rising against them. They simply cannot allow that possibility. So they put a price on Greta. It is preferred that she be captured and returned alive to the dungeons, to die slowly over decades alone in the silent dark. Should she be killed while walking the world and the treachery reached her clan, it would spell all out war and the Silverbeards and Goldfists could lose everything.

Greta in fact does not know why the kings have her hunted, she only knows that unsavory people are after her. So she must remain on the move and surround herself with heroic friends of various races. This both affords her protection and leads to a life of adventure to keep her occupied and avoid the longing to return to her parents.    

Monday, May 13, 2013

May to Z: F - 10,000 Hits Milestone

At the time I'm posting this I'm at 9,987 views. 10,000 views in less than a year (first post was 6/3/12) is rather small potatoes in the blogosphere, but for me personally it's a huge milestone!

Brought to you today by the letter in F YEAH, 10,000 HITS!! And all in under 100 published posts!

F is also for Fhionna Firehair, the flame-haired daughter of Beorngardt the Black and Morrigan the Raven. 

Before they had Fhionna, they had another child, Bjorn. He looks exactly like his father. King Perceval always refers to him as his father's cub instead of son. Bjorn is very close in age to one of Perceval's sons, Lancel. The two boys are inseparable. Beorngardt is as proud of his strong son as any father is of their boy, but a part of him feels like his "dark curse" will never end. He's not surprised that his son has coal black hair being that both his father and mother share that trait. Imagine Beorngardt's surprise at having a strong, willful, "barbaric" red headed daughter!

Like any child, especially an older brother, seizing on the difference in another child Bjorn takes to teasing his sister for her red hair. Beorngardt let's it go because it's an amusing turn of tables given his ostracism for having dark hair among a people of fair hair. Morrigan finds it less funny and teaches her daughter to fight for herself. When Fhionna is just coming of age and beginning to notice boys, she of course notices her brother's best friend, the prince, first. One day Bjorn makes the grievous error of calling Fhionna "Red" in front of her crush. He is obviously referring to her hair, but Fhionna thinks he's calling her out for blushing in front of Lancel.

She attacks her brother and knocks him to the ground with a single, solid punch - something up to this point only the grown men training the young fighters have been able to do. She then leaps on him in a ferocious flurry of punching and clawing, much like a riled female bear. Lancel realizes he must stop laughing and save his comrade, so he pulls the kicking and flailing Fhionna off her nearly unconscious brother. The only thing he can think to do to calm her down it to turn her roughly about by the shoulders and kiss her. The thoroughly pummeled Bjorn sees this through a blurry haze and is quite sure it must be a delusion. When he finally regains his senses he finds his best friend and younger sister gazing deeply into each others' eyes.

From that moment on the two are in love and Fhionna, whom Lancel renames Fireheart, becomes the next future queen of Highvale and another mother in the royal line of King Perceval.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May to Z: E

Erul the Lame, aka Erul Oakfoot, was a great clan karl (like a chief or jarl) who rode a large black stallion believing its height and breadth made him more fearsome. Well it did until it cost him his left foot.

He attempted to ride down a battleaxe-wielding enemy who didn't break and run as all other men before had. Instead the warrior took one last mighty swing before being crushed beneath the pounding hooves of the warhorse. The swing hacked off Erul's foot and dealt the horse a mortal blow, crushing its ribs into its lungs. Erul survived and was fitted with an oaken foot that now clumps and echoes through the halls of his stronghold.

His son, Eronan the Bold learned from his father's tragic lesson and now literally stands his ground in battle. He leads from the front with his standard bearer and has vowed that, while possessing heavy cavalry, he will never ride into battle himself. He may ride to the front lines, but he will not fight from horseback because he finds it ungainly and exposed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May to Z: D - More Than One

This time I'm trying something a little different and starting with a place name. Dallus means "meadow town or meadow dwelling". It is also known as Dellus because it is situated in a wide valley full of rich grass. It is the county of Dellus, with the settlement of Dalton, meaning "valley town", in its center.

The dukes of Dalton are Darius, which means "to possess" and Damhian, "a stag or ox". They are the sons of the founder of Dalton, Lord Damius, meaning "to tame". Their father knew this secluded valley would be ideal for raising horses and cattle. He is a master of breaking wild horses. Being that there are not many people with him, he knew that they would never be able manage driving such large herds to market while leaving others behind to tend the remaining livestock. Thus he set up the town of Dalton to bring trade to him. He quickly grew very rich from the selling of fine quality livestock.

Darius is now the Lord or Horses, overseeing all purchases of equines and getting a cut of each sale. Darius is a showman and very aware of his looks. He is always well groomed and insists on only sitting atop the finest of stallions. He chooses to ignore the fact that thick-muscled, show horses are not the fastest and do not make the best warhorses either. His younger brother Damhian is almost completely opposite. He never insists that people call him the Lord of Horns. He has shaggy hair, broad shoulders, and a deep chest. He would rather stand on his own two feet and work from dawn to dusk than to be seen preening on a shining horse and collecting coin for little work.

Sadly Darius's young son Darion usually goes ignored by his father because he's off making money instead of teaching his son to love and respect horses. As such Darion spends much time with his uncle Damhian. One day as Damhian is hard at work with his head down helping to plow fields. Darion wanders away and into one of the wild horse corrals. He climbs the fence and attempts to mount a horse to impress and be more like his father. The stallion throws him and kicks him, knocking him unconscious. The disturbance startles the other horses and they trample the boy lying in the dust. Damhian and Darius hear the commotion and rush to the corral. Darius thinks someone must be trying to steal his horses. Damhian is worried that he can't find his nephew. They discover the lifeless, broken body and each blames the other. Damhian leaves Dalton forever, wanting nothing more to do with his brother or horses. The grief-stricken Darius swears that someday he will find his brother and visit the same pain of loss upon him.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May to Z: C

Clinka Cogswell - gnome inventor.

I know. It's cliche to have an technome inventor. But I thought maybe it would take some of the sting out of it to make her a girl. Interestingly, a female gnome is still just called a gnome. Not a gnomess or gnoma, although I do like either to specify gender.

Clinka's father was Cadwagan (from Cadwgan) - Welsh for "glory in battle". Her shortstack dad was so named because he invented a large mechanical exoskeleton to wear as armor in battle. Although terribly fearsome to his enemies when lumbering around in his iron giant (which stood maybe all of 6 feet tall), other gnome tinkerers marveled at the genius of the invention. Clinka served as her father's mechanic and apprentice to help maintain the suit and keep it show-worthy.

Clinka always dreamed of being as famous as her father, but he cast a large shadow. Exceptionally large considering his monstrous accomplishment.

But Clinka got her chance to make a name for herself when her father's girth became to great to fit into his robot anymore. Everyone knows gnomes have a gluttonous appetite, but they don't grow up, just out. her father feared his showpiece would rust away in a corner and be forgotten until proud Clinka suited up to save her father's honor. With some modifications of her own, she was able to make the suit lighter for the wearer and thus quite a bit faster. She also added dexterous fingers instead of the solid fists that Cadwagan had made. Now it wasn't just a banging battle beast, but also a work suit that could perform useful tasks. By literally standing on her father's shoulders, Clinka managed to elevate all gnomekind to new levels of greatness.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amazing Fantasy Art

Drooooooool. Nuff said. Just lookit.

Serious talent, serious work credits, serious follower count!

I'm still working on my May to Z challenge. C, D, & E coming soon. But I find stuff like this via Facebook and dammit, I'm sucked immediately down the rabbit hole of awesomeness.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We Interrupt Our Regular Programming to Bring You This Important News Bulletin

Not that I need a good reason to deter from my May to Z run, but I got this email today and figured I'd share.

Banners on the is having a FREE shipping sale until May 20th!

If anyone has battlemat or map needs I highly recommend them. I have 3 high quality prints from them that I am very satisfied with and I just ordered 2 more.

Sporting event, yard sale, birthday party, welcome home, name it, they can print it. They have stock designs or you can upload your own images. Their prices are great, shipping is FREE (for a limited time), and their customer service is quite excellent as well. Hurry before it's too late!

Monday, May 6, 2013

May to Z: B

B is for Beorngardt the Black. He's a big, beefy, burly, barbarian who wears a blackbear pelt as cape and cowl.

He is from the northern tribes where only a rare few are born with hair darker than a sandy blond. Anyone with brown or black hair is thought to be cursed and must be driven out lest they bring bad luck to the rest of the people. Darkuns are the barbarian opposite of "gingers".

There is a much more involved story explaining how Beorngardt was exiled from his family/tribe. He wandered the northern wilds and valleys for many years. When he came across the would be King Perceval while hunting a large bear, this strange westerner from the sea was the first person he had seen in well over a decade. Remarkably savage and strong, Beorngardt became one of the kings fiercest protectors and boldest of his knights.

Beorngardt lived happily among Perceval's people and eventually married Morrigan the Raven - a wild, warrior woman with glossy black hair. Imagine his pride and surprise when he had a daughter with flaming red hair! Her name will be revealed later with the letter F. She was wrapped in her father's fur cloak the night she was born and he has held her especially near to his heart ever since. She is as daring and brazen as both her parents put together.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May to Z: A

OK, here goes. The first of what will be many character alphabet posts.

Brought to you today by the letter A and the number 1

I knew when I originally came up with the May to Z idea that my first post would cover my wife's character. My wife has been incredibly supportive with my nerdly jabber over the years about fantasy worlds and characters that my skull is crowded with. She even went so far as to humor me by creating a pen and paper homebrew character. Her name is:

Auriel Dulinora. She is a half-elf druidess. She is so named because when my wife was little she and her sisters loved the Little Mermaid and they would reenact it in their living room, prancing around with braided pantyhose on their heads and singing just like Ariel. My wife settled on Auriel because she didn't want to name her half-elf exactly the same as said red-headed mermaid and she didn't like the way Arielle looked written out. Auriel's last name, translated using angelfire Elvish-English translator, basically means "a song bird in a tree."

She is well versed in healing with herbal salves and tinctures. She lives all alone in the forest, but occasionally she will visit human settlements in need of her wisdom and touch. Generally she prefers to be left alone because growing up a "half breed" she never felt entirely comfortable or accepted by either race.

Her human father was a carpenter who was attacked in the woods by a pack of wolves. Her mother came to his rescue and healed him, even though the elves and humans don't have the best of relations. Her parents saw the good in one another and let their own hearts choose instead of letting blind racism decide for them. Because her father kept a very modest cabin on the edge of the forest, rather than a home in the village, they were mostly left to their own company. When Auriel was born they knew that she would likely face much adversity and ostracism because she was neither one nor the other. She learned a love of herbs and healing from her mother, and would sing in harmony with her father's rich baritone as he worked rhythmically building furniture and carving wood.

Sadly her mother died of an incurable illness that no amount of herbs and magic casting could heal. She carries a heavy burden of guilt because she thinks had she been a better/stronger healer, maybe she could have saved her mother. This has pushed her to learn more about healing than some of the best known healers among elves and humans. Her father stopped singing after his beloved wife died because he felt so much joy had left his life that he couldn't muster the music within himself anymore. Auriel would only sing when she was walking alone in the woods. She worried that if she sang at home it would remind her father of her mother.

Her father was just over 40 when Auriel was born. Her mother looked about half that age, although she was much older. Elves are not truly immortal, but they are considered so by humans because they visibly age so little beyond about 30. Elves mature and grow at the same rate as humans until their late teens. From then on an elf only ages physically about 1 year for every 5-10 human years. Thus when a human reaches very old age of 85-100 an elf of the same age will only look in their late 20s. She is now all alone in the world because her half-elven blood gave her longevity over humans. She watched her father be taken by grief and age as the years passed after her mother's death. She is now especially kind to the elderly. Her love of the woods and singing and a natural affinity for animals keeps her mostly distracted from what must be a very sad and lonely existence.