Elothean Studies (book)

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collected by
Lorethew Mattew Zakiel

Elotheans Defined ......................... Page 1
- Dragon Priest Scholar Miele

Elothean Houses ........................... Page 5
- Dragon Priest Scholar Miele

Time Line ................................. Page 13
- collected by Lorethew Mattew Zakiel

Elothean Lorethew ......................... Page 18
- Lorethew Mattew Zakiel

Elothean Narrative ........................ Page 19
- Anonymous

[The following accounting was entirely written by the great Dragon Priest Scholar Miele. This accounting is neither sanctioned nor acknowledged by Elotheans, but is the closest to a history that anyone has ever extracted from the clandestine race.]

Elotheans Defined -

"...and from the pure thought and will of the Immortals themselves, came the Elotheans."

Many are the theories of whence the Elotheans came. While the above quote is certainly the most well known, it is also probably the most fanciful. In their striving desire to know the truth, the Dragon Priests traced the Elothean ancestry to its very roots, and claim that the Elotheans are actually the resultant children of Elven and Human unions. These "half- breeds" would often seek each other out; having been outcasts in both Human and Elven societies -- they theorize -- they would form small "colonies" of half-breeds that soon began to grow from small group to large colonies to entire clans. After a while, a racial identity naturally came around, and the resulting nation became a species unto themselves, dubbing themselves the Elotheans.

Of course, Humans are dubious to admit that Elotheans are related to them, Elves are stand-offish, and the Elotheans get downright hostile. Having steeled themselves with the belief that the gods themselves specifically thought them into existence they are in deep denial of the place from whence they actually came.

Elotheans vary in height from that of a moderately-sized Human (5'6" for males, 5'4" for females -- short amongst Elotheans) to the moderately-sized Elven (6'2" for males, 6' for females -- tall amongst Elotheans). Their hair can be a pale silvery color -- much like fine, greyish silk -- a golden blonde, a pale ginger, a soft brown, grey-white, and -- but rarely -- a blazing red or blue-black. A few of their more powerful practitioners of magic -- and sometimes their bards -- are born with amber eyes, with their pupils an irregular oval that are reminiscent of a cat's. These rare members of the race -- called _savants_ -- are often revered amongst their people, and viewed as great leaders and scholars.

Elothean eye color is usually blue, green, violet, or grey. Few are born with brown eyes, fewer still with hazel. Those that are are viewed as half- breeds but -- rather than reviled -- are often welcomed amongst their people, but pitied. Since Elotheans are natural empaths, a "half-breed" often leaves rather than live with this pity. Elothean eyes are almond-shaped, and Elothean skin ranges from a pale white (caused by scholarly in-door pursuits) to a dark brown (believed to be the result of Elven-Human throwbacks).

Elotheans live for an average time of two hundred and fifty years; three hundred and fifty in rare cases. A "young" Elothean is anyone fifty years or younger.

Elothean society is many-tiered and complex. There is one supreme leader -- called the Ferdahl -- who is viewed as the ruler of the Elothean Houses, and then below him or her is "the Three" -- the political leader, the seer judge, and the protectorate. The political leader deals with all matters foreign and interior, the seer judge oversees the laws of the land, and the protectorate commands the armies. The Ferdahl does not rest on his or her laurels, however. They often command the armies alongside the protectorate, write laws, and perform ambassadorial functions. If the reign does not go well, it is the Three, not the Ferdahl, who are to blame, and it is rare that an Os Dira'ora is accused or put on trial. In the history of the Elothean, the Ferdahl have committed ritual suicide or gone into exile -- turning their diadem over to an heir -- before dishonoring the Supreme Title.

Elotheans are often peaceful people, and thus -- compared to Humans, Elven, S'kra, and especially the Gor'Tog -- have rarely gone into war. An Elothean will try to lead a sturdy debate before engaging in combat. It is whispered amongst less-sophisticated courts that the reason Elotheans rarely resort to war is because of a secret society amongst them that takes care of the dirty business of intimidation and assassination. It is even suggested that there is actually a fourth member of the Ferdahl's council of commanders -- that the Three are actually a Four -- and that he or she is called simply the Melyo Rensh'a (Eye of the People). The Elotheans who work for the Melyo Rensh'a, it is said, can be identified by their black hair and pale eyes, and it is said that children born of the Elotheans with black hair inevitably "die" within two years of birth -- by accident or otherwise. Elothean myth says that they do not actually die, but are stolen by the society of the Melyo Rensh'a, to be trained as assassins or torturers. (But this is just a story.)

-=*Elothean Houses:*=-

Elotheans have divided themselves into a total of ten (eleven if you believe the Melyo Rensh'a myth) houses -- the equivalent of clans. Each of these houses (or clans, though Elotheans are loathe to use that word) take a place as councilors to the Three, offering advice or disputing laws/judgments when council is called. The Three have inevitably come from one of the ten houses when a new one is called for (usually after death, at the mandate of the Ferdahl, or retirement).

The Houses all bear a proud lineage, and distinctive marks. While there are a few Elotheans who do not belong to a House, it is rare to find one who does not somewhere in there blood have someone who is connected to a House.

House-less Elotheans -- which make up approximately twenty percent of the Elothean people -- are called senka'i neir, which means "without footprints". Since just about anyone can join a house with minimum effort, those who are senka'i neir are either a) outlaws or adventurers, b) loners or hermits c) outcasts (once of a House, but no more) or d) Lorethew (more on the Lorethew later).

A child who is born into that house is considered of that house. There is no initiation necessary. If the child leaves, it is accepted by the House, as the Eloths believe every person must choose their own fate. If a child is born of parents who are of two different houses, he or she must choose by the age of thirty which house they will belong to; there is no such thing as belonging to two houses in Eloth society, since that would be divided allegiance. House loyalty is absolute; there is no black and white. The law of the Eloths is:

First loyalty to your Ferdahl.
Second to the Three.
Third to your House.
Fourth to your children.
Fifth to your mate.
Last to yourself.

Two Houses -- the House of the Black Fang and the House of the Marching Lotus -- have been dead since the Elven-Human wars. Since all the members were literally destroyed defending their lands, they remain a part of history, mourned in a ceremony once a year by the Elotheans, as a reminder of the terrible plague that war can be.

The Houses:

House of the Silver Star -- The seers of their people, the Elotheans of the Silver Star are largely Moon Mages, and are often born with silver hair and grey eyes. Women primarily rule amongst this clan. Entrance into the clan requires only that you be a Moon Mage, or have proof of a Moon Mage ancestor somewhere in your past. Disloyalty means that the House ceases to recognize the member's existence, and he or she could walk through a home of one of the members -- breaking and smashing things -- and perhaps at best be recognized as, "A peculiar wind blowing through our home."

House of the Verdant Lily -- Peaceful and the least hostile of the Elotheans, this clan produces many herbalists, Clerics, and Empaths, and a scattering of Moon Mages. Mainly matriarchal, although they do pick a male leader from time to time. The Verdant Lily's members are often born with green or blue eyes and blonde hair. Entrance requires only a vow of pacifism. If this vow is broken, the member is outcast and may never be allowed back in.

House of the Steel Dove -- This is the most militant of the Houses, producing the finest Barbarians and Paladins of the Eloths. Mostly patriarchal, the Steel Dove have flint grey eyes and brown hair, occasionally producing a blazing red and a smattering of black-haired children. Entrance requires an oath of blood, whereupon the initiate must cut his or her arm without flinching and swear to protect the clan second, and the Eloth nation first. The House of the Steel Dove is from whence the guards of the Ferdahl are chosen. If a member ever shows cowardice or fails to act when justice is required swiftly and surely, he or she can be thrown out of the House upon a vote of the House's Elders. They may never be allowed back in.

House of the Silk Strings -- This is the house that produces the most _savants_, for it is the house of Bards and Traders. The House of the Silk Strings has no particular favorite as far as gender of the leader goes, although they do tend toward the masculine. The house of the Silk Strings has mostly blue or violet-eyed children with platinum hair. Entrance requires a playing of some stringed instrument, or a small fee. Disloyalty is punishable with expulsion, but the member may try to get back in, except that initiation requires the composition of a song that must be played on the instrument, claiming why you wish to belong once more to the house, or a _much_ larger fee. Disloyalty after that is not suffered, and two times a traitor means initiation not a third time.

House of the Floating Reed -- The House of the Floating Reed is as flexible as a green reed; anyone may join, and its members are so hodge-podge that there is no definite norm for appearance. The leader is always a pair; one male, one female. Entrance is a flat fee. Disloyalty does not count for expulsion; rather, the first joint of the member's right pinky is removed. This practice continues for each charge of disloyalty until the Eloth has no more fingers. When it reaches this point (which it never has), the member is formally kicked out of the House, never to be allowed in again. A common quote in the Eloth lands is, "Never trust a fingerless man."

House of the Rowan Branch -- This House also serves as a religious asylum; their monastery is a haven for lost souls. The leaders are a triad; one male, one female, and one eunuch. Children who are born of the House of the Rowan Branch are invariably silver-haired and grey-eyed; solemn colors for a solemn house. Entrance is a year-long pledge of silence; if broken, the person is not turned out of the House, but they are no longer viable as an initiate until five years time has passed. If, after initiation, they are disloyal to the House, they are taken to a high precipice where they are tied down and left to "the will of the gods". If, after a week's time, they still live, they are taken back into the House and restored to their full status. Because of it's harsh living and severe penalties, this is the smallest of the Houses, but also one of the most powerful.

House of the Grey Storm -- This House is the one that produces the most Warrior Mages, its leader tending toward the patriarchal. The tempers of the House of the Grey Storm are infamous for their shortness, and a strong smell of burnt ozone always lingers around the area that the House was last. Children have stormy grey or green eyes, and ginger, blonde, or fiery red hair. Initiation merely requires that you have an ancestor who was -- or are yourself -- a Warrior Mage. To betray the House means that you are taken out in the middle of a raging storm, suited up in plate armor, and then tied to the ground. Survivors are stripped of belongings and sent on their way. The dead have some dirt kicked over them and are left to rot.

House of the Ivory Scroll -- The most quiet of the Houses, this is the only House that one must be born into to be a part of. The leaders tend toward male or female; there is no bias. Children always have blue eyes and sandy blonde or brown hair. Betrayal is death. Many members are Traders, Moon Mages, or Bards; all carry with them a certain dignified air, as if they hold an exclusive position in society. Many Eloths dislike the House of the Ivory Scroll intensely, but bear with them because of their vast acquirement of knowledge, large store of money, and frequently poignant arguments.

House of the Gilded Longleaf -- Dedicated to nature and the outdoors, this House has no permanent residence and is the most likely to allow itself to be called a "clan". The leaders rotate every ten years, so it is difficult to ascertain whether the House leans toward male or female, and, in fact there is a saying in the House of the Gilded Longleaf that, "All the members, at some point, will be a leader." Rangers, Empaths, and Traders tend to spring from this House, and the children have ginger to blonde hair, green and sometimes gold eyes. Initiation (when you can find the House) is to cup a butterfly in one's hands without bruising the wings. Betrayal is followed by a swift death and a burial beside an oak tree, where the House members weep for the lost soul of the House member.

House of the Waxen Moons -- Little is known of this House other than that it chooses its members rather than having members choosing it. Unlike all the other houses, a child born of the House is _not_ necessarily a member. Members range the spectrum, and are rarely seen. Humans and Elvenkin have been allowed into this house in the past, and the S'kra bard -- Czak -- claims to have once been a member. Highly mystical in nature, the House of the Waxen Moons makes all members swear an oath of secrecy upon entry, and to this day that oath has held true.

House of the Gentle Lion -- An almost exclusively Paladin-based House, the members of this House are led by a now-matriarch, but mostly patriarch leader. Children often have ginger or blonde hair, and startling green or blue eyes. Members are allowed in by proving their moral worth; ancestry is of no concern, one must merely be an Eloth. Expulsion is immediate death, the "...last light seen the glint of an upraised sword as one of our House brings the final darkness."

House of the All-Seeing Eye -- This is the infamous house of the Melyo Rensh'a, which is purported not to exist. Since it does not exist, there is nothing to say of it. Legends say the children have black hair and pale eyes, and that they are either chosen or born. If the house has been betrayed and if there is a punishment for such betrayal, no one knows since no one has ever met one.

House of the Glittering Diadem -- This House is the most exclusive of all, since it is this House from whence the Ferdahl are chosen. Fairly small, the only way to become a part of it is to be adopted by the ruling Ferdahl (which has happened on a few rare occasions). Most children have long, fiery-red hair and blazing blue or green eyes. Half are _savants_. Expulsion has never occurred, since a disgraced member of this house usually goes into self-enforced exile, or commits suicide.

[End of the Dragon Priest's Account]-----------------

o** Timeline as Written by the Rise and Fall of Elothean Leaders**
o Silvrathrew the Elder

First Ferdahl and High Moon Mage of her people. She sired fourteen children in her long life, thirteen of which historically started the "Houses" of the Elotheans, and the fourteenth of which became her heir.

o Queri the Lorethew

Second Ferdahl and a scholar, Queri set up the council and created the positions of the Three.

o Astrar and Emiil, Consorts of the Gods

Wife and Husband (respectively) who were Empath and Paladin (also respectively). It is said that when Emiil died in battle, Astrar followed him a week later -- some say of a broken heart, and others say it was her overhealing her son's injuries since she longed to follow her husband to the Plane of Unknowing.

o Vemrin the Greyhearted

A _savant_ of his people, Vemrin was thin and pale, often sickly, and never quite recovered from the death of his parents. It is said that he established the Melyo Rensh'a, if anyone.

o 750 years of peace and time's passage
o Start of the Human-Elven Wars
o Pale Cleareye

Pale watched carefully the goings-on of the Clan wars, reluctant to join in their doings. By the time of his death, the Clan wars had reached a boiling point, and were moving to his area of the world. On his deathbed he instructed his daughter, "...if you do anything my child, turn the tide any way you can. Enter not in war, oh, child, take not that burden upon thee..."

o Vurma the Redfisted

Vurma did not heed her father's advice; of course, she was also a mere ten years old when she heard it. By the time she was forty, she had joined the Elves in the Elven-Human Wars and supplied them with ten thousand of her troops. Except for bandit skirmishes, this was the first war the Elotheans had ever entered, and the result was like a shockwave through the scholarly folk. Vurma assumed that if she did a few lightning attacks against the flagging Human forces, they would swiftly fall. Unfortunately, she had not anticipated the Dwarven support of the Humans, nor the Gor'Tog support, and by the time she was forty-six, she had spent nearly a hundred thousand men and women, and the war was nowhere near ending. Two houses were destroyed by the draining, mis-named Human-Elven wars, and the Elothean race seriously depleted by the time the war ended...with the Humans as victors. But the victory was hollow, and recovery was slow to follow.
Vurma was the first of the Elothean Ferdahl to relinquish her diadem. She killed herself in shame, saying that it, "...was only suiting that the leader should follow the wide path her people had trodden down before her."

o Emreen Brighteyes

Taking up the mantle after his mother, Emreen started the reconstruction of the clans, declaring that "...Eloths shall not enter in a war so long as I breathe." The Eloths became decidedly reclusive after that, and many Lorethew wrote novels vilifying the war.

o 100 years of peace
o Thaerine Plaintale

Thaerine was a bard of her people, and numerous songs have been written of her life. A decided hero of the Eloths, it was Thaerine's decision to enter the Seven-Pointed Empire, a decision that was grudgingly welcomed, and then happily accepted when the Eloths learned how well it worked for them.

o 800 years of the Seven-Pointed Star Empire
o Decay of the Empire
o Rise of the Dragon Priests
o Corik of the Black Cloud

A Warrior Mage by ability and nature, Corik went against his people's wishes by entering into war against the usurpers of the Empire. The battles that raged drained the Eloth nation -- though not nearly as badly as the ill-fated Human-Elven wars -- and left them wide open for the onslaught of the Dragon Priests. In a crushing lightning-move, the Dragon Priests took the crown city, took Corik hostage, and then moved on to snatch at nearly half of the rest of the Empire's collapsing demesnes. Ripe for the plucking, the realms fell into their clutches like gold coins in a dragon's fist.
Corik vanished a few years later, taking himself into exile for the shame he had brought to the Eloths. Dark years followed....

o The Lost Times (at 250 years)
o Alec the Phoenix

Unable to keep a hold of the realms they had claimed, the Dragon Priests' "empire" began to collapse in on itself as surely as the Empire of the Seven-Pointed Star had. Seeing an opening, Alec -- claiming to be the son of Corik after he had gone into exile -- rallied the miserable Eloths and staged a lightning-like coup that routed the Priests out of the Eloth capital. Replacing himself to the throne and restoring the Houses to their proper places in the Eloth hierarchy, Alec reformed and resettled the Eloth lands, proclaiming for once and for all that, "...war shall no longer be a part of the Elothean philosophy."

o Kukalakai the Black-Eyed

The current ruler of the Eloth Houses is a pale-skinned, red- haired, and black-eyed woman. A true daughter of Alec, she is strong and responsible, and has followed her father's policy. Knowing her people's lust of peace (as well as their long memories), she keeps the Houses and the Elothean people far from the skirmishes that are the last remnants of the Dragon Priests' "empire". Strong and stern, she is as yet childless as well as suitorless, but she is young yet.....
Lorethew and the Eloths
Lorethew are revered among the Elothean people as scholars, sages, and wisemen and -women. They are given special treatment and often handed over free food, lodging, and the use of anything within the power of the Elothean who are within earshot of the Lorethew. Lorethew, when they become one of that Life Path, cease to be part of any House. Often asked for help in the judgment of a criminal or a civil dispute, Lorethew are both cursed and blessed with no attachments to anybody but themselves and other Lorethew.
  "Amongst the Elotheans, there is no such phrase as, 'What you don't know can't hurt you.'"
                                           S'zhella the S'Kra Poet
Of all the creatures upon Elanthia, there is only one race that stands upright that was not born of a substance of the world. This race was the Elotheans, children of the Thought and Will of the gods, who sprung, fully grown, from the Desire of the gods. Many times have we been held in envy by our fellow sentients. Who else but the Elotheans hold more potential? Knowledge is power, and knowledge is something we hold in earnest, clutched in our grasp the way a dragon would close its claws, clicking, over a prized gem. But in knowing this, we realize the envy and learn to step above and beyond it. It is not our fault we are more intelligent, more clever, more wise than the other races. Should we allow our cheeks to flush from their snide cynicism and daggered lies? Of course not. That we are wiser, greater, more blessed than them is not our fault. It is, however, possibly our burden.
Woven we were of thought and power, the two becoming part of us and lying humble beneath our command. Many a child of the Elothean has risen to great magical potential. And, while in our pursuit for knowledge we have perhaps grown frail, the exchange for power far makes up for it.
Knowledge is power. Power is corruptive. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hail and beware, for knowledge is the most dangerous power of all.
"Master, I stand before you," said the young one.
"You have learned well," said the elder, the inflection in the tone of her voice spreading warmth upon her apprentice.
"Thank you, master," the young one replied humbly from where he knelt.
"And now, one final test before you are initiated as a Lorethew."
"Master?" the young one asked, looking up and appearing almost shocked.
"Oh, do not seem so surprised, we all must go through this." She smiled again. "Are you prepared?"
"Yes, master," the young Eloth replied solemnly.
"Then tell me this, young one. What is the largest room of all?"
"I...." The young one stared at her in stark confusion. "Master?" he said at last.
"Simply answer the question," the elder Eloth said, smiling lightly.
The Eloth ran through what he knew of the world, of the cities great and small, and palaces built and fallen by would-be despots of yore. There were the towering Sana'ati trees in Leth Deriel, the massive mead halls of the Stone Clan, the cavernous rooms of Aesthene's Close. But of them all he hardly knew which was the largest. Rooms...rooms...he had to think....
Dragons...dragons would have to have big rooms!
"The Hall of Dragons in the great Spine Mountains," he said finally, trying to sound confident. If his teacher was as empathic as he knew her to be, however, he knew that SHE knew he was bluffing.
The elder Eloth smiled slightly and nodded. "No," she said, and he felt his cheeks flush slightly.
"I knew I should have said the Dwarven Hall of Casidhel," he mumbled.
She laughed. "Not even that," she said, her eyes sparkling. "The largest room of all...is room for improvement."
He stared at her, struck dumb by the simplistic answer.
"Improvement," he said at last, slowly.
"Yes. And never forget it. Be welcome, my apprentice-no-more, as a Master. Rise and accept your birthright."

The Strand Library