Seashimmer - A Wanderer

I was born in a small town on the eastern coast of Elanthia, far to the south of all the Elven cities. I will be no more specific as to directions; though I bear my home little good will I still would not wish to lead any who might mean ill to it. The population was a mix of dark elven and human blood as can only be produced through thousands of years of interbreeding.  I am told I show very strongly many of the physical traits of my dark elven ancestors, as did my sister; perhaps this can begin to explain somewhat why our lives took the turn they did. But to explain why such a town, with such a racial mixing, ever existed in the first place, I suppose I shall have to take you back even further in history, to times long before any of us live.

As many of you, students of history that you are, doubtless know, five thousand years ago the House Faendryl made war upon House Ashrim and destroyed it utterly. To briefly sketch out the events preceding this attack, I shall say that a princess of House Faendryl was selected to wed a high prince of the Ashrim. She never made it to her wedding day, as she died en route to Ta'Ashrim, by means that none can know for certain. With rumors abounding that the death of the princess had occurred under the auspices of the Ashrim, a measure to begin war which some of the aristocracy had pressed for even before the marriage quickly passed. Some, however, refused to follow the leaders of Faendryl. The believed that such a war could never unite the Elven people under the hands of the Faendryl but would only further shatter the Elven civilization. When they saw that the war could not be prevented, they left the tunnels beneath Rhoska-Tor and struck out to the southeast, believing that perhaps when the wars had ended they could return and gain power during the rebuilding.

Eventually, a total of eight dark elven lords and their households crossed the hills and deserts and reached the coast, where they found a small village of humans already established. They naturally took the humans as their slaves, and founded their own settlement on that spot. They knew little of dwelling above ground, however, and found themselves relying on the humans for their very survival. This plight was enhanced by a disastrous summoning in the first year of the settlement, when a strange and unknown demon shrugged aside the bindings of its summoner and destroyed over half the village's population, both human and Faendryl, before being killed. The remaining leaders of the Faendryl quickly called a council and halted the further practice of such magics until the settlement was more stable. That time never came, and gradually the practice of almost all magics faded away, in part because the location was utterly lacking in mana foci or other sources of power.

Over the centuries, the divide between master and servant narrowed, for there were too few of either in the tiny seaside town for them to remain apart. Even the bonds of propriety that kept the races separate slowly wore away, and they eventually interbred. While some of the Faendryl attitude towards the Arkati remained, the native's customs of worship did not entirely fade, and Charl, Niima, and Imaera continued to receive a measure of respect. The town, briefly granted an obscure Faendryl appellation, reverted to its original human name of Nadreen, and the oddly mixed residents lived in peace if not in comfort.

Having finished a brief, and hopefully impartial, overview of the history of my home, I should perhaps continue with my own story. This assumes, of course, that you have not already been put to sleep; forgive me if my story is not as interesting or as blood-filled as some, but it is my past, and the truth. At a time some sixty years ago or more, my mother and father, both fishermen, gave birth to my elder sister; two years after that, I was born.

Before I continue, I shall try to give a short description of the naming customs of my town; namely, that until a child is old enough to choose a name for themselves (generally around their twentieth birthday), they are called merely by their family name, generally either a mangled corruption of one of the original Faendryl names or the name of a simple aspect of their surroundings as the early humans named themselves. This does, of course, cause some confusion, for there are often many similarly named children running about the town. Each child by necessity picks up a nickname; those, however, I will not repeat here, for there are some indignities that are best left to childhood. Suffice to say that neither mine nor my sister's was complementary. 

To continue on with my elder sister, however, she was born, as was I, looking the striking image of a pure dark elf. Why the Arkati play such tricks I do not know; I can only say that, as children often do, our playmates took every opportunity to tease us for our differences. Tiring of the constant insults, my sister and myself set ourselves away from the other children, and we spent much of our childhood together. When I was perhaps fifteen years old, my sister, feeling pushed away by the contempt of her peers, took a walk alone along the seaside cliffs and fell, breaking her leg. Feeling her pain, I myself fell in the middle of the town square, causing considerable disturbance. After much effort in convincing the adults of the village that I was not merely playing a prank, a rescue party was sent after my sister, who was brought back to town. Having revealed my empathic talents, however, I was sent away from my sister to live with the other village healers, for the talent was a rare one and not to be wasted when found.

As I learned of the arts of empathy and herb preparation, of healing by both magic and mundane means, I saw little of my sister. Had I, I would perhaps have been able to prevent things from turning out as badly as they did, but I doubt it would have been so. My sister, over the years, had developed or been born with (depending on how you view such things) a talent for sorcery. She began to feel increasingly alienated from the other villagers, and spent time by herself, either shut in her cabin or roaming the lands around the village. Rumors flew that she had resurrected the forbidden skills of summoning; had people known the rumors to be true, I doubt she would have been allowed to remain as long as she did. On her naming day, while the rest of the village and I watched the ceremony, and after her peers had selected their own names for themselves, she named herself Ashev, declared her powers of sorcery, and left the town with neither a word nor a backwards glance. I was devastated.

I shall continue on with my narrative shortly, but I feel a need here to insert yet another note, this time on the linguistics of my home and of my sister's chosen name. The word shev, in our tongue, means death; "a" is a prefix or suffix meaning not. Thus, "ashev" takes on the meaning life, although in a rather peculiar fashion. When, however, as is our custom, it is attached to the end of the family name, the "a" negates the family name instead, causing Morashev to mean "Shev, not of the family Sea." It was, for my sister, a very definite and unchangeable way of declaring her permanent separation from her home.

Had there been no distraction for me, I do not know what I would have done after my sister's leave-taking. She had been the only person with whom I was ever truly close, and she had forsaken me. I think, perhaps, I might have killed myself. I never forgave the village for its rules and laws, which I had previously considered so right, for they had driven my sister away from me. A few days after the naming day, however, a strange stumbled into the village. She was very short and very dark; a halfling, I later learned. She was also deathly ill of fever. Having been given the task of nursing her back to health, I set out to do such with a complete disregard for anything else in the world. Having just lost the person dearest to me, I, for whatever reason, chose my delirious patient as a substitute. Though I have had plenty of chances to rue my attachment to her, it has, in the end, perhaps turned out for the best.

When, after several weeks, she finally began to recover her strength, I learned that she spoke not a word of odd mixture of human and elven speech that we used in everyday circumstances, nor the archaic elven that was preserved for official events. I sought out of the elders of the village, the only one among us who spoke something near to pure common, to give me lessons. After picking up the basics, Rhyi, as the stranger named herself, took over the task of instructing me in the tongue, an activity she apparently found amusing. It is not, in any case, difficult to amuse Rhyi. I did, fortunately, manage to learn the tongue from her without also learning the irritating accent she affects. I will not, in this text, go into detail as to Rhyi's origins, for that is her tale to tell, and not mine. Suffice to say that she told me many stories of her adventures, and, through her, I came to learn of the lands outside my home. She stayed with us for perhaps a year before moving on, although I begged her not to leave. She has, I have learned, ever found her joy in traveling.

I continued, over the next year, living with the village healers, although there was little left for me to learn. I gradually took over many of the tasks of healing given to us, for I found I was in fact a more powerful healer than either of the aging women who had held the position of village empath previously. My naming day approached eventually, and passed without incident; I chose for myself the name Ithisdri (thus making my full name Morithisdri), which translates roughly to "shimmer" in the common tongue, although it has more specific connotations. A new young empath moved in with us, and began her training with the older empaths; though I offered to help teach, she refused to listen to me. The disgrace of my sister had, in the way such things often do, transferred itself somewhat to me, although my position as primary healer kept the villagers civil to me, at least in my presence. Feeling unwanted and unneeded, as my younger compatriot increased in skill, I gradually spent less and less time at work healing, and more and more time wandering the woods and beaches, gathering herbs. On the naming day of the younger healer, I quietly packed my belongings and left town, heading northwest, in the direction I knew Rhyi had gone and speculated that my sister had taken as well.

In the end, it was only through sheer luck that I avoided dying in the wastes or becoming a captive of the humans, for my travels to Wehnimer's took me straight across the primary lands of their empire, and my elvish nature was obvious. I traveled slowly, as one unaccustomed to lands outside my home, making a few coins here and there by itinerant healing. I made, after many months, my way to Wehnimer's Landing, where I once again met with Rhyi. I had not seen my true sister since the day she left our home and me, but Rhyi and I, through my pleading with my adopted father, become "sisters," such as it were; she continues to be amusing and more than slightly off in the head, as well as very dear to me. I am writing this, I suppose, mainly at her behest; my past is not something I often wish to discuss. I am now part way through my fifth year in Wehnimer's Landing and the surrounding lands; although I have made many trips south to River's Rest I have made no plans to ever continue my travels southeast beyond there to my home.

If, in this short treatise, I have bored you, or missed the intended topic completely, I beg your forgiveness. If the writing style has come across as strange to you, I beg pardon, but the elven I was brought up speaking was a great deal more formal than that spoken in Landing, and I would prefer not to write in common. I hope that, at the least, you have, by reading this, learned some small bit of information of interest; if not, I have at least pleased my sister Rhyi by writing it, so it has served some point after all.

By my hand,

Seashimmer Cowrie