Divination in Elanthia (log)
Seledwyn slowly says, "My name is Seledwyn...."
Seledwyn asks, "How do you all do?"
Seledwyn says, "I'm so happy to have made the trip."
Seledwyn says, "I was last in Nydds."
Seledwyn just opened a thick blue-spined tome.
Seledwyn says, "I recently finished a collected work and I thought I might share some of it with you... if you are interested, that is."
Seledwyn says, "Though, I suppose I should start with the name of the book....."
Seledwyn says, "And perhaps some history."
Seledwyn says, "The book is - A Comprehensive Guide to Divination in Elanthia."
Seledwyn asks, "Shall I read the introduction?"
- "The art of divination has long been in the lands of Elanthia and has followed us through many changes. It can be said, and is often debated upon, that the first prophet of the lands was an elf in origin, which is usually immediately followed by an argument in relation to the Lord Jastev being its originator. The debate can then further devolve into a religious discussion whereby Gosaena's name will be brought up and, with fervor, those mentioning her will point out that it is her ability to divine which soul passes to her at what time that can be considered the foundation of divination."
- "Others will interject that Lady Lorminstra is also granted this power by her ability to decipher which souls are worthy of return, but then more still will interject that Arkati as a whole use divination as a tool by which to share their otherworldly wisdom, advice, and influence. And yet still, some small faction of individuals will claim that Zelia too had a hand in fashioning the first seers, for aren't most seers touched by her loose grasp on the reins of sanity? They will also argue, though none can provide proof, that she has a day of warning, surely she must have warned against something."
Svardin says, "Sanity is overrated."
Speaking amusedly to Svardin, Seledwyn asks, "A Zelian Sympathizer, sir?"
- "The word divination is fashioned of two parts. It is easy for us to see that -tion has a standardized meaning throughout Elanthia and means "the act of", while divina- means the divine. Whether this means that we gain this ability from the Divine Arkati or that the very act of using the ability and study is divine can never been found to be clear. Searching through many tomes and manuscripts, both new and old, provides no clear answer on the source or originator of this art."
Seledwyn turns the page within her tome.
- "Yet, the fact remains that divination is alive and certainly has been proven to be accurate and reliable. This can be noted by examples of prophets speaking out in our history. If you look at the very distant past you can find the name of the elf Noi'sho'rah, who is given credit for prophesying the coming of Despana. In more recent years, the Oracle Urutei Meigeath of the giantman clans prophesied the arrival of the comet in the year 5102, and Lord Ulstram Chanerser, the prophet of Lorminstra, foresaw the coming of the Gryphon Sword War."
- "It should also be noted that those who use the Art - often referred to as those that are "gifted" with the ability, or simply referenced as "he or she has the gift", - seem to be drawn together by a bond of camaraderie that spans religion, race, culture, and even war. They are many times joined together by their common belief that their ability can aid, though they may often be persecuted or condemned as doomsayers. Indeed, many times those that receive visions are labeled "insane," "misguided," and a number of unsavory epithets. Yet, at every corner you can find a practitioner and clients that flock to them for answers."
- "A wide variety of names have been assigned to those that use this art and can range from oracle to prophet, seer to diviner, scryvner to gypsy. In the end, it doesn't matter what name they go by because no matter where you are in Elanthia a practitioner of the art of divination can be found."
- "Learning the art, or craft as some call it, varies from culture to culture, land to land, and sometimes even family to family. There are those of the giantman clans that train the art of divination as a craft."
Seledwyn says, "I'm sure many of you have met with dear Vendaic of the Araime Clan."
Seledwyn says, "Well, then, I suppose it is only right to continue by sharing with you how the Giantman Clans scrye...."
Seledwyn turns the page of her tome.
- "Nomadic are the clans of the Giantmen and their secrets run deep. History is shared by oral recitation and their lores are their own. Methods of Divination among the clans can vary, with some experiencing visions, as in the case of Oracle Urutei Meigeath, while others can utilize simple means of divination by using a rod that will guide them to water."
Seledwyn says, "By the way, a rod to find water is a common thread."
Seledwyn says, "There are Human groups that use that method too."
Seledwyn says, "Like the Sisters of the Hidden Eye."
Divone asks, "Is it a special rod? Made of a certain substance?"
Aydan quietly murmurs, "Nine-pointed hazel twig in Phannus, usually."
Seledwyn says, "I believe it is just a simple sprig."
Seledwyn says, "It's wood."
Seledwyn turns her gaze back to her tome.
- "One particular method of Divination is something called Ikarrak - simply put Vision Rock - and is employed by certain members of the Ariame Clan. This art is taught by the pairing of a mentor with an apprentice and follows various stages as any other craft does. Those interested, or those gifted as is usually the case, are paired with their mentor at a relatively young age and begin minor tasks that will guide them on a path to understanding the runestones.
- "The apprentice learns through observation, study, and by the completion of tasks set forth by the mentor. The process can take many years and be filled with tasks whereby the apprentice never knows if they have achieved their mastery until they are specifically given that title."
- "Indeed, in this unit there is no rank other then mentor and apprentice. When an apprentice is finally given the title of mentor it can frequently be said that the bond between the pairing has grown to such a degree that the apprentice will only accept the title of mentor when his or her own is no longer able to complete the task of divination. It is only then that the apprentice will become the mentor and take on an apprentice of their own, while frequently providing care for their own mentor in the case of old age."
Seledwyn says, "It really is an interesting bond."
- "Part of learning this art is not confined to the ability to memorize what each rune on the stones mean, but in the ability to create the runes and their place in clan life. Typically, the mentor will provide services for the band they travel with that range from inscribing runes on items of value to blessing and then, of course, the service of divination."
- "Typically, and most frequently, the runestones are found contained in a basket woven of natural, yet stiff, material. Fronds, river reeds, sea grasses, and other pliable but firm items are used in its creation and then dyed to colors that are appealing to the practitioner. The stones are also natural and it can be understood that a mentor and apprentice will search their entire lives for smooth stones that are uniform to one another. Once a set of forty-two identical or nearly identical stones is accumulated they are painted with symbols that fall into four categories - Earth, Air, Fire, and Water."
- "Translation of the stones varies very little amongst the Ariame Clan, though many of the other clans have either their own complete set of translations or an adaptation of the base translation that the Ariame use. And while there are forty-two stones painted for this use, it is not confined to only forty-two translations, for if the rune is drawn upside-down, or inverted as the practitioners favor, then there is a completely different meaning for the stone. This allows that there are a grand total of eighty-four possible outcomes for one basket."
- "However, to further complicate the matter, the runestones are never drawn alone. Depending upon the elemental magics used to bond a basket to its owner, the runestones are frequently drawn in groups of three, six, and nine. Each of these groups is read as a whole and not alone."
Seledwyn glances up and down the long page that lays flat in her tome.
Seledwyn says, "There is a long list of translations here....."
Seledwyn says, "For example.... The Blizzard Rune has a meaning of clearance, testing, karmic lessons, but reversed it means drastic changes. It is part of the Air Family."
Seledwyn says, "The entire list is available in the tome."
Seledwyn glances up from her tome.
Seledwyn asks, "Have any of you met Lady Chisma, the seamstress?"
Seledwyn asks, "Did you ever hear her tell of the Elven Method of Divination?"
Speaking to Seledwyn, Kyaloria says, "I don't think it ever came up."
Seledwyn asks, "Goodness, Truthfully?"
Seledwyn says, "Well...." She flips through several pages of her book. "I've got it all here...."
Ghrayce says, "No, the only method I recall hearing about in depth was reading of tea leaves and it was not she who spoke of it."
Speaking to Ghrayce, Seledwyn says, "Oh, yes, that's the Loenthran method."
Seledwyn says, "Let me see...."
- "Amongst the elves, the Art of Divination has wildly different schools of thought and varies from house to house and from city to city. A fine example of this can be seen by the difference in the reaction that an individual might receive from an elf of Ta'Vaalor and one from Ta'Loenthra. While the Loenthran elf may wish to sit and have a cup of tea with you, the Vaalor would rather bid you leave for believing in such nonsense."
Seledwyn says, "They really are kind of rude on the matter."
Seledwyn quickly says, "No offense intended to those of you that might be Vaalor by birth."
- "Indeed, it is by the use of tea that the Loenthran elf practices the art. It is believed that the future of an individual can be discerned by the remains left within a cup of tea that was properly brewed and consumed by the individual seeking an answer. When translating the tea leaves, the practitioner must consider a wide variety of symbols, letters, and images that can be found within the cup. However, before any of that can be done, there are certain rituals that must be observed."
- "First, the tea must be properly brewed by bringing a kettle or pot to a rolling boil. An infuser filled with the tea of choice must be added and then allowed to steep to a potency that is pleasing to the individual that is seeking the divination. While this all seems terribly simple and ordinary at first glance, when in the company of a Loenthran Diviner it is easy to see that it is truly an art form fashioned of style, grace, and dedication to genuinely aiding others."
- "Once the tea has been consumed, the cup is carefully examined for where the tea leaves are located. If they are found to be high within the bowl of the cup, then the time of the prediction is to be in the distance, while low in the cup means that the time is nearer to hand. Is there a place where the bottom of the cup is clear? If so, then it is suggested that the querent needs to find time to relax and rest. Clustered leaves can mean busy days, while a single leaf floating means that a friend will be at the forefront of the prediction."
- "The elven term for this type of divination roughly translates in common to "intention left in leaving", meaning that the drinker leaves behind clues to his future in the leavings at the bottom of his or her teacup. There are literally thousands of combinations to be considered when this method is used. A base of one-hundred and five symbols is looked for which can provide up to two hundred and ten possible translations, as each symbol can also be translated for a completely different meaning. A brief translation is provided herein, though there are many gaps in the chart."
Seledwyn says, "I tried to find all of them, but it was mighty difficult."
- "Also clinging to a more naturalistic approach to the Art, the Ardenai have developed a method of Divination called Wind-sight. The manner in which this particular form is employed is rather simplistic and involves a querent drawing near to mind the question or matter that they seek to have resolved. After careful meditation, the individual must go outside to a clearing and carry with them some manner of natural debris."
- "Dirt, leaves--oak leaves are popular for this--or even flower petals are lifted above the head and then released into the air the answer comes in the pattern or means by which the debris reaches the ground. Things that are noted in particular involve the speed that the items travel at, the distance, and whether or not they remained clumped together. Unlike the Loenthran, the Ardenai hold close to them the means to translate this method and it is passed down from mother to daughter and from father to son. Some speculate that there are even different translations based upon the sex of the translator, thus making it difficult to pinpoint any one meaning."
Seledwyn says, "It was difficult while doing my research to get many of the races to share their information."
Seledwyn says, "I was actually surprised -- and at time disgusted -- by the information that some of the Half-Krolvin seers shared."
Seledwyn turns her gaze back to her tome.
- "In contrast to the three Houses mentioned above, the House of Nalfein has their own twist on divination that is more tailored to their conspiratorial natures. At some point in the history of the House, an artist gifted one of its noblewomen with an elegant deck of paper-thin, teak cards. Painted upon one side of each wooden card was the ebon rose of the House, while the other had elaborate images of various flowers and plants that could be found throughout the whole of Elanthia. It is speculated that the gift was intended to be a means of divining the future from an artist of House Loenthra. The noblewoman, however, scoffed at the thought that anyone but she could predict, and facilitate, her own future and thus the deck took on an entirely different purpose."
- "Ladies of the House can frequently be seen to employ use of the deck during women only functions, teas, or other gatherings as a means of communicating their feelings towards another woman. The two-hundred and eighteen cards would be shuffled and artfully arranged with skill and panache into the sequence that the shuffler wished and then flipped upon the table, while all present would feign their ignorance that the cards had fallen in anything but random patterns."
- "This is the reason behind the famous elven saying, "playing a Nalfein's hand", which is to say that any hand dealt by a Nalfein is arranged. This phrase is frequently seen in games where one player seems to be favored by the odds."
- "It is believed by many true practitioners of the Art that a Black Rose Deck could still provide a true prediction if properly employed, but there isn't a Nalfein alive that would give it any credibility, though I have provided a translation chart herein."
- "Lastly, amongst the elves are those of House Illistim. The practice by which they study is difficult to pin down to one question one answer. Indeed, it takes an Illistim practitioner years and cycles of study to come to a single answer. However, when an answer is discovered--typically by studing years of weather, climate, migration, and global changes--it is more along the lines of a doctrine or almanac in its length and can frequently span a great distance of time."
Speaking to Seledwyn, Ghrayce asks, "Doen't that lead as well to vague references?"
Seledwyn says, "Oh, yes, I suppose, but some of the recordings that the Illistimi make are really detailed."
Seledwyn says, "They measure and record and just collect thousands of inane pieces of data and use it to find things from the past that might come around again."
Seledwyn says, "The rest of this is comprised of translations for the elves."
Raelee quietly observes, "That methodology sounds far more like an actual planned study than... divination."
Seledwyn agrees with Raelee.
Seledwyn asks, "Have any of you heard of the halfling Thelsia?"
Seledwyn asks, "And listened to her information on the halfling Divination practices?"
Seledwyn flips through several pages.
Seledwyn says, "Ah ha. Here we have it...."
- "Each of the tribes of the Truefolk have a unique method of foretelling the future, with the exception of the Paradis who are both from every tribe and yet belonging to none in their search for peace. While the Homeless, as the tribe s name means in the Halfling tongue, do not lay claim to their own particular brand of scrying, they are not without, either, in that they brought into their self-exile the method of whatever tribe they belonged to originally."
- "Due to the Horse Wars between the Truefolk and the Ardenai, the method of scrying favored by the Brughans has been lost to the annals of time. Their method was simplistic at best, but involved a process by which they would split a single horse hair with a piece of flint. Unfortunately, and understandably, there is not a Brughan alive that is willing to share how this particular method worked, nor will any of the other Tribes break their trust in sharing it with what they term "Outsiders."
Seledwyn says, "Oh, and trust me when I say I tried."
Seledwyn exclaims, "I fairly pried until I thought they would stone me!"
- "The Mhoragians, being a nomadic lot, spend plenty of nights beneath the stars as they wind their way through the plains of their homeland, and their method of scrying is a reflection of the nature that they find as a daily part of their life. Amongst this tribe, the children are closely watched, and if one among them shows signs of the Sight, the family unit, and those they travel with, take it upon themselves to nurture that gift."
- "Fashioning a plain rectangular box, very similar in design to a handfasting case, the tribe will paint it to the child s favored colors and then wrap it in weather-treated leathers to create an air-tight seal. A single slit is cut down the center of the top, from short side to short side, and each member of the family unit begins to work on various slats to place within it. Typically, the pieces are not only carved, but painted, and fashioned of various types of wood as well."
- "As each slat is completed, the child is taught its meaning and allowed to play with it using rhymes and hymns to remember the various pieces. In this fashion, the child is able to learn each piece separately at a very young age and, obviously, the easiest pieces are the first gifted. By the time the child reaches maturity, she will have a complete set that she is not only comfortable with, but has grown up with her like a childhood friend."
- The way this method works is very basic: a question is asked of the case, and the child, reportedly using her gift, calls for the answer from the piece. Tilting the case back and forth, a single slat falls free, and she lifts it clear to read its translation. While this may sound simple, the translations can be rather complex as each wood, color, animal, and combination thereof has a meaning. A simple chart is provided below."
- "Probably not surprising is the method in which the Malghavan's practice their art. Blindness is a rarity amongst the Malghavans and considered to be not a curse, but a gift. This gift is their own version of the "Sight," and thus once someone becomes blind they are gifted with a special set of tools. These tools are an awl, a lathe, and a smoothing pumice, which are used to create tiny, rounded beads. It is believed by the tribe that a blind person has given up their ability to see worldly things for the ability to see other-worldly things, and so the loss of their sight is not a hardship."
- "Using the instruments she is given, the Seer will take any gemstone handed to her and work it with these tools in a method that is not readily clear. She then will gaze, though she is blind, at the results of her workings and feel the surface of the stone. Having witnessed this method myself, it is amazing to me the accuracy in which she can craft a rounded object each and every time."
- "However, I have been told, though I have not been allowed to touch, that there are imperfections in her bead, and through them she can tell various things about a person, an event, or a time. It is unclear whether this is from what she feels and associates with that feeling, or from the use of her Sight. Whatever the answer may be, the resulting method is remarkably accurate."
- "Author Note: If a child is born sightless then she/he is taught by an elder and is considered very precious to the tribe as a whole. There is a superstition among this tribe that something of great import will happen during her/his lifetime, and it is that child s duty to prepare their family and tribe for it."
- "As mentioned previously, many of the Paradis carry with them some form of the methods of their brethren and, while they learn new methods from the world that they roam through, they still manage to maintain the traditions of their people and honor them as they can."
Seledwyn just closed a thick blue-spined tome.
Seledwyn says, "There is an enormous list of translations in here."
Seledwyn says, "I'm rather tired, or I'd share more."
Seledwyn says, "Maybe we can meet again tomorrow night."
Seledwyn says, "If you will excuse me.... I'm going to seek out a bed for my weary body, but I will come around tomorrow evening."