Elanthian Vogue: Eoantos 5119
This Month's Edition
Editor-in-Chief: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l
Hot on the heels of the month-long festivities on Caligos Isle comes the 14th Annual Frontier Days in Wehnimer's Landing and the elven Festival of the Fallen in Ta'Vaalor. While these latter two festivals are on a much smaller scale to Ebon Gate, and very different in scope, they are still popular and tend to draw large crowds. Our aim in this month's edition of Elanthian Vogue is to explain a little more about their purpose and, in particular, their association to the military.
Earlier this year (in the Charlatos edition) we covered the lifestyle of Handmaidens in service to the Argent Mirror. In continuation of this theme, we take a look at military service this time and life as a soldier from the perspective of a few seasoned veterans.
And finally, as autumn draws to a close, with darker winter months looming, the team at Elanthian Vogue are here to help with preparations by revealing what the best-dressed Elanthians will be wearing and how to achieve the "look" on a budget, as well as what the horoscopes have in store for those born under the fall constellations – better late than never!
As always, don't forget to send us your comments on any of the articles in this month’s publication or suggestions for future editions!
Regarding Frontiers and Honoring the Fallen
Wehnimer's Landing is a melting pot of the various races of Elanthia and has experienced many traumatic events since its inception. Over the years, repeated conflict has seen the frontier town face challenges resulting in countless casualties, many of them within the organizations that serve to protect it.
Back in 5115, there was a recruitment drive that saw the militia expand its ranks; many brave citizens signed up and are - to many - a welcome addition to the town. Under the command of the Town Marshall and several well-respected Captains, the militiamen and women oversee law and order on the streets. Despite their presence, however, the Landing is still besieged by attacks and threats to its general populace, but none so devastating as the blight currently affecting the livelihoods of its residents. The surrounding land has been corrupted, with food sources becoming scarce as crops fail and livestock perishes. It seems that those in charge are at a loss as to how to overcome it.
Every year, near the end of summer, the outpost hosts Frontier Days, a celebration of the Landing's resolve and determination to overcome adversity and thrive. Word from the Town Council is that there was no question about whether to hold the festival this year, but the North Ring Road is notably missing the usual array of peripatetic merchants vying to sell their wares and services. Local Great Houses and Meeting Hall Organizations still plan to host fun events but one wonders whether attendance will be impacted by the shadow of the blight and its potential risks amid concerns of the inability to stop its spread and rumors of a possible quarantine.
In contrast, Eoantos also sees the return the biannual Festival of the Fallen in Ta'Vaalor. Despite the restrictions placed on entry into the fortress itself, everyone is invited to join the elves in the festival grounds outside its walls as they honor those who have passed beyond the Ebon Gate. With planned tournaments in the coliseum, as well as shops, services, and possibly a Grand Ball, there is much to appeal to the influx of visitors that are expected to attend.
As with the Landing though, Ta'Vaalor is also not without its controversy. All of the festival goers will be under the watchful eye of the Crimson Legion, the resident army with its ranks of well-disciplined legionnaires overseen by the Lord Legionnaire Commander. There will no doubt be a strong presence of reservists in their gold-braided crimson jackets, as well as a possible sighting of King Qalinor Vaalor, their Sovereign Commander.
Lifestyle: Life in Service Part II
It is said that military life has a lot of nuts and bolts: little things that make up the ordinary day of a soldier that are totally foreign concepts to everyone else. That's because not only does the military have its own social structure, it also has its own set of values, expectations and, in some cases, dress code. I was fortunate enough to meet with a couple of notable Elanthians living that life in various guises, which gave me the opportunity to learn more about its ups and downs.
"As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to protect and serve our Mirror."
Pulling out one of the Council Salon chairs for me to sit, Lord Murstyr Javilerre set the tone of the interview from the outset. As Lord Commander of the Sapphire Guard, he is an imposing individual, known for his unwavering professionalism and unquestionable loyalty to the Argent Mirror. Whilst his outward demeanor may seem a little brusque, his manner is courteous, and at times quite mischievous.
You see Lord Murstyr Javilerre Illistim the Lord Commander of the Sapphire Guard. He appears to be an Elf. He is tall and appears to be aged. He has hazel eyes and fair, though lined, skin. He has cropped, slightly wavy chestnut hair gilded with silver. He has a straight nose and broad shoulders. His chin is sharply pointed. He is in good shape. He is wearing a beveled veil iron fillet, a sapphire wool cape, a suit of veil iron plate and mail set with a single sapphire enameled pauldron, a sapphire leather harness with a veil iron claidhmore strapped to it, and some veil-iron plated boots.
The Javilerre family is one of the most prominent in House Illistim with close connections to House Vaalor. They are renowned for their involvement in the defense of the Shining City through construction and military service; many holding important command positions in the Sapphire Guard. Lord Murstyr’s branch of the family is no different, having always served proudly in the Guard, some as Arch Magi and some with the Elemancers or Loremasters.
"As soon as I could hold a sword I would run after the guard begging them to teach me. I think they took me on because they were afraid I would cut myself if they did not teach me."
He followed tradition, joining at a very young age and has been steadfast in his duty to the throne. This was evidenced during a troubling episode a few years ago where he was forced to make a difficult decision regarding his own daughter, Hycinthia, and an accusation of treason. When lightly pressed about the matter, he simply denies having a daughter.
Moving swiftly on to avoid causing any further distress, I asked him if he had ever considered a different career path but this too was dismissed.
"I am not sure what else I would be doing."
He is quick to point out, however, that it is not his rank that defines him, it is being an established member of the guard as he is, first and foremost, a swordsman. Our conversation continues on a lighter note as I turn my attention to his attire but he understandably has little to add other than note its functionality.
"I always feel the weight of my armor. Impractical for most inside activities but I do not feel myself without it."
An occasional smile highlights the weary creases at the corners of his eyes but there is still a sparkle to them as I address the question of what next.
"I am not sure there is a next. There is nothing else I would rather do. I do not think retirement would suit me. My service is my life. This old soldier would not make anyone a good husband, and the prospect of sitting about telling old war tales does not sit well. Maybe I will find some lass willing to put up with me and we will enjoy our golden days. But I think that this will be my life until it is ended."
It seems that our Lord Commander is charged with being on duty for some considerable time yet, and I, for one, will rest easy in my bed knowing that we are safer under his watchful gaze.
"I have learned that just when you think things are calm, they are not. And when you least expect it, something will disturb the calm."
Across the Lake of Fear, in the Ta'Vaalor fortress, I then met with a slightly less daunting but equally charming soldier. Known for her many good works in the past with House Aspis, the Eahnor Assembly, and the Alliance of High Elven Society, High Lady Nihrvanah Tarsonath Vaalor is also a legionnaire in the Crimson Legion.
You see High Lady Nihrvanah Tarsonath Vaalor the Reticent Rose. She appears to be an Elf. She is diminutive in height and has a delicately boned, waifish body. She appears to be youthful. She has slightly squinted, violet-edged gentian blue eyes and impeccably smooth, porcelain white skin. She has very long, gently layered golden blonde hair worn in a cascade of thick waves with a fiery red ombre at the tips. She has a well-defined, heart-shaped face, a pert, button nose and a set of full, pouty lips naturally tinted with a delicate, rosy shade. Her neck is long and sinewy, accentuating her fey-like countenance. A shard of firemote trimmed with eahnor is positioned between her eyes, which casts a sparkling cardinal red sheen across her face. She has a spiral of gold-threaded jacinths in the upper ridge of her left ear, and a ring of elven runes tattoo on her ankle. Faint patterns of vibrant red flame dance across her body, sending occasional sparks of golden energy into the air. She is in good shape. She is wearing a gilded eahnor key strung on a twisted vaalorn rope chain, a thick golden glaes choker, a dark crimson jacket adorned at the shoulders with one gold braid knot, a lacquered fireleaf case, a two-button dark gold cendal vest with pale gold panels over an exquisitely pressed stark white cotton shirt, a flame-wrought dark gold wrist cuff, a coraesine ring-of-flames solitude band, an eahnor signet ring, a fitted knee-length black twill skirt with tiny wyvern-etched jet buttons, and some ankle-strapped polished black leather shoes lofted on chunky rosewood heels.
The first thing that strikes me when meeting the Lady Nihrvanah so soon after my discussion with Lord Murstyr is her fragrance. The heady rush of myrrh and honey is an interesting counterpoint to the earlier aroma of plate and mail and most welcome as I leaned in for a friendly kiss on the cheek. Given our long acquaintance we are soon at ease, and I ask her to share a little about herself.
"I have had my hand in many things over the years, and have worked towards building Ta'Vaalor, and the Nations as a whole, as a place visit to learn more of our rich and longstanding culture."
Clearly proud of her Vaalorian lineage, Nihrvanah explains that she was second only to Lord Menos Relaram in joining the Reserves when the call came. Even as a purely voluntary endeavor, she felt it was her family duty to do so as her father had opted to make the Legion his lifelong career until his unfortunate illness and subsequent death. Her mother had also served her time in the Barbed Phoenix, alongside her twin sister, retiring only when it became time to marry and start a family. Nihrvanah's brothers before her continued the family tradition, both choosing to serve longer than their obligatory hundred years.
Such commitment to military service comes at a price though as the life of a soldier is not exactly glamorous; in fact Nihrvanah confides that it is, more often than not, rather dull and uneventful.
"Most days consist of patrolling the streets to ensure all is in order, and the people remain safe. I will occasionally visit the various guards at the gates and check in with them to make sure they don't need anything. It can be tiring watching the horizon for impending threats, so I will sneak them some water from time to time."
Given our similar interests in high elven society, our conversation naturally turns to matters of uniform. As always, Nihrvanah is impeccably dressed in her Legion attire. She notes that, thankfully aside from the official dress uniform for more formal occasions, reservists are given a lot of leeway in their choice of clothing.
"This is perhaps not the most... practical attire for war, but for everyday peace, it is more than perfect and representative of what I would wish to bring to the Legion. That is... a simplistic style and fashion for everyday wear."
About her neck is a key, a constant reminder of her home, the Reticent Repose. It reinforces that no matter where she travels, Ta'Vaalor will always be where her heart is. And speaking of hearts, it is hard not to notice the singular band around her finger. A discreet question reveals that it once belonged to Lady Lysistrata Scio and stands as a promise to herself that it is okay to be alone sometimes and that one is not defined by emotional intimacy or romantic partnership.
In a rather poignant moment, she turns the band and admits, with simple honesty, that she would eventually like to find a special someone – perhaps a career soldier like her parents - with whom to settle down and raise a family. Until then, she will continue to serve her King, further her charitable work, and might even embark on a vinicultural venture! Look out for the Tarsonath label in the future.
Venturing west across the Dragonspine Mountains, I then managed to track down Shinann Autura, a Captain in Wehnimer's Landing Militia. Unlike her elven counterparts, Shinann comes from a humble background and is very down to earth about her day-to-day responsibilities.
You see Shinann Autura the Captain of the Wehnimer's Landing Militia. She appears to be a Half-Sylvan. She is tall in stature and has a svelte figure. She appears to be youthful. She has long eyelashes framing tilted green eyes and ivory skin. She has very long, shiny black hair finger-combed back into a loose fishtail braid that hangs over her shoulder, the style held by a trio of stygian braided headbands. She has an oval face, an upturned nose and a long, slender neck. She has glinting kohl black enamel brushed onto her flawlessly kept fingernails. She has a trio of faenor rings in the upper ridge of her right ear, and a rune tattoo on her arm. She is in good shape. She is wearing a deeply-hooded soft suede cloak, an etched militia badge, a lengthy side-laced tunic woven of raw silk, a razor-laced twining wire bracelet, a thin black thorn filigree belt, some fitted brushed black suede pants, and a pair of dark obsidian-heeled boots.
Shinann learned at an early age that she had healing skills and also that she was not overly fond of "dressing up" or being on display. She spent most of her childhood camping, hunting, and fishing with her father. He is still very important to her as she tries to send regular messages home, even if they don't reveal the difficulties she experiences in the frontier town.
"It was very refreshing to be able to speak my mind to everyone and not get told I did not truly understand because I was not from there."
Shinann now considers Wehnimer's Landing to be her home. Her main occupation, when not on duty, is as a midwife; helping those less fortunate to deliver their babies. I get the sense that this is far more important to her than her military service. She admits to me that she felt obliged to join the militia to help defend the people that had been so kind to her when she first arrived. While she values the structure and purpose it has given her in her life, she never expected to be made Captain – especially since it puts her in the spotlight where she is still not particularly comfortable. At least she is not required to wear an easily identified uniform!
Like Nihrvanah, most of her day is spent making rounds in the town. In Shinann's case, she checks on the shopkeepers and docks where she is expected to inspect all incoming and outgoing ships and wagons. It was at this point in the interview that her expression hardened somewhat as she begins to explain about the impact that the blight has had on the town and its residents. Famine has meant that she now makes regular trips to Solhaven to buy or forage food to share among her militia colleagues or families and expectant mothers in need.
"I trust the Mayor to find means to take care of the rest of the town."
Her trust in Lylia Rashere, the current Mayor of the Landing, extends to the decision to continue holding the Frontier Days festival this year, even though it was not possible to host traders and offer goods. On a more positive note, she adds that the act of simply getting people together and sharing stories will hopefully raise morale.
"No matter how bad things are, there is always room for an uplifting story or song."
Despite my attempts to learn more about what makes Shinann tick, she continues to remain reserved about herself and her aspirations. Her plans seem to be pretty straightforward though, involving nothing more than "take it as it comes."
"I have grown to care about this town and its people and I want to make sure they are as safe as possible."
It is my hope that you will all get a chance to meet with these distinguished and fascinating individuals at either Frontier Days or the Festival of the Fallen. Be sure to ask them about their military service!
In our first ever publication almost two years ago, we introduced the concept of a "style steal" – a simple cultural-specific garment or accessory that can be used to achieve a particular look. Our fifth style steal in the series is the ruhan, a long, draping garment fashioned from a single length of fabric with an opening for the head and neck at its center. Meant to be worn as an outer garment, often with a cloak or cape as an additional complementary outer layer, it drapes from shoulder to mid-thigh and conceals the majority of the torso.
The incorporation of the ruhan into the standard field garb of the Ardenai scout set into motion the emergence of a number of traditions involving the crafting of the garment and its popularity has spread because of its unrestrictive design and ease of adaptation into current fashion trends. The ruhan lends itself particularly well to the military style of dress adding both function and form to your winter wardrobe.
Off the Shelf: Military
The Style Team at Elanthian Vogue have been busy putting together another couple of outfits for those with limited resources. Whether your look is easy-going frontier, bold mercenary, or smart regimental, we believe there is something for everyone. As before, all the items selected were purchased from established outfits and we hope they help you adopt your own "military" style.
FRONTIER He is wearing a dark leather cavalier hat, a dark suede and leather jacket with branded cuffs, a fitted white linen shirt with unbuttoned sleeves, a pair of undyed doeskin pants with leather ties, and a pair of wide-cuffed chestnut leather boots.
To complete the look, why not add some dark-stained smooth kidskin gloves.
MERCENARY He is wearing a hunter green leather cloak draped loosely across the left shoulder, a black silk shirt neatly folded at each wrist, a metal-linked wolf hide sporran, a navy-on-hunter green tartan greatkilt, some knee-cuffed jet black leather boots.
A silver dirk-shaped kilt-pin would add a finishing touch.
MILITARY She is wearing a sylvarraend ruby phoenix earcuff, a brushed obsidian wool cloak buckled at the shoulder, an eahnor-scaled ivory silk hourglass corset over an off-the-shoulder cream silk blouse, a narrow scarlet leather skirt slit high along each side, and some sharp-heeled onyx burnt velvet boots.
The simple addition of a pair of aureate velvet gloves would complete the look.
REGIMENTAL She is wearing some sleek ebon leather pauldrons paneled with beveled glaes bands, a navy wool coat buttoned in onyx, a pressed obsidian silk shirt with a tapered hem, a leather-buckled skirt of smoky navy suede, and some riveted navy blue suede ankle-boots.
Complete the look with a pair of short sapphire leather gloves emblazoned with argent peacocks.
All of these items can be found in various boutiques and shops: Elaraeyn's Boutique in Wehnimer's Landing, Flashfeet's Fine Fashions in Icemule Trace, the Ta'Vaalor, Men's Clothier and Ta'Vaalor, Women's Clothier, Myra's Millinery and Ouslanders Garb in Solhaven, Jewels of the Sky in Cysaegir, and both the Plume and Glove and burnished ebonwood cart in Ta'Illistim.
A Turn of the Cards
As the longer nights draw in, autumn tends to see us spend more time indoors enjoying hobbies with family and friends or simply contemplating life. One particular pastime favored by the Lady Gaiia Fuine is the playing and reading of tarot cards. Growing up in a gypsy family, she learned how to divine knowledge from the cards at a very early age and she has kindly agreed to see what's in store for those of you born under a fall constellation.
Tarot reading is a mystical and powerful art that has been practiced for thousands of years to peer into the past, present and future. Answers to questions can be determined from the simple turn of a card. Shuffling her deck, I waited with baited breath for Gaiia's interpretations.
Those born under the influence of the Queen of Enlightenment (Imaerasta 12 – Imaerasta 25) tend to be good councilors, wise in their decisions and fair in the dealings. In seeking knowledge, they can often be seen as awkward or pedantic in their beliefs. The first card drawn from the spread was an orb, representative of judgement and some sort of change or transformation. If you are in the process of making a decision, the answer to your question is yes.
Those whose birth is influenced by the Trident (Imaerasta 26 – Jastatos 10) embody storms, mercurial and violent, with a tendency to be pugnacious and fickle. A soft stroke of the finger drew out a card from the deck to reveal the artwork of seven cups upon it. Delusional ambitions and poor choices are often associated with this card and it foreshadows a feeling of pessimism or negativity. Should you be seeking a definitive answer to something, it is no.
The Jackal, the Bringer of Terrors, marks his place in the night sky from Jastatos 11 – Jastatos 25 and it is said that he brings only nightmares. Those born under his influence tend to achieve positions of power and responsibility. Fate is a strong variable in the Jackal's realm so seeing the Jester being drawn from the spread is all the more significant. Representing new beginnings, this card can also indicate foolishness. It stands for pure actions and being free from the constraints of your present life. More than likely, there are important decisions coming your way, and the answer to your question is yes.
The seven stars of the Gryphon holds a special place in the night sky between Jastatos 26 – Eoantos 8. The Gryphon's dual nature is reflected in those under his sway, being generous and warm-hearted, enthusiastic and broad-minded yet pompous, patronizing and intolerant. Reaching into the center of the deck, a deft flick of the finger revealed the Steed, which signifies some sort of journey, most likely a progression of some sort. The confidence, direction and victory shown through this card indicates that the answer to your question is yes.
Represented by six golden stars, the Lady of the Green, watches over the autumn night sky with her stellar stalk of wheat between Eoantos 9 and Eoantos 23. Those touched by Imaera's wheat tend to be serene and calm, bringing peace and healing to troubled hearts around them. The turn of the chosen card revealed one marked with four tarts, which points towards some sort of sickness or withdrawal. It also brings with it rest, healing and order. The drawing of this card is fairly mild in significance but it is positive overall and the answer to your question is most likely yes.
With four stars per scalloped wing, the Bat glides through the autumn welkin from Eoantos 24 to Eorgaen 7. Like the nocturnal flyer, those born under its influence tend to be quick of wit and quiet of nature. Their ways are dark and eerie, some becoming more dangerous, uncommunicative and malicious. A final expert shuffle and cut of the cards revealed one bearing three wands upon it. This bodes well for you as it represents long-term success due to the strength it takes to overcome obstacles and your ability to take calculated risks. Secure in this knowledge, use courage to stand up for yourself and do what is best. The answer you are seeking is yes.