Elanthian Vogue: Imaerasta 5120
This Month's Edition
Editor-in-Chief: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l
I don't know about you but I get very excited at this time of the year. The days are still fairly long and relatively warm - unless you live in Icemule - but there is a definite feeling of change in the air. Fall brings to mind rich autumnal colors, the smell of woodsmoke and damp leafy loam, cozy evenings by the fire with a book, and of course, the Ebon Gate Festival. But before we wish away the weeks leading up to the re-opening of Caligos Isle, we should take a moment to appreciate this transition into the next season and its fashionable highlights.
Loose layers and lively colors have long been a wardrobe staple for many cultures but the trend is in full force for everyone this fall. This month's bumper edition of Elanthian Vogue takes a look at exotic fashion and offers you some ideas and styles for a fall-into-winter wardrobe, including inspiration from Tehir and Erithian clothing. Some fashion-forward socialites have even been spotted adopting exotic pets as accessories and we share a few examples with you in both this publication and a special EV EXTRA!. That said, I wish to thank those who so kindly took time out of their day to give us a brief insight into their lifestyles and fashion choices. Truly fascinating!
Finally, we also reveal the Imaerasta portrait from the 5119 Vogue Gallery and begin to give some thought to our year-end presentation for 5120. The offices of Elanthian Vogue have been buzzing with ideas and we are excited about the proposals so watch this space and perhaps keep an eye out for a courier bearing a message about your possible inclusion in this year's celebrated Gallery!
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!
An exotic fashion style is definitely interesting. It incorporates so many diverse and unusual elements and the popularity of the style is growing as fashionistas from all around Elanthia have started to showcase outfits featuring a blend of exotic elements from various cultures. It is a clothing style that is centered on rich smoky colors, mysterious ornate patterns, mosaics, iridescent textures, shiny jewelry and long flowing lines.
Layered robes and loose-fitting shifts or tunics are the centerpiece of the exotic fashion style. Ever since kimonos became available for purchase at the historic Valley of Gold event in 5119, we have seen flowing and voluminous garments become increasingly more popular. Such items are readily available in many town stores and they are highly versatile; it is easy to adapt them to suit any occasion or event.
For the ultimate "style steal", we look to the Tehir for a primer on exotic fashion with their proclivity for veils or head scarves, layered airy fabrics, and elaborate tattoos. But if you are looking for a more casual version of the exotic style, you might consider an Erithian wardrobe. Based on an embroidered atanika or any other suitable robe, simply add kanjir, nanjir, or basic leggings and brightly colored headwear. In a similar vein, the denizens of Mist Harbor have developed their own vibrant clothing style that can be easily adopted with cross-body drapes (commonly referred to as saewehni), saephuas, and billowing serwals.
We cannot talk about exotic styling without actually thinking of more than just the clothes. For starters, the hairstyles are really interesting. The signature hairstyle of the Tehir is long dark locks – often knotted and occasionally beaded; short hair is generally avoided. Wigs can be quite easily utilized by those with shorter hair to embrace this style.
Clothes are always complemented with striking make-up. We already mentioned that the general trend is highly influenced by Tehiri elements and the same thing applies to make-up. Henna body art and kohl-lined eyes are almost always present, together with silver, gold, copper and smoky shadows for that ultimate exotic effect.
The last element to be implemented is accessories such as ornate jewelry. Cuffs, bangles, and earrings are always great additions. It is possible to add intricate designs to suit practically any outfit you wear. Some of the more fashion-forward even go so far as to incorporate live exotic animals or pets as accessories and we feature several examples in the aforementioned EXTRA included with this edition. If the thought of a furry, feathered or scaly addition doesn't appeal, simply take inspiration from the animal kingdom and display it in the form of a brooch or pendant. Bear in mind that the creature you align with – whether a live specimen or a bejeweled or plumed representation - can speak volumes about your personality and style, so wear it with attitude!
On the Spot
Once in a while we take the opportunity to put someone "on the spot" with 5 random questions to gain a quick peek into their lifestyle choices. This month, we are delighted to put several fascinating and equally exotic personalities "on the spot." I challenge you not to be inspired by the insights they all shared with our interviewer, Vincien.
First, I was privileged to spend time with Hadya Kha'Taymullah of the Tehir who agreed to answer my questions.
You see Hadya Kha'Taymullah the High Priestess of Luukos. She appears to be a Human of the Tehir tribes. She is short and has a thin petite frame. She appears to be very young. She has viridian-hearted dark amber eyes and smooth, pale copper skin. She has very long, sable hair that falls in a lustrous curtain of thin braids to her thighs. She has a slender face, the bone-structure of which further accents her delicate features. She has a jagged, scale-indented scar across her neck. Her waist is narrow. She has a sinuous diamondback rattlesnake languidly draped across her shoulders, its eyes half-lidded. She has a thin column of serpentine malachite tracery tattooed on her chin, a wavy ophidian mark, matching tattoos of sinuous malachite script winding around her forearms, and an intricate tattooed malachite pattern that covers the back of her hands. She is wearing a bronze serpent headpiece suspending a floor-length train of etched copper scales, some talon-set dark emerald prayerbeads, and a sleeveless overrobe of cacao hued silk which cascades into a peridot-beaded train over an emerald dupioni underrobe with split floor-length sleeves, a bronze-framed bone reliquary, a carved copper asp ring, a silver serpentine ring, and a pair of coppery suede sandals.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: "I am Hadya, first daughter of Taymullah, first son of the first wife of Raeshaek Chieftain of the Senkara Tribe. I am the Servant of Ek'Saap or as He is called in the wetlands, Luukos".
Could you try and explain to our readers what it means to be Tehiri: "To be Tehiri is to be forged in the sands of the Sea of Fire. It is to know thirst, to be water thin. It makes us strong where others might be weak. It means we can thrive where others would not dare to tread."
What does the term "exotic" bring to mind? "I am told by many that Tehir are exotic. To me, this word means strange and different. I find the wetlanders to be exotic, strange, different ... I am still awed that people bathe in large bodies of water and that there are always fruits to eat. Such a thing is a luxury, I find many here take it for granted that they have such a bounty laid before them. To be water fat is exotic where I am from."
How important is clothing and fashion to you? "Fashion is how I cling to my identity as a tribeswoman; it keeps me grounded in that knowledge. No matter what, I am forged in the sands of Shaga's breast. From bone, to flesh ..."
"My favorite pieces are those I use in ritual which diverge a bit from Tehir fashion, but I will share some pieces that are unique."
an asp-framed dark emerald pendant Age has tarnished the crevices between the intricately wrought scales of the golden asp, though the surface remains smooth and brightly polished. The snake winds its way around the edge of a large round dark green emerald, with the tip of its tail forming a loop to allow the pendant to dangle from a chain. The depths of the gloomy green gem are further shadowed by a black steel backing. Inscribed on the back of the black steel is a phrase in stylized Tehir writing. In the Tehir language, it reads: Those who seek Doom often find it.
a carved copper asp ring The ring is petite and is made to fit a slender finger. Oxidation has taken place between the intricately wrought scales, leaving a verdant hue and giving dimension to the polished surface of the scales. The ring is fashioned to look like an asp devouring its tail. Its cold, cruel stare is fashioned from two small emeralds which flash viridian fire when hit by the slightest light. Etched across the back as a stern reminder are the words "None for myself, all for The Great Serpent."
some talon-set dark emerald prayerbeads Rounds of emerald nestle into settings of bronze that resemble taloned claws, and the mounted links are joined by delicate chains. Each barb bites into its stone, holding it securely in place and creating a cruel display that is echoed in the clasp. Half of the toggle is an asp, its body twisted into an open-work knot, and the other half is a single talon of bronze. The tip, stained crimson, fits perfectly within the hollows of the asp's coils, appearing to pierce the creature as it secures the strand.
Would you be willing to share a brief insight into some of the rituals and traditions that you adhere to? "As many Tehiri Shaman, I carry spirit pacts upon my skin in malachite ink. These pacts are of course agreements between myself and the spirits I call upon to draw power for spells, each mark upon my skin, is a promise to a spirit. They take time to accumulate, you see many older shaman covered head to toe in inked pacts. Such is our way."
"The ritual I often use to raise others, is a form of blood magic my tribe uses to tie the spirit to the body ... to prevent jealous spirits from taking the recently deceased's place with in it. Jealous spirits always look to find a vessel, one must guard against them. I do not sing outside of rituals. A woman's voice is strong and will draw spirits. We believe that women are the houses of the spirits. We give spirits flesh; we are their conduits. Thus, singing outside of sanctioned rites is forbidden by my tribe."
Although not of the Tehir, Akaal came to my attention at the recent festival on Mist Harbor. He has a unique and exotic styling all of his own and I was honored to be able to spend some time with him.
You see Akaal. He appears to be a Faendryl Dark Elf. He is taller than average. He has gold-ringed sand-hued eyes and desaturated grey-brown skin. He has short, choppy ash blond hair that sticks out in a chaotic myriad of directions. His face is concealed by a long black gauze veil sparsely fringed by shards of bronze. He has a ruby-headed coral snake laterally banded in onyx and lapis suspended in a graceful arc from his neck, its head atop one of his shoulders. He has a vaalin-swept onyx spike in his left eyebrow, and a twisted black steel hoop in his lip. He is wearing a bone-inlaid bronze torc, a cropped ashen shrug fastened by a cascade of blackened chains, a pair of dark grey spidersilk hand-wraps, some hip-slung stark leather pants, and a pair of coal black punched leather ankle-boots set on tapered bone heels.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Sat cross-legged on the floor, Akaal rolls his shoulders in an indifferent shrug. He speaks with a rather flat tone. "I'm engaged. I have very little to say to this question, as this life is but a speck on the timeline of the eternity that will be my existence and I spend it working my way to being worthy of standing at my fiancee's side." He pauses briefly, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he adds, "And I like playing with miniatures."
Could you try and explain to our readers what it means to be Faendryl? "I don't know that I am qualified to represent the entirety of my culture," he starts with a broad, open-palmed gesture before wrapping his arms around his bare waist, "So I speak only for myself. It is to be resilient in the face of tragedy, to be borne forward by failure rather than be dissuaded, to strive to be always increasingly closer to my personal perfection, to gain knowledge and to educate others, to maintain strength under any circumstances, and to hold unwaveringly to the ideals of my people."
What does the term "exotic" bring to mind? "Exotic is an interesting word to begin with because by its very definition, it means something different to everyone based on what is foreign to them and their experiences. I suspect many people would find me exotic."
Seemingly restless, his arms unfold, hands moving to the floor behind him so he could lean back and use them to prop up his weight. "I think the normal thread links to people with dramatic features, wildly beautiful creatures, impossibly bold colors or patterns of nature, and mysteriously sensual or uniquely flaired clothing. Exotic tends to be what truly stirs and excites the imagination." An undertone of dryness weaves its way into his words, "But, if I really think on it and go strictly literal with the definition, then I say halflings."
How important is clothing and fashion to you? "Clothing is important in the way that it's required to be worn in civilized areas. I otherwise find it a hindrance to my goals." His expression goes distant for a fleeting moment. "As being arrested is an even larger obstacle, I do wear the minimum necessary to remain free. That being said, I try to maintain a certain panache with my choices, as my lady love deserves the most pleasing sights to look upon. I would hate to be an eyesore for her."
With a sweeping gesture, he indicates a long black gauze veil sparsely fringed by shards of bronze that conceals the lower half of his face. "It probably lends to the exotic look I said people probably associate me with. I typically wear shrugs in lieu of armor. They allow for better movement."
It should be noted that his chest and lower abdomen are bare and he has a great deal of scarring across his exposed skin.
"This is one of my favorites but I also have one with a fan of raven feathers around the collar that I will sometimes pair with an underbust corset, which for some reason always gets me a lot of strange looks or questions." With that, he unfolds one leg and stretches it out to show off one of a pair of coal black punched leather ankle-boots set on tapered bone heels. "Finally, these were made by the cobbler, Akenna Laeraun, and are a prized possession of mine on this mortal coil."
Would you be willing to share a brief insight into some of the rituals and traditions that you adhere to - if any? "No rituals or traditions come to mind." His pale, ash blonde eyebrows rise in unison. There was at last a warmness entering his formally flat tone of voice, full of fondness. "That is, unless you count when I recite my poetry for my fiancee every evening before bed." He speaks inwardly, his gold-ringed glance flicking up. "Is that a ritual? It might be." He regards me again with a leveled gaze. "I do write poetry for her regularly. You maybe should have asked about that, though I don't know if I would want any of it published."
I make a note for my editor to consider a future edition on poetry with a view that I revisit this charismatic elf as a matter of priority.
For my last assignment I was directed to a remote location and, unbeknownst to me, I was meeting more than one individual this time.
Three women stare out from the sands upon the windy isle, with neither cloud nor cabana to deafen the harsh sun from their brows. The first kneels in traditional silken robes. The second, in a blouse and pantaloons. The third stands unapologetically firm, struck bare between navel and breast.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves: The first answers plainly, "You may call me Tuya."
The second voice chimes in silkily, "Am I not pretty?"
And the third, getting the gist of the question disagreeably yammers, "Aua obri mud ouqila moni!"
Hridda slowly explains, "We are three sisters of the sands. You will have to excuse my sister, Pharion, she does not play kindly. My dear acquaintance, remind me of your name?"
Tuya echos, before I have a chance to answer, "We are indeed three sisters of the sands. We are those who See, those who Love, and those who Fight."
Tuya placidly levels her gaze at Pharion, while Hridda fusses with her glossy, feather-adorned plaits with a sidelong glance. The shortest amongst them purses her lips, nostrils flared and says no more -- for now.
Could you try and explain to our readers what it means to be Tehiri: Tuya thoughtfully repeats the question in her native: "Qtod lojiz o Tehir?" Switching to Common, she answers, "Being Tehir is not a badge to be achieved."
Hridda opens her lips as if to speak, but acquieses as Pharion lords over them both with bloodshot, fiery eyes: "Ud uz keke, ud uz zome. Zhor oz zhi-zom braiz ome zhi-tzouz vo."
Hridda stands from her woven rug and places her hands on her hips. As her posture straightens, the silken lengths of her trousers swirl about her ankles. "As my sister was saying, Tehir are of the blood and the sand, as the sun rises and falls."
Tuya interjects, "But those of the sand are not always Tehir, for there are those of other lands, and those who have..."
Pharion spits, "SHAKAT" as she finishes her sister's statement. Whether due to inflection or emotion, spittle dribbles down the length of the ochre clay disk in her lip, but does not pass its fleshly boundary.
Hridda silkily says, "There is merit in escaping the confines of the sand." She wags at her collarbone, richly adorned with feathers and continues, "Had we not, would we have met you, dear Vincien?" She lowers a tender palm to her sister Pharion's muscled arm with a gentle coo, "Aua ruu zuahkt bugtiz. Zhhhh..."
The latter woman presses her front teeth against the disk of her lower lip, causing the piercing to sag with exaggeration. Her nostrils remain flared, and says no more. For now.
What does the term "exotic" bring to mind? "Exotic to me, means all the things you do not see, because your eyes are not watchful. That in plain of sight, I still find fascinating." Tuya levels her gaze at me and taps her forehead knowingly between the brow with an index finger lacquered in turquoise. She then turns to Pharion and regurgitates the question in Tehir.
Pharion's nostrils flare as she spits out, "Inudieg uz zhi-vierzh Shakat teufi aua!" She continues to yammer as the finer points of her speech are difficult to detect.
Tuya quiets her sister with the same turquoise-tipped hand and adds, "It may sound like she is angry, but that is just the inflection of our language, aided by the disk in her lip. We are a diverse people, as such you may find unique ventures where ever you look, and whenever you listen. Language itself, and dialects, can be exotic. All that which is different, is unique, new and exciting, is it not? My mother once told me that eyes are as unique as grains of sand no two are alike. There is great power in recognizing what others overlook and realizing what many misunderstand."
I take the opportunity to look at Tuya.
You see Tuya. She appears to be a Human of the Tehir tribes. She is very tall. She appears to be young. She has mismatched silver-flecked black eyes and dark skin. She has long, glossy copper hair worn in tight braids knotted with carnelian red beads. She has a plain face. She has high-glossed turquoise lacquer brushed onto her pointed fingernails She has a pair of chevrons inked on the front of her neck ending in a simple starburst on her chin. She is wearing an electrum amulet, an exquisite alabaster linen hudor, some cropped scarlet leggings, and a pair of ecru suede sandals with saffron calf-lacing.
How important is clothing and fashion to you? Tuya takes a moment to relay the question to her eldest sister, Pharion in hushed tones.
Before Tuya has a chance to finish, Pharion emphatically growls, "kioada uz qbozh!" Voice cooling, she continues "Ie qiob zierj ru hrudigd vbum zome. Zhor qtiegt euiz mud jumi lojizmi kioadievar." Pharion draws conspicuous lines across her body as her fists form before her in a righteous stance as she indignantly says, "Hudorz eu mud zaud mi. Aid la zuvid, la zuvid ziedz vod um tid vekedz ome zhiemjz kioada uz zhi-zierj zhor ukzgabriz tid vyitz vbum mim."
As Pharion yammers on, Hridda leans hard on her toes, places her left hand on her hip and shifts her weight. Jingling coins wrapped about her midsection chime in response as she drives both hands up against her bound waist, accentuating the curvature of her shapely form with a heady sigh. It is all but impossible to ignore.
Tuya tucks a stray hair back into its place as a sly, crooked smile cracks her lips. She gives her gesticulating sister little attention and answers, "What you wear speaks volumes of your value as these things do exemplify wealth and status among our people."
Hridda, somewhat deflated by her sister's lack of admonishment, agrees: "Yes, our sister Pharion sees beauty in war, in the way the body moves. Despite what Pharion said, there is beauty in clothing and fashion. Beads and silk, skin and ink. I concur, with the latter part, and find adornments bring visual cues to just such activity." She prances forward once more walking toe-first as she adds, "To answer your earlier question, Exotic to some, means me. Am I not pretty?"
I steal a glance at Hridda.
You see Hridda. She appears to be a Human of the Tehir tribes. She is average height. She appears to be young. She has tilted chestnut eyes and sun-bronzed, dark brown skin. She has long, glossy jet black hair worn in a solitary half-crown braid interlaced with verdigrised feathers. She has a plump face, an aquiline nose and a high forehead. She has a chevron inked on the front of her neck ending in a simple starburst on her chin and a swirled design of loops and arcs tattooed on her hand. She is wearing a tri-tiered necklace of gilt-swept pale ivory feathers, a dark leather cincher held by dual hook-and-eye clasp rows over an off-shoulder peach blouse with a ruffled neckline, a thrice-wrapped string of coins resting low on the hips and some side-slit dark caramel silk trousers.
Tuya again ignores Hridda and points at Pharion, who sneers at the sudden turn of attention. "Indeed. Just look at her."
Pharion steps forward, arms spread mightily. The balled trim on her yelek flutters silently in response.
You see Pharion. She appears to be a Human of the Tehir tribes. She has a bantam-sized frame. She appears to have come of age. She has copper-flecked brown eyes and deep mahogany skin. She has long, bone-beaded black hair pulled back from the face by a thin, tortoiseshell headband adorned with decorative umber cactus wren pennae. She has a triangular face, a small flared nose and a high forehead. She has an ovoid ochre clay disk in her lip, and three upward pointing chevrons inked on the front of her neck ending in a simple starburst on her chin. She is wearing a creweled gamboge linen yelek finished with fist-knot soutache over a high-cut burnished leather half-bodice, a string of blackened bone beads, some billowy scarlet silk skirts painted with contrasting tessellation, and some bifurcated dusky leather sandals with hardened toes.
Hridda finally steps back and concedes, "Even my sister Pharion loves her clothes and is prideful of her appearance, but she will not tell you this, it is not her way. Have a look at her yourself and see the painstaking care she gives to her hair, her skirt and her vest. Were she not trying to impress someone, she would not wear garments that could easily get caught in the snares of an enemy."
Pharion turns away in mock disgust.
Would you be willing to share a brief insight into some of the rituals and traditions that you adhere to? Hridda leans forward, again seeking attention and shows me a swirled design of loops and arcs tattooed on her hand. Beginning upon the knuckles, a multitude of loops and arcs separate small, clustered circles tattooed upon her darkened skin like registers of a scroll. The rows number just enough that the design has begun to encroach upon the forearm. She enticingly coos in my ear, "These are blood scrolls. One for each year of my life. A sacred thing, among healers. Are they not pretty?"
Pharion stares sharply over her shoulder and commands, "VUH!"
The youngest, Hridda grumbles at the sudden shift of mood and pulls the sleeves of her blouse down over her hands.
Tuya cautiously glances at both women and shakes her head. She speaks directly at Hridda. "This is not what we came here for. It is time to go."
Pharion stalks off, followed quickly by Tuya up the beach, leaving the barest whisper of footsteps behind.
Hridda slowly rolls up her woven rug and quite unapologetically, murmurs, "Qaiteke, vduime. Vubteid li mud."
With a wink and a nod, she too disappears beyond the sands and I am left gazing over the dunes in wonderment.
Pre-empting the theme of next month's edition, we are proud to present the Imaerasta portrait from the 5119 Vogue Gallery. Regular readers of Elanthian Vogue will be familiar with Vincien as he is one of our most-featured reporters and a popular choice for lifestyle interviews. His reputation as a charmer with women notwithstanding, he is an advocate of fashion trends, good wine, good food, and good company.
Imaerasta Vincien Bales of hay have been stacked in neat blocks to form a makeshift golden throne on which sits a broad-shouldered elf with brooding dark, ink blue eyes beneath well-defined eyebrows. His leisurely pose and wide grin hints at an affable personality and this is reinforced by the pair of scantily clad sylvans seated at his feet with beatific expressions. Surrounding the painted scene are examples of a bountiful harvest; baskets of succulent peaches and combs of honey are juxtaposed with bowls of ripe cherries and bottles of rich red wine. Portrait as featured in the 5119 Vogue Gallery