Elanthian Vogue: Ivastaen 5120 (Part II)
This Month's Edition
Editor-in-Chief: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l
|"The Lady Ivas encourages desire in its many forms foremost, and therefore, we that serve should do the same. There is the most obvious and perhaps easiest direction, of course - that of flesh. Most of us delve there to some extent, some linger there entirely."|
In our last publication, we gave you an initial insight into Ivas and her motivations through the eyes of two delightful young adherents. Shortly after that interview, our reporter was also fortunate enough to meet with another very intriguing couple, that of Lord and Lady Verethundi.
Tolwynn and Traiva are no strangers to those who frequent the elegant social circles both sides of the DragonSpine and we, at Elanthian Vogue, are extremely grateful to them for inviting us into their well-appointed home. Part II of our special Ivastaen "double-edition" examines their lifestyle and endeavors to explore how the elements of desire, lust and passion play a role in their daily lives.
My heartfelt thanks go out to both Xanthium and Lazaryth, and Lord and Lady Verethundi for agreeing to spend time with our reporter and for sharing so much about their personal lives. I'm sure you will all agree with me that it has been fascinating!
Throughout this month, it also hasn't escaped our notice that there's a continuing "green" theme so we thought it might be worthwhile to look at how the color can influence different facets of the fashion scene and, in particular, outfit choices for the spring-into-summer season.
As always, don't forget to send us your comments on any of the articles in this month’s publications or suggestions for future editions and we hope to see some of you at our upcoming FashionFest Forum on Restday, 24th day of Ivastaen.
Deep in the Green
A continued exploration into the pleasures of Ivas with Vincien Chase
"Beauty is everything. It is life, it is all the senses. Sight. Sound. Touch. Smell. Even taste." ~ Traiva
|Absinthe ~ anon
"Before you leave, please know this; I'd rather be the girl whose name dies at your lips every time you try to speak of me, than a girl you tell stories about at parties. What I'm saying is this, darling. I'd rather be your absinthe than your cup of tea."
I am met at the door of a stately manor in the Wehnimer's Landing retreat of Liabo Circle by a young Half-Elf dressed in a simple black bodice and skirt and carrying a large leather-bound folio. She greets me warmly and ushers me through the stone-floored entry and up a grand staircase to a richly appointed office with large windows overlooking a rear courtyard. She explains that the Lord and Lady Verethundi will join me shortly.
Soon after the assistant leaves, another young female, wearing a pristine white apron embroidered with a gold stag's head across her somewhat ample chest, wheels in a small cart bearing a gold-plated teapot, a crystal carafe of absinthe, and a tray of elaborately decorated small cakes. Quickly glancing over the cakes with a thought to my physique, my gaze rests on the teapot and carafe. I am reminded of a short poem I once read and it's not the shadow of my editor's quill that looms over me this time but her voiced disapproval about my potential beverage choices. My musings are interrupted, however, by the entrance of the couple in question.
You see Chatelaine Traiva Verethundi the Incantress. She appears to be an Aelotoi of the Mrae'ni Clan. She is petite in stature and has an hourglass figure. She appears to be in the prime of life. She has smoldering, viridian-flecked dark hazel eyes and rose-tinted ivory skin. She has hip length, softly curled deep cordovan hair loosely styled with some glittering dark emerald hairjewels scattered throughout. She has a heart-shaped face and high cheekbones. She has a pair of jade-veined elongated emerald wings. She has a knotwork and dragonfly tattoo on her neck, and some black opal teardrop earrings in the ridges of both her ears. She is in good shape. She is wearing a sharply scalloped necklace of radiant-cut star emeralds, a deep malachite satin bliaut with deathstones ornamenting the black embroidery on the sleeves, a series of spiraling deathstone and malachite bangles, an emerald-set gold wedding ring, a wide band of swirled green and black imflass, and a pair of blackworked silk pointy-toed slippers. Stylized dragonflies are inked in shades of blue and green, the hues varying in intensity along the length of each insect. Small deep green circles of intricate knotwork connect the dragonflies to form the appearance of a chain around the neck. The outline of a stag's head is inked in dark gold at the back of the neck, nestled between two dragonflies. Note: The bliaut is a creation of the Seamstress Nalea, and the slippers were custom made by Laphrael Miran'ta, Former Cordwainer to the Argent Mirror.
The light streaming through the windows gives the malachite satin of her bliaut a slight shimmer, contrasting the deathstone-ornamented black embroidery on the sleeves. A flutter of jade-veined emerald wings greets me, followed by a nod from Tolwynn before he hastily eats the final bite of a pastry he is holding. The tilt of his head causes the light to glint off the deep red eahnor of the Ivas symbol resting against the obsidian silk of his shirt.
You see Master Tolwynn Verethundi the Fortune Seeker. He appears to be a Human from Seareach. He is tall. He appears to be in the prime of life. He has tempestuous grey-green eyes and evenly bronzed skin. He has waist-length, thick jet black hair pulled back into a kelyn-bound braid. He has a chiseled angular face and slightly upswept ears. He has a stylized green wisp marking on his neck. He is in good shape. He is wearing an eahnor Ivas symbol, a pressed obsidian silk shirt with a tapered hem, a gilded black glaes armband, some golden stag head cufflinks, some silvered black steel bracers, a wide gold and black jade band, some tailored black linen trousers fastened with a double row of brightly shining golden glimaerstone buttons, and some ora-edged sable leather boots. This beautifully wrought eahnor symbol bears the visage of Ivas resplendent, framed by whirls of filigreed faenor smoke. Her fair features combine the finest qualities of elf and human and sylvan alike. Two tiny matched star emeralds provide a final touch, serving as her glittering eyes. Note: This symbol was a gift from Lady Ivas herself. Forged from a single piece of translucent black glaes, this thin armband still carries a tangible weight. Intricately etched designs of wispy smoke play in complex patterns about the armband's broad surface. Amidst the roils, two stylized female forms have been rendered facing each other in repose, one a lithe and slender aelotoi and the other a buxom half-elf. Both have been highlighted with gold, and their outstretched hands converge upon a gilded circular slot, poised as if holding it aloft.
Unlike the previous Ivasian couple I had the pleasure to meet, there is no sense of a youthful exuberance or ritualistic dance this time. This time I am being seduced by generous hospitality and the gently guiding hand of experience. I am offered tea or absinthe by the lady of the house, her softly accented voice melodic and hard to refuse. Decisions, decisions!
Traiva's sleeve falls back as she pours pale amber liquid from the teapot, revealing a series of spiraling malachite and deathstone bangles that perfectly match her bliaut. A pass of the teacup causes the light to glint off the emeralds of the ring adorning the third finger of her left hand.
A large marquis-cut emerald sits centered in display, flanked by four smaller matched stones of similar color and cut, the whole of the arrangement suggesting a stylized dragonfly. It perches atop a band of fiery reddish gold, engraved about its span with a subtle pattern of sinuous wisps.
She pours a second cup of tea, then a tiny flute of absinthe that she passes to Tolwynn as she sits with her teacup next to him on a gilded ebonwood bench. Seated on a facing chair, I take out my quill and notebook to prepare for the interview. Smiling inwardly at the doodled mournbloom before me, I turn it to the next clean page and begin what I anticipate to be another eye-opening afternoon.
It's interesting to note that, like the young lady before her, Traiva defers to the gentleman in the room when it comes to talking first, but her body language and the viridian glint in her eye continues to hold my attention as she sips her tea. There is a definite sense of ease between these two, unlike the palpable tension I felt between Xanthium and Lazaryth.
"There's all manner of things we might tell, but best to keep it brief, I'd imagine. Our adventuring days are largely behind us, but there are other diversions now to fill that space."
As co-chairs of the House Paupers and owners of retail establishments in the Landing, they are certainly kept busy. Tolwynn also admits to doing a few trade deals on the side too whilst Traiva occupies herself with healing the sick and wounded.
"I am honored that he entrusts care of the household to me, which also takes up fair time."
She pauses to brush her fingers over the lines of veniom and jade on Tolwynn's bracer.
Twinned sea drakes, one of brilliant veniom steel and the other of silver-bound jade, intertwine in spiraling patterns upon these intricate bracers. Facing one another, the matched drakes on one bracer hold a flickering thunderstone firmly in their powerful jaws, and the others hold a polished piece of uncut jade. Traces of silver have been scattered over the bracers like glittering sea spray, and highlight the exquisite detail of the drakes down to the smallest scale.
Tolwynn takes this as his cue and continues to tell me more about how he came to follow the Lady.
His family was originally from Seareach and they had a tidy little trading business. Things went terribly wrong, however, and they lost not only their ships, but the business and most of the family too. He ended up adrift, as one might expect, but claims that a certain lady helped set him right. For years, he didn’t know of her service to Ivas but when she finally let slip, the path before him became perfectly clear. He gained the favor of the Lady Ivas, and has served her faithfully to this day.
Adding that he has known only good fortune ever since, I steal a glance at them both against the backdrop of their lavish surroundings and have to agree with that statement. One wall is lined with shelves, some filled with books while others contain neat stacks of rolled scrolls flanked by miniature statuary. I attempt to steal a glance at some of the titles on display for clues about their predilections and interests but alas, I am seated too far away.
The wall behind them is adorned by a richly embroidered tapestry of a golden stag's head surrounded by an array of tuberoses and passionflowers interwoven by emerald dragonflies trailing viridian wisps.
Traiva sets her teacup on the table beside the bench and shares how on coming to Elanthia with the other Aelotoi, she quickly picked up an understanding of written Elven. Reading nearly every tome she could find, she found those on the Arkati of particular interest. She admits that she could easily have devoted herself to some temple as a Cleric, but the call to heal had always been stronger.
This causes some wry amusement but she dismisses it quickly before I can quiz her further and continues to tell me that having come across some passages relating to the Arkati of Lornon, something stirred and she could not shake it. At a subsequent tour of the Lornon temples and shrines in Solhaven, she met a Paladin to Kai who had hoped to turn her away from that particular Pantheon, which, she claims, with a rather impish grin crossing her lips, backfired horribly as it only reinforced the call.
She remained unaffiliated to only one for a considerable while, though felt a bend toward Ivas, until she met a Priest to Eorgina. At the time, it made perfect sense. And in her service to the Queen, she attended a tour Tolwynn had conducted of Ivas's Temple in the Vipershroud. As he talked, she apparently felt the old pull, but stronger, and approached him for additional study.
"It was not so long after that when I came to the conclusion that I was better suited to serve Ivas."
At this point, I take a sip of my tea and ask them to explain more about what it means to be an adherent to Ivas. This gives Tolwynn cause to smile with a slight twinkle appearing in his grey-green eyes.
"If there's one question that would get a different answer from each you asked, this would likely be it."
I am struck by how both Xanthium and Lazaryth had said much the same. With a relaxed ease, Tolwynn takes up the reins again.
"I'll start here, though it may be a tad less scandalous than expected or hoped. Service to any Arkati is the same on the surface, is it not? Follow their tenets, or at least try to keep them pleased or amused or hopefully angry at someone else, as the case might be."
Ever the consummate hostess, Traiva rises to her feet and refills the teacups as Tolwynn and I chat. I can't fail to notice that she takes every opportunity to reconnect with her husband, her fingers lightly trailing across the back of his shoulders as she takes her seat beside him again. Perhaps there is a dance to this after all.
"The Lady Ivas encourages desire in its many forms foremost, and therefore, we that serve should do the same. There is the most obvious and perhaps easiest direction, of course - that of flesh. Most of us delve there to some extent, some linger there entirely."
Traiva's shoulders shake slightly with quiet laughter at this and she attempts to hide her smile. She shares what I can only describe as a knowing look with Tolwynn before pressing her shoulder quickly to his - a silent indication for him to continue.
"There are many other things that people desire, though - silver, knowledge, power, the list is quite extensive if you put a bit of thought to it. Any of them can be just as easily leveraged to a similar end - again, with a bit of proper mindset."
I naturally inquire what he means by that and he explains it is that of service over self-indulgence. Apparently, this is a point that many would-be followers fail to grasp and often with disastrous results.
"Simply put, the Lady Ivas comes first in all things."
Whether for my benefit or her own, Traiva reinforces her connection with Tolwynn again by sliding her fingers across his forearm and the inside of his wrist. She inclines her head slightly toward him, giving him a quick glance, before turning her gaze back to me.
"You should understand that much of what I have learned about service to the Lady, I learned from Tolwynn. So yes, it is bringing the Lady pleasure in all forms of lust and desire: not only the flesh, but in power, and in riches."
I pause my note taking for a moment to maintain eye-contact because I sense she is momentarily pensive. Perhaps I shouldn’t have pressed the point but it is too late now!
"It is possible, I suppose, that one could serve Ivas while never indulging in pleasures of the flesh, though she is likely to be less pleased with this one."
I am relieved to see the twinkle in Traiva's eye return as she shrugs, causing a slight lift of her wings, so I take the hint to move on swiftly and ask about how it impinges on their daily lives.
Tolwynn gives me a wry smile and leans into Traiva slightly, a lilt of amusement in his voice.
"If it would impinge on your life, haven't you gone about things completely wrong at that point? So not in the least, of course. If anything, it’s proven a perfect fit for us both."
Again, the pair connect; this time it’s Tolwynn's turn and he brushes his fingers briefly across Traiva's thigh. As he does so, my attention is diverted by the light catching the gold cradling the black jade of his wedding band.
A wide band of rose gold hugs a slightly narrower black jade band nestled within. A pattern of alternating stylized flames and wisps is etched into the jade and highlighted with gold leaf. A small inscription is engraved into the gold along the edges of the jade.
Traiva nods in agreement and echoes his opinion by saying it isn't an impingement at all and that service is a heavy influence on their lives, guiding nearly everything they do. Posing the rhetorical question that is this not the way it should be for any true adherent, she duly rises with a faint rustle of satin to refill the teacups and offer around the cakes. It is no secret that I have a sweet tooth so I need no further prompting. The cake was not only delicious but also a mini-masterpiece – no doubt another indication of the extravagant lifestyle they both lead – and I offer my compliments to the baker in return.
"As I said earlier, Tolwynn entrusts the care of our property to me, including selecting much of our staff. As it should, our service to the Lady begins here at home, creating an environment to inspire wanting and envy. Not that we intend to boast, of course. Only to let everything speak for itself."
Now we come to the question I know all our readers are interested in – that of the cult worship rumors – so, in order to phrase it correctly and prepare myself for the answer, I pretend to refer to my notes for a moment.
Traiva gives little away. With the sunlight picking out the red highlights of her hair, she merely rests her head on Tolwynn’s shoulder and defers the subject to him.
"They certainly aren't rumors. The temple itself was instructional in that matter, if you had a look about, remnants of one such group that lost their way."
He pauses for a moment, his arm slipping loosely around Traiva's waist.
"To my experience, most followers seem to work better alone, or with one or two others perhaps. It has certainly proven best for me that way: alone, or in tandem with Traiva here."
Traiva straightens slightly at this but not so much as to move Tolwynn's arm or interrupt his account. I do notice that the corner of his mouth curls up into a sly grin and I suddenly find myself presented with an interesting invitation.
"As to rituals, we could certainly tell you but wouldn't that be a boring way to go about things. Those that are truly curious - yourself included, should that prove to be the case - would be far better served to seek and experience for themselves, all considered."
Averting any further embarrassment on my part (and that of my editor) I move swiftly on to my final question: that of the concept of beauty in general.
Tolwynn answers me by turning in admiration towards to Traiva, his gaze languidly traveling across her form and his hand continuing to maintain its amatory contact at the small of her back. One could write a book about the gestures and body language adopted by this couple!
"Beauty should speak upon beauty first, I should think."
This is the first indication I get that the Lady is struggling to find the appropriate words but her frustration soon passes.
"It is the assurance that there is perfection, to ensure all the senses are pleased. The lustre of velvet, how silk glides over the skin, the face unmarred by scars. It is the heady perfume, the melody of song, the Lady who serves only the finest food and drink at her table."
Gazing evenly at me, I am reminded of my previous interview and find myself drawn towards my subject once again. Is this where I am well and truly ensnared ... again?
"Apropos of today's interview, it is my service to the Lady that demands I strive for the perfection of beauty, to always have care in my appearance. By serving Her, I am bound to put my best self forward to others, to inspire the want for what I have and what I am."
Tolwynn may well have sensed my vulnerability at this point and could have moved in for the "kill" but I am spared his attentions because of his obvious love and desire for his wife.
"Yes, Ivas is the ideal, perfectly beautiful, all other women are lesser reflections of her perfect beauty, and most are beautiful in turn. And some are certainly moreso than others."
I escape my fate thanks to Tolwynn running his fingers through Traiva’s glorious mane of hair, which causes her to break her gaze from mine. That was close and I decide to bring the interview to a close to avoid being totally smitten by this woman!
I am offered more refreshments but decline in order to expedite my departure and I am flanked by them both as we descend the wide staircase and cross to the manor’s entry.
Traiva leans in to kiss my cheek and Tolwynn clasps my hand in a firm handshake to bid me a farewell but not before their final parting shot and I am undone.
"If any of the editorial staff find themselves with a new curiosity, well ... certainly send them our way."
I can't help but be amused by the thought of my editor's reaction when I pass on that invitation!
One thing this particular interview has taught me is that connections are important to maintain desire and passion in any relationship, whether that is verbally or physically.
Fundamentally, we are social animals and connections such as touch or simple words of affection and affirmation ensure we all continue to grow as individuals. Perhaps lust - whether that is just for life or wealth, or something more carnal - isn't something to be feared or derided, we just need to keep it at bay until such time that it can be meaningfully and appropriately satisfied.
Spot of Color
Ready to try something bold and new? Why not spice up your wardrobe with the hottest new color trend! From gowns and skirts to shoes and accessories, this season it’s all about mint green. A softer shade of turquoise and green, mint green is the perfect choice for all skin tones and great when matched with a range of other colors.
Paired with pastels, beige or white, mint has a soft and sweet effect. Or for something a little bolder, a mint and black or navy ensemble is sure to make a statement. Don't be afraid to mix and match the pieces you already own!
If you are after a gown that will have heads turning, one in mint green will make a great option. All you have to do is pick a shade that flatters your coloring. A mint gown will ensure a fresh appearance no matter the occasion. To really stand out, finish off your ensemble with rose gold accessories.
Suitable for casual outings, chic and sophisticated events and almost everything in between, mint green pants and skirts are as versatile as they are stylish. Pair them with a white blouse or an off-the-shoulder top and eye-catching heels for a look that's suitable for any occasion. Above all, be sure to keep the look minimalistic. Remember that when it comes to such a bold color, less is more. To complete the look, throw on a navy or black leather jacket.
When it comes to dressing for the cooler climes, there's nothing better than a warm coat to keep you cozy! One in a statement color like mint green is sure to stand out amongst the usual sea of black and grey. For a head-turning ensemble, perhaps pair your mint coat with knee-high boots.
If you normally don't wear much color, try to sneak some in with your shoes or boots. Wearing mint green on your feet is a great way to add a pop of fashionable color to any ensemble, plus, it'll work for almost any occasion! Just make sure not to overdo it.
If you love this daring shade, yet lack the self-confidence to wear it, you can always try mint green accessories. It doesn't have to be anything too overpowering; you can go with something subtle. Think mint green jade earrings or rings. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to your look. These accessories look especially gorgeous when matched with a white garment. Mint green scarves, gloves or belts are other great options.
Get the Look
For some simple wardrobe pieces, stop by Dari's Clothiers, the boutique shop in Wehnimer's Landing, and the Ta'Vaalor Women's Clothier. Dari’s stock a sleeveless mint green blouse and a mint green chambray shirt, and the Clothier’s offers a scalloped mint lace skirt pinned mid-knee with satin bows.
Whilst the customization options in general boutiques do not include mint, a mint green dye is available that could serve the same purpose, so grab something basic off-the-shelf and check out your local town Dyer's tent.
Everyone is invited to an informal forum on Restday, the 24th day of Ivastaen to firm up plans for FashionFest 5120. Join representatives from The Looking Glass, Elanthian Elegance, and the editorial team of Elanthian Vogue in the Wehnimer's Landing Baker's Shop at 2 in the afternoon as elves reckon time.