Elanthian Vogue: Spring 5121

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200

Editor: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l

Editor's Thoughts

The beginning of the year marked our third anniversary. We launched our very first edition of Elanthian Vogue on the 30th day of Lormesta in the year 5118 and, 37 publications later, we are still going strong. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and contributions over the last few years because, without you, we wouldn't be here.

In that time, we have endeavored to cover a wide range of topics that we hope have been of interest. Our aim is to continue doing so and I am excited about our plans for 5121 as we are changing the format slightly. The content of each edition has increased considerably over time, placing quite a burden on the team. Our intention this year is to publish four bumper seasonal editions - starting with spring - each of which will cover a number of related thematic articles.

This first edition explores the benefits of healing and self-love; from meeting our physical needs on a daily basis, to setting aside time to relax and replenish our spiritual selves. We learn more about the enigmatic Meril, winner of the 5120 Bardfest, consider the cultivation of herbs and herbal lore.

An issue of Elanthian Vogue wouldn't be complete without an insight into the fashionable aspects of this "green witchcraft". The team have done all the hard work for you and compiled a list of affordable items from boutiques across the land to help you embrace the aesthetic.

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!

Editor

A Healing Day

Empath
A wonderful gift to yourself, is a day of healing and nourishing just for you. Whilst we may not be skilled empaths, we carry within ourselves the seed of healing. Our choices affect us more than we realize, and it is because of this that we tend to place responsibility for our wellness in the hands of others.

As physically beneficial as visits to an empath can be, we actually have the power to heal ourselves at will. When we dedicate a day to the pursuit of wellness, we can relax and renew ourselves in a nourishing and comfortable environment. A sincere desire to open ourselves to the highest realities of our physical and spiritual selves is the key to self-healing so that healing energy can flow into us unimpeded.

A self-healing day should address the vital needs of the self as a whole while directing healing energy where it is needed most. Solitude is an important part of the process as is the ability to take refuge in a space that is both beautiful and peaceful. Start your healing day by setting the intention that you are dedicating this time to healing yourself. Create a Sanctuary if you are able or seek out a quiet place where you are unlikely to be disturbed.

Tinctures and Potions
Flowers, herbs, infusions, candlelight, or incense can guide our focus toward a more tranquil and healthy state. It is up to us to decide what we need to do to cultivate wellness in our lives. For some, it may be time spent in reflection or just being one with nature; this could be achieved through journal writing or simply sitting and pondering on our experiences. Others will turn to calming activities that help them remember their purpose; cobbling, fletching, forging, painting, or playing a musical instrument. Our healing may even take a more direct form as we use stones or crystals to balance and ground ourselves on mats through meditation and partake of medicinal herbs and tinctures.

Ultimately, your wholesome intentions transform what might otherwise be a simple period of rest into a day of healing. Grant yourself permission to relax and savor the stillness. If you attune yourself to the calm around you, worldly distractions will be minimized and the unadulterated flow of your consciousness will reestablish itself in the forefront of your mind.

The physical and spiritual needs of the body - your stamina and general health, your connection to the mana pools, as well as your soul or spirit - will then be revealed to you, empowering you to tap into the essential energies of the universe. The mechanism you use to channel this energy will be dependent on your skills and shifting requirements, so each day of healing you enjoy will be unique. All will replenish you, however, allowing you to recreate yourself in an image of perfect well-being.

A Child of Imaera

I caught up with Meril on a late afternoon visit to the Empath Guild in Ta'Illistim. Passing by a small plaque showing her name among the local registered apothecaries, I entered an open-air medicinal garden lined with cultivated flower beds and found her working over an assortment of bundled herbs. She noticed my entry and scanned me up and down with a clinical eye, checking for visible injuries, before she remembered her manners. Offering an apologetic bow, she waved me over to a silk-lined table with a selection of teas.

Settling myself on a silk-padded bench, I accepted a cup of pale lavender tea, and proceeded to ask if she would share a little about herself with our readers. She seemed slightly amused by the question, and thought for a moment before reciting a verse.

"Once upon a distant winter, when the eastern wind was cold, Beneath the whispering leaves where sunlight glittered green and gold."

With an enigmatic wink, she prompted me to call her simply Meril and remarked that titles and honors would be unbecoming of the sylvisterai. As a child, she dreamt of being a bardess; storytellers being revered among sylvans as they carry with them the memories of their people.

"We are nothing without memory."

I sensed a little wistfulness as she rationalized that a sacred charge was more important than girlish whims, and the will of the goddess led her down a different path. Empathic talent was not all that common for a small hamlet like the one she dwelt in. In the great sylvan arbor-cities they could be selective about who should take up the physician's staff, who should master the dream-weaves, and who should hone their minds towards the hierophantic arts.

She explained how her family had not known an empath for a generation, and all she knew was that when she had been helping her mother with herbal remedies for the wounded, she could sometimes reach out with her mind and soothe the blood before the medicines took hold. It was not until the time she had become violently sick and passed out that she had started to understand its cost. Everyone had been quite insistent afterwards that she pack up and travel into the world to better learn the craft.

"It has been a long journey since then, following the path the goddess has set for me, yet there is always more to learn."

Taking in the setting of this fascinating interview, I asked her to tell me more of herblore, at which she closed her eyes, taking in the myriad scents of the garden. Following her lead, I paused for a time to breathe them in. Among them there was the slight bitterness of freshly cut acantha leaves, the subtle wintry flavor of cothinar flowers, the sweet fragrance of chamomile, the warm and spicy aroma of thyme, and beneath them all the gentle and homely tone of earth after rain.

Meril explained that there were a great many plants and extracts everywhere around us, adding that to understand a plant, we must understand its place in the world: where and when it grows, how it affects the soil, and which animals are inclined to it.

As I nodded in understanding, she went on to recount how Imaera imparted the knowledge of the earliest herb lore by having devotees follow the forest creatures to see which grasses and berries they ate when they were ill. She declared that it was no wonder that sylvans adopted the doe as her sign, ever guiding them to salvation, and added that they had come a long way in their understanding since then, being able to extract even useful medicines out of poisonous samples, but the first lesson of knowing which plants to examine was always found in nature.

It was clear that Meril held Imaera in great reverence so I prompted her to tell more about her connection with the goddess at which she inclined, chanting softly, causing the light around her to bend and shatter into a thousand falling fragments as she gestured upwards. A flare left her hand and shot up into the sky where it hung for a few moments before exploding into a lambent tawny golden doe surrounded by a sparkling verdant aura.

"We are all of us Imaera's children, even if some have drifted far from the tree. All of Elanith is her garden, and the circle of life is her miracle. Every living thing upon the earth discovers their purpose at one time or another, and I am glad to have found mine in sharing her gift of healing. Whether it is through empathy, herbalism, or breaking bread with fellow travelers, we are never far from her love."

My curiosity piqued, I asked whether she had any thoughts about Kuon; the gentle giant who had so impressed Imaera with his empathy. Knowing so little about the patron of herbs and flowers myself, I became engrossed as Meril explained that Kuon was the voice of the mortal peoples when we cultivated the earth. Whenever we discovered a new use for a flower, whenever we refined our plantings to make soil more bountiful, whenever we found another means to extract medicine, it was made possible by his influence.

Refilling my teacup, she added that so many misguided souls had sought godhood through sacrificial rituals and pacts that had wreaked great evils upon the world, only to fail or become a slave to some greater power -- but the story of Kuon had taught her that it was achieved through hard work and humility.

Holding my gaze for a moment – as if contemplating whether to continue – she noted that she would be remiss if she failed to honor the dark powers too. In her view, every empath perceived keenly the hand of the Sorrower, who taught them that power came at a cost and ever reminded them of their limits.

"The gravest of illnesses is when a man ceases to know and respect pain."

Folding her hands patiently, she finished with another recitation of verse.

"Light is the left hand of darkness, And darkness the right hand of light."

In silence, I emptied my teacup and attempted to overcome my discomfiture, hoping she hadn't noticed. Perhaps it was time to talk about less emotive subjects so I opted to lighten the mood and enquired about how she spent her free time.

Meril brightened at this question, humming a few cheery notes as she tilted her head to one side and touched a pin on her tunic. There was a pale blue glimmer, and I suddenly became aware of the quiet music around me. A dreamlike whisper of sound filled my senses as it built slowly. I heard instruments playing an old ballad, the music ebbing and flowing, slowly creating a hypnotic tune. The last chord came all too soon and faded away like a passing breeze, and, as the glimmer died, she took off the pin and showed it to me.

a shiny steel trophy pin set with a carved diamond Silver-veined green steel forms the tall rectangular base of this trophy pin. A gilded harp rests atop the steel base, with a silver dragon twisting along the column and across the crown to arch over the neck, as if protecting the bejeweled strings. Inset into the base is a faceted numeral twenty-five, made from a diamond. Musical instruments, stenciled in silver and gold, wreath the number. Elegant script is etched beneath the inset gem. In the Common language, it reads: Bardfest 5120 - Grand Champion

Story and song were clearly her first love, and while she would never sing a spellsong, she still liked to play and perform whenever she could. She cheerily commented that should she come to a festival with a lyre or mandolin in hand, she could always be asked for a song, noting that Cholen, after all, was the offspring of Imaera.

"For it is in listening to the bright whistle of the lark, the gentle lullaby of crickets, and the lament of the lone wolf that we first learned to sing."

As something close to my own heart, I pressed her on alchemy to which she replied that she had never thought of it as a mere hobby. She explained that it was part of her guild duties to prepare tinctures and trinkets for travelers to pack when members couldn't be there to aid them. As the guild masters before her had taught, and as she would tell anyone after, a proper healer should never shirk this responsibility.

Her dedication to the Arkati and duties were impressive and I had become enamoured of this sylvan. I then lightly reminded her that this interview was for a lifestyle publication so it was probably apropos to raise the subject of fashion.

You see Meril. She appears to be a Sylvankind. She is average height. She appears to have come of age. She has hardened, piercing forest green eyes and fair skin. She has waist length, flowing auburn hair interspersed with strands of grey. She has a delicate face and slightly downswept pointed ears. She is wearing a strand of vaalin glowbark leaves, a faded russet linen cloak, a silver-linked armband set with a faewood crest, a translucent amber doe symbol suspended from a strand of hazelwood, a leather quiver with silver-buckled straps slung over her shoulder, a cinched barkcloth pack, a dark green silk tunic fastened with amber toggles, a finely etched bronze hawk bracer, a pair of supple buckskin gauntlets, a triple-link mithril waist chain, an elk hide medicine pouch, a soft ebon suede bag secured with a pale silver leaf, some knee-length hunting skirts stitched from bands of shredded leather, and a pair of slouched henna brown leather knee boots.

Her brow furrowed slightly and she glanced down at her clothes before addressing my question. She was of the opinion that a healer should dress sensibly on most occasions, else blood would seep all over those fine linens and pretty gowns. She elaborated that while traveling through rough woods and sharp crags, it was even more important to be simple and practical, so she tried to keep her usual wear free of expensive adornments save for a touch of silver and mithril. There were some traditional sylvan silks she kept for ceremonies, though they might seem rustic in the Shining City.

"But even in the Court of the Argent Mirror -- no, especially in court, I will never have the Seven Houses see the sylvisterai dressed in the garments of aristocracy."

At this, her expression softened as she continued to tell me that even those would be undue extravagance back home. She had a likeness made for her mother a while ago, which she kindly shared with me, and explained that it was much as they were used to, save on the holy days of each season.

a stern-eyed sylvan healer doll She has hip-length grey hair woven tightly in a hip-length braid. She has deep-set crystal green eyes and sun-bronzed skin. She has slightly-pursed lips. She is holding a tiny rowan runestaff. She is wearing a tiny amber-hued holy symbol, a tiny brushed suede satchel, a tiny set of hardened buckskin armor, a tiny faded green linen kirtle, a tiny grass-stained fraying linen skirt and some tiny leather laced ankle-boots.

Holding the doll close, she added that when there were performances or masquerades to be held, then one must prepare the proper costumes. She had, at one time or another, donned the dryad's wreath of daisies and autumn gold canopy, the raven's ivory beak and dark feathered cloak, the red stag's magnificent antlers and regal mane --

At this, she paused in sudden recollection and broke into an embarrassed laugh. Continuing with a wry smile, she concluded that it had not been easy to dance with those antlers without grievously wounding her partner - but it was not an ill thing to take a risk now and then, and better it would be to replace the formality of the ballroom with the flow of the hunt.

It was with considerable reluctance that I drew our interview to a close but I was conscious that the sun was setting on that glorious garden and I had taken up enough of her time. Partaking of a final cup of delicious tea, I thanked her for her frankness and for allowing us a brief but fascinating insight into her life and beliefs.

Off the Shelf: The Green Witch

The green witch is a naturalist, an herbalist, a wise woman, and a healer. Drawing energy from Elanthia and the Universe, she embraces the power of nature and relies on natural objects like stones and gems to commune with the land or Arkati. She uses plants, flowers, oils, and herbs for healing; she calls on nature for guidance; and she respects every living being no matter how small.

The team at Elanthian Vogue have put together a collection of garments and accessories for those with empathy for such things. Where femininity meets practicality, the green witch aesthetic usually comprises relaxed or loose layers of natural fabrics in earth tones with adornments of stone and metal. Specific tokens such as green erissian topaz or leaf motifs give a nod towards Imaera or Kuon. The garments featured here were purchased off-the-shelf from established outlets across Elanthia.

She is wearing a green sapphire rose geldaralad blooming from vaalin vines, a series of slender copper bangles looped with green velvet, a front-laced green velvet gown trimmed with cream damask, and some pale green silk slippers traced with veins of copper.
She is wearing a light caramel leather cape with a sage-dyed silk hood, a five-plaited choker of dark leather and suede, an off-shoulder natural linen gown pinned in tiered layers, some knee-laced ecru linen sandals.

All of these items can be found in Elaraeyn's Boutique in Wehnimer's Landing, A Twist of Roses in Ta'Illistim, the clothier's in Ta'Vaalor, Marienna's Market on Kharam Dzu, and Caelyna's Boutique in Solhaven. To complete the outfit, why not add a wicker basket from Two Tarts Trading Company in Icemule Trace, an overlapping leaf skeleton ring dipped in verdant faenor, or perhaps a touch of errisian green eyeshadow, again from A Twist of Roses.

The Cultivation and Use of Herbs

Acantha Leaf
The fascination of herbs is a powerful one and, once one has learned of their efficacy, it is difficult to prevent them taking over one’s life.

Herbs appear in gardens and take root in all sorts of unexpected places. They crop up in culinary circles and alchemical workshops as well as providing remedies for aches, pains, wounds and other ailments. The rise in popularity of healing herbs is likely due to everyone being so busy and the assistance of a skilled empath being difficult to find in remote locations or in the small hours of the night.

Ephlox Moss
Marallis Berries
Strictly speaking, an herb is a perennial plant whose soft or succulent stems die down to ground level every year but some are mosses, lichens, and even cacti, for example ephlox moss, wolifrew lichen and cactacae spine. A more appropriate definition could be any plant, generally aromatic or fragrant in nature, whose parts, whether leaf, flower, seed, berry or root, are of use in food preparation, medicine, or cosmetics.

Summoning one's own plants through the empathic spell, Herb Production, is probably one of the most satisfactory ways to obtain the leaves, roots, berries or whatever part of the herb is required.

Foraging for them can be equally as rewarding as many herbs grow wild in fields and woods.

Woth Flower
For those unable to access such magic or with limited affinity to the natural environments of Elanthia, it is possible to grow your own. The potter, Dawdly Windlebaum, introduced his special magical pots in The Hairy Potter shop at the Ebon Gate Festival in 5114. With a suitable soil-filled receptacle, the appropriate seeds, and a little bit of patience, your horticultural fingers might be able to grow healing or magical flowers.
Tarts

The famed baker, Ma Leaftoe, of the self-named Health and Bake Shop in Icemule Trace is renowned for the use of herbs with healing properties in her tarts, pies and soups. Her lichen tart will soothe mildly wounded nerves and it is rumoured that a slice of her sparrowhawk pie will do wonders for scars around the neck and head.

Teas
Ales
If infusions are more to your taste, then a visit to the Pinefar Infirmary is recommended. Celk Fyretryst brews a variety of herbal concoctions, most notably his sassafras tea, which will restore the colour to your cheeks after significant blood loss. For those with a severe limb affliction and a preference for ale, try a flagon of Golden Goose Ale in Kharam Dzu.

Whether they are grown in physic gardens, residential flowerbeds, or in individual pots, the propagation and cultivation of herbs is naturally restricted. Some are difficult to locate in the wilds because of their natural habitat's different climate, terrain or aspect requirements such as the time of day, but others are abundant, growing like weeds in their native land. Once established though, herbs will grow to maturity and replenish quite quickly.

With enough skill, it is possible to gain a sense of what can be foraged from an area. Others may wish to visit their local library and see if there is a suitable book on the shelves to learn more about this fascinating subject.

As Seen In...

Imaera is one of the most revered Arkati throughout the Turamzzyrian Empire, especially along the outlying areas of the provinces, where nature and land play more prominent roles in the daily lives of imperial citizens. The Green Sisters trace their foundation to the outskirts of Talador long before it had been annexed as part of the Turamzzyrian Empire in 5030 and subsequently obliterated in 5116. The religious order consists of women healers and rangers, many of whom prefer to focus on the protection and nourishment of nature and are less occupied by the struggles of the mortal coils of men.

Following the realignment of their faith and purpose after the Jantalarian invasion of Talador in 5087, the Green Sisters branched out, almost a third of their surviving members found new residence in Oire. They have since become heavily involved in erecting new shrines and temples to Imaera where their people hold the Goddess of Nature in high regard, praying and reflecting on her in their daily lives. But the Green Sisters still hope to restore life to the Bleaklands of Talador, seeing the war-torn land not as a blemish to avoid, but instead as a wound to heal.

For this spring edition, we present a sister of the green, as seen working in tune with nature:

You see Tyrie. She appears to be a Human. She is average height. She appears to be very young. She has almond-shaped blue-green eyes and ivory skin. She has chin length, shiny chestnut hair. She has a delicate face. She is in good shape. She is holding a two-handled wooden trug painted with green ivy in her right hand and a wide-scooped green steel trowel in her left hand. She is wearing a wide-brimmed dark straw hat loosely tied with a linen scarf, a mud-stained canvas herb satchel slung over her shoulder, a slouch-pocketed ecru flax linen pinafore with a soil-stained hem over a collared ivory cotton cotehardie, and some umber leather boots raised on wedged fel heels.

Hot Properties

Located in the Northern Caravansary is the appropriately named, Imaera's Bounty Herbalist. Hanging bunches of drying herbs force all but the shortest customers to stoop. Appearing quite at home among the dangling obstacles, Marijon Pestlethwaite hums quietly as she works her way through the tent, checking the bundles, taking some down and hanging others up to dry.

Her affable colleague, the herbalist Marisol, bears all the evidence of her trade with green stained hands and similarly marred apron. She will happily offer you a wide range of herbal plants and potions for healing purposes.

When it comes to candles and incense for your healing days and meditations, try the Candle Shop in the south east corner of Solhaven's South Market. Just ask the clerk if you can see the catalogue of their extensive inventory.