Elanthian Vogue: Summer 5121
Editor: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l
Back in Olaesta 5119 we took a brief look into piracy - or should I say one pirate in particular, the lovable Land Pirate Maylan. Two years on, we thought it was time to get serious and dive deeper into the lifestyles of those that partake in adventure on the open seas.
I spent a very pleasurable afternoon in the company of the Infamous Treeva and Melivn who very kindly gave me a tour of their magnificent vessel. They even let me take the helm for a few minutes - I'm not sure who was the braver mariner: the Captain or his newly press-ganged crew member! Shortly after, one of our reporters also caught up with Maylan again – albeit briefly - and he even managed to stay sober this time.
Summer is almost upon us, and our thoughts naturally turn to sun, sea and sand. Nautical fashion has never been so much in vogue than now and the team at Elanthian Vogue have selected a collection of off-the-shelves items; from contemporary chic to fun and easy. So, whether you like to be on trend, are looking for smart and stylish clothing suitable for an open sea adventure, or simply attempting a new and authentic aesthetic, you are assured to find something to catch your eye.
So, that said, let's dive right in and hopefully you will find something to inspire you this season!
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!
The Golden Age of Piracy
Pirates always have and always will be terrorizing our seas with their nautical misbehavior. The Elanthian history books claim that the so-called Grand Era of Piracy took place between around 4275 M.E. to 4325 M.E. with the names Bloody Malovor, DeGaspard, Ketain of the Scars, and Oteska the Corsair becoming legendary in the River's Rest annals.
Some might say we are now living in the Golden Age of Piracy though. Never a day goes by when we don't hear about someone's Open Sea Adventures or accounts of ships being plundered and sunk. Only the most adventurous dare to set out across the Great Western Sea, where sailors face not only ghosts of long dead buccaneers but also Dreaded Dark Pirates and, of course, the ceaseless Krolvin.
The most recent attacks on Mist Harbor poignantly remind us that we are always at the mercy of these ruthless brigands. And when it comes to infamous pirates, who can forget the Spitfire, a vessel full of halflings who are probably still out there taunting the Imperial Navy, preying on shipping and consuming copious amounts of tart-flavored rum.
Some notable pirates have hung up their cutlasses, however, and now live a slightly more wholesome life on land. One such individual is the halfing, Parlay. Both a pirate and occasional merchant, Parlay was the captain of the Fall of the West before taking ownership of the Albatross, a gambling riverboat he won in a high-stake bet from its former captain, Gostahl. The Fall of the West was sold to Councilman Stephos DeArchon, whose crew includes another infamous pirate, Captain Jellybeard Brindlebay; a dwarf with a fondness for purple and a habit of tattooing those caught unawares. You have been warned!
The Albatross is not only known for its gambling opportunities with games such as Dragonbones, Gostahl's dicing, Roulette, and Let it Ride. It has also been the venue for some much-sort after merchandise, as well as ostentatious displays of fashion, particularly of the burlesque style.
Another familiar name is that of Vahmyr Hiwynd, the former Captain of the Fallen Corsair. Vahmyr gained a reputation later in life for designing very practical harnesses that are worn comfortably over most garments. The Famed Pirate Cidolfhus Pollendina stepped in after his demise to continue this lucrative trade. Not to be outdone in providing merchandise to those with silvers to spend, the Half-Elven Pirate Vanne made a name for himself selling fans - mostly to the Nalfein to cleverly conceal their ubiquitous blades.
Not so for Bilthorne though. This red-haired pirate's luck has not been quite so fortunate having lost his vessel, Sweet Niima Grace, during a storm in the Great Western Way. Destined to wander the Western Harbor of Mist Harbor on the Isle of the Four Winds, he spends most of his time imbibing ale and attempting to answer tourists' questions.
Life on the Ocean Wave
Whilst the life of a Privateer is no less shady – being technically pirates with "papers" – it can be quite lucrative and carries with it a certain amount of mystique. Those seeking notoriety for ridding the seas of the pirate peril can usually be found in the port town of Kraken's Fall located off the Tenebrous Cauldron, roughly west of River's Rest. It also happens to be where I found two notorious swashbucklers who kindly agreed to give me a tour of their ship and tell me a little more about their life on the ocean wave.
With the sound of mewing seagulls in the distance, I met them both at the dockside on Deadeye's Road amid a bustling market courtyard set against a backdrop of towering cliffs. Moored at the Fourth Pier, a raven-hued cocobolo frigate was flying a sanguine silk flag.
"She's a cruel mistress at times but producing of many adventures."
Aptly named "The Cruel Raven-hued Dawn," the ship boasts a storm grey kraken crest at the front and a rosewood gangplank, which is soon lowered for us. Embarkation was swift and uneventful, giving me little time for my nerves to get the better of me - despite Melivn's little quip about waiting to be out to sea before making me walk the plank!
Standing on the main deck, there is much to take in; from the storm grey flyrsilk sail fastened to the mast above to the rather daunting array of munitions and lion-mouthed cannons. This experienced pair are clearly prepared for anything. Treeva's mention of Maylan as their notorious mop girl and promises of plum duff tasting later soothe any final reservations I have about this excursion. Both Melivn and Treeva move efficiently around the deck attending to their usual duties as we continue chatting about the various fixtures and fittings.
"As quite infamous pirates, we've found trouble comes our way quite often on the open seas. It's best to be prepared with a lot of cannon power in return."
The sonorous voices of the crew joined in sea shanty are heard at the bow where they can be seen carrying out their many duties of polishing the railings, swabbing the decking, and checking the rigging. Unfortunately, Maylan was not on duty that day but I gather from Treeva that she is quite ferocious when all liquored up and provoked by krolvins threatening her treasure stash.
I am guided next to the ship's Helm to see the wheel. A woodworking masterpiece, it is positioned by a polished teak binnacle, which houses the compass. From here, we head through the door into the Captain's Quarters. Well appointed, the quarters boast a freshly made bed layered with furs and a table stacked with books and nautical charts. But it is the opulent cherry throne set on tentacle-carved legs occupied by a three-legged tabby cat that draws my attention. I am permitted to settle myself on this magnificent seat and decide that this is the perfect time to pry a little and learn more about this very engaging couple.
Treeva's beverage of choice is clearly tea, given the array of empty teacups yet to be cleared from the table. A quick inquiry and I soon learn that Melivn's is whiskey or stout but he notes that tea has been growing on him slowly, thanks to some encouragement from his lady companion. I am keen to find out more so I gently urge Treeva to share where and when she was born and how she met partner in crime, Melivn. At first, she is somewhat reticent to say, remarking vaguely that it was some centuries ago and that time flows in a meandering, fluid fashion. Melivn is quick with his retort about her having claimed to be two and a half centuries old for quite some time now and, despite the playful shove, this seems to do the trick and her melodic laughter chimes around the cabin.
"Formally, I hail from the shining land of Ta'Illistim, home of the most scholarly and magically magnificent elves. We take great pride in our study of the arcane."
While opining a glowing summary of her home City-State, Treeva covertly flicks her wrist, creating a swirl of colorful elemental motes to flourish as an appropriate miniature firework fanfare.
"I spent most of my childhood and youth there, with sporadic visits to Ta'Nalfein where I learned the value of intrigue. A handful of diplomatic ventures to New Ta'Faendryl, where I learned greater value in ambition and was delighted by glimpses of more forbidden knowledge. And you, Lord Ickput, did your childhood permit such indulgences or varied elven culture?"
At this point, Treeva is quick to cast a curious or perhaps bemused glance at Melivn, prompting her counterpart to give his input. Quick witted as ever, Melivn scans the cabin before muttering something about having not seen his dad come in before giving me a sly wink.
"Oh no, as rumor tells, all Faendryl grow up in caves eating bugs and such. But for those of us who didn't, we call New Ta'Faendryl our home. Which I left before it made me too hard, and traveled to Ta'Illistim, but left before it made me too soft. I've spent most of my years west of the Dragonspine and these later years on the coast of Solhaven."
Treeva nips at her lower lip in an attempt to prevent a chuckle when elaborating on how they met. Unconsciously, she leans against him as she does so. It is clear that, despite their differences, they are very attached to one another.
"Our paths crossed in a variety of locales, in social circles that didn't quite intersect, for many years. It wasn't exactly love at first sight...but I'd say we were drawn to each other, contrasting so nicely in many ways. It was worth the wait."
A gentle rock of the boat finds me grateful that I am still seated and I try to cover my uneasiness by asking them about their love of the ocean.
"I'd liken it to rekindling an interest, after those exciting and fondly remembered boating excursions down to Ta'Nalfein. Though I never did the hard work portion, admittedly, and that part is much more demanding than expected. I expect you have a more contemplative response."
With a quirk of her brow towards Melivn, Treeva allows him to elaborate. There is a sense of ease and equality between this couple that is evident from their gentle banter and consideration shown to each other.
"The ocean to me is two-fold. On one hand, it's calming being out at sea when the water is like glass and no land is in sight, no sounds and blue for as far as you can see. There's peace in that solitude. Moments of perfect tranquility are rare but there are moments of them out of the ocean if you wait. The other side to that is the raw, unyielding power of the ocean going someplace you're not suited to be and trying to bend it to your will. There are lots of destructive powers in this world but the ocean may be one of the many great ones humbling even the bravest of adventurers."
Treeva listens quietly and nods in assent for the majority of her partner's reply, up until the very end statement. Silvery curls obscure her features briefly as she shakes her head in mild disagreement.
"The raw and untamed elements hold great appeal for me. Always trying to press that limit, meet the storm head on."
"No personal connection with those claiming control of the watery domains. However, given the amount of torrential and brutal storms we've sailed through, I do not doubt the prowess of a moody Charl. He hasn't taken me down yet, not from lack of trying."
When pressed about the potential influence of other Arkati instead, Treeva's smile turns a bit rueful, head tilting in measured consideration before she speaks, tone turning precise and clipped.
"I owe a favour, that has turned to be a touch more than bargained for. Nothing but time though, to solve that issue. I admire the teachings of Fash'lo'nae, and find them illuminating in practical applications."
I note the dismissive wave and quickly turn my attention to Melivn for fear of spoiling the relaxed and open conversation. Melivn draws my attention to the slit pupil tattoo on his wrist and breaks the tension with another little quip.
"Much the same, no personal draw of either Charl or Niima. And with my better half, I am a follower of the tenets of Fash'lo'nae."
Quickly changing the subject, I am keen to learn more about life at sea. Now seems a good opportunity to hear it from those who actually live it!
"Hard but fulfilling. There's a lot to say about people who work with their hands and do the work no one else wants to. Sailors are some of the finest examples of that, risking life and limb to deliver goods or keep waterways safe. There's a lot of downtime to maintain the ship and the day-to-day activities, but there is always something to be done. There's the thrill of battle and the boom of cannon fire that cuts square through your chest that become almost addictive. It's not a life for everyone, but for anyone with a bit of salt in their veins, there's no other life to be had." "Indeed, it's exciting and chaotic. Once you've had a taste of life on the open seas, freedom at your fingertips, it's hard to go back. Especially when you consider going back to tea parties. However would it compare?"
Treeva is equally good at the quips! I am fondly chastised but I decide to counter with a subject close to my heart; that of fashion and how it impacts their life at sea. Treeva does not disappoint as with a soft squeak of delight and an enthusiastic nod that sends her curls tumbling in disarray, she adeptly fixes her hairstyle by weaving threads of air current together.
"It rivals all our best adventures, the picking outfits ahead of time part! Deciding what apparel to sail in is a huge decision, both for practicality and striking fear into the hearts of those naughty pirates before you’ve cast a single spell. Get yourself a tentacular Veola tricorne with skulls, plus a spacious booty bandolier, and even the most hardened krolvin privateer will pause to reconsider his actions. No doubt due to such a ferociously fearful yet sophisticated sight."
After pausing to gain agreement from Melivn, she continues on happily with quite the sassy grin.
"A sturdy pair of fashionable boots is your most important first step, so be sure to seek out a local cordwain if you plan on making your sailing debut. Take your inspiration from the sea or nautical creatures within, especially tentacles, for outfit themes. The ocean herself is full of outfit accessories: pearls, shiny shells and gems, even some textured dried kelp or artistically carved driftwood can help make a statement. Don’t be afraid to experiment with some new materials, and take into account the weather you plan to sail during."
She and I share an enthusiastic nod in agreement. We could both continue this discussion for quite some time but I am conscious that it might not be quite as interesting to our Captain and he is probably eager to get back to work. Needless to say, he is still the consummate host and answers my question with patience and humour.
"I leave all the tailoring fashions to Treeva, as I know when I am beat in a subject. But I will add that fashion can go beyond what you wear yourself at sea and extend to your ship, your figure head, your sails, the stain of the wood, the flag you fly to strike terror into others out on the ocean. We refer to ships as ladies and in my experience...taking care of your lady, investing in her attire and taking an interest, well, it pays off."
You see The Infamous Melivn Ickput Faendryl the Treasure Hunter. He appears to be a Dark Elf. He is average height and has a broad-shouldered slender frame. He appears to be as old as the hills. He has vivid steel-grey rimmed sea green eyes and pristine brunet skin. He has long, prismatic blue-black hair left in a myriad of loose braids beneath a sun-bleached dark leather tricorn. He has sharp pointed ears. He has a slit-eyed pupil tattoo with a pale yellow tint on his wrist.
A brightly colored parrot squawks noisily upon his left shoulder, flapping its wings as it hops from foot to foot.
He is wearing a silver pentagram earring, a distressed ebon leather duster with crossbone toggles, a hemp-strung scarlet despanal, a loose cinnamon flyrsilk shirt with a spread collar, a lor and despanal beaded bracelet, a wide black leather belt, an eahnor-bound faewood scabbard, some side-laced raven black leather trousers buckled with a girthy silver kraken, and a pair of well-fitted black leather boots clasped with silver buckles.
Treeva begins to express positive sentiments to this notion, but quickly becomes enamoured with her new Lornon halo. Face glowing with pleasure, she perhaps best showcases this point without any words at all.
You see The Infamous Treeva Ancalime Illistim the Tall Tale. She appears to be an Elf. She is tall and willowy. She appears to be youthful. She has azure-haloed warm golden eyes and silky soft pale ivory skin. She has waist length, layered champagne blonde hair pulled into a low chain-netted chignon, the style affixed by a kelp-framed sunken treasure ornament nestled between mermaid's-tear sapphire bubbles. She has a fine patrician nose and a delicate facial structure enhanced by her classic elven features. She has a long slender neck and full, sanguine stained lips.
Slender swaths of silvery moonlight-like mist spiral up around her, their luminous quality bathing her in a tenuous, ethereal glow.
She is wearing some dimly glowing creamy pearls hung in a double strand from the neck, a pouch-laden black leather booty bandolier over a crisp collar white silk blouse bound with an intricate pearl-beaded belt, a blackened bone and alexandrite talon ring, some glossy black leather pants laced up the sides with thin grey cords, and some slouched grey leather knee-boots buckled with lustrous alexandrite tentacles.
Alas time is against us and the tabby cat is insisting it's time for me to move so he can resume his nap on, what I imagine, is actually his throne. The tour moves on to the Crew Quarters! A quick glimpse at the Cargo Hold filled with all manner of supplies and what looks like a driftwood chest containing gold coins - could this be Maylan's treasure stash - and we find ourselves in a rather cramped space fitted with hammocks and a few makeshift tables.
"Scurvy is a menace."
I note the basket of fruit hanging near the door and a community toothbrush. At least some thought has been given to the health and wellbeing of their crew.
"The rum and fish breath were getting to be a bit too much."
I suspect my pallor turned a little green at this so moving swiftly on I was led to the Mess Hall and the famous plum duff. I am greeted by a much more pleasant odour as I catch the cook preparing the evening meal. The smell of roasting meat is not one I particularly like but it is preferable to the above-mentioned. My usual strict regime of not eating during daylight hours put aside for a moment - may Lumnis forgive me but it would be rude to refuse such hospitality – I help myself to a very small mouthful of purplish plum duff and can confirm it is delicious. For once, Maylan is to be commended for her gastronomic choices.
Next on the tour is the Social Room: another well-utilised space making good use of rum barrels, oak planks and upturned buckets as a makeshift card table, along with a clever use of discarded crates that form a small performance stage for entertaining during, what I imagine, are rather long spells at sea. Morale is also something they both consider to be important and having a Captain with a good sense of humour must surely help!
"It takes an excellent first mate to be a good captain. And not to brag but I do think I have the best. They're not here right now so we'll have to settle for Treeva."
Apparently this is a good time to meet "the bird" as he is fondly referred to. The naming of said bird seems to be still under debate: Squawkers, Beaky and Barfy being the current options. I am taken to the Crow's Nest after much persuasion and reassurances as to my safety – something about the view being worth the perilous climb. I must admit, the view was magnificent, as was the black-plumed frigatebird in its circular thatch nest that I mostly kept my gaze fixed on.
With the sun now fairly low in the sky, I reluctantly draw our tour to a close but not before I am offered the chance to take the Cruel Raven-hued Dawn out for a brief sail. With a white flag flying, I am allowed to navigate the vessel away from our designated pier – under the watchful eye of the Captain and First Mate – and soon rewarded with the sighting of a school of silver fish and a large whale. Safely navigating us back to port, I am heartily congratulated on my new-found maritime skills (they are really too kind) and I now have some wonderful memories of my time on board to take away with me.
Not quite on the open seas but what an adventure!
As Seen In...
During a quick date with Vincien
We couldn't end the adventure there without a brief word from a member of the crew. I tracked Maylan down in The Sea Hag's Roost supping on a tankard of malty ale – I don’t think it was her first that afternoon. The tavern was busy and rather noisy but the atmosphere was pleasant enough. Joining Maylan at her table, it took her a few moments to focus but she seemed pleased to see me again.
For this summer edition, we present the lovable Land Pirate as an example of...practical sea-faring attire.
You see Land Pirate Maylan the Nuisance. She appears to be an Aelotoi of the Mrae'ni Clan. She is of a slight height and has a thin, wiry frame. She appears to be in the flower of life. She has completely solid, vivid jade eyes and mocha freckled, ruddy skin. She has raggedly cut, frizzy raven-sheened hair stuffed beneath an empty rusted steel bucket. She has a narrow face, a gently sloped nose and a pointed chin. She has a small gap between her front teeth. She has a discolored mop-fringed pegleg for a leg. She has a pair of crooked, jagged-edged pearly wings splattered in mismatched murky splotches.
She has a black-inked polar bear paw print on her wrist, and a sun-shaped gold stud in her right nostril. Small metallic-sheened scarabs skitter across the exposed parts of her body, burrowing briefly beneath the skin before resurfacing. She is wearing a layered wine-stained linen chest-wrap, a vibrant misshapen belt created from knotted bandanas, a tattered linen wrap-skirt of sun-faded umber, and some braided knotwork rope sandals.
I don't know what was more disconcerting, the scarabs skittering over her body or the inlaid face of the table we were seated at that seemed to resemble a sea hag puckering her lips in my direction. Draining her tankard, Maylan obliged me with a response to my inquiry about her time as crew.
"The Cruel Raven-Hued Dawn? Oh aye, I've mopped her good and plenty."
She wiped her nose on the back of her sleeve before continuing.
"I could've had her for my own, you see. But luckily for the Notorious Treeva, she pays me in plum duff. How can I enact a violent betrayal with a belly full of duff?"
Maylan hoisted her tankard in the air.
"Plum duff: it keeps the mutiny at bay!"
At which I beat a hasty retreat before I was obligated to refill that tankard or suffer further injury from that ferocious pegleg.
Off the Shelf: Nautical
So long as there has been a sea there have been sailors, fishermen, pirates and explorers - people whose life is spent fighting the elements, holding fast and exploring the length, breadth, and depth of the Elanith oceans. These adventurers have adapted clothes for the task of protecting them from the harshness of life at sea and the garments have made their way onto the shelves of boutiques and even onto the catwalks.
Whilst practical, warm, and hard-wearing, nautical clothing has an admirable simplicity - not to mention that it's usually produced in those unbeatably versatile shades of navy blue, black, grey, and white. The chosen fabrics are easy to wear, ranging from supple leather and suede to lighter materials such as linen and chambray.
Accessorize, but don't go overboard. Choose striped bags with brown leather trim or rope details, gold jewellery with anchors or starfish, but don't pile on too many accessories at once. The key is to highlight one main accessory and then keep any other accessories simple and minimal.
Go for a bold statement necklace in gold with blue or white details. Look for a bracelet with boats or perhaps little lobster charms. Or layer on two or three simple gold necklaces for a more subtle look. Why not add a belt to a navy or striped tunic to give your outfit a fun, chic element. Make your everyday outfit nautical with a cotton scarf in navy or in an anchor print. So many options!
CREW She is wearing an iridescent glaes jellyfish hair-pin, a pale doeskin bag with long knotted fringe, a dark-striped navy blue cotton shirt, a carved ivory cameo ring, some rolled-up sand-hued pants, and some dark ankle-strapped sandals.
Grab a navy cable-knit sweater with white stripes from Lucretia's Fashions for those chilly nights at sea.
PIRATE He is wearing an oversized navy velvet tricorne, a single gold earring, a well-oiled tanned leather longcoat, a tone-on-tone navy jacquard waistcoat over a fitted white linen shirt with unbuttoned sleeves, a gold pinky ring, a pair of slim-legged buff leather trousers, and some tall brass-buckled brown suede boots.
PORT She has beautifully indigo-outlined eyes. She is wearing a string of freshwater pearls, a soft cream and grey tartan shawl, some wrist-buckled mahogany leather gloves, a dark leather copper-studded belt, an off-shoulder natural linen gown pinned in tiered layers, and some riveted navy blue suede ankle-boots.
All of the items can be found on the shelves of the town boutique shops. Check out Elaraeyn's Boutique in Wehnimer's Landing, Flashfeet's Fine Fashions in Icemule Trace, Faeilythe's Fashions in Solhaven, and the Island Boutique in Mist Harbor.