Erithi Storytelling

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Erithi Storytelling is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

The Three Fires: Kindling the Flames of Erithi Storytelling

The Three Fires: Kindling the Flames of Erithi Storytelling
From a lecture by Isienaka, Chief Scholar of Atan Irith, given in 5122 at a symposium in Ta'Loenthra

Introduction

Most people love a good story, and the average erithi is no exception to the rule. Indeed, storytelling has a long and, if you will excuse the pun, storied history in Atan Irith, with several storytelling styles.

While there are artistically accepted forms and expressions of storytelling amongst the erithi, and indeed several orders and groups dedicated to said forms and expressions, it must be stressed that the idea of gathering together in a group and simply telling a story is still the most common, popular, and accessible form of storytelling in Atan Irith as it is everywhere.

The Erithi word for stories or storytelling is rai'xiasa meaning dreams of the soul; it speaks to the erithi belief that storytelling comes from within, the dreams of the soul made manifest. Now, it is important to note that this does not mean we believe the teller of terrible tales is at their core a terrible person, but rather one whose artistic skills lie in the realm of the horrific (or sometimes in the realm of teaching, codifying important life lessons within frightening stories).

For those with a mind for the Arkati, rai'xiasa is most often associated with Ronan and Cholen when speaking of general storytelling. There is a subset of rai'xiasa known as The Three Fires which I am here to speak about, and those are more frequently associated with the Grandfather, if they are associated with an Arkati at all.

The Three Fires of Rai'xiasa

Erithi have three types of storytelling using some version of fire, agara-fae, eloth-fae, and shidaxa-hai, loosely translated to dreamfire, skyfire, and shadowfire. Together, these are known as the Three Fires.

Dreamfire

One of the most well-known Three Fires outside Atan Irith is eloth-fae, or skyfire, but its roots lie within the storytelling art known as agara-fae (dreamfire). The full Erithi phrase is "agara y rai'xiasa a fae," or "to the fire of an old soul's dream."

The art of agara-fae involves telling a story while creating illusions complementing the tale. Dreamfire at its purest is seen as the manifestation of our inner fire, of the old souls within us speaking to our consciousness. The illusions of a dreamfire story are most commonly places important to the story, as well as holding a place in the storyteller's, and hopefully listener's, heart.

Initially, these illusions were quite simple, elemental magic creating the outlines of each backdrop for the story in its characteristic foxfire green hues - a will o'the wisp of a concept drifting before a rapt audience. Study and collaboration between the illusionist storytellers, however, improved the dreamfire until the images cast before the audience were as realistic as being there.

In the beginning and for several years after its origin, dreamfire was limited to a handful of illusionists both talented enough to cast the magic and skilled enough to weave captivating stories. Demand necessitated innovation, and illusionists began working with alchemists and engineers, and finally, they created dreamfire boxes to expand the pool of storytellers beyond those with magical talents.

Dreamfire boxes are large chests whose interiors are a complex combination of magical imbuement, alchemical processes, and engineering triumphs. As long as an illusionist creates and stores the images, a skilled storyteller can use the chest to project those images and weave their story. While useful, this was still a bit unwieldy for the nimble storyteller, and over time, the size of the dreamfire holder has reduced and become more portable. The most elaborate stories and tales will require either multiple holders or one large one, but for the traveling storyteller of today, a brief sojourn with an agara-fae illusionist (and a permanent parting of one's silver) yields a portable device holding several dreamfire images to comprise a few signature stories.

Popularity for dreamfire has waxed and waned over the years, but it is currently in a resurgence thanks to newer members of the Order of the Three Fires. A few years ago, they created a dreamfire panel bracelet, imbuing each panel with a single image. With a simple motion, the wearer of the bracelet (known as a raxiara – it appears they simply mashed together 'rai' 'xiasa' and 'agara' to create their own word, as the erithi word for bracelet is actually lirveil, but it has caught on) can project the image. While some are using raxiara for storytelling, many are actually using it to capture images of their favorite places. Indeed, erithi adventuring abroad write home requesting raxiara stored with images of all the places they have missed while being away.

Erithi artisans are teaching other interested artisans the techniques for a dreamfire panel bracelet, sparking popularity across Elanthia.

Skyfire

The artform of skyfire, or eloth-fae, is intricately tied to that of dreamfire, both being means to project evocative imagery and to tell one's story around that imagery. It is believed that the genesis of both is the same – an illusionist projecting an image of their own making. However, skyfire moved bigger – to projecting upon the sky for larger crowds, while dreamfire became more intimate, projecting images to a small group or even for oneself.

As dreamfire artisans explored more realistic illusions and accessibility to non-illusionists, skyfire specialists blended gnomish ingenuity with magic and alchemical concoctions to create the firing power and colors eloth-fae is known for. Gorgeous and intricate images explode upon the sky in a sparkling burst, as the storyteller times their tale to match the beats of the cannons' workings.

Shadowfire

The third fire, shadowfire, is inspired by shadow lanterns. These simple lanterns feature cut-outs on panels that rotate as the candle or oil within heats the surface, casting flickering images upon the walls. Shadow lanterns are believed to have originated in the small forest villages of Talador, spreading rapidly across Bourth and Highmount as well. These isolated hamlets and hollows crafted storytelling around the lanterns and their images, townspeople gathering close together in darkened rooms to listen and watch.

While it remains a niche artform, it did spread, and erithi artisans adapted its roughspun roots into a more spectacular array of images, and shidaxa-hai, or shadowfire, was born. Several panels, each with their own cut-outs, are cleverly slotted throughout the lantern, and the storyteller uses hidden controls to switch between panels, changing the images projected along the walls. Shidaxa-hai uses natural fire (candles or oil) and their natural heat to turn the lanterns and project the images; thus the the use of hai, natural fire, instead of fae in its name.

Shadowfire storytelling centers around creepy tales, and its popularity soars during the month of Jastatos, with traveling storytellers kept busy roaming from town to town. Performances are typically held at a local theatre, but it is not unheard of for a tavern to host a performance or two as well. In addition, families will often possess their own shadowfire lantern for family gatherings.

The original shadow lanterns with their simple cut-out panels remain popular in several human areas, and erithi visiting Elanith often seek the lanterns out, sending them home as gifts - the scarier the cut-outs, the better.

Conclusion

In conclusion, like most cultures, the erithi have several types of storytelling. The Three Fires often get a lot of the limelight given their unique and theatrical nature, but nothing truly replaces several people gathered around a storyteller as they weave a vision with only their words.

OOC Notes

Created by GM Xynwen and released on 2022-07-04. This started originally with the dreamfire idea with GM Meraki, and she asked me to expand upon it and then asked "how do you envision erithi gathering for storytelling," and that seemingly simple question led to this document.