Fashion and Textiles of Rhoska-Tor and New Ta’Faendryl

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Fashion and Textiles of Rhoska-Tor and New Ta’Faendryl

Author: Missoni Sabretache Faendryl

Overview: Textiles and the Philosophy of Faendryl Fashion

Due to the nature of the environment of the Southron Wastes and its magical effects, Faendryl fashion as we know it today evolved first from a need to survive and work comfortably in a harsh desert climate. Thus, everyday textiles are valued by the Faendryl for their durability and breathability. Haute couture designers often include the practical as well as the sculptural and artistic in a given season’s lookbook, acknowledging the utilitarian needs present in even the highest echelons of Faendryl society. This is not to say that Faendryl fashion is not also artistic. Rather, when delicate materials are used in Faendryl couture by the high fashion houses, they may be included as a nod to how far the people have come—no longer mere Elven exiles but thriving residents of the Wastes who, through practicality, perseverance, and raw skill, have mastered one of the most unforgiving environments on the continent.

The fine arts in New Ta’Faendryl reflect this perspective, a point made by art philosopher Eldorven Morelvh Faendryl, who writes:

“Our people have long had a willingness to utilize materials and practices that others might find unpalatable at their best and ‘evil’ at their worst, but for our culture the tools bred by necessity are the most beautiful; these representations of thriving despite adversity are our art.”

Indeed, Faendryl aesthetics often holds beauty and function in equal regard, as reflected in the practice of sorcery and its inclusion in the culture’s aesthetic philosophy. Academics from the school of artistic thought known as the Ivoiluth (roughly translated into Common as “Functionalists”) famously argue against Beauty as an end in and of itself, citing an absence of function as the ultimate ugliness.(1) These voices, perhaps taking the view to its extreme, call the concept of beauty a

“Lie used in arguments against sorcery, the most practical and therefore the most aesthetically perfect practice there is despite being viewed among other cultures as traditionally vile.”

While this author is not necessarily in support of this view to its extreme, this document presents a handful of examples that illustrate the overall approach to Faendryl textiles as tools and art derived of, from, and for practitioners of sorcery and denizens of the Wastes.

However, it should be noted that, given their tendency toward practicality, Faendryl abroad might adopt other textiles and fashions into their personal style as necessitated by the local climate or social and political expectations.

Products of Rhoska-Tor: Kiv

Kivala are a type of ground cherry found near Rhoska-Tor, and the same magical remnants that affect the appearance and skin tone of the cultures known as the dark elves has affected these plants, causing smoky striations in the fruit’s skin and flesh and rendering them mostly inedible. They can, however,  be ingested thanks to a method of preparation known only to and closely guarded by the most skilled Faendryl chefs, and are thus considered a culinary delicacy throughout New Ta’Faendryl; their preparation and export is heavily limited save for use in poisons.

More commonly, textile manufacturers use dye from the kivala to produce a fine, lightweight linen known as kiv.(2) Kiv bears a red hue from near-black to bright carmine depending on how close to Rhoska-Tor the cherries it is derived from originate, but the locale’s inherent magic remains in the weave. The finest weavers can use the remnants of mana to draw a dark iridescence from the fabric in intricate geometric or asymmetric patterns. The resulting textile shifts with the subtle undertones of these patterns, appearing almost continuously in motion. Thanks to its airy weave but opulent appearance, kiv is highly sought after and commonly used in addition to bourde in formal garments from court gowns to ceremonial robes and even everyday wear by the high society, where particular patterns and weavers go in and out of fashion with the couture seasons. The wearer might even go so far as to communicate subtle messages in the fleeting pattern, such as during the courting process, when an intended lover might indicate consent to court–or quite the opposite.

Known to make use of all parts of a crop, the Faendryl also find use for the wood, kiva, from these plants. Kiva’s stygian hue glistens faint crimson but can be brightened incrementally with polishing. While the wood from live plants is rarely harvested so as to preserve the crop, those plants that have perished naturally often find a second life as jewelry, adornment, or household decor. The inherent magic in the plants makes it resistant to rot and parasite, and it is thus a symbol of endurance if gifted among Faendryl.

Products of the Valences: Shien’sha, Verl’sha, Tyr’sha, and Tyr’tha

While the Faendryl have made the best of the natural resources found in Rhoska-Tor, the limitations of the environment have encouraged some enterprising members of the Emporion to seek solutions from extraplanar sources. These products are less commonly seen in everyday use than the environmentally derived fabrics of Rhoska-Tor due to the complications of mass-producing products of extraplanar origin. While some textile manufacturers have partnered with demonologists in hopes of creating a steady supply of these fabrics, no automated process for harvesting these materials has yet been established on a demonic plane.

The most common of these products is the silk derived from the arashan demon, a large spider-like creature from the shien’tyr valance that is relatively simple to summon. Known as shien’sha (“shiensilk” in Common), the fabric is woven from the thick ropes produced by the arashan, and is therefore quite heavy and sturdy. In texture, it feels almost like an impossibly soft form of canvas. Thanks to its nearly indestructible but also breathable and water resistant nature, shien’sha makes for a practical outerwear choice and has been heavily employed by the Faendryl Armata and by travelers abroad, particularly those taken to seafaring or living in wet climes.

Verl’sha, or “loraesilk” in the Common tongue, is a bit rarer due to the time and care it takes to produce. Woven from silk strands of the small wasteweaver spider and the delicate vanes of verlok feathers, this silk is enchanted to maintain a faintly luminous quality and appears only in metallic hues. Because verlok do not drop feathers in large quantities and because it takes a significant amount of the exceptionally fine wasteweaver silk to make even a yard of cloth, verl’sha is rarely produced with the intention to create large garments and is usually used to create accents such as scarves, shawls, and trim. Due to the spidersilk strands woven into the warp, the resulting cloth is far sturdier than the appearance implies, and many families pass pieces down through generations as heirlooms. Some historical accounts allude to rumors that Rythwier Sukari Faendryl, the 37th Patriarch and father of Chesylcha Sukari Faendryl, sent several large bolts of verl’sha to Ta’Ashrim with his daughter with the intention of crafting a wedding dress worthy of a Faendryl return to the Elven houses; like Chesylcha, the fabric never made it to its destination. As such, many Faendryl still consider it in bad taste to wear verl’sha on one’s wedding day.

Lastly, some of the newest and most experimental garments to come out of sorcery are known only as tyr’sha (or “veil silk”) and tyr’tha (or “veil leather”). The result of extraplanar experimentation, tyr’sha and tyr’tha can only be created by a skilled demonologist by traveling to another plane of existence. Thus, very few pieces exist. Those that have been seen seem to absorb all light, shifting with the darkness of the void itself. Rumors abound that more combat-minded sorcerers and Palestra alike have been trying to further develop and acquire this enigmatic material, but its properties and use are currently unknown outside of New Ta’Faendryl.


  1. Faendryl philosophy of art is historically depicted on a matrix, with Ivoiluth school (“Functionalists”) in the lower right quadrant and Yilsilouth school (“Aesthetes”), who value Beauty for its own sake as a mark of cultural progress, in the upper left. Some more modern schools of thought have argued for warping said matrix into a sphere, stating that the Faendryl concept of beauty has essentially diverged in the diaspora to devalue symmetry in favor of a more dynamic aesthetic. These debates are ongoing in the Basilica at the time of this writing.
  2. The author acknowledges the misuse of the word “linen” here. As there is no flax near New Ta’Faendryl from which to manufacture true linen, kiv is the closest facsimile and is often referred to as a linen.