Legends of the Elven Nations
Legends of the Elven Nations is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
The Thirteenth day of the Month of Olaestra, fifty-one hundred
"My travels have returned me to the land of my birth, Ta'Vaalor and I am the happier for it. With me I have brought many great wonders from the west, along with new insight into much of the lore I knew of my home."There is very little known of where the origin of the following myths begins. I have done much research but it has proved futile, too much fiction envelops these stories. Perhaps in the future years I might as-yet unravel their mystery, but for now I give you four short tales of lore and legend."
Minstrel and Thespian
Throughout the many centuries, heroes rise and fall, stories become legends as they're stretched as far as the imagination can reach. To some, those tales have become the groundwork for a plethora of fairytales and myths, while to others they are nothing more than tall tales told to little children in the dark hours of the night.
In the following text are some of the lesser-known legends of the Elven Nations, passed down through the generations, twisted and altered with each telling, until captured in the prose of the Bardess Briede Songweavyre of Ta'Vaalor.
Patience and the Lily
"This tale I learned from an old wizened empath who once frequented the dais of Ta'Illistim. Having great respect for her, I included this tale when I learned of her passing into Lorminstra's care. She insisted the tale is true, but as yet I have found no evidence to either prove or falsify her claims."
Outside the village of Sylvaerrand there lived an old farmer and his wife. They led a simple life, growing wheat and barley for a nearby brewery. The farmers had but one child, a lovely girl they aptly named Patience. She was a good child and quickly grew to love working in the fields with her father.
As the years passed, the farmer's prosperity grew and he began to expand his fields with each season. Soon he had nearly doubled the size of his crop and the small family had no worries. Patience had since become a young woman, lovely and fair-tempered; there was no one who could speak ill of her.
One day, while working in the fields with her father, Patience noticed dark clouds spreading across the horizon. When she questioned her father, he brushed off her concern. Later that day Patience spoke up again, this time about a dark stranger moving across the far edge of the field towards them. The two stood, watching the man grow closer.
Soon they could make out the man's features. He was aged, his face worn and half-covered by a long combed beard. His eyes, however, were not dull but alert, dark and piercing. As he grew closer, his pace slowed and he finally came to stand a few yards from the farmer and Patience.
The three stood for a long moment, caught up in an uncomfortable silence. When the figure finally spoke, his words rang out across the field, cold and hard. He accused them of usurping his lands and farming them without his consent. He continued on, his words cutting through the old farmer like a blade through rolton flesh.
The farmer attempted to speak but was quickly silenced by the man's angry fist. His voice never raised yet his words grew with intensity, as he demanded payment for the time the farmer had taken his land. Patience stepped forward and denied the man payment for anything. She watched as his eyes flared with anger yet continued on, claiming he had no right to the land, having left it vacant for so many years.
He raised his hands to the sky and, with an incantation, they began to glow with a wickedly red light. Suddenly, Patience was clutching at her throat, unable to breath. The sorcerer demanded payment again and the farmer, desperate to save his daughter, promised he would pay. Slowly, the man lowered his hands, freeing Patience from his magical grip. She flew forward, gasping for air.
The sorcerer laughed darkly and began once again to chant. He spoke of a curse on the farmer's fields. They would never again bear a crop of any kind and would forever be barren. The farmer moved to Patience and began to rub her back, helping to ease her coughing. He paid little mind to the sorcerer's curse, concerned over his daughter's well being. This was not lost upon the sorcerer.
His gaze turned to the daughter and a dark, evil smile curled his lips. He began his magical chanting again, this time directing his curse at Patience. From that day on, he decreed that she would never again be able to feel the touch of a human being. Each and everything she would touch would wither and die.
The father shouted out, and Patience cried in despair. He clung to his daughter for dear life and demanded the sorcerer release her from the curse and take him instead. The sorcerer only laughed, and watched as his curse took the life of the farmer. Patience fell to the ground, the lifeless body of her father cradled in her arms. With his work done, the sorcerer turned and left, leaving Patience mourning her loss.
After a while, Patience took her father back to their home. She explained what had happened to her mother and the two agreed she ought to leave, as the town would no longer be safe for her. With tears in her eyes, she packed her things and left the only life she had ever known.
From that day on, Patience traveled alone, never remaining in one place for more than a fortnight. The years passed and she grew in adulthood, never making a single friend in all her wanderings. She grew depressed, and soon she could hardly find a reason to make her way from town to town.
One day, when she had traveled to the city of Ta'Vaalor, she met a young wizard by the name of Gailyn. He was quick to sympathize with the young woman's plight and swore he would find a way to break the curse. His oath brought hope to Patience and she agreed to help in any way she could. Time passed and Gailyn worked diligently to try and break the curse to no avail. With each passing day, Patience lost hope in ever finding a cure.
Gailyn grew in years as he searched for a cure for the woman he had grown to love. Secretly, he too had given up hope, yet still he searched, unwilling to let his despair show to Patience. Ready to give up, Gailyn nearly missed the cure staring him straight in the eye. An elderly wizard had been passing through the Landing, having returned from her latest ventures in the rift, when Gailyn heard of her. He left the elven city and made the long trek to the human outpost. Maelfey had studied the arts of sorcery, as well as wizardry, and knew of the old sorcerer who had cursed Patience. She explained to Gailyn that the one true weakness of evil sorcery was that of true love.
The wizard at once grew hopeful at the old woman's words. He felt he could now finally free Patience from the curse. Maelfey cautioned him against being rash, that unless he knew Patience's heart to be true he ought not risk it, but Gailyn did not heed her. He rushed off to his Patience, his heart full of joy.
Without a word of forewarning, Gailyn reached for Patience and kissed her. The kiss lasted for but a moment and when he pulled away they watched each other, waiting. For what felt like an eternity the two stood, each fearful to speak. At last, Gailyn smiled, at first softly but soon it changed, to something more sardonic. He slipped from her to the floor, where he died.
After she had buried him, she chose to leave the town she had come to nearly call home. While packing, she came upon a small parcel with her name on it. Cautiously, Patience opened the package. Inside was the most intricate and beautiful flower Patience had ever seen. The long stemmed lily been expertly crafted from fine opals and pale, purple jade. At the flower's center, tiny diamonds on the petals reflected the light, appearing as dewdrops. The stem and leaves of the lily had been hand-carved from flawless jade, etched so intricately that it appeared real. The blossom was a symbol of Gailyn's love.
The Ghost of the Moor
"This is hardly anything more than a ghost story told by young elves in the wilderness on cold, stormy nights to help them through their rite of passage. I have yet to discover any historic background on the girl Rayne, but the moral of the story is most compelling."
It is spoken of in women's circles and around the fires on cold, dark nights... that there is a ghost on the moor. She is not the kind of haunting, evil specter that most ghost tales are made of; her story is one of sadness. Rayne once lived in the city of Ta'Illistim as the daughter of a blacksmith. She was considered one of the loveliest elves in the city and, despite her common lineage; her father had hopes that she would one day marry a nobleman.
When the mayor's son, a commander in the Empress' army, sought out his daughter, the blacksmith was overjoyed and quickly blessed the union. Rayne denied the man her hand in marriage, asking that he court her first, so that she might look favorably upon him before she took her vows. The commander agreed and the two courted for many years.
Over the course of their courtship, Rayne grew to love the commander with all her heart, yet she did not accept his proposal. Each time he would ask, she would manage to fend him off, asking him for but a month more. The commander remained steadfast in his love for her, promising he would wait until the end of time.
Rayne's father grew angry at his daughter's games, chastising her for being so careless with a man's heart. He cautioned her, for no good could come of her trickery. Yet the girl paid her father no mind, and she continued her games for seven long years.
During this time, the elven forces were gathering in an effort to quell the growing dissension from the south. Rayne knew her beloved commander would be sent into battle, and she could not bear the thought of losing him. She went to him and agreed to marry him in a fortnight. The commander was overjoyed and promised her that once he returned from his father's stronghold to the north, he would marry her. With a heavy heart Rayne said goodbye to her love.
A week later, Rayne received word that her commander would be returning the following fortnight and she was to meet him on Glo'atern moor, where they would be married. Rayne was ecstatic and set to the task of arranging a cleric for the ceremony. It is said that she walked on clouds throughout the week, so great was her joy.
Seven days after the arrival of the letter, Rayne stood upon the moor, waiting patiently for her love's arrival. The day slowly passed and friends came and went, growing weary of the wait. Rayne alone remained well into the night. As the sun rose on a new day, it found her still waiting. Days and nights passed and yet still she remained. Neither drinking nor eating, Rayne stood facing the north waiting for her love to return.
Without food, water or sleep, Rayne's health began to fail and it is said that somewhere, deep within her heart, she knew her commander had been slain and so she had given up on her own life. Rayne's father found her body, hours after she had died, and buried her upon the moor.
There are whispered tales that a young woman can be seen standing on the moor, facing north. If one listens close enough, it is said that her crying can be heard. Tears spent for the loss of love and for the tragedy her cruelty had caused her. Let this be a lesson to those who love... love well, for tomorrow may never come.
The Tale of the Rolton Mask
"I find this tale ever so amusing, despite its lack of elven origin. The moral is certainly evident as well. While I have found historical traces of the halfling family and have visited the Cavernhold, I have yet to discover any evidence of this "rolton mask" and continue to take this story with a grain of salt."
Once, outside the town of Ta'Illistim, in the caves of Whistler's Pass, lived a halfling couple. Olbrekt was a very simple man who loved only the hunt above his beloved wife, Elpha. His wife, however, was not as simple. She loved money above all else, save her own self and wished more than anything else to obtain the fortune and fame marrying a simple huntsman had denied her.
Over the years, her disdain grew into full hatred and she became desperate to find a way to escape Olbrekt. She would sneak away from her home when Olbrekt had left on a hunt and make her way through every inn and tavern, searching for anything that would aid her in her quest. Hidden in shady corners she would wait, listening in on the conversations of every wayfarer who happened into the tavern.
It was here she discovered the origin of Cavernhold. A little known place well beyond the borders of Upper Trollfang, the hold was a home of a band of dwarves. The gnolls had created, in Cavernhold, a defensive system like no other and to this day, few have managed to penetrate it.
While the defenses of the stronghold barely fazed Elpha, the talk of the great prize that lies at its center enthralled her. She listened to the conversation intently and, when the bandits left the inn that night, Elpha followed them. She marked a path to their camp and returned home to gather supplies before her husband returned home from the hunt.
She followed them through Dragonsclaw, through Trollfang and Alpine Meadow. The bandits were camped just beyond a secluded valley where the hold was nestled between the two mountains. That night, Elpha slept in a bed of crumpled leaves and briars. She awoke the next morning to more aches and pains than she had thought possible, yet the image of being bedecked in jewels and luxuries numbed her pain and she began to track the bandits towards the hold.
The bandits were quick to infiltrate the stronghold's defenses and, thanks to the quick fingers of the locksmith they had hired, moved through the inner chambers with nearly as much speed. It was only when the corridors became too small for any of them to fit that their progress slowed. It was then that Elpha made her move. With the quickness of a puma, she slipped past the bandits and through the last door. After moving through a series of tunnels she came upon a large cavern. She rubbed her greedy little hands together in anticipation as she moved inside the cavern, expecting to find the mounds of treasure she had heard so much about.
She was barely able to stifle her cry of distress. There was no treasure. Not a nugget of gold or silver coin in the entire cavern. Enraged, she bounded through the cavern and over to where a large, carved stone altar stood. With a cry of frustration, she kicked the altar good and hard. Her cry quickly changed to one of intense pain and, falling to the floor, she grasped her bare foot.
When she had finally soothed her foot enough, she turned to her left and spotted a curious object. What appeared to be a carving of sorts turned out to be a small mask shaped like that of a whimsical rolton's face. She bundled the mask up inside her cloak and, with a heavy heart, left Cavernhold.
Upon returning home, she closeted away the mask and completely forgot about the thing for months. One day she was cleaning out the pantry and found it hidden behind a canister of flour. Baffled, having packed it away in her armoire, Elpha inspected the mask with further curiosity. Soon she was trying it on, and raising it to her face, she thought she could hear a soft whisper.
The moment the mask touched her skin it began to creak and shiver. Suddenly it grew, enveloping her head, securing itself and leaving Elpha no means of escape from it! She wrenched and writhed, crying out to be rid of the cursed mask to no avail. Finally, after much heaving, she grew calm and resigned to her situation.
It was then that she began to hear the whispers again, louder this time. "Elpha… make a wish… three wishes ye shall deem, enjoy your newfound magic. But be wary, for nothing is as it does seem." With that, Elpha's eyes lit up. Surely she had found the lost treasure of Cavernhold!
Immediately she uttered her first wish, "I wish to be the wealthiest in all Elanith!"
Suddenly the halfling woman found herself bedecked in the finest of red velvet, gem-encrusted rings sparkling brilliantly upon her fingers. She reached for her bankbook and gasped, for she had more silvers than she thought possible!
"I wish to be the most famous in all Elanith!" she cried out, delirious with her fortune. She felt no different from her second wish at first, but then a knocking at her door caught her attention. When she opened it, a young elven crier announced that a ball was being held in her honor at the BriarStone Keep in Ta'Illistim.
Elated, she began to dance around the room, the rich smell of spices clinging to her luxurious velvet tabard. Suddenly she stopped her celebration and grew somber. She knew she had but one wish left and that it must not be squandered. But what could be greater than all the wealth and fame in the lands? At once, the idea came to her and she uttered her third, and final, wish. "I wish to live forever!"
At that moment she fell to the floor and began to writhe and tremble. The mask began to grow once more, covering the halfling woman from head to toe. Thick, dirty fur began to sprout from the wooden mask, covering Elpha. When finally she stopped writhing in pain, she was no longer a halfling, but a rolton!
She stood up and fretted over her newfound body. When she tried to yell for help, she bleated instead. Just as she began to formulate a new plan of action to rid herself of the cursed mask, the door flew wide and in stepped Olbrekt.
The minute his eyes fixed upon the rolton a small, dark smile crossed his face. He reached for his bow and arrow, meaning to shoot the creature invading his home. Elpha tried to call out to him, to tell him who she was but all she did was bleat in fear. Olbrekt cocked back his bow and readied his shot. In that instant Elpha bounded for the door, but did not miss Olbrekt's shot. It grazed her face, slicing through her nose and eyes. She managed to make it out the door and into the forest. Her eyes never healed and she was blind from that day forth, left to travel the lands as an immortal, blind rolton for the rest of eternity.
Olbrekt, you ask? What became of him? He inherited his wife's wealth and fame and lived out the rest of his days as a huntsman, forever wondering what happened to his darling wife.
The Wizard and the Aivren
"This tale, I am told, is a little-known legend of Sylvarraend. While I have never seen any proof that wizards have the ability to enchant people, I have found some evidence that leads me to believe that the girl in this tale did actually exist."
It is said that there was once a young, impetuous wizard who lived his entire life trying to right the one wrong he ever did.
An apprentice wizard, long ago, felt himself to be great and strong. He had been practicing the mystical arts for the greater part of his life and, while he thought he had a firm grasp on it, his teacher found his skill still raw and lacking. This did not hinder the young mage's mischevious nature.
One day, while shopping in the marketplace, the young man came upon a lovely sylvan. The two exchanged a quick, polite smile and moved on. The wizard found himself looking back to catch another glimpse of the beautiful woman with hair of pure silver, yet could find her nowhere. Continuing on his way, he stopped to buy a wand. As he reached for his coin pouch realization suddenly hit. It was gone! The sylph has stolen his silvers!
The mage raced through the crowd, seeking out the young thief. Through the winding streets of Sylvarraend he ran, never able to find her. It wasn't until he began his trek back to his master's home that he again caught a glimpse of the silvery hair. Without thinking he turned on the girl, his rage apparent. He demanded his silvers back, to which she immediately declined. Without a warning the wizard began to chant, weaving magic into a powerful spell. Unfortunately, his will was not sufficient to control his magic as he cast.
The young girl screamed. A great cloud of smoke enveloped the thief and her screams slowly altered… into the sound of a screeching bird. When the smoke parted the girl was gone, in her place was an enormous aivren. The creature attacked the mage, slicing its claw down his face before launching into the air and retreating.
When the young man finally returned to his master's home, bruised and bloodied, his master was enraged. He demanded the boy seek out the creature and undo the wrong he had done, by killing the aivren. With that, he banished his pupil forever from his teachings. Having nothing left, the boy started out on a journey that would be his life.
Over many decades the boy, now a man, chased the creature across Elanith. Each city was laid waste by the creature's destruction yet he never managed to catch her. What he had discovered was that for a fortnight each full moon the aivren would change shape into the young sylvan girl once more and she would roam the city. Never did she remember the mage, or what had transpired between them. She always appeared lost and frail.
The wizard could not help but fall in love with the girl and found he could not destroy the creature he had been chasing for so many years. His life soon became wretched. No longer could he allow her to destroy city after city and claim the lives of innocents. He would have to destroy her.
It was in a little town known as River's Rest that he had his chance. The townspeople banded together to take down the creature. They used a combination of sorcerer, wizard and clerical magic to trap her and then the wizards and rogues ambushed the animal until it lay bleeding. It was only when the aivren lay dying upon the ground that spell was lifted. The wizard took the girl in his arms and there she died. It is said that soon after the wizard died as well. Without a quest or the woman he loved, to live for, he had given up on life.