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Recognizing Elven Crests, a Brughan Perspective
See Also: The Layman's Guide to Elven Heraldry

By Loremaster Tormus Bridewain of the Brughan

When Brughan children are small, their parents will spin beautiful stories to amuse their children - stories of brave Truefolk archers who ride on ponyback and conquer all manner of evil with quick thinking and a steady eye. There are many drawings to go with the tales, and the small children listen with eyes and hearts full of wonder.

But there is another tale that must be told when a child is older, one which is told for the first time when the growing Brughan first asks, "Where did the ponies go?"

Then it is the sad task of the storyteller to relate the tales of the Horse Wars, and to watch as the child grieves or rages or sits in quiet silence and absorbs the information. Now the child understands many of his people's rituals for the first time, both rituals used to honor the ponies in life, and rituals used to mourn them.

When tears, tempest, or silence comes to an end, Brughan children will often declare their undying hatred of the elves for this age-old crime. Many parents will point out that there are more elves than merely the Ardenai, and that it is folly to treat all of a race as if they were all of one tribe, just as it would be foolish to treat all Truefolk as if they were Paradis. To many children, the difference does not matter at first, but, when they are older, they often ask how they may recognize the different groups of elves.

The parent responds to the child, "There are four ways to recognize an Ardenai, or any other elf. You will know an elf's culture by his appearance, his attitudes, his family, and his crest."

Here are the crests of the Elven Houses, described and depicted so that none will remain in ignorance. Whether an elf is friend or foe, accursed or honored, let him be known and recognized for what he is.

When the elves display their crests, the crests are always round and set inside a circle. Sometimes, particularly in ancient records, the circles are broken into five or seven parts across the top, but the bottom is always solid.

These crests will be most often encountered, as they belong to five active, living houses:

House Ardenai:   a green oak leaf on a field of brown
House Illistim:   a peacock on a field of sapphire
House Loenthra:   a silver harp on a field of amethyst
House Nalfein:   an onyx rose on a field of jade
House Vaalor:   a golden wyvern on a field of crimson

The Ardenai are never to be trusted or believed, unless a single elf shows himself to be unlike his kin. The Vaalorians are impassive- neither hostile nor friendly- but they are best avoided, for they are fully devoted to their city and their people, and they care nothing for anything outside its walls. The Nalfein are like poisoned honey wine, with a dagger always waiting beneath the surface of impeccable politeness, and a Nalfein's words must always be ignored in order to watch his actions for the truth.

While the betrayals in history show any elf must earn a Truefolk's trust, the Loenthra have a keen ear for song and a good eye for color, and the Illistim are always curious to hear another tale. Members of these two Houses are more friendly and reliable than any other.

The following crests are less common, but adventurous Truefolk may still encounter them.

House Ashrim:   an aquamarine wavecrest on a field of white
Even if the House is dead, some elves still display the Ashrim crest for the memory of their kin. Those few who remain who call themselves pure-blooded Ashrim are lost souls... no true family, no living heritage, and no real hope.
     
Ancient House Faendryl:   a grey tower on a field of scarlet
This crest was displayed by the House before the battle of Maelshyve.
     
Disgraced House Faendryl:   a fallen black keep on a field of scarlet
The other elves officially changed the Faendryl crest to this image after the battle of Maelshyve, though the Faendryl didn't like it much. Most images of the former crest were replaced with this image.
     
Modern House Faendryl:   a scarlet pentacle on a field of grey
The pentacle is a symbol of demon-summoning. After coming out of Rhoska-Tor, the dark elves embraced the evil for which they were cast out, and they took it as their crest as a slap at the other elves.
     
The Dhe'nar    
The Dhe'nar have their own crest, but they don't seem to have a system of heraldry -- or, if they do, it's written down in runes instead of being drawn out in symbols. An enruned triangle surrounds the Dhe'nar crest instead of the bordering circle used by the other elves, and sometimes more runes are set within the crest. The crest itself is composed of three equal-sized overlapping circles, one on top and two below. While most often shown in violet on black, the crest can be any color on any field, and stories still remember this crest as a brand upon Truefolk flesh.

These things were written by Loremaster Tormus Bridewain of the Brughan to help educate his people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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