The History of the Sylvan Elves
The Trail of Ages (ca. -36,567 to -22,460)
of the Sylvan Elves NEXT >>
As the city of Ithnishmyn was dismantled, the remarkable fact of
its minimal impact on the forest surrounding it was never more obvious.
The sylvans set out on their journey, and where once had been a
city unrivaled in beauty and scope, now only a few imprints on the
ground remained, and one large circle where a towering Council House
When next a caravan of elven tourists arrived, they found nothing
but the trees. Their guides assured them that this was indeed the
famed city of Ithnishmyn, however they retained a belief that they
had been swindled. As other groups arrived, found nothing and then
departed in disappointment, a legend began to spread through the
Nations, holding that greedy elves of another city had secured the
exclusive rights to visit the city and all others were being led
to an alternative location. Other stories gradually appeared, saying
the sylvans had all died from a cataclysmic plaque, that a fel magic
had swallowed them, and all sorts of other fanciful explanations.
The fact that the sylvans had simply walked away from their lovely
Ithnishmyn was too outlandish a concept for belief.
Meanwhile, divided into seven groups, the sylvans slipped away
through the forests, finally congregating a few hundred miles west
and somewhat south of Ithnishmyn. Many had incidents on the road
that took family members, and aggressive beasts occasionally threatened
the way. Two of the seven groups had to split into smaller bands
to avoid elves seen in the distance.
Under the security of a dense offshoot of the forest that had sheltered
Ithnishmyn, the sylvans regrouped. The rejoining took a good amount
of time, reckoned to be at least a number of years. While they awaited
those who had not yet come, they built shelters that echoed the
tent-like designs of their past and passed the seasons recounting
the adventures that had marked their various passages. Finally it
was agreed that all who could arrive had done so, and the sylvans
held a council, the first since the autumnal council that had made
the decision to send them on their present road. It was agreed that
the Sylvans would set out once again on the spring festival of Ivastaen,
called Dra'Elstin, and travel until winter forced them to stop.
Thereafter, they would construct dwellings and remain at that location
until spring thaw allowed them to take up their journey again.
While the decision to proceed with this plan was deemed auspicious
by a respected reader of signs, the plan eventually proved less
than fortuitous. The sylvans spent a month breaking down their camp,
it having turned into a semi-permanent town over the years, leaving
as little evidence of their inhabitation as they had at Ithnishmyn.
Traveling for two months, they arrived at the edge of a vast plain.
Tall grasses stretched to the horizon with nary a tree to break
its progression. Clearly, an expanse as devoid of trees as this
was viewed as extremely suspect by the forest dwellers. However,
the sheer size of the prairie, added to their impatience to move
away from established elven lands before their progress was detected,
prompted them to seriously consider the idea of crossing it.
Signs were cast at a number of points along the edge of the grasses.
Most were less than promising. However, Eislemar was becoming impatient.
He had grown querulous with the months of waiting for straggling
groups to join the main body of the sylvan host. And now, he was
met with yet another obstacle blocking the glorious journey to a
new land. He was disdainful of this damnable grassland and urged
the council to allow him to lead his people across it. His popularity
and positive demeanor were persuasive to the councilors, wearied
as they were by the years of travel. The council was swayed, and
despite the debatable omens, the decision to journey across the
grassy prairie was made.
At dawn on a bright day in the month of Phoenatos, the sylvan nation
began the march across the grasslands. The density of the grasses
was their first obstacle. Soon, they realized that their methods
of navigation within the forest were not very effective here. Directional
hints, such as moss growing on the boles of trees, were absent where
only the sky above could point the way. The sylvans had marched
for three weeks when it was discovered that a few outlying members
of the company had disappeared. In coming days, others disappeared.
Some vanished with a sudden scream that ended as quickly, and as
inexplicably, as it began. Others were lost without a trace.
After three weeks within the grasses, despite all protective measures
they undertook, more than 200 sylvans were missing. The sylvans
took to referring to the prairie as the Golden Anvil, named thus
because of the sun's burning heat overhead as well as the perilous
nature of the place. Finally, a council was called, and it was decided
to retrace their way back out of the grasses. Unfortunately, this
journey took four additional weeks and cost almost 900 lives. During
that time, a sighting was made of an immense wyrm that coursed through
the grasses as effortlessly as a fish glides through water.
During the last week of the retreat, one of the wyrms happened
upon the weary sylvans. Seeing the colossal beast bearing down upon
his people, Eislemar took up a position to challenge the beast,
standing directly in its path. His arms and staff raised, he concentrated
on the effort to summon all magic known to the unified sylvan collective
and direct it coursing through himself.
Eislemar's power was great. He cast back the wyrm with pulsing
waves of magic. However, as he saw the creature stunned by his assault,
he grew proud. He judged that he could turn it away, and at the
same time tame it to do his bidding by working with its frightening
As Eislemar's people ran, Eislemar studied the immense beast he
opposed. A final group streaked by him, calling pleas to him to
join them before the creature recovered from its stun. He nodded
reassurance as they fled past. Shaking off its confusion, the wyrm
slowly glided toward him. He watched its great, baleful black eye
look back at him, as if judging his mettle. As the monster rose
up before him, towering more than thirty feet overhead, Eislemar
realized he might have made a fatal mistake. It crashed down, cleaving
the earth as its bulk disappeared into the gash as easily as if
it was sliding down through muddy water. The impact knocked Eislemar
off his feet, and he felt the ground tremble as the wyrm's bulk
was consumed. He glimpsed its barbed tail disappear from sight.
Abruptly quiet descended, leaving only the whisper of the waving
grasses to mark the beast's passage into the earth. Eislemar breathed
a sigh of relief and began to get to his feet.
The wyrm resurfaced directly beneath him, its open maw engulfing
Eislemar. Stragglers still running for safety witnessed him disappear
into the gullet of the colossal wrym as it rose up into the sky,
arced and then disappeared again beneath the ground.
While the sylvans retreated out of the grasses in unorganized ribbons,
they occasionally heard screams as stragglers fell victim to the
Golden Anvil's horror.
The traumatized sylvans spent an additional six weeks on the edge
of the grassy plain, hoping that more of their people would escape
from the prairie. When finally it seemed likely that no one else
would escape, another council was called.
Since some of the councilors had been lost in the disaster on the
prairie, a quorum was determined and the remaining council members
began a discussion of their viable options. The atmosphere was heavy
with grief, for all participants had lost relatives and friends
and leaders. A decision was reached to pull back from the deadly
plain and find a way around it.
The sylvans resumed their journey, traveling west along the tree
line bordering the grasslands. Weeks passed, though they never again
glimpsed any of the plain's behemoths. The trees offered both shelter
and reassurance, and gradually the sylvans fell into an easy travel
rhythm. The routine of arising at dawn, walking until late afternoon,
and then setting up camp became second nature, and the memory of
the horrors they had faced on the grasslands began to recede. Abundant
game and berries supplied them with food, and with their expert
knowledge of the woodlands, they had little trouble finding springs
and streams. Finally, the forest turned from west to south, and
the sylvans traveled deeper within the bordering forest, often losing
sight of the heinous grasslands.
The beginning of winter had arrived, and they decided to build
a more substantial camp to wait out the weather. On the distant
western horizon, the peaks of the DragonSpine Mountains could be
glimpsed shimmering in the crisp sunlight. They called that first
winter's camp Moarnishim, and there, the missing -- those lost on
the terrible march into the grass -- were counted and a stele was
raised with their names incised upon it.
As cold and snow settled over the woods, the sylvans noted that
the tall grasses of the prairie sea merely turned a straw gold color,
and lost none of its robust vitality or height.
When the winter's ice had thawed, the sylvans took up their journey
once again, traveling south until they noted that the forest had
begun a gentle curve to the east, signaling that they had rounded
the western edge of the Golden Anvil. A ceremony was held to celebrate
that fact and afterward, the sylvans reached an easy decision to
continue south, soon drawing out of sight of the dreaded grasses.
They chose a route that took them mostly south and somewhat east,
and as they traveled, the sylvans continued the practice of traveling
during the warm months then making camp to pass the winter. The
names of these campsites became the stuff of legends, tales filled
with significant events, such as marriages, the birth of children
and the death of elderly sylvans who had known Ithnishmyn. The names
were added to a holy scroll, Moarnishim the First, Elderium the
Cold, Rashanlican the Fair, Danaaron the Blessed (denoting an unprecedented
number of births), Haralican the Rocky, Tennebros the Hungry, Fallaroon
of the Shadows, Tremaramie of the Caves, Hallabran of the Glade,
and on and on. Each had its stories and each had its children, sylvans
born while the people spent a period of rest before taking the long
road back up again.
As the people journeyed south, they passed through lands of great
beauty. However, remembering the disastrous outcome of venturing
out of the forests, they avoided any meadows or clearings and clung
to the trees, a practice that added substantial lengths of time
to their travels. Finally, they arrived at an impressive old-growth
forest with mountains to the east and abundant rivers. Tired of
the years of constant migration, the sylvans decided that they had
finally found a worthy home. They called it Nevishrim, a term meaning
Pearl at Mountain's Foot.