The History of the Sylvan Elves
The Legend of Haloiyand and Alandalor
of the Sylvan Elves NEXT
the great DragonSpine Mountains filling the distant northern horizon
began to recede, the sylvans turned their path to the north, angling
up across a rich land of rolling hills interspersed with verdant
forests. Bands of humans were occasionally glimpsed in the distance,
however the sylvans were adept at concealing their movements and
no contact was made with the nomadic humans, with one exception.
While on a hunting excursion, a party of sylvans happened upon a
group of human corpses, their demise obviously due to attack by
orcs, since there were also orc carcasses there. The humans had
apparently made a good stand before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
Having clearly been dead for a number of days, the remains had been
worried by scavengers. Hearing a small growl, the sylvans whirled,
expecting another of the scavengers had returned to the feast.
Instead, they saw a small human child. It was filthy, its clothing
torn, and scratches covered the child's arms and legs. The sylvans
finally managed to capture it, whereupon, it was discovered that
the child was a girl. Not a few of the sylvans were left with bruises
as the girl fought for freedom before they managed to bind her.
Once she was fed and wrapped in blankets to ward off the night's
chill, the girl-child fell into an exhausted slumber and the hunting
party carried her back to the main sylvan colony, unsure what else
to do with her.
Haloiyand the Wise was older than anyone could remember including
herself. The ancient sylvan was one of the wise women/soothsayers
of the sylvan population as well as a respected member of the high
council. She was tribal leader, midwife to mothers, reader of omens
and signs, and matriarch of a large, sprawling family.
Haloiyand was one of the staunchest advocators of a 'no contact'
policy when it came to other races. When her youngest daughter came
back to camp with a young human, Haloiyand advised humanely killing
the girl for her own sake and theirs. However, her daughter Regalan
had never managed to have a daughter, however much she longed for
one, and was much taken with the scruffy little human child.
When Regalan pleaded with Haloiyand to be allowed to foster the
girl, Haloiyand finally agreed with certain caveats. The girl was
to be watched for seven years, and should she prove to be lazy,
or a danger to any of the sylvans, she would be sent away on her
own, to survive or perish as fate dictated. Thus, the council ruling
on the issue proclaimed the agreement. Within weeks, the child showed
a marked ability to learn commands that were given her, and a quick
intelligence that benefited her fostering family. Ideas of banishing
her were mostly forgotten after the first year.
At the time the sylvans found her, the girl was about ten years
of age. When she evidenced no inclination to speak after her ordeal,
the sylvans decided to call her Alandalore, a name that meant 'the
lost is found.' Although silent, she quickly adapted to a life spent
traveling by day and setting up camp in the evenings. She seemed
to pick up the sylvan language, because when the sylvans began to
ask her to do things, she readily made attempts to do as asked.
Haloiyand's family quickly came to care for her, and at the end
of Alandalore's second winter with them, Regalan asked that she
be formally adopted into the family, a sprawling conglomeration
of loosely related sylvans that numbered around sixty people. The
girl went through the ceremony, nodding where needed and melded
effortlessly into the fabric of the familial group as if she had
been born to them.
In early autumn, the sylvans found a lush vale sheltered within
the foothills of the western DragonSpires and prepared to winter-over.
The forest was thick there, with old-growth trees that towered up
for hundreds of feet. Stones were dug from the soil and piled up
to form hearths, while the soft hides of the dwelling walls were
suspended from the larger trees found within the surrounding forest.
Fallen trees were sought to provide firewood, as well as dried dung
left by the teeming herds of deer and antelope inhabiting the area.
Herbs, mushrooms and berries were gathered and fish and meat were
dried. The sylvans prepared for winter.
It was a happy time of year, the sylvans enjoying the cool days
and brilliant fall colors. Alandalore busied herself helping bring
in food and firewood. While it was reckoned that she was 12 or 13
years of age by then, her odd silence made her seem older. She worked
with the other children of the family with a steady concentration
that gained approval from her elders and easy camaraderie among
her peers. She was also a favorite among the very young children,
as her patience and gentle demeanor were a sure refuge when one
of them had some mishap or other.
As snow piled up around the trees and the dwellings of the sylvans,
the people spent much time within their shelters, telling stories
and teaching all manner of lore to the adolescent members of the
households. While they had a written language, much of the sylvan
lore and past history was passed on orally due to the constraints
of weight while traveling. Haloiyand had taken a couple of young
sylvans on as apprentices in the healing arts, which included the
study of known herbs and investigation of new varieties they encountered
on the trek.
As the wise, old woman taught, she began to notice that the girl,
Alandalore, was using chores, weaving, or any number of other excuses
to be in the vicinity of these instructional sessions. Still not
quite willing to trust her -- a human -- fully, Haloiyand moved
the classes outside, choosing to cover the intricacies of tree bark
in the dead of winter rather than in the spring when it was a treat
to be out of doors. Her apprentices muttered and complained of chilled
hands and feet, but complied dutifully with their master's peculiarities.
Within a couple of days, Alandalore could be seen in the proximity
of the small group, gathering fallen branches for kindling, searching
beneath snow banks for new green shoots to use for tea, and any
number of other tasks that were usually dreaded at that time of
To the relief of her apprentices, Haloiyand moved her lectures
back indoors, and soon Alandalore was nearby, helping her adopted
aunt with meal preparation, weaving and working leather for robes
and boots. In resignation tinged with a measure of curiosity, Haloiyand
began to speak a little louder, insuring that the young human could
hear what she was saying.
As early Charlatos arrived with its stirring of life within the
trees and earth, the time came to test her two apprentices on what
they had learned. This inquiry was an arduous examination that took
the whole of the day and required precise answers as well as an
in-depth understanding of the tenets beneath the answers. Haloiyand
knew her apprentices had been dreading it, for should their performance
indicate that they did not have a capacity for the lore, they would
not be allowed to continue their instruction.
A brief ceremony attended by the two novices and their families
was conducted before the questioning. As she intoned the rites dedicated
to blessing the lore of healing, Haloiyand glimpsed Alandalore huddled
in a corner of the dwelling, busy weaving some braid with her packet
of wooden cards, too concealed in shadows to be noticed yet close
enough to hear what was said. As the prayer ended, the students'
families arose to depart for the testing itself was considered a
mystery and not to be overheard. Haloiyand noticed with approval
that Alandalore was gathering up her loom and wool as well. Just
before the girl ducked beneath the curtain leading outside, Haloiyand
called her name and directed Alandalore to take a place beside the
apprentices. Seeing sudden dread in the girl's eyes, the old woman
felt satisfaction, anticipating the girl's failure and a reason
to deny her the opportunity for future eavesdropping.
As the first question was put to Alandalore, to the amazement of
Haloiyand and her apprentices the child spoke for the first time
during her years with the sylvans, answering the query in a sweet
voice with almost perfect inflection.
The day passed, questions and answers flowing in an endless exchange
between the ancient dame and the three who sat facing her. When
night finally witnessed the end of the examination, Haloiyand was
pleased that her two students had done fairly well. She excused
them, telling them that they had passed and would be welcome to
study again the coming winter. Then she turned and peered down at
the small human child kneeling silently before her with head bowed
in fatigue. Clearly, the testing had been much more arduous on her
since she had not been prepared as had the other two. Nonetheless,
the girl had passed the test. In fact, Haloiyand could not, in her
long memory, recall a young sylvan who had done better. She told
the girl that she would expect her to attend to classes the following
winter. Alandalore replied, murmuring only, "Yes Grandmother,"
in a meek whisper. However, Haloiyand could plainly see the triumph
in her eyes.
In the month of Olaesta, the sylvans broke camp and prepared to
move north once again. The camp had been a tranquil and happy one,
and for this, they called it Tralastigan. They wrote its name on
a holy scroll beneath other places where they had spent a winter
or more. For the sylvans believed that naming a place was a holy
thing; it gave an anchoring spot within the chaos of the Otherworld
to any souls who had passed from this life to the next, should the
soul become confused and not find the way into the Realm of the
Alandalore began her training the following winter, and continued
for many seasons thereafter. She was an adept pupil, and Haloiyand
gradually lost her distrust. However, there was always something
about the human that the old sylvan could not accept. If Alandalore
noticed this, she said nothing about it.
During Alandalore's tenth year of study with the old wise woman,
the sylvans experienced an unusually severe winter. Game was practically
nonexistent and snowdrifts deeper than a sylvan's height ringed
the colony. Hunting was dangerous, as were simple pursuits such
as gathering firewood.
One morning, it was discovered that Haloiyand was missing. There
had been snow the previous night and it was supposed that she had
ventured out during darkness and become lost. Search parties were
dispatched, but the threat of more snow hung heavily within the
thick murk obscuring the sky. Dusk fell at an unusually early hour
that afternoon, and so, observing the cloud cover cloaking the sky
and fearing the loss of more people, the councilors postponed further
search until the following dawn.
Lost in thought about a new herb she was studying, Haloiyand trudged
through the snow and darkness on her way back to her dwelling. Pondering
the complexities of the plant, she was intrigued and suspected it
held properties that would prove to be very valuable to her people.
The tingling sensation of chill in her hands and feet finally reminded
her that she had been walking for quite some time. Looking around,
she realized that she could not see even the faintest glimmer of
light that would steer her back to the colony. She began to retrace
her way, following her footsteps. However, as snow began to fall
in a heavy onslaught, her path was quickly obscured.
Alandalore waited until all within the hyrrad (as the sylvan dwellings
were called) were asleep. Then, she wrapped herself in multiple
layers of the simple lengths of wool her kinsmen used as cloaks,
and stuffed some dried meat and berries into a satchel. With this,
Alandalore crept out into the heavy snow. Guided by her intuition,
she stumbled through snowdrifts, searching for any sign that Haloiyand
might have passed that way.
The following morning, it was discovered that Alandalore was also
missing. Heavy snowfall obstructed any further search parties. As
the colony waited throughout the day, sitting within their dwellings
and watching the snow blow into deep banks, expectations of rescue
sank. As dusk stole in beneath the heavy clouds, a meeting was called
in the main council house. It was gloomily decided that rescue parties
would go out in search of the bodies when the snow stopped.
Just as the assembly ended, a commotion at the back of the tent
captured the interest of those crowded within the dwelling. The
crowd parted to accommodate two snow-covered figures stumbling toward
the fire at the center of the assembly. Alandalore walked slowly
forward, her arm clutching Haloiyand, who leaned heavily on her.
They wore ice-coated cloaks, and icicles hung from their hair. As
the pair stumbled forward through the silent sylvans, an audible
gasp was heard. Then, breaking out of the shock that gripped them
all, one of the council cried for aid, and a flurry of activity
Haloiyand eventually recovered, and Alandalore, having fewer injuries
from the cold, nursed her for many of the weeks it took for the
older woman to heal. No details of the rescue were ever revealed
by either woman, although they were often asked how the young human
managed to find Haloiyand, lost as she was within the clutches of
such a snowstorm. From that time on, the two were constant companions.
When the sylvans resumed the journey north, they shared a hyrrad.
Finding that Alandalore was an accomplished artist, the two began
a comprehensive digest of herb and tree lore, decorated with Alandalore's
Years passed and the two gifted scholars spent their lives in happy
collaboration, passing their accumulated knowledge down to many
generations of young sylvans. In time, the massive Digest of Herb
and Forest Lore was completed and presented to the high council,
firmly establishing the pair as a cultural treasure. After many
years, Alandalore's physical appearance of age surpassed that of
Haloiyand, and one cold winter, the older woman found herself nursing
her dying human friend.
After Alandalore's death, it was observed that Haloiyand seemed
to age quickly, although by sylvan norms she should have expected
many remaining years of life. She passed to the Otherlife after
two more winters, and her body was wrapped in herbs and linen and
buried next to Alandalore. A legend is told, though, that the hearts
of both women were lovingly carried with their people to Yuriqen,
and placed in an honored resting place within the last city of the
sylvans. Whether this story is factual, or was meant in a symbolic
context, is unknown.