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The History of the Sylvan Elves
Ithnishmyn and the Elven Nations

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A few hundred years after Ithnishmyn was established a group of elves, sent out from Ta'Illistim to search for unknown rivers and hamlets that could be annexed, became lost and inadvertently stumbled upon Ithnishmyn. Huge banks of ferns and rare forest flowers growing on every side adorned the feet of the colossal trees, and within this idyllic setting was the 'fleet' of graceful sylvan dwellings. Having been cut off from sylvan art and architecture for a number of generations, the intruders were awed by Ithnishmyn's beauty.

After showing these visitors the normal sylvan hospitality for a few days, it was clear to the sylvans that the time had come for them to leave. However, the question of how to accomplish it was a conundrum for the sylvans. There was strong dispute among members of the high council, whether to allow these elves to return to their homes bearing tales of Ithnishmyn or to prohibit their departure. It was decided that preventing them from leaving could only effectually be accomplished by killing them, and this was unacceptable. So, in hopes that the elves would not be able to recall their convulted route of arrival, the elves were blindfolded and, guided by sylvan guards, marched in a zigzag route for a hundred leagues away from Ithnishmyn. Despite the precautions, one of the Illistim elves was a particularly gifted woodsman and managed to memorize their path. Within a month of their return to Ta'Illistim, a caravan was being readied to retrace the journey, equipped with a detailed map to guide the way.

Tales of Ithnishmyn's beauty ran like wildfire through Ta'Illistim, and soon jumped to other elven cities. The initial map was copied again and again, and distributed at great profit to the hordes of adventurers wishing to make the pilgrimage to the fabled city of the sylvans. The elf who had originally drawn the map, based on her careful mental schematic of the long, arduous trip, registered the map under the strict Ta'Illistim copyright laws. It wasn't long before she had formed a business with tables of scribes all busily drawing copies of the original document, an enterprise that made her very wealthy. Called the Ransefel Map of Sylvia, named for its author, Sistryni Ransefel, the map became a famous icon throughout the Elven Nations, and copies of the original editions that survived through the years became valuable artifacts. Those featuring Ransefel's signature were eventually deemed priceless.

Visitors began to make the journey with goals other than trade. They came to study the sylvans, to convert the sylvans to various religious cults, and numerous other ambitions. Some had less savory purposes; a small black-market specializing in young sylvan slaves was born in covert areas of the elven cities. Knowing the futility of keeping the tide of visitors out, the sylvans decreed that all who managed to reach the distant city must register their arrival, and none could stay longer than the three days considered by the sylvans to be the bare minimum of hospitality, unless invited to do so by the governing council of hierophants. It was believed that among the rare individuals to be given such permission was an ascetic scholar named Raolawei Ly'Setta who exchanged his knowledge of the written elven language for permission to remain among the sylvans for the remainder of his lifetime.

Their coffers swelled by an unprecedented success in trade and commerce, wealthy elves living within their gilded mansions learned of Ithnishmyn's reclusive mystery and set about gaining a look for themselves. A flood of expeditions began to cross the forests between elven cities and Ithnishmyn, and as the intrusions became more and more numerous, the sylvans grew disquieted. The disturbing occasional disappearance of sylvan children was a primary concern. Basic sylvan philosophy forbade them to harm anything that posed no visible threat; nonetheless, various individuals with the Ithnishmynian council proposed that the intrusions of outside politics and beliefs constituted a formidable threat to the sylvan way of life.

The high council was called to address the 'elven problem,' and Eislemar Nathlai, the charismatic leader of a popular political group, drove its discussions. He proposed that the council allow no more emissaries from the elven cities to enter Ithnishmyn. He suggested methods aimed at turning away determined intruders that included incantations holding the potential of injuring those who resisted them. The issue of the missing sylvan children was a persuasive argument, not to mention other youths who were known to have willingly left, lured by the promise of wealth and success to be found in the Nations. Lastly, the disruption of sylvan religious practices, caused by curious visitors and determined evangelists, was an aggravated problem. At the end of the day, the majority of the council was repulsed at the thought of potentially harmful spells directed at their unwanted visitors. Unable to reach a decision, they agreed to reconvene and the council adjourned.

A final council was held during the festivities celebrating Imaerasta. On that holy night, the councilors ruled against any aggressive magic directed at their distant elven cousins, however unwelcome they were. Instead, they decided to abandon their beautiful city and set out across the continent in search of a location that was distant enough to dissuade visitors and forested enough to provide a suitable home. Eislemar was selected as the leader of this quest.




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