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Winged Elves on Mystaraby Marco Dalmonte
Following an interesting discussion that spanned in the Wendar thread, I am beginning a new thread about the origins and possible presence of winged elves on Mystara.
For all we know from canon sources (Savage Coast Campaign), the only winged elves to dwell on Mystara are the ee'aars, who are located on the highest peaks of the Immortals' Arm peninsula. They are an offshoot of the early migration which Ilsundal led from Davania to Brun in BC 2700, apparently the first clan that left his group to settle in the AoI.
Now, how did they exactly GET THEIR WINGS?
And are there (or can there be) other winged elves in other regions of Mystara?
Bear in mind that there was NO winged elf apparently before BC 2300 (when Ilsundal arrived in Brun), so if they have evolved afterwards, their race is 3300 years old (which means about 5 generations for elves).
Here's what Orc's Head Peninsula tells us about the Ee'aars' origins:
" The history of the ee'aar is shrouded in mystery. It is known that they are not native to the Savage Coast and that centuries ago they migrated from a far land called Davania in order to reach the Arm of the Immortals. What prompted the ee'aar to abandon their old home and undertake this dangerous exodus is unknown, but they believe it was to enable them to found a homeland where no one could find them.
Most of the ee'aar died on the way; the survivors claimed the high, desolated mountain lands where no foe could easily reach them. Ee'aar myth tells of a lone hunter named Aeryl who trod upon the clouds to reach a magical spire and thereby entered the Realm of Faerie. She lived so long among them that wings grew on her back and she learned much from her faerie friends. Being homesick, she returned and was welcomed back by her kin, who marvelled at her wings. She married and passed the wings on to her descendants, until today, centuries after her death, all the ee'aar bear wings and they named their kingdom in her honour." (OH, p.41)
Given that surface elves are not famous for siring many children during a lifetime (see GAZ5), I doubt that this is nothing more than a myth, since it sounds unlikely that a WHOLE race is created after the descendants of ONE winged elf (let alone in just 5 generations).
So there must be something more behind the myth.
I'm presenting here three different ideas we came up with so far (the first two are mine, the third by Patrick Sullivan), and then we'll discuss them a bit more thoroughly:
1. The Faerie Bargain
The Ee'aar clan decides to settle in the Immortals' Arm in BC 2300, when Ilsundal's migration crosses the Strait of Izonda and reaches Brun and becomes clear that Ilsundal's maps are wrong and he doesn't know where the lost elven clans' territories are now located.
However, in BC 1310 the humanoids led by Wogar move south-westwards from Urzud and arrive in the Savage Coast and in the Immortals' Arm. Here they threaten the elven civilisation.
Aeryl clan lives in the forested plains of the eastern Arm of Immortals (now occupied by orcish tribes), so she tries to do her best to protect them. She asks the ancient elven protectors to help them, and the faedorne answer. Aeryl travels to the realm of the faeries and she bargains with them. The faeries come down and help the elves resist the humanoids' pressure, but it's not enough. In order to survive they are granted a wish by the faeries: in exchange for eternal loyalty and assistance against the storm giants, they'll be granted wings to reach the highest peaks and survive there. So the winged ee'aars are created around BC 1250.
2. Spawn of Brom
The ee'aars were created as sky elves by Brom, patron of cloud and storm giants, in an attempt to emulate Ordana's children. The ee'aars were created as a servitor race to dwell in the Sky Kingdoms around BC 3500. After many centuries, a group of ee'aars led by young Aeryl refused to obey her master's wills and rebelled. They killed all their masters and gained control over one of the Sky Baronies. When the other Storm giants came to know, they dispatched armies to quell the rebellion and bring justice over the treacherous elves. At this point, the elves of Aeryl abandoned the Sky Kingdoms and retreated in the mountains of the Immortals' Arm under the protection of the elven immortals Eiryndul and Ilsundal (say around BC 1000) founding their kingdom and mingling with sparse elven clans living there (descendants of some elves who split from Ilsundal's migration in BC 2200). Ever since they have dwelt there, befriending the winged enduks and keeping an eye against possible retaliations from the Sky Kingdom.
3. Servants of the Fairies
Thousands of years ago, the Immortals' Arm lived up to its name: thousands of immortals in exile lived in this remote land, a massive civilisation of fairies. They had very little contact with the outside world until Ilsundal happened to lead a migration right through their living room. Great cultural exchanges ensued, with Ilsundal's elves and the fair folk dwelling together for decades--to this day, the peoples descended from Ilsundal's bands share cultural similarities to the seelie court unseen in other elven clans. One of the fairie princesses, with an entourage of hundreds, even accompanied Ilsundal, settling with the elves in the Sylvan Realm. Similarly, many elves felt that they had had enough of wandering and decided to stay among the fair folk. Among those who remained behind were some of the most clever, the most cunning, and the least hardy of the migrants--the delicate, thin, almost fragile appearance of the Ee'aar may be attributed to this fact.
Centuries later, Aeryl, spawn of Brom--some sort of experiments combining captured fairies with elves, led a slaves rebellion. She and her followers fled, finding refuge among the fair folk and elves living still in harmony on the Immortals' Arm. The fairies delighted in these winged elves, and Ilsundal's folk felt, in some ways, second best. Still, they lived in harmony.
Not too long after, the peninsula was again visited. The seers of the Serpent Peninsula had been troubled by visions of the overthrow of the Divinarchy, the slaughter and expulsion of the elves. Powerless against the overwhelming certainty of the future, and seeing the opportunity to increase their own power, many of the elven prophets disguised themselves and their close kin as human, masquerading as Tanogoro while their brethren were murdered and forced to flee. Rather than filling this power vacuum, however, the seers were one-upped by Mulogo, and upstart prophet calling himself the herald of Yav. While they may have resented Mulogo's seizure of power, the undercover elves foresaw in him the path to powers which they had never before imagined: the power of flight. For this reason, in their thirst for power, they became the most dedicated allies of Yav, encouraging the migration to the Immortals' Arm.
The elves and fairies of the Immortals' Arm drew back from the shore and watched the approaching tide of rafts from the east. Shortly after landing, however, Mulogo called together those who were elves in disguise and made his last prophecy to them, basically telling them to leave the Tanogoro forever, seeking their own blood in the West, for only their own blood can truly give them what they seek. The elves recognised the authority in Mulogo and left--once out of sight of the Tanogoro, they revealed themselves as elves and were greeted by the fair folk and elves, both with and without wings. They were taken before the queen of the seelie court, where the greatest of the elven seers drew a dagger, slashing his forearms in a manner learned from the Tanogoro, and swearing a blood oath that he and his descendants would owe allegiance to Her. As he finished speaking, the horrified onlookers saw something move beneath his tunic--then it ripped, and massive wings grew upon his back, black to match his hair.
Soon all the wingless elves in the area had sworn blood oaths to the fairy queen, and they grew wings of their own after the model of Aeryl's descendants. The oaths of undying allegiance are not normally called upon--the seelie court has no need of the elves' services, yet...
In intervening years, there have been increased contacts with other elven groups. From the Sylvan Realm came elves to swell the Ee'aar's ranks, along with the teachings of Ilsundal and Mealiden. In various stray boats and airships, Shiye-Lawr elves have come, entranced by the life among the fair folk and bringing with them word of Eiryndul. Elven survivors have also reached the Ee'aar from Vilaverdan and even Thadder shipwrecks. Many of these survivors seem to report odd lights in the high seas around the Immortals' arm: the flash of a beacon that inexplicably diverted a ship from a safe path, or the merry lights of a port town on what turned out to be a deserted stretch of coastline with rocks lurking offshore. One way or another, it seems clear that the immortals want the elves there, and, invariably, they end up making a blood oath and joining as full-fledged members of the Ee'aar flock.
Okay, I'm commenting option number 3, which is a good mixing of the first two options and has definitely some GREAT ideas.
First off I LOVE the idea about a whole nation of fairies or even fey that dwelt there, hence the name Immortals' Arm (which is probably elven in origin).
The problem however is that if there really was a region inhabited by the faeries, where it is now? When did they move away and why?
Also, Patrick says that the winged elves were created after the Sheyallia elves came from Thanegia to the Immortals' Arm following Mulogo's (Yav) predictions. This happened in BC 500, which means that barely 2 generations have passed since the first ee'aars were created.
Finally, if the Sheyallia mixed their own blood with other elves, how come the ee'aars race does not count black skinned elves?
Definitely some questions to ponder, but a good start for the discussion.
A last note: please remember that by the time the elves reach the Immortals' Arm, there are already tribes of rakasta (ocelasta and jakar) dwelling in the forests of the peninsula. The "evil" taint will overcome them later when Atzanteotl becomes immortal (1500 BC) and starts sowing his seeds of corruption all over Mystara. So they will probably build their "Azcan style" cities around BC 1400, create the jakarundi offshot during the course of a couple of centuries, at the end of BC 1300 the ocelotls will refuse to obey Atzanteotl's priests anymore, be cursed and wander away.
By BC 1304 hordes of humanoids will also swarm the coastal regions following Wogar's migration from the Cradle, causing problems to all of the races of the Savage Coast as well as the Arm of Immortals.
In BC500 the Enduks also moved to the high plateaus of the Immortals' Arm, dispossessed of their homeland of Nimmur by the manscorpions' treachery.
[As a side note, we do not know if the Manscorpions were another of the Nithians' odd creations or an independent race, but since they are found especially near the Nithians settlements I'd go with this idea. Since they arrived in BC 700 with the Nithians, I'd place their creation around BC 900.]
Finally, by BC 500 many tribes of Tanagoro and Sheyallia will arrive here and will remain in the AoI till AC 400 (when Yav comes back to take em back to Thanegia), but keep in mind that the region is already crowded at this point, so it will not be an easy life for them.
Actually I am wondering WHERE did these Tanagoro + Sheyallia immigrants settle, considering the mountains are off limits (ee'aars and enduks living there, and not a pleasant place after all), the eastern coasts are the reign of humanoids, and the southern jungles are full of jakar and jakarundi...
Oh, and don't forget Gombar and Suma'a, the ogrish cities on the western coast of the Arm...