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TwilightWolf

The House Hawksong

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“...for what left is there for us but ash and devastation if we do not stand? Nay, do not stand my kin, but charge! Charge forth as strong as the stormy seas, and as proud as the eagle’s scream! Chase away the night’s final curtain!”

Faorarr Tahorran’len of the First Rochirran at an ancient battle against the Ibleesian Insurrection

 

The Esteemed House of Andaeren

       The House of Andaeran consists of the collective children sired by their founder by the same name, the fourth son of Malin. In the ancient tongue the house is known by Tahorran’len, celebrating their gifts in beast mastery and joyous musical accomplishments. As many centuries have passed and the common tongue became the ultimate culmination of  peace between the descendants, their common name of Hawksong is much more widely known in and outside of Elvenesse and her kin-nations. The Twilit Folk have endured even into modern history as Princes, High Princess, Lords and Ladies of the elven population. Their mark upon the more recent memory of Elvenesse has largely been in support of the Crown and their friendly relations with their kin in Sylvaeri and Silma. 

 

The Hawksong Bloodline

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The Lady Titania Hawksong, Matriarch of the Twilight Folk and former High Princess of Malinor carrying the house relic lance and banner into battle.

 

       The folk of Hawksong are very consistent in their appearance: silver-gold hair that glitters like waving grain, kind eyes that range from the common twilit gold to the occasional blue and the rare jade, and fair ivory skin that almost never strays towards the complexion of their wood elven cousins. The deep dusk-touched color of their gaze is always a sure sign of a direct line to Andaeren, and seems to be a dominant trait among them. Long, kempt hair with or without braids is preferred especially in the older kin of both the elves and elfesses of the House, for it is seen as a mark of wisdom and beauty.

       The demeanor of the Hawksong line is that of pride, joy, and an intense dedication to their duty within the forest halls of the Elven nations, past and present. Patience comes naturally to them, as it is a required trait of any Hawksong who has come of age and mastered both beast and music. A tremendous amount of zeal for the elven gods also runs through the blood of this House. They are generally a kind and gentle folk, lovers of song and dance and stewards to the horse and other creatures of the realm. If their gentle ways are taken advantage of, their kin threatened, or the Crown endangered, they however will show no hesitation in ensuring a swift and passionate retribution. Early history of demonic wars and magical blight has soured the family’s stance against any foul sorcery or evil temptations; they abhor and actively seek their destruction. These elves strive for purity in spirit, and to be a light in dark times.

       Hawksong garb is a dichotomous example of regality and utility. They take careful consideration into their outward appearance yet must be free enough to ride, dance, play music, or present themselves to the Crown. Often a combination of light leather armor over fine clothes of reddish burnt umber, pale gold, or sunset oranges are seen. They may opt to adorn light or heavy plate during times of conflict or anticipation of a battle in which they will ride. In times of peace, festivals, or special occasions traditional dresses with long wings and robes of fine embroidering are displayed in colors of white, gold, umber and reds. Some of the Twilit Folk may wear fine circlets, floral wreaths or braided-leather decorations upon their head and within their beloved long locks.

 

The Rochirran

 

       Between Ancient Malinor’s forests and the pillared sanctum of Almenor, these elves thrived in the plains and valleys of the first world where beasts would roam freely. The children of Andaeren are rumored to have been blessed by Machana, the Wild God herself, with uncontested mastery of the horse and cavalry within the known world. Elves born into the house are trained in the husbandry of the stock of the family and the Crown from a very young age. They will eventually join the house mounted warriors known as the Rochirran, and they themselves earn the title of Rochir. To assume that this would be an exclusive mercenary group or freelance cavalry would be entirely misguided, for the Rochirran are oathed in their final trial to the Elven Crown and to the chief military of their ruling body. 

       When an elf comes of age, their first and longest of many tasks is to rear a first foal of spring in their care with its dam. The beast will remain with the elf undergoing trial throughout the training process and even through the beast’s end of life. This trial is cherished, for it is believed that through the rearing and bonding of horse and rider Machana ingrains into the elf patience, diligence, fairness and determination. Upon completion, the elf will craft their own lance engraved and decorated with memorials of his or her trials and the mark of the House.

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       A hallmark of a truly practiced and established Rochir is mastery of their unique riding style known in the ancient tongue as rochannyer, or a way of riding involving bonded souls and wardance. When a Rochir and their steed ride it is both a work of art and a terror on the battlefield. The rider is able to complete highly complex maneuvers both in utility and in dance with the trusting, guiding hand of their animal companion. Piaffe, pirouette and sliding halts are but a few of the myriad of exhibitions the Rochir is capable of. The Rochirran charge into battle without fear, for the ire of their Wild God patron rumbles in the clouds above them and within their hearts, granting them swift strides and true lances.

      Should a Rochir and their steed meet their demise on the battlefield, the two bodies are ceremoniously prepared upon a pyre as an offering to Machana and the Aspects. Musical lamentations and treasures the elf held closely in life are presented during the burning, and the remaining ash is scattered to the wind during the final hour of daylight.

 

Music and Art of Hawksong

A three-portioned performance of only a few beloved relic-tunes of the bloodline: Machana’s Ballad, Horse Lord’s Flight, and Sundance

 

       The heritage of Hawksong is deeply interwoven with music, dance and art. Young elves of the bloodline are given the choice to learn their instrument of choosing, which often lean towards stringed instruments such as the lyre, harp, and violin. It is not rare to see a skilled flutist or drummer, however, and skilled vocalists are very common. Even during war, there is great music to be shared from the children of Hawksong. The House believes that their musical blessings are nothing to hide away from the world, but rather delight in teaching and sharing the ancient tunes and their own songwriting. To bring together descendants in joyous gatherings, recite an amorous lullaby to their love, or perform for the elven courts is believed to be a gift greater than any physical commodity. Dancing, too, is greatly celebrated and involves the traditional roles of the elf couples, superior lone footwork or group dancing.

       In tales of their forefather Andaeren, it was said that he had no skill with forge-fire. Instead their family learned to create talismans, leatherwork, tapestries and rustic pieces from the world around them. Hide, horse-hair braid, simple branded medallions, feathers and uncut gems are often used in Hawksong creations. Amulets to Machana and other Wild Gods are made and worn and given to friends or offered to their respective shrines and are always carried into battle.

Trials of the House

       While the boons of the House are the birthright of elves born into the House, all must face and conquer some trials to truly be considered Hawksong and most certainly Rochir. At the apex of many tasks in reciting heirloom music, animal mastery, rochannyer, the creation of art and a trial in devotion to Machana the prospect Hawksong is presented to the head of the House and is ceremoniously initiated. Further trials through the sometimes intense methods of the Rochirran will fully beknight the elf, and a final Oath of service is recited to the Crown.


 

Banner and Symbols

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       The Hawksong Family banner bears the rising phoenix on crimson backing rising over a green gemstone. The phoenix symbolism was assigned to the family in ancient times when their forefathers discovered their true calling, but has since featured the addition of a green stone. It celebrates their strong sense of justice, fiery dedication and honors their father Andaeren who rose from his brothers’ shadows and found his own way in life. The green stone is a direct calling to the Heart of Malin, a legendary piece reclaimed in Anthos during the dusk of Malinor when their own bloodline ruled before their Sylvaeri kin and serves as a memorial for the doomed state.

 

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       Commonly found engraved into armor, saddles, talismans and on war banners is the image of a pawing white horse. This is in tribute to their main patron of the Wild Gods, Machana. Battle prayers and songs are often played in her honor in both times of peace and war. Very rarely one may find this symbol permanently engraved onto the skin of a seasoned Rochir.

 

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       The mark of the family name is typically burned into their leatherworking once it has passed their scrutiny and deemed it of quality or onto documents requiring officiation. The style of woven knots remains consistent when animal imagery is crafted, specifically in braided leather jewelry or onto wooden medallions.

 

Relics of the House

 

       With such a rich history of kinship and accomplishments, the House of Hawksong has retained artifacts of past legends and elves of note. Minor pieces are plenty as it is in the nature of a Hawksong to create instruments, songs, or talismans during their life, but there exist a few treasured pieces to the Twilit Folk.

 

Mane of Machana

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       Believed to have been woven from strands of the Wild God’s hair left from her appearance before Andaeren in ancient times, this white cloak shines in impossible colors of gold, silver and bronze. It has been embroidered with silver thread in floral patterns that details the tale of Machana’s Challenge. It is rumored to give the wearer an ethereal presence, like that of a phantom, and glow with the light of dawn.

 

Amulet of Lauriësúr

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       There is a tale of an amulet that had been gifted to him by his beloved brother, Sylvaen, made of silver thread and precious opal and diamond droplets. During the legend of the first ride upon the Horse Lord, Lauriësúr, Andaeren was blessed with his twilight features and that same amulet too bathed in the light of dusk and sealed away that somber, golden bloom into each stone. Pure memory has been sealed away in the largest jewel, and the bearer can hear the voices of ancient elves in ages past. The House Father himself was the last known wearer, who in legend ascended to remain with Machana as her attendant in another life. On clear nights, particularly where the clouds and mountains chase dusky shades across the sky it is believed that you can hear the Amulet’s somber song in the final minutes of the sunset.

 

Lance of the First Rochir

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       When the first waves of demons and foul magics bombarded the descendants in ancient times, Andaeren’s folk rode out like a tempest. His first son, Faorarr, wielded a lance that shone like the sun and could pierce any hide, even that of a dragon’s plate… Or so it has been rumored. The lance never returned from the Ibleesian war, but a replica remains within the House.

 

The Lyre of Andaeren

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       A lyre wrought from fine gold and silver, whose strings produce a sound so pleasant that it was said to induce fae-ring like euphoria. Legend describes the sound of nature’s own voice in thousands upon thousands of natural aspects like the gargling of rivers, songbird chirping, and mountain wind. So incredibly enchanting were the first songs it charmed both descendant and beast, eventually invoking the wrath of Mechana to demand Andaeran to bury the Lyre within a forgotten mountain.

 

The Heart of Malin

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       Of all of the relics within the House, this stone is the youngest to come into their possession. The stone is a dark green emerald that bends and tricks light, fooling the viewer into seeing images of ancient forested halls that never appear the same no matter how long one might gaze. It was discovered in Anthos, when the stone was seen being torn from the statue of Malin’s chest in a violent typhoon and carried to sea. A massive search by the Arcane Delvers ensued… yet, by an odd twist of fate the late Haelphon recovered the gemstone after being thrown into the surf by a sea serpent. There, he expunged the stone from his lungs and passed into the next life.

 

 

Ancient History and Foundations

These are the common tales told by the Twilit Folk of their creation, their patron, and their relationship with the elves of Malinor and Almenor alike.

 

 The Twilight Father, Andaeren

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       Andaeren was the fourth son to be sired by Malin. Much unlike his portrayal upon tapestries and art, in his early years he took much of his appearance after his elder brother Sylvaen, whom he loved dearly. He too was touched with hair like the wings of ravens and eyes as grey as the seafoam of cold shores. Andaeren was his brother’s shadow in youth, always striving to live up to the splendor of Sylvaen’s stature, skill, and wisdom.  Yet fate would not see that he would share in Sylvaen’s boons at all; Andaeren found no delight in the forges of Almenor and the sea seemed to scorn him. He could produce no beautiful star-dewed chain nor cut opal and diamond. Whilst his brethren grew in the light of their father’s eyes and crafted great halls, he could not help but feel that the shadow he followed as a youth began to swallow him from the view of his kin. There was no grand tale of accomplishment to regale to the Elven Father, no beautifully jeweled things to give his kin, no feats worthy of historical recording. It consumed the elf’s heart. Thus Andaeran began to wander from Almenor. He turned to the wilds for answers as his father, Malin, oft did. It is said that during his longest expedition he spent ten moons atop the highest peak of the first world. The turmoil within his soul roiled, and he lamented to the empty sky around him.

 

Shall I simply wither away the years as a reflection of what could be?”

There was no answer but the wind.

Shall I remain the ambling, naïve younger brother of fairer and wiser kin?

There was no answer but the song of birds.

 

      As each moon passed there were fewer lamentations. Another moon rose, and the young lord listened. When the last morning broke, the world answered. It was a quiet response. Something where, perhaps, long forgotten elvish or druidic magics were at work. Andaeren could hear the wind whistle and rise like the gentle tide at sunset. The songbirds warbled an enchanting melody that enraptured the elven lord. Indeed, he felt the subtle magic of the song of nature herself. He arose from the peak with the first smile in a long, long time. He returned with a new glimmer in his grey eyes, imploring his brother for guidance in the creation of a golden frame. Then, long and thin silver-spun cords were secured by his design.  The young lord and his kin would not produce any fine crown, jeweled carcanet, nor blade. With the sooty labors of the forge still upon his brow, he seeks out his sire and presents the First Instrument.

 

Father of Music

       The elf-lord approached the Father bearing a tool not yet seen by descendant eyes. It was not a thing to shape rock or slay beast, rather a peculiar device bearing four strings made of glittering gold and silvers. While it paled in comparison to any true Sylvaen work, its beauty lied therein the unusual strings. It is said that when Andaeren played the first song for the elf father, it invoked the very soul of nature to echo the earth’s ethereal music. So delighted, Andaeren too unshackled his golden voice to rise higher than the clouds and dance like fluttering swallowtails. Malin’s halls hummed with tranquility. The Fourth Son of Malin’s blessing would not be forgotten, for that day the first song crowned Andaeren as the father of music.

 

Machana’s Challenge

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       No longer shackled by despair, Andaeren traveled the world with his lyre. He charmed animals and descendants alike, for few could resist his musical mastery. Captivated animals gleefully pranced alongside. Songbird, stag, wolf and even bear paraded after his footsteps. His tune only ceased when an impossibly white steed charged forth at the elf. His lyre fell to the forest floor and his animal companions fled. The horse snorted and stomped the earth with an ire the elf had never felt before. Her mane was so ivory that the light danced upon her fur in iridescent gold and silver colors, and her hooves were gilded in an astral, otherworldly shine.

 

Do you think yourself so entitled to the will of the forest beasts? Your claim is false! You are an insolent fool who thinks he can command the Aspects’ children with vile enchantments!”

The Wild God raged, her voice quaking the forest and shuddering the soil beneath her.

I am Machana, Princess of the herd, and I challenge you, Son of Malin. Abandon this accursed lyre and dedicate yourself to my sons and daughters, and in return I will bathe you in my blessings!

 

       With her final shout, the figure of the mare flashed with a bright light and departed from the realm. Andaeren, realizing the unfair potency of his instrument, cast away the lyre within a stone cavern of a forgotten mountain, never to be seen again. No song made therefore by the elf-lord ever strayed again towards the enchanted nature of the Lyre, but he created instruments responsible for the joys of music we hear today.

 

Lauriësúr and the first Rochir

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       In Machana’s wake, a murky brown stallion stepped into the world. He would become known as Lauriësúr, one of the five Horse Lords under Machana. His mane was light like a dusky moon, and his eyes pierced into the soul of Andaeran. The elf-lord would spend unknown time with Lauriësúr in the wilderness, discovering the intricate balance between elf and beast as the Aspects intended. There was no request that was not disputed with hoof, muscle and spite and there was required an understanding with this creature. It would not come until many seasons had passed. Andaeren became wise to the ways of the wild beasts, and understood the respectful care he must take towards the stewardry of the Aspects’ creations. The delicate balance required tenants, for the presence of the descendants would forever make that very balance unstable. Then and only then was the elf lord able to mount Lauriësúr, not as master and servant but as connected souls. And so Lauriësúr ran. The stallion ran so fast that the earth disappeared beneath their feet. His flight took them towards the horizon, and there they chased down the last light of twilight with the swiftness of the setting sun. Andaeren bathed in the dusky light of the day’s final hours and emerged with the light of the next dawn with a new blessing.

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You have learned much with your journey, youth. Go now with my golden blessing, the first rider who conquered the ground and showed me the true meaning of haste!” 

       The last words of Machana echoed through Andaeren’s mind as he emerged anew. Where his hair was like dark ash, he now had locks so delicately golden in shade the dusk itself envied the lord. His eyes shone like the glittering clouds clinging to a young evening sky.  

 

I am Rochir, brethren, steward of Machana’s children and lord of beasts. She has blessed me with her mark, and the sovereignty over her kin. The hawk sings in my reverence and the herd runs proudly beside me. I am Tahorran’len, and so the children of my house will be named.

 

       Lauriësúr remained with Andaeren, for the bond between them would remain past their stay within the realm. He did not lean upon the enchanted lyre again, and his new ballads would become the foundation of the songs we hear today. New instruments of joyous celebration he would create, and many praises to Machana and the Aspects he wrote.

 

Departure

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       The Twilight Lord departs from Almenor proper with grand ambitions, but a somber heart. For as much as he loved Sylvaen, the forge and the sea offered no comfort to the Hawksong Father. Andaeren and his wife Imryll depart to the valleys and plains before the great Almenor, for it pained him greatly to stray too far from the vicinity of his kin. He would sire many children and a great herd of silver-steed, and his own humble hall established within a great valley. Of course, darkness eventually besieged the first world… and Hawksong too would come to the defense of Malin’s folk.

 

Arise! Arise, Rochirran of Tahorran’len! Do you give the horse his strength? Do you cloak his neck in a fiery mane, or make him leap like a locust? He laughs at danger, afraid of nothing! He snorts proudly, pawing at the earth and striking terror. He rejoices in his strength! He does not shy from the sword, or quake at the rattling quiver or flashing lance. In frenzied excitement, he eats up the ground… he cannot sit still when the trumpet sounds!

Andaeren Hawksong to his troubled children during the formation of the Rochirran

 

       When darkness clouded the ancient skies, the first Rochirran formed and answered the horns of war. When the first charge of the cavalry crashed against the legions of demons, legend tells that the Hawksong Father pierced clean through the lines of evil, and ascended into the clouds atop Lauriësúr into the next life as Machana’s chosen steward. Andaeren was no longer needed, as their battle had been won and his children would carry the fiery banners well into the history of ancient Malinor. As the descendants of the elves splintered, House Hawksong remained at the side of Malinor until its crumbling, rebirth, and final death in Anthos. While their numbers have dwindled and the stories forgotten, those who remain have a rich memory of grand and ancient tales indeed.

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