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  1. The Sylric Bloodline “Bilok, taelu, evar.” (To make, to learn, to protect.) Sylricean Coat of Arms History Through the Realms Attributes, Personality & Culture Sylrics are known to be hardworking, determined and very focused at everything they do, whether that is being a soldier of the Ivae’fenn or taking up a role among the ranks of the Bilok’thuln. Thus, many would consider them more serious than other bloodlines, contrasting the notably carefree Tathvirs. However when asked a question, Sylrics tend not to think too long or hard about an answer to it and tend to blurt out what comes to mind and leave it at that. They are known for being rather straightforward and to the point. Despite their often brash behaviors, Sylrics tend to be kind and respectful towards their kin. The Griffin, their sigil, perfectly reflects a Sylric’s state of mind: loyal, noble, and determined. Physical Traits & Characteristics: With all of their hard work, Sylrics tend to be muscular, with a strong, bulky, but well-built build to them. Known also for their great strength, Sylrics tend to be the tallest among the Snow Elves and have grey to blue eyes. There have been rare occurrences of emerald eyes as well as amethyst eyes. They typically have white to silver hair, but there have been some with blonde hair. Professions & Specialities: Because of their industrious capabilities paired with their larger builds, the Sylrics are often seen lugging large quantities of raw materials to-and-fro around Tahu’lareh--the fruits of their labour. Thanks to this reputation, Sylrics often find themselves seated among the Grand Council filling the position of Head of the Bilok'thuln, also known as the Grand Exchequer. It is not uncommon to see a Sylric mining or working in general, providing the Princedom with all that is needed to thrive. Alongside this reputation of being hard workers, the Sylrics have a reputation for being good craftsmen and craftswomen, creative and otherwise progressive thinkers, and scholarly patrons; their expertise spanning a wide variety of professions. Many take up blacksmithing due to the extensive family history of smiths contributing to war efforts and defenses. When not working on their craftsmanship, nearly all Sylrics participate within the Ivae’Fenn: the military of the Fennic people. Due to their fierce loyalty, many seek higher positions within the ranks of the Ivae’Fenn, frequenting Vanguard and higher ranks. Sylrics have also been known to serve as military advisors, favored due to their blunt honest nature paired with their calculating mindset. Style of Combat: Because of their mighty physiques, they are often on the front lines during times of war. Their weapons of choice often include longswords, greataxes, or warhammer and a shield, though other types of weapons are also used. To stare down a Sylric upon the battlefield is no comforting feat, as their strong posture, large size, and choice of weaponry makes for an intimidating sight. Sylrics tend to wear heavier armor so that they can last longer on the front lines, much like most soldiers of the Ivae’fenn. When a siege is taking place, Sylrics are generally manning the siege engines, specializing in their craft and operation. Family Tree: https://www.familyecho.com/?p=ILKTR&c=9ul46u525g&f=935319104124893412 Ceremonies: Wyrvun’ahern - Ceremony of the Newborn When a new Sylric is brought into the world a special Ceremony is held called, Wyrvun’ahern, translating to Wyrvun’s Blessing. This ceremony celebrates the life that Wyrvun will bless upon the child, whether it be a life dedicated to soldiering or to working hard. A feast is held accompanied by festive music and dancing. Bilok’ihnsil - The Coming of Age Ceremony When each and every Sylric reaches the age of 30, a coming of age ceremony known as Bilok’ihnsil, is held to prove that they can be truly called a Sylric. This ceremony is much different then Wyrvun’ahern as it is a trial of the child’s skills that they have to offer the bloodline. Each child must venture outside of the walls of the Princedom and forge themselves their own personal weapon. They must gather all the materials themselves and by themselves alone. No help shall be offered to them. They must build their own forge and use what they gather to create a beautiful piece of weaponry, whether it be a greataxe, a warhammer, or even the smallest dagger. When they finish and feel that it is worthy of the Sylric name, they are to return to the Princedom and present it first to their father and then to the patriarch of the Sylrics. Once their weapon is approved by both their father and the patriarch then a hunt is held to test the durability of the weapon. A feast is then followed, provided by the spoils of the hunt. As the feast ends the patriarch approaches the child, presenting him the Sylric Insignia, to be branded on to their weapon as well as stitched onto their cloak. This is to mark that they are now a true Sylric. Some at this time opt to receive a tattoo of their first kill with their weapon, as a commemoration of the start of their journey as a Sylric. Politics: Throughout the Snow Elven years and all the conflicts they faced, the Sylrics have tended to be on the front lines of all major battles. Their thoughts on other Elves are complicated, as centuries of battle waged against them has hardened the opinions of some Sylrics against their Mali’mira cousins. A Sylric will marry out from other elven subraces, but they try to stick more toward the Snow Elves and their culture. Be this as it may, they are generally a more accommodating people. Notable Members: Thandir Sylric I - Founder of the Sylric Bloodline Ailduin Sylric - Founder of the Bilok’thuln, Patriarch of the Sylric Bloodline Velatha Sylric - Sister to Ailduin, Medic and former Commander of the Ivae’Fenn, Matriarch of the Sylric Bloodline Rythel Sylric - Elder member to the Sylric household, skilled artisan, weaponsmith and member of the Bilok’thuln Airebys Sylric - Founder of the Fennic Institute of Higher Learning, Deputy Exchequer of the Bilok’thuln, esteemed scholar and Guardian to the Ivae’fenn Heirlooms: Gostatha - Great Sword of Ailthidon Lercuvanten - War Axe of Thandir I Hadhafang - War Hammer of Agis Daedheloth - Battle Axe of Amaranthea ((Anyone who wishes to join the Sylric Bloodline, contact EnderMaiashiro, via the forums, in-game, or discord [EnderMaiashiro#7430]))
  2. Arrival of Clan Kazimir Przybycie Klanu Kazimir Preamble Years ago, the La Waevra Clan was formed by Chieftess Rebeka la Waevra in the Kingdom of Norland. The clan was later dissolved about 15 years later, with the death of Rebeka la Waevra. While much of the family still remains, living predominantly in the Kingdom of Norland and Duchy of Rozania, they are no longer considered a clan. The changing of the names, and the changing of a leader, a new journey for all. A Long Past In 26 SA in the Kingdom of Norland, Rebeka la Waevra, a Norlandic native herself, had officially formed the la Waevra Clan. Consisting of her family and close friends, now bannermen, she embarked out of the Kingdom of Norland to the South to find riches as well as a safe place to settle and help rule. She first held her clan in Sutica, with a large house there that could house all the members. Many dinners were held there, and she made many connections to places near her, The Barony of Rhein and Sarissa. After some time, she began helping those in Sarissa to build a new settlement closer to the North, and near good friends of hers in Yong Ping. Whilst she assisted in building a small Duchy with the Duke William Buckfort, she had laid the foundation of a strong and long-lasting dynasty. Trouble would however find her with the Sedanian and Savoyard’s banditry and the subsequent forced conversions of herself and her kinsmen in the Duchy of Rozania. With the Rozanians crippled, morally and physically, the treacherous Canonists continued their banditry and slaughter. Eventually, with that, the sadness of her daughter Sionnach's engagement to an undead, and the death of her first husband Lomiei, Rebeka was led to take her own life. This impacted the Clan significantly leaving all members shocked, and distraught, and within her final will she requested Clan la Waevra be dissolved. This also dissolved all partnerships, alliances and official documentation between many close groups of the clan, from all over. Leaving her Norland shop to her daughter Leyna. Leyna moved to Norland, and moved much of the remaining members of the clan to a home there. After much debate, Leyna decided that it would truly be best for them to stay a clan, and attempted to relight the candle which her mother blew out. A New Beginning Leyna, the eldest of the La Waevra’s is taking the torch inevitably passed to her. Continuing her legacy, and helping those who feel lost with the death of her mother. She would like to continue on, leading as her mother did. Better perhaps, and having a truly strong, united, peaceful family. From this day forward, the woman who is to continue this path will now be known by the name Leyna Kazimir. This new name, Kazimir, means peace-bringer in Rozanian language. This is due to the kindness, and objectivity that makes them good writers, diplomats and knowledge seekers. They still have a fighting will, and strength paired with their mediation skills which make them ideal leaders. Shall those in the Kazimir Clan persevere and remain strong, in this time of change. All of the La Waevra’s shall now use the name Kazimir, as a show of strength for the changed Clan. Clan Kazimir of The Kingdom of Norland. A strong group with hearts of warriors, brains of scholars, personality and relations of diplomats, and the soul of readers and writers. Where Rebeka first started, Leyna shall now continue, a full circle.
  3. A Missive to Scholars & Writers The Great Crest of the Northern Geographical Society Est. 1762 ✵ The NGS is Now Hiring! ✵ The Northern Geographical Society has found itself in need of writers for a multitude of our exhibit displays. While we take great pride in publishing most of our works internally, there are a number of studies which we have still yet to finish. Aas our organization continues to expand and grow, we have found there to be a need to produce more studies on a variety of different subjects to fill our museums and supplement the work of our own scholars and writers. Thus, we have elected to pay such individuals 50 MINAS PER STUDY from a select list that is submitted to and approved by our Chief of Research, Tanith Vursur, or to Director Elizabeth Brae-Wittenbach. The subject matters in question include the following: Cultural Studies: Urguan - An in-depth analysis of the Dwarven culture and way of life to supplement our existing displays on the Dwed people. [AVAILABLE] Haelun’or - An in-depth analysis of the High Elven culture and way of life to supplement our existing displays on the mali’aheral. [AVAILABLE] The Kharajyr - An in-depth analysis of the Kharajyr culture and way of life. [AVAILABLE] Crowns of Haense - An in-depth study into the Crowns of Haense. The Biharist Crown, Andrian Crown, and the Boyar Cap especially require examination. [AVAILABLE Geographical & Miscellaneous Studies: Ancient Coins - A thorough study on the history of currency in Almaris, namely of the mina in ancient times and those currencies used by various countries throughout the ages. [AVAILABLE] The Athera Expedition - A written, in-depth description of the explorations of Athera by both the Kingdom of Haense and the Holy Orenian Empire. [AVAILABLE] Lands of Haense - An in-depth study into the lands of Haense including Karosgrad, the surrounding countryside, and the kingdom’s Crownlands. [AVAILABLE] ALL STUDIES MUST BE PRESENTED IN AN UNBIASED, WELL ARTICULATED MANNER. Incoherent or biased academic works that do not meet the high standards of the Northern Geographical Society will not be afforded compensation. All books must be at least 15 pages long, but may be greater in length to suit the subject matter or material. If interested in authoring some of these works, please send a bird for more information to Tanith Vursur @Urahra or Elizabeth Brae-Wittenbach @AndrewTech. Thank you for reading this missive!
  4. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter V: How Liberty Dies 1814-1818 To the biggun observer, the decline of the Halfling Republic was not plainly obvious in 1814. Even most halflings were not fully aware of the drama that had been going on between our outgoing Elders, nor of the incidents with Elvenesse. As is our nature, most of us preferred to keep busy with more cheerful things such as birthday parties, tavern-going, and bakery days. While my wife Kerraline and other friends of mine had made me aware of some of the village’s problems, these were all things I thought could be easily remedied, especially once I became a village Elder. It could be argued that one advantage of the three Elder system in the 1806 constitution was that the village was always guaranteed to have three different opinions on every matter. However, as was exemplified by the events of Peregrin-Goodbarrel-Hassenfort years, this was often as much a curse as a blessing, but it did mean that, unlike with the Mayoral elections, a Peregrin running did not automatically exclude everybody else from winning. I knew I at least had a chance in the Election of 1814. ~A Poster Promoting Winter Gardner; 1814~ In the years preceding the 1814 Elder Election, my friend Winter Gardner and I had discussed running for Elder rather frequently Though it was not an official or public partnership, we intended to serve as Elders together, and ran on fairly similar platforms that implied slight support for conservatism when in reality our beliefs were more in line with Goodbarrelian Democracy. After the young Jordan “Jorts” Applebottom, grandson of Sheriff Meemaw Applebotom, and Filibert Applefoot announced their candidacies, both myself and Winter saw it as an absolute imperative that at least one of us made it on to the Council of Elders. Though our rhetoric at the debates, which were moderated by High Pumplar Jeanette Applebottom, was far less dramatic than our thoughts; we did believe that this election was a battle for the village’s very soul. Filibert was a known Bernadist and had never been terribly interested in politics to begin with, James Peregrin tended to speak and act more like his cousin Onelia than his adoptive mother Iris, and Jorts was, in my opinion at least, simply too young and inexperienced to be involved in the government. I didn’t think too much harm could come from one or two of them sitting on the council, but a council composed of the three of them would surely mean the end of the republic. ~A Poster Promoting Jordan Applebottom; 1814~ Despite the unpleasant political climate of the time, the debates were not particularly heated. There was some argument over how the village should move forward in its relationship with Elevenesse, as well as a rather crackpot proposal by Filibert to tear down entire sections of the village in order to make it more compact. In the interest of keeping it all civil, however, little to no discussion was had regarding the issues faced by our predecessors; our solution to the village’s more serious problems was decidedly to avoid them. Though it was not openly discussed, it seems much of the village was aware that the Election of 1814 would be a consequential one, as evident by the fact that it had the largest turnout of any election in Bramblebury’s history. It also proved to be a very close election, which, much like the Sheriff race in 1797, ended up with a tie that had to be broken. Even before I learned anything about what had occurred behind the scenes of this election, I had noticed the somewhat flawed nature of the system. Unlike in the 1797 constitution, where the votes were counted by the Thain who was only allowed to vote in the event of a tie, in Elder elections the votes were counted and ties broken by the outgoing Elders. Aside from the obvious issue that would arise from an Elder running for reelection, the fact that the Elder candidates were closely related to the outgoing Elders meant that, in the event of a tie, nepotism was guaranteed. If a tie had occurred involving me, Kerra would most certainly have tried to break it in my favor. If a tie occurred involving James, Onelia would likely have done the same for him. ~The Bramblebury Elder Debates; 1814~ Of course, what actually happened at the end of the Election of 1814 was far more complicated than that. For reasons I am not entirely sure of, the election was extended nearly half a day, and in the end James and I won while a tie was reached between Filibert and Jordan. I do not know who voted for who, but it seems that Onelia and Kerra did not agree on which of those two candidates should become Elder seeing as they felt the need to bring in High Pumplar Jeanette Applebottom to help break the tie on account of former Elder Isalie Gardner having resigned her office at the beginning of the election. As would be expected, Jeanette broke the tie in favor of her brother, and so the Bramblebury Elder Council was once again composed of a democratic Goodbarrel, a conservative Peregrin, and a halfling not really affiliated with either. Legally speaking, neither the involvement of Jeanette in the vote counting nor the extension of the election was constitutional; but as the “Revolution” of 1806 indicated, laws in Bramblebury were practically meaningless. Wanting to stop any growing discontent in its tracks, our first act upon assuming office was to publish a “clarification” of election rules which would probably be better described as an unconstitutional rewriting of them. It declared that the anomalies of the election that got us into power were “perfectly legal” and also made it so that people were forced to distribute their votes to at least two different candidates, something almost in direct contradiction to the constitution. ~The 1814 Bramblebury Elder Election~ Despite the shaky start of our term, however, the first year of the Goodbarrel-Peregrin-Applebottom Council was a very productive one. After hearing about the way his cousin had treated the office of Elder, I did not particularly trust James at first and was very pleasantly surprised at his ability to cooperate with the rest of the Council. Together we were able to formalize a process for distributing burrows, gain the halflings of Bramblebury free access to Elvenesse’ capital city Amathea, update the job census as well as the laws and traditions, and convince Elvenesse not to levy a coal tax upon our people. If you had asked me what I thought of James and Jordan in those days, I would have spoken quite highly of them. Regardless of what they went on to say and do, under normal circumstances Jordan and James were good Elders. Despite the improved state of our leadership, the problems that hampered the village during the Peregrin-Goodbarrel-Hassenfort years had not gone away. Many improper halflings felt quite unwelcome in Bramblebury, and for many of them the best possible getaway was to join the crew of the Spicy Shrimp, which had been refurbished by Captain Anne Cottonwood Gardner, daughter of former Thain Isalie Gardner and the previous owner of the Shrimp, Taurin Gardner. The bizarre murders that had occured in the early 1810s had yet to be solved; which, combined with Meemaw being generally absent from public life in the village, led to Anne challenging Meemaw for the title of Sheriff. Rather than run against her much younger opponent, Meemaw chose to resign her position and look after her own health. Seeing as nobody came forth to challenge Anne apart from the long-missing and thus ineligible former Sheriff Malfoy Proudfoot, she ran unopposed. Anne needed only be confirmed as Sheriff by a yea/nay vote from the village to become Sheriff. ~The 1815 Bramblebury Sheriff Election~ Though the 1815 Bramblebury Sheriff Election was meant to be a mostly ceremonial one, a whole third of the votes cast were against Anne’s ascension to the office of Sheriff. I was absolutely baffled by the fact that five out of the fifteen halflings who voted would rather have no Sheriff than let Anne take office. Considering the demographic of the people who voted against Anne, I can only assume that it was because she was improper, which, thinking back to when I knew her as a child, would not surprise me. That being said, I still find it plainly ridiculous that properness was so valued by the village conservatives that, in the midst of a literal murder case, they would elect no Sheriff over a very qualified one who happens to be a little improper. If it was so important for a Sheriff to be proper why didn’t they put forth their own candidate? It was asinine, and only added to my growing disdain for the conservatives. ~A Halfling Windmill; early 19th century~ The final straw that pushed me over the edge, however, was the 1816 Bramblebury Fire Department Affair. Upon our ascension to the Council of Elders in 1814; James, Jorts, and I had put resolving the ongoing elections for Chief of the Fire Department Onelia had created during her term on our to-do list. Later, James explained to me that the Bramblebury Fire Department, despite having been created by Onelia during her term as Elder, was under her personal jurisdiction and not that of the Council of Elders, which I assumed was because it was supposedly a private organization. Despite the fact that I believe services such as a fire department should be publicly owned, Kerra and Burt had not signed off on the creation of such an organization, so I agreed with James when he said that we should leave management of it to Onelia, who oversaw the election of Perry Overhill to the title of Fire Chief. Considering it had been established that the Fire Department was a private organization, one can understand my confusion when, on the 1st of Snow’s Maiden 1816, Perry Overhill published Fire Safety Ordinances, which included a series of ridiculous laws (the violation of which have never caused fires before) as well as an absurd system for punishing infractions that included going so far as to tear people’s fireplaces down and force them to write a letter of apology. The Ordinances bore neither the signatures of the 1806 Elder Council nor the 1814 one that I sat on, and were thus illegal. I recall coming home to write a nullification of these illegitimate laws and finding that someone had already put out my fireplace, something that was rather annoying considering it was the middle of the winter and I had no matchbox on hand. ~Bramblebury in the Winter; early 19th century~ Before even going home to write the nullification, however, I looked for James and to get his approval to post it, and found him conversing with Onelia, both of whom acted as if Perry was doing nothing wrong. Apparently I had been incorrect to assume that the Fire Department was a private organization; James and Onelia now insisted that, having been created by an Elder during her term, the Department had full authority to make and enforce laws. Onelia questioned if I was disrespecting her decision regarding the Fire Department, though frankly this was not a matter of respect but legality. Onelia insisted that; since she did not see her co-Elder, my wife Kerra; on the day she was designing the Fire Department, she had full authority to create it without her co-Elder’s approval. As I mentioned last chapter, no such provision was in the constitution. After some useless bickering I eventually got James to agree that we should not condone tearing down rooms and burrows, and I went ahead and posted the missive I had written. I must admit that it was an abuse of power on my part to take James’ words as an approval of an official statement he hadn’t ever read, but my patience with him and his fellow conservative halflings had reached the end of the line. As I should have expected him to, James immediately tore my missive down, and all I could do at that point was go home and brood about it. Though Onelia had been out of office for nearly two years by then, the fact that she and James thought it was perfectly acceptable for an Elder to go behind another’s back and create an entire department of law was horrifying to me. It may seem silly that I got so worked up about a rogue fire brigade, but the implication that an Elder could use the “absence” of their co-Elders to assume the powers of a Thain made me finally realize that Bramblebury was no longer a democracy. Indeed, I suspect the only reason I emerged from the Election of 1814 with more votes than any other candidate is because I had the support of both the Peregrins and the improper halflings, while every other candidate appealed only to a more specific group. Though, as I have alluded to several times throughout this text, the decline of halfling democracy was not the work of one halfling or group alone; when I sent a letter to the village resigning from the title of Elder, I placed the blame for the republic’s backslide partly on the Peregrins and their fellow conservatives and partly on myself. Within hours of this letter going up, my family and I had disappeared from the village, and were not seen again in Bramblebury for nearly two years. ~Inside the Cookie Crumb Bakery; 1815~ I cannot say for certain what happened in my absence. My family’s flight to Norland left us homeless for many months, and it was not long before I began yearning to return to my warm burrow. Being away from the village had given me enough time to reflect and begin forgiving myself, and I eventually began to hear rumors from my fellow halflings that the Peregrins were backing down. Sure enough, when I returned to Bramblebury in Sun’s Smile 1817 I found that Perry had departed the village, and that Onelia had not been seen in public for some time. Though my self-imposed exile was brief, the damage it did was lasting. I had long presented myself as a woman who would always stand against tyranny in any form, and yet, when I discovered that I had been complicit in establishing mob rule in Bramblebury, I fled. With my career more or less in shambles, I decided to publish another letter admitting that I had made a number of errors in my two terms as Elder and my long-time career as a political activist. Being finally weary of politics and too unsure of myself to try and solve the issues of government, I more or less declared that I would not stand in the way of someone trying to take down the current government, something that I am sure caught the attention of a certain Applefoot. ~A New Day in Bramblebury; early 19th century~ I was not the only Elder who became fed up with the position. Just two months after my return to Bramblebury, James published his own letter of resignation, claiming that his family’s presence and influence in the village was unwanted, and that the halflings had gone astray, coming to prefer the company of bigguns to their fellow weefolk. It was hyperbolic to be sure, but James was not wrong in assuming that I, at least, would rather live among bigguns than in a village where properness was enforced by a ruling mob. In many ways, his resignation from Elder and departure from the village marked the end of an era. Though the Peregrins were not all gone, not from the village and certainly not from the world, their influence had diminished drastically. Much like a royal dynasty, their once great line faltered as each successor failed to live up to the greatness of the first. Iris had done everything in her power to prove that properness could be fun and healthy for her fellow halflings, but the heavy-handed methods used by a small number of her friends and supporters to spread this message tarnished her family’s legacy. The conservatives who yearned to go back to the glory days of Willow Hollow seemed to have forgotten that the Elder-system had failed before, and those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. But what of the present? Ever since the “Revolution” of 1806, the Peregrins were the republic. With their influence gone and mine severely diminished, the government looked like a sickly beast that needed to be put out of its misery. Though James attempted to appoint Filibert Elder in his place, this was unconstitutional and it was not upheld by Jorts, the last remaining Elder of Bramblebury. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be in that young lad’s position, trying to hold a village together as its government came collapsing down around him. What I can say, however, is that he took the course of action that would be expected of any sane person; which was to hand off this immense responsibility to someone else at the first opportunity. ~Rolladango’s Return; 1818~ I cannot say I know exactly what happened during the opening days of the Grand Harvest, 1818, seeing as, for the first time in decades, I was not in the room when a major decision about the future of Bramblebury was made. It seems, at some point following the resignation of James, Rolladango Applefoot turned up in Bramblebury babbling about having been selected by Knox to save the village from its destruction by becoming Thain. It was rather quickly decided by Jorts and Jeanette that Rolladango should assume this “Knox-sanctioned” position. Despite the illegality of doing so, the constitution was totally nullified, and all power over the village was returned directly to a single, unelected Thain. Just like that, without any ceremony, celebration, or resistance; everything I had worked for in the past thirty years, everything the Peregrins had pursued in the past twenty-six; all of it was undone. As had happened in Dunshire of old, a bloodless coup brought an end to the Elder system. After 21 years, the Halfling Revolution was over. Though I did not and do not ever have any intention of protesting Rolladango’s Thainship, I was nevertheless sorely disappointed by what was put into the new constitution, which was called a “leadership charter” because apparently “constitution” is a dirty word now. The separation of church and state I had established in both the 1797 Constitution and the 1806 one was destroyed; with the Thain now being required to be a worshipper of Knox. The High Pumplar now had official authorities within the government, and only position that was kept elected was the ultimately unimportant one of Sheriff. Elders remained, but like before they were now appointed by the Thain and could be removed for being improper. This new government was based on the ramblings of a madman and the desires of an invisible pumpkin lord, not the will of the people nor the wisdom of worldly leaders. Yet, it was met with nearly universal praise. It was believed that, with Rolladango’s ascension to the Thainship, the divisions within Bramblebury could begin to mend, though I would argue that our society’s wounds have been hidden rather than healed. Should someone once again come along thinking it would be a good idea to return the glory of the ancient villages and do away with the Thainship, I’d imagine that we’d simply see everything I have described happen all over again. ~A Gathering of Weefolk; 1818~ That is why, after everything that has happened, I do not feel that my “experiment” was for nothing. In these volumes I have written a full account of it, including all of my thoughts and, to the best of my ability, those of the other people involved. The point of an experiment is not necessarily to succeed but to learn, and as long as our descendants have this text to look back to, I will have succeeded in uncovering a number of very important lessons about the nature of halflings and democracy. Truthfully, I do not believe what occurred in Bramblebury is proof that democracy cannot work in any society. I have never once claimed that democracy is perfect; in fact, I’d be willing to concede that it is the worst form of government; apart from all the other ones that have been tried. The story of the Halfling Republic is not a story of failure caused by democracy but rather the story of a democracy failing. So many of the ills that were blamed on our democracy would perhaps have been better blamed on things such as mob rule, polarization, extreme traditionalism, and political apathy; some of these are things that could have been prevented entirely, while others are natural things that all democracies have to overcome but we mishandled. ~Knoxmas; 1798~ It is very easy to conflate democracy with mob rule; both center around the government being heavily influenced by the people. The difference is that the former is held in balance by laws and compromise while the latter is dictated only by the will of the majority. When I created our constitutions, I did not understand the dangers of mob rule nor did I have as much as a respect for laws as I do now. I understand as well as any halfling that laws are pesky things; some laws, such as those in Haelun’or and Oren are unjust and oppressive and many seem just too stupid or inconvenient to follow, but a free government cannot function without just laws. Too often did I ignore my own laws in order to placate the people. I did not have the strength or will to say no to the mob and risk further strife; that is why it was able to take over. Polarization is a plague that affects nearly every democracy at some point or another. People feel far more comfortable and secure when associating with people they agree with. Halflings especially like to avoid conflict or debate, something that ironically contributed to the informal party system which I described in Chapter III. Each side felt more comfortable around their own, and began to mistrust the others. This brought us to a point in the 1810s where it seemed the propers and the impropers didn’t even live in the same universe, let alone the same village. I am as guilty of this tribal, intransigent behavior as everyone else is, even if I tried to seek compromise in earlier years. Though polarization may not be avoidable, it is far less dangerous in a society governed by laws rather than the masses. In that sort of society, compromise is required; one cannot get their way simply by crying loud enough. ~The Mayoral Debate; 1805~ Traditionalism is not something exclusive to the Peregrins or the villages they lived in. Halflings are, by nature, traditional creatures; something that I was never willing to accept until now. I will always disagree with the notion that properness and law should be one in the same but I no longer think myself capable of changing minds on the matter. Perhaps, in the far future, halfling society may reach that point, but for now I would say attempting to create another Halfling Republic is inadvisable. A democracy requires the people to be respectful of the law, forward thinking, and educated; those are unfortunately not terms that describe halflings particularly well. While I was living in Haelun’or I was told more than once that I was too smart to be a halfling. Though I wouldn't deign to consider myself above the rest of my people, I do think it is worth acknowledging that my way of thinking about things is quite different than the average halfling. I tried my best to change minds for the better and improve our society, but it was a task too tall for one lady. Looking back, I sometimes question if even I cared about this revolution or just wanted to prove something about myself. Even if I did, the number of halflings truly interested in democracy has never been great. For the Peregrins, it was but a small aspect of a larger agenda that involved restoring halfling tradition, and ultimately that goal took precedence over it for some of them. For Isalie, democracy was something I had sold to her, and it came about only because she trusted me, and died for the same reason. Ultimately, however, the vast majority of the village simply did not care about democracy. This was something I had known all along, and never once did I consider that a government of, by, and for the people cannot function if the people are apathetic towards it. Nobody in the village asked me to start a revolution, create a republic, or bring democracy to them. By the end, democracy was little more than an inconvenience, so the people did not care when it was taken from them, nor did they care the countless times I and others trod upon it with our unconstitutional acts. I now recall something I said many years ago: “you cannot free a people who will not free themselves.” ~Consulting the Thain; 1794~ In writing this account of the Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic, I have also told the story of over thirty years of my life. With all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into my political work, I suppose the time has come to question what it was all for. When I started, it wasn’t all about creating a perfect society. It was about finding something to do with my life, about proving that I was worth more than the housewife I was raised to be. I suppose, to that end, I have succeeded, but it is a selfish goal, the completion of which does not provide me with satisfaction; that is why I wrote this series. My efforts to create a more perfect village may have failed, but as has been so often said by the wise, failure is a fantastic way of learning. I may be too old to apply the wisdom I gained from my experiences, but I can at least preserve it for others to gain from. It is my hope that, even if my name is forgotten by future generations, this story is not. Though values and beliefs will always grow old and be replaced with better ones, the lessons of the past are timeless.
  5. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter V: Great Again? 1805-1814 The closing days of Iris Peregrin’s term as Mayor of Bramblebury marked the midpoint of a unique period in halfling history; it was a time when the Peregrins were approaching the height of their influence on the village, which for some meant an era of festivities and good feelings, and for others an age of austerity and nonacceptance. Though the constitution had guaranteed all the same rights to improper halflings as proper halflings, the social stigma associated with breaking tradition was enough to keep most impropers “in the closet.” Nobody was ever arrested for being improper, but almost nobody was willing to admit that they were either. I still owned a sword and continued to carry it with me whenever I left the village, it was kept hidden in the burrow at any other time, and if asked I would have said I had gotten rid of it. In the few cases in which some halflings were unfortunate enough to do something improper out in the open, the punishments they faced were not too harsh; nothing much worse than harassment and social discrimination. However, though this manner of repression was quite tame compared to the sort of violence that happens to nonconformists in Oren or Haelun’or, it was still a far cry from the free society I had envisioned. The Peregrins would not soon give up the cultural crusade they had started in Bloomerville. Besides, considering how much good Iris had done for the village, most halflings, myself included, were willing to go along with all this, even if only to keep the peace. Hiding one’s improperness has always been fashionable, so for the majority of halflings, those who had not been openly improper prior to the Peregrins’ arrival anyway, nothing had changed at all. ~A Bonfire in Bramblebury; 1804~ Before going any deeper into this chapter, however, it is important to remember that the Peregrins truly believed that enforcing properness like this was good for the village. Halfling conservatism as the Peregrins practiced it was very much focused on maintaining a uniquely halfling cultural identity. Anything improper or biggun-like was considered a threat; a slippery slope that could lead to the halflings losing sight of who we are. Considering what Iris found upon her arrival in Fort Hope in 1792, to some degree I can understand why the conservatives thought maintaining properness was so important, however she and her family had not been present back in Brandybrook, where the idea that proper and openly improper halflings can coexist peacefully was taken for granted; at least after Sheriff Alfie Greenholm resigned. Sean Puddlefoot, Benedict Hassenfort, and Anne Applebrook were all famously relaxed in their adherence to halfling tradition, but from what I’ve heard they were all well respected people in Brandybrook. Their presence did not make Brandybrook’s proper halflings any less proper, nor did it cause any doubt in anyone’s mind that we were all still halflings. As much as I disagreed with the Peregrin stance on properness, however, the main aspect of their political agenda that worried me was the notion that a Peregrin needed to be in power at all times. The Mayorship was not a royal title to be handed from one member of a family to the another, but given Iris’ endorsement of her cousin Onelia that seemed to be exactly what was meant to happen. The fact that another Peregrin would be running combined with the strict degree to which properness had been enforced and lingering memory of the vitriolic response to the constitution dissuaded me from running in the Mayoral Election of 1805. I was rather surprised when my wife Kerraline, who had never been involved in politics before, announced that she would be running for Mayor; but I gave her all the encouragement she needed. Kerra did not have very strong or detailed political beliefs, but that didn’t matter; she was kind, capable, and most importantly trustworthy. ~A Poster Promoting Kerraline Goodbarrel; 1805~ That being said, I did not have a lot of confidence that Kerra would beat Onelia. She was not particularly active in village life, in fact for most part the only thing known about Kerra was that she was my wife, which, considering my reputation at the time, was not something that particularly helped her campaign. In fact, the only thing Kerra really did have to her name prior to the debates was the fact that she was not Onelia Peregrin. Though they may have been a minority, there were at least some people in the village who either thought the Peregrins were too strict about properness or simply didn’t get along with Onelia the way they got along with Iris. Unfortunately, the so-called “anti-Peregrin” vote I had predicted was immediately split by the entries of Rolladango Applefoot, a grandson of the old Thain Rollo Applefoot; and Burt Hassenfort, son of Benedict, into the race. ~A Poster Promoting Onelia Peregrin; 1805~ Though I knew these new candidates would probably take votes away from Kerra, it was also quite probable that they would take votes away from Onelia as well. Ignoring the Peregrins’ belief that the concept of Thainship was out of keeping with halfling tradition, Rollo was a famously proper halfling who purportedly “saved the race”, and thus a good name for Rolladango to tie to himself to if he were to seek the propers’ vote. Though Burt had his name tied to Benedict, he was, as far as I know, a proper halfling who had gone along with the Peregrins’ cultural crusade. It seemed that the Election of 1805 was going to be quite close, and it was something that, despite my informal retirement from politics, I wanted to be as involved in as possible, so I volunteered to monitor the debates. ~A Poster Promoting Rolladango Applefoot; 1805~ I wasn't terribly disappointed when Rolladango very suddenly announced that he would be dropping out of the election on account of not being able to make it to our scheduled debate on the 1st of the First Seed, 1805. If anything, I was relieved. As silent as they had been over the past few years I knew there was still a sizeable population of Bernardists in Bramblebury who would eagerly support an Applefoot. The confiscation of the so-called “Thain’s shovel” from Isalie by “Lord Knox” back in 1798 was still fresh in my mind, and I worried that should Rolladango win he might attempt to overthrow her. For all the safety-nets I had written into the constitution I knew that ultimately so few of the people cared about it that an untrustworthy candidate such as Rolladango could get away with practically anything. Besides, the only interaction I ever had with the man occurred when he was still a tween, prone to rage and violence; it was not the image of someone who should be trusted with the reigns of government. ~A Poster Promoting Burt Hassenfort; 1805~ The debate itself did not reveal much, except perhaps the fact that the Peregrins’ influence on the village had become so great that to even suggest that one may be alright with improperness was tantamount to political suicide. In fact, the window of what was considered “acceptable politics” in the Peregrin Era had become so small that there was hardly any debate between Burt, Onelia, and Kerra at all! My wife even admitted to me later on that she had modified her answers to the questions based on what the other two had said. Whether planned in advance or not, what happened as a result of all three candidates giving very similar answers was quite astonishing. Throughout the debate, the audience had been very chatty, throwing in a comment at every pause and treating the whole thing like much more of a spectacle than it actually was. As the debate began to wind down, however, the ill-timed humor turned into serious discussion about how all three of the candidates were wonderful. Then, quite suddenly, Monkey Peregrin and Perry Overhill suggested that we elect all three candidates as Elders. The audience immediately burst into discussion over the idea, much to the fright and confusion of Thain Isalie Gardner. Even as I tried to explain to the crowd that it was unconstitutional to just go ahead and create an Elder Council, and that we had no framework for how such a thing would work, they seemed dead set on it getting approved right then and right there. ~The Debate; 1805~ I recall feeling absolutely awful for Isalie as she moved on to the stage to address this crowd, which was perhaps better described as a mob; certainly not a violent mob, mind you, but an unruly gathering nonetheless. Once again, the accusations of Isalie trying to enforce her will, and by extension mine, on the village were thrown at her. Once again, the notion that our constitution was a sacred document which needed to be preserved and followed was labeled “biggun-talk”. And once again, Isalie only had me to turn to for advice. Though I did a better job of hiding it, I was just as worried and confused as Isalie was that day. It seemed the entire village wanted this Elder system to be put into effect, who were I and Isalie to try and stop it? Pulling her aside and speaking in whispers, I told her as much, and said also that it would be advisable for her to follow the mob’s wishes and postpone the election until after the constitution had been amended. Having written the constitution, I knew full well that this was illegal, but I feared what might happen if Isalie and I angered the mob further. A change in government seemed inevitable; if it was what the people wanted then I thought the only way to ensure that this transition of power occurred in an orderly manner was to work with the mob. Isalie, unfortunately, took my unwise words for wisdom, and announced that the election would be postponed until after a meeting was held to determine the future of village government. Though I recall walking away from that debate feeling as if the situation was under my control, looking back I would say the 1st of the First Seed, 1805, was the day democracy in Bramblebury began to make way for mob rule; I was simply too naive to know the difference. ~The Thain Watches the Debate; 1805~ I must admit that my main motivation for working with the proponents of the Elder system was to keep the future of our republic under my control. It was not because I wanted power within this new government but rather that I feared, should the conservatives be allowed to design a new constitution however they like, it would either be immensely flawed or entirely nonexistent. This was a chance to write a constitution that the village actually agreed with; a chance to redeem myself in the eyes of the public, and to create a more perfect system that I thought could serve our people for generations. I had come to the rather flawed conclusion that, in a democracy, the majority is always right . I suppose I did not understand at the time that a mob is no less of a mob for being on your side. The most hated aspect of the 1797 constitution was the inclusion of a system of checks and balances that ensured that neither the Thain nor the Mayor nor the Sheriff had too much power. This had been functioning just fine, but it was much too “biggun-like” for the conservatives. Having three Elders instead of just one Mayor would only complicate things further. It did not take long for me to realize that a three Elder system and a Thainship were mutually exclusive. Though she never said anything about quitting, ever since the days of Bloomerville, Isalie had occasionally expressed to me how tiring her job was. She always felt that people hated her, and sometimes questioned if perhaps someone else would do better in her position. I thought she had served us wonderfully, and she was my closest friend besides Kerra, but the proverbial wind was not blowing in her direction. When given the choice between Isalie and a peaceful and orderly village, I felt compelled to choose the latter, and in the next issue of the Bramblebury Gazette I published a plan for a simpler constitution that provided for a government with three Elders of equal power and a Sheriff with only law enforcement authorities; this was met with much praise from the conservatives. ~A Busy Day in Bramblebury; 1806~ When I walked into the village meeting Isalie had called in order to discuss revising the constitution on the 21st of the Deep Cold, 1805, I believed that everyone, Isalie included, had read the latest edition of the Bramblebury Gazette and were prepared to discuss the proposal I had included in it. That was not a wise assumption to make, however. I was somewhat confused as Isalie addressed the audience about bringing back Elders and creating a sort of militia called the Bounders to assist the Sheriff in their duties. After a bit of back and forth about Bounders, I recall beginning to wonder if anyone there was going to address the elephant in the room. But nobody brought it up; I had to do it myself. The fact Isalie had apparently not read my government proposal meant that she was totally unprepared to hear that the village was thinking about having her step down. I knew this, and I knew also that she would probably take it personally, and she did. I recall seeing this awful look of betrayal on her face as she asked me if I really thought her leadership was that horrible. Apart from a little bit of chatter from Filibert Applefoot and some kind words from my wife Kerra, the crowd gathered was mostly silent as I tried to explain to Isalie in the kindest terms possible that it was time for her to step down. Isalie simply burst into tears, saying something along the lines of it all being my hands now. As I looked back into the crowd, which was devoid of any emotion, I had a very strange and uneasy feeling, as if the eyes of history itself were staring down at me. It had been the desire of the Peregrins and the other conservatives to restore the Elder system and end the Thainship for quite some time, but when it actually happened they had hardly lifted a finger or said a word. That was left to me. And I did it not because I wanted to get rid of Isalie but because I was afraid of letting a mob rewrite the constitution. And yet, that is exactly what I let them do. The new constitution wasn’t inspired by my own wisdom but by the passions of the people, and I walked home thinking I had done the right thing; any shame I had was because my best friend felt I had betrayed her, not because I had betrayed my own revolution. It would take a long time for me to realize just how damaging the so-called “Revolution” of 1806 really was. ~The Old Thain Reflects; 1807~ Though the 1797 Constitution required a 2/3rds majority of the voters to approve amendments to the constitution, no such vote was held. As was evident by my ill-conceived advice to Isalie, I had totally given up on preserving the sanctity of our constitution, and I didn't want to bother Isalie any further. All that legitimized the new constitution I wrote in 1806 were signatures from Isalie, Iris, Meemaw, and a few other halflings in the village. Technically speaking, that means every election and decree that was issued under the Elder system was illegitimate, but nobody cared. Law can be a tricky thing to understand at times, and my fellow halflings had no patience for it. Though I did not seek my wife’s position as a candidate in the 1806 Elder Election, seeing as it was illegal for people married to each other to serve on the Council of Elders at the same time; I was quick to notice that I was, for the first time in my entire career, becoming popular, and decided to cement it further by revising the Goodbarrelian Manifesto to make it look like I had wholehearted support for the Elder-system and properness. Even though I would not run for Elder for another 8 years, I finally had the Peregrins’ confidence, and in an election that was all that mattered. Being a large family with many friends, the abolishing of the office of Thain meant that the Peregrins had practically uncontested control of the republic. Nobody could be elected Elder without their support. “King” Cyris Collingwood tried to run for Elder at the last minute too, but he received not a single vote, even though each voter was allowed to cast three. The results were exactly as projected; Onelia, Kerra, and Burt became the first Elders of Bramblebury. ~The 1806 Bramblebury Elder Election~ With how dramatically and negatively I have described the transition to an Elder system, one might question why exactly returning to that old form of government was so bad. Peregrin control over elections aside, the problems of an Elder system were not immediately obvious. Few outside the Gardner family were upset by Isalie’s fall from power. Her popularity had been damaged not only by past events during Brandybrook, Bloomerville, and the Knoxist Crisis but also by more recent things such as her marriage to a biggun (the Warden), and her proposals for the construction of biggun living quarters in the village. ~The Wedding of the Thain and the Warden; 1805~ Following the “Revolution” of 1806, the village seemed to go back to how it was when Iris was Mayor, if not better; with all manner of festivals, weddings, cooking contests, bakery openings, and birthday parties. Tavern nights continued to be held, the library received a great number of donations, Filibert started up a new newspaper, and a whole new district was constructed in the village known as Bloomerville Square, which harkened back to what the Peregrins considered one the best time in our recent history. For anyone who was proper or at least pretending to be, it was a fine time to live in Bramblebury. For those who were not included in that “proper” halfling majority, however, the Bramblebury of the Peregrin-Goodbarrel-Hassenfort years was not quite so pleasant. In one instance, a late biggun friend of mine and her Sorvian were essentially robbed by a couple of “proper” halflings for no reason other than the fact that she was a biggun. In another instance, one that I am, admittedly, guilty of being involved in, a biggun was told he could only stay in the village if he cast off his shoes and worked the fields for us. Perry even wrote an open letter criticizing an organization promoting racial justice. “Biggun Realism”, as he called it, was in full force, and seeing as the constitution protected only the rights of halflings, there was nothing that could be done about it. Even though improper halflings were legally protected under the constitution, that did not protect them from being disowned by their families or otherwise turned into outcasts. Known improper halflings only continued to have it worse as the village started to become a somewhat unpleasant place for anyone who didn’t seem to be a proper halfling to live; one improper halfling even finding herself fighting a duel against a Peregrin! The wholesome presence of Iris was often missing as she began to spend more time pursuing her studies with the Druidic Order rather than lounging about the village. As for Isalie, she became far less reserved in her words and actions after retiring, often getting into fights with Onelia, Filibert, and other people she had not gotten along with. Sheriff Meemaw Applebottom, her health not being the best at her age, was hardly ever seen, and was certainly not patrolling often enough to keep things calm. In the early 1810s there would even be a series of horrific “murders.” Though all the presumed victims later turned up alive, these unsolved cases certainly cast a poor light on Meemaw’s tenure as Sheriff, and helped encourage her eventual resignation due to health reasons. ~Aftermath of a Murder; 1811~ The rancidity of this “perfect society” we had created was not limited only to the experience of “improper” halflings and bigguns; in fact, I’d argue much of it stemmed from the immense flaws within the new Elder-system. As it turned out, the absence of the separation of powers and checks and balances that had made the old constitution so reviled were the very thing that made the new constitution so ineffective. In my quest to “simplify” it for the public, I had removed any semblance of instruction on how Elders were supposed to interact with each other, with the only specifications being that they were all supposed to be of equal power and that only some decisions required unanimous approval. I cannot blame Onelia for misinterpreting the constitution considering there was practically nothing there to interpret, but that does not really excuse the fact that she often acted as if she were the sole leader of the village, though I don’t recall writing that not speaking with your fellow Elders on a daily basis allows you to assume the powers of a Thain anywhere in the constitution. At first, Onelia’s approach to the office of Elder was not a terribly large problem; though it did allow her to create the Bramblebury Fire Department; which would cause a fiasco and half several years later. No, Onelia’s approach to Eldership became a problem when she began conducting “diplomacy” on behalf of her other Elders; which is to say that she went behind their backs to trod upon our alliance with Elvenesse to the point of its near destruction. The Halfling-Elvensse Crisis began when a diplomat from Haelun’or arrived in the village to arrange an audience between the high elven Silver Council and the halfling Council of Elders. Though the purpose of this meeting was not explicitly stated in my presence, it did not take a lot of sleuth work to figure out that the high elves were seeking to establish good relations with the halflings as they prepared for war against our protectors in Elvenesse. I recall feeling very frustrated at my inability to get involved; but thankfully this initial meeting was handled by Kerra quite well. She made it clear that Bramblebury had no intention of betraying Elvenesse or otherwise getting involved in an unnecessary biggun war. ~Halfling Negotiations; 1810~ Unfortunately, that was not how Elvenesse perceived that meeting as rumors spread among their leadership that the halflings of Bramblbeury may be seeking independence from Elvenesse, or worse, that we were conspiring to aid the Silver State against them. It was not only these rumors of conspiracy that worried Elvenesse, however. Allegedly, Onelia marched down to Elvenesse' capital Amathea one day, badmouthed their council, and slapped their High Princess in the face. What followed was a diplomatic scandal; though I would not have known of it had my wife not told me. Within months Bramblebury was flooded with all manner of dignitaries from Haense and the like practically begging for us to join them. Apparently a rumor was spreading like wildfire among the biggun leaders of the world that the halflings were seeking separation from Elvenesse, when in reality only one of our three elected Elders had done anything to indicate that. ~Breakfast at the Bakery; 1812~ The situation was only made worse by the fact that Burt had fallen ill in Malin’s Welcome 1811, forcing him to resign from the office of Elder. It was during some of the most crucial moments of this crisis that the only check on Onelia’s power was Kerra, who Onelia, for some odd reason, thought had disappeared and never even bothered to send a bird to. Though the constitution required that an emergency election be held in the event of a vacancy in the Council of Elders, Isalie was given the position without a vote on account of being the only person who signed up; though she viewed it more as a favor for the village than coming out of retirement. All the same, with Isalie and Kerra on the council together an opportunity arose to oust Onelia, but between the likelihood that the people would not vote in favor of her removal of office, Iris’ unwillingness to take Onelia’s position due in part to her devotion to the Druids, and the fact that the Election of 1814 was just around the corner; nothing came of the plan. It was only at this point in 1813 that Kerra actually told me everything that was going on, positing that perhaps I could write a special edition of the Bramblebury Gazette critiquing Onelia’s conduct and perhaps dissuading the people from voting for her in the next election. That, however, was quickly rendered unnecessary when Onelia announced that she would not be seeking reelection and instead would be endorsing her cousin James Peregrin, one of the adopted sons of Iris. Isalie was quite sick of what the village had turned into and, despite the fact that our friendship had been repaired, was likely still upset about the “Revolution” of 1806, so she resigned her office and left the village with the Warden before her term as temporary Elder was even finished. In her place, her adopted daughter Winter, also a good friend of mine, ran for Elder. After a brief discussion my wife also decided not to seek reelection, and so, in 1814, I finally came out of my “retirement” to officially lead the village once again. ~A Poster Promoting Greta Goodbarrel; 1814~ Though Kerra had told me quite a bit about Onelia’s misconduct as Elder, and though I had heard some unpleasant stories about the village from other friends of mine, I still believed at the time that our republic was functioning just fine, and had just happened to elect the wrong person. I had become so accustomed to being on the Peregrins’ good side that I had forgotten how unpleasant it was to go against them. I thought the problems of the village were things that I could solve just by becoming an Elder. I had yet to uncover the unfortunate truth that the “perfect” Elder system I had created did not, as Onelia promised, “make the halflings great again.” It had only made the already existing divisions among our people much worse. It would take being right in the fray of this dysfunctional government for me to realize that our republic, if not already in ruins, was on its deathbed.
  6. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter IV: Of Politics, Propers, and Pumpkin Lords 1796-1805 As was the case with most other nations, the halflings’ voyage to Almaris and our early months there were largely uneventful. The new village, named Bramblebury by a public poll, was constructed in a location that shared both both striking similarities and drastic differences with Brandybrook. Like Brandybrook, Bramblebury was built on a wooded peninsula in the south of the continent, not far at all from the gates of Elvenesse’s capital city. Unlike Brandybrook, however, the area Bramblebury occupied was vast and expansive, and despite the landscape sounding similar, the towering trees of Almaris were indeed very alien to any who were used to the relatively modest forests of Arcas. Burrows were built larger and much farther apart, and there was ample room for sugar farms, wheat fields, orchards, and vineyards. Despite all the troubles that would occur within, Bramblebury can at least attest to being the prettiest-looking village I’ve lived in. ~Morning in Bramblebury; late 18th century~ I recall being mildly annoyed with Thain Isalie Gardner as she seemed to keep putting off reading and signing the constitution. It was only after we arrived in Bramblebury and she worked to quickly hand out burrows in an organized fashion that I understood why she had waited; it was a job that needed to be done before anybody could start worrying about elections; something I hadn’t even thought of. As would often happen during these years, my efforts to create a more perfect village blinded me to the more mundane things that needed doing. I could talk all I want about the government existing only to protect the natural rights of halflings, but someone needs to hand out burrows too, I suppose. Regardless, as soon as the housing in Bramblebury was taken care of, Isalie wasted little more time reading over the constitution and signing it. I remember practically squealing with joy as I skipped back to my burrow to make a copy to publish. While I nailed the constitution to the noticeboard in the village square, I had my wife Kerraline set off a few fireworks in celebration. I thought for sure the 16th of the Amber Cold, 1796 would become a day celebrated for generations to come. The “battle” I had spent the past decade was won; after nearly a century of Bernardist dictatorship under a single all-powerful Thain, democracy had been restored to the halflings. I had no idea just how complicated and messy revolution actually is. ~Bramblebury; late 18th century~ Establishing a republic was one thing, maintaining it was something entirely different. Even then, at its creation, I had concerns about what could happen to this new government should I step away from it. However, I thought such an event would only occur in the very far future. I had long intended to run for Mayor, believing that I could set a good example for how future Mayors should behave and I also thought that my pursuit of this office would be entirely unopposed; who could possibly be more qualified to run a government than the lady who created it? In all my idealism I had forgotten about one of democracy’s greatest flaws: the power of popularity. Though it would be an exaggeration to call any of the Peregrins demagogues as I have in some of my more scathing writings, they appealed to the common halfling far better than I or Isalie ever did. I knew that Iris Peregrin might try to pursue a government office at some point in future, but I was nevertheless quite shocked when Iris announced her candidacy for the Mayoral Election of 1797. From what I’ve gathered, several people asked her to run, and all the while she had been hesitant because she did not want to get in my way. However, as had happened before and would happen again, Iris put her family above her own good judgement, and right under my nose had begun campaigning for Mayor even before the constitution was approved. Between the shock of this development, and the fact that people who previously implied that they would be voting for me suddenly pledged support for Iris, I was rather angry. It was not that Iris’ mayorship would be unjust; the people had the right to choose whichever leaders wanted; no, I was upset because it seemed the people were ungrateful for what I had done. I thought I had earned the office of Mayor, but it seemed most of the village disagreed. ~The Founding Mother; 1796~ Though I found it doubtful that I’d be able to beat Iris in an election, I did not drop out at first. I wasn’t afraid of losing, that was a part of the system after all. If I was going to go out, I thought I should at least go out with my head held high. Most of the people who had changed their vote did so apologetically, and I could at least count on votes from my wife and Isalie. Even “Lord Knox” was willing to give me some credit, calling me the “Founding Mother” on a poster advertising the debate I was to have with Iris on the 21st of The Deep Cold, 1796. In the days leading up to that debate, however, it quickly became apparent to me that the village was not only ungrateful for or apathetic about the new constitution; some halflings hated it. The language I had used and the concepts I had introduced were all considered very biggun-like and thus improper; apparently it is a fundamental offense against the halfling race to suggest that a government should have separation of powers. People were also angry that I had been allowed to do all this without any vote being taken on the matter, despite the fact that I had been accepting feedback on the constitution for years between the meeting in 1794 and the constitution's signing by Isalie in 1796. I should note that most of this criticism came from Iris’ family and supporters, many of whom had not even attended the meeting or bothered to talk to me about what they did and didn’t like about the constitution I was writing. For all I knew the village had been in full agreement. And yet, here I was, faced with the fact that my constitution had been something that was legitimized of only by the approval Isalie and my co-Elder Andon Cloudberry, the latter of whom departed the village a few weeks before the elections. Even Malfoy Proudfoot, the former Sheriff long thought missing, turned up and tried to organize a protest against my “biggun politics.” ~Breakfast in the Peregrin Burrow; 1798~ As my debate with Iris drew nearer and nearer, I began to feel the need to make a major decision. The writing on the wall had been clear since Iris entered the race: I was not going to become Mayor; Iris was too popular and my campaigning methods simply did not appeal to my fellow halflings. I made promises of "Liberty, Equality, and Happiness" for the halflings, while Iris promised them "Food, Fun, and Family", and unlike my promises these were things that could actually be delivered to them. The thought of losing an election had not been enough to dissuade me from running, though I did briefly consider running for Sheriff instead; it was not something I ever seriously pursued, however, seeing as it was a position I was uninterested in, unqualified for, and quite frankly one I thought was beneath me. It was only after I realized just how unwelcome my influence on the village was that I decided to preemptively concede the election to Iris. The reasoning I gave in my letter to the village when I conceded was quite straightforward: if the people were so displeased with what I had done and so dead set on electing a new leader to fix it all, who was I to try and stand in the way of that? As would be the case in many future disputes between myself and the conservatives, I had neither the heart nor the mind to try and argue with them, and instead chose to allow the village to decide for themselves what was best for it. What I did not understand then that I do now is that good democracies are built not on majority rule but on compromise. Though I had always been an advocate of compromise, the village’s rejection of what I saw as a great compromise between Bernardism and democracy must have communicated to me that I did something terribly wrong. I had never once considered that those who disagreed with me might simply have been unwilling to change their mind. ~Halflings on a Swing; 1797~ One person who was never intransigent, however, was Iris. After giving a speech to Bramblebury laying out her plans for her term as Mayor, Iris pulled me aside and asked me if I could provide her counsel during her term whenever she needed it. She acknowledged that at least some of my ideas were good ones, and that many of her supporters expected her to simply “sweep it all under the rug”, something that she also promised to me that day she wouldn’t do. Despite the good relationship we established then, Iris and I never become close confidants in the manner that Isalie and I were. Though I was consulted once or twice on a few laws and documents, Iris never came to me during the real crises of her Mayorship. She also mentioned that I would be a good middlewoman between herself and Isalie ,but I was never given any opportunity to mediate between them either, though I do believe that would have made some of the situations that were thrown at Iris and Isalie much less stressful. Unfortunately, the awkward caution they approached each other with on the day of Iris’ speech never went away; something that no doubt made this new government appear more dysfunctional than it actually was; the Mayor and Thain were meant to work closely together, but Iris and Isalie never really did. I had designed the position of Mayor with myself in mind, and that was proving to be something of a mistake. ~The 1797 Bramblebury Mayoral Election~ With my effective retirement, Iris ran unopposed for Mayor, and as such that election proved to be quite uneventful. The same cannot be said for the Sheriff race, in which former Halfling Liberty Association member Theodore Mowood ran against former Sheriff of Brandybrook Alfie Greenholm, who, much like Malfoy, had reappeared in Bloomerville after being missing for years; and Meemaw Applebottom, the grandmother of High Pumplar Jeannette Applebottom. In many ways, it was the Sheriff Election of 1797 that set the precedent for what elections in Bramblebury would look like; a debate was held in which all three candidates lined up on a stage and were asked questions about their beliefs and plans for the village. Once that was over with, Isalie opened up the polls and all the adults in the village were provided the opportunity to cast their votes. The polls would be open for two months, after which Isalie would fulfill her duty as Thain by counting the votes and breaking a tie if necessary; it was a process I had designed myself with some inspiration from Haelun’or’s voting system, and I was very happy to see it in action. ~The Sheriff Debates; 1797~ None of the three candidates for Sheriff in 1797 were particularly political. Their aims were, as they should be, to protect the village. The only thing there really was to debate on was whether or not it was the duty of the Sheriff to enforce properness. Though Alfie had been infamous for going to extreme lengths to do so during his term as Sheriff of Brandybrook in the 1770s, in this election he presented himself as much more of a moderate. Theodore Mowood was a known improper halfling, which combined with his lack of experience and tendency towards anger, likely cost him the election. As for Meemaw, she was able to secure a good number of votes simply by being both proper and eccentric at the same time; halflings love a good character, I suppose. ~The 1797 Bramblebury Sheriff Election~ When the results of the Sheriff Election came to Isalie, it turned out that all three candidates had tied. Isalie, having lived in the village during Alfie’s controversial term as Sheriff in the 1770s and been badgered by Theo constantly for the position of Sheriff, decided to break the tie in favor of Meemaw, something that greatly upset Alfie, who insisted more than once that a second election should have been held once Theo was voted out of the race. That was not something prescribed by the constitution, however, so his demands went ignored. That is not to say the election was totally constitutional, however. One of the constitution’s qualifications for running for office was having lived in the village for four consecutive years prior to the election. Though, of course, Bloomerville also counted as “the village,” Meemaw had arrived there only a little more than two years prior. Considering this was the first election, Isalie waived this requirement, despite the fact that the constitution had given her no authority to do so. I did not protest; though I had always envisioned the constitution as a sacred immutable document, the people held such a loathing for it that whenever it was slightly challenged or contradicted, it felt wrong to defend it. I suppose I did not understand at the time that republics are made of laws, not people. The line between democracy and rule by a mob is very thin, and my commitment to letting the people rule themselves often blinded me to the fact that sometimes the people don’t have to wisdom or education to make the right decisions. ~Halflings at School; 1797~ Despite all its problems however, I would still say that the first few years in which Iris was at the head of the republic were its best. Iris took the notion that she was a servant of the people rather than their ruler to heart; always willing to listen to feedback and suggestions on how to make the village better. One of her first acts as Mayor was to revise the village Laws and Traditions, something I gladly assisted her with. Iris also helped organize a number of festivals, including a party celebrating the halfling winter holiday, Knoxmas. With Demeter Pebblebrook opening up a school to teach halflings young and old, Mondy Applefoot opening up a bakery, and my continued production of wine and occasional publication of a new newspaper called the Bramblebury Gazette; village life flourished during the Iris Peregrin years. Her kind leadership and warm demeanor had calmed the storm of anger that had followed the adoption of the constitution; Iris was holding the village together. ~King Cyris Collingwood; 1798~ Though most of the time it takes more than one person to ruin a time of happiness and prosperity, that was not the case with “King” Cyris Collingwood, a strange halfling who arrived in the village around the time of the first elections. Though he unironically presented himself using the title of a monarch, Cyris is perhaps better described as a self-proclaimed crusader. He arrived in Bramblebury claiming to have been sent to Almaris by Lord Knox himself, and preached the “word of the Pumpkin Lord” constantly. As annoying as it was, Cyris’ practice was perfectly within the boundaries of religious freedom set by the constitution, and since most halflings are Knoxists, the village agreed. That was until a missive was put out by High Pumplar Jeanette, the head of the Knoxist Church, declaring Cyris to be a false prophet according to the true “Lord Knox”, the one that had been making periodic appearances to the halflings back in Arcas. At first, I paid little attention to Cyris and Jeannette’s dispute; it had nothing to do with me or the government I created and I had no idea that it was about to develop into a serious crisis. The Knoxist Crisis began on the 19th of the Grand Harvest, 1798, at, of all places, a Knoxmas party. The whole village had come together to share a few drinks and decorate a great Knoxmas tree which had been grown in the party field. Despite the frigid weather it was a merry celebration, attended even by Queen Ancelie of Norland. “Lord Knox” too, made an appearance, purportedly to aid in the festivities. Unfortunately, Theodore Mowood, who by then had developed a bad habit of rushing to the side of people with authority, decided it would be a good idea to point out Cyris, who had been decrying this “Lord Knox” as a false god, to the Pumpkin Lord. What resulted was a brutal duel between Cyris and “Knox” that resulted in the halfling being beaten to a near pulp. It was at this unfortunate moment that Isalie arrived at the party, and she immediately denounced this “Knox”, going so far as to give away the golden shovel and cap which had become symbols of the Thainship. “Knox” took these items and disappeared into the woods, but in the eyes of Cyris, who survived this encounter, the crusade had only just begun. ~The King Faces the Pumpkin Lord; 1798~ The interactions between this “Lord Knox” and Isalie deeply troubled me, mostly because I found it aboslutely ridiculous that any old fool could claim to be a god and order our leaders around. I had worked so hard to ensure that the new village government would maintain a separation of church and state, and feared that “Knox’s” confiscation of the Thain’s cap and shovel would be used as grounds to unjustly remove her. After all, Isalie was nearly as unpopular as I was, and despite her shaky yet calm relationship with Iris she was still heavily at odds with other village conservatives such as Alfie, Filibert Applefoot, and Onelia Peregrin. My report on the Knoxmas incident in the Bramblebury Gazette stirred up much anger, as did a missive put out by Monkey Peregrin, Iris’ adopted son, which claimed that the “Knox” who beat up Cyris was actually a demon. After getting in trouble with the other Peregrins, who were all devout Knoxists, Monkey tore the message down, but the damage had been done. Cyris continued to preach against “Knox”, something that somehow managed to land him in jail despite the fact that religious freedom was one of the key features of our constitution. Though they had been opponents during the Sheriff Elections, Alfie and Theo went practically insane together, harassing and assaulting Cyris and Isalie. His reputation destroyed, Theo soon disappeared from the village and the children that were in his care; Lilabeth, Sorrel, and Bear; were adopted by the Peregrins. With Theo and Andon going off on their own and Minto Townsend marrying into the ruling family of Talon's Grotto, Filibert and I were the only members of the old Halfling Liberty Organization left, and we had found ourselves on quite opposite ends of the political spectrum; times had certainly changed. Just as it began to seem that tensions could not possibly get any worse, “Lord Knox” put out his own missive, which, in addition to laying out a doctrine for Knoxists to follow, decried Isalie as an “unfit Thain” led astray by “temptresses and deranged people” and “democratic and political pigs.” It does not take any great amount of insight to know that these terms were used in reference to me, despite the fact that “Knox” apparently did not have the stones to call me out by name. The missive also implied that the only legitimate leaders of the halflings were the High Pumplar and Thain, a notion in direct contradiction to the constitution. The fact that “Knox” and his supporters were so hell bent on tearing down the republic and that "Knox" threatened to send the “trumpets of ruin blasting into the Gardner Burrow” was enough for me to believe that this “god” had destroyed our republic just like that. Fearing for the safety of both myself and my family, I packed up and lived in Haelun’or for a year or two, leaving the village to its own fate. ~The Departure of Greta; 1798~ As all of this happened, Iris remained mostly silent, something I cannot blame her for. She knew that to choose a side in this religious dispute was not her place as the Mayor. Though I think she privately believed that neither side was right, she did not make any public statements on the matter, and instead chose to keep the village focused on more cheerful things, such as a village-wide shogging tournament. While it’s not the approach I would have taken, I do think it may have been the right one. Despite all the bark “Knox” put into his rabble-rousing letter, nothing actually happened to Isalie or any of the improper halflings in the village. After Monkey Peregrin sent out a message to every corner of the world promising that the village was safe, I decided to make my way back. I was rather surprised to find that nothing had changed, I thought for sure my absence would mean the end of the republic, but Iris and Isalie simply continued carrying out their duties as best they could despite the trying times. Both were under a great deal of stress, however, with Iris even falling into a sort of depression. Though the village was still functioning, the problem of "Lord Knox" continued to loom over it. Something had to be done. ~The Grand Shogging Tournament; 1799~ Though Isalie and I briefly discussed the possibility of bringing in soldiers from Elvenesse to get rid of “Knox”, we both knew that doing that would kill both of our careers as village leaders, and likely cause us to be hated by the village forever. Thankfully, we never did have to take the matter into our own hands, seeing as a treant called Vorrijard decided to do it himself. I was not present in the village when it happened, but apparently the treant challenged “Knox’ to duel, which the Pumpkin Lord accepted. Despite our culture’s emphasis on nonviolence and our distaste for combat, the duel quickly became a village sensation as a fighting pit was constructed on the eastern side of Bramblebury and preparations were made for a public duel between “Knox” and any who wished to challenge him. I must say that, even though I doubted that this “Knox” was a god, I did not expect him to die at the hands of treant, nor was I there on the 24th of the First Seed, 1802 to witness it. I abhor violence, especially over something as trivial as religion, so I avoided the event and simply stayed home. It was only after the duel had occurred that I was informed that “Lord Knox” was dead. Some celebrated, others mourned, but I was simply glad it was all over. Believing the “enemy” to have been vanquished, Cyris calmed down and slowly faded into irrelevance while Jeanette became the sole authority on Knoxism in Bramblebury. ~The Duel; 1802~ With the Knoxist Crisis over, Bramblebury more or less returned to what it had been during the early months of Iris’ Mayorship. The fighting pit was torn down and a theatre constructed in its place, parties and festivals resumed, Filibert began holding drinking nights like in Brandybrook, and young Lilabeth even attempted to go to the moon. With the end of her term approaching, Iris set to work on creating a system of tunnels beneath the village which we could flee to in case of danger; they were much too small for bigguns to fit into; something that might prove very important in the future, though as of my writing this the village has yet to be attacked. In any case, the fact that the village and its government survived the Knoxist Crisis gave me great hope that the system I had built would last for generations. Iris’ great contributions to our village combined with her fine leadership seemed to prove the worth of having an elected Mayor alongside the Thain and Sheriff. It was not a perfect system, but it was working. As fantastic a job as Iris did, however, being in the position she had been in during the Knoxist Crisis took quite a toll on her. As the Mayoral Election of 1805 approached, Iris announced that she would not be pursuing a second term as Mayor of Bramblebury, and instead provided an endorsement for her cousin Onelia. ~Onelia the Orator; 1799~ Though it was never openly admitted, the Peregrins seemed to have intended to establish a dynasty wherein each member of the family would serve a term or two as Mayor, ensuring that they always had control of the village. With just how popular and successful Iris had been in both Bloomerville and Bramblebury, they certainly had the votes to do it. Recalling how she had behaved in Bloomerville, I was opposed to Onelia’s ascension to office from the very beginning, and eagerly supported both Burt Hassenfort and my wife Kerraline in their campaigns for Mayor. Ultimately, however, I thought it didn’t matter who would win that election. If someone believed to be a literal god couldn’t bring down the system, then who possibly could? I had not considered that, though our republic had passed nearly every test thrown at it during the Iris Peregrin years, it had yet to be tested in one of the most important aspects of a democracy; the ability to have an orderly transfer of power. Unfortunately, that was a test it would not pass.
  7. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter III: Rise of the Peregrins 1791-1796 Given the great adversity experienced by the halflings between 1789 and 1791 and the general feeling of despair that loomed over the ironically named Fort Hope during those years, one can easily imagine that few halflings expected 1792 to be any different; I certainly did not. Apart from another apparition of “Lord Knox”, who provided some rather cryptic information about the assassins that were targeting the village leadership, the opening days of 1792 were hardly any different than any part of 1791 had been. Unbeknownst to me or Thain Isalie Gardner however, something had been set into motion that would change not only the experience of the halflings living in fort Fort Hope but the course of halfling history itself. Amid the chaos and confusion of 1791, a new halfling arrived at Fort Hope. Though few took much notice of her at first, she would prove to be one of the key figures in this history; her name was Iris Peregrin. ~Iris Tends To Her Chickens; 1793~ The Peregrins are an ancient family. Iris was not the first of their line, which could be traced back to Andwise Peregrin, the leader of Willow Hollow, a halfling village in Vailor. Though my knowledge on Willow Hillow’s history is lacking, Iris’ account of it, which presumably was handed down to her as a family story, seemed to imply that the “glory days'' of Willow Hollow were a time when the Peregrin family held significant influence over their fellow halflings, acting as paragons of properness. At some point, however, Andwise lost his title and supposedly the village turned improper and biggun-like. Vailor was inhabited long before my parents were even twinkles in my grandparents’ eyes, but I do think that the notion that Andwise’ fall from power corrupted Willow Hollow should be taken with a grain of salt, seeing as similar terms have been used to describe the rise good leaders like Isalie. In any case, the children of Andwise were upset with the direction the village had taken. Mirabelle, whom Iris is directly descended from, fled into the wild to get away from the “impropers'' while Milly followed the rest of the group to Axios, where she helped manage a proper village known as Reedsborough before eventually joining Mirabelle in the wild. The Peregrins were not again seen in Axios or Atlas, entirely missing the events of Dunshire and Brandybrook, but for all that time their family stuck together, isolated and romanticizing the days of Willow Hollow. According to Iris herself, it was these tales of a great people that drove her to seek out the halflings of Brandybrook in hopes of reliving the glory days of the Peregrins. ~The Village of Reedsborough; c. 1600~ It should come as no surprise then, that Iris was utterly disappointed with what had become of our people. Admittedly, even I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that the halflings of Fort Hope were completely unrecognizable as the descendants of the halflings of Willow Hollow. Iris had been raised on tales of a cheery, traditional race who were always smiling and never dared to use weapons or minas. She was also upset that the halflings were ruled by a single all-powerful Thain; Willow Hollow’s leaders had been numerous and elected. While I cannot say for certain when such a thought came upon Iris, it seems that, at some point in the following years, she decided to take it upon herself to restore properness to the halflings and make her people great again. After milling about the Fort for a few months, Iris’ chance came when she was approached by Filibert Applefoot, who had returned from the self-imposed exile alluded to in the previous chapter and wanted help building burrows. Though his original plans had been denied by the fortkeepers, he and a few others had grown so tired of sleeping in the biggun barracks Isalie had arranged for us that they were willing to accept having walls around it, which they would later be allowed to turn into hedges. Believing the restoration of village life to be first step in a rebirth of properness, Iris and Filibert along with a few others set to work immediately on constructing burrows within the Fort, all right under Isalie’s nose and without her permission. I even claimed one of these burrows for myself, finding the prospect of sleeping in a normal bed and being able to grow grapes irresistible. ~The Village Under Construction; 1792~ When Isalie did discover this illegal village she was quite upset. It was yet another instance within recent memory of people blatantly disobeying her; she had insisted time and again that Fort Hope was a temporary home, and had even negotiated accommodations for our people in Urguan, seeing as the dwarves had pledged to protect us from the assassins. Filibert reacted as he usually did, responding in an impish and rude manner, and Iris later mentioned feeling afraid of Isalie. Though neither of them ever intended it, this first clash between Iris and Isalie proved to be the beginning of a political rivalry that would turn our entire nation upside down. Indeed, it can be argued that my willingness to give Iris a chance combined with the trust Isalie had placed in me as an advisor was the only reason the peace was kept in the early days of this new village, which soon became known as Bloomerville. Not wanting to add physical divisions to the social ones that were already developing among our people, I convinced Isalie not to move us all to Urguan, and Bloomerville became the home of the halflings for the next four years. ~Bloomerville at Night; 1793~ Unfortunately, no amount of mediating, compromise-seeking, and pamphleteering on my part could change the fact that Isalie and Iris didn’t trust each other. Isalie had always been rather conscious of her image as a leader, feeling that she was widely disliked. While Isalie certainly did not give herself enough credit for her own virtues, her tendency towards anger and bluntness were admittedly off-putting to many. Iris, on the other hand, was immensely charismatic. Whether she intended to or not, her appearance was that of the nicest person imaginable; a young little lady wanting to do nothing but good for the world. The entire community was absolutely enamored by her and orphans such as Taurin “Monkey” Rutledge and James Ashfoot practically lined up to be adopted by her. I suppose Isalie felt just as threatened by Iris’s popularity as Iris felt threatened by Isalie’s authority. At first I mistrusted Iris as well. Ever since my breakup with Filibert I had been very wary of people obsessed with properness. Though I would soon find that Iris shared many of my views on the workings of a democracy, I felt very uneasy with the fact that Iris had immense support for everything she did while Isalie and I had close to none. Furthermore, Iris and I disagreed heavily on what the basic purpose of a government was; in her rather conservative view, the purpose of a halfling government was to defend tradition and keep the people happy. By comparison, my belief that governments exist only to protect the natural rights of the people must have been seen as improper and radical. Furthermore, while I was more than willing to keep the Thain involved with the government as an unelected official of limited power, Iris believed that the office should be removed entirely. ~A Storm in Bloomerville; 1794~ Despite these disagreements, Iris was far too good natured to cause any real trouble. That would be left to her sons and cousins. Autumn of 1792 saw the arrival of Onelia Peregrin, a direct descendant of the aforementioned Milly Peregrin; and Perry Overhill, a distant cousin of hers. Though Iris had already been working hard to breathe new life into the halfling race, it was only after Onelia and Perry arrived that the "Proper Renaissance" for which Bloomerville is known for truly began. Despite all the positive connotations of the phrase, however, a good portion of this “Renaissance” is perhaps better described as a harassment campaign. Whatever the intentions of these new Peregrins may have been, their views on properness were extreme perhaps even by Applefoot standards, and their methods were quite frankly heavy-handed. Onelia had no patience for impropers or bigguns, and her demeanor was cantankerous, stubborn, and pedantic. A Peregrin in all but name, Perry was equally as extreme, harboring an immense and senseless loathing for bigguns which he would later attempt to justify with “science.” Not long at all after the arrival of Onelia and Perry, the promise of Peregrin properness already began to show a less flattering side. Elder Andon Cloudberry was harassed and called a disgrace for having a dagger to protect himself with. Rufus Knowise faced similar, repeated harassment for “general improperness” and my wine shop, which accepted minas from bigguns in exchange for wine, which was provided to halflings for free, was vandalized with pumpkins and posters complaining about improperness. ~The Peregrin Family; 1792~ While I would like to believe that a family leader as kind-hearted as Iris did not condone any of this, it must be noted that Peregrins had a very coordinated and close-knit household, holding clandestine meetings in their burrow on a regular basis, sometimes inviting family friends. Looking back, I do wonder how much of what ended up happening in Bramblebury was planned in advance, and how much say Iris had in any of it. Given what I know of their personalities however, I find it more likely that the greatest influence on the group was actually Onelia, and that for the most part Iris’ sometimes unfortunate place in our history resulted not from any ill intentions on her part but from her loyalty to her family. The same can likely be said for others within the Peregrins’ inner circle, and perhaps to a lesser degree within the village as a whole. Though loyalty and kinship certainly played a role in the Peregrins’ popularity, it must be understood that for anybody who wasn’t improper or otherwise at odds with their agenda, their arrival seemed to signal the beginning of a new golden age for the halflings. Under the informal guidance of the Peregrins, Bloomerville expanded further to include farms, bee hives, and two drinking establishments. Perry produced all manner of intoxicating and invigorating substances for the village’s enjoyment, and Iris continued to be as lovely a person as ever, hosting parties and attending festivals, which became common once Bloomerville was built. Recognizing that most halflings who carried swords did so because they did not know how to make good use of a shovel in combat, the Peregrins also provided training in shovel combat, a program that was admittedly quite successful. With just how much the Peregrins and their friends were doing for the village, it was begining to seem like Isalie had lost her relevance, becoming the ruler of the halflings only in name. This was something I was not particularly comfortable with considering my entire plan for the halfling village in Almaris had come to rest on Isalie’s shoulders. ~A Sunny Day in Bloomerville; 1793~ It was around the same time Perry and Onelia arrived that allied bigguns won their final victory against the demons in Korvassa. The celebration of this victory was rather short-lived, however, as it was soon revealed to them that the doom of Arcas was imminent. Though we had known for a while that the halflings would soon be departing Arcas along with the rest of the world, the question of where the halflings would dwell within Almaris; the new world, had yet to be answered. It was only after dignitaries on behalf of the Sea Prince Feanor met with me and Isalie that it was decided the halflings would renew our long-standing arrangement for protection from Elvenesse, something that was protested only in passing by Onelia. Wishing to inform the people of what had been decided at our meeting with the elves, Isalie called a village meeting for the 22nd of Snow’s Maiden, 1794. In her missive, she promised also that leadership and government would be discussed at the meeting as well. Despite having been mostly dormant in my writing and politicking for the past few years, I spent the months leading up to it hard at work revising the proposed constitution I had written back in 1786 to be more “halflling-like”, as it were. I studied the old systems of Dunshire, Willow Hollow, and other previous villages and quickly came to the conclusion that an Elder system would not do us much good. I also took note of the fact that all these previous attempts at a halfling republic had been flimsy, having no written constitution and very vague frameworks. That was not a mistake I intended on repeating, and so I created an entirely new form of government of my own design; one where the powers would be separated between three figures of government: a Thain, a Mayor, and a Sheriff; of which the latter two would be elected. ~Goodbarrel Presents the Constitution; 1794~ The thirty or so minutes I spent standing up at the meeting presenting this plan were and remain the proudest moments of my life. There I was, proposing my own form of government, one that I thought would last generations and immortalize me as a hero among the halflings. Though this experiment would not turn out at all like I had hoped, I can at least take pride in the effort, and if nothing else it makes for a valuable story. Though the crowd gathered at the meeting was very small by the end, their applause filled me with great confidence, as did Isalie’s praise of my work. It would be a very long time indeed before I realized that there were people in the village who were not quite so enthusiastic about the system of government I was working to establish. ~The Bloomerville Shogging Grounds; 1793~ That being said, I do think it was around this time that informal partisan politics began to take shape within the village. Though I had warned against forming political parties, and though nobody had any intention of doing so, from the late 1790s onward they existed in all but name. For the most part, opinions within the village fell into four political-leanings; Bernardism, Halfling Conservatism, Goodbarrelian Democracy, and Centrism: The Bernardists were a largely silent group during the 1790s, and were likely the smallest as well. They believed in a traditional, proper halfling village under the rule of a single all powerful Thain in the fashion of Rollo Applefoot. They rejected democracy as a source of dysfunction and an example of biggun influence, and had they been larger in number they probably would have tried to stop Isalie from allowing my system of government from being put into effect. The Halfling Conservatives were almost totally synonymous with the Peregrin family and their friends. Though they supported the concept of multiple elected leaders, they rejected the idea of a Thain and instead wished to return to the Elder system that had preceded Rollo. More than anything else, however, the Conservatives considered enforcing properness to be the most important function of halfling government and society, and some of them were willing to go quite far to do that. The Goodbarrelian Democrats were, as one might imagine, people who aligned with my vision for a harmonious halfling village where propers and impropers could coexist peacefully and equally and where the government was by, for, and of the people and existed only for their protection and benefit. The concept of Thainship was largely irrelevant to this ideology, but apart from a decade of attempted compromise between 1805 and 1815, my position has generally been that having a Thain is good for the village. Finally, Centrists refer to the group of halflings who either held a mixture of these views or simply did not care at all. For the most part, I would argue that Centrists have made up the largest slice of our population and likely always will, seeing as halflings tend to avoid politics whenever possible. ~Fort Hope to Bloomerville; 1795~ The emergence of these ideologies was reflected in several books that were written in 1794. The first of these was a hateful volume known as Biggun Science by Perry Overhill, which posited that bigguns are genetically inferior to halflings due to being less intelligent. This “science”, which would become known as “Biggun Realism” would spread through the village like poison. Though most halflings maintained our reputation for good hospitality in the following years, there were a few too many incidents of bigguns being harrassed, degraded, or extorted. Also written in 1794 was a very brief history of Bloomerville by Iris Peregrin. While I would recommend the book as a good introduction to Bloomerville history for those less interested in this more analytical text, I will note that it very much glorified the Peregrins and their actions. 1794 also saw the publication of the first edition of the Goodbarrelian Manifesto, which, if you can hunt it down, I’d like to note is far closer to my actual views than the 1806 edition, which was edited to appease the political climate of the time. The closing days of Bloomerville were largely calm and somehow optimistic. Another apparition from “Lord Knox” in Grand Harvest of 1795 saw the young Jeannette Applebottom be elevated to the title of High Pumplar, the head of the Knoxist religion. I recall paying little attention to this at all, mostly because the constitution I had written separated church and state and I was not, and never really have been, a Knoxist having given up the crackpot concept of religion in general around the time I divorced Filibert. However, though Jeanette and her office were not intended to have any power in the new government whatsoever, in later years her influence would be quite significant. To her credit, Jeannette has always been wise beyond her years, even if the only qualifications she has received are a “blessing” from a strange man with a pumpkin on his head. ~High Pumplar Jeanette Leads the Halflings; 1795~ Regardless, Jeanette became High Pumplar at a troubling time. Biggun cities such as Helena and Lareh’thilln were being destroyed as all manner of supernatural calamities and seemingly natural disasters brought ruin to the lands of Arcas. Hoping to raise the spirits of not only the halflings of Bloomerville but also the biggun refugees we would visit, Jeanette led the final Pumpkin Raid of Arcas, one that was quite successful as we even got a few of my old high elf friends to join us on our way back to the village. ~The Last Pumpkin Raid; 1795~ However, not even a week following that pumpkin raid, Bloomerville was destroyed in a terrible quake, and we were once again all evacuated to the Spicy Shrimp. Unlike last time, however, we knew where we were going and what we would be doing once we got there. I recall quite a strong sense of optimism as we sailed away from the wastes of Arcas into the unknown. With the constitution safely in my pocket and all the preparations made for the construction of a new village, I was sure that all that was needed to create the perfect village I had dreamed of for so long was for Isalie to get around to reading and signing the constitution. Though I knew Iris was widely adored and her family influential, it truly had not occurred to me just how dramatically different our nation had become after taking them in. I went to Almaris thinking that the next decades would be remembered as a “Goodbarrelian Era”, but in truth, the next 21 years would belong to the Peregrins.
  8. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter II: Turbulent Tmes 1787-1791 The Brandybrook of the late 1780s was a busier place than it had been in the previous half of the decade. Despite my informal retirement from politics, the idea of making changes to the halfling government never really went away. Though not a good one, the speech I had given at my wedding had been earned me something of a reputation, and though the rest of the Halfling Liberty Association dissolved, Minto Townsend remained determined to carry on my “struggle”; which, in his mind, meant putting out a missive claiming responsibility for radicalizing the HLA, rudely disobeying Isalie at every turn, and harassing her family. If nothing else, the village seemed to come more alive following the events of my wedding, due in no small part to the organization of more parties and harvest events by my then-husband Filibert Applefoot and his tavern co-worker, Dandelion Greenholm. Anyone interested in the day-to-day goings on of late Brandybrook should seek out old copies of the Beetroot News, which was published yearly by Filibert. Though it was largely a tabloid at first, putting out embarrassing stories and infringing on the privacy of village leaders such as Elder Kit-Kat and Thain Isalie Gardner, in its later years it was a quaint little newspaper of sorts, documenting mostly mundane events in the village. ~Cheesemaking with the Greenholms; 1788~ Two events detailed in Beetroot News that were not so mundane, however, were the Battles at Last Light Camp in Korvassa. At a meeting in Snow’s Maiden 1786, Isalie had pledged the halflings’ support to Prince Feanor of Elvenesse in the war against the inferi. Though I cannot know for a fact why Isalie felt we should be involved in the battles, I can at least note that many in Brandybrook felt that resisting the inferi was everyone’s duty; not just that of the bigguns; besides, the Sea Prince had asked politely. ~Isalie’s Pledge; 1786~ Halflings served as medics during the inferi raid on Siramenor in First Seed 1786 but it was only in the First Seed and Grand Harvest of 1788 that we were actually sent to fight in two battles in Korvassa. At these battles, the halflings were essentially an auxiliary force to the army of Elevenesse. Though some of us, most notably the Oceantoe brothers and Minto, chose to fight, most of us, myself included, were there to provide medical assistance to anyone who needed it. Anybody looking for an accurate account of the battles should seek out a volume written by Armilas Draconis, a high elf who fought on the front lines of the battle and even witnessed some its more consequential events firsthand. From my rather vague recollection, the goal of these operations was to defend the allied bigguns’ camp at Last Light. Considering that much more stood between the inferi and Brandybrook than just that camp, it may be easy for one with hindsight to question why halflings had any business being there. I can only speak for myself, but I do recall feeling a sense of duty to the village as well as a desire to contribute to the defense of Arcas as a whole. While I can’t say I or anyone was excited to go to war, I don’t think most of us were prepared for what we would find. ~Halfling Medics at Korvassa; 1787~ I recall the sights and sounds of those two terrible days far better than I have any desire to. Everyone in the village was given armor forged by the elves, we gathered medical supplies and weapons, some of which would definitely have been considered improper by Peregrin standards. We were then put on boats and sailed to what would be best described as a colony of hell. While I do not wish to write what exactly I saw on Korvassa, I will say that it has never left me, not even after thirty years. Having discovered I was pregnant later that month, I had to be persuaded to go to the next battle, and it was even more horrific and deadly than the first. I was nowhere near the site where it happened, but it was at that second battle that Elder Kit-Kat Gardner, the adopted daughter of Isalie, was slain by a horde of inferi. Though the aging Fred Puddlefoot had also given his life at the previous battle, it was the death of Kit-Kat that truly shocked the village. She died at an immensely young age, having only turned thirty-three a few short years prior. Her boyfriend Elder Andon Cloudberry had been robbed of his chance to propose to her, and her mother had lost a second child within the span of a decade. I had hardly known Kit-Kat, but I shared in the grief that engulfed the village in the following days. ~Kit-Kat Faces the Horde; 1787~ If nothing else, the Battles at Last Light Camp served as harrowing reminders that most halflings don't belong on the battlefield. Following Kit-Kat’s death, Isalie decreed that no resident of Brandybrook was to fight demons outside the village, a decision protested only by Minto. Even though we did not go again to the demons, however, they eventually came to us - or at least to Aegrothond. On the 22nd of the Grand Harvest, 1788, the village was enjoying a peaceful bonfire when suddenly the air was filled with terrifying sights and sounds of a demon invasion. The Thain called for the immediate evacuation of the village to the emergency tunnels, an order disobeyed only by Minto. Despite the terror of our community and its protectors being under siege, we were still able to enjoy a few laughs and a fine party in the tunnels beneath the village. That was until Filibert managed to get into a fight with Isalie after demanding to be restored to the title of Sheriff. Though I was unable to calm him down, I do think Isalie took note of my efforts, and was likely impressed with my lack of hostility towards her as she pledged to make changes to the village government following the end of the demon crisis. Though I did not know it at the time, Isalie was about to give me an unprecedented amount of influence over the village’s future. ~A Family Takes Shelter; 1788~ The first hint of this new partnership between myself and Isalie came on the 6th of the Amber Cold, 1788, when Isalie appointed me Elder. This decision raised a few eyebrows, considering that I had spoken against Isalie less than two years prior, and had only been living in the village for a little over three. Nevertheless, the resignation of Falco Goldworthy and the death of Kit-Kat had left the village one Elder short, and I was, in Isalie’s mind, undoubtedly the most qualified person to assume the office. She praised my dedication to the village and my good ideas, asking only that I trust her, and I have ever since. Aside from my appointment to Elder, the months following the Siege of Aegrothond were mostly gloomy. The air was thick with the disgusting smell of blood, and many spoke of the impending doom of Arcas and the likelihood that we would soon have to leave our beloved village. Isalie’s husband Taurin and the ghost of Sean Puddlefoot went so far as to rig the village with bombkins, pumpkins filled with gunpowder, so that in the event of an attack we could destroy our village before the demons could, and kill a few of them in the process. This was the last major contribution made by Taurin to Brandybrook before he left the village, leaving behind his wife and daughter as well. ~The Ghost of Sean Puddlefoot; 1787~ Despite the growing darkness of the times, the years between 1787 and 1789 actually saw quite a few new and important halflings arrive in the village such as Bassett Mudfoot; Meadow Proudfoot; Rufus Knowise; future High Pumplar Jeneatte Applebottom; future Head Librarian Callum Fiddleberry; my future wife and future Elder Kerraline Erawick; and Winter, sister of the late Kit-Kat, then in disguise and known as “Summer". Even though the impending doom of Arcas was felt within the village long beforehand, the actual fall of Brandybrook itself was still quite shocking, mainly because nobody expected it would happen in the middle of a party. On the 20th of the Grand Harvest, 1789, a great Knox o’ Ween feast was hosted by Burt Hassenfort, son of the late and great halfling hero Benedict Hassenfort. It was a fun celebration, including all manner of games and festivities. Aside from some minor disturbances caused by Minto wearing a mask that resembled my face, the party went splendidly until the pumpkin carving. ~The Knox o’ Ween Costume Contest; 1789~ For reasons I am still wholly unsure of, one of the uncarved pumpkins began to inflate and float in the air as if possessed by some unseen force. It expanded to the size of a small burrow and began spewing acidic pumpkin guts at the party-goers. Despite our calls for aid from Elevenesse and attempts by some bigguns to fight the monster, we were eventually left with no choice but to detonate the bombkins, destroying that demonic pumpkin and our village along with it. The only explanation we received of any of this came from the cryptic words of a pumpkin-wearing apparition claiming to be Lord Knox. ~Attack of the Giant Pumpkin; 1789~ With the evacuation of the entire village onto the Spicy Shrimp, the halfling crises of late Arcas truly began. Our people had very suddenly been rendered homeless and crammed on to an old pirate ship. The months we spent at sea drove many of us to slight insanity, and the question of where to go was divisive. The rulers of Elvenesse and other biggun nations had been discussing the possibility of sailing to a new continent for quite some time, but nobody was quite sure when such a migration would occur. Many, myself and Isalie included, believed that it would occur soon enough that we only needed to seek temporary accommodations somewhere. Others, such as Filibert, were convinced that a world migration would not be occurring for quite some time, and that we needed to resettle Brandybrook or at least build a new village elsewhere. ~The Ruin of Brandybrook; 1789~ Unfortunately, that debate proved to be the first of many times where Isalie’s trust in my wisdom was misplaced. Filibert was right; Arcas would not be evacuated for another seven years, but Isalie nevertheless decided to arrange a temporary home for the halflings at Fort Hope, a dreary castle resting on an island north of Sutica. Though it was good to walk on solid land once more, in some ways, the move to Fort Hope in Snow’s Maiden 1790 only made life for the halflings worse. Since Fort Hope was meant to be a temporary establishment, Isalie had no plans of building burrows, and instead arranged for us all to be housed in the barracks. Filibert almost immediately protested this and found himself annoyed with the Fortkeepers’ unwillingness to let him tear down the walls and build burrows, to the point where he simply walked out of Fort Hope to have his project elsewhere, leaving me and our daughter behind. As both myself and Isalie dealt with our own familial issues and Andon continued to mourn Kit-Kat, the halfling community at Fort Hope fell into further disrepair. There was no feasting or partying between 1790 and 1792, and drinking and smoking were more often used as escape methods than pleasurable pastimes. All this was made even worse in Snow’s Maiden 1791, when an attack on Andon revealed the existence of a conspiracy to assassinate the halfling leadership. Andon, myself, Isalie and her family had all been marked for death, and these assassins claimed the credit for killing Kit-Kat and Polo too, even though both of their deaths had occurred long before I was ever close enough to the Gardners to be put on a hit list with them. ~Halflings Drown Their Sorrows; 1791~ The added uneasiness of being under threat from assassins was made only worse for some by the fact that both myself and Andon felt it necessary to carry bladed weapons to protect ourselves. Some more traditional halflings began to say that our people were losing our cultural identity by cheerlessly cowering behind stone walls and bearing biggun weapons. Though I stand firm in my belief that the manner in which myself and Andon were acting was reasonable given the circumstances, it was nevertheless a terrible time to be a halfling. Many longed for the brighter days of the past, and it was this longing that would form the basis of a new movement, one that overshadowed mine in every imaginable way. It was the perfect opportunity for a long-forgotten family to return and leave an irreversible mark on our nation's history; the age of the Peregrins was at hand...
  9. [!] A fresh pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Chapter I: The Birth of a Revolution 1786-1787 It should go without saying that the world of 1786 was a very different place. The continent of Almaris was all but untouched and the lands of Arcas were crawling with every civilized being imaginable. The biggun nations of the world were all in an uproar as vile inferi ravaged the islands of Korvassa and threatened to pave their path of death and destruction to every corner of the continent. Though all the chaos and strife of these years may seem foreign to those living in a more peaceful present, perhaps in some ways 1786 was no different than any other year in history: it was the best of times for some and the worst for others. For the halflings of Brandybrook, however, 1786 was simply a sleepy year. Though only water stood between Elvenesse’s capital city of Aegrothond and the demon-ravaged deserts of Korvassa, and only a small forest between Brandybrook and Aegrothond, the fear and despair that gripped the biggun nations was all but absent in Brandybrook. Perhaps we simply trusted in the ability of Elvenesse to protect us, but I think it far more likely that we were simply ignoring it; a natural halfling response to biggun drama of any kind - drink and party and leave worrying about the end of the world to the bigguns. ~Brandybrook’s Riverside; mid 18th century~ As idyllic as this image of late Brandybrook is, the village was not without its problems. The resignation and disappearance of Malfoy Proudfoot in the years prior had left the village without a Sheriff, something that proved to be a serious problem following the murder of the young Polo Gardner, son of Thain Isalie Gardner; the appointed leader of our village, and her then-husband Taurin. Only the informal crime-investigating organization known as BOOSE, run by noted improper halfling Sean Puddlefoot, who died as well soon after, was available to hunt down and bring the culprit, Kat Comb Applefoot, to justice. Even following Kat Comb’s death, however, a feeling of dysfunction lingered in the air around Brandybrook. Halflings were seldom seen walking about the village, gathering only during tavern nights run by local librarian and journalist Filibert Applefoot. Many newcomers went without burrows as Elders Falco Goldworthy and Kit-Kat Gardner, both appointed by Isalie as was the system at the time, devoted themselves to other matters. Isalie herself was rarely seen, likely still recovering from the loss of one of her children. ~The Funeral of Polo Gardner; 1783~ Even during the times the entire village seemed to be empty, however, there was almost always one lone halfling lady sitting in the Toady Traveller Inn, intently scratching her quill across a long roll of parchment. Though she had dwelt in the village for not even a year, I personally knew her quite well; her name was Greta Goodbarrel. Though the story of how I ended up in Brandybrook is best saved for a book of its own, I do think a brief summary of it would lend itself well to this tale. I was born in 1739 in the secluded village of Norbury. Being on the doorstep of the Holy Orenian Empire, it was a village heavily influenced in speech and custom by humans. It was, by Brandybrook standards, quite improper, and the worst aspect of this was, without a doubt, the bizarre religion of Knoxo-Canonism; which merged the halfling deity of Knox with the teachings of Canonist Church. Though Norbury elected its Elders, only male halflings were allowed to serve, and the Greenfoot family, into which my mother was born, had nearly uncontested control of every election there. My father was not from Norbury, but for the most part he integrated himself into its culture. I was raised a Knoxo-Canonist, expected by my mother to marry into a wealthy family and have no relationships outside of that; especially not with any women. It was only because of my father’s love of books and willingness to teach that I learned to read and write. When I turned forty-three, I left Norbury and soon found myself in Lareh’thilln, the Silver City, the capital of Haelun’or in Arcas. There I brushed shoulders with several high elven scholars, including Maenor Aildhuin, Aiera Sullas, Valorin Celia’thilln and Khaeryr Leverys. Though I stayed there for less than three years, it was in Haelun’or that I would study the ideas of democratic government and natural rights, which I would carry with me to Brandybrook in 1785. ~A Night in the Toady Traveller; 1785~ I did not arrive in Brandybrook with any political intentions, however. The old life I had in Haelun’or had been thrown away rather hastily, and I came to Brandybrook in search of something, anything to do with myself. It was only after hearing the complaints of halflings such Filibert Applefoot and Minto Townsend with regards to Brandybrook’s leadership that I took it upon myself to change the village for the better. Admittedly, I knew even then that the petty problems mentioned by Filibert and Minto could be solved without the radical changes to village society I had in mind. Most of what I would say and do in the following years was necessary only in my mind. Even I can’t say what exactly I was trying to prove by conducting this great experiment, but I put every ounce of my being into it, and did truly believe that it would all be of benefit to the village. But what exactly did I believe? As many I am sure have noticed, my views on what a halfling government should look like seem to change every decade. Indeed, the proposed constitution I penned in 1786 was far more complex and bureaucratic than any that was actually put into effect. It was, in essence, a copy of Haelun’or’s constitution at the time, but without any of the nonsense about purity. It provided for an unelected Thain and an elected Council of Elders led by a Mayor. I recall being warned at the time that these were “biggun ideas”, and would be rejected by the village, but I ignored such notions. I have never personally considered an idea to be “biggun” or “halfling”, there are simply good ones and bad ones. Though the precise details of what I considered to be a good form of government for the halflings would change many times in the following years, I have always held to heart the same three fundamental and self-evident truths; that all halflings are born free and equal, that all halflings are born with the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that the right to rule comes only from the people, not from Knox or any other elite figure or group. Though a number of manifestos and speeches of mine have over-complicated it, that is ultimately what Goodbarrelian Democracy means, and it's those things which I held to be essential to any sort of halfling constitution. ~A Supper Party at Greenholm Burrow; 1786~ Putting ideas on paper is one thing, however; putting them into action is something entirely different. I decided early on that my goal was not to remove Isalie from power. Despite the harshness with which Minto and Filibert described her, it was my firm belief that anybody could be made to compromise, and I knew that a compromise would be essential to maintaining stability. Besides, the village had been led by an appointed Thain since the time of Rollo Applefoot. That was not a tradition I intended on breaking. All the same, it seemed unrealistic and undemocratic to just send my plan to Isalie and expect her to approve it. I needed the people of the village to be on my side. Unfortunately, getting the village on my side was something I was never truly able to do at any point in my career. I interviewed many people in the village, but most seemed uninterested in revolution. The only person who really took my ideas seriously at the time was Minto, who co-founded the Halfling Liberty Association with me on the evening of the 1st of the Grand Harvest, 1786. Though we were able to persuade Andon Cloudberry, Theodore Mowood, and Filibert Applefoot to join the HLA, each had their own shortcomings. Andon joined only out of peer pressure, and worried often that our actions would harm offend his girlfriend, Kit-Kat, who was also the adopted daughter of Isalie. Theo joined mostly out of self-interest, hoping his involvement would provide him an opportunity to become Sheriff. As for Filibert, he likely joined only to get closer to me; judging by the fact that he ended up asking me to become his girlfriend the very same night. Considering I had no intentions to overthrow the Thain, one might wonder why the HLA existed. Its purpose was ultimately quite simple; it was a group of halflings who had agreed to sign the letter of petition and proposed constitution that I was planning to send to Isalie. In the event Isalie rejected these proposals, we would then stage protests, the nature of which I never really thought out, mostly because I never had to. In the closing days of the Deep Cold, 1786, I mentioned to Filibert that I needed an event that would draw a large crowd in order to give a speech. Having planned to do so anyway, he proposed we get married, and that I would give the speech at our wedding. As stupid as this plan was, I agreed to it; I needed to get my voice out there, and could think of no easier way to do so. ~The Goodbarrel-Applefoot Wedding; 1787~ Unfortunately, it just so happened that this proposal coincided with a declaration by Isalie that Andon and Filibert had been appointed Elder and Sheriff respectively. Minto, who did not think very highly of Isalie, was quick to jump to conclusions and posited that Isalie had somehow found out about the supposedly secret HLA and was trying to placate us or diminish the size of the organization. Indeed, Andon left the HLA soon after being appointed, and the notion that Isalie had found out about our organization did not seem too far fetched considering the Warden, a local elf who protected the village and had eyes for Isalie, had been privy to some of our meetings. Not knowing Isalie at all, I took Minto’s theory as fact and rewrote the speech I would give at my wedding to be far more scathing of Isalie and her Elders. I must say, when I woke up on the morning of the 20th of Snow's Maiden, 1787, I did not expect to be nearly killed at my own wedding. I did, admittedly, intend to inspire some anger, but certainly not to the point of people drawing swords on me. Were it not for the brave actions of Minto, Anne Gardner, and my then-husband Filibert, I may not have lived to tell this tale, let alone accomplish anything I did in the years following. In hindsight, the occurrences of that day were rather amusing in their absurdity. I was almost stabbed by Edward Oceantoe, the very halfling who officiated that marriage, and I made my introduction to Isalie, someone who would become a very dear friend of mine in the future, by calling her a tyrant. The entire thing was viewed by the village as a political stunt, and given how quickly Filibert and I had hooked up, many were willing to bet that the marriage would end within the next five years. That was not the only reason this wedding was prophetic, however, as it also gave quite a bit of insight as to what can happen when halflings get too political. Unfortunately, that is a lesson I did not take to heart. ~The Goodbarrel Wedding Speech; 1787~ Considering that we had never spoken prior to that wedding, Isalie was rather shocked by what I said about her. Fearing a conspiracy against her, she dismissed Filibert from the position of Sheriff and marched almost immediately to Applefoot Burrow to settle the score with me. Thankfully, we were able to explain ourselves to each other, and she agreed to at least have a look at the letter of petition and constitution I had written. I published these documents to the Brandybrook notice board as well, along with a letter apologizing for the incidents of my wedding. Though I was forgiven for the riot, nobody was persuaded to support my bid for democracy, in fact the drama was enough to convince Theo to leave the HLA, which I promptly dissolved as more and more people made public their complaints about me trying to impose “biggun ideas” on a halfling village. Nevertheless, for a time after 1787, the revolution was in Isalie’s hands, not mine, and I did not make any major publications during those years aside from the odd news article, focusing instead on starting a family with Filibert. Though my early attempts at political mobilization may have accomplished little in the short term, they certainly set the stage for the series of halfling revolutions that would follow. I don’t think anybody at the time could possibly have predicted how all of this would turn out, especially considering that some of the most important figures in this story had yet to arrive. All the same, the warnings that this “experiment” of mine could go horribly wrong were present from the very beginning. I may have been the first to ignore them, but I was certainly not the only one. It would take far more than just one rambling little lady to change the course of halfling history...
  10. [!] A pamphlet is pinned to the Bramblebury notice board! The Rise and Fall of the Halfling Republic A History of the Halflings from 1786-1818 By Introduction On the fourteenth of the Grand Harvest, 1818, Elder Jordan Applebottom of Bramblebury defied the duties he accepted as Elder of Bramblebury and proclaimed Rolladango Applefoot the Thain of Bramblebury. In doing so, he brought to a swift end an entire era of halfling history. The toils and squabbles of the thirty-two years that preceded that moment were rendered pointless. Though the drama and chaos of the three-Elder system was eliminated, the recognition of our natural rights and the separation of Knoxism from the halfling government died with it. It would be wholly unfair, however, to blame Jordan Applebottom for the destruction of our republic. It must be understood that, just as Jordan insisted in his final declaration, the republic had already killed itself from within. The manner in which this occurred is complicated and the reasons for it numerous, but it is imperative that all of it is understood so that future generations may avoid repeating our mistakes. It is also a fascinating story, one that will hopefully resonate not only with the halflings of the present and future but with all learned peoples of the world. ~Night in the Village; early 19th century~ History often suffers from the fact that it is taught by those who did not personally witness it. Facts get muddled with myths, and the recounting of events suffer from the fact that those who tell these stories where not in the room where they happened. That is not to be the fate of this tale. As many, I am sure, are aware; this whole affair started as little more than an idea in my head. I knew it was an experiment, I knew it could fail; but nevertheless I hoped it would not. It has, and the only way to justify it now is to analyze it, and draw what conclusions we can to rid ourselves of confusion and to create a narrative for our posterity to understand and learn from. This thirty-two-year-long tale is, of course, a cumbersome story that cannot be done justice in a short volume. For that reason, it shall be published as a six-part series spanning from the creation of the Halfling Liberty Organization in 1786 to the final hours of the Elder government in 1818. Events and conversations never before heard of shall be revealed, a fuller picture of the past thirty-two years shall be painted here than has ever been painted before; and perhaps most importantly, the thoughts and intentions of the lady behind it all shall be plain to see. This is our story.
  11. FLYER: VOTE FOR JULIUS! [!] New flyers would be found on several stands, presenting Julius de Rosius facing the three terms in admiration and pride, it would seem as if the three words were attached to eachother while simultaneously Julius catches them all out of a reflex, representing his pride into these three aspects of the Orenian culture and society. [!] [!] To each poster would be a small card attached stating "For our Culture, History and Religion! One God, One Emperor, One Empire! Vote Julius de Rosius, Now!"
  12. THE BALLAD OF AUGUSTUS FLAY Performed by Corwin Alstreim for the Northern Geographic Society's 50th Anniversary Banquet Including four never-before-seen verses cut for time from the performance! Concept, verses 1, 4 and the first half of 13 by James Chapel Otherwise by Dame Yuliya Styrne (Sung spritely, with melodramatic menace) 1. My name is old Augustus Flay, The flinty bandit king. So much defamed in recent days - In my defense, I'll sing! 2. Old Godfrey wouldn't have a throne If not for me and mine - He was ashamed to look my way, But he paid us mighty fine! 3. We bandits surely made a splash When we arrived in Oren's court! O'er the nobles, I stood tall and proud - (Though I'm actually quite short!) 4. Though harsh to my opponents, They were mercifully spared By my signature red scarf The sight that's under there! 5. My forces conquered Seventis, Salvus and Hanseti - Eventually, I realized The king I deserved to be! 6. For in my youth, they called me Prince Despite my nasty manner - And a prince should one day take the throne, So I raised my gory banner! 7. I called my soldiers to my side And told them we'd rebel - But the only king I'd ever be Is a king reigning down in Hell! 8. But there were traitors there among Those men I thought were loyal And they shared the news about my plans With the Horen royal! 9. He banished me to live at sea - A punishment most grim, For, you see, I never learned Exactly how to swim! 10. Now I'm stuck deep down in Hell, Right next to the Denier, With fiends mocking me forevermore As I burn here in the fire! 11. Yet if I had just one more chance To do it all again - I can't say I'd change a single thing, Even with this end! 12. For they wrote my name in hist'ry books, In poems, songs, and plays! And that fact will keep me warm Until the End of Days! 13. I might not have been intelligent, Or virtuous, or bathed. But all of Oren feared my name And my bloody, scarlet blade!
  13. Of Freedom and Progress: The Life and Death of the Haelun’orian Republic A Comprehensive Historical Study by Maenor Aildhuin Printed in Karosgrad on the 3rd of the Grand Harvest, 1810 (( Theme Music )) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Painting of Karinah’siol, cca. 1800 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Author’s Note Having lasted for 32 years, and although brief in its existence, the Republic of Haelun’or left distinguishable marks in the history and culture of the Mali’thill. It is this book’s attempt to recollect many of the events that have graced the Republic's short historical time span, lest such a fascinating epoch be forgotten. Despite its falling, the core ideas for its functioning are still adhered to by many. In a sense, while the structural integrity of the Republic ended with the legislation adopted in 1804, it still endures through those few that cling to its ideals of freedom, equality and progress. In many aspects, the Republic is Eternal. I. The Maheral Simply Is _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Artistic rendition of the protest following Maheral Azorella’s assassination, 1768 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ To understand the evolution of the Haelun’orian Republic one must first inspect the years prior to its conception. By 1760, the governmental apparatus of the Diarchy was reeking with corruption, nepotism and stagnation. The very structure of this regime, which by this point was almost a century old, was beginning to rot. Then, as now, the High Elves did not possess the right to vote and elect their representatives, all of them being chosen directly by the ruling Silver Council. Simultaneously, the system crushed all dissent with an iron fist and made extensive use of propaganda to control public opinion. But dissatisfaction, over the years, built up within the society nonetheless. And, as it is often the case with oligarchical structures, the leadership utterly failed in recognizing this ever-growing problem. In the late 1760s, the society of Haelun’or would witness an increasing struggle between the Maheral and the Sohaer in attaining dominance over the Silver Council. Attempts were made, in secret, primarily by Sulraell Visaj, the Sohaer, at modifying the law to vest more power into his own position. His ploys would be revealed, however, and the changes reverted. But for about a year, the enmity would continue. It would all culminate with a plot by the Silver Council to assassinate Maheral Azorella Elibar’acal. Thus, Maheral Elibar’acal would find her demise in 1768 when, in the Citadel, one by the name Adeline would be unleashed upon her, the councilors, while in the same room, idly witnessing the fruits of their labor. Chance had it that, at that very same moment, a storm forced much of Lareh’thilln’s population to seek shelter within the Citadel, the place of the assassination. So the murder would be discovered shortly after being carried out as Azorella’s cries of agony drew the attention of all. Naturally, the act triggered massive unrest among the populace. Those councilors involved were arrested soon after and put on trial. But further alienating the populace and in defiance to the people’s will, those Diarchists that remained free sought to downplay the severity of the crime, urging for inhumanely soft punishments for those involved. Acaele Lazul, chosen Maheral after Azorella’s death, failed to remedy the anger of the citizenry. Thus, as the trials went on, a clear schism within the society formed. On one side were the aforementioned Diarchists. On the other were the Maheralists, Mali’thill who believed in the traditional supreme authority of the Maheral, guided by the ancient phrase of the one who led the Mali’thill to their cultural zenith in Anthos, 4 centuries ago, Lucion Sullas: “The Maheral simply is”. In a final act of delusion and desperation, the remaining Diarchists would seek to trial many Maheralists, most notably Ikur Sullas. Arbitrarily, many were called forth by those who still denied the inevitable. Ikur Sullas’ trial never came to be, being postponed, again, arbitrarily. Nonetheless, he climbed the podium still and accused the leadership of corruption, uttering “The Maheral simply is, and Acaele Lazul… you are not”. In that moment, the public collectively agreed that Acaele never was. This moment, in 1771, represents the ending of the Diarchy and the beginning of the Azorella reformation, the transition to the Republic. II. Progress Is the Republic _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Illustration of the first democratic nominations for Sohaership, 1772 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The transition to a democratic republic began shortly after Acaele’s downfall and the subsequent collapse of the Diarchy. In these trying times, order was maintained by the Malauriran Avern’dionne and Kelthran Iyathir, alongside Ikur Sullas, who was chosen Maheral by general consensus in 1772. The chief immediate objective of these three was the organization of elections, the first in a century, and the formation of a government to lead the reformation effort. Thus, it would be them who would oversee the democratic processes of 1772. After what could be considered the fiercest nominations and debates in the Republic’s history, Nelgauth Maehr’tehral, Silvos Sythaerin, Dele Seregon, Kaelan Aldin and Elathion Dagre’sae would emerge victorious, filling the positions of Sohaer, Okarir’maehr, Okarir’hiylun, Okarir’tir and Okarir’nor respectively. In such a fashion, the first democratic government would form. The Republic’s establishment was imminent. It was under the management of this primeval ruling body that the first reforms were drafted to anchor the republican dream in reality. The Republic of Haelun’or would materialize formally in 1774 when the New Constitution of Haelun’or would be adopted. It is ofttimes difficult to realize the importance of the times one lives in thus, while few knew it at the time, as Ikur Sullas and Nelgauth Maehr’tehral announced then the foundation of the Republic, the Descendants were about to experience the height of modern Mali’thill civilization. Upon perusal, the intention of the administration to secure democratic principles is evident. The newly secured piece of legislation guaranteed all High Elven citizens of Haelun’or “the unalienable rights to freedom of expression, to enter the city freely, to association, to attend trials and public councils, to due process under the law, to education and the pursuit of progress, and to housing and food within the City of Haelun’or”. As far as the Mali’thill is concerned, there was no constitution more favorable anywhere in Arcas, at the time. If we are to point out a flaw in this paramount act, it would be the sense of irrelevance it created around the Sohaer through the entrusting of most of the power into the Maheral. It ought come as no surprise, however, considering that the first government of the Republic was composed exclusively of Mali’thill who, in the years prior, formed the forefront of the Maheralist movement. Thus, into the Maheral was vested “supreme executive power [...] over all city affairs, [...] the authority to supervise and veto any legislation passed by the silver council, to pardon any citizen found in violation of Haelun’or law, and to interpret this constitution and declare any current or former legislation unconstitutional”. Generally, such investments of power into one individual facilitate dictatorships and are problematic for a democratic system. But while those concerns would demonstrate legitimate later, the authority of the Maheral proved especially useful in the first years of the Republic, representing a strong defense mechanism against the naturally chaotic shift from a society crushed by oligarchy into a democracy. More fortunate still, the position was, at the time, held by Ikur Sullas, who had the forethought not to employ his supreme decision powers too often, letting the democracy shape itself. But what truly substantiated the democratic nature of the Haelun’orian society was the innovative foundation, by the Constitution, of a new institutional body named the Heial’tuva, the Council of All. Legally, many of the actual democratic processes would stem from that institution: “All High Elven citizens of the age of majority (50) shall be inducted into the Council of All (heial’tuva), and granted the rights to public debate, to vote in public election, and to run in and challenge any elected office”. It is true that, in principle, this pseudo-parliament held no actual governing ability or administrative power. Rather, it derived its importance from the ability of its members to elect and challenge those in power. In any case, even if the steering of the nation was not directly in the hands of the people, but more in the hands of those elected by the people, the establishment of the Heial’tuva represented an important step towards democracy and a great improvement from the previous dictatorship. It would not be long before the fundamentals of the newly-founded Republic would be put to the test. In 1775 Kaelan Aldin would retire, as would Silvos Sythaerin in 1776. The seat of Okarir’tir, then left vacant by Kaelan’s departure, would be filled by Celiasil Uradir. His triumph in the election would come as a surprise to many. At the time, Celiasil was not a member of the Sillumiran, the Silver State’s military, and he was faced with the challenge of defeating two more experienced candidates, more notable among them being Storm Elibar’acal. In any case, Celiasil’s tenure began with much work striving to improve the Weeping Blades’ reputation across the entire continent through careful recruitment and drilling of discipline and competence into an army that, by 1776, was no longer at the apex of its power. Celiasil’s replacement of Kaelan would represent the first change between two democratically elected representatives. Thus, the phrase “Progress is the Republic” was born. On a similar note, not long after, the election for the seat of Okarir’maehr would render Silvyr Uradir victorious. This event would prove to be a more unfortunate part of the Republic’s history. Silvyr would go on to display an absolute lack of vision or ability for the administration of the Haelun’orian educational sector. Under his management, the Eternal Library would fall into disuse, while his delayed reforms and lectures lacking any substance would go on to severely maim the intellectual progress of the High Elves. The full extent of the damage caused by Silvyr’s tenure and the following decade of limited academic achievements would become apparent only many years later, in the Republic’s final days. Then, in times of most urgency, a significant part of the population, lacking proper early enlightenment, would find itself unable to combat the depressingly abundant misinformation. Not only that, but the damage done under Silvyr would be used as a chief source of anti-republican propaganda, and as a primary argument against the Republic by those aiming at its destruction. Around that same time, in 1777, probably as a foreshadowing of what was to befall all the Descendants, multiple malicious entities, by all accounts foreign to Arcas, would assail Lareh’thill and its vicinity. One such instance, more memorable, would be that of a giant worm-like creature. Multiple people, the day of the attack, remarked a certain stillness in the nature all around them, as if all life fled. The creature itself was described as “slimey, disgusting yet incredibly large” with a mouth lined with “rows of twisting teeth, like a sharp vortex that would shred anything to dust”. Despite the beast’s mystique and might, the Sillumiran on duty, led by Celiasil, along with those citizens that offered their aid in the struggle, would go on to valiantly defend the Silver City and its residents, slaying the monster while suffering minimal casualties. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Drawing of chasm in the vicinity of Lareh’thilln _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Those threats would end up duly eliminated and the damage inflicted would be repaired. But the fear instilled by them would endure, and so it would come about that their gravest implications would be on the political stage. In the context of these events, in fear of what other malignant creatures might attack Larihei’s children and with the intent to preserve the life of the Mali’thill, the Silver Council, in 1778, would strike a pseudo-alliance with Azdromoth and its followers, adopting The Pact of the Titan. This piece of legislature would go on to constitute the chief source of contention among the Mali’thill citizens of the Republic. The controversial clauses the document contained, namely “The First Drakaar, Azdromoth, is to be revered within Haelun’or, for it is He and He alone who offers us safety” and “Sons and daughters of The First Drakaar, Azdromoth, Elazdrazi, are to be welcomed into Elcihi and treated with the same respect as our fellow Mali’thill”, understandably alarmed a significant portion of the residents of the Silver State, them viewing the Pact as an affront to purity, as a contract of vassalage. Those in favor of it claimed that it was forged in order to preserve purity. Nonetheless, the Pact, once signed, and despite vocal opposition, still saw public support, primarily fueled by the aforementioned fears of the outside world that, at the time, grew increasingly more grim. What followed was a short period of both internal and external tranquility. In this time that lasted no more than three years, the government attempted to redress the material damage caused by the previous attacks while at the same time to continue the never-ending effort of reformation, improvement and progress. Being a product of the dangerous circumstances of the age as much as of the good intentions of the Silver Council, during this time an ambitious military program was announced by the office of the Okarir’tir with the purpose of educating the general populace in matters of warfare and combat, in case the need to defend the Motherland ever arose again. Around this same period, the medical system of Lareh’thilln, which by now was one of the most modern and efficient healthcare establishments in the continent, would continue to improve under Dele Seregon’s guidance. The first disturbance of this calmness would come in 1781 when the Okarir’nor Elathion Dagre’sae resigned. The election that followed affirmed Effile Ker’vulnir as the new Okarir’nor. At the time there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm concerning these affairs, with many citizens absenting at the time of the debate. Admittedly, the position did carry less relevance to the Mali’thill people than the others, so the general indifference was not surprising. The actual truth regarding those facts would come about shortly after Effile’s victory, when she would prove ineffectual and absent for the entirety of her tenure but, courtesy of the position’s irrelevance, the effects an idle councilor entailed were massively mitigated. One year later, foreign woes would make their return as well, in spite of the pledges made in the Pact of the Titan. In 1782, a band of foreign and, altogether, irrelevant terrorists would abduct and hold hostage the Sohaer, Nelgauth Maehr’tehral. It is a known fact that, in the end, Nelgauth was rescued unharmed, appearing jovial enough at a soiree hosted by his own kin not long after. However, the circumstances of this incident remain somewhat ambiguous and shrouded in mystery. At the time, the government of Haelun’or kept the escapade a secret from the public in order to contain the agitation and possible spread of misinformation. It would only be revealed after Nelgauth’s rescue, and even then nothing too detailed. The means and reasons for the capture of the Sohaer remain up to debate and personal interpretation thus, as no actual statement from the terrorist organization ever surfaced after the incident. To beguile the Sillumiran and whatever Azdrazi were guarding the city at the time suggests a certain cunning planning and to kidnap a state official of Nelgauth’s stature would have opened many possibilities for the culprits, from amassing massive wealth to blackmailing the government into nefarious activities. But, with the incident long resolved, it is probable that the absolute truth of the matter will never be fully understood. As if the previous events were not enough, the year of 1783 would present the first seismic shift on the political stage of the Silver State. This year would be the year of Nelgauth Maehr’tehral’s abdication from the position of Sohaer. The government of Haelun’or, for the first time since the Revolution, became without a steward. Whether this decision was influenced in any way by the individual’s previous aforementioned misfortune remains up to debate. In any case, Nelgauth would go on to linger for some more time in politics in the quality of Maelunir, which was the Maheral’s direct subordinate and chief aide. However, he would cease to take center stage and would grow increasingly more peripheral. It can be speculated that Nelgauth, at the time, was stepping down from that position of power in hopes of training Haelun’or’s next generation of leaders. In discussing Nelgauth’s character, one must note that he would go on to face criticism throughout most of his political career as well as well after that. It was a known fact that the Maehr’theral was incredibly liberal in private and that, throughout much of his career, he was prone to fits of hypocrisy. In many people’s eyes, he has earned the appellation of Mali’ata. Nonetheless, whatever faults the individual possessed, the actual role of Nelgauth in the foundation and further development of the Republic and of the Haelun’orian democracy is uncontestedly paramount. Being one of the authors of the Constitution of 1774, he laid the path not only for the Silver State’s aspiring politicians, but for all those yearning for freedom. It can be safely asserted that, by all standards, Nelgauth’s political career was impressive. In Nelgauth’s place as Sohaer would rise Eredael Rhenaer, a Mali barely above the age of majority with a good academic career. Despite his very young age, he would go on to best in the election Anethra Uradir. For much of his tenure as Sohaer, Eredael would remain somewhere obscurely in the shadow, focusing more on the diplomatic affairs of the state rather than the acceleration of reforms of the interior. But that is by no means an act of discreditment, for Haelun’or’s diplomacy was, at the time, impeccable, as the state itself was on good terms with most of the other nations of the Descendants. That same year of 1783 would bring one more novelty. One by the name of Aiera Sullas would be named Tilruir’indor of the Eternal Library. It would be under her guidance, after a decade of mismanagement, that life would be restored into this most important institution of the Silver State. Three years later, as another triumph of the educational sector, Silvyr would bless the populace with his resignation. In his stead, as Okarir’maehr, that very same Aiera Sullas would ascend. By 1786 she was already conducting treaties with foreign places of knowledge to better the intellectual progress of the nation. Her triumph would go on to represent the turning point in the matter of academics. After a delay of ten years, work towards reforming the Eternal Institutions would finally be made. To continue the stream of political machinations, 1789 would see the first challenge of an Okarir by a regular citizen of the Silver State. That year, Nuala Telperion would accuse the Okarir’nor at the time, Effile Ker’vulnir, of incompetence and idleness. While not entirely wrong, the act would see the disapproval of most of the citizenry, as Nuala was still remembered as a staunch supporter of the Diarchy in its final hours. This known fact caused a short-lived public scandal between her and those that sought to shame her for her past actions. Taking advantage of this general revulsion towards Nuala, one by the name of Zelios Elibar’acal would go on to nominate himself as well, thus an alternative would present itself through him. Effile resigned shortly after the announced candidatures of the two, having enough courage and foresight to step down. In the end, as expected, Zelios would emerge victorious. The Mali did not present a spectacular plan or campaign, nor was he experienced in matters of economy. Yet, courtesy of the stigma associated with the old regime, Nuala still lost. It would not be long before the competency of the government and the resilience of the Mali’thill would be tested again. At the end of 1789, the most severe foreign attack on Haelun’or would commence. Those that witnessed the horrendous battle remarked a most terrible storm unfolding prior to the creatures’ arrival, one characterized by an unusually high quantity of lightning that threatened anyone not sheltered. On that fateful night, four creatures of dark allegiance, called by some “Shadows of Aegis” launched a monstrous assault upon Lareh’thilln, managing even to destroy one of the draconic wards placed by Azdromoth, prompting the Drakaar itself to appear and defend the city. Apparently, the beasts’ primary targets were the buildings of most importance, namely the Citadel, the Eternal College and the Eternal Library. The latter would be the only one to survive the assault. What is more, the assailants imbued within the Eternal College a sort of plague, this too mystical in nature, which would chiefly corrupt books but also the mind of anyone who would thread within the confines of the building. After a long and arduous battle, the city would be saved with Azdromoth’s aid, but the Citadel and the Eternal College would remain defunct for the remainder of the habitation of Arcas. As a further precaution and at Azdromoth’s own advice, the collection of the Eternal Library was moved to Helena, then the capital of the Holy Orenian Empire, which was deemed, then, safer. There the books would remain, courtesy of the alliance between the Empire and the Silver State, until Helena would too be destroyed. The entire continent of Arcas would end up being corrupted in 1795. Then, Lareh’thill would be destroyed, much like all the other cities. The mountain upon which it was built collapsed into a fiery chasm. At the time, fortunately, the evacuation effort was led by Dele Seregon, who managed to rally the citizenry and organize the escape to the Eye of Man, where the Mali’thill sought refuge until the eventual embarkation to Almaris. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Picture of the ruination of Lareh’thilln and the flight of the Mali’thill, 1795 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Arriving on the new continent of Almaris in 1796, the everlasting children of Larihei would settle a fertile island to the far east. There, the High Elves would begin constructing a new home befitting their dreams and traditions. The settlement would be appropriately named Karinah’siol, the Lone Sunrise. It would be this city that would bear witness to the Republic’s final years. They would be as eventful as they would be tragic. Only a year after the Mali’thill’s settling on the island, Dele Seregon would announce her resignation as Okarir’hiylun and the eventual retirement from politics. Thus ended the career of the longest serving Okarir in the Republic’s history, maintaining her function for 25 years of the Republic’s 32 years of existence. It was under her management that the medical sector of Haelun’or grew to be one of the most respectable establishments in the World. The health of the citizenry was, throughout all these years, despite all the challenges, preserved and improved. It was also her achievement the adoption of legislation that sought to improve the experience of the less fortunate of Haelun’or’s citizens through the Citizenship Act of 1782, which bettered the condition of second class citizens, or the Orphanage Act, whose objectives were the protection and education of Mali’thill orphans. She, too, would be subjected to much criticism, however. It can be argued that the Seregon besmirched her purity by quasi-worshipping Azdromoth, an act which she would admit doing. But, it would also be maintained that she did so to protect one of her kin, which was a Paladin of Xan. More fortunately, Dele Seregon would go on to be one of the main critics of the Pact of the Titan and of the Azdrazi, bringing many arguments and much evidence about their violent nature. Regardless, much like Nelgauth Maehr’tehral’s case, Nelgauth who officially retired around the same time, Dele Seregon’s role in the progress of the Republic is undeniable, contributing greatly to all its triumphs and glories. It would be Maeve Elibar’acal who would rise in Dele’s stead, continuing the policies of her predecessor with much ability. An accomplished doctor, to this day, the “Curriculum of Hiylun”, written by Maeve Elibar’acal and her staff, remains the most comprehensive guide in the study of medicine. It would be under her, as well, that medicine classes would formally begin, in a most fruitful partnership with the office of the Okarir’maehr. Still in 1797, an issue that has haunted the Haelun’orian Republic for decades was starting to receive more and more attention. With the settlement of the new continent, the Inferi threat and the corruption of Arcas that instilled fear in the Mali’thill were gone. It was in this context that more and more citizens of the Silver State began questioning the necessity of the Pact of the Titan. By then, the document was continuously losing public support, as many Mali’thill committed the horrific act of turning into Azdrazi, receiving absolutely no punishment for forsaking their purity. Notable among those unguided were Silvyr and Celiasil Uradir, though the latter would end up not fully turning. The number of people calling for the Pact’s nullification was increasing. Perhaps the most unfortunate fact to come out of this situation was Maheral Ikur Sullas’ reluctance to abandon the alliance with Azdromoth, being constrained to use his decisive powers as Maheral to ensure its survival. There have been multiple occasions where Ikur’s distaste for lessers, Azdromoth and the Azdrazi being just that, was obvious. And so, the actual reasons the Maheral then had at maintaining the Pact remain unclear. It would seem that, mayhaps, the Sullas was overly cautious, perhaps fearing Azdromoth’s possible retaliation. Of course, such a fear would have been legitimate, considering that Drakaars like Azdromoth are ill-tempered, corrupt creatures constantly lusting for power. Whatever the reasons, this sad decision of Ikur would serve as yet another subject of propaganda, later, in the effort to destroy the Republic. On this background, the following year would see Celiasil’s resignation. As previously mentioned, at the time, Celiasil was looking to turn into an Azdrazi. This fact alone was the source of much discontent, which only grew after he received the Maheral’s approval in retaining the Okarir’tir position. The Republic was on the brink of having an Okarir not of the Mali’thill race. But it did not come to that, as Celiasil had the wisdom to retire, ending thus a career which lasted for 23 years. He was responsible for the modernization and instruction of the Sillumiran, vastly increasing the quality of the Republic’s military. It would also be him who would lead the Weeping Blades in the Descendants’ struggle against the Inferi. The army of the Mali’thill would go on to valiantly aid their distant cousins in the Siege of Aegrothond and later fight in the battles for the liberation of Korvassa. Observably, the Sillumiran then not only served as a military force, but also as a diplomatic envoy, earning the Silver State much prestige and admiration throughout the conflict. III. Regarding the State of the Republic _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [!] Sunset as observed from a beach near Karinah’siol, cca. 1803 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Republic was a dream. A dream that fell. It seems fitting that we shall now begin to delve into the chain of events that led to the downfall of the democratic system, the system that allowed the intellectual prowess of the Mali’thill to express itself, by first reminiscing what could be considered the last moment characteristic of its nature, the Okarir'tir debate. After Celiasil’s resignation, in 1799 the election for the Okarir’tir position commenced. The nomination and debate were one of the fiercest in the Republic’s history, their vitality being outmatched only by those at the Republic’s birth, back in 1772. And, despite the efforts of the moderators in place, the main discussion that concerned the citizenry then was the views of the candidates in regards to the state of the Pact. In fact, so adamant were the citizens that, after the official debate was over, they organized another, unofficial, but which lasted more than the former. Of all the three candidates, Ellisar Aevaris would be the one to show the least ardor concerning the abolishment of the alliance. Nonetheless, he would still emerge victorious. At the time, his triumph was certainly a surprise to many, considering that his opinions aligned with those of the masses the least. One possibility for his triumph is that the other two candidates, Valorin Celia’thilln and Olrin Hildinyr, in presenting similar stances on many issues, divided their own electorate, halving their votes and cancelling each other out. For better or worse, after a memorable round of elections, Ellisar would become Okarir’tir. Nobody anticipated it at the time, but these elections would go on to be the last with a formal debate between candidates. Despite all this, the state of the interior seemed to be improving. Nobody in the government threatened to turn into something else. That, coupled with the announcement of the formal opening of the Eternal Institutions and the soon arrival of the Eternal Library’s collection, instilled much optimism about the future in the populace. But that was not to last, and the worst was yet to come, though in means so subtle few recognized the danger. In 1801, the heaviest blow to the Haelun’orian Republic would present itself in the unexpected retirement of the Maheral Ikur Sullas. Considering the Maheral’s actions not long before, rashly, many, the author of this book included, viewed Ikur’s resignation as a step forward. But in retrospect, one must admire just with how much ability he led the Mali’thill in these strange times, for democracy was not something many of them ever experienced before. The details surrounding the motives for his departure from the position of leadership matter not. Personal reasons, increasing opposition, those aspects are irrelevant. What is of concern is that he would be the last of the founders of the Republic to leave from the administration of the nation. One cannot think of the Haelun’orian Republic without picturing Ikur Sullas at the same time, they are very much connected. It was he who supervised the system’s development and progress for 29 years. After his retirement, the Republic would only endure for 3 more years. It remains uncertain whether or not the Republic would have fallen had Ikur remained in charge for a little while longer, but mayhaps that counts as a blessing, if not to the Mali’thill, then at least to the former Maheral. After all, the Republic was very much his progeny. It would have been a terrible thing to witness its fall from a position of power. In Ikur’s stead would be invested one by the name of Galanthil Elibar’acal. Most certainly a peculiar choice as Galanthil, having retired long before, was unknown to many. Presumably, this one’s naming was only temporary until a proper successor could have been found. But, rather unfortunately, it would not come to that as a new scandal would arise. Not long after this announcement, the Sohaer Eredael Rhenaer would, rather controversially, challenge Galanthil and name himself Maheral. Despite the boldness of the act, Eredael enjoyed a fair share of public support, thus prompting the Malauriran to convene. In order to prevent a power struggle and an actual schism, a council of Malauriran met and decreed Galanthil’s rise null and void, asserting Eredael in the position instead. It can safely be asserted that from this point on, the Republic’s demise was inevitable. The years that followed would see an ever increasing disregard for the Constitution, the Silver Laws and the customs of the Mali’thill. The year 1801 would see the publication of a document entitled “Regarding the State of the Republic”, signed unanimously by the members of the Silver Council, chief among them Eredael. In it, the primary objectives of the administration were written down: the consolidation of maehr’sae hiylun’ehya, the structural modernization of the Republic, the advancement of meritocracy, the advancement of new educational policies, the formal opening of San’evarir, the renewal of the Heial’tuva and renewed debate around the Azdrazi issue. In this fashion, Eredael managed to gather more support. In a similar mode, soon after, a grand debate concerning the Pact of the Titan was held. Rather expectedly, the matter was settled decisively in favor of abolishing it. Support for Eredael increased still. Now concerning a more depressing matter, in light of the apparent chaotic transition caused by Eredael’s challenge of Galanthil, a great number of inconspicuous individuals began migrating to the Silver State. Many of them never set foot in the Republic before and many of them belonged to families with ties to the Diarchy, like Laraethryn and Valarieth. Their distant stance to the democratic system was evident. It would be one belonging to this group of people, Arelyn Iyathir, that would be elected Sohaer. Securing victory over Nuala Telperion, she would be the first such elected representative without being subjected to a formal debate. Arelyn would set a trend for all the Haelun’orian politicians that followed. From this point on, propaganda aimed at the discrediting of the Republic and its founders began. Arelyn, in her campaign, dared not directly attack the Republic, but still commented on the “liberalism that has poisoned our people” or the “impurity that lurks in the shadows”. As it is often the case with such aggressive populistic speeches, she offered no solutions and pointed to no particular problem, making use only of carefully constructed ambiguous accusatory phrases. Following Arelyn’s ascension, the propaganda would only grow in intensity. Simultaneously, a wave of resignations and departures would occur, primarily from those still loyal to the Republic and the progress of the Mali’thill. It began with Ellisar Aevaris, the Okarir’tir, followed by Maeve Elibar’acal, the Okarir’hiylun, and all her entourage. Not long after, Dele Seregon would announce her departure as well. 1804 would see the leave of Aiera Sullas and her staff. None of their successors would declare themselves in favor of democracy. The greatest schism in recent Haelun’orian history would thus form. As of the time this book was written, the schism still continues. 1803 would see the first flagrant disregards of the Constitution as the offices of Medi’iran and Okarir’san were reinstated without amending the Constitution first. The intents of the new establishment to ruin the Republic and write a new constitution were evident. Sometime later, Eredael would invest Caledor Laraethryn in the position of Okarir’san without an actual election. Caledor would have gone down in history as the first unelected member of the Silver Council since the fall of the Diarchy, were it not for the Malauriran who intervened. In a last effort to save the Republic, the former leaders of Haelun’or would urge for elections, and they would eventually be held. The reality was, however, that it has been more than a year since propaganda began, most of the opposition already fled and the majority of the electorate was composed of individuals with a distaste for democracy. Caledor would win. By 1804 there was virtually no opposition left in the government and works were undergoing towards formally ending the Republic. The last legal bastion of defense was represented by Aiera Sullas who resigned that very same year. The downfall of the system by now was only a matter of time. It remains uncertain how long Aiera Sullas would have managed to delay this inescapable future. However, by analysing the behavior of the councilors at the time, it seems very likely that, had Aiera resisted for much longer, she would have shared Azorella’s fate. It thus came to be that on the 5th of Snow's Maiden, 1804, a new constitution was adopted. The Heial’tuva was abolished, ending the ability of the populace to elect and challenge representatives. All relevant power was taken away from the Maheral and centralized under the Sohaer, who would thenceforth have the ability to appoint and dismiss all councilors. From that moment on, freedom of expression would cease to constitute a constitutional right. Thus, in 1804, despite the initial promises made, Eredael would consent to the formal ending of the Republic he so diligently swore to protect. The rule of the people was at an end and the oligarchy would make its return. If we are to compare the Diarchy’s final hours with those of the Republic, we would notice striking similarities between the move attempted by Sulraell Visaj in 1767 and the legislative changes brought forth by Arelyn. Through means more direct and propaganda more efficient, Iyathir succeeded where Visaj failed, securing the Sohaer’s dominance over the entirety of the Silver Council. Sometimes, the apparent symmetry between historical events is truly astonishing. And so ends the three decades long drama of the Haelun’orian Republic. Its effects and the tragedy of its demise would go on to impact the Mali’thill forever. It would bring forth the existential question of what exactly means to be a Mali’thill. But more than anything else, the fall of the Republic would reveal that even we are fallible and that there is much to learn still. maehr’sae hiylun’ehya.
  14. Excerpt from the Tahkayt Hezzifan, or "Long Story", the oral poetry telling the tale of the A'tmuzigh people. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Tahkayt Hezzifan is part of a lengthy and dramatic ceremony performed by A'tmuzigh Elders and Oracles, as a form of oral transmission of knowledge. This extensive spoken poem tells the tale of the creation of all things originating from the primordial One, continues by going over the A'tmuzigh's history as a people group, and ends with the prophecy of the end of all life and the world's inevitable return to its primordial state. The Tahkayt Hezzifan differs from tribe to tribe, but its beginning and end stays largely the same regardless of tribal allegiance. The following excerpt takes key sections of this lengthy poem to showcase the A'tmuzighs' beliefs. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In the beginning At first the world was darkness and ocean, A vast expanse of free spirits in constant motion, The gods in the heavens would all claim their share, Yet could not distinguish what spirit was where, The gods, used to feuding and constant estrangement, Came together as one in an uneasy arrangement, So they created the Sun high in the sky, Hoping its heat, the ocean would dry, The Sun in the heavens, as it shone and it shone, Revealed from the ocean, lands of bare stone, The spirits from water were stranded, and so they would die, Raised their gaze to the heavens and thus they would cry, “Oh water, oh life. Without you, we wither!” Some of these spirits would crawl and would slither, To escape to the ocean, away from the land, Those who did not turned to dust and to sand, The gods were displeased at what had thus happened, The spirits on land left to die and abandoned, So they came together, to save what could be, And created the Moon, to bring the tides from the sea, The tide healed the spirits from the water it grants, Those close to the ocean became creatures and plants, Yet some spirits remained far from the shore, Pleading and screaming and dying in scores, The gods came together for one final time, They took from the water of the ocean sublime, Glanced one last time at the withering crowds, They scattered the water in ponds, lakes, and clouds, In the midst of the deserts, as spirits did fall, From the rain, an oasis, as if by their call, They drank and they drank, ‘til they could drink no more, The spirits soon realised they could see no shore, The oasis appeared, and had been their salvation, Yet now they were stranded, and forced in prostration, Their heads bent to drink water brought from the rain, Their bodies battered by winds who sought to bring pain, The sands and winds, now jealous and vicious, Sought to enslave those whose calls were auspicious, The spirits thus bent, and their bodies assailed, Tried to fight back, but surely so failed, Their skin became tough to combat the storms, And thus, over time, did they change their forms, No longer ethereal, now flesh and bone, Among them, Mezeg, a spirit well-known, Rose up in defiance, with his body as shield, He rallied his kin, no longer they yield, The spirits of plants first came to his aid, So he could make tents out of fibres arrayed, The winds no longer reached those who resisted, The spirits of animals then rose up and assisted, Wool made up their clothing, and from milk they could sip, Free were they now from the sands and their grip, And so in their tents, did the rebels proclaim, “No longer are we slaves, and so we shall name”, “Ourselves for the freedom we have fought to achieve”, “And in remembrance of those we have lost and we grieve”, “The Freefolk we are, A’tmuzigh in our tongue”, “A people whose battle will be heard and be sung.”, And so did he march with his people and brothers, From oasis to oasis to free all the others, Mezeg was his name, the Liberator, his title, A man who believed that freedom was vital, And thus he marched on, breaking the chains, Liberating the others from their plights and their pains, A dolmen he carved at every oasis he saved, To remember all those who died when enslaved, And so that his people, no more would be slaves, Whether to spirits of winds, sands or waves, In the end The gods in their folly made the Moon and the Sun, Dried up the ocean and broke up the One, All spirits were meant to be one and the same, And thus do we see, and so we proclaim, The spirits apart will grow wild, corrupt, This growing imbalance, the world will disrupt, The gods will look down and see their mistake, They treasure this world and so their hearts will ache, First the Moon they remove, their tidal creation, The oceans will rise, flooding every nation, Then the Sun will depart from high in the sky, Thus in the end, all life must die, Darkness once more, the world will envelop, And the primordial ocean will redevelop, The spirits at peace, one and the same, All things as they should, so shall they reclaim. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This poem is available in-game through a book of the same name, Tahkayt Hezzifan, purchasable on AH or in Valhelm Square, next to the bank. (OOC: If you wish to play an A'tmuzigh character or are interested in the lore, please feel free to contact me on Discord at Northern_Watcher#0790)
  15. Long ago, in an age past, not long after the beginning of creation itself, there were the original men; Malin, Urguan, Horen, and Krug. Each was his own, but each were brothers. They were set upon one another and divided by the daemonic Iblees, and each bore a curse from the evil being. Krug, strongest, toughest of his kin, saw through the lies and deception of Iblees. For this the brothers renounced their partnership with the Daemon and were cursed each. Krug's curse was to forever lust after the spilled blood of his kin, and to be horrendously ugly, that his children would inherit these traits. But not all was lost. A wizard of great talent granted each brother a blessing. Krug was blessed to be the most honorable warrior in all of creation, that his kind would follow in his example to be great. Many of us revere Krug as an ancestral spirit dwelling in the highest reachest of Stargush'Stroth, though some choose to deny his ascension. What cannot be denied is that once, Krug was a man, like Malin, Horen, and Urguan each. Through the generations of uruk-kind, the blood of Krug has been diluted and branched into distinct families- but it is still traceable. After many years of independant and joint research among the more scholarly of our kind involving ancient archaeological discoveries, shamanic visions induced by deep cactus flower highs, and other, more personal and private means, we have at last determined what our ancient and beloved ancestor must have looked like before and after the clash with Iblees changed him. These are perhaps the most evocative and powerful depiction of our beloved ancestor by any artistic hands in centuries. May I present... the great and mighty Krug. And before his fall, as depicted, Krug looked little different to a dark-skinned human.
  16. The Seed Well In Ancient scrolls and carvings found across the archipelago of Axios, it is said that when the emerald fires of the War faded, the emergence of Druidism brought an unseen age of prosperity to the fauna and foliage that once again scattered the lands. And when the last of the ash was swept away with the winds of progression, the Arch Druids communed with Malin in private quarters, to discuss how they would never again allow such corruption to spread through their homeland, and indeed, all of the Islands that surrounded Aegis. The congregation, including Malin himself, poured every ounce of their combined energies into a well in the seclusion of the distant forests, which would house their unforeseen and self-sustained potency. It became known as the Seed Well, for their intentions were clear. The Druids procured many seeds from the bags they had brought with them, choosing the healthiest of each type to bathe in the verdant waters. Once this had been achieved, they locked the well, returning to their respective homes, allowing the passage of time to nurture their efforts. (The Pale Stranger) Many moons would come and go before the congregation would once again meet at the Seed Well, unlocking the interconnected vines which held it shut. Yet as they lifted the wooden cover, a voice spoke out from the trees. "You pour your energies into this well, unbeknownst to the outcome." It said, emerging forth from the shrubbery. It was a pale Elf, with long flowing hair of pearl-white, and draping robes to match. He rose the gnarled wooden stave in his hand, and proclaimed the dangers of bringing into the world that which had not occurred naturally. Before the communion could respond, the man vanished as quickly as he had arrived. With confusion, they shrugged off the comment as the meanderings of a mad-man, before returning their focus to the Well before them. Everything seemed in order, and the seeds were taken from the well. Malin himself took a handful of the seedlings, and placed them into a container which he had previously filled with the potent waters of the well. From this moment onward, Malin would no longer be seen on Axios again, and the Arch Druids returned to their private lands, tending to the seedlings they had infused with their energies. (One of the trees of the Seed Well) For many decades, these plants would be cared for in clandestine quarters, and would develop into considerable sizes, each a vast and unique array of beauty. Yet they did not grow as usual, for their forms began to split, and the bark began to resemble a humanoid figure. The Arch Druids studied in intrigue, fascinated by the process of this growth, and cared not to meander in their flourishing environments. Instead, they observed intently as the trees continued to emerge. Ellethwen Thendiel was the first of the Arch Druids to witness the awakening of these trees, for each Druid had been assigned to a specific tree, and her's developed at a much faster rate than the others. The bark creaked and groaned at first, the Druid stepping back in shock as she felt the roots beneath the ground begin to detach from the soil, and the oaken limbs emerge from the ground. Before long, an amber radiance began to emanate from the apex of the bark, where the newly conscious creature looked down upon her. She cheered with glee, for her seedling had grown into what later became referred to as Meldamiriel, true Children of the Forest. It seemed aware of its surroundings, yet was incapable of speech and many of the basic functions of movement. Instead it sat, listening to it's mother and those around her as it absorbed information like rich nutrients in the warmth of soil. Soon, the other seedlings began to grow, and before long a family of Meldamiriel graced the Arch Druids with their presence. These were the results of Druidic efforts, and would later become protectors of nature, goliath and foreboding personifications of the Forests, who would scour the land and protect it from destructive forces. (Gambadriel, protector of Ainsharu) Ellethwen would later name her child Gambadriel, and would assign it to a nearby forest that she would also dwell in, for these creatures were still young, and would need the guidance of those that birthed them into the world. With decades passing, these giants served their function with unanticipated effectiveness, and soon began to develop their own tongues; of which only the Arch Druids were capable of understanding, for it was not a language of the physical, but of the deep attunement within nature's stream. Yet all things are destined to succumb to the cyclical nature of the world, and what was once a state of progression would change into one of ruin and degeneracy in one fell swoop. An arrow, of unknown origins, sank into the chest of Ellethwen as she reeled over in anguish, slinking against the bark of a nearby tree. Gambadriel would sense this traumatic event, and would rush to aid his "mother", yet it was too late. Before long Ellethwen had grown as cold as the winds that swept through the forest, and the trees lamented alongside Gambadriel as his core contorted and formed into a seething anger, fueled only by his continued anguish and loneliness. This theme swept across the islands of Axios as one by one the Arch Druids were slain in solitude, their children crying out in pain as they edged on the verge of madness, their forms losing the blooming flora that once adorned them. They became husks of their former selves, little more than vessels of anger that scouted the graves of their long-dead Druids, destroying any life that would dare venture close enough. (Gambadriel's Husk, warding off an Elven Soldier) This growing epidemic shook the foundations of the Elven people, who had already begun to split from one another in pursuits of power and political gain. The once stalwart protectors of the Forests were soon slain in many numbers, rid from the world forever by the Elven people, and the Well of Seeds was destroyed, preventing the process from ever occurring again. Yet from all death comes life, and the husks of these entities would scatter beneath the Ancient Soils of Axios, awaiting the return of the Well of Seeds, where they would once again emerge. OOC:
  17. (Let it be known, I am not trying to get any lore really accepted, but mostly out there. This has been discussed between a number of easterner roleplayers, and this provides a way to roleplay someone who looks and acts much more chinese, than the japanese styled Chiyaki, and the much further travelled Xionist Yulthar, while possibly adding a reason as to why our mongol and turkish cultures already rped in-game have an unmistakably asian flare to them. Its all mostly compiled lore from when easterners were a much bigger thing, and now that people are being them again I was approached by two roleplayers that wanted to be more chinese than japanese, so we came up with this. A reminder however, the Xian is not a word for all easterners, just those that are particularly chinese styled, much like the Chiyaki are much more japanese even if they are from similar places.) The Xian An Introduction: The Xian are a numerous group of people from a distant land mass far to the east of those lands familiar to the inhabitants of Vailor and the previous lands known plainly as Xia. Or "Life" in their native tongue. The Xians are a truly ancient people, and their culture reflects that. Having been taken from many other lands they had visited or conquered, along with their status on retaining ancient traditions has kept these people from changing much over the course over their long and storied history. The Xian in their native lands are fiercely loyal to their lords, and in turn to the grand Jade Dragon Emperor. A title granted and passed down through different family lines or histories known as the dynasties. The Xian are extremely intelligent people as a whole, having their own writing and book-keeping systems since near the rise of their empire. They are skilled in navigation, astronomy, alchemy, and strange esoteric practices, along with the many exotic trades that exist in this faraway land. History and Faith: In their earliest myths and stories, it is said the greatest of gods sacrificed most of her divinity to take physical form and created the mountains, seas, valleys, and forests, but left the underground untouched. Populating it with a great array of animals and creatures, but wished for someone to talk to. So the great god then pulled from the verdant soil of the great Tienshan river the first of these people. Shu was his name as told to him by the great serpentine dragon goddess. He rode upon her back as she filled his mind with fantastic stories and tales. Excerpts of which are praised by modern people as wise life lessons, and basis for much worship. However, Shu grew tired of his long life and of his lonesomeness, so the great dragon granted him children. These would be from which all Xian and people of eastern origin descend. With the last of her divinity, the great dragon goddess bequeathed to Shu and three of his children their rights to rule. Then she fled, flying over the hills and valleys, crying over the sadness that she was not enough for this man. Her tears turning to what is known now as jade as they fell, and she retreated into an ancient cave where she continued to weep until she herself was turned to living jade. Forever asleep. The great emperor Shu ruled for over 100 years. His empire growing swiftly, owing to the hidden truths of reality granted to him by his first love. Then, as he aged, he passed his title down to his son. The two daughters of Shu and the great jade dragon had decided to go their own paths, owing to the truths given to them by their mother. The eldest, Shenshin went further east, past the sea until she came to land upon a pair of great islands, where she and her followers became the first natives and nobles. Then the youngest, Shinshen traveled north and west. Never settling in one place. Her people becoming nomads or farmers of the great mountains of the land. Rough Timeline The eldest brother Youlin had taken his father's last name as Shu, and continued the Shu dynasty. As time went on, people from other lands, a change in thinking, or other different situations gave rise to different dynasties. here are some, written in chronological order. Shu Dynasty: Agriculture, expansion, peace, and advancement. Ruled by the dragon goddess, then Shu the first emperor. Lyn Dynasty: Discovery of iron and expansion upon ancient martial arts practices as found in hidden jade dragon scrolls. Rose from the once final Shu emperor married a woman named Lyn, and his love was so great he changed his own name. Jhuxho Dynasty: Period of heavy military expansion outwards. The Jhuxho emperors decided that the wisdom granted by the jade dragon was their's alone. Chizhu Dynasty: The people of the land eventually revolted against the Jhuxho empreror Xha hou. Bringing about a period of reconstruction and restoration of culture. Ghuan Ghuan Dynasty: Seeing their chance as the empire of Xia was returning to power after hundreds of years of rebuilding, invaders descended from the Shinshen rode to conquer all of Xia. Dethroning the previous emperor and placing their own ruler atop the jade throne. Zhen Ku Dynasty(current): with allies from the eastern isles populated by Shinshen's descendants, the people of Xia were able to reinstate a new, proper emperor. This period of trade between the two people led to inventions and advancements and exchange of alchemy, marine agriculture, magics, and many other things. Religion of The East: The people of Xia and the rest of the east believe in a strange mixture of animism, ancestor worship, and spirit worship. Stemming from the earliest days when a god had given up her divinity to form these people, and the belief that those from these lands are related to the spirits of nature through a certain distant, yet still recognizable family tie. Descendants of Youlin The people of the land of Xia hold many beliefs in this day and age. Their core religion however is a belief in a rational order of nature. They worship a large number of divine spirits called the Shen, which can be nature deities, city deities, national deities, cultural heroes and demigods, ancestors and progenitors, and deities of the kinship, but none mightier than the celestial dragons. Complex rituals of worship are performed by priests within mighty cities, or by ascetic monks which follow the teachings of the great jade dragon. The oldest of these schools even house some of the original scrolls. This alternate belief is known as Xhen and has become the state religion in several parts of the large lands of Xia. Descendants of Shenshin The descendants of Shenshin are similar to their cousins in Xia due to the fact they worship many beings, however they differ in the fact that almost every one of these beings, known as the Kami, reside within parts of nature or minor works of humanity and differ in power based on the size of the object. For example, a shrine to the great goddess of the land and sun Amaterasu might be tended by a small nameless tending Kami. The descendants of Shenshin also have many different forms of worship, from radical honor, ancestor, and deed based customs, to ferver and ascetic based, and anywhere in between. A decent number of these people however have also come to follow the teachings of Xhen and follow the doctrines written in the jade dragon scrolls, though it is by no means the state religion. Descendants of Shinshen The nomads and mountain folk descended from the dragon-blooded Shinshen are very prideful and their worship defines that. They tend to trust in their elder's or tribal shamans and look to them for guidance. They mainly venerate their ancestors and great animal spirits. However, as they move around so often, their beliefs evolved to match those of the people they came into contact with, or were shaped by the passing of years.
  18. Essentially, I would like This Following Piece of Lore to be adapted into the canonical history of the elves. If you didn't read the whole thing, I'll sum it up for you. From the time of Malin's disappearance and when the mali'ker and mali'aheral split off the main body of elves, to the founding of Laurelin in Aegis, the mali'ame lived in many tribal bands called 'Seeds' which roamed about the forests of ancient Malinor. These seeds RARELY skirmished with one another and were very un-united, conflicts, when they happened, were rarely bloodyThese seeds worshipped the Aspects as their chief dieties, and revered Malin- seeing themselves as the last true followers of his teachingsThe ones who held the most influence over the ancient Wood elf seeds were druids, purely wood elven at the time. Wood elves were capable of great feats of tree farming, growing groves called "ame'llie" where they harvested specially grown trees with special properties (much like one would selectively breed corn, or bananas over thousands of years to make them edible, wood elves would do the same with trees to make their bark/wood softer or harder and etc)The Era of the Seeds would have been LARGELY PEACEFUL. I put emphasis on Watylls writing, which was during an era of great turbulance, but most of this millenia long era was peaceful, with very little fighting.Please do not refuse to confirm or deny this as canon. I implore the LT to sit down with me and help me implement this into server lore. I have poured many hours into making the wood elves interesting and distinct, culturally, and it means a lot to me. I would appreciate the time, recognition and trust to be let in on at least some that hidden elf lore and have a hand in shaping the playerbase I've worked so hard in building. We're the only major race that lacks a solid "origin story". In fact, we know little to nothing about actual ancient wood elf history, since the lore team keeps it largely secret from us. This is a big deal. It may seem trivial to you, but when a playerbase puts a lot of effort into the history/culture and origins of a place and gets told none of it is canon, it can be seriously demoralizing and can anger them. Look at what happened when Oren was told Aeldin wasn't real, and to RP it as simply a made up story IC. It ruins the point, it takes the fun out of it. Think what a big and important role other race's origin stories and ancient history play into their cultures and day-to-day RP. The Kha and Metzli's creation of them is absolutely integral to their RP. The high elves, with their golden pools which also form a super important part of what gives them personality and differentiates them. The Dwarves, who historically have Khorvad's empire and a ton of rich ancient history lore to base their RP off of. While I don't know how much of ancient orc history is known, they have so much lore behind them in Shamanism (an exclusive racial magic, mostly) and so many spirits and such which gives orc culture builders like ilikefooddude a huge pool of knowledge to enrich his playerbase with, something wood elves simply don't have right now. Knowing your race's ancient origins and history can help immeasurably in enrichening even the most mundane of RP. Now, I know that even if it what we poured our efforts into isn't canon, we could RP the history we've spent so much time fleshing out as "IC belief" (which sucks. see: aeldin), however- it generally means more when we know something actually happened canonically, that we didnt just OOCly invent a bunch of stories so we could have a clumsily thrown together culture, but instead contributed to actually writing a part of server lore, something we can work off of to make our daily RP all the more meaningful. Please don't just instantly shut me down and dismiss this. This means a lot to me and a lot of other wood elf RPers that we be given the means to flesh out our culture more.
  19. In Athera, on the outskirts of The Reformed Kingdom of Oren, a settlement was formed, mostly human, on a fishing wharf. It was out of the way from major roads, and it's population wasn't high, so it's not hard to believe that the economy was so stagnant that the majority of the population lived in little more than mud huts along the small fisheries and make-shift dock. There was one exception: a powerful wizard, likely of dark magic, held a tower that loomed over the little village. His name was Deinalt Mephistaurus, and he enjoyed the power he held over the peasants and fish-mongers. He relished in it and exercised it as a tyrant. The villagers had little choice but to comply with his demands. The years drew, however, and they saw no way out, his demands becoming harsher and harsher as he pushed their limits. Sometimes, they were even summoned into the tower itself, either to never be seen again, or as a dry, pale corpse. Secretly, they sent messages out, begging for help from Oren, but Oren had been caught up with politics and, most importantly, wars, and their resources were stretched thin. The request went unheeded. When war erupted in 1483, the villagers knew they would not receive help soon, if at all, and sought instead to hire mercenaries who would take the job for the meagre coin they could scrounge up. They eventually found some who agreed, and the group stole in at the dead of night to ambush the wizard as he rested, for they knew frontal attack upon his tower would avail little except their own deaths. They did not kill him as he slept, as the wizard did wake, but he was still caught flat-footed and with his magical components outside of his reach. He cast what he could, but blind-sided as he was, the fight was intense but short. Deinalt Mephistaurus fell backwards upon the bed he had woken from, but not before cursing the traitorous villagers with his dying breath, promising pain and destruction to them as long as they lived. In the end, the village rejoiced in the victory of their saviours. After much celebration, the heroes parted and Rahult enjoyed their new freedom. They found some measure of prosperity now that they were no longer bogged down with the unrelenting and unfair demands of the wizard. Ten years later, on the anniversary of the wizard's murder, the Plague hit the town, and much of the population died over night. It was no coincidence, the villagers moaned as they mourned. Deinalt's grip still strangles them today. His curse continues! Some of the villagers suggested seeking clerical help, but this idea was shot down for its massive cost. Besides, the Plague hit them hard; if this were truly the will of the mage, would it not be satiated? Another ten years passed, and upon the anniversary, the village was torn with a localized earthquake. Many died in the fallen rubble. Many more lost their homes. Calls for holy intervention increased, but so did the flight from the village. Nothing could be done to circumvent the next tragedy but to wait. When the 30th anniversary came, the villagers waited with baited breath, waiting for a swoop that would likely kill them off for good this time. But the night passed with no unholy intervention, and they all breathed a collective sigh... until the next morning. Several people (men, women, children) were found dead in their beds, throats slit. A couple people were confirmed missing shortly after, but it was unknown if they were still alive, or if they were, whether they were fleeing justice for the acts or fleeing the curse before it could hit them. The villagers would have loved to follow up these events with a witch hunt, but their seeking was cut short; the Flood had overtaken Athera and their wharf was one of the first to drown below the constant rains. Those who were left had no choice but to leave their homes to be swallowed by the waters and go to Vailor. Some of those villagers may still yet live, as could the Heroes of Rahult... as could the unknown murderer. And though the village is gone, no one knows for sure if the wizard's curse is done. Known Former Villagers: Sahar Tha'un Known Heroes of Rahult: Timeline: 1468 - Athera was settled 1469 - Rahult was successfully settled, building watched over by Deinalt Mephistaurus 1475 - Mephistaurus's demands become strange. Citizens begin to disappear 1483 - The Kingdom of Oren becomes Galahar. Rahult citizens look elsewhere for aid. 1483, Sun's Smile - Mercenaries are hired to kill Deinalt Mephistaurus, a contract is drawn 1483, The Amber Cold - Deinalt Mephistaurus is killed in his tower. 1493, The Amber Cold - Plague hits the town overnight. Many citizens die. 1503, The Amber Cold - A localized Earthquake hits the village 1513, The Amber Cold - Many citizens are found murdered in their beds End of 1513 - Rahult is abandoned to the Flood
  20. The Historians Guild Est. 1510 “The past is but a procession of the present” All Glory to the Enlightened Owl This scholarly order seeks to objectively study the history of the realm from ancient to avant-garde and the foreseeable future. The Guild holds no allegiance other than the realm and offers their services, with a small expense, to any who require it. By researching both archaic and modern documents, excavating ancient runes for their deepest and most esoteric mysteries, and inquiring with those who have lived through history itself, the Guild unravels the past and helps weave the future. The Historians’ Codex -The historian has two core tasks: the search for historical truth and its transmission through teaching and publication- -The historian must not dismiss counter evidence without scholarly consideration- -The historian must be even-handed in treatment of evidence and eschew picking and choosing history- -The historian must clearly indicate any speculation- -The historian must not mistranslate documents or mislead by omitting parts of documents- -The historian must weigh the authenticity of all accounts, not merely those that contradict a favored view- -The historian must take the motives of historical actors into consideration- -The historian must look beyond ethics, moral, and law, recording history under any circumstance and in the most raw of forms- The expansion of the above articles are learnt when inducted into the Guild The Hierarchy The ethical historian seeks no fame or fortune for their work, thusly, they have a fairly loose construction. The Guild is led by a council of Senior members who deal with Guild politics, reviewing historical analysis written by members of the Guild and keeping the Guild in order. Below the Senior members are the simple, yet crucial Historians. They serve no other purpose than to read, research, and record. Historians have numerous duties bestowed upon them by the Seniors. Historians may become chroniclers, wandering the realm and recording events as they happen, keeping the Guild’s immense records up-to-date and organized, or their services may be chartered out to those who can afford it such as a kingdom or noble orders. So common it is for Historians to focus on a certain aspect of history, such as natural, geographic, magical, political, or militaristic. Those who are newly inducted into this prestigious order or but simple acolytes, apprentices, students, novices, etc… They are assigned a Senior member who is to train them in the methods and practices of history keeping. Once the Senior feels they can function independently they are given the rank of Historian. The Knowledgeable Loremaster Anaximander Still, there remains a most esteemed and honorary title. That of “Loremaster”. The appellation given to only the most adept and skilled Historians of the Guild who have become experts in their craft. Granted, a Historian remains ever a student and can never truly master that which never ends. Services Chartered Chronicling Those Historians who have the more adventurous spirit are chartered out to various kingdoms, clans, and countries to record the history of said country as it occurs. The chronicler has no ties to the organization, they are, however, expected to be treated with the utmost hospitality. These Historians are also tasked with studying the chartee’s history and rewriting and organizing it into a coherent document for the Guild’s use. If a patron wishes to hire a chronicler do inquire below and proper payment shall be negotiated. Public Access The Guild’s expansive archives and the Historians’ combined knowledge serve as an almost endless source of historical documents, accounts, and research. It being their duty to transmit history to the realm, the Historians allow full access to their archives for study. History repeats itself, it is wise for one to know their past mistakes. Cartography Understanding the contours and geography of the realm is a vital aspect of history and its comprehension. Thusly, the Guild provides masterful artists and map makers to bring the realm to ink and paper. Commissioned maps of a particular piece of land are also available. Inquire below. An Aspiring Cartographer “A man who does not know history is like a leaf who does not know it’s part of a tree.” Induction into the Guild The Guild of Historians only takes on the most dedicated, scholarly, and empirical of potential students. Students are expected to possess a fairly advanced knowledge of ancient and modern history upon requesting entry. Their knowledge will be tested rigorously and their writing and scripting abilities will also be tested, to make sure the potential student writes in a coherent, unbiased and detailed manner. If one wishes to join this most venerable order it is asked that they send word to one of the Senior Members of the Guild so that their skills might be tested. A note may also be posted below giving your name and two examples of your work as a scholar and writer. [MC name should also be posted] Skilled cartographers are also encouraged to join our ranks. Send one of the Senior members of this illustrious order at least two examples of your work. Or, once again, post a note below in a similar fashion to that which is stated above.
  21. So as a new player I was looking for Orc history or timeline, but found nothing but a few unspecific events. In order to advance roleplay and make applying easier I suggest adding something like this.
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