The Magic Robe of Leena
Tékaan (or Shatí Terquán as she is sometimes named wrongly) is most likely
nothing more than a myth, and probably the young woman it is named after, never
lived. But there is something about it, which brings people to believe, that it
really existed - or still is in use.
Many stories tell us, that anybody could use this robe and you simply had to put it around your shoulders to be able to levitate or transform in an animal; some say, it was a magical device only to be used by powerful mages who knew extraordinary spells. The strange thing is, that all the different tales don‘t differ in how the robe looked (or looks) like. And though through the ages it was depicted with different persons, the robe itself rarely changed the appearance. Here we have a recent image of one of our renown artists, Eratinalinfalah, who chose one of the oldest stories about an Ac'ránn, a kind of elven princess, who was able to fly with its help. This is probably the most known and loved story, maybe the oldest, so it is not astonishing that the robe is named after her, though others are said to have possessed it as well.
Santhran violet and
waterberry blue are the two shades out of
which the main colour of the robe is mostly mixed. However, the fabric the robe
is made of varies with the artist who depicted it and the viewer can often not
tell, what kind of cloth it should be. So in Eratin's image it seems to be made
out of the fluffy seeds of the toccon tree, for it lacks the shine of
Shendar silk and bulges out slightly.
One could even imagine a velvet texture to it.
Most often it is described as being made out very thin and delicate cloth, so that it could be folded to a small package one could hide in the hand despite its length said to range from seven fores to eleven peds. Sometimes it is depicted as transparent, more often painted or described having an opaque texture.
The Terquán Robe is always framed with a white or light blue border, along which a single row of blooms - maybe roses - is running that shows a colour from mercoral to fyrite pink.
The robe covers the shoulders well and is closed just below the throat, but leaves the arms and chest free, falling down the back to the floor - or, as depicted on many known paintings - floating behind the wearer. What we can‘t see on Eratin's picture, which not only Master Tribell describes in his "Miraculous Narrations", but Tara Tellatale already mentions in her "Stories of a Lost People" is the silvery pattern on the back at the height of the shoulder blades and the border of old unknown symbols at its bottom.
Abilities. The usage of the robe is described as differently as the appearance uniform. The only consent is found about the time when the robe begins to display its magic - when it is closed on the chest. From then on three different descriptions can be found:
The first claims, that the magic robe allows the wearer to fly, the second to transform into an animal and the third is a combination of both. Nearly never, and then only with sources which seem to refer to other magic robes as well or even seem to mix them up it is mentioned, that it makes invisible. All depictions contradict that.
As on Eratin's painting, the robe allows the wearer to fly, to float in air without the restrictions any other flying object has to succumb, be it a bird or a thrown stone - being exposed to the elements or having to follow any rules like those which forces a thrown stone to fall down to the ground after some time. The wearer of such a robe is free to go where he wants and doesn‘t have to fear any storm or lightning, as if the robe protects him or her from the weather. The first known South Sarvonian author to describe it in detail was Zakwan the Storyteller, a wandering bard famous for his storytelling during the Year of Darkness. He narrates of a young woman who is said to have used the robe to meet her lover and to escape the strong guards her father has hired to keep her imprisoned. There are many similar tales, why and when the robe was needed, though it doesn‘t answer how it was made.
The ability to transform the wearer into an animal, ranging from a mouse to a shingar is as old as the tales about the flying properties, but these stories are differently told. Most often they are not as varnished as the other kind, but somehow they seem to be more incomplete, only told in the shelter of the dark with a finger before the lips or only whispered from ear to ear. It seems the transforming into an animal is seen as a forbidden action, as something which is not allowed to be performed, maybe because it is dangerous - if somebody fails to change back in time he has to remain in the form of the chosen animal till his or her death. If there were other reasons why this should be so they are lost in time, however the habit to tell them in secret remained. There are few stories which look like they are complete and these ones have all one interesting feature in common - that is that the wearer of the robe can only change into an animal which has roughly the wearer's weight. In every case however,the wearer has to be naked to transform! The currently most favourite story of this kind was only recently written down for the Compendium by Aini Siuu, the Shendar drard‘le researcher and spread from there in New-Santhala. It belongs to the oral tradition of the Shendar and is the story of a young Shendar girl (see Myth/Lore).
The most loved tales of the robes are those who describe it as a means to fly and to change into an animal at the same time, however only in a bigger bird or other not too small flying animal. The weirdest stories about the robe are found here. To this kind of narration belongs the tale of Shatí Terquán, (or Leena Tékaan), which will be described later in the Myth/Lore section as well
There is a last strange characteristic of the robe which is mentioned in some tales: It is available for those who are in desperate need for it, male or female, and who will find it when their despair is deep. In these stories it can‘t be inherited, it will vanish when it is not needed anymore. But in other stories it is owned by one woman for a long time and is given from mother to daughter for generations - until it is lost when used unwise.
History/Origin. There is surely no such thing as a confirmed history for such a magical artifact like our robe. However, there is a research-report of all the people who have ever tried to depict it, be it with paint or words.
There are different ways to trace down the age of an object or where it has been recorded at one point in history:
We have a picture or a text fragment describing the item and know, when it was found.
The picture or parchment may even be dated or signed by an author whom we know (and have relevant information about his life)
The style of the painting or the way the text is written.
The story itself gives us a place or date, when it was created or when the "events" happened.
attempt to trace the robe all above mentioned criteria were used to bring light
in a mysterious subject.
Since the magnificent discovery of a copy of a tale called "The Magic Robe of Leena Tékaan" most researchers of old tales and myth agree, that if there is a spark of historical truth in the story it originated in Fá'áv'cál'âr, the famous mythical elven city. It is now believed to be the original tale about all stories who tell us about a robe which enables to fly and to change your form. Such robes are commonly known by now under the name of "Terquán Robes".
There were no similar ancient reports about old fragments found or stories told till only recently Compendiumist Vesk brought back from Ciosa not only a story telling the tale of a young apprentice of Grothar using the robe, but a small fragment of the Terquán story as well. More about that in the Myth/Lore section.
Another lore which is difficult to date is the already mentioned tale written down by Aini Siuu, the known drard'le researcher. All Shendar myth and lore is based on oral tradition, and so dating is only possible through the content of the story. In this case we'd have to date the story back quite far - after the bonding with the aj‘nuvics was still new. However, not much is known either when this occurred, but it is possible, that it is not as old than the one Compendiumist Vesk brought back from Ciosa.
All other fragments found and paintings dated are younger than these three. So the hypothesis is favoured, that the robe used by this unfortunate young elven lady came into the possession of the Glandorians and that it found then its way on an expedition ship to Ciosa. Especially the fragment of the "Terquán Robe" found in Ciosa backs this theory up. Far fetched ideas even are, that Arilin herself, the daughter of Junaid and Leena, mentioned in the tale, took the robe and that her family was one of the Glandorians who migrated east after the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr.
From Ciosa the robe seemed to have spread all over Santharia, first to the northeast (Manduran) and south (Seven Jewels), lateron more to the west and finally the north. There are several stories about young men, apprentices of Grothar who tried to fly with the help of the robe - these are located mostly in Brendolan. The Eyelians don‘t seem to know such stories, farther up they get more frequent. The tales about the young girls who try to escape their guarding fathers are all of a later date and mostly told up in Erpheronia.
There are uncertainties and doubts, no question. So critics argue, that the robe of Manduran is a flying robe only, the Shendar robe a changing robe. They even suggest, that there may have been more robes than just one, which would be the answer to the different described abilities. Speculations go as far as to assume that Táemehán himself had more of these magical robes, maybe created them himself. Who should have received them and when we can‘t know. However, the research about these fantastic magic items has just started and great discoveries will hopefully be made.
Myth/Lore. Here are listed three tales, one for each type of robe, more can be found in the book "Stories about Magic Robes" published by the Thane of Brendolan, Lucirina Telor Veván, which was recently published and printed in Varcopas and is now available there and in all major cities of Santharia (Great Compendium Press):
Magic Robe of Leena Tékaan,
Ac'ránn of Fá'áv'cál'âr
This tale may well be the oldest, not only from the time the story is set in, but from the evidence we have of its finding as well. Discovered only three centuries ago in the old ruins of the former bardic school we know now under the name of Féarn’teloría the parchment found great interest, but the knowledge about it did not spread until one of the former scholars of the school, Lucirina Telor Veván, brought it to the Great Library of New-Santhala where it should be closer examined by the researcher of old scripts. Of course not many of parchments of this age can have come down to us, but the most interesting and unusual feature (for the researchers at least) were the "heading" of this special testimony. The following is an extract which is about half as long as the story itself:
This is transcription number 347 made by Gregon who lived in the time of king Garrik from the duplication number 346 of Orwal who lived during the reign of Riton. Orwal copied the story Kiran has written down while he visited Vermouth. Kiran has the text from Muriel, who lived under the reign of Minar II. [...]
This goes on for some time, many passages are unreadable as some parts of the tale itself, but from what remains the sholars have dated back to about 4000 years before Santhros. The shown parts are obviously writers living in the Mynian Kingdom. How this parchments came into the possession of the bardic school is unknown as when the story was written down for the first time. But it seems to be original and old, for the name of the Ac'ránn is Leena Tékaan. It was probably later changed to the similar Terquán meaning ("changing"), as the text itself points to this.
Younger fragments known before a transcription of the supposed original often named the young maid Shatí Terquán. Shatí is the Styrásh word for "flying", so the name might simply have changed through the centuries, including the aspect of flying in the name, not only the changing ("terquán").
The tale of "The Magic Robe of Leena Tékaan" can be read in detail here.
As already mentioned, the Compendiumist and troll expert Vesk Lyricahl went to Ciosa to search for old fragments concerning trolls in Northern Sarvonia which he hoped to find in the library there. However, what he found were parts of an old story about a young apprentice of Grothar who is said to have used a robe to fly. From the way the story is written and from the kind of parchment used it can be dated back to times before the War of the Chosen. It had only survived the long time, because it was stored along with other texts (the fragment of the "Terquán Robe") in a box out of pure mithril. Out of curiosity he visited the Mithral coast and asked random persons about this myth and to his surprise many people knew about it. In the Grothar temple he found finally an old priest who knew more details and out of these sources he could easily reconstruct the whole tale.
This story is here mentioned as an example for the type of flying robe - though an transformation takes place in the end - but this is Grothar‘s work, not that of the robe.
The tale of "The Stormbringer" can be read in detail here.
Not much can be added to this myth, other than the purpose of telling was not so much to narrate about the robe, as telling something about "True Love". However, this may apply to the other tales as well, that the robe is only a means to carry a message, not to give testimony of a magic item.
At last I don‘t want to deprive the reader of the latest gossip about a possible use of "the robe", or such a robe - the rumour about the death of Queen Hanele (1625):
The official version about the death of Queen Hanele, King Grothian‘s first wife is that she fell to death while visiting the Temple of Water and Earth at Nougvin near the Anaios Gap, to worship and pray to Jeyriall. The circumstances are not known though, her body was never found and the guard of the gates swore that nobody had left the building in this night. So some years ago the rumour suddenly spread, that, back then, her clothes had been found on a terrace of the temple building, and what else could have been the reason to free herself of them as the need to do it to be able to use the magic robe to flee her miserable life? And had not one of the mighty desert eagles been seen in the mountains around for a few days?
Intensified researches on these magical robes have only started recently and it is to hope, that there will be found far more of these fabulous stories and tales.
The Spindle Witches Explanation
If the robe does, or did, indeed exist, a recent discovery by the compendiumist Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang throws light on the question of how such magic was possible. As Shabakuk found in his research on Santharian witches, powerful members of the coven of spindle witches are rumoured to spin yarns that do not just take you on a flight of fancy, but can be made into garments that are literally capable of lifting you into the skies.
Information provided by Talia Sturmwind