Styrásh for "Protector of Life's
ca. 1011-748 b.S.) was the first Ránn of the
uniting the Eastern and Western forests, after the splitting of the tribe in
about 1000 b.S.
Until her 'crowning' settlements within the Eastern and Western Zeiphyr, while recognizing a certain shared origin and a need to cooperate, were seperate war entities. This meant that during the first part of the war the Quaelhoirhim suffered several heavy defeats, culminating in the annihilation of the Zeiphyr in 806 b.S. Hailing from the Eastern forest, the daughter of, it is said a Kaierian Warrior, Cárimuá first rose to power in Salóh, which she fortified in the run up to the war. She led the fight for a peaceful solution to the war and fought dogmatically with the Ránn of the Western forest, Cár'ámn Kardalá, over plans to assassinate Gorm, pleading with Elving not to send an assasin. As it became clear that the humans were preparing for war on a scale never before seen, the newly fortified Salóh became the focus of the Quaelhoirhim and elven defence and Cárimuá became the figurehead of that resistance as the first Ránn of a centralised Quaelhoirhim government.
Cárimuá was also responsible for forming the High Elven Circle, an alliance of elven tribes. Many therefore consider her the first Ava'ránn of the elven people, though she was never officially named such.
Cárimuá was assassinated in about 750 b.S. Stories abound as to who was responsible, but no conclusive proof has ever been provided. The truth is that Cárimuá made many powerful enemies and that any one of three groups could have murdered her for their own political gains.
Image description: Cárimuá Eaás, famous founder of the centralised government of the Quaelhoirhim and creator of the High Elven Circle. Picture drawn by Eritinalinfalah.
Cárimua was reportedly unlike the typical
elf of today, with their typically golden or
olive skin, but then the Zeiphyr
is a very different place today. In the times before the First Sarvonian War the
Eastern forest, where Cárimuá was born, which to this day retains a certain
distinctive identity, was very heavily influenced by the
Tethinrhim and many of those living
there were of Tethinrhim parentage.
While that influence has significantly diminished in the interveining centuries,
there is still a significant proportion of elves
born to the eastern forest with red hair.
So it was, according to elven spoken lore, with Cárimuá. It is reported by most sources that her mother was from the Tethinrhim tribe and as such she is often represented such, with long, red, flaming hair, pale complexion and green eyes. The statue of her in Salóh's town square, built sometime before the ascension of Santhros, also potrays her as slightly taller than the Quaelhoirhim average and of a more slightly muscular built, as is the case with the Tethinrhim.
However, very few sources remain that are contemporary with the period, so these assumptions are far from certain. Those contemporary sources that have survived unchanged are generally elven and simply characteristics of appaerance, for most of the tribes of the region, Quaelhoirhim included, kept scatty and sporadic written records, nowhere near as useful as those of the Aellenrhim! For example, a scribe to the Ahrhim Rónn who she approached for an alliance early in her career, noted 'a strength of soul'. As the word "soul" in Styrásh can be interpreted several different ways, including the meanings "energy" and "life force", it is difficult to grasp exact meaning. However, most scholars - especially we elves among them - tend to feel that the scribe makes reference to a force of presence, a certain charisma and dynamic personaltiy that others felt before she spoke.
Biography. The life of Cárimuá Eáás can be summarized in detail as follows:
Background, Birth and early Life. Cárimuá is said to have been born in ca. 1011 b.S. This is a consensus date, a sort of median value from those that have been thrown around by scholars past and present. It is essentially based on the principle that she must have been over the age of elven maturity when becoming Ránn, and that the Quaelhoirhim were so surprised and grief striken at her unnatural death indicates that she was more than likely still very young by elven terms at her death. Certainly her children were in infancy when she died, and it is told that she neither out lived their mother by more than six months, but that is a different tragic story.
Some tales tell that her mother was a Tethinrhim elf of the Auturian Woods, and a Kaierian Warrior of the highest rank. Her father, it is said was a 'pure' Quaelhoirhim elf, as those of the Western forest called themselves at that time. Nothing is recorded about them other than the fact that their relationship would have been frowned upon.
The Zeiphyr was twin forests - with the Western forest being far more extensive than it is today - had been traditionally home to the Quaelhoirhim tribe, with one Ránn, although she essentially excerted little or no power over what were mainly self governing communities, settlements and regions that lay outside of Elving's city walls.
The Quaelhoirhim's nearest neighbours were the Tethinrhim, organised with, unusual among elves, a hereditary monarchy system. Their influence, genes and their beliefs spread into the Eastern forest of the Zeiphyr and to the rapidly expanding city of Salóh, much to the dislike and the horror of the Elving elves, who saw this as an indirect invasion of their territory. Thus in 1000 b.S. when the Ránn tried to take control of Salóh and at the Eastern forest there was a civil disturbance, the Eastern forest declared itself part of the Tethinrhim, and closed its tunnels that led to Elving. This caused yet disturbance in Salóh - who still considered themselves to some extent Quaelhoirhim and also disliked intensly the idea of hereditary monarchy, dismissing it as a human failing - and then as their own tribe with their own Ránn. Though they kept the Quaelhoirhim mantle, calling themselves the Quaelhoirhim'uchrá ("East-Quaelhoirhim").
For a Western forester to marry a Tethinrhim, who many in Elving blamed for the tribal split, would have been unthinkable. No wonder the couple took refuge in the Eastern forest where both tribes were part of the cultural identity of the community. It was unlikely they lived within Salóh itself, far more likely that Cárimuá grew up in the many forest settlements around the city and moved there when she became mature enough to look after herself.
Even though elves have the longest of memories, little is known of Cárimuá's early life; indeed it is uncertain whether Cárimuá Eaás was actually her birth name. In Styrásh it means "Protector of Life's Circle", but also denotes one of very high status, a Ránn perhaps, more often an Avá'ránn. Many elven documents apply the term in its masculine form to Santhros who is held in much esteem by the elves. It is possible of course that the title had no such meaning at that time and was adopted in note of her later achievements, for certainly they were great, but it is also possible that she was well aware of the meaning and adopted it for herself. There is little doubt that she had a hand for self propoganda as we shall see later, and naming herself such may have given her a upperhand in the "pyschological warfare" that accompanied physical violence. Some elves note that the term may have been a Maeverhim or Cyrathrhim one, for certainly it suits both tribes' philosophies well that Cárimuá utilised it and changed its meaning in the doing so. In this respect it is more likely that it was Maeverhim in origin given that there appears from Aellenrhim accounts that the Quaelhoirhim made contact with the Cyrathrhim no earlier than 600 b.S.
So if Cáromuá adopted the name, what might she have been called originally? There is a mention in the Quaelhoirhim Tomes of an advisor to the first (and effectively only) Ránn of the Quaelhoirhim'uchrá, Faúr'erián (lit. "Seven Sense" - probably eluding to the fact that the elf had inherited the Oh'mód'hál). This advisor is recorded as: Aiá Vaí (lit. "Further Sight") Daughter of Arneá [who is] a warrior of the Auturians, Helper and favourite of the Ránn Faúr'erián.
It is thouroughly tempting to speculate that this is Cárimuá, a glimpse into the earlier life of a figure who we esentially know nothing about until she rose to take power over Salóh and the Quealhoirhim'uchrá in about 880 b.S.
Cárimuá the Ránn. Only a few years prior to 880 b.S does Cárimuá begin to surface, in documents, her seal - a white hind - emerges. Quite how Cárimuá became Ránn of the Eastern forest is uncertain. The most popular folk tale tells that Faúr'erián had a dream of the war that was to come and sensed that she did not have the skills to navigate her people independently through it, that she would have to bow to the Quaelhoirhim on one side or the Tethinrhim on the other for help, forfitting their independence. So Faúr'erián stepped aside and handed the leadership to Cárimuá . Such tales can never be fully substantiated, as there is nothing but word of mouth to back them up. Certainly in Ylfferhim lore and that of the more westerly forests, Cárimuá's ascent was rather more agressive.
"She took all that she had learnt from the then Ránn of the Quealhoirhim'uchrá and realised that if war was to come, she who was wise, and also of great age, would not make ready her people - for never had a war with the humans been faced. And she put all that she had learnt from her queen, and all that she had learnt from humans, against her. And she did it with a mind as clear as the waters of Ephrin's Lake. The Lady was as thorough and emotionless about her predesessors dispatchment as one would expect of the child of a Kaieran!'"
Perhaps dispatched was the wrong word for me to choose - there is no suggestion of violence being used in the Ylfferhim lore. But the idea of unseating a Ránn, one who is usually judged wisest amongst your tribe is unsettling to the elven mindset. It has the effect on an elven population that a mMilitary coup would have on a human tribe and its neighbours. It says "I mean buisness - anyone wish to barter?"
Quite how much of this unseating of Faúr'erián is actually true, and what is propaganda, its really impossible to say. I always felt that it would be true to the nature of the Lady if perhaps there was a little self propoganda on Cárimuá's part and that the real events ran closer to common folk lore - for in setting herself as powerful usurper of tradition and majesty - she sent a message to her opposite numbers in the Western Zeiphyr and Auturian - "Don't turn your back on me. Don't underestimate me. Listen to what I say and we will get along. The Quaelhoirhim'uchrá are not insignificant any longer!"
Cárimuá can't have been more than 130 years of age arriving on the throne. In Quaelhoirhim terms this is young - late teens perhaps. But, for a Ránn, such an age is practically unheard of. For what can such a slip of an elfling know? But her very age and the rumours of her usurping Faúr'erián, must have worked a very powerful magic upon her neighbours. For many of her people expected that either the Quaelhoirhim or the Tethinrhim would see such a young leader and take it as an excuse to seize control, but no such event ever came. One wonders whether Faúr'erián should be given more credit for having a hand in devising Cárimuá's take over. We undoubtely will never know.
The first 80 years of her reign were therefore relativly uneventful. Cáriumá, like Faúr'erián, took Salóh to be her seat of power and things seem to progress quite happily. However, quietly, unnancounced, history was about to force a nasty shock on all the Quaelhoirhim.
The tribe, with their fondness for humanity, have always been, certainly in my eyes, rather quick too take in human foundlings, especially on the Elverground, and bring them up as mini-elves. And of course, just as elves are not humans with pointy ears, a human can not be happy pretending to be an elf. One such foundling was the child who would be Gorm. While in Elandim, with his parents, he stumbled upon the knowledge that would set any who was strange among his parents' people heart alight - the secret to unite all the human tribes. The whereabouts of Maengolth's Blood!
Caught with the power of being the saviour of his own race, he stole away with the chalice. And soon the elves missed it, and feared what reprisals the Gods and the dragons would bring. And when the the elves of Elandim noticed it was gone, well - it is safe to say that Coór's hand of chaos decended. The date was 822b.S.
While the Quaelhoirhim were busy trying to chase Wegerand and return the Blood, Cárimuá was begining to make clear to her people what the theft would mean to the elves. Many thought she was being sensationalist, but as time dragged on and neither family nor the Queen of the Quaelhoirhim herself - Cár'ámn Kardalá - could persuade the boy to return the goblet, and less encouragingly when he managed to lose his trakers altogether, the Quealhoirhim'uchrá began to sit up and take notice of their Queen.
In 820 b.S. word reached the elves that Gorm was to be coronated! The prophecy of the blood was coming true - and the elves all remembered what the consequences would be if the dragons and the Gods found out! It was in this year that the old simmering conflicts between the three tribes would be settled once and for all. For there were three Ránn's each with differing opinions on what should be done, and like bees, if you have more than one Ránn in a hive...
Ultimatly the choice of what should be done belonged to Cár'ámn Kardalá - for the boy had belonged to her tribe and the blood been in her people's possession. Initially she sided with Cárimuá against the Tethinrhim Ránn, insisting on sending messengers to Gorm pleading with him to return the Blood, or at least return to Elving to discuss the issue. To begin with there was just no response. And then gradually, Cár'ámn's urgent petitions were met by the slaughtering of her messengers by Viginold Deresvungen. Cár'ámn Kardalá's attitude was hardening and Cárimuá could feel it.
The Speeches of Cárimuá. In the early 819 b.S. she delivered a series of three speeches to her own people - her vision of what was to come, and what they must do to protect themselves. Her third was to spark the enormous building project that would be Har'leve'them.
"What choices do the humans leave Cár'ámn Kardalá? What would I do if I were her? I do not know. But to assassinate, the way they have done to elven messengers? What difference can there be between elves and men then? If greater principles must be upheld then I say uphold them at all times - for I have seen the path that will be walked if we give even the slightest excuse - and it is a bloody one. And the blood will pass from every elf, every race for longer than even the eldest amongst us can see. More leaf falls perhaps than there has been in all the world so far. I do not dramatise. Blood will flow, and bloodshed is seldom forgiven, even when it is over. [...]
And neither magic nor forest will be the retreat and the saftey it has been in the past, for no war will have been so fully at our tree trunks. We will fight, and we will be undone - for they fight under one name - we under many. We will defend and be underminded, for their numbers are greater, and their skills with stone greater. I have watched them in my youth - set siege to a castle and do nothing more than wait. Elven kind must unite or it will perish. The Quaelhoirhim'uchrá will find a new way to make themselves inpeneterable or our cities too will go the way of the elven Empire.'
-- Excerpt of Cárimuá's Third Speech as translated by Mairthos Almas, "Changing the Sarvonian World: The age of Blood" Vol. 1, p. 344. First published 1303.
How much Cárimuá knew of Viginold Deresvungen's assembling of
armies is uncertain, but her forsight proved unnervingly accurate. The
Quaelhoirhim'uchrá began to look for new defenses and found what they were
looking for two days ride up the coast.
Such empassioned speeches were not reserved for her people. Much of the rest of that year Cárimuá spent in Elving, while her people quietly diligently enlarged and rebuilt Salóh - the city she called Hár'lève'thém (Styrásh Hár'leve'thém, meaning lit. "valley stronghold").
Cárimuá spent nearly a year in a battle with her opposite number. She and Cár'ámn Kardalá fought furiously over the right way to handle the situation at hand. Cárimuá was absolutly furious that Cár'ámn could even consider plans to assassinate Gorm, pleading with Elving not to send an assassin. She argued that if Gorm - who essentially, for the moment, was innocent of any real harm - was assassinated, it would provide the best excuse for humans to declare all out war on the elves. And by her best guess that was exactly what this Viginold Deresvungen chap wanted.
But if she was honest with herself, what did Cárimuá actually expect Cár'ámn Kardalá to do? Some paths in life cannot be avoided, they are meant to be one way or another, and I suspect that Cár'ámn Kardalá's choice was one of these. But Cárimuá's council must have stayed her hand - it wasn't until 811 that Cár'ámn ran out of patience and options. I am told that relations between the two queens became so unpleasant during Cárimuá's stay that Cár'ámn Kardalá actually ordered Carimua to leave Elving and never return. Cár'ámn got her wish, Cárimuá never did come back to Elandim, but it was a wish that cost her and her people very dear indeed.
Cárimuá left Elving just after the leaffall had ended in that year. As she returned she found that the first parts of plans for Hár'lève'thém (Salóh) had been realised, with the great inner walls being complete, but there was also now a harbour. If siege tactics were to be played then the elves would simply send boats out at night to the South - to Strata - to bring more supplies. The natural caves in the limestone rock had also been well utilised. There was a system of tunnels that now ran both to Elving. Some had been hollowed out into storerooms, homes, shops - even costal lookouts. The city that was formerly called Salóh, was now eminently better prepared for war than anywhere else in the elven world.
The Elven Alliance. But Cárimuá wasn't staying. She advised the Quaelhoirhim'uchrá to abandon their forest and move into Hár'lève'thém, stating that she couldn't guareentee their protection. Many elves took her advise - and labour on the out parts of the city greatly increase.d Many more elves refused to leave a breathing forest for a lump of city rock and stayed put, carefully disguising their treetop homes. She also went to the Elverground, where elven farmsteads, being obvious in nature, were most vunerable. She told elves that they could stay if they so wished, but that they were welcome in Salóh if they wanted to leave. Few here heeded her advice, as most still carried alligence to Cár'ámn Kardalá.
Two months later, early in 818 b.S. and Cariuma was off again. She wouldn't be back to Salóh for another 6 years. In this time she forged an alliance - that if the Quaelhoirhim were attacked - for what did humans know of elven tribes, one elf was much like another to them, that the other elf tribes would come to their aid and support them in what ever way they could. First port of call were obviously the Auturian Woods, and though relations between the two most powerful elf tribes had always been strained, on the issue of a human war both tribes knew standing together was their best, and only chance. Her next visit was more difficult! For a start, the Maeverhim looked on her as "earthburned" and it was only with endless persistance that a few of the tribe could be persuaded to talk to her. Peaceloving talk of war was quite unheard of, and totally horrific to them. But if the Zeiphyr and the Auturian fell, their forest would be next under the feet of Deresvungen's army. They were persuaded, after nearly a year, to be part of any alliance - to perform almost a supply role - to provide things that the Auturian and the Zeiphyr ran short on.
And then it was North - first to the Ahrhim, a tribe the Zeiphyr elves had always left to themselves. The Ahrhim appeared to know what was to happen and were grateful to co-ordinate forces. They however, already had their own arrangements with Eophyrhim, a drow tribe that Cárimuá had no intention of visiting, and the Ahrhim were insistent that any alliance that would be formed with them would also be formed with the Eophyrhim - not least because they were a formidable opponent for any army. And hence, Cárimuá was wisked into Paeleon Forest, and is still the only Quaelhoirhim elf to have ever met the drow on their own turf (usually Quaelhoirhim are politly, but icily and forcefully kept out of the Eophyrhim's forest). The drow tribe agreed to the Ránn's alliance and despite many raised eyebrows when she returned home, they proved a great asset - not least Beringstin Dimeye, the hunter who fought so viciously at the Annhilation of Elving.
Less keen were the Jhehllrhim - a tribe distantly related to the Quaelhoirhim elf, they wanted nothing to do with the tribe, lest they be "swallowed whole" by their mother tribe, reintergrated and taken over without invasion.
This alliance between five tribes was to form the basis of the High Elven Circle, and while its purpose since unification has been very different, it is still much the same alliance as Cárimuá founded all that time ago. She is therefore considered the first Avá'ránn of the elven people - though she never bore that title - though her successor did.
Home and Home Life. And so Cárimuá returned home early in the year 811. And the city she was met with was not the city she had left. The population had doubled, the walls nearly complete, and surrounded by enormous moats, it must have been a sight glorious to Cárimuá's eyes - an enormous building project completed in a decade. Who says elves are slow and ponderous in their actions? Cárimuá certainly wasn't.
But Salóh - now Har'leve'them to everyone except those who live in Elandim - was now a work of art. Who planned the city is not recorded anywhere, but Cárimuá chose her workmen well. It was in that day - the most technologically advanced fortified city in southern Sarvonia, possibly in the world and it must have gleamed in the mist and set the Ránn's heart on fire.
The principle was very simple. Laying siege to it was anything but easy. The city was now walled by a series of three concentric city walls, each built on a higher point than the former. To penetrate the city one must overcome three narrow portcullises - one in each wall - before reaching the city itself. And of course each wall was built to be well defended, with slit windows from which elven archers can pick off offenders coming over the walls or through the portcullises. Towers gave vantage points, and positions for mages and other weaponry. Wood was not used in the city's construction for fear of fire, though the moats and underground streams that pass under the city provide a natural extinguisher. The city has been described by military minds of all races through the ages as simple strategic perfection, and one can not stress the simple scale of them. Compared to the rather modest sized city the fortifications are simply enormous.
But why was all this fortification necessary? For a war that hadn't even happened yet? In the light of hindsight, we can say that Cárimuá had it dead right, but at the time she must have looked like a lunatic. No other elven city has much in the way of defense, and no human city comes close to the imposing site of Salóh. But in Cárimuá's mind the answer was basically position. Built at sea level, Salóh did not have Elving's advantage of a cliff top location. It is also built on the very edges of the eastern forest - very much in the open and exposed, so is not afforded the protection drawn by many elven settlements from their forests. The other very important reason is geography. Salóh dominates the Auturian Valley and the Hár'lève'thém Bay. Strategically it has always been of the up-most importance to the elves. Salóh's presence prevented any great human fleets assembling to the East of Elving (there was already enough threat of that from Tarannanor in the West) on Serphelorian waters and provided a safe passage for between the Zeiphyr and the Auturian Woods, allowing the Quaelhoirhim and Tethinrhim to ally and preventing human sieges cutting communication between the two tribes. If a war broke out, Salóh had to hold, or the Alliance would faulter.
Cárimuá's Relationships. Cárimuá and her building, her scaremongering, and her allying with drow brought much dissent and mistrust for the Ránn. But as is so often the case, the Ránn it appears, said nothing, allowing others' propoganda to work for her. Stories abounded - she was in league with the Ahrhim to capture the blood and bring it back to Salóh, and so dispose of Cár'ámn Kardalá the way she'd seen of Faur'iean. Others said she was in love with the Róonn of the drow, and he with her, and that all those who disagreed with her would be subject to his fury. And Cárimuá heard the rumours and laughed. But she said nothing!
For in reality there was only one love in Cárimuá's life, and true to her parents love, it was contraversial difficult and most of all it made Cár'ámn Kardalá absolutly furious. For Cárimuá fell in love with an elf from Elving - the Nyérmer'rónn of Elandim, Saolím Car'amn'lón. They had met on her visits to beat some sense into Cár'ámn, and while their views of the world were very different, time nor politics had deadened their affection for one another.
Cár'ámn Kardalá dispised their relationship. She had heard the rumours of the alliance that she had not been invited to join. She knew that the Alliance included the Tethenrhim, the main reason for the splitting of the tribe in the first place, and this fact must have made her very uneasy. She had presumably also heard rumours about Cárimuá's supposed plans to unseat her, though there is little evidence to suggest this was Cárimuá's intention, despite the events that were to follow. The relations between her most senior general and the persistant thorn in her side must just have been the last straw. Cár'ámn Kardalá must have felt incredibly isolated and alone in a war that was down to the actions of her tribe.
Cár'ámn Kardalá never really trusted the general of her army again from the moment she found out and their realtionship, which had been very close until that point, it is said, broke down beyond repair. Unwilling to accept that Saolím was able to seperate private emotions and tactical decisions, he had to accept to lose the only person he had ever considered as a life mate. And so the relationship between Cárimuá and Saolím continued, long distance, the pair barely seeing or speaking to each other for months or years at a time, but their relationship was as solid as the Tandala Peaks and nothing it seemed would affect their determination to be together in the end. Cár'ámn Kardalá turned instead to another - an elf of Northern Sarvonian descent called Ylpherón'daín ("Dain" to human academics). Little is known about him for certain, other than he certainly did exist, and that he led an independent band of his own people said to have been the best mounted warriors Caelereth has ever seen - well at least according to the Ylfferhim, but that's hardly suprising. Dain took Saolim's place in the Ránns affection but found it hard to understand his role from that moment forth - Ránns favourite and advisor, but not in charge of tactics. It must have been an incredibly difficult situation for both men, who until that time had gotten on well as brothers in arms.
And things were only made worse by the completion of Salóh's fortification! Cár'ámn Kardalá was less than impressed by the arrival of this monster in her back yard. She derided it as 'a human monstrosity' and popular folk lore says that she predicted it would fall in three days of warfare, 'You can't play humans at bardice and win', she is reported to have said, 'You must play them with games to which they have never seen the rules. Only then do you have a chance. Salóh will not stand.' The assumption seems totally reasonable, Elving had magical defenses, they could make the port disappear, the real city appeared more fortified than it was and in terms of military, the Quaelhoirhim had three great warships and more men that could fight than the Quaelhoirhim'urchra. But the assumption, history tells us, was wrong!
It is said that it was this lack of communication between the Cár'ámn Kardalá and her general that contributed to the eventual fall of Elving - that it led to the Quaelhoirhim forces being confused and out manouvered - some expecting reinforcements from the East, others told that they were to hold the forest alone. It was a burden that Cár'ámn held heavy in his heart until the end of his days, true or not, and there is little doubt that it took the shine off his outward display of affection towardw Cárimuá, even if it did not affect his love for her.
The Fall of Elving. Five years after the murdering of Gorm a ruthless assault on the elven fortresses at Elving, south of the Zeiphyrian Forests, was initiated by Viginold Deresvungen. Cár'ámn Kardalá's forces were hopelessly outnumbered, and even with their greater knowledge of the forest and Dain's favourite and effective 'hide and seek' style of fighting, it became clear that the Quaelhoirhim were losing ground and fast. One moon phase passed and Cárimuá was becoming alarmed. She had expected a great war, but she had never expected the Quaelhoirhim resistance to be squashed decisively so quickly. Cárimuá activated her alliance and a force of mixed tribes went to Elving through the tunnels from Saloh, opening them for the first time since the tribal split. The forces of different tribes were independent of each other, but they generally respected Saolím Car'amn'lón's advice and tactics, so much of the battle was coordinated by him. One exception was the dark elven faction from the Paelelon, who have their own, unique way of dealing with 'those of no honour'. They took their orders from Beringstin Dimeye who became famous for his ferocious acts and his total hatred of the human race in general. Cárimuá did not approve of his motives nor his tactics, but she could not deny that he got results. Even human tribes, mainly those which felt oppressed by the Erpheronian tribe, joined the elves.
The battle lasted for many months and thousands of soldiers of all races died at the brutal slaughtering, but no army could decide the enormous battle, which caused terrific destruction among both sides. Elving was destroyed completely and most parts of the Zeiphyrian Forests as well as the adjacent Auturian Woods were burnt.
The battle led to a mass exodus from Elving as the casualties mounted. Some followed Dain as he followed the last orders a dying Cár'ámn Kardalá would ever give. Shot through the chest with a poisoned tipped arrow during a particularly fearsome attack, she ordered Dain to take the Ionmis globe and head for the comparative saftey of the far Western forest, beyond the banks of the Thaehevil. He took his followers and whoever else wished to follow him and made the incredibly dangerous dash for the River Thaehevil. He of course made it!
Aftermath. So who was Ránn now? - The largest exodus was through the tunnels. Anyone unable to fight went to Salóh and the city was overrun by residents of the Western forest. It struggled to cope with its now enormous population, but Salóh was safe, and there was little doubt in the Quaelhoirhim's mind who was responsible. The Quaelhoirhim were reunited as one tribe under Cárimuá's leadership, and thus what Cár'ámn Kardalá had feared perhaps all her reigning life, came to pass anyway.
The battle raged on and little progress was made on either side. But Elving was devestated, nothing more than a shell, and practically deserted, much of the forest lay smoldering and Cárimuá made the decision that holding the city was a lost cause. She ordered Saolim to take everything of use and retreat. Most of the forces went back to Salóh. Some, ambushed by enemy forces, fled west and joined the growing encampement of Elvingites in the far part of the Western forest.
Now Carimua entered the most blessed and the most tortured phase of her life. Her tribe was reunited, her hard work was paying dividends in that there was at least some effective and united elven resistance, and Har'leve'them was doing the job it was built to do. Better Saolim was at her side at last and she fell pregnant months after the fall of Elving, giving birth to a daughter, and eventually she would bear a son also. But Saolim was tortured by his failure, to Elving and to his Ránn and was deeply affected by Cár'ámn Kardalá's death. There is no doubt she felt him fall away from her a little. But, it soon became apparent that this would be the least of her worries.
Cárimuá and the Ionmis Globe. As the fighting moved north, Cárimuá sent a messenger to Dain requesting he return the Ionmis. As Ránn of the Quaelhoirhim it was her rightful property. However, Dain was reluctant to return it - he himself was begining to show a great ability in using it, and he travelled many times to Salóh, often accompanied by Neve'nmal, an acomplished and sometimes rather manipulative diplomat. Cárimuá stood firm however, the Ionmis was critical to the war effort. "But", said Neve'nmal, "Where is the evidence that you can use it? Dain is highly accomplished in a short time. It is as though it has choosen him." Cárimuá it is said, gentler and more intuitive than Neve'nmal, proposed a trial. That Dain was to leave it in her possesion and if she showed no talent for it, then it would be returned in order that he would keep her informed, Neve'nmal would stay to monitor her progress. While her skills were limited, they were enough to justify her possession of the globe and Neve'nmal returned home without the globe. From that time on it was mounted on her cerimonial armour that she might predict the enemy troop movements.
The Great Floods. But the Cárimuá failed to forsee either the of several great floods that would happen in her lifetime, caused by the monstrous deforestation at the Battle of Elving. The lack of trees meant that heavy rainfall was not intercepted before reaching the swollen Thaehevil. The flooding destroyed the ailing centre of the Western Forest, and the second of them severed the small fragment of the remaining far Western forest from the Zeiphyr - the two forests seperated by open ground by several days ride.
Accepting that such performance was unacceptable, she returned the globe to Dain, with the condition that he would send some of his troops to join her own in re-enforcing the Ahrhim. Dain took the Ionmis, but told the Ránn that he could not send troops, because he had seen the suffering of the refugees that had fled to the Western forest and dreamt the blood that would flow for hundreds of years. He would not see them go through any more pain or discomfort. Hadn't Cárimuá told Cár'ámn Kardalá to find another way but war. "It is time", he told Cárimuá, "that you find another way." Carimua accepted Dain's decision but wasn't happy about it - she must have felt a little as Cár'ámn Kardalá must have done when Faur'ien led the Quaelhoirhim'uchra away from her power.
The Independency of the Ylfferhim. Here was a far away place, full of her subjects, yet she could do nothing for them and excert no power over them. From this moment on she could have been in little doubt as to what would happen next. In 760 b.S. Dain finally declared the Ylfferhim independent - and Neve'nmal sent to declare the news to Har'leve'them. Cárimuá barely blinked. She simply registered suprise it had taken so long. After all, she told Neve'nmal, what good is a Ránn who cannot see her people, nor commuicate with them, nor help them. "We are kin you and I," said Carimua. "Let our tribes remain kin, though our names be different." And so it was that the Ylfferhim became independent and pulled out of the war. They would not fight another war for some 700 years.
Unrest was also growing and deepening at home. Spurred on by the independence of the Ylfferhim, those elves that wished to belong to Tethinrhim renewed their efforts, their aim to drive the new Ránn back to Elving, affiliating their forest to the Tethinrhim. Salóh had become squalid and unbearably overcroweded, while the reconstruction of Elving into something that was partway safe, defendable and liveable, was going slowly and hindered by constant assaults launched from Tarannoar in the West.
Cárimuá's End. For some three years the rumours of threats to Cárimuá's life echoed around the city like a voice from a sea cliff. To begin with Cárimuá took the threats seriously and acted on Saolim's prudent advice, keeping a low profile and rarely leaving her chambers. With two small children and a tribe to care for, it wasn't difficult. But after a while it seems she became indifferent to the threats - she'd always been a hands on kind - not one to sit back and have others do her bidding and began to ignore Saolim's advice. Perhaps she felt she couldn't hide away her whole life in a building made of stone, perhaps she felt responsible for all the people suffering within the city walls and hiding away from them must have smaked of rank and hipocracy to her!
She picked up her normal routine once again, but it was to her cost. She was found dead in the city Gardens which had become more of a refugee camp. According to lore, she was stabbed in the back, an ironic end for one who had been accused of this metaphorically several times in her life. What appears likely is that her death (dates vary, but it is thought that Cárimuá died sometime between 750 and 748 b.S) was a politically motivated one. Perhaps Deresvungen hoped that her removal would undo the alliance she had forged. Without her leadership holding such diverse factions together that resistance would shatter and that this would present the human side with the opportunity they needed to win the war. Perhaps the Eastern Rebels hoped that her death would result in the Tethinrhim Ránn taking control of the Eastern forest, the way that Cár'ámn Kardalá had made Cárimuá 'Rann, or perhaps they simply saw it as the surest sign of their power. Or perhaps it was simply the act of someone or some organisation that was unhappy with her handling of the fall of Elving, there are rumours that Cár'ámn Kardalá blamed her for the fall of the Quaelhoirhim capital.
Whatever the motive, her death probably had the opposite affect. Death of a Ránn at such a young age and in such a violent manner outside of the battlefield is unheard of in Quaelhoirhim history before or since. The people were shocked and horrified at such an act. It united the Quaelhoirhim tribe behind what she had stood for as they mourned her, and in less than a decade all Eastern Resistance had died out. Her death did not shake the alliance either. Saolim summoned all the tribes of the alliance and bid them choose a leader, someone to act as chairperson as Cárimuá had done, which they duely did, and titled her Avá'ránn in honour both of the Dreamer and of She who was first among all elves, the High Avá'ránn. Lore has it that Saolim's parting words to the council were simply this: "Be united in all things. While you are a life will not have passed onto the next in vain." The Alliance that Cárimuá forged went on to become the High Elven Council and it survives to this day - the Avá'ránn representing the most respected among the elven Nation, and advisor to the human King of Santharia.
Importance. Cárimuá, as the first Ránn of the Quaelhoirhim, uniting the Eastern and Western forests, was far from flawless: ambitious, rumoured to be stubborn and dogmatic, fearful when angry and manipulative, but it is these qualities which also made her among the most celebrated of the Quaelhoirhim. Her ambition and self assured nature led her to try things that others did not have the nerve to. Being she was stubborn and dogmatic, but she was also likely to have been charming and charismatic. She was manipulative too, certainly, but she could manipulate situations to her advantage because she understood not only her own people but other tribes and races well enough to pre-empt their reaction. This was her greatest gift, her forsight, based not on magic - perhaps this is why the Ionmis never truely functioned for her - but on her understanding of the mechanation of the mind and the heart. Those talents ensure that while our knowledge of the Lady herself remains shrouded in legend and rumour, her greatest achievements stand proudly today for all of Caelereth. And I suspect that would make Cárimuá very happy indeed!
Information provided by Wren