The Ylfferhim are a small and isolated group of elves that dwell in the Quallian Forest. Decended from - as they believe - the Astyrhim, they are actually very closely related to the Quaelhoirhim at the nearby Zeiphyrian Forests and relations between the two tribes are close, if sometimes a little strained. The Ylfferhim prize peace above all things and play a very little part in Sarvonian history. The autonomous government remains entirely neutral on almost all issues. Only currently are these elves starting to make contact with the outside world.
Picture description. An Ylfferhim musician playing the reed crafted theratam flute to a forest twotail listening attentatively. Image by Faugar.
elves, they often visualize those of the
Quaelhoirhim, as these elves
are most commonly seen by the other races of
Santharia. The Ylfferhim therefore
closely follow the classical description of
elves; being slender and tall in appearance, but are a little taller and
more lithe than their Zeiphyrian cousins. Generally the Ylfferhim are shorter
lived than the Quaelhoirhim. Hair is worn long
and males plait or braid their hair, either in one plait, or in several braids
to remove it from the face. The exception to this rule was the famour Ylfferhim
Leias Anthioullsn, who was always
curious in apperance among the Ylfferhim and wore his dark hair short and around
Due to a connection with the Injerín tribe in Northern Sarvonia, the Ylfferhim are generally fairer than most of the surrounding tribes, with pale skin and fair hair ranging from Strawberry blonde through to ash white. It is very unusual to find a Ylfferhim elf with eye colours other than blue, green or grey. It is said though that the easiest way to tell a Ylfferhim elf from the other surrounding tribes is to ask them to open their mouths. When they talk they do so with a characteristic melodius accent and are reknown for having beautiful singing voices.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Ylfferhim honour the Astyrhim by using their coat of arms theme, the Tree of Life. At the Ylfferhim coat of arms you will therefore often see the Astyrhim Tree of Life flanked by two wolves to demonstrate their independence of thought and loyalty to what they hold as true. This coat of arms probably existed long before the tribe actually existed, but probably became the tribe's official coat of arms some time around the outbreak of SW III.
Picture description: The Coat of Arms of the Ylfferhim elves, designed by Koldar Mondrakken.
Territory. The Ylfferhim live in the
Quallian Forest. Originally part of the
Quaelhoirhim tribe the Ylfferhim became seperated
in a fragment of a once larger Zeiphyrian Forest, seperated by a series of
great floods. The tribe contains
the desendants of a mix of the few elves who
had been resident in the eastern forest as long as memory stretches,
Injerín soldiers fighting with the
Quaelhoirhim (led by Ylopherdain) and
Quaelhoirhim elves who fled from the area around
Elving in 806 b.S. from fear or because they felt that they could not tolerate
violence. The elves rarely wander out of the
forest though two small costal settlements exist outside of the
Quallian, which are abandoned during
times of war.
The forest is split more or less in half by the River Aieryn, the first and smallest of the branches from the Thaehelvil River as it begins to form a delta near its mouth and flows out into the Aetryam Sea. The river is prone to minor flooding, depositing alluvium along its course.
People. The Ylfferhim have a higher natural ability for magic than most elven tribes. In fact the tribe has the highest natural propensity for magic of any tribe in Southern Sarvonia, with a much higher than average number of individuals demonstrating an ability for sensing Oh'mód'hál. Over the years the Ylfferhim have utilised their talents for magic to protect their forest home and thus the Quallian is quite unspoilt. They have a rich oral and musical tradition, and the Ylfferhim bards often travel to surronding elven tribes to teach other elven children basic lore.
Since their seperation many obvious cultural differences have arisen. The most obvious is that the Ylfferhim speak a tongue which is very closely related to Styrásh, but different in various ways. Many consider it simply a dialect, though it is quite clearly distinctive and many elves have trouble understanding them. The speech is still melodious, but in a more gutural way. There are three extra runes in the alphabet, and the commonness of each rune is slightly different to that of the standard language spoken by the Quaelhoirhim. The Yllferhim language is highly variable, with recognizable varying accents in each settlement. Old Ylffer Elvish represents the transition between Elvish and Ylffer during the period following the first Sarvonian War. While recognizable, those who speak only one tongue or the other would have difficulties following it. Most of the Ylfferhim speak Ylffer and Elvish, Old Ylffer is now mainly obsolete. Members of the Council, however, are expected to understand it.
The relationship between Old Ylffer and Elvish is demonstrated by the word Quallian, which is a mutation of the root "quael" (as in "Quaelhoirhim") meaning "bright". The relation between Old Ylffer and Ylffer is shown by the spelling of Ylffer in the name of the capital. The modern spelling is not as the root Ylffer meaning "independent", "free" and also the Ylffer word for "wind" (read more details at the entry on "Old Ylffer").
Picture description: The untouched forest of the Quallian, here you can see a bridge crossing the River Aieryn. Image drawn by Nalfaren.
Housing. All the cities within the forest,
excepting the two largest, are hidden within the trees, and have no building at
ground level, save for military fortifications. Most Ylfferhim therefore live in
tree houses known as Maylon. Many levels of Maylon exist in each settlment,
containing not only housing, but "businesses" of every nature, linked by
walkways, beautifully sculpted from intertwining of tree bows, boarded over to
give a level surface and paved in either stone or malachite. In the two largest
cities and also in the costal settlements, dwellings at ground level exist,
built either from wood or stone.
Maylon remain well hidden due to the mainly evergreen nature of the fauna in the Quallian. Such a system would be unlikely to work in forests further north.
Clothing. Clothes of the Ylfferhim are made from furs, or cottons, organza or silk that they obtain mainly from the Quaelhoirhim. Style is a matterof personal taste, though females generally wear long flowing dresses, while males can often be seen wearing loose suits, with high neck lines. Capes are the most common overgarment, and usually hooded. Due to the secretive nature of the tribe, greens and browns are favoured, though a myriad of bright coulours can be found in the saftey of the hidden cities.
Diet. The Quallian is an incredibly ecologically diverse environment, and its richness is perhaps the reason why the tribe has managed to survive in isolation for quite so long. Meat is the principle constituent of the diet as while the soil around the Aieryn is fertile, it is not really suitable for crop growing, due to the Quallians dense undergrowth. Fishing is common around the Aierynsayl, the natural lake on the River, and also on the costal settlements. Fruit trees also grow in the forest in large numbers. However, much of the Ylfferhim's diet of grains and pulses must be obtained by trade. As a result this is the Ylfferhim's primary weakness, as their food supply can easily be cut off.
Weapons. Armour is very rarely seen in the Quallian, though short range bows and knives are the Ylfferhim's weapons of choice, perfect for use within the dense undergrowth.
Occupations. Occupation in the forests are many and varied, though many Ylfferhim become either rangers or bards. Magi are also found at a higher than average frequency among the population. Many magi, however, choose to leave for the Quaelhoirhim where increased external relations offer them larger opportunities or to come into the service of the High Elven Circle. Merchants who deal with outsiders on behalf of the tribe are very important, while others still are miners (a very unusual trade for an elf) for the Quallian's mineral wealth, providing the forest with the bricks and stone for working.
Government. There are no true leaders among
elves, but decisions are made by the
government or Council and meetings are traditionally conducted in
Old Ylffer. Final decisions
in most matters are made by a monarch, the Leias (usually female), following
discussion. The Leias is selected by the council after long consultation, and
traditionally they are individuals with an aptitude for using the
Ionmis Globe. Since the founding of
the council there have been ten Leias.
Production/Trade. The Quallian's mineral wealth is the Ylfferhim's primary source of trade. Limestone can be found within the southern areas of the forest and near the coast sandstone is quarried. The forest is rich in gold, gems and malacite. The clay soils around the Aieryn can be baked in moulds to form bricks.
Natural Resources. [...]
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. Ylfferhim elves are not ones for huge parties, however, most nights, are a celebration of sorts. If you are lucky enough to wander among the trees you will hear Salaen and songs of old on the breeze. However, in the month of Córt'ometrá the long night sky is illuminated by thousands of candles and the trees are aglow with tiny pinpoint lights created by elven magic. The forest echos with songs of Avá and of Seyella, and of the very earliest of times.
Settlements. The Ylfferhim have 10 Settlements in the forest. All but two have no buildings at ground level save military fortifications. Settlements are joined by overhead walkways or barely perceivable tracks. Without an Ylffer guide you are likely to get lost. Settlements are usually large, very extended family groups, excepting the capital. The settlements in order of size are:
Aer'ylferian (Old Ylffer Elvish "Home of the Ylffer People")
The largest settlement in the Quallian Forest. It is the administrative center of the Ylfferhim, and is the seat of their monarch, the Council and the only stables in the forest. It is unlike the cities in that it is made up of 7 extended families instead of one, and has a population of about 700 individuals. Built in a large natural clearing, much of the city is at ground level, surrounded by huge city walls. The city centres around the huge Council Camber. It is the biggest building in the Quallian, built of marble quarried very carefully from cliffs on the outskirts of the forest. Overhead are many levels containing housing and "businesses" of every nature, linked by walkways, beautifully sculpted from intertwining of tree bows, boarded over to give a level surface and paved in either marble or malachite. The magnificant Arshisi (a blue volcanic glass) city walls of Aer'Ylferian are one of the wonders of this part of Santharia. The tribe is highly elusive, and not many have seen it.
Yln'fain'tir (Elvish: "The Hidden"
or "The Lost")
Not that there is anything lost about the city. It is the Quallian's port on the Aieryn River, built in the middle of a huge lake called Aierynsayl. It is here, that the elven merchants are based.Yln'fain'tir is the only Quallian settlement where you are likely to see other races. The Aieryn is a branch of the Thaehelvil River as it begins to form a delta near its mouth and flows out into the Aetryam Sea. Boats are the major mode of transport around the city, and all the buildings and paths are made of wood, limestone, marble, and blue, green, and black volcanic glass, collected from the Argor and the Hèckra. How a small tribe manages to collect such vast quantities from so far, is one of the secrets of the Ylfferhim. The only other town to have ground level buildings at its heart, is the huge market place. The dialect spoken is highly variable, and while all the towns can understand each other, a foreigner who had learnt standard Styrásh would have a problem.
(Ylffer Elvish "Door",
The meeting place of many paths from New-Santhala and the surroundings. A small market town with an inn and a market place at ground level. There is also a major guard post, that prevents foreigners wandering any further into the Quallian without express permission. The rest of the city is built overhead.
(Old Ylffer Elvish, a derivative of the Goddesses name "Eyasha")
The main cultural settlement, reachable only from walkways from neighbouring settlements. Iysha contains trees dedicated as shrines to each of the Wind Gods, as well as Avá, The High Spirits and Seyella to whom the Ylffer have a strong attachment.
Arlinio (Elvish: "Work
of Art") and Thi'eryn (original meaning
There are two small settlements on the banks of the lake, named Arlinio (Elvish "Work of Art") and Thi'eryn (meaning lost), presumably named before the Yffler town distinguished itself from Elvish. Both towns run Ferrys to Yln'fain'tir, and are exceptionally beautifully crafted.
Meywnnos ("Lonely Tree")
The name was mainly chosen because that's what it consists of. Smaller settlement in the Quallian. Much of the population are rangers, with no permenant abode. This forms a temporary encampment for them.
Information provided by Wren