What are the Ildiri?
The Ildiri, often referred to as 'Sea' or 'High', 'The Fairest' Elves, are one of the elven races that began awakening from the conception of the Dragon's Egg in physical matter - so, when the planet/world was at it's youngest, the elves, as they originally were, came into being.
The Ildiri are the Elves with domain over Water - the lifeblood of the world. They had the broadest task of all elves, as there was water inland, in lakes, pools, waterfalls, streams, rivers - all kinds of water bodies, still and flowing. There was also shoreline water, deep ocean water, and, weirdly, the water in the atmosphere - the vapours of the dragon's breathing.
The Ildiri, as with all elves, have two forms; a 'natural' one and a 'Glamour' form; a form designed to appear how others would be more comfortable seeing them. This is kind of like a translator for languages, in that it allows them to meet with other races in similar form and the two can then find immediate common ground.
Their natural form is a simple humanoid, yet long limbed and lithe, graceful, swift, calming. They seem as though they are made of very dense liquid - there is a 'skin' but it is not utterly opaque. Beneath this skin are the bones, which are formed of coral, and the organs, which are formed of vegetation - to filter their fluids are sponges and there are 'seaweed' type substances acting as other organs - they do not follow a human pattern of organs, but have their own, but they approximate in the same way.
Their eyes are ever changing, yet stunning; like liquid pools that change from blue to lilac to sea greens....many colours that shine at their perfect hue and luminosity. This form is not weak; it is rather strong, but physically, they probably aren't as strong as humans in some ways, but are far swifter, more dexterous and have remarkably agile minds.
In their protective form, they appear as human in form, but often with white, blue or very pale skin. Their eyes shine and follow similar colours to their other form. The darker skinned areas are usually colder in appearance; so you get icy blues where there were sea blues etc. They seem solid, opaque, comfortable looking to the eye, and intensely captivating. They are the most beautiful of all creatures on the Dragon to most that view them.
Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
When the world was Young, the Ildiri were the first brought to the light by the Celesti elves. They were given power over the Air and Water, for the two endlessly intertwine. As water is the lifeblood of all, so the Ildiri remained the base of all life, and they were swift to recognize and bind the Avatars of the Dragon to their own friendship. The Ildiri are without guile, without equivocation, and their word is a bond as strong at the deepest oceans, by which they gladly bind themselves to those who are deserving.
They live long lives, and hold themselves in two kingdoms - those of the Swan and the Heron. Unless cloaked, they have skin as blue as the most beautiful waters, their eyes shine violet, and their bodies are bound around a strong, strong coral. A warrior race, they maintain a large professional army, yet take no joy in killing - they are just wise enough to know that life is never free of bloodshed or external threat. Aware in a whispered way, they know the Ghaurchlai are free to roam once more, and they sense the Cimrai bringing the Cthonae of the Abyss into reality once more - the first time since the Infected smashed the Dwarven Holts in the youth of the world. They are not fools, and remain vigilant, knowing that evil always finds a way.
A SECOND PIECE ABOUT THE ILDIRI
Please don't be mystified if this conflicts with anything, as it's OLD and I get confused sometimes, but it's never been seen.
Of old, there Ildiri in all corners of the world we know of. Much as the Selediri, Elves of the hot and dry places, the Elves of the Earth; Lindiri and the Rhysthari Lizard folk lay all about, the Ildiri dwelled in the lands that needed them, and most did. In the early times, they travelled amongst all other Elient (the Eldest, original caregivers of the world) and their minds shaped waterways through the land, often under it's mantle too. The Selediri could channel their waters up, to below the surface where they would not run dry, given plants by the Lindiri to store such waters within, and pooling in oases. Lindiri Elves were hungriest for the waters of the ildiri, as their creations could not survive without a constant flow, and the Rhysthari drew the rivers into several kingdoms, as men know them, places where the waters lay still, yet replenished themselves, like breeding like. Their swamp kingdoms were self sustaining, and the Rhysthari would emerge from stable homes to tend the less stable outer lands. Ever were the Ildiri paramount.
History is an unbalanced eye when these days were concerned, for few thought to make records of such things; much of history for the Eleint is timed from the emergence of the Khezdruli, or from the first war that subdued their excesses, even as it unleash the First Infection. Humans would note the war between Elf and Dwarf as being comfortably 50,000 years before humanity fought it's infancy and emerged in societies, however basic they were. The rise of Valerian and his Empire is considered a mere 1300 years gone. Humans emerged into sentience perhaps a thousand years before that, but that may be generously inaccurate. Certainly the Void Temple can draw records to 400 years prior to the Empire, but they were unique in themselves.
The Eleint began to form stronger communities and segregated realms before the Dwarves were torn from their Cauldrons, and the greatest was the Kingdom of Dove and that of the Heron. Ildiri were the weakest-bound of Eleint, as they tended water in all forms. Early they separated into the land Ildiri, the Aethiri of the clouds and the Maermiyrae of the seas. It is common amongst the Eldest to forget, or attempt to place past names in the future or future names in the past, and the Aethiri and the Maermiyrae were placed beyond conscience after they left to better tend their demesnes, leaving only the Ildiri. It is assumed that the Kingdom of Doves was Aethiri, and the name was lost with their passing.
Thus, the Ildiri were left with the Kingdom of Herons, and this realm scattered across the western continent's inner coasts. In parts marsh-like, a mass of linked rivers, pools, lakes and vast moving waters, the Heron King ruled his lands from the largest of Ildiri settlements, much of which floated within bodies of water stretching miles in all directions. These were ephemeral lands, woven with mists and the makeup of the land itself would waver and shift as with water. After the war with the Dwarves and the following Infection, the Ildiri made their outposts smaller by necessity, for they had suffered the loss of many of their people. Leaving small and isolated communities to care for ever larger areas, they bound themselevs ever more with the Avatars of the waters, as fewer elves could give greaer benefits in such a reduced elven capacity.
The Kingdom of Herons took a more rigid, more physical appearance, and they built a lasting monument, raising walls to live behind, fixing the lands to stay in stillness and order, drawing mists from their greater haunts, binding solid existence into their world, and, in doing so, they bound themselves to the land, instead of shifting like the waters. Warned from such a stance by the Rhysthari, they were forced to ignore such things, as they shackled themselves in the way the Lindiri and Selediri already were. No longer was their world ephemeral, and their sense of peace was diminished by response.
As humanity rose, the Ildiri withdrew, as much as the lindiri were forced, for they could not endure another war. Having quarelled with their older siblings, the Celesti, they were bound to the fate of humanity, for they had chosen to allow it to forge it's own path, and this autonomy was bought at the expense of their lands narrowing. Their eventual response was to breed superstition amongst these simplistic beings, and to discourage their entry to certain places, where the wilds were fearsome and many became lost, to never return to their people. The Kingdom of Herons was once such place, and mists and fogs were used to deter human interest in the Ildiri lands. Elsewhere, the Lindiri were dreaming fears of the deepest woods into humans, and the Selediri simply made it impossible for humans to find water for any in numbers, hiding existing oases, creating mirages of ones that did not exist to layer deception upon deception. Still there were elves in small communities everywhere, but their own kingdoms grew in importance, as a stronghold should somewhere be needed in any possible future as yet not foreseen.
The Heron Kingdom was truly born in the first throes of human civilisation. Here, there was a cocoon of mists and the protection of Avatars. With little effort, trespassers could become lost and turn around, to arrive at their point of entry, confused but safe, and few bothered to attempt to penetrate them over time. Ildiri still remained in most places they had taken as centres of their 'work', and they often found good people around them, who respected or even idolised the Ildiri, whose beauty and grace could not be hidden. It was not until the Ghaurchlai Genocide and humanity after this event that Ildiri were truly threatened by man. The Federation, the Only and others would hate them, or turn their own problems on the Avatars and Eleint, seeing them as 'abnormal', easily blaming poverty, illness and anger redirected from a true cause upon the Elves, as it was expedient for the harsher regimes.
However, one human body became friends and protectors of the Ildiri; Valerian forged a friendship with the Ildiri, and his Empire remained largely true to this beginning. Some called him 'bewitched' by them, but most delighted in their company. During the Ghaurchlai Genocide, the Ildiri were pivotal, bringing others to the war that would have otherwise not interfered. Ithil, the 'Frail Feather', was a creature of utter beauty and magnificence, and she often was abroad, visiting the Daikini and others, usually as an emissary to important Imperial figures. She initiated many wonders amongst her own people. The Pegasi, thought lost to the Aethiri, returned to flock about her monastic home in the highlands, where her Mercies worked in healing arts, alongside training to be her guard, both home and abroad.
It i said that birds flocked wherever she went, that waters raised lilies to her radiance. The signs of her passage were many, and all were struck by her, as she seemed ever to have interest in their lives, solely interested in that person; as she smiled it seemed to be an intimate interest for every person of her audience.
The Ildiri learned to retain a standing army, bent to that purpose only, as they had seen their smiths and others with skills slaughtered in battle many times, untrained for battle. It was what saved them from the Ghaurchlai. When they breached their mists, they slew the Swan Prince, and Ithil sacrificed herself to allow her people to flee to the White Fortress, and this bloomed into a vengeance that saw the Ildiri committed to the war, to it's bitter end.
The Heron King represented the older Ildiri, slightly capricious and deeply traditional, recounting their histories, leading to some humans calling him the 'Fisher King'. He was far more aloof from human affairs than some wished it; as it is with the Fennweyr, he lay his roots in the deeper magics of tend of thousands of years past. Courteous to all others, he remained distant to those without his borders, but the mists lay dispersed after the Genocide, and the Ildiri were more open than before. As had been tradition, the oldest Prince was named the Swan Prince and commanded the main army, surrounded by his Imhrain Imhraun; the glittering Swan Knights. There was a name for those who trod his path; Ilsithi or Elisti. The Ilsithi were the Prince's people, and the Elisti were bestowed upon him by his father. This led to an amazing event in the history of the Ildiri.
When the Khezdruli had been bound to treaty after their vast war, they had to surrender the areas they mined, should they reach a level of depletion considered dangerous, whereupon the Rhysthari would enter the abandoned lands to begin the healing process. In the East, the Kingdom of Angarech had reached this point within the hills and lesser mountains of a large area, and they decided to pass the lands to the Ildiri, as the Dwarves held the greater relationship with these Elves; the Lindiri were cold to them, and the Selediri simply held less interest in the Dwarves than the Ildiri. The Ildiri had flooded the Dwarven Holts to beat the Infection that began within, and the Dwarves had allowed the drowning of many of their own folk within, to save those already fled. The Ildiri saw this as a sacrifice beyond what they believed the Dwarves capable of, and they had warmed to them over thousands of years.
The Dwarves bestowed them with the lands they were emptying, and the Emperor gave them a tract he believed of little worth, gaining a military ally in the process. Here was born the Kingdom of the Swan, and the Prince of the Ildiri, Ialdiseir, was sent to claim it and bring it into worth for his people, which he did with remarkable success. Here there was no isolation. He allowed others to see the beauty he was creating, and the Military he devised was strong in might and grace. This land gained the Ildiri the respect and admiration of many, but also the suspicion and enmity of others. What they gained was also threatened, and the Ildiri were forced to defeat a slaving fleet of Ashapur mere miles from their coast, the Ildiri forces joined by a force of Imperials from the naval base at Fleet, who brought word of the attack that was coming. The Ildiri destroyed the Ashapuri fleet, and chased the survivors until a second fleet from Hanghaven came to their rescue, upon which the Ildiri fell back. It was a serious blow to Ashapur, but they began a clandestine war instead, which was largely ineffectual, relying on bribery, indoctrination and coercion, most of which failed entirely. They though elves to be as humans, and discovered the fallacy of this after squandering vast resources.
The Ildiri in the East learned recently of the depredations of the Only Church against the Lake Kingdom, and they stand aghast. However, threats come from many angles; the Federation hold little love for them, Descati and his Ghaurchlai revile them, the memory of their defeat burning. Ashapur remember their losses far too distinctly, and the Sythys Cult desire them eradicated. Others fail to see their worth or see their wealth and covet it. The Haladin believe their blood to hold far greater power than humans. The Only present their greatest quandary, as they cannot see their Mistiriel of the Lake Kingdom slaughtered, and the Only are likely to turn to them next, their power consolidated, militarily and diplomatically. There also throws up questions in the nature of the Bandit Kingdom, as Solace has returned there, and they see the Imperial East bristling for war; it may be a war the Ildiri are forced into, but they understand the emergence of Solace and could not fight against the Ephemeral City under any real circumstance - the best they can hope for there is that Solace will move on. Otherwise they may be forced to fight the Empire in the East. They are beset by foes, despite many of them being far from visible. The Lindiri have warned them of the Chitkinnen, whose movements are frightening. It is said they mass near enough to the Kingdom of Swans for concern, even if their intial target is humanity.
To many, the Elves have no place in this world, living at the edges of civilised lands, a phantom to some, the Elves are redundant or worse to others. Their methods of living, of thinking, are above those of humans; they have a reason for being on the Dragon, and they cannot deviate from that purpose. They view events with far more intelligence and depth than humanity, and this is a vast handicap in many ways : the Swan Prince and his lands are seen, perhaps correctly, as a deviation from their meaning, a move towards being more like the humans, but, at the end, the Elves of the Swan Kingdom are held in as powerful a vice as the Elves of the Heron Kingdom. Where humans wallow in superstition and ignorance, the Elves are above such things. Whatever they wish, they have a truth to their existence that is unavoidable.
Ilidiri Colours of Magic
The Ildiri are Ley channellers, which means they collect the brain impulses (Ley) of the Dragon and form it into magic, which they use part of, returning all that is taken to the flow of serotonin fed nerve pulses that cascade around the ley-lines. They are 'positive' magic 'users'.
Their primary colours are White, Blue and Mercury - so Life/Healing/Peace, The Waters and the Air/Speed etc.
I can waffle about that later, but there are threads on magic in this forum...have a peek at anything there is.
THE DEATH OF ITHIL, FRAIL FEATHER OF THE ILDIRI
The Ildiri have always been present wherever water was. They are irrevocably tied with the air and sky, but there used to be a distinction, before the time when the Aethiri left the sides of their brothers - named Aethiri after they made this distinction between water and air. The Aethiri were said to have a city that floated above the clouds.
However, with the advent of man, and the colonisation they began, the Ildiri and other elves gave ground, many of the smaller communities fading back into the deeper regions, where they remained guardians of life. However, the King Iythair, the first Heron King, founded a kingdom called the Kingdom of Herons in the west. Here dwelled many of the Ildiri - tens of thousands, and they made their peace with humanity, offering only that they would stay within these bounds for the price of allies and supporters of the most benevolent humans - the Empire. Under Valerian, a pact was agreed, as was a place in the east in the lakes of Mirytine...the Lake Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Herons was draped in a mist, a fog, that obscured all entrances to their lands, and would confuse enemies, turning them always back to the edge of the Kingdom, no matter how many times they tried to penetrate, foiling any attempt to map the routes in. This was powerful magic, coiling mists that drained the energy from those that attempted its passage.
The Ghaurchlai were the only ones to broach this mist, and they did so in two places...one was the entryway to the Heron Kingdom, one was more secret, but broached all the same, made as a way of passage from the Ildiri Kingdom into the secluded port city of Ereneth.
The battle between the Ghaur in the south was fierce, and the Heron King's son, the Swan Prince, laid his life and that of his entire host down to summon the Water Phoenix, an ancient Avatar that they had been friends with for thousands of years. The Phoenix exploded in a torrent of water, drowning all in its path, or crushing in a welt of water; even burning them with the bite of ice. Upon the death of the Prince, the Ghaurchlai's second army broke through, with none to oppose them. As the populace fled, the White Fortress gathered those it could across its magnificent bridges, but many thousands seemed impossible to save.
The Princess, the Frail Feather, Ithil, set forth from her court, aided by her few hundred Maidens, warrior healers, and a thousand of the Fort's garrison. They crossed the bridges in solemn grace, to meet the army of the Ghaurchlai, who numbered at least 50 times their own. As the people streamed past her and her host, she advanced, solemnly singing until they met the Ghaur that had come forth in a frenzy. These they cut down, as they were the weakest and less controllable of their kind. As she claimed a hill for her forces, the main Ghaur force advanced to meet her.
On this hill, the snow drops grew in abandon, and would become mired, drowned in blood that day - ever after they grew red.
The Ghaur crashed into Ithil's lines, and met defiance and steel, with Ithil in the centre, flanked by her Moon Maidens. Spearmen thronged each side, and the small number of bowmen lined the hill's crest. For two hours the bitter battle was fought, assault after assault beaten by her host's conviction and their love for the Princess. Something about Ithil made the Ghaurchlai frenzy in desperate assaults, and all the while, her people fled to safety. After the Demon Spawn fell back in dismay, the lines held, but many of the greater brethren of Ghaurchlai walked forth from their throng. Slaughterstars, Baelogres, Vore Angels, the Revenants; all kinds of the worst beasts of nightmare slowly moved to the inevitable slaughter.
The Ghaur hit the front lines of Ildiri, and their ranks crumpled, bent, then resurged to hold the position they would soon die in. As the Moon Maidens fell in droves, the Spearmen became isolated from Ithil, whilst she sang what was said to be the most beautiful song ever sung. All eyes turned to her in lust, and she moved amongst her Maidens, as the Spearmen fell silent. As her words changed, the survivors melted away, ordered to save their own lives, and the Ghaur did not oppose them in this.
Revenants fell upon her maidens, but they fought them to a standstill, for only the best of her warriors remained. One after another, the Ghaur assaulted her lines, even as she sang and cut down all of the beasts sent against her. True light shone from her very soul and her voice was joyous. Then a shadow fell upon her, as her lines buckled and were forced from her side. A Slaughterstar bent over her, hunched and deformed, the light of stars in it hungry maw. Ithil met it blow for blow, and her clothing became slick with blood, until her blade shattered and she sank to her knees. She remained defiant, and as the Slaughterstar pulled her up to devour her, she drove her broken blade in its face again and again, even as he tore her apart. Upon the moment of her death, the Slaughterstar fell, lifeless, savagely burnt by her purity, and a thousand Swallows streamed from the sky to gather her body, to take this last indignity from the expectant Ghaurchlai.
Even the stars did not shine that night, and the Kingdom of Herons lay silent, save for the weeping of all that was good.