I’m rushing headlong into the second year of writing Coldforged Material, and this year I hope to cover enough topics in preparation to print as is possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch. This week we’re going to start taking a look at the forces of each society, and what makes them what they are, starting today with the Levishan Bloodlines.
Elven Leadership for Lev
When I began writing about the Levishans, I didn’t specifically know how their society functioned. I knew that the Fey Plague had ravaged the Kingdom and that there was a multitude of internal problems, but the specifics of each problem and how they interacted with each other and with the government that existed at the time was as of yet a mystery. I’d never run an adventure up there and hadn’t had many people who’d been too interested.
I had been thinking about what type of structure I was going to implement on the Levishans, and how I wanted it to be specifically different than the other kingdoms. Each kingdom has its own flavor and character, of course, but how do I make this feel like a fey kingdom.
Elves are innately chaotic good, which means that oftentimes they will be doing what they feel is right for them, or for the moment, rather than what is best for society as a whole, and this applied to all of the elves. This additionally applied to the fey, many of whom are chaotic and capricious as well. In my mind, this meant that the whole of Levisha would have to be ruled by its inverse: A fairly totalitarian state the controls the laws and dictates the daily life of most citizens, because, without harsh control, the people of Levisha would simply go about their lives without consideration of others and the laws in place. It naturally followed that the elves would have put themselves in charge, as they were both more militarily oriented, and they have the desire to do so, where many other fey creatures do not. This created a ruling elite that, unlike much of my other societies, was based on race, and not on some other criteria. This is fine with the rest of the fey, as long as the laws and government put into place isn’t onerous or brutal, as most fey simply want to be left alone.
With the elven elite in play, who or what separated them? It came to my mind that perhaps they were separated by bloodlines. What this meant at the time I didn’t quite understand, but I had a feeling it would be some sort of family tie denoting who belonged where. You can’t have a medieval society without their being fairly strong social strata. Bloodlines for elves seem a strong candidate because there often wouldn’t be many generations and tracing relations would be fairly simple.
I began writing the outline of what I thought it meant to be part of an Elven bloodline when a single line jumped out of my fingers and onto the page that screamed both something that fit and something that I knew fairly well. These bloodlines weren’t traditional family lines. They were the blood of heroes. This was the foundation of the Levishan Nobility: Ancenstral Heroes.
This dropped into place a number of other thoughts that allowed me to draw inspiration from ancient Greece, as the heroes bloodline fit that mold exceptionally well. I could have many Levishan kings, and it would make sense, even within the Kingdom, because they all paid homage to the Great King who ruled over all of them. The council of seasons would exist in every town, and would be the main advisory body to, and in many places the actual power behind, the Kings.
This was revolutionary, and I loved writing about the nine main heroes that many of the elven leaders can trace their bloodlines back to. There are likely dozens that could be referenced, and I would encourage people to make up their own Heroes along the same lines as the ones I present here. I’ve spent a lot of words getting us here, so let’s start talking about the ancient heroes of Levisha, and their bloodline traits.
Kalsas, Hero of Ilduri
Kalsas was born one of the younger sons of the King Tilathi the Great. Knowing that he was going to be relegated to the duties of religion, bureaucracy, and administration, he studied under tutors and his family to be the best at his delegated tasks as he could be.
Unfortunately for the King Tilathi, the realm was invaded, with sections of the kingdom overrun quickly, putting the King on the backfoot, rolling his forces back on several fronts. At the Siege of Ilduri, Kalsas, who had been administering the city for his father and brother, came face to face with the main forces of the enemy. Though he was outnumbered, he refused to surrender the city to the enemy forces, and instead organized a furious defense. He brilliantly arranged for pincer attacks, coordinated with outside forces and defiantly fought off each of the assaults on the city. The attackers were stalled at the vital city for months, unable to let the garrison of thousands loose, but unable to take their prize. Finally, bruised and battered and starting to feel the pinch of the siege, the forces of King Tilathi were able to rally and march for Ilduri. When the forces of the King appeared out of the woods, Kalsas led a sortie of his desperate forces out from the main gate, surprising the besieging forces, routing them into the king’s waiting army. The sasault broke the invasions back, with Kalsas engaging in multiple single combats, defeating each enemy in turn, before hunting down and killing even the opposing general.
Though he was honored as a hero, and accolades were heaped upon him, he preferred the administration of the realm and providing for unfortunates of society. Though he returned to the battlefield when called, he administered a number of different provinces of the kingdom, and each one prospered under his talented rule and great wisdom.
Kalsas’s bloodline is known for being heroic when called on, willing to fight against those who would oppress and conquer the Levishans, but also for being superb administrators who are wise, kind and capable.
Yathian, The First King
Before the Levishans were united, before they were even the Hyrans, and before the Hyrans ancestors, the elves were scattered across the plains, isolated in the forests, and alone in the swamps. Many of these various tribes warred against each other, and against their enemies. Yathian was a talented warrior among the isolated forest tribes, displaying excellence in shortsword, longsword, and bow. He honed his skills hunting and in war, becoming a masterful stalker, trapper and wilderness guide. War came to his tribe from a neighbor, and Yathian led a powerful defense, beating back their opponents and protecting the village. Basking in the adulation, he advocated for a swift and ruthless retaliation. Following in his footsteps, he led his warriors against the neighboring tribe and conquered them in short order.
Thus began the legend of Yathian. Over the course of the next decades, he conquered his neighbors one by one, promising a swift defeat or complete subjugation. Eventually, having defeated many of his neighbors and forming a coalition among his allies, he declared himself Maja, or King, for the first time in elven history. There had been none before, with each tribe having their own wise leaders. Following Yathian, other powerful leaders declared themselves Maja, but none had the staying power and lasting impression than did the first king, the individual who was able to control enough land and conquer enough people to feel justified in claiming the title himself.
Yathinas bloodline is known for being stubborn and tracking a goal through endless trials until they achieve their desired end. This can and has lead them into trouble, as they hare often headstrong and bold where they may not need to be.
Osuria, The Wolf Huntress
In the great wilderness of Uasa, there was a beastly wolf, a giant spirit of the land who would roam the wood. From time to time, the wolf would bound out of the forest and consume workers, hunters, and whole towns. For decades this wolf terrorized the land. The king of the wood, Iyilus, wrung his hands as a line of a potential hero fell to the beasts slavering jaws. Then, one day, out of nowhere, Osuria appeared. She walked up the king’s steps and told him that she could slay the beast, but only if she was promised the hand of his eldest son, and control of the kingdom after the king’s death. He dismissed her demands, saying that there were dozens of heroes that approached him, and one of them had to slay the beast with lesser demands than she had insisted on. Years passed, and none were able to kill the beast. Again, five years later, to the day, of her first appearance, Osuria again appeared and demanded the king’s first son, control of the kingdom after the king’s death, and now half the treasuries worth in gold and silver. The king scoffed again. He would not give in to such demands.
Days after Osuria left, a wandering oracle appeared at the king’s court. She told him, after receiving dinner and wine for the night, she provided her omen. She tore open a chicken, and read the entrails, within she saw the future: That none of the seekers of the wolf would survive as long as the king denied the wandering huntress. The king scoffed and kicked out the witch, telling her that he would put out the call and within the year, the wolf would be slain.
Unfortunately for the king, the heroes died by the dozen, unable to slay the beast, as the oracle so predicted. Finally, five years to the day after she had appeared last, she showed up at the door. The king was tired and broken, and his kingdom was rotting around him. He greeted the Huntress with resignation and asked her demands. The king’s son, again. The kingdom on the king’s death. Half the kingdoms fortunes, and a castle of her own, on the river to the south, where none would bother her. The king quickly agreed, and the huntress went into the woods. For three weeks, no one heard from her as she patiently tracked the spirit wolf, it ethereal tracks visible to her heightened senses. She tracked the wolf to its lair. She had listened to the tales from the local and knew that it would slip through traps that were set for it, and that arrows, swords, and spears would simply pass through the beast, so she had made plans. As she approached its lair, she pulled a vial from her pack, and coated her arrowheads and spearhead with spectral essence, the distilled reduction of a hundred ghosts. Into the Liar she snuck, but the wolf sensed her presence and woke. The battle was fierce, and though the wolf was able to get ahold of the Huntress a number of times, her ectoplasmic essence did its job, with both the spear and arrows finding purchase in the hide of the beast. The wolf tired first, and an opening appeared where Osuria was able to slip the spearhead between its ribs and into its ghostly heart. With a howl and whimper, the Beast was felled. She skinned it and took its spectral hide as proof of her deeds. She treated the pelt and made it into armor that was slient and spectral when needed, but also hard as steel and impenetrable to most weapons.
Osuria claimed her prize from the king, marrying the firstborn and bearing a dozen children, who she all taught the ways of the hunt. Her rulership of the kingdom after the passing of the king was equitable and fair, and she passed into legend as both the one who slew the Wolf of Uasa, and a kind and benevolent ruler.
Her line, to this day, is one of superb tracking and hunting skills, experts with the bow, and persistent in their confidence. Though she was a fairly skilled administrator and King, it seems that not all of them have inherited her fair hand at rulership, and it’s often lamented among the line that they have lost her ruling touch.
Wyialii, slayer of Kamak
When Wyialii was born, a storm tore through the port town of Jyira, and lighting and thunder tore the sky. The great tree in town was even struck, splitting it in its height. It was seen as a portentous day and a portentous sign for the birth of the child.
She was raised with the rest of the kids, and, trained in combat as were all the individuals in the town, she showed great promise with twined swords, what the elves here called Akhuri Myaxa – Sword Child. She practiced day in and out, devoting herself to the practice, and becoming a master of the forms and styles of the sword.
In battle after battle, her name became known. She slew a dozen champions in her youth, and as she gained in age and wisdom she seemed to become more deadly, and more furious in her capacity. In the war against Liris, she slew a dozen warriors, and killed the king, Ukara Laas, in single combat. She forged her own swords, which she called Forgiveness and Sin, and in their first battle, she laid low the great hero Nbatha, who had challenged her to a duel to decide the outcome, winning the battle with but a single life lost.
Her greatest test came during the demons gate wars. There, she acquitted herself marvelously, one of the troops in the armies against the demons. She had no gift for leadership, but inspiration followed her wherever she treads, and in her wake, a band of heroes and followers grew. Where they joined battle, even demons quaked and fled. On the last days of the war, as the demons were pushed farther and farther back, there was a counteroffensive led by the Archdemon Kamak, known as the Lifebreaker. He led a force of untold numbers of demons to turn the tide of the attack and force the enemy to turn back. All across the battlefield, the combined forces were defeated as he pushed onward. Then, at the battlefield of Othilii-Push, Lord Marshal Baldruah took the field, and under his command was Wyialii and her band of heroes. They had fled long enough. That day, Wyialii took the center of the field with her band and slew everything that stood in front of them. Many fell, and the demons faltered, knowing her name, and the flag she bore, the three broken chain links. Kamak surged forward, countering her charge, and they fought in the center of the field, bodies falling around them like wheat to the scythe. Three times they clashed, and three times they separated, neither gaining on the other, though Wyialiis great maul, named Defiance, so heavy no person should be able to lift it, had caught demon flesh, and Kamaks claws rent through her armor as though it was butter. The fourth time, however, was decisive, and Wyialii was able to bait the demon into believing she was faltering and crushed his skull with Defiance. The Demons lost their will to fight and were pushed back. It is believed to this day that had Wyaialii not slain Kamak then and there, the war would have been lost forever.
Wyialii’s bloodline is known for being powerful physical warriors, daring and skilled at arms, but lacking in the talents to lead either armies or kingdoms. They are often sought out when a war needs to be won at all costs, and have made names of themselves as dauntless adventurers.