The Nine

The nine great ancient civilizations all claim an eponymous ancestor as founder.  An ancient tradition claims that all nine were siblings, the children of the last King of the Elder Folk.  The question of whether these figures are historical or legend, and if historical, whether they were actually related, has been the subject of much debate among scholars worldwide.  Arguing against the historicity of the legend is the unlikely distribution of the siblings and the even greater unlikelihood of each of them being successful in founding a realm.  Arguing in favor of the legend is the existence of certain unifying cultural traits spread across the world and the use of the Elder Tongue as a ritual tongue in most of the Lands Under the Sun. A third view maintains that all the ancient realms owed something to the legacy of the Elder Folk but that no one individual (or family) can be credited with the development of civilization in the Sunrise and Sunset Lands.

The Nine (with reconstructed Elder Tongue etymologies):

  • Azeffa (Azh-Efath/Father of Truth?)
  • Carmadh (Kag-ar-Wal-a/Stone Against Blood)
  • Erun (Er-Ungu/In the forest)
  • Falan (Fah-al-nurra/Smoke against the north?)
  • Illax (Illa-gan-se’a/Mother of the garden of lightning?)
  • Illuva (Illa-um-Va-a/Mother from Va)
  • Kindar (Kinad-aru/Tree balm)
  • Sunnadir (Sunnu-alir/South-water)
  • Vardanit (Wal-or-danitu/Blood on teeth)

Aelfwine Theodwita

On the 4th day of Windmath (4 Othalul) 1174 A.C., Hendryck and Æthelhilde of Fiscerehæfen welcomed their first born son, whom they named Aelfwine, after Æthelhilde’s grandfather, a renown sea captain in that same port city of Fiscerehæfen.

From a young age, Aelfwine demonstrated considerable intellectual acuity and his teachers in the city’s Leorninghus noted that he was an avid reader and consumer of stories. His parents, however, saw him entering the family business: a fleet of merchant ships engaged in trade along the west coast of the Sunrise Lands, from Carmadh down to Cape Verunnu in the south.  Fortunately for Aelfwine, the Boroughmoot of Fiscerehæfen mandated a minimum of eight years of schooling for the children of the city. And so, while his parents would have happily placed him aboard ship as a midshipman at the age of nine, Aelfwine was required by law to remain in school for another four years.

Aelfwine was seen as a serious child, rarely smiling but nevertheless demonstrating a biting wit.  It was said that his wit was so dry even as a child that his comments in response to his classmates’ taunts would send his teachers into fits of laughter and leave his fellow classmates dumbfounded.  Wyverun Larsmith, his teacher at the Leorninghus, told a story of a day when a larger boy, Brand, was picking on Aelfwine. After the older boy had finished his rather pedestrian insults, Aelfwine simply said, “Were the bliss your family must feel on account of your collective ignorance something we could bottle, we’d never have to trade with Carmadh for poppies again.”

Continue reading

Eadlin Lahwita

In 942 AC, the Ealdormoot of the Greatdale Folkdeed authorized a military campaign against Carmadh over a trade dispute.  This action was criticized by Eadlin Lahwita, a thirty-two year old woman serving as Witeger at the time. In her estimation, this military action was unwise and likely to cause greater difficulties for the Folkdeed.

Because the war was popular with the people and the leaders of the government; it was likely to be waged even over Eadlin’s objections.  In spite of this, Rædgiver Derian Eoredmann ordered that Eadlin be arrested as a traitor and a threat to state security. He dispatched the elite Ealdorweard to take her and bring her to the Dread Prison in the Eastvale mountains.

Eadlin Lahwita offers bread and dates to the captain of the Ealdorweard.
Eadlin Lahwita offers bread and dates to the captain of the Ealdorweard.

When the soldiers of the Ealdorweard arrived at Eadlin’s home, she greeted them with a plate of bread and dates: the meal that the founders of the Folkdeed had shared after the Long Campaign to be rid of the Last King.  She said to them, “Brave sons of Greatvale, share with me this humble repast.  And then you may do as you must for the protection of the Folkdeed.” It is said that the soldiers took the bread and dates in silence and then, without uttering a word, left Eadlin in her home and returned to the Folk Keep where they slew Derian Eoredmann.

She served the remainder of her term as Witeger, and even helped guide Greatvale through the consequences of their campaign against Carmadh, which she had correctly foreseen.  After her tenure, rejecting calls for her to seek the position of Rædgiver, she returned to teaching law at the Boroughræden School for those seeking to earn their citizenship.

In Greatvale, she is seen as embodying the virtues of freedom of conscience and resistance to tyranny. She is also seen as a symbol of peacemaking and diplomacy instead of war. The name Eadlin remains one of the most popular names for girls in the Folkdeed to this day.