|Distinctions||Short Nelfin with soft features|
|Maximum Age||600 years|
|Height||5'2 - 6'4|
|Weight||90 - 160 lbs|
|Eye Colors||Green, hazel, or blue|
|Hair Colors||Light brown, Dark Brown, Caramel, Auburn, Chestnut brown, Blonde, Dusty blonde|
Cielothar as a name refers to the more agrarian Nelfin who are also commonly called the Wind Elves. This nickname comes from the fact that central to all of their settlements stands a massive windmill that doubles as their main granary as well as their social gathering center. The Cielothar are often seen as the antithesis of the Altalar, believing in a tranquil existence in worship and respect of the forest, in harmony with nature and the land and at peace with the wildlife of the world. The Cielothar have returned to a much simpler agrarian existence, rejecting the urban and decadent lifestyle of the Altalar Elves and all war-like behaviors associated with it.. The Cielothar are often seen as infantile and naive by the other Nelfin denominations, but they are exceptionally skilled when dealing with animals and seeing to their own needs.
Physical & Mental Characteristics
The Cielothar share many similarities with their Altalar predecessors, but generations separated from them in their villages has led to distinct variations which set them apart. They have softer facial features, some of the longest ears of any Nelfin Race and a generally shorter stature, with the smallest of the Race reaching only 5’2 in height. In addition, due to their more agrarian lifestyle, Cielothar tend to be stockier than their Altalar cousins, but not to the same degree as Ailor or Avanthar. Based on their geographical location, the Cielothar’s physical appearance changes, with some villages having entirely different skin colour variations than others. Cielothar who live in more coastal areas tend to have darker skin tones, similar to that of the Qadir, whilst those deep within the forests sometimes have a greenish tint to their skin. Generally, however, Cielothar skin tones are tanned, similar to that of their Daendroque Ailor neighbors. In terms of hair colors, their locks range from anywhere as pale as sandy blonde, to a darker brown. Their hair is commonly warm in hue, some Cielothar in coastal regions even sporting hair of a more auburn color. Despite having such varied shades of hair however, one color rarely spied is black hair, as it is neither a natural trait of Cielothar nor is it considered socially acceptable, given black-haired Cielothar are typically associated with those exiled for void-relations. Their eyes follow what is common for most Races, being shades of green, blue, and brown, and a small proportion of Cielothar (ten to twenty percent) have epicanthic eye folds, appearing more Asian-coded, but most do not.
Cielothar stop physically aging at around 25 years of age, and can live all the way up to 600, whilst retaining this youthful appearance until around the age of 500 (although, aging your character beyond 150 requires a Special Permission). After 500, a Cielothar’s aging will begin to rapidly increase, causing them to develop stark white hair and shrivel and wrinkle nigh excessively. Their physical capabilities wither away in the last few decades of their life, becoming completely bedridden for the last 10 years of said life. Despite their deterioration, Cielothar who reach such advanced ages are amongst the most valued figures in their communities, hailed for their centuries of experience and wisdom. Visual aging may occur outside of natural progression, however, with the Cielothar being capable of changing their appearance at will as the other Neflin Races can. Through a meditation process, they may make themselves appear between that of a 20 and 80-year-old Ailor, and revert it as they please. This is seen as a form of self-expression amongst the Cielothar people, however, it is not uncommon for those in the leadership roles to take on a more aging appearance as a sign of their position. This ability is lost to any Cielothar who age beyond 500, as their bodies become too weak and frail to undergo the ritualistic process.
The Cielothar are widely seen as naive by the other Neflin Races, mostly thanks to their strong moral compasses. Cielothar demonstrate great acts of compassion and mercy, only resorting to violence in the most extreme of circumstances. As a result, most Cielothar would define themselves as pacifist. However, they have a strange definition of the term, in that while many avoid engaging in acts of violence, they have few qualms in assisting those close to them who may engage in violence, usually by providing them with aid or with medical attention after the violence has passed. Fighting is left to the Avanthar and [Suriiel] of the community, with the rest never once looking at their weapon, with killing left only as a last resort. However, should anything be killed by the [Suriiel], the Cielothar go through great lengths to harvest and utilise every last part of the remains, as leaving anything spoilt is seen as a great slight against Estel herself. Generally, their morality spawns from the ghosts of the beliefs of the old Cult of Ciellonia; that the attitudes and activities of the Allorn Empire upper classes were the very thing that led to the Allorn Empire’s demise.
Resultantly, nearly all Cielothar actively avoid the debauchery, self-justification, and arrogance that once defined the Princes and Princesses of the Allorn Empire, as the very acts are revolting to them. Cielothar are by definition skittish around strangers, but are far from slow to befriend, and can often be some of the closest and most reliable friends available. To those they know and trust well, Cielothar are excellent drinking companions and entertainers, freely engaging in poetry, literature, singing, and the caretaking of animals. In fact, their relationship with the animal world is taken to new heights, gaining an intimate relationship with an Animal Companion from birth. This Animal Companion, or Ta’rath in their native tongue (which loosely translates to Animal Friend in common), constantly shifts and changes in form as the Cielothar ages, eventually settling once the child reaches the age of 15 and their life-long role in Ciellonian culture is determined. The form this animal settles on relates heavily to the circle the young Nelfin is placed into, providing them with aid to better fulfill their niche. These Animal Companions act as close friends, spiritual guides and family members to the Cielothar, fulfilling the Race’s constant want for social interaction.
The Circle of Aiel consists of the priests, scholars, and general care-takers of Cielothar society, as any who’re selected for this role play an active part in the function and prosperity of their village. While some Aiel focus entirely on the craft of alchemy and herbal concoctions to remedy sick Cielothar back to health, others will ensure the well-being of livestock and crops, preferring to work with their hands rather than their minds. Leaders of various Cielothar settlements often end up being Aiel due to their scholarly disposition, as it’s believed that those destined for this circle have a higher capability and focus to guide the young Cielothar like shepherds with their sheep, overall leaving the Aiel to being one of the more respected circles in Cielothar communities. The Aiel also serve a purpose in setting the exiled back on their path, and should they determine the fallen Nelfin have corrected their ways and cleansed themselves fully of any taint, can forgive them of their faults and return them to their original circle.
The Circle of Suriiel are those destined to aid the Avanthar in protection of the village, serving as second-hand supports and distanced fighters to ward off threats. Whilst the Suriiel are not outwardly violent themselves and still retain the Cielothar’s sense of pacifism, they still play their role by acting as scouts, rangers in hunting, or assistance should the Avanthar require it. As Suriiel, these Cielothar are naturally supported and are found to be more swift on their feet than the other circles. Additionally, some Suriiel act as laborers and helping hands in their villages, utilizing their sturdier disposition in times of need.
The Circle of Joeil are those who lean towards their more artistic side in life, whether that be crafting beautiful masterpieces, or putting on performances to help their village be that much livelier. Those of the Joeil caste have a keen sense for craftsmanship, poetry, cooking, and anything to do with putting something out there for others to enjoy. Whilst some may overlook the Joeil as less important in contrast to the other circles, it’s a role most Cielothar hope to be destined for, warmed by the thought of playing such a part in the general liveliness of those around them.
The Exeiiya, or Exiled, aren’t necessarily a circle of themselves, but rather a fall from grace in Cielothar society. Any Cielothar who’s fallen prey to the clutches or taint of the void is eventually lost and labelled as an Exeiiya, their black-hair labelling them as an outcast who’s gone against Estel’s wishes, and is eventually shunned from whatever village they previously belonged to. In show of their turn against traditional Cielothar values, they soon find how the once peaceful nature they knew is warped into something far more cruel, plants wilting beneath their steps and their skin now equipped with brambles to ward off threats. A Cielothar becomes Exeiiya if they willingly learn Void Ritualism, willingly have Void Mutations applied, are infected with Vampirism (excluding the Alais Bloodline), or actively worship the Void. The life of an Exeiiya is one most Cielothar fear, however- this is where the Aiel’s purpose plays in, as once and Exeiiya has cleansed themselves of any void-taint and is ready for redemption, they can plead to any Aiel priest for forgiveness, and be accepted back into Estel’s grasp, functionally returning to their old role in society. In the case of a Cielothar repeatedly shunning away from their culture, they’ll still be returned should they cleanse themselves once more, however in repeated occurrences it should be noted that most Aiel priests will be hesitant to forgive, uncertain whether or not the Cielothar has been lost for good.
There exists a variant of Cielothar that is commonly believed to be the polar opposite of the Crimson Witch, named the Silver Skinwalkers. The Silver Skinwalkers are a sensitive subject among the Cielothar; their existence is much steeped in myth and legend, and also related to sad tales that can be recited in many Cielothar communities. In the deep-land Cielothar communities, deep in the wildlands forests there exists a tribe of Cielothar that are quite unlike the typical Cielothar, and who are mostly shunned by both the other Nelfin species and the Yanar for various reasons. Known as the Deepland Witches to the Cielothar themselves, legend has it that these Nelfin originated from a great Exist Arken ritual performed by a Cielothar community that made them the first generation of Silver Skinwalkers. This ritual also made them incapable of having children and as such, they now rely on foundlings to induce into their ranks. To stave off any attacks or abductions of infants, as Silver Skinwalkers are prone to when not properly satisfied, the Cielothar were forced to introduce a new tradition into their society. Every second year, a child born close to winter solstice is randomly selected from smaller villages, and brought to the edge of the forest in a procession of silver silks. The child is then left behind around midnight, where the Silver Skinwalkers retrieve it, and leave their own blessings behind, usually in silks or rare produce from the deep walds. This offering of infants is rarely ever voluntary, and the random lottery process is enough to prevent many couples from trying to conceive a child that would be born in winter, thus resulting in what some Cielothar call "The Loveless March", where couples remain apart in the month March to prevent children from being born in November. What exactly happens to the children after they are taken in by the Silver Skinwalkers is not known, however, what is certain, is that the child is raised among the Silver Skinwalkers as a communal child. The Skinwalkers still follow the rituals of Circles, and thus, a Skinwalker will have all the Abilities and Proficiencies of their relevant Circle. Their irises turn silver while their pupil disappears (giving them the look of being blind) while their hair turns silver also, gaining a metallic sheen to it. The specific reason why Skinwalkers are feared is because they are capable of partially or wholly turning into animals and feed off the Soul Essence of non-Skinwalkers. Indeed, Silver Skinwalkers are rumored to stalk the forests at night, two silver eyes reflecting in the shadows. Even among Ailor and Altalar communities, local legends of Skinwalkers exist, implying that the Skinwalkers have wandered far from their homeland region in search for an ever greater need to feed off Soul Essence. Still, the Cielothar remain quiet about their existence due to the shame it brings on their peaceful and relatively mundane existence, and due to how the existence of the Skinwalkers puts them at odds with the Altalar Mages and Avanthar non-magical purists. Skinwalkers may occasionally be witnessed stalking in forests, even in Regalia, attracted by the immense amount of Soul Essence in the capital of the Empire due to the presence of multiple Dragons and a large Isldar community. Silver Skinwalkers are not necessarily antagonistic like for example Crimson Witches, however, due to the fact that they need to feed off others and are essentially incurable Werebeasts, Skinwalkers are at best avoided by the Nelfin communities that know they exist, and are at worst having to survive in the sewers and clandestine groups to avoid persecution and to get their fix.
- For more information about Silver Skinwalkers, refer to the Werebeast page.
Sense of Compassion
Cielothar are natural empaths who are able to tune into the emotional state of other beings, from the toughest Avanthar to the meekest of fawn. When a Cielothar focuses their sight on a living creature they are able to view a coloured outline surrounding their form in an aura like form, exposing their basic feelings in different hues with darker hues indicating stronger emotions.
The Cielothar are able to naturally harness the wind, utilizing this in many day to day activities and tasks. These innate blessings serve as a tool and protection for the Cielothar, saving them from short falls and assisting in removing small amounts of noxious gasses or smoke, serving as a useful tool for any Aiel alchemist.
From birth, the Cielothar gain an intimate relationship to nature, forming a particularly strong bond to a Ta’rath, or Animal Companion. It is unclear where this creature comes from. Many speculate it is the manifestation of Estels’ guidance over the Ciellonians, due to their unfaltering devotion to the All-Mother, whilst others believe it to be the result of over-exposure to Exist energies. All that is known for certain is that a Cielothar’s animal companion finds itself into the crib of their partner days after birth, in the form of a randomly determined adolescent animal. These animals are identical to their less magical counterparts, however, they have a pair of glowing white eyes that never cease to glow. Throughout their childhood, and even into their early adulthood, this animal’s form shifts and adapts to its environment, eventually settling during a trial all Cielothar undergo on their 15th birthday.
The final appearance of a Cielothar’s Ta’rath can take one of three forms after this trial, being the Aiel, Suriiel, and Joeil. Once solidified, the Animal Companion remains in this form for the rest of the Cielothar’s life, eventually fading away after their partner’s passing. The Cielothar and Animal Companion are always in a synoptic link to one another, able to hear each other’s thoughts, experience the other’s feelings, and communicate telepathically with one another. All Animal Companions are capable of speech, however, usually only the Cielothar in the duo does so, in order not to cause confusion. This being said, there are some Cielothar who elect to remain silent most of their lives, allowing their Animal Companion to do all the talking instead. The Animal Companion cannot leave Emote Distance of their partner, finding themselves bound to their summoner’s side. Additionally, the Animal Companion can be unsummoned with relative ease, leaving it to exist within the Cielothar, the two still able to communicate this way. When unsummoned the Cielothar will bear two white and intricate tattoos on their wrists with a silhouette of their Animal Companion, one embedded into each wrist. There is a fourth sub-type of familiar, known as the Exeiyya, which is forced upon any Cielothar who abandons their faith to Estel, and chooses a different path. These companions are characterized by their unusually colored eyes, being red, or gold.
Summary of Racial Abilities
|Lightblessed Familiar||Racial Passive||The Cielothar can summon a singular familiar, with the animal and size dictated by their Circle. The familiar chosen cannot be changed, and must be dictated on the Character Application. The familiar cannot be permanently harmed, nor can it harm or interfere with others in an aggressive or combative function. If ‘killed’ the familiar will disappear in a puff of white smoke and re-appear next to the Cielothar instantly (without any objects it was carrying prior). The familiar can be interacted with on an aesthetic level with its summoner and surroundings, cannot carry more than 10 pounds in weight, and cannot leave Emote Distance of the Cielothar. The familiar can compensate for any lost hearing, sight, or voice of the Cielothar, within limits. The familiar can never fully replace the sight or hearing of the Cielothar to its prior state, and will only supplement it enough to allow the Cielothar to return to base functioning, not adequate use in combat or scenarios that require quick reaction time. Regardless of whether or not the Cielothar has lost their voice, they can choose to speak through their Familiar at any point, but cannot speak at the same time the familiar is speaking. The Familiar can be unsummoned or re-summoned via a ten-second ritual.|
|The Wind's Cradle||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can harness the wind for simple aesthetic (non-combat) tasks, such as turning windmills, sweeping away dust, making music, etc. The Wind does not have enough force to move people or heavier objects, but can be used to disperse smoke and alchemical gases in a 2-block radius of the Cielothar. When the Cielothar falls from any height they are cradled by the wind and set safely on the ground, but if they’ve fallen more than 5 blocks, they find themselves winded and out of breath for a minute.|
|Sense of Compassion||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can tap into their natural empathetic nature, and tune into the emotional state of other living beings. When using this Ability, the Cielothar will be able to see a colored, glowing outline around their target, this outline acting as an aura indicative of what the target is feeling at that current moment. The aura in itself is vague, and does not delve into hidden or complex emotions, but rather portraying simple emotions through hue, the color deepening based on the extremity of the emotion. This ability has no indication of being used, and requires only that the target is within view to function.|
|Light-Blooded||Racial Passive||The Cielothar can learn 1 Sorcery Ability. These do not cost Proficiency Points, but do obey any Sorcery limitations. If the Cielothar is also a Ritualist, Sorcery gained from this Racial do not count for the normal limitations on Ritualism when combined with Sorcery. (Any further Sorcery gained will remove this, however.) For example, if some Mutation or Affliction does not allow Sorcery learning, this Racial Passive is disabled.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by the Circle of Aiel.|
|Restore to Grace||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can restore simple objects and liquids to their most clean and functional state by holding their hand over the object or liquid, causing their hand and the target to glow with faint white light. This Ability does not apply to weapons, armor, or complex machinery (like clockwork) but can be used on any other object to fully repair it and clean it of any grime, dirt, or damage. If used on an object that had writing on it prior (such as a book), the pages will be restored, but any writing will not remain. If used on liquids, the Cielothar can cleanse it of any additives or poisons, making it clean and safe for their consumption. This Ability cannot be used on an object larger than 2x2x2 blocks in dimension, or on more than a pitcher’s worth of liquid at the same time.|
|Radiant Soul||Racial Spell||The Cielothar has a set of tattoos of any light color of their choice that, when activated, can cause the Cielothar to glow faintly and act as a source of Sunlight. This effect extends in a 5 block radius around them, but only actively illuminates the area in a 1 block radius. Additionally, the Cielothar can grow plants of any type in any location, as long as they have adequate Natura Care Proficiency, but regardless of if they have access to its native soil or if the soil used is barren.|
|Familiar's Shape||Racial Passive||The Familiar can manifest as a bird, farm animal, or domestic mammal. The familiar can be physically sized up or down when chosen, but cannot be enlarged or shrunk to an unreasonable degree.|
|The Following Abilites can only be used by the Circle of Suriiel.|
|Animal Instincts||Racial Shift||The Cielothar can merge forms with their Familiar, taking on physical traits based on them, but still recognizable as themselves. Their hearing and sight is enhanced in this form, gaining near-animal instincts that allows them to automatically dodge the first Ranged Attack against them, or any Ability that requires a dice roll to avoid per 12 hours.|
|Timeless Breeze||Racial Passive||The Cielothar can manipulate the wind further, using it to boost their maneuverability and allowing them to leap up to 3 blocks vertically at a time.|
|Familiar's Shape||Racial Passive||The Familiar can manifest as a wild mammal, or domesticated canine or feline. The familiar can be physically sized up or down when chosen, but cannot be enlarged or shrunk to an unreasonable degree.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by the Circle of Joeil.|
|Helping Hand||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can temporarily clone their familiar up to five times to assist them in performance. This extends to such tasks as the familiars serving as backup dancers or singers, the skill level dependant on the Cielothar's pre-existing proficiency in said art. They can additionally assist in the kitchen for making meals, making up as extra-hands to hurry the process, or help fetch fabrics for a Cielothar who's attempting to sew. This lasts until the performance or task is finished, at which point the familiars disappear.|
|Hearth of the Home||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can ‘animate’ their crafts to a limited degree, applying to anything created utilizing any Arts proficiency. When applying this ability to an object, such as a tapestry, they can cause the figures on the tapestry to appear to magically move in a predetermined set of motions, or for the colors to shimmer and change. The effects from this ability cannot be overly complex, and must be limited to a defined set per object, but otherwise has no negative effects on the object (so a cake with ‘animated’ icing can be safely consumed, for example.)|
|Familiar's Shape||Racial Passive||The Familiar can manifest as an exotic bird, smaller primates, and smaller rodents. The familiar can be physically sized up or down when chosen, but cannot be enlarged or shrunk to an unreasonable degree.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by the Exiled.|
|Mark of the Betrayer||Racial Passive||The Cielothar’s hair becomes a deep black color, and cannot be dyed or changed by mundane means or abilities. Additionally, the Cielothar can cause plants to wither in their vicinity in Emote Distance, replaced by quickly growing mushrooms and carnivorous plants. These effects fade ten minutes after the Cielothar has left Emote Distance.|
|Brambled Body||Racial Spell||The Cielothar can manifest brambles and thorns along their arms, neck, and shoulders. The Cielothar can then shoot these brambles at any Ability-Summoned animal Familiar, causing it to go inert, and preventing the familiar’s owner from utilizing any Ability that requires the Familiar. The Cielothar can only affect one Familiar at a time with this, and the effect will end if the Cielothar is either rendered unconscious or leaves Emote Distance.|
|Familiar's Shape||Racial Passive||The Familiar manifests as whatever animal it was prior to their exile. However, the Familiar's eyes are now a golden or red hue.|
The birth of the Cielothar, unlike the Kathar or Sihndar, is difficult to define. Owing in part to the argumentation over what defines a Cielothar, either as the first generation of Nelfin similar to their present day form, or as the earliest members of the Cult of Ciellonia, historians have never come to a solid conclusion as to what constitutes the emergence of the first true Cielothar. However, all agree that the events that led to the formation of the contemporary Cielothar population began during what the Altalar would label their Grandening period, between 1100 BC and 1000 BC. Over this century, the Cult of Ciellonia formed as a resistance to the political machinations of the upper castes of Altalar society, proscribing the espionage, intrigue, and insular policies that defined them. This initial Cult, one of five that formed during the Grandening, was composed almost entirely of the lower classes and labor groups of Allorn society, whose day-to-day lives were focused on surviving and making do instead of engaging in political activism. Thanks to this, however, the initial impact of the Cult of Ciellonia on the Allorn Empire was negligible, if there was at all an impact to begin with.
The Cult of Ciellonia
The next five centuries of the existence of the Cult of Ciellonia were to be quiet, but not unfruitful; with the lower classes of the Est’Allorn disregarded by the ruling political caste and the increasingly influential Archmages, the Cult enjoyed an unhindered growth, slowly amassing a considerable population of like-minded Altalar, whose stance on violence became increasingly more hardline, until pacifism almost became the motto of their Cult. This growth was not to last; starting in 450 BC and ending in 250 BC, the Mage Wars raged, tearing apart the Allorn Empire, crippling its internal structures and external image. While the various Void cults formed, the upper class opinion of the Cult of Ciellonia rose from a barely-known contingent of harmless farmers, to a dangerous and ever-growing legion of peasantry who threatened to undermine the warring regional lords. Even if this was not the truth, the Cult still presented the very real possibility that the ways of the upper crust were harmful to the world, and that their destructive treatment of not only the environment, but also of Estel herself, could have dire consequences. In response to the aggressive treatment of known Ciellonia members, the Cult abandoned the worship of Talea Sunvidal and fell back to the worship of the eight known Pantheon gods, beginning their true departure from the Allorn Empire as a whole.
Splitting of the Sects
The Cult watched on as the Kathar rose, and the ensuing Fracture of Allorn occurred, marked by the secession of many Cults from mainstream Altalar society, beginning with the departure of the Dregodarian sects, whom would become the Isldar, moving to Ellador for some. Thanks to the fervently low-class standing of the Cult of Ciellonia, however, they were spared the prying fingers of the Daughters of Chaos and the Sons of Malice, who instead focused on the leading courts and principalities of the Allorn Empire. The Ciellonians witnessed the fall of noble conservatism and chastity to the total debauchery that came with Chaos and Malice, and bore the brunt of the consequences of that fall; while the nobility succumbed to carnal desire and gluttony, the systems and hierarchies within the Allorn principalities crumbled, striking those on the lowest rung of society the hardest. Here, the Cult of Ciellonia began its plans to secede from the Empire, much like the Dregodarians had years before, and by coincidence, their decision was matched by the appearance of the Yanar. Unlike with the other Altalar, the Yanar found open arms and warmth with members of the Cult of Ciellonia in the years preceding the Cataclysm. Heeding their warnings of oncoming destruction, the Cult sent its weakest members away with the Yanar, in the hopes that once Estel’s warning had come to pass, they could seek them out, and reform their society with a new visage, and a new goal. Here, the Yanar assisted in leading the chosen Ciellonia into what few forests remained in Daen, to hold out against the oncoming events. They began to construct small towns and colonies, in which to reside while the rest of the Ciellonia Cultists finally began to take up a more vocal role in the tattered remnants of the once-great Allorn Empire. While the voice of the Ciellonia became heard, the Yanar developed a strong bond with those they had taken with them to hide. This bond would cement itself in the events to come, eventually defining what would become the Cielothar, while they waited for the rest of the members of their Cult to find them. They never would. While the direct precursors to the Cielothar slowly defined their way of life, a Void Invasion raged on. The sky tore open above Drowda, from which poured Arken and Demons abound. The Daughters of Malice and Sons of Chaos slaughtered officials by the dozen, and the Allorn Empress was massacred alongside her army on the battlefield, a force unmatched in size neither before her, nor after. All the while, the first born Cielothar came into being. A limited diet stunted their growth, and the necessity of agriculture and farming, taught to them by the Yanar, darkened their skin to a deep tan. The Cielothar and remaining Ciellonian cultists were among the only peoples spared by Estel’s Wildering. While the Allorn were engulfed by bush and branch, the Cielothar were met with fertile soil and bountiful harvests, enough to fuel their growth and colonization efforts to sustain themselves after the news of the nigh-irreparable damage done to the Empire they had once been part of had arrived.
The Fortunate Period
Even being spared the Wildering, the luck of the Cielothar continued, in an era that lasted roughly from 10 AC to 200 AC, labelled by some Cielothar as the Fortunate Period. They bore witness to war parties of Eronidas invaders, who largely left the fledgeling Cielothar be in favor of the Altalar and Avanthar (at least at first). The Avanthar themselves had already begun their eugenics campaigns, brutish by the standards of the Altalar, but stronger now, enough to develop a bond of protection with the Cielothar, whose capacities for combat of any time had long since faded. The Cielothar had similarly avoided the slave revolts that went on to found Daenshore and the other Daen AIlor states by simply never having taken slaves to begin with; their lower class predecessors had neither reason nor wealth enough to keep slaves. In this, the Cielothar developed a certain sense of naivety. The more religious among them proclaimed that their abandonment of Talea, and the changing of their ways, had led Estel and her Pantheon to reward them for their piety and repentance, though the survivors of the Wildering and the conflicts within Allorn territories were less sure of this. Despite this, they were already advanced in age, and would not last long enough to disseminate their views; the wariness and opposition to self-serving politics that had once characterised the Cult of Ciellonia had been replaced with overt trust and ignorance of any meaningful level of government among the Cielothar, and the few remaining Ciellonia Cultists were agonizingly aware of this.
Their Fortunate Period birthed numerous practices that the Cielothar are known chiefly for today; the first Forest Wall was erected in around 20 AC, composed of wooden poles carved with intricate floral patterns and banners, and would become the standard for any developed Cielothar colony. The massive telltale windmills of a Cielothar settlement would appear soon after, similarly decorated with paint and banners and plants. At the center of most Cielothar settlements is the Great Tree, the central meeting place created from dozens of Woodsung trees with a shrine to Estel the Mother at its center. The reverence of the Yanar and the forest beyond their Forest Walls began initially as a practice of hardline Faith of Estel followers, but eventually spread to the population at large. These same hardline followers of Estel developed Lightgiver Ritualism and Olt’vvenScript, as well as all effects of the usage of Lightgiver Ritualism. The symbiotic relationship between Yanar, Cielothar, and Avanthar also formed; the Yanar offered fruits and medicinal herbs to the Cielothar, who in turn offered grain and wheat for food to the Yanar, while the Avanthar protected the Cielothar from Kathar attackers and roaming Eronidas war parties in return for clothing and medical attention when necessary. Cielothar cooperation and bonding with the Avanthar also led to the development of Plains Elven, a language descended from Modern Altalar, but influenced far more by dialect and fast speech; to a Modern Altalar speaker, Plains Elven may sound like a dialect of Modern Altalar, but slurred by a heavy accent and slang, resulting in a familiar but unintelligible tongue.
The past century, however, has marked the end of the Cielothar Fortunate Period. Beginning in 200 AC, many Daen-based Polon began to aggressively raid Cielothar near their territory in order to fuel their many Estates as the Nelfin species was ideal labor for these agricultural endeavors. Similarly, Altalar emissaries harassed Cielothar settlements, urging them to return to the Empire at large while Ailor logging companies slowly intruded upon their sacred woods, ignoring their significance in favor of cheap profit from plentiful sources. The Cielothar themselves did little in the way of dissuading these, relying on the Avanthar and Altalar Rangers to assist them. This did not prove helpful in the end, as with events like the Ranger Crisis in 295 AC, the Cielothar’s needs were ignored even by their protectors. The Bone Horror Crisis dealt another terrible blow to the Cielothar, and the Wild Union that followed, an official pact with the Yanar and Avanthar, was torn apart by the collapse of Avanthar unity in the face of the Imperial Dragon. Additionally, the Dread War decimated what little presence they had in Teled Methen, either as a result of Kathar attacks, or in the Regalian-Altalar alliance pushing through Cielothar territory with little care for the region’s nature and balance. As a result, the Cielothar have receded in all quarters. Settlements thriving even a decade are now abandoned, and it is now difficult for most Ailor to find them out in the wilderness of Daen. Some suspect that a new age might be dawning for the Cielothar, but with so much going on in the world, this all could be a temporary contraction.
Cielothar lack an overarching political hierarchy, instead opting for local leadership within each village. Rather than the role of leader being placed in a single individual, however, Cielothar remain communal in their decisions, usually allowing the entire village to vote on larger issues during a commune within their central Great Tree, which acts as a social hub in every village. Despite this direct approach to decision making, smaller more day-to-day authority is entrusted in a council of three which consists of; the Elder, the oldest Cielothar in the village; the Priest, the overseer of all religious rituals within the forest walls; and the Great Mother, a midwife of sorts, who oversees the birth of all newborns in some capacity and is responsible for their safe upbringing. It is not uncommon for each of these roles to have an apprentice, who they slowly train up in hopes of replacing them one day when they retire from their duties. Neither of these three roles are seen as greater than the other, and generally, the three must all unanimously agree before taking action. That being said, the Elder’s word is taken as sacred by many, given their usually centuries of expertise, knowledge and wisdom being an invaluable tool in maintaining their quaint livelihood.
Being built on such a tight-knit society, it should come as no surprise that Cielothar culture is one filled with warmth, color, and liveliness. If you were to take a stroll through any one of their villages, you’d quickly find yourself overwhelmed with music and chimes following your every step, silent calm practically being a stranger to their residents. Banners and other vibrant decor line the sides of buildings, and intricately strewn trinkets of glass crystals and ribbons hang from their trees, creating an overall charming atmosphere. The Cielothar are large partakers in arts of all kinds, regularly hosting their own festivals to celebrate the coming of seasons and other joyous events within the village. Not oft will you fail to spy someone putting on a performance for the younger residents, as it's a rather frequent passtime of the Joeil to set up small puppet-shows in the mornings for Cielothar children.
When it comes to Cielothar households, more common than not will you encounter someone with more than five siblings to their name, not necessarily due to their parents having numerous children, but rather due to how easily Cielothar will consider people outside of their blood-kin to be family. Orphaned or otherwise alone Cielothar with little family left are easily scooped into another household entirely, but rarely will they actually abandon their last names. At most, Cielothar who’ve been brought into another household will hyphenate their last name, as to not disrespect their prior and usually deceased family, but acknowledge the one they’re apart of now. These home situations tend to be well functioning, as with the empathetic nature of the Cielothar it is admittedly a difficult task to disregard the emotions of their kin, leading to most of their disputes ending rather swiftly with how well they understand each other.
In fact, because of this- most Cielothar who stray from their village after spending their life there find themselves rather appalled and culture-shocked by the utter chaos of Ailor relations. As a result they’ll often try to intervene in one way or another, as being so keenly aware of the possible misunderstandings the other races are oblivious to, they find it difficult to watch something so blatantly disastrous occur before them. This unfortunately feeds into the stigma of the Cielothar being nosy and naive, when in reality they’re only acting on their innate desire to make peace.
Death Rites and Funerary Practices
Contrary to what one may think, Cielothar don’t leave proper corpses upon death. Instead, their body is enveloped in a warm glow and releases a sweet-smelling odor, resting there for an hour before dissolving into a gathering of flower petals. If they die whilst standing in nature, flowers will sprout from the earth, healthy and beautiful. The Cielothar believe this to be a blessing from Estel, as to let them return to nature in their after-life. In order to avoid these flowers being trampled, in Cielothar villages they’ll be replanted in a central graveyard, considered absolutely sacred land, and never to be tampered with.
Another funerary practice of the Cielothar is the Esveya ceremony, which they perform each time an animal is set for harvest. After laying the animal to rest, they’ll take it out to a quiet section of the woods within their walls, setting it down into the grass. Following this, the Cielothar will bury a handful of grains and dried flowers into the dirt, clasp their hands together and offer a prayer to Estel, detailing the animal’s life and how it lived, sharing their fond memories of it, and wishing for her to treat it well in its passing. This usually will go on for a good ten or so minutes, before they let the animal pass on and into their goddess’ embrace.
When it comes to the chosen fashion and apparel of the Cielothar, it is heavily entwined with their culture and lifestyle, from the sewn patterns and fabrics they use to the bobble-strewn accessories they don. Being a society that holds sentiment close to their heart, it is extremely rare to come across a Cielothar who doesn’t have a single garment or accessory lacking in history, being a frequent occurrence among them for parents to pass down shawls and other hand-me-downs from their youth to their own children.
While most Cielothar prioritize function and comfort in their clothing, it still holds a certain charm, as they’ll often incorporate strings of bells and other lively decorations onto their skirts and sashes, some combining different items to create a unique sound that accompanies their stride, one that their friends and companions could recognize them by. Given their lifestyle and ‘living with nature’ mindset, not often will you spy a village-raised Cielothar sporting full shoes of any kind, as while it isn’t that they’re necessarily against covering their feet- its more or less they find shoes too confining, the most you’ll ever see being fitted wrappings that obscure their toes or ankles.
Come the time of festivals and ceremonies, arrives the time where most Cielothar will break out a very formal style of dress, as during these occasions they favor flowy and sheer fabrics, whether as a part of their outfit whole or as more of a layer to their normal apparel. The most important segment of this ensemble, however, is their jewelry, given that it is a tradition among those who are capable of hand-crafting their own necklaces specifically for these gatherings. There is no set guide to how the necklaces are crafted, but the personalization of them is part of its meaning and charm. The only set rule to the ornaments, however, is the centerpiece, which is always a small, sentimental trinket. Whether it be a key, something as simple as a button, or valuable as a gemstone- the only requirement is for it to mean something to the Cielothar in question, often exchanging their centerpieces history with others at the gatherings. Sometimes, the item will have more sentiment than most, as dying Cielothar will pass down their own centerpiece to whoever is closest to their heart, which they then will incorporate into a new necklace of their own design, and wear in honor of their memory.
The Cielothar have a variety of celebrations and parties associated with their unique Circle or home, but the two most notable are the "Pet Parade" and the "Celebrations of the Harvest." For the Pet Parade, twice a year, Cielothar come together to lead their familiars and prized livestock through the village in a grand parade. The leader of the parade is chosen by drawing straws, with the winner then crowned with a wreath of flowers and bestowed upon a carved staff with flowers growing along its side. Animal participants are decorated with colorful chalk and jewelry and judged at the end by the village elders to decide who is the best decorated. Similarly, the Celebration of the Harvest occurs twice a year where they celebrate the harvest of the Rainy Season and the Dry season. These celebrations last up to a week with days of dancing and feasting, ending it off with a final day of cleaning up and work to prepare for the next season.
The Trial of Estel
Arguably one of the most important events of a Cielothar’s life is the Trial of Estel, a coming of age ceremony that dictates their path in life, and role in their society. The trial itself is one that most Cielothar would argue is rather simple for how momentous it is, this sparking from the fact that most experiencing this trial usually find themselves lacking a real sense for how long they underwent it, and only really grasped the true expanse of time they spent within the tree’s walls once they heard the chirping of birds come dawn. The trial begins the morning of the Cielothar’s 15th birthday, however it is always prefaced by a large feast, as otherwise most wouldn’t be able to easily bear through the trial’s duration without having their focus broken by hunger. Once this feast has passed and the young Nelfin is at their best health, they’re walked out to the center of the village to face what is referred to as “The Great Tree.” This tree being the largest and oldest standing tree in the Cielothar’s village, hollowed out for the pure purpose of this exact ceremony, and covered by vines of Estel's Jewels . Before they enter the tree, the Cielothar, dressed in their formal garments and wear for the occasion- will be left to stand before a trio of Elders assigned to their village, each granting the Cielothar with their blessings and best wishes for their success of the oncoming trial. As a final gift from their Elders, the Cielothar will be handed a rosary of beads made from the same sacred plant that grows around the base of the tree, which they’ll keep wrapped around their hand for the duration of their meditative state, the Cielothar believing the rosary assists in forming a ‘deeper connection’ with their All-Mother. Afterwards they’ll proceed inside, and with their familiar beside them, begin the trial. The trial itself is incredibly basic at its core, as all the Cielothar genuinely needs to do in order to complete it, is to meditate there for the proceeding twenty four hours, and take this time to truly connect with Estel, bond with their familiar, and discover their ‘true purpose.’ What genuinely happens within this tree is an experience that differs between each who undergoes it, most will remark they heard the voice of Estel herself, and spoke with their goddess, however some will say there wasn’t a bit of conversation involved, but rather that they merely had ‘a feeling’ of what their purpose was intended to be. Come morning, the Cielothar will retire from the tree by their lonesome, and return home, having a final meal before sleeping through the next day. It’s required that they are undisturbed during this period, as their success with the trial won’t be known until they awake from their first rest after they’ve bore through it, usually notified either by a certain ‘hum’ in their head that they can identify as a new-found link with their familiar, or a complete shift of their familiar’s appearance, as depending on the result of their trial and what their familiar was initially, there may be no change whatsoever. Should everything go smoothly, and the Cielothar passes this change- celebrations will commence within the village, and a small gathering will be held to congratulate the Nelfin on their new-found role and purpose in society.
One occurrence that is rare, however not unheard of- is failure of the trial. Usually failure is dictated by something as simple as breaking the state of meditation due to unexpected hunger or something similar, leaving the Cielothar forced to wait until the next upcoming year and arrival of their birthday until they can actually try again. Most of the time this only requires at most two attempts to succeed, and whilst their village is usually immensely forgiving should failure occur initially, concerns will arise of possible issues with the trial-goer should they fail more than once.
Cielothar of the Circle of Aiel are able to conduct an alternative trial outside of Villages through meditating with the undecided Cielothar in a silent environment together for 12 hours. Some Cielothar families who are unable to access one who is of the Aiel Circle conduct their own version of it through a form of group prayer with the unchosen Cielothar in the center. ((You are able to NPC going through the trial with an Aiel cielothar if you are unable to find one in character.))
The habits and principles the Cielothar follow when it comes to their farming and crop-tending are arguably some of the most moral among the Nelfin, as while contrary to popular belief they do in fact eat meat, and it takes a large role in their diet- They treat their livestock incredibly well, and even pay their respects to the animals they use for food. Most animals raised under Cielothar this way live joyously, whether due to merely the practices they put into action, or the naturally soothing presence of their caretakers. Once put to rest, the Cielothar will perform the Esveya ceremony, and only then harvest the animal properly. Not a single piece of the animal harvested goes to waste, to make certain its death serves a full purpose. While they have a great respect for nature and all that it holds, they understand the need for some to die for others to live, and this reflects highly on the food of their culture.
Cielothar cuisine is heavily dependent on their environment, the majority of which is based on the crops they grow and the livestock they keep. Honeyed fruits are a common snack among all Cielothar along with herb filled breads. Baked goods are another common feature with flakey fruit hand pies or frybread, though the Cielothar also boast a surprising amount of meat based dishes in their diet. Cielothar who live on the coastline make very regular use of coconuts and tropical fruits in their cooking, such as mango glazed fish fillets, dried and sweetened coconut candies, flaky pastries made with guava filling. A strong emphasis on seafood based dishes such as seasoned batter fried conch, creamy chowders made with shellfish, or lobster curry made with coconut milk and Banasque Tree. The emphasis on seafood and fruit doesn’t stop them from eating meat as well, goat and pork are common meats prepared and eaten, usually prepared with a good amount of coconut oil.
Due to their close bonds with yanar and the natural, Cielothar who live in the deep forests tend to have a more vegetable based diet such as stews made from vegetables and herbs growing around their forest homes, to mushrooms skewers glazed with honey, and occasionally meat from hunted game. Despite the larger differences, there are some common food trends among all Cielothar, such as stuffed vegetables of all sorts, particularly gourds or peppers with other vegetables or meats, a heavy emphasis on herbs and seasoning for more flavorful meals, and creating fruit preserves and nonperishable foods. The fruit of the Giving Tree is a particular favorite of Cielothar’s for baking and jams.
The Faith of Estel is at the center of Ciellonian society, however, it bears stark differences to the Altalar counterpart, and is viewed by the Cielothar as the purest form of worship. Cielothar abandoned the other deities within the Pantheon, in favour of a complete emphasis on Estel herself, and Her influence on the natural world. Reverence to the All-Mother is a deeply personal experience, with each Cielothar paying individual homage to Her through their day-to-day actions, but it remains curated by the priests and priestesses of the village. These individuals offer spiritual guidance to whoever enters the Great Tree, which is seen as the holiest site in the village. Despite their individual worship in Estel alone, however, the Cielothar place great faith within the Nenya, and subsequently the Yanar, as the voices and guardians of Estel. This brings in many parallels between the Ciellonian faith and the Fated Faith displayed within their Yanar neighbours, and in many cases, leads to a syncretistic approach to religion in many cases, with most Cielothar respecting the teachings of both faiths equally.
Estel, the All-Mother
The Cielothar view Estel as paramount, and it is She they should give thanks to for their continued survival. Estel is usually depicted as a tall, beautiful blonde Altalar woman, usually clad in purest of white flowing fabrics, however, it is not unknown for villages to deviate from this characterisation of the deity, as there is no universally accepted appearance for the Goddess. They believe, without a doubt, Estel to be the sole divine creator of Aloria and all that dwells within, and it is She who is wholly omnipotent and provides protection to those who are most devout. It is Estel who grants them with their more supernatural powers, and with their Lightgiver Ritualism, which is a centrepiece to Ciellonian worship. The Cielothar believe acts such as the Wildering to be acts of Divine punishment against the Altalar, punishing them for turning their backs on nature, and as such, view themselves as Estel’s chosen with their granted gifts from the Goddess.
- Outsiders find themselves getting lost in the woods surrounding Cielothar settlements, some say that the woods are enchanted to keep those with ill intent out.
- The elders of the villages purposefully keep information from the younger members of the commune, believing that there is true bliss in ignorance. This can lead to many a dark lie to be shared from those in power in order for them to achieve what they view as a greater good.
- While it isn’t a frequent concern, due to how close-knit Cielothar communities tend to be, theft is taken as an extremely serious and taboo offense. With how close these elves hold their personal belongings and trinkets to heart, parents will frequently warn their children with tales of rebellious younglings with sticky fingers, who mysteriously disappeared from their villages after nabbing someone’s belongings.
- Some Cielothar chefs have gotten into the practice of candying bugs, it is considered an oddity among most Cielothar but some of the more mischief inclined tell travellers that it is a delicacy to trick them into eating them.
- It is said that the greenish hue to the deep forest Cielothar comes from the plants they eat, but such rumors come from Ailor children being scared into eating their food by well-meaning parents.