Tolael os Mys, Hini i Arrna[Note used Eberron and LoTR translators] Children of the Storm:
The Children of the Storm are a small elven tribe dwelling near harsh, coastal waters. They are experts at the use of two-handed swords and longbows and also have a love for the sea. They have unique features such as dark green to blue hair, eyes the various colors of the ocean and pale skin that is often tanned from exposure to the sun during long sailing days. The Children thrive on these harsh conditions.
Lyiae is the primary goddess of the children. Whether Lyiae is a male or female is debated since some of the far reaches of the tribe seem to worship a male version, however, Lyiae will be referred to as a female for ease. She is a goddess of weather, both good and bad and seen as the sole creator of the Children of the Storm. When approached by other elvish tribes they do not disagree with a polytheistic view of religion, rather they simply state that they will give their worship to none other than Lyiae.
Statues of Lyiae portray her as a thin, athletic elvish female who could be considered a male if it weren’t for unique facial features and ever so slight breasts. Some claim that the same image is used for the male form, simply that he is made more muscular. Her hair is long and wild, often portrayed as flailing about wildly. She holds a two-handed sword bearing her personal inscription which can be translated into “Life is a Tempest.” She is seen as an even-handed goddess prone to rapid changes of personality that can only be predicted by the wisest sailor.
Children of the Storm dwelling by the oceans often will send their dead to Lyiae on a small raft dressed in blue and green clothes. Also, a particular festival called the Day of Rains is held as a holy day once per year. For some reason it always seems to rain on this day. Whether it is coincidence or not is unknown. During the Day of Rains the tribe will make a large fire where each family makes a sacrifice. This sacrifice is traditionally a token of fish, silver, or a trophy won from an enemy. Then the Lightning Dance will occur. This event involves an intricate dance that is both sensuous and violent. The entire tribe will partake in this although often the young or elders will sit out and simply watch. The dance is accompanied by traditional music making the sound of a storm. On days when the day culminates in particularly harsh weather the elves take it as a sign of good luck for the coming year.
The clerics of Lyiae are respected within the tribe. They are considered protectors and often accompany the warriors into battle to wreak havoc with weather magic. Some worshippers of Lyiae have the ability to transform into fearsome beasts. The clerics dress in white, yellow or dark blue robes but don battle armor for war. They are approached for signs of good sailing, healing and advice by the various members of the tribe. The tribe’s Chieftain considers the head priest to Lyiae to be his second in command and religious advisor. The high priest often does not interfere in political matters unless it is of highest importance to the goddess. In which case, the chieftain rarely dismisses the demands of the priests.
Children of the Storm erect small shrines to Lyiae. These shrines are made out of either the rocks of the ocean or driftwood and contain paintings and stone statues of the goddess and her exploits. Trophies from past battles are often found adorning places of honor inside the shrine as gifts to the goddess and her priests.
It is said that Lyaie was not present during the creation of the world. As such, she missed the chance to create her own. The Children of the Storm do not know or care who originally created their race. They are the chosen, the unique among them. At some point a terrible famine and draught plagued their people and they looked to the weather for aid. They made supplications, prayers and war in the name of gaining rain for their region. Finally, they managed to gain Lyaie’s interest by defeating a mighty champion of her own creation. This beast looked like a dragon and yet could fly with no wings and had six legs. It breathed gouts of lightning and could shake the very world with its thunder. The elven tribe saw it as a last chance to gain the gods’ attention. They cared not which god, simply that someone, anyone bring them reprieve.
Champion upon champion of the elves fell to the creature’s fangs, breath and claws. Finally they brought it down with the very last of them dancing upon its corpse. Lyaie was impressed with the determination and vigor of these little creatures that she began to call her Storm Children after the great uproar she claimed they caused for her. Rather than bringing them rain she caught the entire tribe in a great whirlwind and carried them away to the coast where they live to this day. Here they had plenty of water but no trees and thus learned a new way to survive. Even while being a harsh mistress, it is said that in times of great need that Lyaie herself will walk from the heavens to confront the foes of the Children of the Storm.
Tribal Leadership: This is considered a great position won not just through prowess in battle but through leadership and wisdom. The position of leadership in the tribe is taken by the chieftain who is chosen during the Trial by Sea whenever the last chieftain passes away. The chieftain also uses the high priest and a council of elders for advice.
Role of the ChieftainSpoiler:
The role of the chieftain is primarily secular leadership. He serves as a judge for all crimes within the tribe and since the tribes are typically relatively small (less than two hundred individuals) it is easy to pull this off. He plans raids on nearby races and either leads them personally or chooses a Warchief to lead the battle. The Chieftain converses with the head priest on issues of religious importance such as new opponents coming to the area and atypical weather. He also oversees the construction and sale of ships. The elves have a thriving business selling powerful sailing vessels to allies or those nearby that they do not see as a hostile threat. The chieftain leads all negotiations with foreign dignitaries and most major trades with merchants but most allow their people to take care of minor, personal trades themselves.
Role of the Council of EldersSpoiler:
This council consists of the ten oldest elven heads of family. Due to their age they are seen as wise and intelligent. They advise the chieftain on affairs of secular nature including war, diplomacy and trade. The chieftain does not have to abide by the council’s advice although at times to do so would bring the entire tribe against him. The council's strongest role is one of maintaining tradition. They will make sure that a new chieftain does not try to go against the strong traditions of a tribe. These traditions vary from tribe to tribe and will be discussed in another section.
Trial by SeaSpoiler:
When the chieftain passes away a great ceremony is held for his passing. He is sent to the waters in typical Children of the Sea fashion but is accompanied by sacrifices made to the waters to Lyiae to aid his passing. After the ceremony the eldest of the tribe gather and set a day between two days and a week of the chief’s death ritual to hold the Trial by Sea. To gain permission to join the trial a young elf must perform three duties.
The First Rite: The first rite dictates that the elf must bring an offering to the council of elders. This offering is typically a type of fish. The rarer or larger the fish the better and more likely it is to gain the acknowledgement of the elders. This offering is then burnt within the old chieftain’s home and offered to Lyiae. The council acknowledges the elf’s claim by painting a black mark on his face with the ash.
The Second Rite: The second rite entails exiting the council’s tent after the first rite and calling for acceptance by the tribe. After the first rite the entire tribe will gather before the tent. The elf must then ask the tribe if they would accept him as leader if he wins the trial. A majority of the elven families must cheer for the elf if he is to take the trial.
The Third Rite: The final rite requires the applicant to build a single-man sailing ship. Upon completion of this final act he is ready for the trial.
Trial: The trial itself gathers all the applicants on the shore of the ocean. They must set sail on the ships they built and head for a pre-set destination. This varies depending on where the tribe is. It could be a particular rock out in sea, an island or the tip of the bay. The destination is typically three full day’s sail away and the elf is expected to make way with no supplies other then the ship, three spears and a net. The first elf to arrive (also commonly the only one to return) is the chosen leader. As proof that they went to the location, another elf is stationed at the location to give the applicants an oyster pearl. If the applicant returns without the pearl then they cannot become leader. If they lose the pearl they cannot get another.
The Children of the Storm are excellent ship builders. They design and sail the superbly fast ships with excellent handling. While they may not be the best, they may be the best in their region. These ships typically have triangle sails with sleek, simple designs. As a symbol to Lyiae all ships have a storm cloud burned onto the hull before being used or sold. Building a ship is a religious and fulfilling event for this tribe. For smaller vessels, a single elf will often search for the perfect wood and even weave his own sails from specially chosen cloth. Larger ships are a tribal event that requires lots of participation and is taken as both serious work and a fun activity. The sails on the ships are made of specially prepared plant fibers obtained from a type of reed that only grows in brackish water where heavy rain occurs. This reed is called the Goddess Reed in reference to Lyiae. The fibers are gathered and blessed by the priests of the tribe before being woven into sails. They are specially treated to throw off water and work well even during stormy weather. Children of the Storm vessels are prized due to the fact that they can sail in even the harshest weather without fear. Some say that it is because the vessels are blessed by Lyiae and only while those on board promise no harm to the Children that the vessels will sail well.
Children of the Storm build their houses for practicality and defense. A typical dwelling will be located thirty feet above ground, although some will argue that thirty-five feet is a must have. The structure will be built either on a rocky outcropping, the side of a cliff or in trees. The building itself will be made out of wood and decorated with carvings of storms, battles and sailing. These three things are their most sacred events. These dwellings, called Orivs [Oriv singular] have an average of five rooms. Two rooms will be bedrooms for the occupants, one room will be for food preparation, one room will be the main room where food is eaten and guests entertained and one room will hold the family’s most precious possessions or be another bedroom. Orivs are decorated with war trophies, pieces of prizes vessels, driftwood and tapestries of Lyiae or important events in the tribe’s history.
The Children live in family units of four to six. This group is made up of the oldest of the family first. If a house can no longer house the entire family unit then the youngest are expected to move into a nearby Oriv. These elves have strong family bonds and value their ancestors greatly. Each home will hold a record of the family tree going back until the beginning of the tribe’s beginning. This record is also kept by the tribe’s shrine in case one is lost to fire or other hazards.