So.. You have traveled far and
wide and have finnnaly come to the capital of this fair and
glorious city of Haven. But you are plaged by questions and half
whispers of stories you have heard and hunger for the meat of
truth. Asking several people that you pass upon the board streets
of the Capital you are eventually directed to the Heart of the
city and the the Palace and the Colligum beside it. Politely you
ask one of the guard to direct you to the library and he has a
page lead you deep within the cool halls of the Colliguim. The
page leaves you in the entrance of a a room, so full of books
that your head spins. The smell of dust and dry papper is thick
in the room, and behind a large oak desk sits an elderly woman in
imaculate whites. Her hair is almost the same color as her tidy
uniform, and brass wire glasses are perched upon her weather
beaten face. Scars across a face and hands testify that this is
not this library lide was not one that she had held for her life,
but had probably come into it as she grew too old. You clear your
voice as you approch and she looked up, bright blue eyes
twinkling with merriment as your soft hesitant voice seems to
echo loudly around the room.
(What do you ask?)
What is Valdemar?
What are Herals and Companions?
What are Gifts?
What are Healers?
What are Bards?
What is this world(Velgarth)?
What are Tayledras?
What are hertasi?
What are dyheli?
What are Shin'a'in?
What are Karsites?
What are Gryphons?
What is a Vale?
What is the Colligium?
What are Kyree?
What are Firecats?
What is Hardon?
What is Rethwellan?
What should I be?
~What is Valdemar?~
The old women smiled and spread her withered and scared hands wide. "Why child, you are in Valdemar! Valdemar is the name of our Kingdom. It was founded by King Valdemar, who came to this land escaping political prosicution of the vast Empire in the east. When he and his people were safe he settled here and built from it the beginings of our Kingdom. He called this place Haven, and decreed that all peoples who needed shelter and safe harbor were welcome within her city walls."
~What are Herals and Companions?~
She laughed softly and her eyes crackled with humor. "Why if that isnt the most common question I hear around here child. And though the question seems simple, the answer is a mouthfull. When the founding King of Valdemar came to the site of his new kingdom, he beseached the Powers of the light for an way to choose those of his decendants that would be just and fair in the ruling of his beloved kingdom. From this half prayer half spell came the first Companions. The Companions looked to be horses made to perfection. All were white that shone as bright as the moon, with eyes the deep endless blue of the sky. But they were not ordinary horses, for though they looked like beasts they would understand and reason as well, if not better, then most humans. They came forth, for there were four of them, and Chose the King, his son, and his closest aid, (and for the life of me I cant remember who the last chose). The Companions would Choose only those they found to be worthy, just, true, and honest. But most of all had and undying loyalty to their country and King. Those that the Companions choose will one day become Heralds. Heralds are the mouthpeices of the King (or Queen). They are, in effect, the Kingdoms "special forces". Every Herald is in possetion of (even if it is minor) what is Called a Gift. Heralds are sent off to do the Kingdoms will. Weaither they be Diplomats or spies. The Companions are there to guide them and give advice, for Companions can speak to their Chosen via a bond that is only breakable by death. And often if one is killed, soon after the other will as well as the shock of breaking that bond is so great that it often stuns, kills, or maims the one left behind.
~What are Gifts?~
The old woman sits back in her broad, overstuffed chair and nodds slowly. "Ah... Well then.. Gifts are those powers that cirtain people are given. They usually develop around the time of puberty, but those born with especially strong gifts have been known to manifest much much younger. These are the powers of the mind for the most part. Healers Gift, Bards Gift, Mindspeak, Fetching, and Firestarting are only but a few of the Gifts that we know of. There is also a much rarer Mage gift, but we know so little about it and are only just now relearning of it.
~What are Healers?~
The womans friendly smile answers your quetioning and puzzled frown. "Ah, the Healers are those people who have been born with the driving hunger to cure the sick and the ill and have been also given the Healers Gift. You will have undoubtably seen them about. They are the ones dressed up all in bright emerads green. Thats who you can find them out from simple herblists and normal doctors. Especially when in battle they can be easily spotted, but oh how they do complain about getting blood on those pritty clothes of theirs!"
~What are Bards?~
The old woman nodds her head tword the open window where faint music drifts in from somewhere outside. "Bards are the special folk who are born with the Bardic gift. That music you hear is the Bardic students practicing outside. They are alot like the common minstrals that you have undoubtably seen in your many travels child. But Bards are the only ones who wear the bright Scarlets. And only they can truely make you feel the music. For that is what the gift does, it wraps the listeners into the music. You should stop by the Bardic wing and listen in to a few of their practices.. I assue you they wont mind, they are always hungering for an audiance!"
~What is this world (Velgarth)?~
The old woman sits in stunned silence a moment before concern flickered across her face and snowy brows drew together. "Dear child, have you come down with a sickeness? Shall I call the Page to summon a Healer for you? No? Well... If you are sure then. This Velgarth, our home. Were all of the peoples live. Be them Vadimarians or Karsites, Tayledras or Shin'a'in.
~What are Tayledras?~
The woman smiled and laughed softly. "Sometimes I myself have asked that self same question. They are a strange group, that is for sure. Almost every single one of them has that rare Mage gift, or another Gift of some other type. They live within the Vales, deep within the Peligir, but some have been known, on rare occations, to venture out into the world. They are rather private people but once one has been welcomed and accpeted by one they are as compasionate as you or I. They say that they are related to the Shin'a'in, but where as the Shin'a'in chose the path of the Mystic, Taylandras took the path of the Mage. They are also called Hawkbrothers, for they breed and bond to Bondbirds. The Bondbirds are large versions of their smaller, wild counterparts, and have a smack of intelligance in them to boot. We have some here in residace at Haven, perhaps you should hunt one of them out and talk to them. They are sure to know more then I do"
~What are hertasi?~
She paused for a moment and looked rather thoughtfull about that. "Well now.. Hertasi are the little lizard folk that seem to attatch themselves to the Taylandras. They do most of the things for the Taylandras that you and I would rather not do, such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, and other such menial chores. Now dont think of them as slaves, they do it out of the pure goodness of their large hearts. They are, as far as I can tell, quite, industrious servents and steadfast friends to their Taylandras protectors. Not all hertasi live with Taylandras though.. some have made their own small settlements, usually in swamps or wetlands where they are more comfortable. There has even been a hertasi mage once in the echo's of History. But as far as I can recall there hasnt been another sence."
~What are dyheli?~
The old ladies eyes shone brightly as if recalling a memory from echos past and she smiled brightly. "Ah, the dyheli! Such a nobal and gracefull race. Dyheli look like great deer or elk, but do not let their beast like appearance fool you child. They are probably wiser and smarter then you or I will ever have the privilage of being. Oh yes, they still have taints of their wild ancestors in them. They frighten easily and they stay in herds out in the wilderness most of the time. And a grander site you will never see when one of the great large bucks is sparring with another. But oh yes, by Haven they are wicked smart."
~What are Shin'a'in?~
She grew thoughtfull as she leaned back into her chair. "Shin'a'in. Yes. They are an odd race, like the Taylandras. Taylandras and Shin'a'in claim to be from the same ancestors that parted ways at the end of the Mage Wars. Though what basis of truth they have to prove that I wouldnt know. They are hardly similer anymore I think. Shin'a'in live out on the Dorshia Plains where they are nomadic and raise grand herds of their famouse warhorses. A Shin'a'in steed, even if not a warhorse, is a very expensive comodity. A smarter, stronger horse you wont find outside of a Companion. And the Shin'a'in guard their horses like you and I might shelter a child. Stallions are never allowed to leave the plains and If one is stolen then entire Shin'a'in clan will come hunting for you from then on. Not a wise idea in my opinion I belive. They are also very closely tied to their Goddess. What do they call Her.. ah yes. The Star Eyed. They claim to speak with Her often, but if that is true I do not know. Taylandras also call Her their Goddess as well. I wonder if thats why they belive themselves to be related? We have one living here at Haven, perhaps you can hunt her down and talk to her. She might even show you that big brute of a gelding she calls a horse."
~What are Karsites?~
A small wrinkle crossed her brow as she gave a slight frown. "Karsites? Ah, a long and bloody history has Valdemar had with the Karsites. They are a religiously fanatic race and for many generations their Preisthood was heavily corrupted by power hungry men that waged war with Valdemar and mindwashed the entire Karsite population into beliving that Heralds and Companions were evil demons. But about seventy years ago there was a large upheaval when their God, Vkandis, grew tired of the corruption and, quite litteraly, insinerated all the corrupt priests and placed the Crown of Prophacy upon His chosen Son of the Sun, who happened to be a woman. Things have been much better since between our two countries, and the crisis of the Mage Storms formed a firm alliance between us. The Son of the Sun brought peace and order back to her land after many years of bitter arguments with the Priesthood. There are still those who linger in the old belifes that all Herals and Companions are vicious demons that will come in the night to steal and eat their children, but the damage of generations is slowly healing.
~What are Gryphons?~
The woman uses an old, scared hand to scratch at the tightly braided white hair. "Well for a long time it was thought that the Gryphons were only meer myth and legends. Or extinct at the most. Then about seventy years ago the then Heir, Princess Elspeth came with a group of four of them! I only dimly remember it, but they have since set up a pair within the Palace to act as ambassadors. Lovely folks if you dont mind having something larger then a horse with beaks and talons that look like they could easily make a meal of you."
~What is a Vale?~
Her eyes grew distant as she sighed softly at some faint memory of days long gone at the question. After a moment she snapped back to attention and smiled. "Vales are what Taylandras call their homes. They are true peices of the Heavens. They use magic in a specified location and within the borders of a Vale winter never touches it and it is always spring. They shape the rock to be heated pools for bathing and relaxing, and the little hertasi folk plant flowers and tree of such you will never see outside of the Vale. But dont go into a Vale uninvited. You might find yourself looking down the wrong end of a weapon."
~What is the Colligium?~
Her eyes sparkled with amusement. "Your in part of it! The Colligium is the place where all those wishing to learn more may enroll and take classes. Herald Trainee's are seen in the dusty grey, Bardic trainee's are in the rust colored red, Healer trainees are in the dark green, and the unaffiliated, those who are here purely to learn, wear blue. You can go see about enrolling if you would like. Colligium is funded by the Palace, and only the best are accepted."
~What are Kyree?~
She nodded slowly. "Ah yes, the kyree. They too have a represenitive here. The kryee are an odd race. They look like overlarge wolves, well, at least their heads and tails too. Their body structure is more like a large cat. They also have a third gender. Aside from male and female they also have nuters, which are essenally sexless. Since the nuters are not needed for breeding, any kyree you find away from a pack will more then likely be a nuter. They are strong Mindspeakers and are as intelligant or even more so then us furres."
~What are Firecats?~
"Ah.. Firecats are the Karsite priests version of Companions. However Firecats are more rare, and more picky then Companions. Typical for a cat, wouldnt you say?" She laughed softly and shook her head in amusement. "Firecats are easily the size of a bobcat with thick, cream colored coats. Though they have dark red poined on their ears and tails. Lovely creatures really. Though a bit mouthy at times. Unlike a Companion who will usually only communicate with their Chosen and other Companions, Firecats will speak with any one they wish.
~What is Hardon?~
Her brows drew together and she frowned ever so slightly. "Hardon is one of Valdemar's allies. About eighty years ago Hardon waged a long and very bloody battle with Valdemar. Apparently their King had been seduced with Blood Magics and had enscrolled and forced his own people to attack. It lasted for many years and the losses were insermountable. But eventually the foul King was killed and Hardon slowly began to heal. They are still healing, and it will last a long time before they are once again whole."
~What is Rethwellan?~
She smiled again, folding her arms across her desk infront of her. "Rethwellan has been one of Valdemars closest and firmest allies for generations. There have been our rocky moments in the past, true, but it was Rethwellan who provided Valdemar with the much needed Mages when Hardon attacked with magic that Valdemar had forgotten had exsisted. Rethwellen has given Valdemar many valuble allies and many a Herald has come to us from that land since the barrier that blocked Valdemar off from knowlage of true Magic fell. Our royal houses have been firmly entwined when Queen Selenay married their Prince and gave birth to twins. Of whome now rule Valdemar as Ruler and Rulers Own."
Valdemar, The Herald's Collegium, and all related items from the Valdemar series are © Mercedes Lackey, Firebird Arts and Music, and DAW books, 2004
Marishna, Jai Shadowdancer, Amauren, Caleb Mithandir, Eshlen Zhali, Trinity Heavens, Faylen, and all other involved characters are © of their players.
~What should I be?~
The womans elderly shoulders gave a shrug benieath the emaculate whites. "Why you can be whatever you wish to be child! Go forth and find where it is that you fit in and feel happy!" (Note: In this continuancy you can play fairly much whatever you want. Eventually however, in order to keep things in order as more players join, some restrictions on cirtain things, such as Companions and Firecats, may be put into place. And as is it would be nice if you asked permission first before creating one, just so we can keep track on who is playing one of these creatures. But for now, feel free to "Let your Imagination Soar!")