Eire, Island in the Mists
The thesis is taking its toll this week, and I’m nearing the end of my degree, so I haven’t had the time or focus to write a new Temir update. Instead, I have an update from the meta-setting. Since I use a real world map, Eire is located about where you’d expect it to be, and of course it’s full of fairies, in a manner of speaking. The Killoren are intriguing because they can take on a shift aspects (and thus abilities), and I wanted them to have a society which reflects that fluidity.
Eire, the short version
Eire is a small island just to the west of Albion, and has been, as far back as anyone can remember, the home of the Killoren, and ultimately the seat of power of many of the races of fey, in accordance with the Concords of Aedh, which have bound all fey together since time immemorial. The Killoren are unique among the elder races, in that like all fey, they do not die. They can, either from accident, foul play, or through the iarnród (Cold road), but they do not do so naturally. This indefinite lifespan gives them a certain perspective that others lack. Elves live a long time, and most dedicate themselves to taking care of others, setting an example as a noble race. The Killoren have noticed that, over time, things tend to take care of themselves, and have adopted a sort of isolationist fatalism, losing interest in the society of the younger races, whose eras pass in the blink of an eye.
This uniqueness extends within the fey as well, because they are the only fey to settle and build towns, claim territory, and have official traffic with other races as a nation. Most fey live alone, or in small tribes, either wandering the earth or bound to a single spot.
Killoren society is fragmented, as befits such an aspected race. Those that favour the Hunter often live in seclusion, tending to the more pastoral places in Eire, while those that favour the Ancient dwell in scattered villages, often acting as lorekeepers and sages, or simply enjoying a communion with the land. Those Destroyer aspected Killoren train and dwell in coastal forts, honing their skills of might and magic for the defense of Eire and all fey, as the Concords decree.
That said, not all of the Killoren are scattered to the winds, divided by their aspects. Only the older ones, more set in their ways, finished with the life of court, with its gaiety and stern judgment, retire to the quiet of the fringes. Killoren life begins in the city of Aedan. Founded by Aedh in ancient times, the gem of the western ocean is home to many of the older races. Dwarven artisans make their living beside elven magi, nymphs dance in the streets to satyrs’ pipes, and even a few of the free folk, the centaur, have found a home there, just close enough to their rolling hills of Albion.
The youths of the Killoren begin there, often driven to explore the world through the wanderlust that Aedan inspires, or choosing instead to while away the centuries playing the games of court, wealth and politics. And there are politics. As the effective rulers of all the fey bound by the Concords of Aedh, there are plenty of positions available from magistrates settling disputes to being an ambassador to the lands of the elder races. Only four positions remain inviolate, untouchable by even the direst of machinations. The Meallan (Three Sages) are the advisors of the Gwrtheyrn (High King), and there is one Meallan for each aspect, though they change every day in a rotation determined by the position of Aedh. The Gwrtheyrn himself is Cadeyrn, appointed by the Maellan after the death of Conlaoch in the time of strife.
Most Killoren religious figures are druids, which fits their connection to nature. Those that choose to worship gods over nature itself find themselves drawn to the aspects of Aedh and his wife Caillech, the Dark-eyed Lady. Each one exists in three aspects, and their priests typically favour the aspect that they worship. Aedh and Caillech are present in all Killoren’s lives, whether or not they’re priests, represented by a pair of quick stars that seem to circle each other eternally in the night sky. Others worship nature herself, mother and father of all, a neutral deity of quiet power.
At this point, it’s not surprising to hear that Killoren history begins with Aedh. One of the First Ones, it is said that Aedh and his brethren where nothing but soil the wind, until one day it passed through the leaves of the tree of life. Caught in its branches, Aedh and his siblings fell to the earth, first of all the fey. All other fey have come from one element or another, nixies from the sea, satyrs from fire, dryads from earth, but only the Killoren come from nature herself.
Aedh founded the city of Aedan, and his travels brought him to each race of fey. His deeds and those of his companions are legend, the tales of how he faced trials and danger sung by Killoren bards throughout history. Each race marked the Concords, making the Killoren their guardians and, in essence, creating the first high race of the fey.
Eire at War
The Killoren are fierce warriors when they have to be, though it’s not often they fight wars. They aided the elves and dwarves of Albion against the orcs many thousands of years ago, but more recently the time of strife pitted brother against brother as newborn warlocks struggled to find their place among the Killoren. It led to the death of Conlaoch, and the theft of his name as his brother and his followers, those who declared the warlocks demons, went into exile.
Magic in Eire
Magic is in the blood of the Killoren. It touches everything they do, and has always been a part of their lives in one way or another. Typically Druids, Sorcerers, or Bards, in late centuries another power has emerged among the High Ones, that of Warlocks, those who wield the power of the silver behind the sky. When they first emerged, brother turned against brother in an event prophesied for millennia, but not understood until it was too late. There are those warlocks who do not draw their power from the silver, but instead from hellfire and blood, dark ones wielding darker power, always at a price. Still, they police their own, ever vigilant in their new position as the elite guards of the Maellan.
Killoren and their neighbors
The Killoren nation has essentially two different kinds of interaction with its neighbors. Those neighbors that are of the elder races, such as the elves and dwarves, are accorded the honour and respect that is their due after their long alliance with the Killoren. Other, younger races, such as the humans, are treated with indifference. Human kingdoms come and go, and it’s a miracle if they last a thousand years. There’s little point to treating with them, and humans, while not entirely unwelcome on the streets of Aedan, rarely find their way there. The Killoren, while they have no love for the orcs, have heard many tales of the humans struggles with and ultimate extermination of them. Any race that could so casually execute another ought to be kept at a distance.