Sidhe

Average Lifespan: 750 to 1000 years
Average Height: 5 to 6 feet tall
Average Weight (healthy): 110-150 pounds (Females) 140-170 (Males)
Pregnancy Duration: Sidhe always give live birth to a set of twins after nine months of pregnancy.

Regarding Sidhe:
“Single-minded in their pursuit of their ideas of honor and loyalty, a Sidhe can be your staunchest ally or most implacable foe. They have a reputation for chivalry, a reputation no doubt deserved, but even chivalry may ring hollow when one considers those who have died over the years in the name of the Sidhe protecting their ‘Charges’. Seldom will you hear complaints from folks that have benefited from a Sidhe’s guardianship, but if you have any disagreement at all with a Sidhe’s charge, however legitimate your side may be or however terrible the sin of the Charge, the Sidhe will not budge in their unwavering support. It is at once their greatest virtue and most terrible sin.”
~ Excerpt from the Book of Ages

The knight defeating all challengers that would question the honor of his lady, all for no more than a token of her affection…the guardian keeping a lonely vigil over the ruins of an old temple…the hermit that kills anyone that would dare cut a tree or slay an animal in his forest…all of these embody the Sidhe, a People that venerate honor, loyalty, chivalry, and courage above all else. The Sidhe have dedicated their lives to protecting others, whether they be the pixies of their homeland, Aeponae, or a farmer tilling his land, a kingdom, an idea, or a grove of trees. These guardianships may last only a few years or consume the Sidhe’s lifetime, depending on what it is they choose to protect. The guardianship lasts as long as the Charge, or thing it is that they are protecting, and many people over the years have found this duty to be romantic, using it as the basis for a multitude of tales. Young, would-be bards know that they have a good chance of gaining material for a new story or song by accompanying a Sidhe, and many rulers eagerly vie for a Sidhe bodyguard. So widely are the ethics and integrity of the Sidhe known that they have even inspired like-minded individuals from other Peoples to emulate them, leading to the creation of knights and town guards.

Physical Characteristics

In many ways, the Sidhe resemble their Elven cousins, with pointed ears and lithe, slender bodies. High, hollow cheeks are the norm, with their bone so pronounced that they often appear ridge-like beneath their skin. They also share a tendency towards longer fingers, with many of their People being double-jointed. The Sidhe were created to server as protectors in a wild land, however, and so while their mannerisms are polite and refined, their appearance has a touch of the untamed about it.

Sidhe possess skin colors similar to pixies, with yellows, whites, reds, blues, and purples being among the most common, with their hair tending along these lines in various shades, as well. Notably these colors share a close similarity to the colors of the flowers that are native to Aeponae, and what may have started as a means of camouflage when creating the pixies became a simple matter of adornment for the Sidhe.
Sidhe also enjoy a set of long, translucent wings, similar to the pixies but also to such common animals as dragonflies and lacewings. Like these creatures, the Sidhe’s wings may even be tinged with color along the very edges and throughout the veins. Far from being frail, however, the wings are easily strong enough to support the weight of the Sidhe, with the “veins” being bony structures and the translucent material of the wings having similar properties to chitin.

Most people are somewhat slower to realize that the Sidhe are possessed of eyes that are solid in color, with black, white, and a swirling blend of green and gold being the most common. Their teeth and nails, too, may be somewhat pointed, which is perhaps the reason why Sidhe favor full armor that covers many of their features. This is not to suggest that the Sidhe are entirely bestial in appearance, however. All Sidhe possess the grace and otherworldly beauty so apparent in the lines said to be descended from the Sylvan, be that a tame grace or a feral one.

Dress

Outside of Aeponae, Sidhe are normally found in pursuit of their life’s calling, that of guardianship. To that end, many Sidhe favor full armors that offer the best protection, and their shields tend towards the tower variety so that they can better defend their charges. Not all Sidhe serve in a physical manner, however. Those who are drawn to defend such lofty concepts as freedom, love, nature or peace may find their roles best served within courts or in deep woods, in which case they would wear whatever clothing was appropriate for that area. Most Sidhe are possessed of enough good manners and the desire to cause the least amount of disturbance that they adopt the armor and dress mannerisms of the place in which they serve.
At home in Aeponae, most Sidhe favor the layering of silk robes during colder seasons and may only wear a single robe or very little at all in the warmer months. Sidhe have a very different concept of modesty than most of the Peoples, believing that clothing should have a function apart from a simple covering of nakedness, which has never been a real concern with them.

History

It is said that when the goddess Kitolyi passed into dreams for the last time she was plagued by nightmares and uncertainty about the fate of her beloved pixies. The Vela, those moth spirits that guide and protect the dead, heard the cries of the goddess and sought to comfort her. A brave few of their number volunteered to take flesh in the mortal world and continue to guard the pixies, and any other who might need them, in Kitolyi’s absence. The goddess blessed them for their pity and ushered them quietly into the world, unbeknownst to many of her kindred. The tale goes that when those spirits awoke to mortal life, they were the first Sidhe. This may be a simple tale, of course, but the Sidhe hold this to be true.
For many years the Sidhe stayed by the pixies’ side, until a Human man washed ashore Aeponae. Half-drowned, he said he was a guard for a diplomat that had been journeying to seek help to stop a war that had sprung up between two villages. His ship had gone down, taking the diplomat with it, but the man was determined to find help and begged the Sidhe to lend aid. Only one Sidhe went with him, a warrior who was moved by the man’s pleas and pledged that he would protect him and offer his aid. Many years later when the Sidhe returned to share his tales of success and adventure, he inspired other Sidhe to take on similar Charges in the outside world. The pixies have never seemed to mind, feeling that a short time without their guardians is worth the stories that are brought home after their quests are completed.

Culture and Religion

Venerating the concepts of honor, loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice, the Sidhe were the original inspiration for the modern concept of knights and chivalry, with many of the earliest of that line of warriors studying within the shores of Aeponae. Problems within their society are dealt with in highly ritualized challenges, with final say being accorded to the winner. These challenges are seldom to the death, however, and even a defeat in a challenge is held to be honorable and courageous. For this reason villains are romanticized in Sidhe lore almost as often as heroes, and as both sides tend to practice the same strict adherence to manners, ritual, and a code of personal ethics it can often be difficult to tell the two apart to the untrained eye.

Sidhe train from a young age to one day take on a Charge, which can be everything from a person, concept, area of nature, profession, animal or art form which they feel is worthy of protection. Often this means training in all areas of mind and body to best defend their Charge against attackers, but can just as easily mean that they strive to become masters of an art form. They may make it a driving focus to collect and protect ancient documents, keep wood cutters from a sacred grove, or even take on the mantle of a diplomat to safeguard a country from political enemies. To live and die guarding a Charge is a sacred duty and honor amongst the Sidhe, one which will often consume their entire lives but which usually ends at either the death or destruction of the Charge itself. At that point in time the Sidhe is free to take another Charge or return home to Aeponae in order to train the next generation of Sidhe.

Though it is rare, Sidhe or their Charge may break the bond between them. This is most often done by the Sidhe when their Charge makes it unreasonably difficult to protect them, as the Sidhe may justifiably claim that something intent on its own destruction cannot be safeguarded. The Charge, too, may break with the Sidhe if they feel they are not being properly protected or they grow to hate or resent their guardian. When either side breaks the bond, this is traditionally done by performing a ritual cleansing and severing a rope inside a temple of the Elements. The other party may be sent the severed rope, but failing the ability to do that the rope may be left in the temple as a silent testament.

Geography

Sidhe make their home predominately on the island of Aeponae, far to the south of the known land of Valindir. More than eight tenths of the island is heavily forested, with the remaining two tenths being almost exclusively rivers and ponds. Visitors will not find sprawling cities of stone and clay here, and where the Sidhe have consented to build homes for themselves they have followed in the path of the Daphinae, constructing homes for themselves out of fallen growth and bamboo which wrap around the trees. In this way the trees serve as central pillars for each Sidhe home, supporting the weight of the structure while accepting fertilizer and care from the Sidhe’s who dwell with them. This is possible in large part to the temperate climate of the island which makes possible the growth of large bamboo groves and thick, deciduous trees competing constantly for growing space. There is a need for Sidhe to thin the growth of the trees and brush from time to time to prevent forest fires, a threat which can quickly spread beyond control in the dense growth of Aeponae.

Perhaps because they were originally created to protect pixies, a diminutive species of creature which requires massive amounts of forested area to live in, the Sidhe have an innate respect for the natural world. This is due in part to the Sidhe’s belief that all of creation is connected, being a part of the divine, but also partly because they believe that magic emanates from the energy of the natural world. They point to some places, such as old growth forests, mountain peaks, old buildings, and rivers as being repositories of great energy, with their own island of Aeponae as being the greatest source of primal power. According to their traditions, all across the world is a net of energy that most people are so accustomed to that they’ve forgotten how to sense it. Occasionally this energy will “pool” in some places, and magic users, or so they claim, tap into this net or its pools to power their spells. This energy collection is not limited to inanimate objects, however. Repositories can just as easily be found in animals and people, according to the Sidhe Elders. It is speculated that the Sidhe choose their guardianships when they feel a collection of this energy and are instinctively moved to protect it. In truth, the Sidhe themselves are unsure as to what draws them to protecting certain creatures or things, explaining it as a deep attraction based in the soul. The Sidhe view this sacred guardianship of life and the world as a way of honoring their creators in a religious tradition that, while different from the primary mode of worship as formalized by Isavra, is even so recognized as valid.

Relations with other Races

Cropping up time and again in folklore and romances as brave knights and stalwart companions, Sidhe enjoy a relatively pleasant relation with most other Peoples. This is in part because the Sidhe people makes no demands as a whole except the safety and sovereignty of Aeponae, but is likely due mostly to the Sidhe’s penchant for serving as companions and guardians to diverse Peoples. Very few look unkindly upon a People that has given up so much in order to protect others, but exceptions are known.

Alubra – Reminding them greatly of the pixies they were originally created to defend, the Sidhe have found the Alubran People to be a source of joy and inspiration in the world. Lomaisa and the forests beneath it have become almost a second home for them, and few Sidhe can resist from visiting whenever possible.

Centaurs – After the Centaurs were pushed from Balinor, a few of them sought refuge amongst the Sidhe, struggling with their desire to protect something. Those Centaurs willing to leave behind their anger and plans for revenge have found the Sidhe willing to teach them, and for the other Centaurs the Sidhe can feel only pity, perhaps due to their own tragic history with the Drakiens.

Daphinae – The two Peoples have found in one another a shared reverence for nature, and so may exchange seeds and young plants as signs of friendship or respect. In magical theory, too, they share many beliefs, such as those of ley lines and energy pools, prompting a few bands of Daphinae and Sidhe to work together to study these natural forces.

Danava – While appreciating their respect for nature and unwillingness to annex Aeponae, the Sidhe are somewhat disappointed with the Danava’s drive to conquer, feeling that the Empire could be put to better use as a peacekeeper force. The Danava have extended offers to bring the Sidhe into the Empire as just such a force, but these offers have been largely fruitless.

Drakiens – The Drakiens are a great shame of the Sidhe, as not one of the scaled People have accepted a guardianship from the Sidhe since their race was first created. Many credit this to the tale of the defeat of Samonsae, a great Red Dragon warlord whom the legendary Sidhe, Eloris, was said to have been the companion of. Though Sidhe are bound by a life oath to guard their charge faithfully until their dying breath, it appears that on the Sigil Night Massacre Eloris was nowhere to be found, prompting some to speculate that Eloris abandoned his charge, which may have driven Samonsae into a frenzy that ultimately brought about his ruin. Whether this is true or not, relations between the two Peoples have been strained ever since.

Dwarves – Often disheartened by the Dwarves’ way of always putting themselves first and failing to share their goods with the needy, a few Sidhe have taken it upon themselves to make certain Dwarves their “projects”. That’s how the Dwarves see it, at least. The Sidhe are convinced that with enough guidance the Dwarves could accomplish spectacular things…but many grow frustrated at the great demands the stocky little People puts on their patience.

Elves – It is a source of great frustration to the Sidhe that out of all places in Valindir, they have always been denied entrance into the old city of Enaryn. No amount of arguing or attempts at persuasion have thus far convinced the Elves to lift the ban on any People other than Elves and Gryphons from entering the older half of the city, no matter who the person is or their business. This can make serving as a guardian of a resident of that side of the city particularly difficult, but the Sidhe are nothing if not patient. On occasion, one can see them standing on the banks of the river, staring intently into the old city after their Charges…waiting.

Gryphons – Of all the Peoples, Sidhe feel they are perhaps best understood by the Gryphons. No other race, as a whole, have devoted themselves so completely to the safety and preservation of others. Whenever they are able, Sidhe seek out Gryphons to share stories and tactics, and over the years the Sidhe have come to regard the Gryphons as soul-siblings, of a sort.

Humans – When the Sidhe first revealed themselves to Valindir outside of Aeponae it was speculated that they were some new creation designed to accompany the Humans, as the Gryphons are the Centaurs. In actuality there are so many Humans in so many parts of the world that when one considers how many Charges there are likely to be it’s simply a matter of perception. What’s certain is that the two Peoples have shown a fondness for one another, even if the Sidhe feel the Humans sometimes fall short of their marvelous potential.

Kithras – Perhaps because of their relative isolation, it was many years before the Sidhe learned of the perils within the deserts that the Kithra call home. When knowledge of the rift reached them, many young Sidhe took up a new guardianship, swearing to aid the Kithra in their vigil. The bond between the two Peoples has been strong ever since.

Kren – To date, there has never been a bond between a Kren and a Sidhe. While Sidhe are normally a very tolerant and open-minded People, there appears to be something about the hive mind of the Kren that sits wrong with them. While it may sound silly to outsiders, there is the prevalent belief amongst Sidhe that the Kren represent a loss of individualism and creativity that will ultimately cause the world to stagnate.

Melrog –The process of building trust between the two Peoples has been a long and slow one. In many ways it has been like a courtship, with the Sidhe attempting to prove to the younger race that they have only the best of intentions for them. Convincing a Melrog to accept a Sidhe companion is a process that can often take years, and has had some regrettable setbacks when an impetuous young Sidhe or two simply ended up kidnapping their charge.

Minotaur – It is strange to some that two Peoples that hold so much in common, such as loyalty, courage, and self-sacrifice, should be so opposed to one another. Many have noted that while the Sidhe prefer to exercise their guardianships on a one-on-one basis, the Minotaur prefer broader areas of focus, and this might be at the root of their problems.

Mithyrn – The Sidhe have often been frustrated by the Mithyrn’s tendency to withdraw from the world and seek their own company, believing that isolation is unhealthy for a People that clearly has so much to offer the world. While no Sidhe would overtly do anything to force the Mithyrn out into the open, any Sidhe that takes one for a Charge ultimately spends a lot of their time trying to convince their Mithyrn to travel.

Orcs – Initially it was believed the Sidhe and the Orcs would both get along quite well, as both Peoples had strong concepts of honor and personal training. Ultimately, however, the Sidhe’s strong connection to magic and religious undertones made many Orcs uneasy, causing a few to refuse to participate in events with the Sidhe on the grounds that they were using their “fey magic” to cheat somehow. The Sidhe, deeply offended, withdrew their offer of friendship.

Senai – While the Sidhe are trying to this day to broker some sort of peace between the Senai and Danava, in the meantime they have opened their home on Aeponae to the water-love race. Few Danava have dared to raise any objection to this, making the island one of the few places safe for Senai to dwell away from the persecution of the Danava.

Talmori – The Sidhe are fascinated by the shamanistic culture of the Talmori, recognizing it as one more branch of the nature-based view of religion which they practice. It is not unusual for Talmori and Sidhe to train together, and a few of the Peoples have even retired in one another’s home territories to strengthen ties between them.

Language

Though the Sidhe acknowledge that they were based upon the Sylvans in their mortal appearance, seldom do they actually use their language, Sylva. More commonly the Sidhe make use of Common, a language originally developed for trade. It is considered good manners for a Sidhe to learn and use the language of the area in which they will be guarding their Charge, but many Sidhe take this a step further and attempt to learn as many languages as they possibly can.

Names

Sidhe do not place a great importance on lineage, perhaps because their own guardianship ends with the death of their Charge, whether that Charge had offspring or not. Instead, many Sidhe are given “child” names which they use until they make a formal pledge of guardianship, after which time they take an “adult” name that is native to the land in which they are serving or the race of their Charge. Last names, too, are often as simple as the name of a point of geographical interest which the family unit lived by and identified with. The end result is that Sidhe often bear a curious mix of names, something that does not seem to bother them in the slightest.

Family Names: Blackmarsh, Turoliem, Oakstone, Flinmoor
Male Names: Dairuin, Alexanth, Justynne, Theron
Female Names: Ashabela, Pashae, Nivalis, Ophalia

Player Difficulty Level

Difficult – It is the nature of Sidhe to seek to protect others. It can be rather dangerous attempting to leap to the defense of someone if you are not the sort of Player who places an emphasis on strengthening your character, and even if you are, you should know that many Sidhe die attempting to protect their charges. Players unfamiliar with the combat system or unfamiliar with how to survive in dangerous terrain are at a distinct disadvantage when playing as a Sidhe, especially considering the relatively high amount of times a Sidhe is likely to engage in combat as opposed to a Human or an Elf.

Sidhe serve as protectors to People, creatures, and places because it is their calling, not because it provides a steady source of income. A Sidhe chooses their Charge based upon instinct and the need to protect, not because they need coin or think the position will grant them political power. The Sidhe belong to no one but themselves, so there is quite a difference between a King’s soldier and a King’s Companion. The soldier will obey the King without question and may leave if they’re not paid. The Companion (the Sidhe) may disagree with the King or even defy “orders” to ensure their Charge, the King, is safe. The Sidhe, not being an employee of the King, does not worry about payment, so the Charge does not worry about losing their Companion.

Note on Role-playing this Race

Not all Sidhe are heroic, chivalrous beings that defend their Charges with honor and self-sacrifice. Individual Sidhe may have very different ideas about the best way to protect the land, a creature, or a person, and these ideas might include what many would term kidnapping, being held prisoner, or trespassing. One Sidhe may kidnap a woman and keep her locked in a tower all her life, another may drive off farmers from a meadow where a certain flower grows, and yet another might kill any wolf or bear that seeks to devour a white deer. These would be horrible crimes by most standards, yet to the Sidhe these methods are as valid as the noble Companion that stands beside a person long after others have abandoned them. As long as the Charge is safe, the rest is up to the individual Sidhe’s personal ethics.

Posted September 21, 2011 by belimedra

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