Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Alachia came to pass

Many people always ask me where the name Alachia comes from. It's from the Earthdawn RPG series.

I totally fell in love with her character the first time I read the story of Queen Alachia of Wyrm Wood who became the Queen of the Blood Elves after they self-inflicted themselves with the ritual of thorns to escape the horrors.

Here are some excerpts from the story. Full story can be found at the link.

Some nations reject Thera outright. Queen Alachia of Wyrm Wood, High Queen of the Elves, despises the Therans for their use of slavery and for their political opposition to her rule. She commands that no elven nation, and no elf, follow the Theran ways of protection. She presents an alternative in which elf Elementalists will use wood magics to weave the living plants of a forest into a kaer. The Horrors, she believes, will be unable to pass through living wood.
Elven scholars outside Wyrm Wood, and it is said even some within, are aghast at the proposal. They believe that though the Theran method is not foolproof, it would provide more effective protection against the Horrors. These magicians and scholars doubt that any wooden kaer could possibly withstand the savage physical punishment the Horrors would inflict upon it.
Alachia, however, stands resolute. She vows that any elf who follows the Theran way will be forever separated from all of elven culture.
This threat, far from cowing the other elven nations, shatters the great cultural elven empire Alachia commanded, presumably forever.
Word comes first from the elves of the faraway Northern Kingdoms. As the elves most distant from the Court at Wyrm Wood, they feel the least amount of true loyalty to its ways. Though little is known of those Northern Kingdoms in Barsaive, their rejection of Alachia represents a severe blow to her power. Before she can react, Alachia receives word from other elven nations and city-states that they refuse to follow her. They wish the Court well, but they will not follow Alachia to what they believe to be certain death.
Queen Alachia, in the end, does not formally declare these nations separate. Their refusal has bereft the Elven Court of much of its power, making any such declaration an empty gesture. Instead Alachia chooses to wait until after the Scourge when her continued existence can prove her wisdom. At her command, the elves of Wyrm Wood begin the construction of the wooden kaer that will be their downfall.

In 1262 TH, the wooden kaer of the Elven Court begins to fail. The loss of protection is slow, but inexorable. Panic strikes within the kaer as the elves desperately seek alternative means of protection. They haven’t enough time to construct underground kaers, nor do they have sufficient reserves of Elemental Air or Earth. Desperation and depression set in as the Horrors begin to break through. The elves create roving militia squads to respond quickly to breaks in the kaer barriers, as Elementalists strive to repair the existing breaks and shore up other weakening sections.
Then the elves of the Wood make a startling and ultimately terrifying discovery. Of those Horrors that break through, those most intelligent, most devious, and most difficult to destroy all but ignore elves who are already mad or in extreme, constant pain. The advisors to Queen Alachia are quick to realize that these Horrors need to inflict madness and pain themselves in order to feed. Existing madness and pain are not enough for them. A horrible seed begins to grow in the heart of the Wyrm Wood, a plan for protection so terrible that its implementation will be as heinous as anything the Horrors themselves can inflict.
Finally, with the Horrors on the verge of complete penetration of the elven kaer, the elves enact their desperate plan. Elementalists perform a twisted blood ritual that forces a physical change upon the surviving elves of Wyrm Wood. Thorns begin to grow out of their skin, ripping and tearing, leaving them in constant, excruciating, overpowering pain. The initial Ritual of the Thorns kills many of the elves in Wyrm Wood, but those who survive learn to live with the pain and even draw upon it for strength. For the Horrors, nothing they want remains in Wyrm Wood. Some of the more bestial Horrors continue to attack and attempt to break through, but the more diabolical ones who feed on pain and suffering leave to find their nurture elsewhere. The elves of what has become the Blood Wood have found a way to survive, but at a terrible price.


Earthdawn: How it Came to Pass


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