Somehow, inadvertently, I actually followed this week’s prompt. I have no idea how I did it. The stars must’ve aligned. As I started writing, I quickly realised that Thrart’s main inhabitants (aside from spirits and spiritkin) are elves — and those live up to 450 years. The Rabirian Empire’s conquest was 180 years ago.
Now, in human years, this is far in the past and already forgotten. 180 years ago in this world would take us back to 1843, which is when King Willem I still ruled the Netherlands. With my human mind, I can’t even imagine that era. Yet to the elves, that’s equivalent of only four decades ago. Many of them lived during the war. They have family and friends they lost there. When I had that revelation, the ideas quickly started coming, and the tone of Thrart was quickly set: scars of the past, still very visible and carried by people in the present.
Despite this dark topic, there’re also lighter entries, such as about Rozalyn the ancient silver dragon who likes to wander among people and the coming-of-age ritual of the elves. I try to keep it balanced so it’s not all doom and gloom. Heaven knows we have enough of that in real life already. That all said, let’s get into it.
Weekly prompt: Time
Day 85, Sunday – Settlement
Riverdale (Osvarion in Thrart’s native tongue) is the capital of Thrart and at the epicentre of inter-island travel and trade. Its port constantly sees barges and ships coming and going, with the ones from upstream bringing raw materials produced on the island while the ones going downstream to the sea export them. It’s a highly Imperial city and has been the seat of their power since the Empire conquered the island 180 years ago.
Riverdale is known for its bustling marketplaces, where one can find everything from exotic spices and rare books to fine lumber and all sorts of local foods. There’s always something new to see and discover in the daily markets.
The city is largely inhabited by the wood elves, but other species common to the Empire live here as well. Although Thrart has been part of the Empire for a long time, elves live up to 450 years, and the majority remember the time before the Rabirians came and the family and friends they lost in the fight. The decades-long conquest has left a sour taste in their mouth, but the Rabirians leave most of the wilderness alone and bring a lot of trade and goods that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Day 86, Monday – Environment
Thrart is largely covered in temperate woodlands, and its forests date back to the beginning of the world. Although the world is relatively young at around two to three millennia, these woods are filled with the primal power of the gods from when they created Tehoa. Many spirits call these forests their home, and all sorts of spiritkin can be found here as well.
Most of the trees are deciduous, meaning that they have leaves. In the colder months, many of them lose their leaves. However, the varying seasons result in stunning displays that change every single week. Spring brings countless flowers, summer thick green foliage, fall many fruits and nuts, and winter a barren but peaceful landscape.
Day 87, Tuesday – Settlement
Alari Taesi (Heart of the Woodland) is hidden within the depths of the Thrart forests, far out of reach of most people. It’s a legendary place with buildings made of living wood and pathways in the sky made of continually growing branches. The elves and spirits of Alari have a unique weaving technique that allows them to move and weave the trees without harming them.
Although the Mavelon druids are the leaders of the town, it’s home to others as well. Especially spirits and spiritkin inhabit Taesi, who are drawn to its strong connection to magic and the safety it offers. The Rabirian Empire never quite reached it due to the druids’ fierce protection, so it remains a safe haven.
Day 88, Wednesday – Culture
In the traditional culture of Thrart, once youth come of age, they are sent into the forest on their own, carrying with them gifts from the community such as clothing, food, and basic survival equipment to last at least a week. The youth then spend several weeks on their own in the wilderness, living in harmony with the land.
Aside from learning how to live synchronously with the land and nature, an important part is finding a lesser spirit to bond with and become companions for life. These spirits choose their companion as much as the people choose them, and they come to the youth of their own free will. If, after spending some time together, either party decides it won’t work out, they part ways again and the youth will continue searching.
Once the youth bonds with a spirit and returns to the community, they are recognised as a full adult with all rights and privileges that come with that status. Many adults regularly return to the wilderness to deepen their bond with their companion spirit.
Day 89, Thursday – NPC
Rozalnys the Ancient is an ancient silver dragon and the matriarch of the clan of silver dragons that lives in the Dragon Roost, a tall mountain in the west of Thrart that rises far above the surrounding landscape. Although she hasn’t seen the beginning of time, she is the second generation of silver dragons that has lived in the Roost, which comes quite close.
Currently, there are nine of them living in the Roost, although they often wander around Thrart in human form to satisfy their curiosity and need for company. The surrounding towns and villages bring offerings to gain favour from them.
Even in her old age, Rozalnys enjoys visiting local villages and towns and listening to the stories and watching the lives of people there. The world has changed so much during her lifetime, and she finds it fascinating. She’s known to donate funds to public museums to help keep them running, although she sometimes gives part of her collection as well.
Day 90, Friday – Faction
Taesi is the home of the Mavelon Druid Circle, one of the most powerful and revered druid circles in Tehoa. They have existed for as long as the world has, and their connection to nature and the world as a whole is the stuff of legends. They are known to be wise and insightful beyond words.
They normally stay away from the affairs of men, preferring to remain close to nature and spirit instead. All of them are spirit or spiritkin as well – eternal, untouched by age, either through their very being or through the druids’ magic. They don’t think in days or weeks, they think in decades and centuries.
However, the current state of the world has them uneasy. Some of the Mavelon druids want to act now the Rabirian Empire is going so far. The Rabirians want to claim all lands for man, leaving none for animal and spirit. This is something that inherently goes against the Mavelon druids. However, they’re still hesitant to act, both for worry of upsetting the natural balance and unwillingness to leave their homeland.
Day 91, Saturday – Rumour
It’s said that in the heart of Alari Taesi, guarded by the Mavelon Druid Circle, is a magical spring that’s home to not one but two prime spirits. Some rumours say that the two prime spirits are really part of one whole, one half completing the other.
However, all stories agree that it’s a place of incredible power. The spring water is said to give one magical abilities, knowledge beyond comprehension, and even eternal life. Some even say a moonlit ritual involving drinking or bathing in the waters is why the Mavelon druids don’t age.
Since I’m writing ahead now (this was actually prepared on Wednesday, to go live today – Saturday), I can give you sneak peaks into the future I never could when doing the challenge properly. So, time to gush about the ideas in week 14: particularly, Thornhold. Thornhold is an elven fort that the wood elves used during the war against the Rabirians two centuries ago. Due to its strategic position, the fighting there was fierce, and many elves died — but even more Rabirians. Now, it lies abandoned, functioning as a memorial site for the countless Thrarter people that fell there. And it is inhabited by one lone elf.
Although it’s dark, it’s very intriguing. I think there are still quite a few restless souls there, unable to move on despite the custodian’s best efforts. And so they keep the souls company so they will not feel lonely and scared in their eternal wandering. It’s quite compelling. I’m hoping that when my players come here, they may be able to help the souls pass on to the afterlife, giving them peace at last. But only time will tell.
2 thoughts on “#World23 Week 13: Thrart, the Wild Isle”
Good job! Glad to see you back at it. When Rozalnys and the other dragons take their human forms to mingle with the humans, is their true nature known?
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Thank you! And it often isn’t so that they can get the most authentic interactions with people. After all, if people know you’re a mighty silver dragon, they’ll treat you differently — and they’re looking for the ‘normal people’ experiences. Sometimes for special requests or ceremonies, they may take their humanoid form and be recognised as such, though.