From Lost Fables Wiki
“I am not a guppy.” - An Ae Il’han Plutocrat
The children of the Summer Court are certainly the most beautiful of the Il’ha, famed for their astounding palette of colours and decadent society enriched by the art inspired by themselves. Borne from a natural gem of the sea, every il’ha youth is born with peels and peels of scales lining their bodies like iridescent opals and precious gems. As a light shone through a diamond, they take on the array of colours that are better used for an artist's pallet, their scales not unlike crown jewels inlaid in their very skin. With iridescent webbing lining their extremities and the occasional dorsal spine lining limbs, they are distinct in appearance. Creatures of light and art paint them firmly as descendents of the Seelie court.
These sleek and agile humanoid folk often carry angular, dynamic features. Wide almond-shaped eyes slanted handsomely beneath arching brows, accentuated further by high and sharp cheekbones. Ae Il’ha carry enlarged iris and pupils alongside protective second eyelids that give their eyes the illusion of an eternal glimmer. Hair is oft kept long and secured with ornate plaits threaded through with items from their collection. Leaving in full view, their elongated ears forked into web-like structures. One may also witness two pairs of three horizontal lines on the sides of each Ae Il’ha’s neck, partially formed and semi-functional gill-structures. Hands and feet possess a fine webbing between each digit to lend them impressive swimming ability.
Ae Il’ha are known to wear loose-fitting clothing or few articles of clothing at all. Known to despise tight, restricting clothing especially on the upper half. This is due to restrictive clothing possibly limiting the function of the delicate gills upon their necks, or the sealed gill-scars that line their ribs with sensitive nerve endings.
As such, the Ae Il’ha wear sleek silken fabrics when dwelling mostly upon land, and other sheer textiles that are lightweight and kind on the scales that line the Ae Il’ha’s flesh. When within their watery home, Ae Il’ha wear as little fabric as possible so as to streamline themselves.
Other than these restrictions to protect their delicate scales and gills, Ae Il’ha adorn themselves in many different types of clothing as they please and as is fit for their current surroundings when out of the watery depths.
Ae Il’ha revere art in many forms above most other things. Fond of trinkets of beauty, an Ae Il’ha’s elongated ears are often pierced several times and linked together with chains of pearls, opals, or other tributes to their sea-faring heritage.
These stunning elves are often draped in the spoils of their sea-side and undersea homes. Bits of shells polished to fine gleaming mirrors and pearls on strings, glistening opals or treasures lost at sea by other races of the lands.
Monogamous pairing will oft be seen wearing jewelry or trinkets of a matching set, declaring them loyal to one another. These matching sets will have upon them a symbol of a triquetra, for longevity of the match and the loyalty between them while also honoring their ideals of the creation of the world.
On rare occasions, some Ae Il’ha possess aquatic features beyond that of what is typical. This may present in dorsal spines or fins of any variety lining limbs and spines, or skin a very slight shade of a pastel colour. These traits are used to divide those of noble lineage from those whom are not. Those of noble blood are heralded as living works of art, and as so are held in higher respect due to both the beauty and rarity of these formations.
Many Ae Il’ha view their body as their canvas, and so it is not uncommon to see Ae Il’ha adorned in a variety of colourful piercings filled with thin spiralling shells. Alongside this, sprawling tattoos of similarly skilled artistry are not unheard of, if a touch more uncommon.
With origins firmly rooted in the sea, Ae Il’ha possess the ability to return to it. Webbing between fingers and toes allows them to be effective swimmers, thin and mildly effective gills line their necks. They have iridescent webbing lining their extremities including long, spined and web-like ears, as well as the RARE occasional dorsal spine lining limbs. Their speed on land is reduced due to their spindly forms (5 Blocks), however, in water they can surge forward at an unprecedented speed for a humanoid (9 Blocks).
Retained second eyelids allow Ae Il’ha to see underwater, and hidden gills at their necks allow them to breathe salt or fresh waters, while their scales protect their skin from the damp environment.
Ae Il’ha are able to breathe and live underwater just like they can on land.
The ability to breathe in liquid is strictly applied to liquids in which fish and other life could be supported.
Restriction from their aquatic environments will physically harm an Ae Il’ha in a painful, debilitating and ultimately fatal process of their gills and scales drying out and cracking;
In youth under 6 eras, this process begins in a matter of minutes, and can become fatal by the end of an hour.
In Adulthood over 20 eras and younger than 60, this process begins in 1 age, and becomes fatal by the end of 3 ages
In Elderhood over 60 eras, this process begins in half an age and can become fatal by the end of 2 ages.
Taking great pride in their creations and furthering the beauty of their race, the Il’ha oft dwell in coral creations upon the coast of rocky seas neighbouring merfolk. The marvel of these dwellings lays not only in the opalite beauty of what you can see, but that which you cannot. Oft times Ae Il’ha dwellings are partially seated as jewels in the warm seas, hidden from view of those not able to dwell deeper than the shallows.
It is in these hidden underwater coves with only aquatic entrances in which all Ae Il’ha go to birth children of their own, as Ae Il’ha children are born wholly aquatic with two sets of gills and moisture-dependent scales, unable to part from a sea-faring environment until they reach their 6th Era.
In addition, when it is time to bear a child, hormones secreted allow for the Mother to endure this process entirely aquatic, and remain with the child for the first few hours of life in which they have their first molt. After which, the children are mostly independent, remaining in underwater nests and the parents return to their former ability to remain beneath the waves, bringing food and teachings to the youth at regular intervals until such time as the child follows their parents out of the waves.
Upon their 6th era, the delicate gills framing their abdomen seal up, and those upon their neck shrink to accomodate for non-aquatic lungs swelling in hunger for the air that lay above their sea abode. They emerge as lanky, oddly shaped and tall preteens that are awkwardly floundering in newly land-dwelling bodies after a former 6 eras of aquatic grace.
Due to the need to communicate with young Ae Il’ha unable to surface for lengthy periods of time, the Ae Il’ha have devised a language composed of body language and the movement of one's hands beneath the water, allowing for one handed and two handed communication beneath the waves. This language is the first taught to the new toddlers and they are remarkably quick to pick it up. As a whole, while beneath the waves Ae Il’ha youth are remarkably independent after the first few days and learn very quickly to navigate their new surroundings with ease.
Culturally ingrained in the decadent life of creation the Ae Il’ha partake, is a stout fear of losing one’s children. Children are seen as the most pure forms of art one may ever create, swirling your own palette of life with that of another in order to create an entirely new mind. This act of creation is viewed as sacred, only to be undertaken with one’s lifemate.
This ingrained fear of loss is in part due to the poaching of the soft, invaluable scales of young Ae Il’ha. Ae Il’ha are never so beautifully adorned in scales as they are in their very first few hours, days and weeks in life. Following their birthing, the young molt out of their first scales which eclipse their entire form, leaving them with an Il’ha appearance rather than that of their fey cousins, merfolk. It is after this first shed that they are the most glossy and workable, the iridescent scales that line much of the youth well sought after by human nobility and as such, are sought by any who traverse the waters those offspring may be in.A long line of infants stolen by humans to be unfortunately harvested for their soft, bejeweled scales forced the Ae Il’ha to conceal any and all youth beneath a certain growth stage. Ae Il’ha are soforth an intensely private people, hesitating to share any detail of the underwater nests filled with vulnerable youth, or the palace beneath the waves at all with any other race unless they have become involved with an Ae Il’ha as a life partner or parent of a child of Ae Il’ha descent.
Strictly monogamous until their partner is deceased, a pair bind themselves to their significant other through the act of courting. Trinkets would be gifted to their partner regardless of gender or nobility. The courting pair are to spend time together to ensure the compatibility of the match. When this has been assured, it is customary to gift your potential life partner with an object of great personal importance. As it is said, when one chooses a life partner, one gives a piece of themself unto another to hold and cherish. One safeguards a sacred and hidden cove of the heart in which few may enter and fewer still may leave.
Whence these traditions are upheld, and with the trading of one’s private name, the courting pair may consider themselves bound together with the final gift of a matching set of adornments. This adornment could be earrings, rings, piercings or tattoos. Only that it must always be worn or kept close.
Ae Il’ha are a race whom greatly value scholars and artisans, dedicated to the creation of the finer things in existence. Paintings, music, carvings, poetry and other depictions of the impermanence of life carved into the experience of their audience is a highly valued vocation. Each Ae Il’ha is well equipped to flee danger on their own abilities, or soothe a crowd with their skills as a bard. As such, few take up the path of the sword. Though there are many whom choose instead to provide steady provisions for the sedentary lifestyle of those in the aquatic and land-dwelling palaces. Others may travel far to ally and endear themselves to other races in an effort to stave off attempts of war making.
An Ae Il’ha whom devotes their life to violence will be sourly looked upon, particularly by the nobility of this proud race.
Most, if not all of Ae Il’ha are agreeable to each other with the exception of the nobility. With a plutocratic system of government in which the majority of the wealth and clout lay with these few nobles blessed by ancient lineage to be birthed with more aquatic features, these noble families are known to be more than a little imposing, and prone to snobbery. The noble families are arranged in a council including the oldest or voted most capable from each lineage, and from this council the greater decisions regarding Ae Il’ha kind are to be made.
Ae Il’ha names are simple and phonetic, favouring softer “th” sounds and ‘ph’, ‘ch’ alongside with similar ‘shh’ and ‘ff’ sounds. Vowels are used quite often to give names a song-like quality.
Ae Il’ha children are given at birth a name that is known only to them and their immediate familial relations or trusted family friends. This name is usually phonetically smooth, often possessing two syllables. Example Male Names: Nymal, Naiad, Trion
Example Female Names: Ianthe, Brizo, Danu
This is not the only name they receive, as when they become conscious enough to speak and convey themselves as a toddler, they profess to the outside world the name they have chosen to be known as. This name is usually longer than the prior, though just as phonetically pleasing to pronounce.
Example Male Names: Delphin, Asraih, Muirgen
Example Female Names: Asherah, Sinaan, Tethys
Familial lines are traced by surname, though such is infrequently used unless one is nobility. Phonetically pleasing and smooth as all else in Ae Il’ha culture.
Example names: Physadelia, Creothesis, Olurainise
As all Il’ha are descendents of Fey, they hold a firm belief in the triad of the dragon Naezeiros, the Queen Nerisys the arachnid and the serpent Oloris of the end of times along with the tree of Etes H'evelm and the chasm of Van’aqra. In the belief of the great lattice of the Laka from which magic brews, and the Aagith, song of the world. From which each god, species and living creature participates in a grand melody of all existence, begun by the great wings of the drake.
In particular, it is said that the God/Goddess of Il’ha crafted the Ae Il’ha in the process as stated in the following excerpt from old tomes of the beginning of times, passed down generations;
From the deepest chasm of the rocky ocean floor, the young God plucked the most vibrant of sea glass to catch their eye. Breathing deep of the ancient magic bestowed to them by the maker, the god filled the glass to the brim with the joy of laughter. They held the glistening find up to the eye of the maker, to the breaking dawn of the very first day. So pleased was the great Drake, he granted the creation life. As the first rays of his gaze sprung into the glass, planting a seed of life deep within. So beautiful was this life, the young god took it upon themself to split the glass into shards. Tiny to their hand, each pulsed with life that was yet to be. Though each unguarded. So forth they pulled the sand from the very coast they had found the essence, crafting an array of Ae Il’ha. Each glittered in eye and hair with their origin, a flame of dawn preserved within their core.
Ae Il’ha as all Il’ha, have a firm grasp on the belief that the triad of existence. Beyond this however, the Ae Il’ha have come to form a relation with the sea within which they must return to procreate.
As such, the Goddess that these decadent elves pledge themselves to is Kaimana, entity of the sea. As the Goddess of the briney and clear waters Ae Il’ha claim as their home, Kaimana exists as a conduit for creation. Deep and curious is her heart and her love for the Ae Il’ha. It is foretold she inhales great lungfuls of chaos from Van’aqra and exhale it into the sea in the form of energy that slips into the minds of Ae Il’ha and guides their hands unto the next creation of existence. Every creation they display is in the name of the sea that produced the beautiful glass from which all Ae Il’ha were borne. From Kaimana came their beauty, and to Kaimana would they gift the most wonderful of their ideas and creations.
Those whom were born with unusual colourations and other aquatic features are said to be the chosen of Kaimana to carry a form closer to that of her great vessel, whom is said to take the form of a merfolk with a tail long enough to span the planet itself. It is this reason why they are viewed as nobility and given seats of wisdom within the Ae Il’ha palaces.
Though no surname is taken up by any family save the title itself of ‘nobility’, each Ae Il’ha youth knows their family line as a descriptive title. Families are comprised of a bonded pair of life partners and their surrounding relatives, alongside children that come of the union. As children are both precious and seen as safe beneath the waves, the little ones become fiercely physically independent at an early age, rarely seeing their parents or much of their families until they reach their 6th age.
At which time, the bond of relatives grows and develops without much hindrance of the delayed beginning, Ae Il’ha’s minds maturing slower than the rapid pace of their bodies until such time as their embarkment upon living on dry land.
Lavish and decadent, Ae Il’ha are great curators and collectors of art of all mediums from all races. Be that tapestries from the Oe Il’ha to creations of the most repulsive of races currently residing on the land, the Ae Il’ha rarely ever discriminate.
Paintings and creations of gems, metals, clay, wood, or any other medium is seen as desirable and wanted. Those whom choose to lavish their bodies with tattoos and piercings are seen as a living embodiment of the belief of Ae Il’ha in that art marks the passage of time, and in such makes the artist immortal in the eyes of the beholder of their creation.
Particularly suited for a partially aquatic lifestyles, Ae Il’ha are inclined to a diet of fresh raw fish and shellfish of all kinds. This is supplemented by aquatic and land faring greens of all sorts that include but are not limited to; seaweed, kelp and leafy greens.
Ae Il’ha rarely supplement their diet with meat caught upon land unless strictly necessary, finding more gamey tastes unpalatable after a childhood being raised entirely on oceanic prey. Beyond this, fruits, vegetables and grains found upon land are certainly accepted and enjoyed as a supplemental part of their diet. Especially sweets, in which most Ae Il’ha share an unfortunate proclination to a sweet tooth.
Major Settlements/Points of Interest
The dwellings of the Il’ha are as much a marvel as they are. Taking great pride in their creations and furthering the beauty of their race, the Il’ha oft dwell in coral creations upon the coast of rocky seas neighbouring merfolk. The marvel of these dwellings lays not only in the opalite beauty of what you can see, but that which you cannot. Oft times Ae Il’ha dwellings are partially seated as jewels in the warm seas, hidden from view of those not able to dwell deeper than the shallows.
Much of Ae Il’ha culture surrounding youth and coming of age is structured carefully around the entirely aquatic life young toddlers are meant to lead up until their secondary gills become redundant. This is in fact, directly due to the poaching of the Caribards and other human races.
An interesting facet of Ae Il’ha history, one of the few known to the human races. Carribard orphans are the most likely to have spotted an Ae Il’ha youth, as the youth will not approach the swimming children unless adult Carribards are nowhere to be spotted. This is partially due to the Carribards nature to try and capture the aquatic youth for their delicate and valuable scales.
Ae Il’ha children are known to be curious and playful devious, though rarely can one be seen venturing far from their ‘nests’. They are known to play harmless tricks on unsuspecting sea travellers. This includes stealing bait, stealing fisherman’s catch, capsizing small boats, and heaving sea cucumbers and other disgusting sea life at unsuspecting travelers.