From Lost Fables Wiki
“If one is going to walk on thin ice, one might as well dance.” - The Fifth Priestess of Covrudurth, The Bitter Cold
Bound to the hard and unforgiving tundra, the children of the Winter court are similarly harsh and unbending, set in their ways with a rigidity that is based not in cruelty, but in the necessity of survival.
Formidable and dextrous, the humanoid Ie Il’ha are as sharp and cutting as the cold blue ice in which they dwell. As deadly in pallor and form as it is beautiful, the arctic tundra is made into living form in the Ie Il’ha. With a pallet of colour in skin, hair and eyes that matches their surroundings. Almond shaped eyes slant in their beautifully chiseled features, beneath swooping brows. With enlarged iris and pupils that dwarf even their Il’ha brethren and a usually dark sclera, their eyes seem to inhale the night itself with the right lighting. Alongside iridescent mottling arranged across their flesh, glowing in the dim light of the tundra, they are remarkably adapted to their living conditions.
Though the Ie Il’ha are adapted to the cold and vastly prefer it to the warmer southern climates, they are no less mortal than other Il’ha. Clothing is appropriately thick and effectively warm, formed from fur sewn together with rough sinew from their hunts. Leather is abundant and used often for the laces of thickly padded boots. Used also to string together gloves and string smaller trophies for safe keeping. Thick fur of different length and species of origin is the dominating attire in the polar regions, though the Ie Il’ha Matriarchs or other important or skilled figures can also be known to wear dresses and cloaks crafted from weaved ice, or textiles with such ice threaded through it. Such is a difficult task, and most highly prized.
Accessories worn by the Ie Il’ha are a sparse but meaningful affair for most. As each added gram of weight they wear or carry can mean starvation or providence. The most valuable amongst these ice-worn folk is that of their trophies. Taken from kills worthy enough of the honour, those large or skilled enough to have posed a genuine risk to the Ie Il’ha’s safety. Gathering these tokens is necessary in order to impress one’s chosen partner if one hopes to prove they can provide for any children coming from the union.
Upon leather tassels one would find fearsome, wicked teeth, claws, bone and scales or other debris from the kill. As every other part of the kill will be used to nourish and clothe the nomadic tribe. Nothing is wasted, and only those who participate in the killing itself may take a prize. Some Ie Il’ha of a particularly vengeful disposition are known to shrink the heads of their enemies, freeze it and carry it upon their belt decoratively.
Other accessories worn would be decorative weapons given in courtship, or ice-forged jewelery to show skill and honour in the ability.
Ie Il’ha carry upon their skin a mottled constellation of light arranged in accordance to their lineage, as though the night sky itself has painted a mosaic upon their bodies. A glittering iridescence settled where freckles would be upon a human. Though scarring is not a chosen modification.
Due to their darkened scleras and reflective pupils, Ie Il’ha have retained the ability to have heightened vision within the dark. Alongside this, their vision is generally in greater detail than other Il’ha, and they possess an extraordinary resistance to snow-blindness. An Ie Il’ha’s night vision in extreme, moonless darkness is about half the strength and detail as other Il’ha’s day vision.
Ie Il’ha may also, when taught the art through prophetic dreams and elders of their species, learn to forge ice. An ability restricted to those not of Ie Il’ha ancestry.
Through their innate connection with the glacial ice that they once were, alongside their fae spark and magical ancestry the Ie have harnessed the ability to commune with the forever hungering spirits within true ice. This communication and connection is forged by the offering of blood from a worthy hunt to the ice. Drizzling the warm blood over the true ice, the spirit within will judge whether or not the offering is adequate. If so, with difficulty, the Ie Il’ha’s own icy influence spreads through the True Ice, shaping it however desired. This leaves the resulting craft with a very light pinkish hue, barely noticeable unless set directly under the right light. The ability is called a Fae Spark
Resistance to snow-blindness is not infallible, magical eruptions or other such
bright lights still possess the ability to blind Ie Il’ha
The ability to see in the dark does not alter level of perception, as it is only vision and not wisdom.
Ice Forging is allowed in relation to an LT approved prophesized ‘dream’ in which a way to channel and manipulate true ice as a material/metal is gifted. Control of this must be taught to your character in roleplay.
Elves who remain outside of the freezing cold for too long find themselves subject to Heartthaw
Within a society based entirely on merit and the ability one has to provide for the community, weakness is not only intolerable, it is outright abolished. Those who are born without the strength to survive the tundra are left behind rather than allowed to be a drain on resources able to further the Ie Il’ha as an entirety.
Until Ie Il’ha are of an appropriate age to have survived the perils of infanthood, they are to be nameless other than paltry nicknames given because of their physical descriptions or developing qualities.
Example: Pot-belly, Mischeif, Ice-heart, Cub, Fearless, Pale-eyes
After this right of passage, an Ie Il’ha youth will carry a personal name, the name of their nomadic grouping, and the name of their current territory of residence. This territory may be simply a path they take, more so than a claimed plot of land outlined by borders.
The name of one’s nomadic grouping is always that of a dignified predator or spirit of renown of some sort in the inuit language, and is chosen by the nomadic tribe’s reigning Matriarch. Often, it is a name bestowed by an elder of great age and wisdom, which the Matriarch accepts.
Examples: Nanouk Amaroq of the Mountain pass
Adlartok Kallik of the East Spires
Ie Il’ha names are simple or composite, filled with ‘ook’ and ‘keh’ sounds. Softening these, is a frequent use of the letter N, L and vowels. Each name is chosen by one’s Mother or relative with mothering influence and is chosen for the qualities that best describe who the child is, and could one day be. As one ages, this name can change several times through the course of life, depending upon how the child may change.
Example Female Names: Nanouk, Kirima, Atiqtalik
Example Male Names: Adlartok, Siqiniq, Panuk
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 Ie Il’ha in the process as stated in the following excerpt from old tomes of the beginning of times, passed down generations;
In the fading light of day, the new God looked about the land to all of their new children. Each, honouring an aspect of the great Aagith. Looking about the world in its infancy, the God saw great expanses of ice and snow that went untouched. Unappreciated by all that dwelled within the lands of the realm. The god searched long and hard, before plucking from the depths, a glistening shard of ice from the chasms of the snowy plains. Blue, shone the shard in the light of the moon, refracting light of silvery beauty upon the surroundings. So enthralled with this gem, the God breathed the essence of their most visceral spirit. The spirit of the ice itself, of magic untamed filled the crystal of ice until it glowed iridescent with potential. Holding his creation upwards, there was no Sun to grant it life. But alas, the light of the stars shone down amongst the two moons, eyes of the beyond. A child of the Maker had heard the God’s plea, and amongst that of the stars, granted Ie Il’ha life. Forever marked they would be of the evening sky that granted them life, with smatterings of stars across pallid skin coloured by the ice in which they had been carved. Breath alight with the frost, a constellation of their familial lines, forever embedded within their forms.
Living on the meagre scraps able to be worked from the frigid land, the Ie Il’ha worship the spirit of their cold lands as a representation of eternal hunger, of undeath, and seek to satiate this hunger with offerings of valiance, strength and triumph. It is not uncommon for Ie Il’ha to seek out creatures or beings much larger or dangerous than themselves with the aim to gather trophies. In part this is to please the larger, stronger females of the species in order to convince them of their ability to provide for a child they may seek to create from a possible pairing. In other part, this is an outlet for the avid worship of the Ice Lord, Covrudurth.
Ie Il’ha are generally split into two basic religions, though worship of either within reason is generally accepted amongst the body of Ie Il’ha numbers. The first of these religions is the avid worship of Covrudurth the bitter cold, the lord of ice and undeath. The freezing that binds soul to body and gives no rest to the howling essence of those forever entrenched in Covrudurth’s eternally bitter grasp. Many a shrine and altar may be constructed despite the Ie Il’ha’s nomadic life, tokens from every hunt placed at such even at the cost of tribe members missing meals. Effigies carved from bone entrenched in blood, usually a heart or vital organ for respect. It is forsworn, and a horrible crime to anger the Lord of the Bitter Cold. A mistake one could pay for in centuries of servitude in undeath. If one seeks the boons of Covrudurth the great and terrible, there is almost certainly always a price to pay. Oft, it is enough to make one bitter oneself, as if the essence of the Lord of the Cold has entrenched within you. When a tribe member of this worship has found themselves to be of little use, when an elder has decided to end their lives on their terms, when a great need for a great weapon has come and there is one willing to perish to grasp it.. The journey will begin. Deep into the heart of the tundra an Ie Il’ha must go, for no other Il’ha or known creature can survive this far onto the path of which none have seen the end. As endless as Oloris this journey is claimed by Ie Il’ha. Perilous, but the spoils of such would outfit one handsomely for ages to come. Deep into the thrumming heart of the tundra, until the voice of Covrudurth beckons you to bury yourself in the snow and fall into the forever-sleep.. Further and further still. When all hope may be lost, one could perhaps find shapes huddled in snow and carved ahead, frozen in time. The bodies of the others who have made this journey and failed to the saccharine whisper of undeath. To take a part of those frozen forms and return to the warmth, was to gain the boon of Covrodurth’s ire. For living ice heralds a great power unknown even to most Ie Il’ha. Many have failed. The few who have been successful, oft brought back living ice in the form of their own decayed limbs, stolen into undeath as they felt every moment. Covrudurth’s love and hatred are well sought after by the Ie Il’ha. But alas, the love or hatred of the lord of bitter cold is a weighty thing to bear.
The second religion that encompases vast numbers of the Ie Il’ha is that of Xulzraiss. It is said that the moon is the eye of Xulzraiss the great and mysterious silver dragon. A mistress of magic, the great Xulzraiss is herald as a bringer of the greatest truth that ever would be to the Ie Il’ha. The light of the moon glittering down upon their toil as they continued to survive. For nothing can be truer than the wish to live. Those allied to the Silver dragon of mystery and prophecy devote their entire lives into the tracking of the stars and the alignment of fates. In this, many Ie Il’ha find home in their ability to craft ice. Though a mere echo of the power of Xulzraiss, to practice magic and attempt to unravel some of the great mysteries of the universe, one payed homage to Xulzraiss. It is said that when an Ie Il’ha elders time is approaching, one can see in their gaze the eye of Xulzraiss approach. A milky film in the eyes that resembles the moon itself. When one’s vision is completely obstructed, it is said Xulzraiss has marked your soul for a place by her side amongst the stars. Eyes with such vision can be famed to see into that of the spiritual plane. To take from those of the undeath conversely, is a great and terrible sin against the wisdom of Xulzraiss, whom decrees that what lies with her brother should lie forever undisturbed, their choices having brought them to their fate of doom after all. To take from the garden of specters is certain to blight the very moon, and strike ancestors down from the stars in a mighty rumble.
Though Ie Il’ha are monogamous in relationship, it is oft discouraged to take lifemates early on in their life. There is no stigma against children born out of relationships, and they are treated with the same tough raising hand. When lifemates are to be taken, the male is expected to have amassed enough trophies of good enough quality to thus impress the woman he wishes to gain the attention of. If this is seen as pleasing, the unfortunate Ie Il’ha male will likely endure a beating as a test of his strength from the larger female. If this is seen as displeasing, the male risks his life and sense of honour, as rejection is seen as a disgrace one must earn more trophies to counteract. As when a child comes from a union, it is the task of the parents to feed and protect that child, and do their best to raise them through childhood. Though it is a reality that every child born is a child not guaranteed to live past infancy. Everyone in the tribe helps within the raising of a new child, as they are born less than to other Il’ha. Whence a child is weaned however, they are expected to pull their weight as much as they can. A youth will be old enough to stand, walk and run competently by this time, and they are often tasked with running messages around the nomadic encampments, fetching water, assisting with handling of pelts and so forth. As they age they are given more and more responsibility according to their ability. Children who cannot keep up, are left to their fate. A youth’s greatest task therefore is to fight to ensure their younger siblings have the best possible chance of survival.
Though art is not a priority amongst Ie Il’ha, there are well-made tapestries and scrolls of ancient heritage recorded by each of the matriarchs of each nomadic clan. These are handsomely coloured with winter berries and other pigments found in the southern dwellings and amongst traders they have found along their way.
Beyond this, art is rarely to be seen unless one intends to trade such for more valuable goods.
Ie Il’ha are remarkably not picky about their food. On a diet of fatty seal meat and blubber in the northern dwelling and rich elk meat in the southern, they primarily dine on a diet almost entirely comprised of animal protein. As maintaining their level of activity struggling against ferocious winds and chills even Ie Il’ha must bundle up again required much, much fuel. Though in the southern dwelling, starchy roots are dug up to supplement this diet, alongside some hardy vegetation able to withstand the still winter weather of the southern dwellings.
Wherever Ie Il’ha dwell, they have a taste for fresh and saltwater fish, carving holes in the ice in order to catch such prey.
Major Settlements/Points of Interest
Bound to the cold, arctic climate, Ie Il’ha are primarily nomadic in that they foray from summer to winter homes with the turn of the season. When the ice and snows are too dangerous for even an Ie Il’ha to brave, they move further south. Many of Ie Il’ha settlements as such are constructed from yurts made of an amalgamation of furs and ice structures carved by the Ie Il’ha themselves into strategic wind-blockers.
Some larger settlements are instead comprised of a towering figure constructed from the Ie Il’ha’s unique ability to manipulate the stone in small parts. Alongside carving, palaces of forever frozen ice mark the landscape that Il’ha call home.