The Sidhe and the Cymry are the two original ancient races of Gaia. There is an ongoing dispute between them regarding which is the oldest. The Sidhe wandered, grew, built realms and saw them fall, long before even the oldest Menfolk races began to shape the world. Deeply attuned to the echoes of the world in all her shades, Sidhe are powerful healers and seers.
There are several distinct races of Sidhe which will be detailed in documents specific to their nation.
- Ardan’adal: The name of the Sidhe in their ancient language.
- Sidhe: Term describing all races of their kind, name of the species in general. It is not the name of any one of their nations.
- Elf-Kind: Term used by some races of Men when referring to the Sidhe.
Chimera: The Sidhe are considered one of the Chimera races because of their innate abilities to use various forms of magic.
The Sidhe do not share roots with any of the other sentient beings of Gaia. Sidhe is a broad term for the races of several nations.
The Sidhe, like the Cymry, have an innate, physiological connection to Gaia and her Ley Lines of Power. They are attuned to the Echoes of the World, the Great Song. Their arcane abilities will lie dormant if not awakened by training. When dormant, their arcane potential will only show itself as a sensitivity to changes in weather, and the overall health and well-being of plants, trees, and animals. They will also feel a vague sense of discomfort when something or someone tainted by the Shadow is near.
Only through training, the correct rituals and through visiting the ancient wells and the trials that follow can the potential be brought to active use.
Total Population: 400 000
The majority of the Sidhe live within their home nations. However, approximately 100,000 Sidhe are living in other areas of the world.
- Elderwood: 100 000 people (Woodlandfolk)
- Altyr’ Darasmai: 50 000 [Frostfolk)
- Saramaganta Mountains: 100 000 (Sunfolk)
- Chyra’ Alaya: 50 000 (Moonfolk)
The Sidhe are a lightly built and slender people. They appear very fragile when compared with other races. Both men and women range in height from being rather small to very tall. Although not truly androgynous, there is less definition between the sexes than in other races. Sidhe have delicate upswept ears and slanted eyes that tend to be larger than those of humans. Sidhe have no body hair, nor do they perspire in the same way humans do.
Hair and eye color vary but are specific to each Sidhe race. These will be described in detail in documents specific to each nation and race.
The Sidhe are a long-lived people, averaging between 400 and 500 years. Although they appear physically frail compared to most other hominid species on Gaia, they are immune to a majority of the diseases that plague the world’s peoples.
Sickness from exposure to dirt and bugs is virtually unknown to them. Yet, their spirit and body share a much different relationship than it does with other races. The state of their spirit reflects quite strongly in the state of their body. Sorrow, deep loss or harrowing depression can age a Sidhe within a few weeks. Cruelty or dark misdeeds will leave marks upon their body, and long deprivation of the soul leaves their body withering.
To understand the Sidhe lifespan, one must first understand their nature. The dominant part of the existence of any Sidhe is not the body, it is Fea – the spirit. Fea means the Song. If the Song is strong and healthy, the Ari – the body – will flourish. If the Fea suffers and loses strength, the body will wither and fade. A Sidhe might live up to 500 or die as young as 100, depending on the health of their Fea.
Many things affect the Fea and can cause it to weaken. The list is infinite and includes longing for things that cannot be, unrequited love, dark magic, dark presences, senseless killing, cruelty, hatred, jealousy and too much strain on an individual’s magic. Sidhe using their magic extensively shorten their lifespans. For their healers, this is a matter of course.
“It may take you all of your long life to understand what killing does to your world.”
(The King of Elderwood, ca. 160 TA)
The Sidhe are a proud and noble race that possess an ancient history. They still feel a great responsibility to guard the world against the horrors of old. They are often impatient and arrogant with the younger races who toy heedlessly with danger, and outright exasperated with the Cymry who refuse to name the Enemy or to acknowledge that there are dark powers at work in this world. While the Sidhe abhor needless killing, they are exemplary warriors when it comes to the fight against the Dark One. With their understanding of being part of a conflict that has lasted for millennia, they can easily appear haughty towards other races.
Expertise & Prowess
Sidhe are renowned healers, be it magical or non-magical. They know much of the workings of nature, of plants and herbs, of the sickness of the body as well as sickness of the spirit. Their magical healing takes this even a step further. As most Sidhe have very keen eyes they are well known as archers and scouts. Their ability to move through woods and wilds rivals that of the Wyr.
One of the Sidhe’s most passive arcane talents is that of seeing. There are three types of Dreamers, and to get a true portent of the future, they must work together. If only one is available, then the story is not complete. Dreamers are often sought out by people in need of advice. However, the accuracy of the advice depends on if all three Dreamers are involved in the reading.
Oracles are the most prolific Dreamers and are readily available. They can summon dreams of people, but cannot call one specific future for them. Oracles see hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dream threads.
If present when an Oracle is dreaming, a seer can isolate which future is near at hand. It takes a lifetime of training to learn how to sort through the futures that an Oracle sees and to understand which ones are probabilities and which ones are only possibilities.
Arawn is the name the Cymry have given to the Sidhe’s Death Seers. Amongst the Sidhe, these men and women have no names. They are simply The Veiled Ones. The Arawn know when dreams that portend death are being spun and always arrive before the Oracle begins their work. They stand watch over the Seers and cut off the dreams that lead to death for a person’s time of death is not to be foretold by any but the Arawn.
Isdiria (Healing Hands)
All Sidhe healer belong to the Isdiria or Healing Hands. They follow their own code of law, refer apprentices to one another and come to another’s aid when needed. They do not venture into fights or battles, nor do they give battlefield aid, unless their King calls them to assist his armies.
Dru’dya (The Wise of the Woods): Sidhe with a generally high knowledge of healing, of plants and of the illnesses of the flesh.
Aerscai: Arcane healers able to enhance the workings of cures, strengthen the effects of their herbs, and through this heal more efficiently than Dru’dya. The best Aerscai can stimulate the strength of the body, helping the body to heal better by activating the body’s own reserves.
Sairaelda: These are the most powerful healers, able to use their own energies to reinforce the healing process in another being. Sairaelda can work true miracles. They can keep people alive who should die and heal mortal wounds. However, this process puts tremendous strains on the Sairaelda. If they call on their powers too often, it will weaken their Fea. If they are not given sufficient time to recover, the Sairaelda will be affected physically. Their bodies will age, and their lifespans will be significantly shortened.
Ciridari (Dawn of Hope): The Ciridari are warrior-healers who accompany Sidhe fighters into the darkest places of the world. Trained to use the sword to protect themselves and those they trust, they are the healers who keep their comrades alive when the darkness closes in. Like the Sairaelda they are able to use their powers to heal others, only they take it one step further. They transfer their actual life-essence to the patient they heal. In normal circumstances, this might simply strain them to the point of collapse, but with prolonged use, it can visibly age the Ciridari within minutes. Indeed many Ciridari die young. A Ciridari may give up all his life-force to replenish another – dying instantly as the last drop of his power goes into the patient.
Singers are a far-ranging group of Sidhe, who use magic to influence flora and fauna around them. This talent is also referred to as Singing to the Land and the Amhránaí as Singers to the Land.
Tree-Singers: Tree Singers can use their songs to awaken the life in the surrounding plants. Their songs make plants grow stronger, make them flourish.
Wind Singers: Wind Singers use their songs to gently call for rains, or keep them away for a while when the land is drowning.
Wind and Tree Singers never strain their powers to such an extent that their Fea is endangered.
Water Singers: Water Singers are the strongest of the Singers. When they use their songs, they cleanse the land of dark taints, of devastations and let the dead Earth become green again. Bringing a devastated land back to life can easily cost the lives of a dozen water singers.
Among the Sidhe, there are a considerable number of warriors with active arcane talents not suited for the healing arts or for Singing to the Land. They are trained to become Tarai’cane, the Sword that Cleaves the Shadow.
Tarai’cane are not mages or sorcerers, but they make use of their limited skill well enough. The first and most important is that each Tarai’cane is exposed to the Shadow in his initiation. If he rejects it and survives the ordeal, he will be able to sense the Shadow’s presence henceforth. As a side effect, the Tarai’cane will suffer nightmares in which he will hear the Shadow’s creatures whispering.
Tarai’cane learn to cleanse away poisons or taints that the shadow leaves on people or the land itself. They are also trained to try and block shadowed powers. The actual skill level depends greatly on the strength of the individual Tarai’cane. Like all Sidhe using the arcane, Tarai’cane run the risk of weakening their Fea although that comes in the line of duty for them. Many Tarai’cane die from the loss of spirit and depression due to what they have seen.
Understanding the Sidhe requires understanding their long history. Their cultural memory stretches back to the days that the Ancient Land sank under the waves and the black flood scoured the land. The Days when the Dark One rose from the Deeps and tainted the land, beginning the conflict that led to the Fall of Simyala and the Burning of Alteia. While the Dark One was ultimately imprisoned, but not defeated, the land freed but not healed, the danger remains and the Sidhe are keenly aware of that. They know what was, what will be, and may yet fall under the Shadow.
It is this sense of knowing that makes many Sidhe hesitant in their interactions with other races. They see the other races as careless in their use of the arcane, blind to the powers they play with, and easy prey for the Shadow’s clutches. Another reason the Sidhe prefer to avoid interactions with Menfolk, Dwarrow, Wyr, and Cymry is their needless cruelty. Sidhe have no understanding for many of the cultural paradigms that rule the world, be it arranged marriages among menfolk, vengeance among dwarrow or the casual way Wyr regard killing, in general, are completely alien to them. To them, all these actions are needless pain and damage done to one’s own spirit.
Due to these facts, Sidhe advise their young against freely mingling with the other races or going as far as joining in marriage with them. Throughout history there have been a number of intermarriages with other races, as many of them happy as there were unhappy ones. Sidhe warn their people to be careful because the world outside their communities is often cruel and cold.
Sidhe regard each individual with utmost respect, which is a deep mark of their culture. Among their kind, it would be unthinkable to send a son or daughter away because they will not follow the family craft. Each being is unique and has to blossom into the most perfect version of itself that it can become. No being can be replaced, each being that is lost is one unique piece of the world gone forever.
Ceal’tach: Language of the Sidhe, native tongue
Heniaith: the most common form of the Chimeran tongues still taught among the Sidhe
Saesneg: only common with Sidhe that have regular interaction with the other races.
For social structure and hierarchy, see the document specific to each nation of Sidhe.
Sidhe only marry once for it is not the physical union they seek but the union of the Fea. Once that has been given, it cannot be shared with another ever again. As Sidhe society does not put any obligation on an individual to marry and/or procreate, they have the time to find that one other with whom they wish to share their Fea.
Children born out of wedlock are almost unknown by the Sidhe since they tend to form only one lasting bond with one another. If it does happen that a child is born from a physical union outside of the marriage, they are valued as highly as any other child.
Death & Death Rituals
Death means returning home to the Light of Dreams from whence they came. While they do not fear their own death, the loss of others is a reason for mourning, a season of pain. Sidhe find the way other nations treat their dead (burning, burying) barbaric and crude. They place the bodies on rafts or boats, setting them alight with a sacred flame, before sending them downriver. The sacred flame dissolves the body into pure arcane power, sending it up towards the stars, whence the Fea has fled.
Cymry: They are stubborn and whimsical. The Cymry refuse to name the danger the world is in and play with their powers. They will bring grave trouble to the world again if they do not learn.
Wyr: They know the danger, and as they fought the Shadow they became dark. It is such a dreadful loss for the world. How dare they compare our gryphons to their dreadful beast of legend?
Menfolk: Their lives are so short, yet they appreciate them so little. They waste their time with cruelty, the hunt for meaningless things and the currying of favor.
Dwarrow: If the Dark One knew what coin is, he’d easily corrupt the dwarrow. Thankfully they were the ones mad enough to invent money.