Sah’vhain Raiment

“What makes a Sword of the Court? The silver of their blades, the tenacity of their steel, the strength of their resolve. What makes an Aid of the Court? The sharpness of their woven words, the bite of their honesty and sting of their lies,” Elcor’sia cries. “Your Sah’vhain is a part of you - wear it with pride, Aid of Je’nasie, lest you taint the reputation of your Court.”

There are few occasions where the daelin dress to impress. Assemblies and Grand Assemblies, or assortments of parties, are perhaps the only occasions where they see the need to try and one up each other.

The exception to that are Court Aids; those chosen to guide the hand of their Court’s leader in all manner of affairs. Where a King or Queen, Duchess or Duke, or Marquess may lavish in luxury and dress in whatever takes their fancy, their Aid must adorn a Sah’vhain raiment.

Day in, day out, regardless of whether they walk amongst their fellow Court or if they are in attendance of another Court. Aids must always be seen to be wearing their Sah’vhain.

Alé’sa frowns, eyeing the two distinct sashes sat atop the rest of the raiment with a hint of disdain.

“Must I wear the blasted thing?” she asks. Words bitter. Memories flash before her, dangling like bait - you lost, you failed, you are not worthy of your mother’s Sah’vhain - and she blinks away the stain of sadness plaguing her mind.

“Your mother would have wanted you to wear it, tae-ah vair. She would have been proud.”

Appearance of a Sah’vhain

Example Sah'vhain Sashes 1 by SunlanceXIII

To outsiders, a Sah’vhain would look like a normal, if not slightly over the top, leather shirt, leather boots, and accompanying cloth trousers and sashes. To the daelin, the raiment is made with a finesse and mastery that neither the beastfolk or humans could hope to achieve.

The leather shirt and boots are worked to nigh perfection. Daelin leatherworkers spend weeks creating a single Sah’vhain, determined to ensure that it’s wearer will find no fault with the material. Though the shirt in particular is not as protective as typical leather armour would be, it is far more flexible and lends to a more graceful character. Many Sah’vhain shirts are sleeveless, reminiscent of garment worn by Rielik's Aid when Rielik was mortal, though in recent years there has been a rise in short sleeved Sah’vhain shirts amongst the Lesser Courts.

Before the leatherworker starts to craft, both the leather boots and the leather shirt are dyed with rare bronze callithsae - crushed crystals that give the leather it’s metallic bronze look. As the callithsae is rare, it can be hard for the Lesser Courts to come by, which means that their Sah’vhains usually look more worn down than those of the High Courts or Grand Courts.

Example Sah'vhain Sashes 2 by SunlanceXIII

The trousers are cut from a heavier cloth, whilst the sashes are cut from a lighter material. Much like the leatherworkers, the daelin tailors will spend weeks, sometimes even months, perfecting their parts of the raiment. The trousers make up three or four days of work and are typically dark grey in colour, whilst most of the tailor’s time is spent on creating the sashes.

Tailors must make two sashes. The first sash (known as the gard’e) is always dyed silver. The second sash (known as the lyvehn) is dyed two colours: one to represent whether the Aid is from a Lesser, Higher, or Grand Court, and the second to represent the ‘favoured’ colour of the Court that the Aid is from.

Gard’es are cut longer and wider than their counterparts. When wearing the Sah’vhain, the gard’e is wrapped around the Aid’s waist first and tied once, then the lyvehn is loosely wrapped around the Aid’s waist, and finally the gard’e is tied a second time to secure both sashes.

Although made with ordinary fabric, the tailors have to spend so long on the sashes in order to weave arcane essence into each sash. This requires working closely with the Aid (if they are an arcanist), or another available arcanist in the Court. Weaving arcane essence into the sashes ends up simultaneously weaving intricate patterns into the fabric that glow with an eerie, unnatural light.

Finally, the Aid is presented with a single fingerless glove by their Marquess, Duke / Duchess, or King / Queen / Prince. This glove is made from the same fabric as the lyvehn sash, although there is no arcane essence woven into the fabric of the glove.

Prince Lîvio glances up from his meal, watching with rapidly growing awe as Alé’sa enters the room. Hand frozen, bread halfway raised to his mouth.

“You look,” he starts. Falters. Can’t seem to find the right words - flattery is not a gift that Alé’sa seeks, but to fail in complimenting her Sah’vhain would be a tragedy.

Alé’sa shifts, uncomfortable in the silence, and raises her own hand. In it is a glove - her vanri - thin fabric drooping over the sides of her fingers. “Despite this being my mothers before me, I am told you must still honour me by presenting it, my Prince.”

Evolution of the Sah’vhain

Though largely unchanged over the years, there have been a few alterations and moderations. Originally, there was only one sash - the gard’e - as that was what Hu’hayn wore as Aid to Rielik and her Court. It serves as a reminder of a time when there was only one Court and the daelin were unified under Rielik’s banner.

Eventually, as more and more Courts began to pop up, a second sash was added - the lyvehn. When it was initially added the lyvehn was a single colour, meant to represent whether the Court was Lesser, Higher, or Grand. Around 400 years ago, Aids of the Grand Courts started adding a second colour to their lyvehn as a way to distinguish themselves from the other Grand Courts. The Lesser and Higher Courts quickly followed suit.

Oh the ro-sah vair these days - trying so desperately to play pretend. They act as if they do not seek our approval, as if they believe they are on equal footing to our Grand Courts. They flounce their defiance in our faces, make a mockery of the Sah’vhain that honours not only ourselves, but those who came before us.

Do you wish to know the truth? Undeniable, frankly quite laughable, and endearingly simple truth?

They are terrified of being forgotten.

The sigils they stitch into their gard’es and their lyvehns, the metal adornments they attach to their boots and shirt, the words of Dae’vess that they embroider in silver and golds. Every addition is a resounding cry for attention.

Queen of the Alìker Court

The Raiment of Court Aids

Not every daelin is qualified to be a Court Aid. It takes a certain grace and tact, a vast knowledge of Court politics, a quick wit, and a heart of stone. Some believe it to be the highest honour; others say it is the worst job a member of the Court can have.

No matter what their fellow daelin think, or whatever personal beliefs the Aid holds, as soon as they are given the title they must conduct themselves in a highly professional manner. That means wearing their Sah’vhain for most of their lives. In the presence of their own Court, during events, or festivals. It serves as a reminder to both the people and themselves - I am important enough, respected enough, that my opinion is held above your own in the eyes of our leadership.

Because an Aid is required to wear the Sah’vhain practically everyday of their lives, they will have multiple Sah’vhains commissioned. Most give their tailors and leatherworkers a single design to work from. Others may include minor additions, such as hand stitched symbols and Dae’vess phrases. Over the years, as their Sah’vhain sees more wear and tear, the Aid will simply commission more.

Where the Lesser Courts are concerned, they will show their Aids an amicable amount of respect, but generally their status is not placed too highly above the other members. For High Courts, caught in the middle ranks, reactions to an Aid wearing their Sah’vhain can vary, from grudging respect to hurling thinly veiled insults. Aids of Grand Courts are given the most amount of respect, but the Sah’vhain also puts a very visible target on their backs. One might think it best to attack a Sword of the Court, but what better way to hinder your rivals than to remove their extremely knowledgeable advisor from the equation?

There are a lot of opinions one might create when they see a Sah’vhain.

The humans - ever stuck between their passions for fanciful outfits or cold, hard steel - see it as party attire. The beastfolk are wiser to our ways, for they understand that certain situations require more artful deceptions, but alas even they forgo the true symbolism.

For us, the raiment is one of a kind. It stands out in a crowd. It tells the people ‘here I am, I am watching, I am listening, cross my path and I will cut you down with something far worse than the sharp edge of a blade’.

Queen of the Alìker Court
Lyvehn Colour Significance

Court colours on the gard'e are as follows:

  • Lesser Court - dark green
  • High Court - blue sapphire
  • Grand Court - royal purple

Originally, the Court colours were a symbol of wealth. Purple, being the most expensive dye for tailors to acquire, was used by Grand Courts and a handful of High Courts (until those particular High Courts were forced to change the dye they were using or face a united retribution from the Grand Courts). Most High Courts sourced blue sapphire dye. Not quite as expensive as the royal purple dye used by Grand Courts, but still expensive enough to set them apart from the Lesser Courts. As for the Lesser Courts, they had their pick of inexpensive dyes, but settled on a dark green as a symbol of the daelin's connection to nature.

Nowadays the colours have taken on a different meaning, one that the Courts have created for themselves. The royal purple largely still signifies wealth and a greater status. The blue sapphire has come to signify faith or divine favour - though this is used as a way for the High Courts to try and belittle the Grand Courts more than anything else. Finally, the green used by the Lesser Courts has come to mean growth. In the eyes of certain High Courts, that green dye signifies the Lesser Courts’ jealousy.

Main styles for the lyvehn are:

  • Half and half - often used to signify balance
  • Middle band to represent Court rank and dyed tips - often used to boast of a Court’s power or ability to overcome hardships / challenges
  • Three stripes (Court rank colour outside, Court’s favoured colour inside) - often used to signify defiance or otherness, especially seen of younger Aids in Lesser Courts

Balèstry Court - Lyvehn by SunlanceXIII

The lyvehn worn by the current Aid of the Balèstry Court - woven with the essence of a fire affinity arcanist

Weaving the Arcane

Most arcane abilities can be used as a focus and imbued into the very fabric of the gard’e and the lyvehn. The only ability not able to be infused is that of phantasms. No one is quite sure why, but every time a tailor has attempted to weave the arcane essence of a phantasm arcanist into a gard’e or lyvehn, the arcane essence always fades within a week.

Where the other arcane abilities are concerned, the patterns formed after weaving generally symbolise whatever ability was used. A flame affinity will create glowing red embers, rift essence will form constellations darted across the fabric that glow a faint white and shift from one position to another, almost as if the patterns are alive. Lifeblood and deathtrance essences tend to form veins along the long edges of the sashes - often making them hard to tell apart to an untrained or unfamiliar eye.

Cover image: Daelin Banner by SunlanceXIII


Author's Notes

This article was originally written for the Costume Challenge. If you liked the article, feel free to leave a comment!

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7 May, 2021 12:34

This is a really good article

Come vist my world PANGORIO for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures ! HYPNOSIUM is my new world I am trying to fill for Summer Camp.
7 May, 2021 18:51

Thank you! Glad you liked it ^^

~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
8 May, 2021 13:09

This is a great article :D I love the style of the drawings and how you described the outfits, and the narration bits are great :D   " and the to represent the ‘favoured’ colour of the Court that the Aid is from." You have "second" missing here. " Some believe it to the highest honour" and a "be" missing here.   I would appreciate a picture of the three stripes style since it's the only one that you are missing.   " I am important enough, respected enough, that my opinion is held above your own in the eyes of our leadership." Nice.   I like that wearing the uniform also makes them target for insults and attacks :D   Silly question, but do they have several exemplars of the uniform? If they wear it all the time, they'll need something for when it gets washed.   Maybe another thing to add would be a quick explanation of why those specific colours got linked with those meaning. Is it purple is the most expensive dye, then blue then green? Or was it linked to the colour symbolising a specific family?

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
8 May, 2021 14:49

Wow, thank you for the amazing feedback! Glad you enjoyed it :D   Curse my google doc for not picking up on those couple of errors! I'll get them updated now before I forget, but thank you for pointing them out ^^   The three stripes style actually came about after I'd made the images, which is why it's not on there atm. If I get the chance I'll add in an example for it before the deadline.   With the several uniforms thing, I actually ended up questioning that myself a couple ish days after I wrote the first draft for the article. So that's something I'm hoping to add in this weekend when I get a bit of spare time inbetween other projects to edit this (watch this space!)   Oooh, the colour significance - I'll definitely make a point to add this in with the next lot of edits. It's a little bit of a combination between wealth & cultural significance. So it started out that purple = most expensive dye, then blue, then green as the least expensive. But overtime the Courts have adopted their own significance for each of the colours:  

  • Purple for wealth (largely unchanged really) and status
  • Blue sapphire for faith / divine favour (this is kind of the High Courts way of saying 'screw you' to the Grand Courts)
  • Green for nature and (depending on which Court you ask) growth / jealousy. The latter comes from members of High and Grand Courts
  • ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    13 May, 2021 16:44

    What a great article with a lovely layout! I love the quotes and pieces of side information throughout the article. Those left sides of the boxes are especially pretty. Nice to have each court differ by the colors uses in the garments. Great read!

    Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
    13 May, 2021 17:14

    Thank you so much - I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

    ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    24 May, 2021 21:39

    "They are terrified of being forgotten" spoken like a fool who can't hear the horses coming. o,o Nice article! The layout makes it easy to read, and I love the styling!

    28 May, 2021 17:00

    Thank you!! :D

    ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    27 May, 2021 02:53

    Nice article! I liked how much the politics swirled around such a simple article of clothing.

    28 May, 2021 17:00

    Thank you!! ^^

    ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    2 Jun, 2021 09:05

    Ooh, this is awesome! First of all, love your css, its really nice :D second of all, I love how you weaved a story through the quotes, the balancing between information and narrative is really awesome. Great work!!

    Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
    3 Jun, 2021 16:10

    Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I'm glad you liked the article :D

    ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    2 Jun, 2021 14:09

    I absolutely love your prose, woven through the article in the quoteboxes and in the text itself. *Every addition is a resounding cry for attention* - man, this line is so good and says so much about these people. Great work!!

    In Gormhan, an ancient magic-using nobility clings to its power in a high-tech 1950s-inspired world. There are dragons too!
    3 Jun, 2021 16:11

    Why thank you! ^^

    ~ Sunlance, creator of Ma'rune and Osiron
    6 Jun, 2021 18:04

    This is really well done. I like that there are so many symbols and meanings that are/can be attached to the sash, from the colors to the arcane weavings, sigils, and other additions. I also like how you discuss the various ways people view the aide's position and how it might even make them a greater target.

    - Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
    6 Jun, 2021 18:21

    This simple uniform comes with an impressively complex and interesting court system!

    Check out my world World Behind the Veil!
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