Cuille

Plaguing the High Elves since time immemorial, is a common condition among the Eilmari high elves. Cuille nearly halves the lifespan of the elves, rendering them a mere 375 years old on average instead of 750 years. There are a very few high elf families that have been able to avoid this condition from manifesting itself in their bloodline.  
The tales of old tell a grave story of the betrayal of the majority of elves. Cuille became the voice of that betrayal of their ancestors. It symbolises an eternal cry for help as they try to cling onto life for as long as they can. There is no escaping Cuille, unless one is part of the families that didn't declare fealty to those who were trying to bring her back.
Dad, who is "she"?
I'm afraid you're not old enough yet to learn about her, my son. A time will come, I promise.
— A conversation between son and father whose family does not suffer from Cuille
Watch Out! Contains Secrets!
 
I always thought you guys could live up to 700 years or so. What changed?
— A human talking with their elven friend
 

Origin

While The Counsel of Eilmaris tries to keep the details as vague as possible, they have given a few statements to shed some light on the origin of Cuille. Since it is overall taboo to speak of this condition in the open, there are a few locations where elves meet up to find out the truth about their condition.   So far, the Counsel preaches that Cuille found its way to high elf society by accident. In ancient times, one elf came to visit their family in Eilmaris who was amongst the highest ranking members in society. In this family, it was customary to arrange the marriages of their children to ensure the most optimal compatibility. Life resumed as normal. The elf had procreated bringing two beautiful boys to the world. However, they noticed that they were aging rather quickly. At the age of 300, they already looked like their grandfather instead of a handsome adult elf in the prime of their life. It was at this moment that they went to see a doctor to figure out what was going on. Even to the doctors it was unexplainable. A few years later, at the age of 384, they had left the mortal plane.   Most elves thought nothing of it. It was probably a one off thing. This neglegance caused the condition to spread quietly among the Eilmari population. It took a few centuries for the condition to be properly discovered and acknowledged. However, in the meantime within a few generations, many families had children suffering from the condition. There was no avoiding it any longer among the commoners and even the elves higher up the social ladder.   There is one explanation that the counsel has offered its citizens to clarify why a select few bloodlines do not suffer from this condition. According to statements from these families and the counsel, they had someone close to the family of the visitor who brought Cuille inside the walls of Eilmaris. They kept close tabs on the situation and discovered early that something was amiss. While others believed it to be a random occurence, these families took it seriously and began to shield their children from mating with the elves who suffer from the condition.  

Punishment from the Dragons

It all happened a very long time ago, when the dragons were still roaming the lands of Hesli. It was the gold dragons that had nurtured their little creatures, now known as High Elves, to be strong helpers and warriors. In return, they expected the elves to stand by their side as they took care of the world. However, when The Draconic War broke out, a large group of elves decided to plead fealty to the black dragons instead.   Filled with anguish over the betrayal, the gold dragons decided to punish those who defected. They imposed a curse upon these elves and their families, later named Cuille by the High Elves. It was a genetic marker that would always be passed on to the next generation to ensure that no descendant of the betrayers can escape the consequences of their ancestors actions. The dragons made it so the elves wouldn't notice immediately that something was wrong.   As millennia passed on, their life expectancy slowly decreased until it was halved. When elves began to notice, the The Counsel of Eilmaris scrambled together to find an explanation for the decline. It was at this point that Altan'Luu, a group of high elf families that didn't suffer from Cuille, came forward. They would tell the counsel the story that is currently regarded the origin of Cuille.   In reality, the families of Altan'Luu are the descendants of those who stood by the gold dragons. As a reward, they had been given a different genetic marker; the mark of Altan'Luu. It was very similar to the marker of Cuille and it behaved in a similar way. The key difference is that it was the countermeasure to Cuille. They have been given the task by the dragons to lift the curse when the elves had redeemed themselves.
Watch Out! Contains Secrets!
Table of Contents
This text contains information that members of Altan'Luu possess as they are those who know about the true origin and purpose of Cuille. Hover over it, if you want to see the information.
Type
Genetic
Origin
Natural
Rarity
Common
Affected Species

Aging

Cuille does not show itself early during an elves life. During the childhood years, there is nothing extraordinary to see. Until they reach the first stage of full development, there is no symptom in sight. From age 30 and onward, it becomes noticable. During these adult years, the elves age twice as quick than they usually would have. Aside from the most visible factors such as the changing of hair colour and the appearance of slight wrinkles, there are other less visible symptoms that point towards and increased speed of aging. For instance, the body sheds it old skin cells at a much higher rate than normal.    

Message from the Ancestors

Dear Altan'Luu   We must leave this world. We will come back to fight another day. For now, we have prevented her from coming back and wreaking havoc on this world. Their attempt at freeing her has been met with punishment. The betrayers are cursed with Cuille now.   Please, guide them to a lighter path and may they redeem themselves once more. When they do, lift their curse and set them free.
— A letter from the last gold dragons to the first members of Altan'Luu
Watch Out! Contains Secrets!


Cover image: Hesli Banner by ShadowPhoenix

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
2 Aug, 2022 18:53

This is a great way to deal with some species having a much too long lifespan XD   So if someone cursed with Cuille and someone who has the opposite marker have a child together, which one will "win"? And what are the elves supposed to do to redeem themselves, especially if they don't even know they have to?

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
3 Aug, 2022 05:56

Hehe thank you ^^   Well, the families with the opposite marker of Cuille "aren't allowed" to have a child with a cursed elf. So... make of that what you will. :P   What the elves are supposed to do to redeem themselves is something I'll have to figure out in the future. I may be slightly cruel, but not heartless. xD

Summercaaaaamp when the writin' is easy. Words are flowing and the hype is hiiiiigh. \o/
My Summer Camp Entries
27 Aug, 2022 18:48

I cannot believe we both pulled from Mongolian in the exact same way to name things related to golden dragons. x) What a coincidence!   Okay but seriously, this is beautifully done. The basic idea is brilliant for making lifespans a lot more manageable in an RPG setting (no idea if that's why you've done it, but it certainly makes things easier), and you've integrated it into your world so well. Draconic punishment is a hell of a plot thread, and elven society needing to adapt to the sudden change was something I initially wondered about - and you addressed it!   Has anyone tried to break the curse through other means? Has anything ever worked?