BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Jeimr, Kingdom of the Vedrfol

The massive vedrfol once dominated the advanced society of Jeimr in the Rhyqirja Mountains, a union with anthrals and tercaelo. Large, winged, highly territorial, and with a lifespan of almost five thousand years, the vedrfol were patient, intelligent, and slow to change. They very rarely had children, and eggs could take an entire decade to hatch, but they were so long-lived this didn't cause any trouble. Until, after thousands of years of prosperity, their long lives left them vulnerable to the unthinkable. Now all that remains of them is half-lost histories.   The anthrals and tercaelo that lived alongside the vedrfol of Jeimr were distinct population groups inside of their own society. They survived their fallen rulers and went on to storied histories of their own. While the winged tercaelo retreated to the peaks of the Rhyqirja Mountains and have lived in seclusion ever since, a vast diaspora of Jeimr anthrals spread across Sof Sator, joining extant societies such as Revan or Laines, or originating new ones such as Pharaul. This article deals primarily with the vedrfol of Jeimr.

History of Jeimr

Timeline: History of Jeimr.

Pre-Jeimr, expansion through Sof Sator

  The history of the vedrfol is one told by ages. In the first, they were wild and solitary, building "nests" on the cliffs of the Rhyqirja Mountains where they would live alone. They claimed territories that stretched for kilometers and permitted no other vedrfol to enter. They had rare contact with their neighbors, and while they seldom disliked each other, a strong territorial instinct kept them apart. This made romance rare -- mostly occurring on the borders of territories and ending in immediate separation -- but the vedrfol population did slowly expand and spread across Sof Sator. During this age, the vedrfol interacted often with other sapioformes, with whom they felt no territorial instinct and could have close relationships if desired. The vedrfol were diversely seen as reclusive, wise, or dangerous, but always as ancient and impossible to truly know.   A second age began when the vedrfol had spread across Sof Sator and young vedrfol could no longer find new territories to claim. This resulted in the formation of a legal system by which a territory's primary claimant could take another as a thrall in exchange for letting them dwell and hunt inside their territory. While the vedrfol remained suspicious of one another, this simple feudal system governed interaction and gave the Vedrfol a grounds to interact with one another safely. This greatly accelerated Vedrfol expansion. More interaction between Vedrfol meant romance was more common, therefore more children, and more thralls living under elder Vedrfol who increased in power. This age of feudal expansion lead, predictably, to territorial disputes, as the Vedrfol lords realized that enthralling a neighboring lord would lead to greater power and security.  

Founding Jeimr, return to the Rhyqirja Mountains

  The third age began with the rise of the first vedrfol King. History disagrees on the method of his ascension; it either required conquest and annexation of all of Sof Sator, or the King was appointed to stop territorial disputes. This King ruled over the lords, who in turn ruled over their thralls, and in some territories there were decreasing tiers of thralldom. With this increasingly formalized feudalism governing interactions, the King of the vedrfol oversaw the founding of Jeimr, a vedrfol nation with cities carved out of the cliffs of their ancestral homeland in the Rhyqirja mountains. This nation included the tercaelo and a group of anthral (most likely the progenitors of modern Pharaul), with whom the vedrfol felt close and whom they could easily (and, according to their own accounts, amicably) subjugate. This was their longest age, a time when they were the greatest civilization in Sof Sator. This period lasted almost five thousand years -- an entire vedrfol liftetime -- but ended more than a thousand years ago.  

The fall of Jeimr, tragedy of the Jotr Velg

  The final age of the vedrfol was short, a relatively sudden decline. The Jotr Velg, a curse that significantly diminished the lifespan of the vedrfol, has no recorded cause or vector or infliction. What is known is that it struck all vedrfol across Sof Sator all at once, and that its effects were not discerned immediately. The Vedrfol, used to lifespans of 5000 years, began to rapidly age and die. It was observed that they could successful hatch new children who could grow normally, but vedrfol mages discovered that the curse was also inflicted upon the newborn. Attempts to find the cause of the curse or cure it were unsuccessful, and within 25 years every vedrfol over one century in age had died, leaving only half-grown adults that were, by vedrfol standards, still being educated. The vedrfol population was decimated, left with only a few thousand young adults who, when they reached their centennials, would begin to rapidly wither with age and die. The effects of the Jotr Velg were this: the lifespan of the vedrfol was now, permanently, limited to just over one hundred years.   The vedrfol continued to live in this state for two more centuries, desperately attempting to purge the curse. The vedrfol also tried to give birth to more young, creating fertility magics and organizing their society around the production of and care for fertile eggs. Vedrfol births remained rare, however, and in the end they couldn't reproduce fast enough to outpace their own mortality. The last living Vedrfol penned a letter to his eggs, writing his hope that his children could yet save their people, and left this letter in the hands of the few remaining anthral attendants. But those eggs failed to hatch.

Legacy

  The vedrfol left behind a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that is, unfortunately, not fully understood even by those who once dwelt alongside them in Jeimr. Without the vedrfol to administer the magics that sustained their cities, Jeimr became uninhabitable to the anthrals that had lived there for millennia. The working theory is that these anthrals left Jeimr and built the city-state that is now known as Pharaul, though the historical records of Pharaul do not go back far enough to either confirm or disprove this. The tercaelo, who always lived at the periphery of Jeimr's society, gravitated naturally to the high peaks of the Rhyqirja Mountains and have remained there since.   The ruins of Jemir remain strewn throughout and within the Rhyqirja Mountains, largely lost to time, and they remain full of unstable magics that cannot be understood by modern scholars. The ancient nests of pre-Jeimr vedrfol are still hidden on mountain peaks, under stony hills, or partway up cliffsides, ready to reward explorers and treasure-hunters with ancient relics and tomes of forgotten knowledge. The feudal government of the vedrfol inspired the governments of many anthral societies, most notably Revan and Pharaul. The system of king, lord, and thrall, has become the primary tool that the termins use to hold power in Revan and subjugate surrounding states.

Naming Traditions

Family names

Vedrfol surnames were passed down matrilinealy. As the vedrfol did not practice marriage, there was no reason to take a father's name, and vedrfol may not find out for a very long time who their father was. Names were given by the mother based on whim, and were commonly one or two syllable sounds. Some examples include:   Asgr Halfis, Munde Avidr, Ekid Higl, Imar Aunf, Ilfun Freir, Thast Ilvar.   During this time, anthrals and tercaelo took names of the vedrfol type but ordered them according to their own customs. For anthrals, this meant patrilineal surnames passed down according to their line, which were well-recorded thanks to the abundance of legal documentation surrounding individuals in Jeimr. Many of these surnames are still in use throughout Sof Sator, particularly in the disparate nations of Pharaul and Revan, and are generally dispersed across most nations that still pass down surnames of this kind. For the tercaelo, their custom of using descriptive phrases as names led to them using phrases in the language of the vedrfol or in Jei-Tercaelo, a practice which ceased naturally when they stopped speaking and writing in these languages.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

The languages of Jeimr no longer exist in any complete way, though the language used by modern tercaelo does closely resemble the Jei-Tercaelo language descended from the language of Vedrfol. No one would know this better than the tercaelo themselves, but their extreme reclusiveness makes it difficult to actively research these connections. Most knowledge of the language spoken by the vedrfol of Jeimr comes from texts recovered in remnant vedrfol nests that predate Jeimr, meaning that better knowledge exists of a pre-Jeimr and post-Jeimr languages than of the exact languages used during the five thousand years that Jeimr existed.   Given that the vedrfol, tercaelo, and anthrals living in this society were all capable of different sets of vocalizations, it makes the most sense that there would be three similar but divergent dialects active in Jeimr. Of these, the language of the anthrals and tercaelo would see the most evolution, as they would've undergone hundreds of generations of cultural development during the span of a single vedrfol lifetime. The anthral-centric language of Jeimr, now commonly referred to as Jei-Satorian, most likely would've diverged and transitioned through many anthral-centric dialects if not entirely divergent languages. If this were the case, given that a significant disapora of anthrals migrated outward from Jeimr after the Jotr Velg, linguists would be able to find signs of dialectical influences in athral texts after this time.   Research does, it turns out, support this. Anthral societies during the last five centuries of the Unwritten Calendar were focused on the western and northern coasts of Sof Sator, and recovered narratives of that time do point to decades of mass immigration, which also coincides with changes in linguistic trends observed in all kinds of writing. Anthral nations which were founded in central Sof Sator during this time give way to modern languages which share a familial connection with the language of ancient vedrfol, in grammar if not in sound. The Modern Satorian spoken by anthrals throughout Sof Sator may either be completely descended from Jei-Satorian dialects, or the result of synthesis between these dialects and some other proto-Satorian languages. The primary debate, then, is simply to what degree this is true.   It is most likely that, in containing hundreds of generations of anthrals inside their subterranean society, the vedrfol observed the dynamic growth, decline, and transmutation of a language that was once very much like their own. The tercaelo might've changed likewise, but as a culture of historians and scribes they may also have resisted this trend to some degree. The modern tercaelo language would be much more similar to the Jei-Tercaelo spoken in Jeimr, which in turn would cleave close to the base Vedrfol that inspired it. The vedrfol themselves would likely continue to speak their original language among themselves. This would lead to a society where the base language coexisted with the many languages that evolved from it in a nation with perhaps dozens of different-but-similar languages at any one time.

Shared customary codes and values

Jeimr was a nation built on contracts and very clearly defined hierarchies of power with as many tiers of thralldom as needed to operate. While the vedrfol had once held one another at significant physical distance, in the confines of Jeimr they created systems of societal distancing to keep from feeling truly close to one another. While a lord may be immediately next to a thrall in actuality, on the scale of systematic organization they would be comfortably far apart. Only by rendering their "Territories" as abstractions instead of actual spaces were the vedrfol able to cohabitate and collaborate, and only by using a population of anthrals and tercaelo to mediate these interactions were they able to maintain this illusion in the long term.   Because vedrfol could not stomach interacting with peers very often, they utilized tercaelo as messengers and scribes and anthrals as servants and aides. Like the vedrfol, anthrals and tercaelo had clear roles in this society and were assured of their place by a vast number of contracts that bound them both as individuals and as collaborative groups. Jeimr required that every resident have a very strong understanding of normative codes of conduct and value close adherence to both written and unwritten rules. The default reaction to any kind of uncertainty or miscommunication would be to produce a contract to formalize the interaction.   All individuals took part in the dynamic evolution of Jeimr's vast system of laws and codes, and all were expected to preserve this system through adherence and careful study. Violation of these systems were a crime, and the vedrfol were careful to make clear that one could violate the purpose of a contractual agreement without violating the letter of it; manipulating the system against the best interests of society wasn't tolerated any more than wantonly violating the terms of a contract.

Average technological level

Vedrfol were always destined to be one of the most advanced peoples in Sof Sator. Even before the founding of Jeimr, a vedrfol's mountainside nest would often look more like a library or an alchemical workshop, where a solitary vedrfol could spend centuries studying and inventing uninterrupted. When they gathered in Jeimr, it is unsurprising that the resulting society came ready-made with experts in every science and school of magic. Contractual sharing of information and collaboration on studies resulted in the invention of many kinds of machinery and magic that were lost in the fall of Jeimr and have never been reclaimed. Most notable of these are the metallurgy of Jeimr, with enchanted alloys whose properties are not fully understood, and golem-crafting that could assemble living constructs of ice, air, stone, metal, and glass, or some combination thereof. Despite this, the magic that would have saved Jeimr remained beyond their grasp, perhaps because it was needed within a timescale that the vedrfol were not used to thinking within. They were used to having centuries to explore even the simplest of theories; having mere decades to invent something may have been simply impossible for them.

Art & Architecture

The vedrfol built Jeimr out of stone, metal, and enchanted ice. What sparse evidence exists of the construction of Jeimr implies that the initial habitations were completed in the century of 5400 UC, nearly two centuries before anthrals and tercaelo were brought into their society. While these shorter-lived peoples are discussed as "servant populations," they were seldom utilized for the hard physical labor of construction. To the vedrfol, they were simply far too small and prone to death to have such labor forced upon them.   Even though the city was built before the anthrals and tercaelo were brought in, one can assume it was always the intent that the city should accommodate these other peoples. While the vast open-air halls were clearly made with winged giants in mind, they were also enchanted to provide warm, gentle updrafts for the smaller wings of tercaelo; being incapable of true flight, the tercaelo would require such winds to navigate the complicated city in comfort. The massive, powerful wings of the enormous vedrfol would see little need for them. Likewise, the wingless anthrals would've found plenty of ramps for their convenience, and narrow stairways cut to their size that would've been completely useless to the vedrfol or tercaelo. The long-lived vedrfol would have been well familiar with the simple anthral settlements of their age, and demonstrated a clear understanding of anthral needs in their designs.   This also means abundant light. Now cold and dark, the massive halls are full of enormous braziers that once would've burned with light, often surrounded by mirrors to magnify and spread illumination through the great halls. To anthral standards, a single hall might be larger enough to fit an entire settlement inside, with vaulted ceilings higher than the tallest towers they'd yet built in that age. Among survivng decorations are large statues of vedrfol individuals, often constructed in memoriam to the dead, as well as now-empty fountains, as well as grand patterns carved into the walls. Other decorations have been lost to time, including floral beds and trees once enchanted to grow without sunlight and tended by a force of anthrals.   The vedrfol were fond of enormous open areas, and places meant for congregation were impossibly large caverns, some integrating underground rivers. Records speak of rooms so large that fog would form inside and gather in clouds with light rainfalls, with many tiered perches for vedrfol and tercaelo, and mossy floors where anthrals would gather like subterranean parks or wild spaces to explore. Such spaces might coincide with records of vedrfol habitations, as these were described as great interior chambers with openings in the walls within which the vedrfol would build their homes. Tercaelo were described to weave large family nests along the roofs of chambers near to their labors. Anthrals may have lived where they worked, as there are no extant records describing separate habitations for them.   The primary architecture observed today are the gates of entry to Jeimr, which are found all throughout the Rhyqirja Mountains, from very near to the peaks where the tercaelo dwell all the way to the foothills of the mountains. These are great, vaulted entryways of stone, leading to immense dark catacombs that once would've been inviting to the city's flying and walking inhabitants, but are now better left unexplored. While the gates appear to be mundane ruins, enchantments deeper inside the city make them difficult to approach, as each gate will either be exuding an endless storm of frigid wind or drawing in air with a dangerous and inescapable pull. If someone were to get pulled into an inhaling gate, they would not be able to exit it, and might never find their way to one of the other gates that might blow them back out again.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

One of the primary duties of anthrals in Jeimr was to care for the eggs of the vedrfol, as well as for their own young. Tercaelo, on the other hand, cared for their own young according to their own customs, which can be assumed to closely resemble integration into the large family groups tercaelo still live in today.   Anthrals managed vast, warm halls, where vedrfol eggs would rest for around fifteen years before finally hatching. The vedrfol had little contact with their own eggs or their own children, seldom having what one would call a parent-child relationship, so the anthrals would raise vedrfol youths. As a result, vedrfol would fast learn about death, as a vedrfol's childhood is longer than the entirety of an anthral lifespan; a vedrfol child would be born alongside anthrals who grew old and died before the vedrfol even reached adulthood. Some recovered writings imply that there was an obligation among vedrfol mothers to become role models for their children relatively quickly after birth, with the brief lifespan of anthrals given as the primary reason. Among vedrfol, there was no expectation to raise an heir or prepare one's progeny for any particular role; so seldom were brirths and deaths that the idea of generational turnover didn't apply. This was a stark contrast to the practices of anthrals and tercaelo, among whome parent-child relationships were naturally strong, and who frequently shared duties and passed down obligations.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Beneath the carefully-carved halls of Jeimr were uncharted depths to which the anthrals of Jeimr would commit their dead, while the tercaelo would bare their own dead to the peaks of the Rhyqirja Mountains to be burned and commit their ashes to the wind. In this way, the servant populations of the vedrfol committed their dead to the earth and the sky.   The vedrfol of Jeimr, however, rarely experienced death in their own circles, and could afford great commemoration for each individual lost. Every vedrfol was seen as historically significant, and each one was deserving of mention in the annals of history. After multiple millennia of life, a vedrfol could look forward to resting in a sealed monument in the great halls of Jeimr, upon which were engravings of their deeds and contributions to society. They would be overseen by a statue of their own likeness made of metal and enchanted ice. For most, a tercaelo scribe would be commissioned to pen a biography which would be accessible at the monument, and a copy placed in the fabled libraries beneath Jeimr (such libraries attested to by lesser writings, though none have yet been found).   These grand entombments became suddenly impractical with the onset of the Jotr Velg, as vedrfol began to die with unthinkable rapidity; sometimes thousands in a single week. To make this worse, the first to die to the Jotr Velg were the eldest, those whom the society of Jeimr had relied upon for millennia, and it was not the habit of the vedrfol to plan for such drastic loss. Crippled by the staggering loss and the collapse of simple infrastructure the vedrfol once took for granted, it fell to the anthrals and tercaelo to take lead in dealing with the dead. Being much more experienced in seeing death on a regular basis, the anthrals and tercaelo began to deal with the dead vedrfol by carrying them high and burning them, or descending with them and committing them to the depths. The vedrfol permitted this, perhaps watching in numb disillusionment as the great dying they'd forever watched consume the short-lived anthrals suddenly, even casually, turned its full attention toward them.   One notable deviation from normative trends took place in the last century of Jeimr. Vedrfol births were rare, with a great many eggs never hatching, and the vedrfol had never treated an unhatched egg with particular reverence before this time. However, during this final century when death was common and birth increasingly rare, the same vedrfol that were content to let the anthrals and tercaelo deal with their dead became suddenly very concerned with eggs that failed to hatch. Around the monuments to the elder dead appear a number of simple memorials to lost eggs. The vedrfol took on the habit of naming the potential children born of any given egg, and mourning the death of the theoretical child when it failed to hatch. During their final years, they mourned these lost eggs far more than their own deaths.

Ideals

Gender Ideals

The vedrfol language included three sets of gendered pronouns -- female, male, and otherwise -- but they tended to gender themselves and one another male at almost all times. For them, gender seemed to be a mostly grammatical concern. A male-gendered vedrfol might become female-gendered when interacting with objects or concepts that were grammatically female. They did understand gender, as they saw it active in different ways in other sapioformes, particularly the dynamic binary of Jeimr's anthrals and the six-gendered tercaelo, which the vedrfol were capable of understanding and describing. The vedrfol simply had less interest in it themselves. Even in the cases of reproduction and sex, the vedrfol showed no interest in gender or reproductive compatibility; a successful clutch was already so rare that there was little point in planning for it. It is an interesting anthropological note that when reproduction suddenly became a central concern in the final years of Jeimr, vedrfol writings illustrate a certain inability to reconcile biological sex as an important part of identity, demonstrating not only a lack of concern with gendering, but also a significant aversion to it.

Relationship Ideals

Vedrfol relationships, be they friendships or closer partnerships, were contractually organized and agreed upon by involved parties. vedrfol romances were, for this reason, a rather strange sight for other sapioformes to behold. Generally speaking, the more a vedrfol liked another of their kind, the more vulnerable they would feel and therefore the more suspicious and territorial they would become. Vedrfol lovers could seldom stand to be in one another's presence, their guardedness charging their vulnerability with a strangely powerful passion that could reach climactic fights or romantic encounters every few years. Romantic pairings were just as much a subject of intrigue for the vedrfol as any other sapioforme, with an added element of danger, as falling in love may be more likely to lead to one or several violent crimes of passion than to a successful coupling.   Vedrfol were more likely to draw close to anthrals or tercaelo, even romantically, but these could never qualify as long-term relationships to the vedrfol, as the vedrfol lifespan could be a hundred times that of a tercaelo and anthrals were even shorter lived. A vedrfol could treat these relationships as either precious or with flippant disregard, depending on their own personality. There are records of close friendships that stretched across generations, with a single vedrfol serving as a friend, mentor, or patron to an increasing number of anthrals or tercaelo as the bloodline grows.
Estimated Population
(at height, circa 1200 UC)
Vedrfol: 150,000
Tercaelo: 50,000
Anthrals: 500,000  
Years Extant
Circa 5500 UC to circa 800 UC
Major Languages
Vedrfol
Jei-Satorian
Jei-Tercaelo
Related Locations

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

  • 8000 UC

    6500 UC


    Vedrfol expansion
    Cultural event

    Starting from their origins in the Rhyqirja Mountains, the gradual increase of vedrfol population led to expansion across the continent of Sof Sator. During this time, each vedrfol staked out an individual territory of several kilometers. There was no vedrfol society to speak of.

    Species
    Vedrfol
    More reading
    Jeimr, Kingdom of the Vedrfol
    Additional timelines
  • 6500 UC

    5500 UC


    Vedrfol feudal society
    Diplomatic action

    With continued population growth, the vedrfol could no longer stake out individual territories. They began to form an increasingly complex feudal system to allow young vedrfol controlled habitation inside the territories of vedrfol lords.

    Species
    Vedrfol
    More reading
    Jeimr, Kingdom of the Vedrfol
    Additional timelines
  • 5500 UC

    600 UC


    Age of Jeimr
    Founding

    The rise of the first vedrfol king led to the foundation Jeimr and the return of the disparate vedrfol to the Rhyqirja Mountains. During this time, the society of the vedrfol was at its height, and they integrated hundreds of generatons of anthrals and tercaelo into their civilization.

    Additional timelines
  • 1000 UC


    Jotr Velg
    Disaster / Destruction

    The Jotr Velg struck all vedrfol in Sof Sator simultaneously. Within 25 years, the vast majority of vedrfol were dead, leaving only a few thousand young adults to struggle on.

    Additional timelines
  • 999 UC

    800 UC


    Decline of the vedrfol
    Extinction

    Unable to ascertain either the origins of or solution to the Jotr Velg, the vedrfol population continued to shrink. Around 800 UC, the last vedrfol died, and the remaining clutch of eggs never hatched.

    Additional timelines
  • 800 UC

    700 UC


    Depopulation of Jeimr
    Population Migration / Travel

    The anthrals and tercaelo societies that had developed alongside the vedrfol of Jeimr could no longer be sustained, and quickly left to either join other societies or found new societies of their own.

    Additional timelines
  • 0 UC


    Jeimr, a relic forgotten
    Cultural event

    By now, Jeimr has largely been forgotten by the peoples who once lived there. Many of the great gates that lead inside the Rhyqirja Mountains are lost to the ice and snows, and those that are known are viewed as places of mystery and danger. Inside the mountains is a vast, labyrinthine city full of ancient magics that are no longer understood. Few are brave enough to explore these places, which are some of the most dangerous depths an adventurer could explore.

    Additional timelines

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
23 Sep, 2022 21:29

A decent article overall!, Good job

26 Sep, 2022 18:09

Hi! Thanks for the read and comment. :)

Grandmaster tlcassis
Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia
28 Sep, 2022 03:32

This was a very thorough and well thought out article :-), but it was much too long for the competition! I would consider breaking it up and creating several articles. I also couldn't get the timeline to open for me.

Humans! My shortlisted competition entry for "On the Shoulders of Giants"   My Short stories for Spooktober