by Max Barry

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by The Socialist Solarpunk Society of Sylh Alanor. . 168 reads.

205 CE - The Apotheosis of Silvehn

The Rise and Fall of the Elvhen Golden Age -- 5-1900 CE

Silvehn holding the Orb of Immortality - 205 CE
After the completion of the Academy of Magic in 20 CE, Bellanaris became an important city within Alanor. Such a concentration of the brightest thinkers and mages in one place led to one advancement after another, not just in magic but also in science and architecture. Within a decade, Bellanaris had buildings woven into the trees, streets winding through the forest around them, and public baths that could calm the nerves or improve focus. The elves there could conduct their life business well into the night thanks to magical lights that floated above the streets and within the rooms of the city, giving a permanent and sustainable source of light that didn't carry the danger or finite nature of candles.

It was only natural that this research, once settled into a comfortable quality of life, would turn toward vitality. First through enchanted baths, then augmented foods, and finally through pure vitality magic woven into the bodies of elves, Elvhen lifespans began to extend. With the permanent vitality weaves, an elf could expect to be energetic and alert well into their 90s, only degrading past the century mark to an average lifespan of 105 years.

Silvehn was born in the capital city of Ara'lath in 173 CE and accepted into the Academy of Magic when she came of age. She wasn't particularly special in terms of her family line, or her magical talents, or her work within the Academy, merely an average student on the healing track. In 200, she was approached by a group of mages, both teachers and students, to join a special project that the healers were working on. She accepted and was let in on a secret that had been in the works for over a century-- an infinite weave in the wielder's body, making them effectively immortal. They had the magic effort of multiple generations poured into one artefact, creatively titled the Orb of Immortality, and had been testing its effectiveness on various students of different bloodlines and specialities. Uninterested in attaining immortality for just herself, but very interested in attaining it for all elves, Silvehn worked on weaving her own creations into the orb, spending hours per day for five years before curiosity overtook her.

Pressured by her peers and teachers, Silvehn took hold of the Orb in 205, instantly feeling its magical weave imprinting on her. Though she would go on to submit herself for study after study, the Orb worked on no one else. One Elvhen immortal had been created, proving the original theory to be possible, but the researchers learned very little from it in the aftermath. It would be Silvehn herself that, only a few years later, began leading a construction project in the capital that would alter the weaved magic within the orb to spread to all elves, no matter their genetics or magical aptitude. This project would take a significantly long time, but Silvehn never left the tip of the spear. In approximately 250, she would become head of the Academy, still appearing the same age she had 45 years prior, but containing within her the knowledge and wisdom the years brought with them.

The construction completed in 336. The architecture had been difficult to conceptualise, having to not only channel the magic of the Orb, but amplify it by thousands of times. Silvehn's guiding theory was that she somehow was more sensitive to the weave, or had been exposed to it at the right time, and that in augmenting that strength and sending it out to all parts of Alanor at all times, others would begin to be imprinted. She placed the Orb into its setting, then retreated to the Academy to observe and document what happened. At first, it seemed the project was a failure, over a century of wasted time and theorising, and witnessing the deaths of everyone she had begun the journey with, as well as several of their children.

The golden age of the elves began in 5 CE, when the first High Queen of Alanor had begun sanctioning the use of magic to better the Elvhen way of life. But it would truly solidify in 336, when the Orb of Immortality began imprinting onto every Alanori elf born while it was in place. For the next 1500 years, no elf born after 336 would succumb to age or illness or bodily degradation, only able to be killed in violence or by violent accident. This allowed them to achieve impossible things: magical weaves could be maintained and fed for centuries, worked on by the same mage full time until they were nearly solidified magic. New ideas and creative outpourings would never again be considered to be a waste of time, because time was all that the Alanori had. Civilisations would move into the archipelago later known as Refugia, to be met with a people who had experienced a time before they had written history.

In 406, with the realisation that elves born after the Orb was activated were only ageing until approximately the same age at which she had first taken the Orb, Silvehn was made the eighth monarch of Alanor, and fifth High Queen. Though she never led her people in violence or aggression against others, the Silvehnian Alanori became regionally famous due to their advancements and inclusivity. All people of the lands someday known as Refugia were welcome in Alanor, and many visited the Academy of Magic in Bellanaris. Radical ideas on all manner of thought were floated, experimented with, and eventually codified.

In approximately 1880 CE, the Imperial Army under Emperor Kuvira the Great settled across Tranquility Bay, taking only the time to build a base of operations before launching conquering assaults inland. High Queen Silvehn, choosing not to risk the lives of her people, quietly and peacefully surrendered, only to be met with a worse eventual fate. Her people were entirely pacifistic and viewed death as an eternal cycle, but hadn't been confronted with unwanted death on a large scale in well over a millennium. Kuvira the Great's ultimate goal, however, wasn't the subjugation or extermination of the Elvhen, but instead to attain for herself what they had so long ago achieved, immortality. When her forces took Ara'lath, they demanded the Orb. Even though she tried to explain, Silvehn had to watch as the Orb was taken from its setting, and the people around her began to grow older.

For the next 130 years, Silvehn was once again the only immortal. People she had known for 1500 years were dying without her being able to save them. When the wider region of Refugia finally pressured the Kuviran Empire to release the Elvhen and restore Alanor to its rightful place, Silvehn was traumatised, merely a shadow of what she once was.

Her first action was placing the newly-returned Orb of Immortality in its setting, and declaring her people as entering a state of Enan'sal'in. Even through this existential grief, she accepted the re-establishment of her home as Sylh Alanor, the capital being renamed to Arlathan, and her people becoming more globalised as they interacted more broadly with Refugia. She refused to be reinstated as High Queen, instead taking the pre-monarchy leadership title of Radhmael and encouraging her people to hold elections. It was impossible to estimate how long it might take for her, and her people, to recover.

The Elvhen have been gracious in their thanks, taking regional responsibilities even as they rebuilt and entering a monetary pact with Refuge Isle, the leader of the region and primary source of pressure against the Imperials that led to them relinquishing control over the Alanori.

Leth'all'eni i banal'halam ar bel'annar'is. Ha'lam var'glandivalis i aran'ena'sal. Dar'eth shi'ral, lath'in.