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[personal profile] keleren
When I left Silvenesti some 17 years ago originally, I did so in the hopes of finding a new path for my people -- a solution to the problems of decadence and stagnancy that left us vulnerable, in the end, to Cyan Bloodbane, Sorrow's Thorn, Ke'Lorath, and all of our other sundry problems in Silvenesti. However, I have found nothing in the realms beyond to help me in this regard.

That is not quite correct, however. I have come to believe that the solution was never to be found elsewhere, away from Silvenesti, in the end, but I could never realize that while still whiling away the decades in my homeland. Palanthus, Solamnia, Ergoth, the Dragonarmies, the Bakali, Nordmaar, the Dragons, the Conclave, the Holy Order of the Stars, Qualinesti, the Kagonesti, Thorbardin...these realms and peoples have not found their own solutions, and often times they suffer from similar problems, or at least problems endemic to Ansalon in general. None of these nations or organizations have achieved what I would wish for Silvenesti, and I cannot be surprised that this is the case. All that my journeys have accomplished -- at least in regards to my original quandary -- is to provide some manner of perspective on the problems at home, and to allow myself some distance that I might better understand.

The sickness that lay at the heart of my people's heart was one long in its incubation. The Kinslayer War cast a great deal of uncertainty upon Silvenesti's heart, as well as a prolonged malaise and bitterness. The dream of Sithas, Silvanos, and the first of us had fallen apart in the face of dealing with other races, and such dealings led our Qualinesti cousins to quit our nation for their own lands. We began to retreat within ourselves, a self-imposed isolation that would, in the minds of my ancestors, hopefully prevent any further unpleasantness.

We emerged from this isolation for a time during the last Dragonwar, especially after Sylvyana, Zeloth, and Caras led several of my people to rise up in service to Galen Dracos and the Dark Queen, leading Hate's Heart against our homeland. That done, the Silvenesti remained in the world for a time, as Istar began to rise, only to retreat again as Istar went mad and fell into Dracos's metaphysical clutches. The Cataclysm only demonstrated further just how much outsiders -- and particularly humanity -- would injure Silvenesti, and how much any interaction with the outside world was dangerous.

The Nightmare shocked many of my people "awake," so to speak, although for many they felt that retreating further was the only answer. Recovering our homeland has abated this to some degree, but I sense -- well, I suspect -- that many of them feel that Silvenesti can never be "as it was," that everything is ruined, that nothing is left but nightmares and shadows of what once was.

The return of the gods irritated many in Silvenesti. Not only had they suffered because of human effrontery before the gods, but now it was the humans who heralded the return of the gods of light -- not the elves, their actual children. For many, they have relinquished the world to humanity and the other races; "leave us our woods and we shall leave you be." We know how well that works in the face of the Dragonarmies and Dracos's minions.

Bah. Even now, many of the elders in Court argue that we should erect an arcane shield over the entire realm, barring passage either in or out, so that we may be protected from foes, allowed time to rebuild, and so forth. Naturally, I have argued against this, as has Kai'Alhana. However, Kai'Alhana is young compared to these elders, many of whom have lived since the time of Huma. She is much more reluctant to point out how idiotic and short-sighted these ideas how, fearful of appearing as a willful or arrogant child. While her rank carries a great deal of weight, as it should, she also must play a delicate game of politics. Some of the elders have suggested perhaps erecting the sheld for but a brief time -- long enough to rebuild and lick our wounds. However, were we to withdraw from the war, none of the other nations would ever take us seriously ever again as a friend or ally, and once that shield goes up -- should it go up -- it will not come down easily or quickly, and they know this.

The Master of Goodlund made it plain what his opinion on the matter was. Should Silvenesti do so, he will bend the entirety of the resources of an entire Tower of High Sorcery towards shattering it utterly, promising a complete investigation by the Conclave for such "atypical" magicks. Ke'Lanthinel is, however, even more impetuous than I am, and much more willing to demonstrate via very very large spells what he thinks of "fools," even elders a thousand years his senior.

The solution to Silvenesti's crisis of self is that we have lost our inspiration, our will, and that our dream -- the dream of our people, of our nation -- has faded and cooled. It grows languid in the torpor of forgetfulness and idleness. As someone put it, somehow the "dragon at the heat of Silvenesti," the fire and spirit of my people, must be roused once again.

I speak of this to Kai'Alhana, but she does not believe she can do so. She does not believe that she can move our people to live again in this way. She is too reluctant to belittle or upset the elders. But we must.

I have suggested that we move from a state of limited war, in which the elders send their grandchildren off to fight for the homeland, to one of "total war." If these elders fought so valiantly against Hate's Heart and the Dark Queen's armies almost two thousand years ago, let them show us youngsters how to properly fight this war. Let them rise up and fight for their hearts and souls, and the hearts and souls of Silvenesti, again. Perhaps if they can see what we are fighting against, then perhaps they will awaken to their own "dragons" and ascend once again.

Of course, we cannot allow "total" war to be the answer. If my people get caught up within a dream of blood for blood's sake, to simply take vengeance upon the Dark Queen's minions and Dracos's servants, then we may awaken our dragon -- and it may consume us all, as well as others in Ansalon. I do no dream of a realm of bloodthirsty warriors; I yearn for a time of peace, in which we can live our lives freely and openly, vibrantly and dynamically. We cannot trade endless daydreams of idleness for a nightmare of war. We must always remember that we are fighting not for revenge -- or at least not simply for revenge -- but that we are fighting to reclaim what we have lost, to claim what we can be, and to help insure no one suffers what we have suffered. We must fight for a better future and not merely a future.

So, of course, there is the question of what to do after the war.

I will go to Silvenesti again, and wander its forests. From there, I shall go to Kyrnesti -- blessed by Branchala for all elves. There I shall seek out the Forestmaster and the White Stag, and I will tell them my heart and I will ask them their counsel. Perhaps they can see what I cannot yet accept or understand. Perhaps they can at least show me a path, whether it is a path I accept or must decline. If nothing else, having been away from Silvenesti for so long, I must come to know her again, older and wiser, and maybe the trees will tell me something, show me something, in the branches, the roots, the land, the birdsong, the moment...

I cannot accept defeat in this regard. I cannot accept retreat or hesitancy. Patience, yes, but not the waiting for something to happen (or for nothing to happen) which has preoccupied my people for centuries. The answer is not simply religious conviction or devotion -- Istar was very devoted, as was Silvenesti before this time...but the gods allowed us choice. We must choose what we want to be. We can no longer afford the choice of isolation and fear, and the others must come to see this or we shall die, fade, vanish, and that can never be allowed to happen.

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keleren

August 2006

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