Prologue: The Houses of Hearts
The World of Kigan, almost covered by the leaves of a colossal anchor tree, has many different beings on it. Most of these beings have traditions.
Of interest to some are the traditions of a certain portion of the beings know as the aehi, the heart elves, or as some spitefully call them, the vulgar elves. Elves are of course those pointed eared humans, who have trees as their distant ancestors. In the case of the aehi, very distant, which is why some call them vulgar elves. The aehi like many that live in the world of Kigan, have lost much of their connection to the wild.
They rarely live longer than one hundred and thirty. Their skin ranges from dark, to pale, rarely with a greenish tint. Their hair is similarly mundane. As are their eyes. They do not even possess the common beauty of many other races of elvenkind. Indeed it is many of these races that think of the aehi as ‘vulgar’ elves.
The aehi do not have particular nations of their own, instead they can be found all over the cold lands of Nortrieln and Cahrissia and the vast continent of Cri’Kigan, thus they are a race with many different traditions, most of them related to their home and not their being. Yet another reason that some refer to them as the vulgar elves.
However there is the the Noble Houses of the Aehi.
It is rare that people dare to call these Aehi vulgar elves. No, it is to these that all aehi have to thank for their other name, the Heart Elves. The noble aehi have many traditions, and their traditions vary the one they are most well known for however, is that the noble aehi live in castles, mansions and various great houses that walk on legs.
It is not for this that the aehi are called heart elves. It is for two things. All aehi have an affinity for the prime element of heart, that element that embodies fire, passion, the incorporeal, potency destruction and many other things.
The second thing is the heart-crest. The heart-crest grants an aehi power, the exact natures and possibilities of the power seem endless, one aehi will have the power to make flowers bloom perhaps, another might have the power to call searing stars down from the skies. The heart-crest manifests as a magic sigil in the eye of the aehi, and flares out in an ethereal winglike form when the aehi uses the powers of the crest.
Not all Aehi are born with a heart-crest, but what makes the noble houses possible is that a heart-crest can, at the price of the holder’s life, be passed on to an aehi who is related to the holder by blood. If the receiver also has a heart-crest then this one grows, gaining the powers of the other, and if the powers are similar enough, combining to form a greater power.
Most of these Houses have different traditions, but usually these traditions focus on bringing new blood into the House or bringing power to the House.
Nortrieln has many such Houses. One relatively small one is House Vulk. They have a tradition where upon reaching the age of thirty, that member of the house must leave and return with a spherical magical artefact.
Ivakilnah of House Vulk, or DuVulk, was thirty four. He had not yet left the House to bring back an artefact…