Meet the Cast: Aiiyosha

Aiiyosha is the chieftain of the elusive Snow-elves who dwell in various parts of the Black Mountains. Although younger than both Carea and Dácariel by several centuries, she is still a very ancient being, born during the Second Chapter. Her great grandfather Cuherl (pron. ‘soo-hurl’) was a prince of the Sea-elves whose love was given rather to the waters of rivers and lakes than to the sea, and so he led a migration of some of his people up the Nimrell Valley towards its headwaters. Thence they slowly settled the beautiful glens and glacial vales of the Black Mountains and its foothills.

Some chose to migrate higher still and made dwellings above the snowline in the high peaks, and they became known as the Cugenai, the Snow-elves, or Cuherai, the folk of Cuherl. They had few dealings with other elves, and became a reclusive, semi-legendary people, famed for their skill in adapting to life in the mountains. They were swift runners and possessed remarkable physical abilities at high altitudes, where they made their homes in caves or sculpted homes under the snow.

Aiiyosha’s close kin established themselves in different parts of the mountains, and Aiiyosha chose the southern part of the range. She and her family and followers made their homes high on the slopes of Oron Eldanund, a fabled mountain whose snows fed many of the tributaries of the Nimrell, and not far also from the glacial sources of the River Vanri. There they dwelt in content isolation for millennia until the world had almost forgotten them, and contact with the lowland elves of valley and forest was exceedingly rare.

Goblins were the main trouble that the Snow-elves had to deal with, and few tales are known in Kalimar of their secret alpine strife down the centuries. This enmity was compounded when the Harracks, a degenerate dwarven race, settled and built their domain of Stonad in the Third Chapter in the Pharaphir Valley. Though Harracks and goblins were not always aligned, the Snow-elves were perennial foes of both. The elves were untouchable in their remote homes amid the peaks, but neither were they successful in dislodging their enemies from their subterranean fastnesses. Thus, there was a long history of hostility between Faudunum, the Harrack city, and Aiiyosha’s folk, and although they seldom welcome visitors from the world below, the Snow-elves are ready to make common cause at need with the enemies of their enemy.

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Photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

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