This is one of the articles that was submitted to the contest and won 3rd place. It was written by Anne Fearless
On the importance of dreaming: even in the midst of loneliness and chaos. A possible theory on the Genealogy of the Elves and the Dreamers.
By Anne Fearless from Seanera.
“Don’t ask others to explain your dreams. Experience them. Dreams are your friend, your mentor, your private fortress and they could be so much more if you just listened to them”. Euraran
One of the most interesting and mysterious periods in the history of Tibia is, without a doubt, that of the creation of the ancient races. These races, arising one after another, error after error, hope after hope, are nothing but a failed attempt by the gods Uman and Fardos to combat the hordes of undead and hostile creatures of Zathroth and Urgith in order to save their precious Tibia from destruction. destruction. A battle that could only be achieved until the creation of humans, at the hand of Banor. However, though these ancient races either perished in defeat or were drawn into Zathroth’s ranks, they were not entirely a failure. We know, for example, that their power was impressive: “Some of the ancient races that rose and decayed during the Wars of the Gods were incredibly powerful compared to modern mankind. Only tales of surviving ancients tell us about these people.” And we also know that from these ancient races survived not only the orcs, dragons, trolls, demons and undead of the destroying side but also the dwarves and the elves of Uman and Fardos:
However, not all of the ancients were eradicated in the fierce struggle. At least two of the races created by the elder gods in the course of this epic struggle somehow managed to escape destruction and to survive until today. One of them was the elves, delicate creatures who could handle bows and musical instruments with equal skill. The other was the dwarfs, a stout race of gifted miners and smiths.
At the end of the day, in such an ancient story narrated from the human regime, it would not be difficult to underestimate the power and ability of these ancient races, perhaps considering them barbaric or primitive due to their failures and existence in the midst of crisis. The best example of how the ancient races could be extremely powerful despite not being the imminent winners is the Dream Magic, an extremely powerful type of magic that however is not proper to humans, a magic that only the most exceptional humans have been able to learn and for only once in the history of Tibia. This most wonderful ability is, however, natural to elves, so close to the point that even the least skilled can practice a very rudimentary form of it for example to reproduce and have children (a difficult act for average humans).
Following these lines, in this article I will focus on analyzing the power of the elves, especially that of the magic of dreams and the lost genealogy of both the elves and this ability, proposing some theories about it.
The Dream Magic
Dreams are an extremely interesting, beautiful and powerful concept in Tibia: from “gods” who dream of a creation, of a company, and create it and protect it and watch it perish; to mere creatures or humans who dream silly longings or more transcendental desires: dreams as a monument to our will, to our successful or failed aspirations.. Dreams in Tibia do appear as a creation of our mind, perhaps from our desires or unconsciousness, but also as a reality in a different dimension than our tangible Tibia. The power of manipulating dreams is a magic, a science and an art that consists of consciously accessing dreams, breaking the „curtains of awareness” in order to create, prophesy, communicate, travel and find, this is the dream walking art. We know that Dreamers can travel through the plane of dreams for example in The Realm of Dreams; or also create places in another plane made of pure dreams; they can also create creatures from either the most sweet dreams like the Fae or the most monstrous nightmares like the Guzzlemaws.
Dreams in Tibia are art, power, talent, fight and also cities, empires, weapons, prisons and destruction. As abstract as it may seem, the importance given to dreams in the game is nothing but a beautiful tribute to the players and the capacity of the will and human creativity that fight against all suffering and adversity to materialize: “Don’t ask others to explain your dreams. Experience them. Dreams are your friend, your mentor, your private fortress and they could be so much more if you just listened to them”.
Of course dreams can also be nightmares…
The elves and the dreams
In the Tibian canon, the creatures that are most associated with the ability to manipulate dream magic are elves. Dream Magic comes naturally to them, perhaps as a gift or perhaps as a learned or copied ability, even the least magical of elves should have the ability to interact with dreams naturally, as naturally as having children based on a common dream of the couple. A magic that has been so complicated and tormenting for the most talented humans, for elves it is something like the call of the wild. Of course, even for them the Dream Magic, in a more complex and powerful way, is not easy, much less intuitive, either due to lack of affinity, practice or perfection, and in fact the elves who can access the world of dreams and manipulate the matter of dreams are actually few.
In this sense, there are at least six known castes of elves: Deraisim (the scouts and hunters), Cenath (the magic users), Kuridai (the smiths), Teshial (the masters in the art of dream magic), Chelabdil ( the most unknown, presumed extinct by an orc attack near Carlin), and Abdaisim (those who refused to settle in Ab’Dendriel preferring their nomadic lifestyle). Of these six castes, three currently exist in the Tibian canon: the Deraisim caste and the Cenath caste, who met in Ab’dendriel and later the Kuridai who joined them, thus achieving balance and strength for Ab’dendriel, place where they currently reside in peace. However, the other three castes are considered extinct, lost, or even no more than legends and myths. The two castes I will focus on for this discussion are precisely the ones that had the closest relationship to the art of Dream Magic: the Cenath and the Teshial.
If the elves managed to survive the age of chaos it was mainly for one reason: by negligence. Their delicate nature and closeness to music and nature surely made them less fierce and closer to art and peace. In this sense the Teshial soon withdrew from the war, hiding completely. In their exile they dedicated themselves to perfecting their natural instincts towards the art of dream magic. The perfection that the Teshial achieved from dream magic led them to be considered the true masters of this power. However, it is not clear where they got it from, whether as a gift, as something inert in themselves that they perfected, or as something learned: there is no clear answer. The only clear thing about them is that their affinity with dreams led them to exist almost exclusively in the Realm of dreams, even physically: “They withdrew from the world of mortals and it is rumored they have physically entered the realm of dreams”.
The Teshial settled in the world of dreams making occasional visits to the tangible world of Tibia to teach the art of dream magic, not only to elves but also to other races such as humans: the Nightmare knights: “Many races welcomed their help, but their teachings seldom found dedicated listeners. After they taught a part of their secrets to some humans they found worthy, they had to see their pupils tortured by developments they judged themselves guilty of”.
However, the sporadic nature of these visits, as well as the final disappearance of the Teshial from the tangible world (perhaps extinct, perhaps evolved into a new form or perhaps still existing in the Realm of dreams) endowed them with a mythologizing, surrounding their figure with a aura of mystery, of legend and even, why not, of a conception almost like benevolent and powerful gods of the elven past:
So they began to exist almost permanently in a state of dreams, only rarely appearing now and then amidst the other elves to give them advice and try to convince some of them to join their way of life. As the war grew more and more fierce these visits became less and less frequent until they were almost a myth, even for elvenkind.
Some NPCs respond to the word Teshial with the following information:
We can see here many phrases where the existence of the Teshial is doubted: “They hardly seem more then an elven myth”, “A stupid Cenath myth”, “If they ever existed”.
Finally, it is worth mentioning regarding the Teshial that although no apparent news of them was heard again in Tibia, one of the most important theories or assumptions regarding the path of this caste is that either one of them or several created the Elves of the Winter and Summer Courts.
The history of the Cenath is in some ways similar to that of the Teshial. These elves lived in a remote and protected valley, and thanks to this remoteness from the war, they were able to perfect their magic there. The need to flee chaos meant that the Cenath had to improve the nature of their hideout, and the best way they managed to do so was to move their valley to another place outside the tangible world:
Live went on as usual for some time, the elves minding only their own business, as if pretending there was no war at all. Of course the war found them at last. In an frantic attempt to rescue their lives and even their accustomed way of life the elves begun to weave powerfull spells. Many of their best magicians litteraly 'burnt out’ in the process but finally the elves succeeded. The whole valley was torn out of the known world … And this was bitterly needed in a world that was only stormy darkness around the elven valley. They created a artificial light and even created weather.
Both the original place of the valley in Tibia, as well as the place outside the tangible world to which it was moved are unknown, although we can speculate. The level of magical power of the Cenath is also not specified, however, their knowledge of dream magic was less than that of the Teshial: for example more around the manipulation of nature than dreams.: “they lived for hundreds of years, studying and practicing magic, mainly to manipulate and reproduce effects of nature to enhance their lives.” Also in the report of the dwarves it is mentioned that the capacity of the other castes for dream magic was less and that their abilities were more about nature:
Our elemantarists have successfully unrevealed the the secrets of what is called „dream magic”. It is a subconscious way of influencing the surroundings. It is mainly used by elven parents that want to shape their unborn child, but, this is the far more important threat, some elves, especially those called „Teshial” posess the ability to wander some kind of „dream realm” instead of the real world. This gives them the oppurtunity to appear somewhere out of the blue, but, fortunately, the Teshial never used this skill to ambush, and the other elves posess only small remnants of this magic.
Never the less, the 2nd earthen chamber is evolving a counter spell for that, that increases the elemental signature of beings near, forcing them into the real realm.
The other kinds of their magics are limited to protective and growing spells, whicht yet do not prove any harm, but are very supportive for their strife. It is rumored that they have also a lot of illusionary and concealing spells, but investigations here have not yet led to final results, as well as we can only deny the existance of aggressive magic by an elven race od caste od unknown origin.
Unfortunately, and in a story not so unrelated to Tibian lore, what could have been the splendor of this race ended up being its doom, and its out-of-this-world valley ended up returning to tangible Tibia only to collapse into a horrendous accident that claimed many elven lives:
The dimension that harboured the elven valley began to collapse. Pice for pice their land was torn away and the wisest of the elves found out that the valley would ultimately 'fall’ back in the world it belonged to. […]. Almost half of the elves perished. All of the valley and its wonders were destroyed. Almost nothing remained. Artifacts and books shattered and burnt alike.
Following these lines, and given the similarities between the Teshial and the Cenath, we can propose some theories: 1) that the Teshial are the teachers of the Cenath and that the Cenath for this have built a myth about an elven caste with great power over the dreams. 2) That the valley of the Cenath went from this world to the Realm of dreams: as a city in dreams or even a city made of dreams. 3) Even that the Teshial inhabited this valley and those who survived the destruction are the Cenath, elves with less power of dreams due to the accident they suffered.
What was the outcome of the Teshial? Where does the dream magic that elves possess come from? And how far did this dreaming ability go for the Cenath? Let’s review now some of the theories raised up to this point:
Players are introduced to the Dreamcourts quest when a fire elf and an ice elf, who are in love with each other, ask for help regarding the evil that haunts the Courts. By following the long dialogue of any of those NPCs we can learn that (at least in these elves’ conception of themselves) the elves of the Winter and Summer Courts are the creation of an extremely powerful elf’s dream, thus, they can be called Dreamborn elves, which are different from ordinary elves, Dreamborns who are not in the tangible reality of Tibia but inhabit a world also made of dreams.
Though the dreamborn have many similarities with common elves, they are not creatures of your world. They were created through the dreams of a powerful elf whose name is long forgotten. All that is known, is that he was a exceptional dreamweaver. …
Vanys: His mastery over dreams was that great, that his dreams became substantial. It is said, he was the most advanced dreamweaver that ever walked the world. …
Vanys: He was also an artist and he was lonely. So he decided to dream of a new race of elves that might keep him company.
The dreamborns lived in harmony with their creator in a utopian environment, with delicious fruits and everything they could need within their reach. However, their creator had doubts, regrets and unpositive dreams that led him to leave his children, disappearing from his utopian creation but not before planting the seed of a nightmare, which was fueled by the fears of the now abandoned and orphaned Dreamborns. This seed ended up giving rise to the Nightmare Beast that players must face in order to complete the quest:
Vanys: It is unclear if he simply went away or dread had befallen him. But be it as it may, his children were left alone and lacked his fatherly wisdom and guidance. Their despair and fear fed the thing whose seed was born of their creators troubles. …
Of course, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, when analyzing the story one have to question the point of view from which it is narrated, and in this case this story about the Dreamborns is told by them. Therefore, we do not know if they are actually the creation of a single powerful elf, possibly a Teshial; or maybe descendants of a caste of Dream Elves, maybe Teshial, or maybe some other kind. What we can assume is that surely some lessons from the past were learned: before, despite building a heaven of dreams, they ended up perishing in the face of force and chaos, but now these fire and ice elves have been modified to be much stronger than normal elves (the difference between Ab’dendriel’s elves and Feyrist’s elves is basically a meme): “The elves are able to manipulate their unborn children by some kind of dream magic. This magic changes appearance and personality slightly, allowing elven parents to give birth to 'wish-kids”.
In the lore of Roshamuul, found in papers scattered around the continent, it is explained that one of the races of the ancients, so ancient that it has already forgotten its own beginnings, created a city made of dreams. A masterful work of art that ended up perishing when ambition led this ancient race to want to create for less noble purposes, creating a prison and making wrong alliances with demons, which ended in a catastrophic fight and the destruction of Roshamuul; annihilating this race of Dreamers; and leaving Roshamuul in its current state of destruction and chaos.
Although this ancient race of Dreamers could be a different one from the elves, we can find some similarities that make us think that they could well have been elves: 1) The very concept of a city made of dreams and inhabited by creatures from dreams (or nightmares) is commonplace for elves, especially the Teshial and the Fire and Ice Dreamborns. 2) From another point of view, the valley in which the Cenath took refuge, which they transferred to a plane outside this world and which ended up being destroyed could well be the valley of the Guzzlemaws. Both places had a catastrophic outcome. 3) Both the Dreamcourts and Roshamuul lore talk about the same promising concept that ends up being a failure: eternal prisons that in the case of Roshamuul ended up being destroyed (although it still houses some prisoners like Prince Drazzak and Gaz 'haragoth), and in the case of the Dreamcourts it shows us that eternity is a very long time and these perpetual barriers would eventually be doomed to perish. 4) The NPC Euraran: a dreamer who also has the appearance of an elf.
At this point, this article has already brought more questions than answers for the author (and I hope also for the readers) and to begin my conclusions I would like to quote Euraran’s answer when asked if he is an elf:
Eruaran: Maybe I was once an elf, or perhaps that was only a dream. Does it really matter after all? I think not. Dream, reality, human or elf, all of that is of no consequence at all. …
Eruaran: We are what we do, we are what we decide. To limit yourself to being an elf or whatever, is to abandon the potential of what you COULD be. – I’m sorry though, I’m not here to preach or teach, and I’m terrible in such things.
In the Tibian lore, antiquity is mixed with the present in the form of myths or legends; and also the story is told from the point of view of the winners or survivors. Elves have the ability to change their image and nature at will: the Teshial were experts at this: “The Teshial are 'typical’ in appearance for elves, but they could create the illusion of almost any appearance if they so choose”; and the Dreamborn elves are an example of this ability. Euraran himself, a dream traveler who ended up in the destroyed city made of dreams and nightmares, denies his elven nature; no longer knowing if the elves are the past, the dream, the truth, or the longing; and he rather identifies himself as a dreamer who can be whatever he wants to be.
In this line, I propose that the dreamers we know (creators of Roshamuul, elves, winter and summer elves (as well as other types of dreamborns that surely exist or existed because what nobler or more selfish reason than to create to combat loneliness ), Nightmare Knights), as well as the possible ancestors of these races belong to a common genealogy that leaves behind the concept of races to unite creatures in a more noble concept: dreams, dreaming, creating and reaching all your wishes. The relationships and bonds between these creatures must have been genetic in some cases: elves that reproduce through dreams; in others rather of a father-type god who dreams and conceives his own creation as in the mythology of the Winter and Summer Courts; and in others of education like the one that the Teshial formed with the Nightmare Knights and other races. In the midst of these relationships and given the same power and mystery of Dream Magic, mythologies, legends, prejudices or gossip must have been created around Dreamers and Dream Magic. Legends where some elves wanted to position themselves as heirs of these powerful beings; prejudices where it was recommended not to follow the Dreamers because of the catastrophes that this type of magic could generate.
We don’t know if the fire and ice elves come from one Teshial specifically, or if they are descended from all Teshial, or perhaps from another caste of elves that we don’t know about. Or if all elves are a dream. We don’t know if the inhabitants of Roshamuul were Teshial or Cenath, or if perhaps the Cenath we know in Ab’dendriel are just a minor remnant of what they once were: a race similar to the Teshial, the Teshial themselves, or another of which only less powerful beings remain.
What we do know is that the magic of dreams brings with it some danger: when your goals are not pure, when you are not innocent and nightmares invade you, when you turn what has to be pure and disinterested art into utilitarian science, into weapons: when you access forbidden knowledge. And of this, another ancient race that knows a lot is the one that a long time ago tasted the forbidden fruit and wanted to acquire knowledge that is now lost: I am referring, of course, to the Forgotten Knowledge quest where perhaps we have another very, very hypothetical example of another kind of dreamers. After all, the fire and ice elves had to lose their innocence, leave their Eden and acquire knowledge of the tangible world beyond the dreams that corrupted and condemned them; the same thing happened with the dreamers of Roshamuul; and in Forgotten Knowledge we have the purest example of that conception of epistemology that warns us that too much knowledge for purposes that are not pure but rather corrupt ends in a catastrophe: the Forbidden fruit, the Forbidden Tome and the Key to Knowledge, three Items that, although they seem to only give two achievements, we all suspect that they must surely hide a great Tibian secret. Who knows? Perhaps these items are related to the concept of dream magic, such an important theme in Tibia that continues to arouse curiosity.
|Cavaleiro Kyon Efusa
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I love how articles uncover more content in Tibia and help me understand Tibian universe better.