The Fire Sands are a part of the desert region of Al Sula that contain an abundance of Red Lumite and are famous for releasing waves of Kaotic flame during the heat of the day. The Fire Sands are hospitable to only the most adaptive of species – such as Qinthana, the Elder Tree, and the Sun Elves who live in symbiosis with her.
Over tens of thousands of years, Qinthana and the Sun Elves have adapted to, and absorbed magic from, the Fire Sands where they make their home. Qinthana has developed a massive trunk which can store enough water for the Sun Elves to survive on for several years, while its leafs provide shade for the tribe during the day. Qinthana’s leafs also release a burst of fire magic when they fall, or, when attached to Elven arrows, are shot at invaders.
For their part, the Sun Elf culture is built around serving Qinthana and protecting the natural world that surrounds her. By drinking Qinthana’s Elder Sap Adult Sun Elves are able to connect to her consciousness and speak to her – allowing them to enforce the will of their Elder as best they can. But like all elves, no Sun Elf achieves adulthood by merely reaching a certain age or passing through genetic adolescence. A Sun Elf becomes an adult in the eyes of Qinthana, and the Tribe, after completing the Trials of Adulthood. While these trials can be found across the Elven world, they are adjusted to suit the unique attributes of each grove. In the case of the Sun Elves, these trials are…
- The Call of the Wild: The Sun Elf must call an animal of the desert and gain permission to ride them (whichever creature comes will forever be their “spirit animal” and preferred mount).
- The Names of the Land: The Sun Elf must learn the true names of the plants, creatures, and even the dunes of the Fire Sands, so they may speak to the desert directly. The Sun Elf will then prove their mastery of the names by crossing the Fire Sands at the heat of the day, a feat only possible with the permission of the Sands themselves.
- The Night of True Darkness: The Sun Elf must spend an entire day in the pure dark and complete silence of one of the dark caves created by Qinthana’s deep roots.
- The Great Climb: The Sun Elf must successfully climb to the top of Qinthana – a privilege only granted to those considered worthy by the Elder Tree itself.
- The Name of the Soul: The Sun Elf must go on a Sap-Based vision quest into the Fire Sands where, if they survive, they will find their true name.
For Sun Elves who wish to be Warriors of Qinthana, there is a Final Trial…
The Blood of the Blade: You cannot be a warrior unless you know the pain of taking a life, but in the Elf culture killing is forbidden (with the exception of the Blood Elves who alone kill without hesitation or remorse). So for elves, the only moral way for warrior status to be achieved is to find a wounded animal who cannot be healed, perform a mercy killing, and bury the body in a Ceremony of Tears. This is not an easy task and can take years to achieve, but there is a second path to become a Warrior of Qinthana. If invaders attack the Elder Grove and an Elf kills one in its defense, this will also complete the trial.
For millennia this second path was extremely rare, but as the value of the Lumite within the Fire Sands increased with the invention of Airship travel, Lumite seekers began to regularly encroach on Qinthana’s Grove, making it ever more common.